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Volume 18   Number 11

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   >  Article: A "Traditional" St. Patrick's Day

   >  Food Funnies: Excuses for Not Eating Your Brussels Sprouts

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

    * Applebee's Garlic and Peppercorn Fried Shrimp
        
    * Corned Beef and Cabbage
        
    * Steak with Spinach and Blue Cheese
        
    * Pollo Romano
        
    * Guinness and Onion Soup
        
    * Potato Casserole
        
    * Sesame Grilled Asparagus
        
    * Sauteed Bananas with Praline Sauce

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Cabbage Lasagna

    Diabetic: Penne Casserole

    Low Fat: Deep Dish Fruit Pie

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

    Storing and Handling Eggs:

 * It's best to keep eggs in their carton in your refrigerator to
   be sure they stay cold.

 * If desired, store eggs with the large end up to keep the yolk
   centered for more attractive hard- and soft-cooked eggs.

 * Uncooked eggs in the shell will keep up to 5 weeks when properly
   stored in the refrigerator.

 * Unbroken egg yolks store best when covered with a small amount
   of water in a tightly covered container. They'll keep for a day
   or two in the refrigerator.

 * Egg whites may stand safely at room temperature for up to 30
   minutes. Room-temp whites will beat up fluffier for recipes such
   as meringue. More Cooking Tips

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

   What popular Irish dish is made from shredded cabbage, onions,
  mashed potatoes, and butter?

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    Quote of the Week:

     "Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he's a dead man. An
     Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But
     whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him."

     - Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

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

            March 14 - National Potato Chip Day 
            March 15 - National Pears Helene Day
            March 16 - National Artichoke Hearts Day
            March 17 - National Green Beer Day
            March 18 - National Oatmeal Cookie Day
            March 19 - National Chocolate Carmel Day
            March 20 - National Ravioli Day
            March 21 - National French Bread Day

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  THE E-COOKBOOKS LIBRARY - ALL YOU NEED TO COOK IT RIGHT!

   Discover The #1 Cookbook Collection In The World!

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    A "Traditional" St. Patrick's Day
      by John Havel

  Ask someone, especially a North American, who hasn’t lived or
 visited Ireland about what Irish food is like, and nine times out
 of ten, as they grope for answers, they’ll mention corned beef and
 cabbage. However, investigation shows that, while corned beef and
 cabbage is sometimes eaten there, it’s probably eaten a lot less than
 most people imagine: and it's definitely not the Irish national dish.

  To be sure, cattle were kept there from very early times, but they
 were kept mostly for their milk. From the earliest historical times,
 for routine eating, pork was always the favorite. Those who did eat
 beef, tended to eat it fresh: corned beef surfaces in writings of
 the late 1600's as a specialty, a costly delicacy (expensive because
 of the salt) made to be eaten at Easter, and sometimes at Hallowe'en.

  Many Irish people got their first taste of beef when they emigrated
 to America or Canada - where both salt and meat were cheaper. There,
 when they got beef, the emigrants tended to treat it the same way
 they would have treated a "bacon joint" at home in Ireland. They
 soaked the salt beef to draw off the excess salt, then braised or
 boiled it with cabbage, and served it in its own juices with only
 minimal spicing (a bay leaf or so, perhaps, and some pepper).

  Irish stew is an extremely old Irish traditional meal that is still
 very common to this day in Ireland and is usually made on a Saturday
 or a damp cold day to help heat up the body. My grandmother made it
 any time of the year (90 degree days in August), so when everyone
 else is sweltering in the "dog days of summer", we would jokingly
 call it "lamb stew weather".

  Soda bread dates back to approximately 1840, when bicarbonate of
 soda was introduced to Ireland. It is a type of quick bread in which
 baking soda has been substituted for yeast. The ingredients of
 traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk.
 Other ingredients can be added such as raisins or various forms of
 nuts. Soda bread eventually became a staple of the Irish diet.

  As an Irish national holiday for many years, St. Patrick’s Day is
 now celebrated throughout the world. Celebrations usually include
 obligatory green beer, green hair, and - outside of Ireland - plenty
 of corned beef and cabbage. If you have a desire to break from an
 American tradition, try an Irish tradition.

  Irish Lamb Stew
  ===============
    1/2 cup flour
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    3 pounds lamb for stew, cut in serving pieces
    3 tablespoons fat
    1/2 cup sliced onions
    Boiling water to cover, about 2 1/2 cups
    6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
    2 carrots, scraped and diced
    2 or 3 white turnips, quartered

  Blend the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the meat in the flour
 mixture. Brown in the hot fat in a skillet. Transfer to a heavy pot.
 Cook onion in fat until lightly colored, then add to the meat. Add
 boiling water to cover meat, cover pot tightly, simmer at low heat
 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Blanch potatoes by covering them with boiling
 water; drain. Add potatoes, carrots and turnips to stew during the
 last 20 minutes. Cook until vegetables are tender. To thicken sauce,
 blend part of the flour mixture used for dredging the meat with
 sauce from the pot to make a thin paste, add this to the sauce in
 the pot, simmer until thickened. 

  Irish Soda Bread
  ================
    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    2 cups all purpose flour
    5 tablespoons sugar, divided
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
    1 cup buttermilk
    2/3 cup raisins 

  Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick
 spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and
 baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips,
 rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture.
 Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend.
 Mix in raisins.

  Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan
 and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle
 dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

  Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out
 clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to
 rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Excuses for Not Eating Your Brussels Sprouts

 9. You've just lost too much skin trying to grate them into
    coleslaw.

 8. "I'm saving room for another helping of haggis and monkey
    brain stew."

 7. They just keep rolling off my plate onto the floor ... 
    whenever I raise the table to more than 30 degrees.

 6. "I can't afford to, not now when I'm so close to my goal of
    having all of the arteries in my body *completely* clogged."

 5. "Mom, I just saw this movie called 'Invasion of the Pod
    People', and I think I've figured out where my little sister
    came from."

 4. They are clearly intended to serve not as food but rather as some
    sort of horrible practical joke.

 3. Brussel told me not to, and they *are* his sprouts.

 2. It's not Tuesday.

  ... and the #1 Excuse for Not Eating Your Brussels Sprouts ... 

 1. "Unless they're wrapped in cream cheese, breaded, deep fried and
    dipped in sauce, it really isn't worth it." 

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

  Applebee's Garlic and Peppercorn Fried Shrimp
  =============================================
    1 pound shrimp, raw, peeled, tail off, thawed, 61-90 count
    Vegetable oil, as needed
    1/2 cup wheat flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons fresh cracked/ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon granulated garlic
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 cup bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon fresh cracked/ground black pepper

  Fill fryer 2 to 3 inches deep with oil and heat to 350F. Combine
 flour, salt, 1 teaspoon cracked pepper, garlic, paprika and sugar
 into a bowl. Beat eggs only slightly in another bowl. Mix bread
 crumbs and 1 teaspoon pepper in a third bowl. Coat shrimp with flour
 mixture, then eggs, then bread crumb mixture, being careful to shake
 off excess between steps and not overcoat. Fry two to three minutes
 or until golden brown.

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  Corned Beef and Cabbage
  =======================
    5 lb. corned beef brisket 
    1 large onion stuck with 6 whole cloves 
    6 carrots, peeled and halved 
    8 medium potatoes, washed and quartered 
    1 teaspoon dried thyme 
    1 small bunch parsley 
    1 head cabbage (about 2 lbs), quartered 

  Horseradish Sauce: 
    1/2 pint whipping cream 
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
    2-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish 
 (Whip cream until it stand in peaks. Fold in mayonnaise 
 and horseradish.) 

  Put beef in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to 
 a boil with the lid off the pot. Add thyme, parsley and onion. 
 Turn to simmer and cook for 3 hours. Skim fat from top as it 
 rises. Add cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. Simmer for 20-30 
 minutes until cabbage is cooked. Remove the meat and cut into 
 pieces. Place on center of a large platter. Strain the cabbage 
 and season it heavily with black pepper. Surround the beef with 
 the cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Serve with horseradish sauce.

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  Steak with Spinach and Blue Cheese
  ==================================
    1 (1-inch-thick) boneless beef top loin (strip) steak (1/2 pound) 
    1 teaspoon olive oil 
    1 teaspoon unsalted butter 
    1 small shallot, thinly sliced 
    1/4 cup heavy cream 
    1 tablespoon Blue cheese 
    5 ounces baby spinach (10 cups) 
    1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 

  Pat steak dry and sprinkle all over with a scant 1/2 tsp salt and
 1/4 tsp pepper. Heat oil and butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over
 medium heat until foam subsides, then cook steak, turning once, until
 well browned, 7 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a
 cutting board and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. 

  Add shallot to skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about
 3 minutes. Add cream, blue cheese, and spinach and cook, scraping up
 brown bits from bottom of skillet and turning spinach with tongs,
 until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. 

  Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Thinly slice steak
 and serve with spinach.

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  Pollo Romano
  ============
    4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs 
    2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones 
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon 
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon 
    1/4 cup olive oil 
    1 red bell pepper, sliced 
    1 yellow bell pepper, sliced 
    3 ounces prosciutto, chopped 
    2 cloves garlic, chopped 
    1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
    1/2 cup white wine 
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 
    1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves 
    1/2 cup chicken stock 
    2 tablespoons capers 
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 

  Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
 In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When
 the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove
 from the pan and set aside. 

  Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto
 and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp,
 about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the
 tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned
 bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add
 the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and
 simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30
 minutes. 

  If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to
 combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and
 sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day,
 reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers
 and the parsley and serve.

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  Guinness and Onion Soup
  =======================
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
    5 cloves minced garlic 
    8 cups thinly sliced onions 
    Gray salt 
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped 
    1/4 cup sherry vinegar 
    1 1/2 cups dark beer (recommended: Guinness) 
    6 cups beef stock 
    6 slices country bread cut 1/2-inch thick, toasted 
    1/2 pound Irish Cheddar, sliced thin 

  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and
 cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt and cook
 for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for
 about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden
 brown. 

  Add the thyme, vinegar, and beer. Reduce beer by half and add the
 beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. 

  Preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to an ovenproof serving dish or
 individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with toasted bread slices and
 sliced Cheddar. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown slightly.
 Serve piping hot.

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  Potato Casserole
  ================
    2 cups mashed potatoes 
    1/2 cup sour cream 
    salt and pepper
    1 small onion, sliced thin 
    1 small bell pepper, sliced thin 
    4 tablespoons butter, divided
    1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar 
    4 medium potatoes, cooked 
    6 slices bacon, cooked crisp 

  Preheat oven to 350F. Spread mashed potatoes evenly on bottom of
 casserole dish. Layer sour cream evenly over top. Add salt and pepper
 to taste. Saute onion and bell pepper in 1 tablespoon of butter;
 evenly layer over top of sour cream. Slice potatoes and layer over
 onions and bell peppers. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over
 potatoes. Finally top with cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove
 from oven and crumble bacon over top.

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  Sesame Grilled Asparagus
  ========================
    Wooden toothpicks or bamboo skewers 
    1 pound asparagus 
    2 tablespoons dark sesame oil 
    1 tablespoon soy sauce 
    1 clove garlic, minced 
    2 tablespoons sesame seeds 
    Salt and black pepper 

  In a shallow pan, soak skewers in cold water for 1 hour, then drain
 and set aside. 

  Preheat grill to high. Snap off the woody bases of the asparagus and
 discard. Skewer 4 or 5 asparagus spears together, using the toothpicks
 or 2 bamboo skewers, forming a raft shape. 

  In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and
 stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus rafts on
 both sides. Season the asparagus with a little salt and lots of
 pepper.

  When ready to cook, place the asparagus rafts on the hot grate and
 grill until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle
 with the sesame seeds as they grill. You can serve the asparagus as
 rafts or unskewered.

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  Sauteed Bananas with Praline Sauce
  ==================================
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter 
    4 bananas, halved lengthwise, then crosswise 
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
    1/2 cup heavy cream 
    Pinch of ground cardamom 
    3/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice 
    vanilla ice cream 

  Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately
 high heat until foam subsides, then saute half of bananas, cut sides
 down first, turning over once, until golden, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total.
 Transfer with a slotted spatula to 2 dessert bowls. Heat 1 tablespoon
 butter and saute remaining bananas in same manner, transferring to
 2 more bowls. 

  Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderate heat,
 then add brown sugar, cream, cardamom, and a pinch of salt and simmer,
 stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2
 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Spoon sauce over
 bananas and ice cream.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Colcannon

  It can contain other ingredients such as milk, cream, leeks,
 onions, chives, garlic, boiled ham or Irish bacon. At one time
 it was a cheap, year-round staple food. An old Irish Halloween
 tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins
 concealed in it, as the English do with Christmas pudding. This
 is still done today and small amounts of money are placed in the
 potato.

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