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Volume 19   Number 10

No. 1    No. 2    No. 3    No. 4    No. 5    No. 6    No. 7

No. 8    No. 9   


    >  Article: "Under the Lid, New Delhi"

    >  Food Funnies: The Top 10 Songs About Spices

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

    * Round Table's Maui Zaui Pizza
    * Beef Wellington
    * Hellfire Chili
    * Italian Tuna Casserole
    * Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps
    * Brussels Sprouts in Garlic Butter
    * Carrot with Toasted Almond Soup
    * White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Philly Steak Casserole

    Diabetic: Fresh Peach Muffins

    Low Fat: French Silk Dessert


  This Week's Cooking Tips

 * When using spaghetti, keep in mind that 8 ounces of uncooked 
   pasta makes 4 cups cooked.

 * When using all-purpose flour, keep in mind that one pound flour 
   is the equivalent to 4 cups.

 * When using dried beans and peas, keep in mind that 1 cup dry beans 
   or peas makes 2 1/2 cups cooked.

 * When using rice, keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked long-grain 
   white rice makes 3 cups cooked.

 * When using granulated sugar, keep in mind that one pound sugar 
   is the equivalent to 2 cups. More Cooking Tips


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

      The first bubblegum in the U.S. was developed by this
     entrepeneur in 1906. Who was he? 


  Quote of the Week:

     "I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a
      vegetarian because I hate plants."

      - A. Whitney Brown



             March is: National Nutrition Month 
                       National Frozen Food Month 
                       National Peanut Month 
                       National Sauce Month 
                       National Flour Month 
                       National Noodle Month

           March 7 - National Crown Roast of Pork Day
           March 8 - National Peanut Cluster Day 
           March 9 - National Crabmeat Day 
           March 10 - National Blueberry Popover Day 
           March 11 - National Oatmeal-Nut Waffle Day 
           March 12 - National Baked Scallops Day 
           March 13 - National Coconut Torte Day 
           March 14 - National Potato Chip Day 



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    Under the Lid, New Delhi

  When you raise the lid on a pot of good biriyani, the Indian
 equivalent of arroz con pollo or paella, the smell should beguile
 you: chicken, butter and spices should dominate, followed by the
 subtle aroma of basmati rice. You might even smell the salt.

  This is one of the world's great dishes, and yet in restaurants it
 is often underspiced and made without care. I was served a
 particularly memorable version in New Delhi at a restaurant known for
 its steamed dishes. The restaurant used clay pots and sealed the lids
 with dough. While I am sure that both of these features helped
 matters along, neither is practical for the home cook.

  Nonetheless, I was determined to recreate the dish. If the biriyani
 below is not the equivalent of the one served in India, it is
 fragrant, delicious and hard to stop eating.

  The dish must be made carefully, but it is not difficult. The
 chicken is not browned, which actually makes it easier than many
 similar preparations. One key is to use butter, not oil or margarine
 (I am sure the ultimate biriyani has more butter than this version)
 and good spices: cardamom in the pod, whole cloves, a cinnamon stick
 and real saffron. (It is red and costs about $35 an ounce, but is
 worth it.) Good coarse salt does not hurt either, and the better the
 chicken, the happier you will be when you bite into it.

  It is also important to leave the lid on as much as possible. I am
 not one who believes that rice must be cooked undisturbed, but in
 this instance you want to make sure the chicken cooks fairly quickly
 and that the aroma remains in the pot. The goal, remember, is to
 smell everything.

  Chicken Biriyani
    4 tablespoons butter 
    1 large onion, chopped 
    Coarse salt and ground black pepper 
    1 large pinch saffron 
    10 whole cardamom pods 
    5 cloves 
    1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick 
    1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
    1 1/2 cups basmati rice 
    3 cups chicken stock 
    1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut up and trimmed of excess fat; skin
      removed if desired 
    1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds, optional

 1. Put 2 tablespoons butter in a deep skillet or casserole that can
    be covered. Turn heat to medium-high. Add onion and some salt and
    pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 5 to 10
    minutes. Add spices, and cook, stirring, another minute.

 2. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until ingredients are well combined,
    2 or 3 minutes. Add stock, chicken and more salt and pepper, and
    bring to a boil. Cover and simmer.

 3. Cook undisturbed for about 25 minutes. When chicken and rice are
    tender and liquid is absorbed, turn heat off. If either chicken or
    rice is not quite done, add no more than 1/2 cup boiling water,
    and cook until done.

 4. Melt remaining butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add
    almonds (or simply melt butter), and brown lightly. Pour mixture
    over biriyani, and sprinkle with a bit more salt. Let rest 2 or 3
    minutes. Take pot to table, and serve.

    Note: Cardamom seeds can be eaten, but cloves should be removed
    after cooking.


  Food Funnies: The Top 10 Songs About Spices

 10. The Sage of Aquarius

  9. It’s My Parsley (And I’ll Cry If I Want To)

  8. Thyme in a Bottle

  7. In-A-Garlic-Da-Vida

  6. Me and Wasabi McGee

  5. Caraway to Heaven

  4. Anise Song

  3. Curry On (My Wayward Stew)

  2. Cumin Go with Meat

     ... and the #1 Song About Spices ...

  1. Sympathy for the Chervil

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  Round Table's Maui Zaui Pizza
    2 cups bread flour (plus up to 1/4 cup more, as needed)
    1/2 envelope of active dry yeast (1 1/8 teaspoons)
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    7/8 cup warm water

    1/4 cup tomato sauce
    1/4 cup vinegar
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    4 to 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
    4 slices Canadian bacon or similar-sized ham, chopped
    2 to 3 slices pineapple, chopped
    1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 green onion, chopped

  Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer with a
 dough hook, then slowly add the olive oil and water as the machine
 is running. Mix until the dough comes together and all flour is
 incorporated. Let it rest for 2 minutes, then run the machine again
 for 5-8 minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup of flour until the dough forms
 a smooth ball. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with
 plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size -
 about one hour

  Turn the dough out and shape into a rough rectangular shape. Cover
 with the plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. 

  Turn on the oven to 400F and heat a baking stone. Meanwhile, combine
 the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until simmering,
 then turn the heat down and simmer until reduced - about 15 minutes.

  Stretch the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper (approximately
 9x13-inches) to form a rectangular shape. Spread the pizza sauce over
 the dough, then sprinkle the chopped ham, pineapple, and red onions
 over the sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella, then sprinkle bacon on
 top. Slide the parchment paper and pizza onto the baking stone (using
 another rimless baking sheet makes this easier). 

  Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to
 brown and the edges of the dough are starting to brown. Remove from
 oven and sprinkle with green onions. Let the pizza cool for a few
 minutes to let the cheese set before slicing and serving.

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  Beef Wellington
    2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin 
    2 tablespoons butter, softened 
    2 tablespoons butter 
    1 onion, chopped 
    1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms 
    2 ounces liver pate 
    2 tablespoons butter, softened 
    salt and pepper to taste 
    1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed 
    1 egg yolk, beaten 
    1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth 
    2 tablespoons red wine

  Preheat oven to 425F. Place beef in a small baking dish, and spread
 with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or
 until browned. Remove from pan, and allow to cool completely. Reserve
 pan juices.

  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion
 and mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let

  Mix together pate and 2 tablespoons softened butter, and season with
 salt and pepper. Spread pate over beef. Top with onion and mushroom

  Roll out the puff pastry dough, and place beef in the center. Fold
 up, and seal all the edges, making sure the seams are not too thick.
 Place beef in a 9x13 inch baking dish, cut a few slits in the top of
 the dough, and brush with egg yolk.

  Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 425F for 10 to 15
 more minutes, or until pastry is a rich, golden brown. Set aside,
 and keep warm.

  Place all reserved juices in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir
 in beef stock and red wine; boil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until
 slightly reduced. Strain, and serve with beef. 

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  Hellfire Chili
    1/2 pound bacon 
    1 pound ground round 
    1 pound ground pork 
    1 green bell pepper, diced 
    1 yellow onion, diced 
    6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped 
    6 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped 
    8 Anaheim peppers, seeded and diced 
    2 cloves garlic, minced 
    1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin 
    1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes 
    3 tablespoons chili powder 
    2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules 
    1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes 
    2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained 
    2 (16 ounce) cans chili beans, drained 
    1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer 
    3 ounces tomato paste 
    2 cups water

  Place bacon in a large soup pot. Cook over medium high heat until
 evenly brown. Drain excess grease, leaving enough to coat bottom of
 pot. Remove bacon, drain on paper towels and chop.

  Brown beef and pork in pot over medium high heat. When meat is
 browned, stir in the bell pepper, onion, jalapeno peppers, habanero
 peppers, Anaheim peppers, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili
 powder, bouillon, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, beer, tomato
 paste, and water.

  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring
 occasionally. Add beans and bacon and continue simmering for another
 30 minutes.

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  Italian Tuna Casserole
    1 pound fettuccine 
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
    1 small onion, chopped 
    2 (6-ounce) cans Italian tuna in water or oil, drained 
    1/2 cup tender sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup dry white wine 
    1 cup heavy cream
    salt and pepper 
    1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
    1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
    1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves, shredded 

  Place pasta water on to boil. Salt water then add pasta and cook
 to al dente. 

  While pasta cooks, heat a deep skillet over medium heat with
 extra-virgin olive oil. Saute garlic and onions until tender,
 4 to 5 minutes. Add tuna and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to heat
 through, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine and cook it down a minute
 then add cream and season sauce with salt and pepper. Toss hot
 pasta and peas with sauce and cheese. Serve on dinner plates and
 top with shredded basil.

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  Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps
    1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
    1 (1-pound) package sliced bacon 
    2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
    2 tablespoons chili powder 

  Preheat oven to 350F. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut
 each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and
 secure with a wooden pick. Stir together brown sugar and chili
 powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler
 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken wrap on rack in
 broiler pan. Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is

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  Brussels Sprouts in Garlic Butter
    15 fresh Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise 
    1 1/2 tablespoons butter 
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
    3 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat of a knife 
    freshly grated parmesan cheese
    salt and pepper 

  Melt butter and olive oil in a medium skillet (over medium-high
 heat) until butter is foamy. Reduce heat to medium, add smashed
 garlic and cook until lightly browned. Remove garlic and discard.

  Add sprouts cut side down, cover, and cook without stirring on
 medium-low heat 10-15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a
 knife. The cut side of the sprouts should get nice and browned,
 with a nutty, buttery flavor enhanced by garlic. Top with freshly
 grated parmesan and salt & pepper to taste. 

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  Carrot with Toasted Almond Soup
    1 cup sliced shallots (about 4 large) 
    1 bay leaf 
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon curry powder 
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter 
    1 small boiling potato
    1 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick 
    1 3/4 cups chicken broth 
    1 cup apple cider
    1 1/4 cups water 
    3/4 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
    1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted 

  Cook shallots, bay leaf, ginger, curry powder, and thyme in butter
 in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring
 occasionally, until shallots are softened and pale golden, 6 to 8
 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. 

  Add potato to shallot mixture along with carrots, broth, cider,
 water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer,
 covered, until carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard bay

  Puree soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth, transferring as
 blended to a large bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids).
 Return to saucepan to reheat if necessary. Serve soup sprinkled with

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  White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
    1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs 
    3 tablespoons white sugar 
    1/4 cup butter, melted 
    1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries 
    2 tablespoons white sugar 
    2 teaspoons cornstarch 
    1/2 cup water 
    2 cups white chocolate chips 
    1/2 cup half-and-half cream 
    3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 
    1/2 cup white sugar 
    3 eggs 
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar,
 and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch spring-
 form pan.

  In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch,
 and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until
 sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.

  Preheat oven to 325F. In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water,
 melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally
 until smooth.

  In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until
 smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white
 chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons
 raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into
 pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top.
 Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

  Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with
 plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan.
 Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.


   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Frank H. Fleer

  Fleer, a confectioner, had founded the Fleer Chewing Gum Company
 in 1849. He made numerous attempts to develop a successful bubblegum,
 but abandoned the idea after his final experiment in 1906. The gum at
 that time was too sticky and broke very easily. Not the right mix
 just yet. The gum, called "Blibber-Blubber", was never marketed to
 the public at this time. Another attempt was made in 1911, and this
 gum was sold to the public, but didn't have many buyers.


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