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Volume 18   Number 13

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   >  Article: Tofu Without a Grimace

   >  Food Funnies: Signs It’s Time to Clean Out the Refrigerator

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

    * Dean & Deluca Coconut Shrimp

    * Baked Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

    * Pork Chops with Pineapple Relish

    * Korean Marinated Beef

    * Rhode Island Hot Dogs

    * Pizza Pockets

    * Pea Salad with Radishes and Feta Cheese

    * Apple Rhubarb Crisp

      Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Spinach and Egg Scramble

    Diabetic: Diabetic Fruit Cookies

    Low Fat: Sun-Dried Tomato Sticks

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

 * Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help
   pull the grease away from the meat while cooking. 

 * To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of
   spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and
   then beat them up. 

 * For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes
   mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for
   a wonderful minty frosting. 

 * Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of
   garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste
   of garlic. More Cooking Tips

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

  A staple of the Mexican diet in many areas are nopales, also called
 nopalitos. They can be served as a vegetable, in a salad, or with
 egg or meat dishes. What are nopales? 

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   Quote of the Week:

     "I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time".
      So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance."

      - Steven Wright

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

          April is: National Food Month 
                    Fresh Florida Tomato Month 
                    National Pecan Month

         March 28 - National Black Forest Day
         March 29 - National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day 
         March 30 - National Hot Dog Day
         March 31 - National Clams on the Half Shell Day
         April 1 - National Sourdough Bread Day
         April 2 - National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
         April 3 - National Chocolate Mousse Day
         April 4 - National Cordon Bleu Day

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   Make Your Favorite Restaurant and Grocery Foods At Home

  > World Famous Recipes!
  > Make Them Fresh! Save Money!
  > Over 400 Recipes For Brand Name Foods!!

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    Tofu Without a Grimace
     By Mark Bittman

  Like almost everyone I know, I think I should eat tofu more often.
 It is cheap, easy to prepare and convenient, and its health benefits
 are close to overwhelming: studies have indicated that a diet high in
 soy protein, which is what tofu is, can reduce cholesterol and the
 risk of heart disease, as well as certain cancers.

  Like almost everyone else, I can't say I have too many tofu recipes
 in my repertory. Too often tofu is bland and boring, and its benefits
 cannot readily counteract this. So when a good tofu preparation comes
 my way, I jump all over it.

  I cannot claim responsibility for this one, which is classically
 Vietnamese. A friend suggested it. Though it may be early to say so,
 it is the great idea of the year.

  The dish, like so many in Vietnam, is based on a slightly bitter
 caramel sauce made from melted sugar. It is seasoned with fish sauce
 (nuoc mam in Vietnamese, but better known by the Thai name, nam pla)
 and a load of black pepper. You can use soy sauce as a substitute,
 and the dish will be equally good, if slightly less authentic.

  It is tricky only in the melting of the sugar without burning it. I
 have found that adding a tablespoon of water at the beginning helps.
 (Also, sugar is cheap. If it burns, start again. Just be sure to use
 a nonstick pan to ease the cleanup.)

  What is slightly atypical here is that the caramel is used as a
 braising liquid for sliced onions and then as a cooking medium and a
 glaze for the tofu. That may sound like a lot of steps, but in fact
 it all happens in the same skillet, and rather quickly. I can think
 of no tofu dish that gives more pleasure, even considering those
 requiring much more work.

  One shopping note: make sure you buy firm tofu. You really want it
 to hold together when you turn it in the sauce, so it becomes glazed
 on all sides. You won't mistake the results for meat, but you may
 find yourself liking tofu enough to crave it from time to time.

  Tofu and Onions in Caramel Sauce
  ================================
    1/2 cup sugar 
    1/4 cup nam pla (Asian fish sauce) or soy sauce 
    1 large onion, thinly sliced 
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste 
    1 pound firm tofu, cut into chunks of  3/8 inch to 1 inch 
    1 tablespoon butter, optional 
    1 tablespoon lime juice or vinegar, or to taste 
    Salt if necessary 
    White rice for serving

 1. Put sugar and a tablespoon of water in a 10- or 12-inch skillet,
    preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan
    occasionally, until sugar melts and browns a bit. Turn off heat,
    and carefully add nam pla or soy sauce. Turn heat to low, and add
    onion. Cook, stirring, 5 to 10 minutes, until onion is very
    tender. Add pepper and tofu.

 2. Gently simmer, turning tofu once or twice in sauce so it is glazed
    and heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in butter, along with
    lime juice or vinegar. Taste, and add salt, more pepper or lime
    juice or vinegar if you like. Serve immediately over rice.

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  Food Funnies: Signs It’s Time to Clean Out the Refrigerator
  =============================================

 9. Labels say "As advertised on the new Tele-vision!"

 8. Whatever you eat, every meal grows back before the next one. 

 7. Your obese teens refuse to open the door. 

 6. You open the fridge door and SOMETHING pulls it shut. 

 5. The penicillin from the mold on some of the items can
    cure diseases caused by other items. 

 4. Though the Jell-O still holds its shape, the bowl no longer does. 

 3. When you open the door, the whispering suddenly stops. 

 2. The door magnets are molding. 

 ... and the #1 Sign It’s Time to Clean Out the Refrigerator ... 

 1. When you can’t tell if it’s a really new kiwi fruit or a
    really old peach.

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  Dean & Deluca Coconut Shrimp
  ============================
    1/3 cup curry powder
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 teaspoons salt
    3 large eggs
    1/3 cup heavy cream
    1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
    1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon dried dill
    1 pound large shrimp (14 to 18 per pound), shelled and deveined
    oil for deep-frying

  In a shallow bowl, mix the curry powder, flour, and salt together.
 In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and cream together. In a
 third bowl, combine the coconut, bread crumbs, cayenne, and dill.

  Dredge 4 shrimp in the flour mixture, then dip them in the egg
 mixture and coat them in the coconut mixture. Dip them again in the
 egg mixture and coat one more time in the coconut mixture. In a
 Dutch oven, heavy skillet, or deep fryer, heat 1 to 2 inches oil to
 375F. Deep-fry the shrimp in batches until golden brown, about
 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

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  Baked Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon
  =====================================
    2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into
      large chunks 
    6 cloves garlic, crushed 
    3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves stripped from stems 
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 lemon, zested and juiced 
    coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth 

  Preheat oven to 450F. Arrange chicken in a 9 X 13 baking dish.
 Add garlic, rosemary, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, and salt
 and pepper to the dish. Toss and coat the chicken with all
 ingredients, then place in oven. Roast 20 minutes. Add wine and
 lemon juice to the dish and combine with pan juices. Return to
 oven and turn oven off. Let stand 5 minutes longer then remove
 chicken from the oven. Place baking dish on trivet and serve,
 spooning pan juices over the chicken pieces.

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  Pork Chops with Pineapple Relish
  ================================
    1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple 
    1/2 cup chopped sweet onion 
    2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds 
    1 teaspoon chopped thyme 
    1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar 
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds 
    2 (1-inch-thick) boneless pork loin chops 
    2 tablespoons olive oil 
    2 tablespoons dark rum 

  Toss together pineapple, onion, chile, thyme, vinegar, and 1/4
 teaspoon salt. 

  Grind coriander seeds in an electric coffee/spice grinder (or
 crush with flat side of a knife). Pat pork dry; sprinkle all over
 with coriander, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 

  Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it
 shimmers, then saute pork, turning once, until well browned and
 just cooked through but still juicy, 6 to 10 minutes. 

  Transfer pork to plates. Add pineapple mixture and rum to skillet
 and saute, scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Serve pork with relish.

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  Korean Marinated Beef
  =====================
    1/4 cup soy sauce 
    1 tablespoon sugar 
    2 teaspoons sesame oil 
    1 bunch scallions (white and pale green parts separated from
      greens), minced (1/2 cup) 
    1 tablespoon minced garlic 
    1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger 
    3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted 
    1 lb. flank steak, cut across the grain into very thin slices
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  Stir together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, white and pale green
 scallions, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a bowl
 until sugar is dissolved. Add steak and toss to coat, then marinate
 15 minutes. 

  Heat vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until
 just smoking, then add steak in 1 layer and saute, turning over
 occasionally, until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes
 total. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with scallion greens and
 remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Serve with white rice.

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  Rhode Island Hot Dogs
  =====================
    4 tablespoons margarine 
    2 yellow onions, minced, divided 
    2 tablespoons chili powder 
    2 tablespoons paprika 
    1/2 teaspoon allspice 
    1/2 teaspoon curry 
    1 teaspoon dry mustard 
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
    1 pound ground beef, 80/20 
    1/4 cup water 
    20 hot dogs 
    1 teaspoon salt 
    20 hot dog buns 
    Yellow mustard 
    2 tablespoons celery salt

  In a medium saute pan over medium heat add, margarine and 1 minced
 onion. Saute till translucent, but do not brown. Next add chili
 powder, paprika, allspice, curry, dry mustard and cinnamon. Then
 add beef, stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes, add water and
 simmer over medium to low heat for 30 minutes. 

  In a medium sauce pot boil hot dogs with salt and steam buns. 

  When meat is done simmering, add meat mixture to the hot dog in the
 bun, top evenly with minced onion, yellow mustard, and a sprinkle of
 celery salt.

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  Pizza Pockets
  =============
    1 tablespoon olive oil 
    8 ounces Italian turkey sausage 
    1 cup tightly-packed arugula (about 1 ounce) 
    4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup 
    1/2 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    1 (13.5-ounce) package of store-bought pizza crust 
    All-purpose flour, for rolling out pizza dough 
    1 egg, beaten (for egg wash) 
    1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade 

  Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized, heavy
 skillet. Add the sausage and cook until crumbled and golden, about
 5 minutes. Add the arugula and cook until wilted. Turn off the heat
 and let cool about 10 minutes. Add the cream cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan,
 salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside. 

  Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly
 floured surface to a thin 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle
 in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into 8 equal rectangles. 

  Spoon topping onto 1 side of each of the rectangles. Using a pastry
 brush, brush the edges of the rectangle with egg wash. Close the
 rectangle of pizza dough over the topping. Use a fork to seal and
 crimp the edges. Place the pizza pockets onto a parchment paper-lined
 baking sheet. Brush the top of each pizza pocket with egg wash.
 Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until golden, about 15 to
 17 minutes. 

  Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce over low heat in a medium
 saucepan. Serve the hot pizza pockets with the marinara sauce
 alongside for dipping.

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  Pea Salad with Radishes and Feta Cheese
  =======================================
    2 teaspoons cumin seeds 
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
    2 teaspoons honey 
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 
    4 cups fresh shelled peas (from about 4 pounds peas in pods)
      or 1 pound frozen petite peas 
    1 bunch radishes, trimmed, halved, thinly sliced 
    1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

  Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until
 aromatic and slightly darker, about 2 minutes. Cool; grind finely in
 spice mill. Whisk lime juice, honey, and cumin in small bowl.
 Gradually whisk in oil; stir in dill. Season dressing with salt and
 pepper.

  Cook peas in pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about
 5 minutes for fresh (or about 2 minutes for frozen). Drain; rinse
 under cold water, then drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Add
 radishes, feta, and dressing; toss. Season with salt and pepper.
 Divide salad among bowls. Serve.

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  Apple Rhubarb Crisp
  ===================
  Topping:
    3/4 cup all purpose flour 
    3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 
    1/2 cup old-fashion oats 
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 
    1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts 

  Filling:
    1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into
      1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups) 
    3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups) 
    3 tablespoons sugar 
    2 teaspoons all purpose flour 
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt 

  Mix first 5 topping ingredients in medium bowl. Rub in butter until
 mixture begins to clump together. Mix in walnuts.

  Preheat oven to 400F. Combine apples, rhubarb, sugar, flour and
 vanilla extract in large bowl and toss to coat. Transfer apple
 mixture to 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly
 over fruit. Bake until fruit is tender when pierced with knife and
 topping is crisp, covering with foil if topping is browning too
 quickly, about 45 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla
 ice cream or frozen yogurt.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Cactus

  Nopales (or nopalitos, same thing) come from the prickly pear
 cactus plant and are delicious, with a slightly tart flavor. In
 preparing nopales there is the issue of the spines, which should
 be removed (carefully!) with a vegetable peeler or small sharp
 knife. Gloves should be worn for this procedure if you're a novice.
 The most common method of preparing nopales is to boil until they're
 just barely tender, and then chop them coarsely. Nopales can also
 be grilled, and when tossed with diced tomato, onion and cilantro,
 they make an easy and nutritious vegetable dish. 

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