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Volume 18   Number 14

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   > Article: A Fish in the Garden

   > Food Funnies: The Top 10 Food "Foolies"

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

    * TGI Friday's Pot Stickers
        
    * Monterey Chicken Rolls
        
    * Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs
        
    * Brown Sugar Baked Bologna
        
    * Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
        
    * Fusilli alla Caprese 
        
    * Buttered Peas and Pearl Onions
        
    * Sticky Buns

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Green Eggs and Ham

    Diabetic: Berry Ginger Shortcakes

    Low Fat: Penne with Artichoke Hearts

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

 * When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it
   with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You
   get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat
   less sugar and calories per serving.

 * To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated,
   place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased
   moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

 * Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with
   hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add
   your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it
   comes right out.

 * To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2"
   with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid, mix
   well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
   More Cooking Tips

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

   "Beschuiten", also known as "Dutch rusks" are a popular type
   of what?

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   Quote of the Week:

    "The keynote to happiness within the four walls that make any
    home is plain, wholesome, well cooked food, attractively served."

    - Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

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

            April 4 - National Cordon Bleu Day 
            April 5 - National Raisin and Spice Bar Day
            April 6 - National Caramel Popcorn Day 
            April 7 - National Coffee Cake Day
            April 8 - National Empanada Day 
            April 9 - National Chinese Almond Cookie Day 
            April 10 - National Cinnamon Crescent Day 
            April 11 - National Cheese Fondue Day 

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A Fish in the Garden
By MARK BITTMAN

There is a classic European spring preparation known, in England at
least, as peas "à la française" (though I have had the dish in
Italy). It simply combines some of the best vegetables that appear
early in gardens: peas, lettuce, spring onions and mint. It is a
lovely combination, but one that was probably more popular when the
cook could get someone else to shell the peas.

One year, when I had a decent garden, I made a small portion of it
with freshly grown shelled peas, along with my own lettuce, onions
and mint. It was amazing. But the combination is so perfectly fresh
and green that it is good even with frozen peas, especially if the
other ingredients are top quality. I have written the recipe here so
that you can see the ideal preparation: in my mind, it is bacon or
butter, spring onions and fresh shell peas.

You cannot compromise on the lettuce or the mint, but neither of
these is going to give you any trouble. And pearl or even large
onions are fine, as are snow or snap peas.

The dish became the centerpiece of a meal when a friend reported
that one day, while making the peas in the traditional manner, he
laid a piece of fish on top of it all and allowed it to steam in the
vegetables' juices. Browning the fish first, in bacon fat, olive oil
or butter, simply takes the process one step further, and only
marginally increases the work involved.

Almost any white-fleshed fish is suitable here, but I like the
meatiness of halibut. If you can get either cut to order (which is a
request even many supermarkets can handle), get a single thick slice,
about an inch and a half across. You will handle only one piece of
fish that way, and it will retain its moisture better than two or
more thinner slices.

Peas With Halibut
==============
1/4 pound bacon
1 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 1/2 to 2 pounds halibut
Salt and pepper to taste
15 spring or pearl onions, trimmed and peeled, or 1 large white
onion, chopped
1 pound small peas, fresh or frozen, or use fresh snap or snow
peas, trimmed
2 cups chopped heart of romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves

1. If using bacon, cut it into 1/4-inch bits, and render it with 1
tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet,
which can later be covered. Stir until crisp. Remove with a
slotted spoon, and reserve. If using olive oil or butter, put 3
tablespoons in skillet over medium high heat.

2. Brown fish in fat quickly, just a couple of minutes to a side,
sprinkling it with salt and pepper as it browns. Remove, and set
aside.

3. Add onions to pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft,
about 5 minutes. Add peas and lettuce, and cook, stirring, until
glistening. Add a little more salt and pepper. Return fish to pan,
simply resting it on top of peas-lettuce mixture. Turn heat to
medium-low, cover, and cook gently until fish is done. (A
thin-bladed knife inserted into its thickest part will meet little
or no resistance.)

4. Remove fish to a platter. Stir bacon and mint into peas mixture.
Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve fish with
vegetable mixture on the side. Yield: 4 servings.

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  FOOD FUNNIES: The Top 10 Food "Foolies"
  =======================================

 10. Most pound cakes are actually only 14 oz.

  9. Misspelling a word on the label absolves the manufacturer of
     any liability resulting from the public consuming substandard
     ingredients. Example: Cheez Whiz

  8. The USDA food pyramid has the same foundation as the Great
     Pyramids of Egypt: Dirt.

  7. Think about it: If you eat a healthy enough diet, even crack
     cocaine can be "part of a balanced breakfast".

  6. Eating fried pork fat because it’s low in carbs is like trying
     to knock out a headache with a baseball bat.

  5. Of course Jared lost a few hundred pounds. What they neglect
     to mention is that his neighborhood Subway outlet is at the top
     of a mountain.

  4. Sometime in the past, some crazy pastry chef replaced the
     Bavarian cream with vanilla pudding to see if anyone could tell
     the difference. Next time it’s going to be Elmer’s glue.

  3. The French don’t actually like eating snails; they just started
     doing that to see if they could get us to do it.
 
  2. If brussels sprouts are supposed to be *so good*, how come
     nobody puts them on a pizza?

     ... and the #1 Food "Foolie" ...

  1. Girl Scout Cookies don’t actually contain any amount of Girl
     Scout, or any girl at all, for that matter.

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

  TGI Friday's Pot Stickers
  =========================
  Dough:
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup hot water
    1 tablespoon shortening or oil

  Filling:
    1 lb. ground pork
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 teaspoon grated ginger
    Pinch of sugar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    3 green onions, chopped
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 can water chestnuts, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced

  Dipping Sauce:
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup white vinegar
    1 teaspoon chili oil
    1 green onion, chopped

  Combine the flour, salt, hot water and shortening in a bowl and
 incorporate into a smooth dough. Allow the dough to rest for 20
 minutes, covered.

  Combine the filling ingredients. Combine the dipping sauce
 ingredients. Roll the dough out about 1/8 thick. Use a biscuit cutter
 or a glass to cut out 3 inch circles. Brush a little water over the
 circles and place about 2 teaspoons of filling in center. Fold the
 circles in half and press to seal, making sure to squeeze out any
 air. Stand the dumplings up on the folded side and press slightly so
 that they stand up nicely. To cook, bring a pot of salted water to
 boil, and boil the dumplings until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
 Drain well. The dumplings may be frozen at this point for future use;
 this recipe makes about 8 dozen. Heat a skillet with about 2
 tablespoons oil and fry the dumplings on one side only, until nicely
 browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the dipping sauce.

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

  Monterey Chicken Rolls
  ======================
    8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    salt and pepper
    1 (8 oz.) package monterey jack cheese
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 cup breadcrumbs
    1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  Pound chicken breasts flat. Season with salt and pepper. Slice
 Monterey Jack cheese about 1/4" thick and roll chicken around
 cheese. Add garlic to the butter and combine breadcrumbs with
 parmesan cheese. Dip chicken in butter, then in breadcrumb
 combination. Place seam side down in 9x13 baking dish. Bake
 covered for 30 minutes at 350F in preheated oven. Uncover and
 bake for 15 minutes more or until browned. 

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  Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs
  ===========================
    1/3 cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    2 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs
    1/4 cup butter
    1 cup chopped onions
    1 cup beef broth
    3/4 cup red wine vinegar
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup chili sauce
    2 tablespoons catsup
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    1 teaspoon chili powder

  Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bag. Add ribs and shake to
 coat. Brown ribs in butter in a large skillet. Place in slow
 cooker. In the same skillet, combine remaining ingredients. Bring
 to a boil while stirring. Pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low
 for 9 hours.

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  Brown Sugar Baked Bologna
  =========================
    1 (6 1/2-pound) all-beef bologna
    1/2 cup Dijon mustard
    1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar
    1 loaf sliced white bread
    1 jar yellow mustard

  Preheat the oven to 250F. Line a large roasting pan with foil to
 cover well. Using a small sharp knife score the top of the bologna,
 cutting about 1/4-inch deep, to create a diamond design.

  Place the bologna, cut side down, in the foil lined pan and spread
 a thin layer of mustard on the exposed areas. Using your hands, press
 the brown sugar onto the Dijon mustard to create a coating. Carefully
 turn the bologna over, so that the cut side is facing up, and spread
 the top and sides with the remaining Dijon mustard. Press the
 remaining brown sugar onto the mustard to coat the entire bologna
 well.

  Place the bologna in the top third of the oven. Bake for 5 hours,
 rotating the bologna slightly during cooking to keep the bottom from
 burning. Remove the bologna from the pan and place it on a large
 platter. Slice the bologna 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and make sandwiches
 on fresh white bread with yellow mustard.

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  Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
  ===================================
    1 pound lean ground beef
    1 (10 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, divided
    1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup onions, chopped
    1 teaspoon steak seasoning
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    2 tablespoons butter, divided
    1/4 cup cognac
    1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
    2 cups beef broth
    1 (1.2 oz.) packet brown gravy mix

  In a large bowl, combine beef, 1/4 can mushroom soup, bread crumbs,
 egg, onions, and steak seasoning. Mix thoroughly and shape into 4
 oval patties. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over
 medium-high heat. Brown patties on both sides and transfer to a
 plate.

  Add remaining butter and cognac (remove pan from heat when adding
 cognac.) Saute mushrooms for 7 to 8 minutes. Add beef stock and
 whisk in gravy mix until smooth. Stir in remaining mushroom soup.
 Return patties to skillet and spoon gravy over top. Cover pan and
 simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

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  Fusilli alla Caprese
  ====================
    1 pound fusilli pasta 
    3 tablespoons olive oil 
    2 cloves garlic, minced 
    3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 pints) 
    1 teaspoon salt 
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn 
    8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)

  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the
 pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring
 occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl
 and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

  In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the
 garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes,
 salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with
 a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style
 sauce, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with
 the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella.
 Stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time,
 until the pasta is moist. Serve.

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  Buttered Peas and Pearl Onions
  ==============================
    1 1/2 pounds pearl onions
    1 cup chicken broth
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    3 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
    2 cups fresh sweet peas, shelled
    1/2 lemon, juiced
    1 small bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in the pearl
 onions and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain them out and then shock them
 in ice water to stop from over cooking. Drain again. Pinch the pearl
 onions out of their little skins and set aside.

  In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the chicken broth,
 2 tablespoons of the butter, and 2 teaspoons of the dill. Once the
 liquid gets hot, add the pearl onions and peas. Cook and stir for
 5 minutes until well coated and thickened slightly. Add the lemon
 juice, watercress, remaining butter, and dill; season with salt
 and pepper.

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  Sticky Buns
  ===========
 Dough:
    1 cup warm water (105F to 115F)
    4 teaspoons dry yeast
    2/3 cup sugar
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup dry nonfat milk powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    2 large eggs
    4 1/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour

 Glaze:
    1 1/4 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup dark corn syrup
    1/4 cup water
    2 cups pecan halves

    4 teaspoons sugar
    4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  Make Dough: Mix 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar in
 small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Using electric
 mixer, beat remaining sugar, butter, milk powder, and salt in large
 bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in remaining
 3/4 cup warm water and yeast mixture, then 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a
 time. Using rubber spatula, mix in 1 cup flour, scraping down sides
 of bowl frequently (dough will be soft and sticky). Sprinkle 1/4 cup
 flour onto work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding
 more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes.

  Butter another large bowl. Add dough; turn to coat. Cover bowl with
 plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm area until doubled, about
 2 1/2 hours.

  Make Glaze: Butter two 10-inch round cake pans with 2-inch high
 sides. Beat brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, honey, corn syrup, and
 1/4 cup water in medium bowl to blend. Spread half of glaze in bottom
 of each prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans over each.

  Punch down dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each dough piece out
 on floured work surface to 12x9-inch rectangle. Brush any excess
 flour off dough. Spread remaining butter over dough rectangles,
 dividing equally. Mix 4 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.
 Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over rectangles. Starting at 1 long side,
 tightly roll up each rectangle into log. Cut each log into 12 rounds.
 Place 12 rounds, cut side down, in each prepared pan, spacing evenly.
 Cover with plastic wrap. Let buns rise in warm area until almost
 doubled, about 1 hour.

  Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns until deep golden brown, about
 30 minutes. Run small knife around pan sides to loosen sticky buns.
 Turn hot buns out onto platter. Cool about 30 minutes and serve.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Bread

  "Beschuiten" are a hard biscuit, ideal for dunking in your favorite
 hot drink or milk. They are also put in yogurt for breakfast or into
 minced meat to make light and fluffy meatballs. They are a wholesome,
 nutrious breakfast or snack anytime of the day or night. Rusks were
 originally prepared in South Africa by the Dutch explorers traveling
 long distances in a hot climate. Rusks were a bread that would not
 spoil as they are a round loaf, cut into rounds, and each piece is
 twice baked for its sweet crispness.

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