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Volume 18   Number 1      

  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

  >  Article: No Quotation Marks on These Sardines

  >  Food Funnies: Excerpts From Bargain Bin Cookbooks

       S E L E C T E D    R E C I P E S :

    * Red Lobster's Lobster Pizza
       
    * Old Fashioned Beef Stew
       
    * Oven-Fried Chicken
       
    * Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
       
    * Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
       
    * Gorilla Bread
       
    * Scallop and Mushroom Chowder
       
    * Red Velvet Cake

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Fruit-Stuffed Pork Roast

    Diabetic: Zucchini Tomato Pizza

    Low Fat: Aloha Chicken

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  This Week's Cooking Tips
  ========================

   Low Carb Tips:

  You can fake a pretty good plate of pasta by ribbon-cutting zucchini
 with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife (pare it down to the core
 with the seeds). Same goes for eggplant, and spaghetti squash is a
 naturally ready-made substitute for noodles when you steam or roast
 it and fluff up the spaghetti-like strands with a fork. Briefly saute
 the veggie "noodles" with herbs and garlic (you want to leave some
 texture) and it's a delicious dish. 
 
  Cabbage may be shredded and cooked like noodles, or the large leaves
 boiled and left whole as a substitute for wide lasagna noodles. If
 you are making a lasagna type dish, two good substitutes for high
 carb wheat flour noodles are boiled cabbage leaves or prepared slices
 of chicken or turkey lunch meat. Layer these low carb ingredients
 between rich mounds of cooked and drained ground beef, spices, tomato
 sauce and cheese. More Cooking Tips

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  This Week's Culinary Quiz (Answer at the bottom of page)

      German residents of Würchwitz produce their own cheese so
     monumentally disgusting that they have built a monument to it!
     What imparts the special tang to their Milbenkäse?

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  Quote of the Week:

   "Don't smoke too much, drink too much, eat too much or work
    too much. We're all on the road to the grave -- but there's
    no need to be in the passing lane."

    - Robert Orben (1927--) American humorist

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

          January is: National Egg Month 
                      Bread Machine Baking Month 
                      Oatmeal Month 
                      Wheat Bread Month 
                      National Hot Tea Month 
                      Fat Free Living Month 
                      National Soup Month

            January 2 - National Cream Puff Day
            January 3 - National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day 
            January 4 - National Spaghetti Day 
            January 5 - National Whipped Cream Day 
            January 6 - National Shortbread Day 
            January 7 - National Tempura Day 
            January 8 - National English Toffee Day 
            January 9 - National Apricot Day 

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    No Quotation Marks on These Sardines
     By Mark Bittman

  For years, the only kind of sardines available to the average
 American were packed in oil, water or tomato sauce, sold in little
 rectangular cans, first with keys and later with pop-tops.

  But because they’re plentiful and not endangered as a species (and
 full of healthful omega-3 fatty acids), fresh sardines are enjoying
 something of a renaissance. It helps that they’re delicious and
 inexpensive.

  You’re likely to see them on the menus of fancy restaurants, usually
 as appetizers and usually "grilled". I use quotation marks because
 what restaurants advertise as grilled sardines are usually broiled,
 for two reasons. One is that few restaurants are equipped to do real
 grilling. The other is that it’s extremely difficult to grill a
 sardine. Their flesh is so fragile they fall apart. (Wrapping them in
 grape leaves or paper-thin prosciutto slices is an option, but that
 process is a pain and decidedly unnecessary.)

  Fortunately, broiling creates the same crisp skin and smoky flavor
 as grilling, with far less fuss. And it makes sardines easy to do,
 restaurant-style, in a home kitchen.

  Most sardines are sold gutted, but if yours aren’t, cut a slit along
 the bottom of the sardine from the throat to the rear vent, then pull
 out the innards and rinse the inside of the fish. You’re left with a
 convenient pocket that can be stuffed with just about anything. In
 the interest of simplicity and flavor, I’ve chosen lemon and thyme,
 but seasoned bread crumbs are another good choice.

  Heat the broiler, nestle the sardines in a roasting pan with enough
 olive oil to keep them from sticking, and fire them up for about five
 minutes - no flipping needed. Restaurant-style "grilled" sardines in
 20 minutes, start to finish. 

  Broiled Sardines With Lemon and Thyme
  =====================================
    1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus lemon wedges for serving
    12 or more fresh thyme sprigs, plus chopped fresh thyme for garnish
    1 1/2 pounds sardines (8 to 12 large), gutted, with heads on
    Salt and black pepper
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

 1. Heat the broiler until hot. Move the oven rack as close to the
    heat source as possible (four to two inches away). Heat a sturdy
    pan for about 5 minutes.

 2. Wrap a lemon slice around each thyme sprig and stuff inside the
    sardines; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot,
    remove it from the oven and pour in half of the olive oil, then
    put the sardines in the pan and drizzle with the remaining oil.
    Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, then check the sardines; they’re ready
    when they’re opaque, the tip of a knife flakes the thickest part
    easily, and the outside is nicely browned.

 3. To serve, carefully remove the sardines with a spatula, sprinkle
    with more herbs if you like, and pour the pan juices over all.
    Serve with lemon wedges. 

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  THE E-COOKBOOKS LIBRARY

     Find out why the E-Cookbooks Library is one
     of the greatest values on the internet!

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Excerpts From Bargain Bin Cookbooks
  =================================================

  9. "After aging unrefrigerated for 4 months, strain through a
     mixture of charcoal and sand to remove moldy scum on the
     surface."

  8. "For greasing the pan, 10w40 is preferable, though any weight
     oil will do."

  7. "Taste, adjust seasonings (and cooking times, ingredients, and
     quantities)."

  6. "... so I thought, why waste all these dissected frogs?"

  5. "Holy Cow Ice Cream: Take 2 pounds of fresh calf’s liver ..."

  4. "Peel and mince the iguana finely before salting."

  3. "... then warm under your armpits for approximately an hour
     for authentic Eurpoean aroma and seasoning."

  2. "Don’t forget to remove your shoes before mashing the
     potatoes."

    ... and the # 1 Excerpt From Bargain Bin Cookbooks ...

  1. "Let cool 15 minutes, while deciding whether to serve."

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  Red Lobster's Lobster Pizza
  ===========================
    1 flour tortilla (per pizza)
    Land O' Lakes Roasted Garlic Butter Spread
    2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
    4 oz. well-drained roma tomatoes (approx. 2-3 tomatoes) diced 3/8"
    2 tablespoons fresh basil cut in 1/8" julienne strips
    2 oz. lobster meat cut in 1/2" - 3/4" chunks
    1/2 cup Italian six-cheese blend

  Heat oven to 450F. Lightly brush entire topside of tortilla with
 garlic butter (edge to edge). Sprinkle two tablespoons Parmesan cheese
 over the garlic butter. After draining the diced tomatoes, sprinkle
 evenly over Parmesan cheese.

  To julienne the basil, wash it and shake off excess water. Pick off
 leaves and stack on top of one another. Using a chef's knife, cut into
 1/8" strips. Do not chop. Sprinkle evenly over the diced tomatoes.

  Make sure lobster meat is cut into 1/2" - 3/4" chunks. Portion
 lobster meat, drain it and then sprinkle it evenly over the tomatoes.
 Sprinkle the Italian six-cheese blend evenly over the diced tomatoes.
 Refrigerate until ready to cook.

  Brush a pizza pan lightly with vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly
 with ground black pepper and kosher salt. When oven is ready, place
 pizza on pan and cook approximately four to five minutes. Remove from
 pan and cut into eight wedges. Squeeze fresh lemon over pizza for
 extra flavor and serve.

      =+=-=+=-=+=-=+= Free Recipes and Cookbooks =+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=

  Old Fashioned Beef Stew
  =======================
    2 pounds stew beef
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 cups water
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 clove garlic, peeled
    1 or 2 bay leaves
    1 medium onion, sliced
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
    3 large carrots, sliced
    3 ribs celery, chopped
    2 tablespoons cornstarch

  Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay
 leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and
 simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots
 and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy,
 remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water
 and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return
 mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

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  Oven-Fried Chicken
  ==================
    2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
    1 quart buttermilk
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening

  Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk
 over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Preheat
 the oven to 350F.

  Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the
 chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the
 flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a
 depth of 1-inch and heat to 360F on a thermometer.

  Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the
 oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a
 light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't
 crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each
 piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to
 return to 360F before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is
 fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink
 inside. Serve hot.

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  Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
  ===========================
    Vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
    3/4 pound linguine
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
    1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
    1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
    1/2 lemon, zest grated
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
    1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
    1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

  Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1
 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes,
 or according to the directions on the package.

  Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the
 butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for
 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2
 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just
 turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat,
 add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper
 flakes. Toss to combine.

  When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it
 back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and
 serve.

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  Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  =============================
    1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
    1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
    6 ounces cream cheese
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain.
 Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until
 hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.

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  Gorilla Bread
  =============
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    3 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
    2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

  Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking
 spray. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. In a saucepan, melt the
 butter and brown sugar over low heat, stirring well; set aside. Cut
 the cream cheese into 20 equal cubes. Press the biscuits out with
 your fingers and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar.
 Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each biscuit, wrapping
 and sealing the dough around the cream cheese. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of
 the nuts into the bottom of the bundt pan. Place half of the prepared
 biscuits in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, pour half of the
 melted butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of
 nuts. Layer the remaining biscuits on top, sprinkle with the remaining
 cinnamon sugar, pour the remaining butter mixture over the biscuits,
 and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts. Bake for 30 minutes.
 Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and
 invert.

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  Scallop and Mushroom Chowder
  ============================
    4 tablespoons butter, divided use
    1/2 pound bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
    1 rib celery, finely chopped
    1/4 cup white wine
    1 (10-ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
    1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
    1 teaspoon seafood seasoning

  In medium pot, over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
 Dredge scallops in flour. Shake off excess and saute in butter for
 3 minutes, or until opaque and starting to color. Use a slotted spoon
 to remove scallops from pan and set aside.

  Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in pan. Saute mushrooms and
 celery for 5 minutes. Stir in wine, potato soup, clam juice and
 seafood seasoning. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10
 minutes. Stir in scallops with any accumulated juice and simmer for
 3 minutes.

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  Red Velvet Cake
  ===============
 Cake:
    2 cups sugar
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
    2 eggs
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 ounces red food coloring
    2 1/2 cups cake flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 tablespoon vinegar

 Icing:
    1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
    1 stick butter, softened
    1 cup melted marshmallows
    1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
    1 cup shredded coconut
    1 cup chopped pecans

  Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter,
 beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well
 after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then
 add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add
 flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
 Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar
 and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and
 floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted
 into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely
 before frosting.

  For The Icing: Blend cream cheese and butter together in a mixing
 bowl. Add marshmallows and sugar and blend. Fold in coconut and nuts.
 Spread between layers and on top and sides of cooled cake.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Cheese mite excrement

  Milbenkäse is produced by placing a mild white cheese seasoned
 with salt and caraway into a container filled with cheese mites,
 which have been lovingly fattened with rye flour. The happy mites
 excrete prodigiously, and the cheese is kept in confinement until
 its rind has achieved a lovely shade of brown or black. The monument
 is a giant statue of a cheese mite. I doubt it draws many tourists.

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