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Volume 19   Number 2       No. 1


  >  Article: Braise and Brown

  >  Food Funnies: Typical Lunches of Selected Professions

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

    * Skor Bars
    * Chicken Vesuvio
    * Peppered Beef Stroganoff
    * Cioppino
    * Skillet Breakfast
    * Corn Chowder
    * Zucchini Gratin
    * Buttermilk Pie

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Homemade Italian Sausage 

    Diabetic: Stuffed Green Peppers 

    Low Fat: Broccoli Knishes 


  This Week's Cooking Tips:

  Cooking Tender Chicken:

 * Don't let chicken dry out in the refrigerator; dry chicken is
   tough chicken. Keep it wrapped in the package it comes in until
   you use it.

 * Keep the skin on chicken during cooking. The skin helps keep
   juices in, and tenderness and juiciness go hand in hand.

 * Fry or roast breast pieces rather than microwaving them if
   tenderness is a top priority for you.  Microwaving is
   significantly faster, but there's a greater risk of toughness
   when you microwave breast meat.

 * Cook chicken to the proper temperature, using a meat thermometer
   or pop-up guide. Cook bone-in chicken to 180 degrees and boneless
   chicken to 170 degrees. Undercooked chicken will be tough and 
   rubbery because it takes a fairly high internal temperature to
   soften the proteins in the muscles and make them tender. However,
   with overcooked chicken, moisture will start to steam off, and
   the more chicken dries out, the tougher it gets. More Cooking Tips


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

   Which early innovation radically changed and enlarged the market
  for soft drinks? In fact, local markets were able to go global. 


  Quote of the Week:

      "There is nothing better on a cold wintry day than a
       properly made pot pie."

       - Craig Claiborne



          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 9 - National Apricot Day
            January 10 - National Bittersweet Chocolate Day 
            January 11 - National Hot Toddy Day 
            January 12 - National Marzipan Day 
            January 13 - National Peach Melba Day 
            January 14 - National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day 
            January 15 - National Strawberry Ice Cream Day 
            January 16 - National Fig Newton Day


      Braise and Brown

  At a feast in Delhi a couple of years ago I was served meatballs
 that were among the best I ever had. And the most time-consuming to
 make: the recipe included instructions to pound the meat in a mortar
 and pestle for two hours.

  I also ate the most wonderful lamb ribs imaginable. They are a
 specialty of Kashmir called tabak maaz. The ribs had undergone the
 curious braise-then-brown process which, though uncommon, makes
 perfect sense. The meat was first made tender by braising, then
 browned with fresh spices and oil (or, in this case, butter). The
 result was the flavor of braising with the crispness of sauteing, an
 unbeatable combination.

  In my version of the recipe below, the lamb ribs are simmered in
 milk and water and spices, mostly sweet, until tender and just about
 dry. Just before serving they are browned in garlic-scented butter.

  Rib meat is among the most delicious. Think of pork ribs, veal
 breast and prime rib. Though lamb ribs are rarely packaged in
 supermarkets, there are options. I wrote "rarely" because you do
 occasionally find them sitting on the shelf. But almost any butcher,
 even those in supermarkets, can get a lamb breast and cut it up for
 you with two days' notice at the most.

  If you are having the meat custom cut, ask the butcher to give you
 rectangular sections measuring about two by three inches and
 including a couple of ribs in each.

  You can use shoulder chops, which are easy enough to find, and the
 results will be almost as delicious. 

  Twice-Cooked Lamb (Tabak Maaz)
    4 pounds lamb ribs from the breast or 2 to 3 pounds shoulder
      lamb chops
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    2 bay leaves
    4 cloves
    4 cardamom pods
    1 cinnamon stick
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tablespoons butter or neutral oil like corn or grapeseed
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

 1. Place ribs in a large skillet with a pinch of salt and the
    cayenne, fennel, ginger, turmeric, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom,
    cinnamon, milk and about 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then
    adjust heat so mixture simmers. Cook, turning or stirring meat
    occasionally until just about tender, adding more water if
    mixture dries out, about 30 to 45 minutes.

 2. When meat is tender, remove it. If any liquid remains in pan, cook
    over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any
    bits stuck to bottom, until mixture is just about dry. Remove
    cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves.

 3. Add butter or oil and the garlic to pan over medium heat and when
    it's hot, brown meat in it. Remove meat to a warm platter. Add
    about 1/2 cup water to pan. Once again cook liquid over
    medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any bits
    that have stuck to bottom, until liquid is reduced by about half.
    Pour over meat, garnish with cilantro and serve.



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  FOOD FUNNIES: Typical Lunches of Selected Professions

 9. Hotel Lounge Piano Player: Ham and cheese on stale white bread.

 8. Lawyer: Puppies, kittens, and small children, sauteed, with a
    side of brown rice.

 7. Jeweler: At least 14 carrots.

 6. Ophthalmologist: Alphabet soup with all different sized letters.

 5. CHiPs Cop: California roll, with edamame and seaweed salad. On
    a donut.

 4. IRS Auditor: A few legs. Sometimes arms.

 3. Superhero: Just a simple burger and fries. Eaten three miles
    above the diner.

 2. Seismologist: It’s always the lunch buffet at Shakey’s Pizza.

   ... and the # 1 Typical Lunch of Selected Professions ...

 1. Obstetrician: Almost anything, as long as someone else delivers it. 


  Skor Bars

    24 regular salted soda crackers
    1 cup butter
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup milk chocolate chips

  Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13x9 inch pan with Parchment paper for
 easy clean up. Arrange crackers evenly in pan.

  In saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Stir in brown sugar until
 melted and smooth. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly until
 mixture is smooth and bubbly. Boil for exactly 2 minutes and then
 pour mixture evenly over crackers.

  Bake in oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate pieces evenly over
 caramel mixture. Return to oven just long enough for chocolate to
 melt. Spread chocolate evenly with spatula. Place pan in refrigerator
 or freezer until chocolate is firm. Cut or break into pieces.

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  Chicken Vesuvio

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved
    4 large garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 cup dry white wine
    3/4 cup chicken broth
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts or
      1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  Preheat the oven to 450F. Heat the oil in large ovenproof pot over
 high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in
 2 batches if necessary, cook the chicken in the pot until golden
 brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
 Carefully add the potatoes to the same pot and cook until they are
 golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic
 and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown
 bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme.
 Return the chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over
 medium-high heat.

  Cover and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through,
 about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Arrange the
 potatoes around chicken. Add the artichoke hearts to the sauce in the
 pot. Cover and simmer over high heat until the artichokes are tender,
 stirring often, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in the butter.
 Pour the sauce over chicken and potatoes, and serve.

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  Peppered Beef Stroganoff

    1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
    3 (8-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
    3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
    1 1/4 cups beef broth
    1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 8.8-ounce package wide egg noodles
    1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

  Sprinkle ground pepper and salt over both sides of steaks; press to
 adhere. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-
 high heat. Add steaks; cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per
 side for medium-rare. Transfer beef to plate; tent with foil. Add
 1 tablespoon oil and mushrooms to same skillet; saute until browned,
 about 4 minutes. Add broth and Cognac; boil 2 minutes. Add cream;
 boil until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in mustard.

  Meanwhile, cook noodles in pot of boiling salted water until just
 tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return
 to pot; toss with parsley and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and
 pepper. Divide among plates. Slice steaks; place atop noodles. Spoon
 sauce over all.

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    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 1/4 cups chopped onion
    2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    4 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
    2 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes with added puree
    2 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
    1 cup dry white wine
    2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained, liquid reserved
    1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
    1 (6-ounce) can crabmeat, drained
    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    Cayenne pepper

  Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion,
 garlic, oregano and fennel seeds and saute until onion is tender,
 about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, clam juice, white wine and liquid
 reserved from clams. Increase heat and boil until slightly thickened,
 about 15 minutes. Add clams, shrimp and crabmeat. Reduce heat and
 simmer 2 minutes. Mix in fresh basil and simmer until shrimp are
 just opaque in center, about 2 minutes longer. Season stew to taste
 with cayenne, salt and pepper. 

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  Skillet Breakfast

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 pound ground chuck
    1/2 pound fresh chorizo
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 medium red potatoes, diced small
    1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    4 eggs
    1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet to medium heat, add ground chuck
 and chorizo, cook until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Season
 with salt and pepper, to taste. Add potatoes, onion and 1 more
 tablespoon oil, if needed. Stir to incorporate, then let cook 8
 minutes, undisturbed to form golden crust. Stir potatoes, then let
 cook undisturbed another 8 minutes. When potatoes are almost totally
 cooked through, mix in garlic, rosemary, and red pepper. Form 4
 pockets in the hash to put the eggs. Add a little more oil in the
 pockets, if necessary, so the eggs don't stick. Carefully pour an
 egg into each pocket, cover pan and turn heat to low. Cook until
 eggs are set to desired doneness, about 2 minutes. Remove to a
 serving platter or place on individual plates and garnish with

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  Corn Chowder

    8 ounces bacon, chopped
    1/4 cup olive oil
    6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    1/2 cup flour
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    12 cups chicken stock
    6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
    10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
    2 cups half-and-half
    8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

  In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive
 oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with
 a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the
 onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the
 onions are translucent.

  Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes.
 Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer
 uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using
 fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes
 in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip
 this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and
 cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season,
 to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

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  Zucchini Gratin

    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
    1 pound yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced (3 large)
    2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 cup hot milk
    3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
    3/4 cup grated Gruyere

  Preheat the oven to 400F. Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch)
 saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until
 tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10
 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook
 uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and
 cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour
 the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.

  Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the
 zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits
 and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

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  Buttermilk Pie

    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup biscuit mix (recommended: Bisquick)
    1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter, melted
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    3 eggs

  Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan. Put all ingredients
 in a bowl and blend for 1 minute with a handheld electric mixer.
 Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until
 a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5


   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Bottling the drinks

  Early manufacturers had a tough time trying to cap the bubbles and
 gasses in soft drinks, but finally they found a way. In just a few
 years, glass bottle production went up from 1,500 bottles each day,
 to 57,000 a day. Bottling allowed expansion into home, work, schools,
 long distance and finally overseas markets. Shifting to plastic
 bottles expanded markets even further, since plastic is lighter,
 and rarely breaks during shipping.


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