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Volume 18 Number 16

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   > Article: Quickly and Easily, a Touch of Elegance

   > Food Funnies: Ways to Tell Your Waiter the Service Was Bad

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

    * KFC Honey Barbecued Wings
    * Brisket with Burgundy-Orange Sauce
    * Clams Oreganata
    * Chicken and Green Olive Enchiladas
    * Spaghetti with Sicilian Meatballs
    * Corn Dogs
    * Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
    * Fruit Salad with Cannoli Cream

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Banana Spice Cake

    Diabetic: Oven Fried Drumsticks

    Low Fat: Rotini and Tuna Salad

  This Week's Cooking Tips

    Barbecuing Tips:

 * Never place meat directly over an open flame. An open flame is an
   indication of incomplete combustion, the fire will discolor the
   meat by leaving a black carbon residue on the meat. Actually an
   open flame has a lower temperature than coals that are glowing red.

 * Whenever barbecuing, use tongs to turn the meat. A fork should
   never be used, for it will punch holes in the flesh and allow
   the natural juices to escape and loose flavor and become chewy.

 * Tomato and/or sugar based BBQ sauces should be added only at the
   end of the grilling process. These products will burn easily and
   are seldom considered an internal meat flavoring. Once added, the
   meat should be turned often to minimize the possibility of burning.
   More Cooking Tips


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

   Which salad existed as early as the ancient Roman times and
  whose modern translation appears to have been derived from the
  Dutch term "koolsalade"?


  Quote of the Week:

     "You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way
      of eating jellybeans."

      - Ronald Reagan



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

            April 18 - National Animal Crackers Day 
            April 19 - National Amaretto Day
            April 20 - National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day
            April 21 - National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day
            April 22 - National Jelly Bean Day
            April 23 - National Cherry Cheesecake Day
            April 24 - National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day
            April 25 - National Zucchini Bread Day


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    Quickly and Easily, a Touch of Elegance
     by Mark Bittman

  Mostly I play down elegance - it’s too complicated and fussy for
 most home cooks to bother with - but occasionally I’m surprised at
 how easily it can be achieved. That was the case a couple of weeks
 ago when I decided to try to mimic a restaurant-style dish that
 resembles stuffed cabbage but contains far fewer ingredients and
 can be put together in less than half an hour. 

  That dish is fish wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves (or Bibb
 lettuce or cabbage), then poached in buttery white wine. Other than
 salt and pepper, all the ingredients are mentioned in the previous
 sentence, which is a good start. 

  A good finish is how the flavors mingle just perfectly; the
 butter’s sweetness offsets the bitterness of the lettuce and the
 acidity of the wine. The mild fish holds it all together. I used
 halibut one time, cod another, but you can use whatever mild white
 fish you like. 

  You must make sure the lettuce leaves are pliable enough to wrap
 around the fish. Discard the most ragged leaves. Start with the
 large outer leaves and, if they have a thick vein at their base -
 say, wider than 3/8 inch - make a V-shaped cut up the middle of the
 leaf, to the point where the rib narrows and becomes more flexible.
 Discard the vein. 

  This will not be a problem if you use a butterleaf lettuce like
 Bibb, or possibly the inner leaves of romaine or cabbage (it depends
 on the particular head).

  Poach (that is to say, boil) the leaves in salted water until soft,
 usually less than 30 seconds. Dry on paper towels and you’re ready
 to wrap.

  Any method will do here: put the fish in the middle and fold the
 leaves over, or put it on one end and roll ’em up. I would just
 recommend smaller rather than larger fish chunks, to make sure the
 leaves fit over them. The elegance of the dish is somehow lost if
 the fish isn’t completely enveloped by the leaves - and we wouldn’t
 want that to happen. 

  Lettuce-Wrapped Fish
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Several big leaves of romaine lettuce, Bibb lettuce or white
    1 1/2 pounds thick white fish fillet (rockfish, cod, hake,
      snapper), in pieces about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, 1 inch wide,
      and 2 inches or less across
    1 cup white wine, approximately
    2 to 3 tablespoons butter

  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Take as many big,
 intact leaves of lettuce or cabbage as you have pieces of fish. With
 large outer leaves, cut out center veins 2 to 3 inches up from bottom
 of leaves, to the point where the leaf is more pliable; with inner
 leaves this may not be necessary. One or 2 at a time, blanch leaves
 in boiling water until they are tender and flexible, 30 seconds to a
 minute. Remove and drain on paper towels. 

  Put a piece of fish on each leaf and sprinkle with salt and pepper;
 fold or roll fish in leaf so edges overlap. It is not important to
 make a tight seal, but it is nice if package covers all the fish.
 When done, you can cover and refrigerate packages until ready to
 serve, or continue. 

  In a large, broad skillet or casserole with a cover, bring wine to
 a boil with butter. Reduce heat to a simmer and add fish packages.
 Cover and simmer until a thin-bladed knife easily penetrates fish,
 5 to 10 minutes. Remove fish to a warm platter. 

  Over high heat, quickly reduce liquid in skillet; it is likely
 there will be more than there was when you started. When it is
 thickened a bit, pour over fish and serve.


  FOOD FUNNIES: Ways to Tell Your Waiter the Service Was Bad

 7. Sneeze on your credit card. 

 6. "Wow. Your service reminds me of the movie ‘Kangaroo Jack’."

 5. Tap out "Get a different job, slacker" in Morse code. With an
    iced-tea spoon. On his forehead. 

 4. Go ahead and tip him well ... in Iraqi currency. 

 3. A little bread, a little liquor, a little sculpting, and voila!
    Flaming effigy of the waiter. 

 2. Bring your friends in the next night and heckle him. 

  ... and the #1 Way to Tell Your Waiter the Service Was Bad ...

 1. In the "tip" portion of your American Express charge slip,
    write "You’re leaving for home without it." 


  KFC Honey Barbecued Wings
    20 Chicken Wings, tips removed
    2 cups flour
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup milk
    1 Bottle KC Masterpiece Original BBQ Sauce
    1/4 cup honey
    oil for deep frying

  Wash the chicken wings, then remove the wing tips; cut the other
 two pieces in half. Shake off the excess water.

  Place the eggs and milk in a bowl and mix well. Set aside. Mix
 together the BBQ sauce and honey. Set aside.

  Put the flour into a bag, then shake the wings in it, to lightly
 coat. Roll the wings in the egg wash, then toss them back into the
 bag. You want a fairly heavy coating of flour so the BBQ sauce has
 something to hang onto. Repeat 2-3 times.

  Heat a large skillet or use your deep fryer. Heat oil until it's
 very hot (around 350F). Fry the wings until they're golden brown.
 Remove and drain on paper towels.

  Preheat oven to 325F. Dip each wing in the BBQ sauce and place on
 a greased cookie sheet. Make sure the pieces don't touch each other.
 Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they no longer look shiny.

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  Brisket with Burgundy-Orange Sauce
    1 envelope onion soup mix
    1 1/2 cups Burgundy wine
    1/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    2 teaspoons dried thyme
    1/3 cup orange marmalade
    1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
    2 teaspoons sugar
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    4 lbs. beef brisket
    1 lb. mushrooms, cut into quarters

  Preheat the oven to 300F. In a roaster into which the brisket fits
 comfortably, stir together the soup mix, wine, water and flour until
 blended. Stir in the basil, thyme, marmalade, orange peel, sugar,
 garlic and pepper. Add the brisket, spooning some of the sauce over
 the top and distributing the mushrooms evenly around the brisket. 
 Cover and bake for 4 hours, basting every hour, until tender when
 pierced with a fork. If the sauce bubbles too rapidly, reduce the
 oven temperature to 275F.

  Remove from the oven and place the brisket on a sheet of heavy foil. 
 Pour the sauce into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. When the brisket
 is cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate. Remove solidified fat from
 the sauce and discard. Slice the brisket thinly against the grain.
 Overlap slices in a shallow, ovenproof dish that is just large enough
 to hold them. Pour the sauce over the meat and heat in the oven until
 hot and bubbly.

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  Clams Oreganata
    2 garlic cloves, minced 
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
    4 canned whole plum tomatoes, drained, seeded, and coarsely chopped
    2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano 
    3 lbs. very small (1-inch) hard-shelled clams such as Manila clams
      or cockles, scrubbed well 
    1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs 
    1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest 

  Cook garlic in oil in a deep 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately
 low heat, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in
 tomatoes and 1 tablespoon oregano and cook, stirring occasionally,
 until tomatoes break down, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with pepper. Add
 clams, stirring well to coat, then cover pot tightly and increase
 heat to moderately high. Cook, stirring once, until clams open,
 5 to 7 minutes. (Discard any clams that have not opened after
 7 minutes.) 

  While clams are cooking, toss together bread crumbs, zest, and
 remaining tablespoon oregano. Divide clams and pan juices among
 8 shallow bowls, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

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  Chicken and Green Olive Enchiladas
    1 (4 1/2-pound) chicken, quartered 
    4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-salt chicken broth 
    8 tablespoons olive oil 
    2 cups finely chopped onions 
    3 tablespoons chopped garlic 
    1 teaspoon dried oregano 
    1 teaspoon ground cumin 
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
    5 tablespoons hot Mexican-style chili powder 
    3 tablespoons all purpose flour 
    1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate 
    16 (6-inch) corn tortillas 
    1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 1/2 cups) 
    1 cup drained pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced 

  Place chicken and broth in heavy large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce
 heat to medium-low, partially cover pot and simmer until chicken is
 cooked, about 30 minutes. Cool chicken in broth. Strain broth and
 spoon off fat; reserve broth. Remove chicken skin and bones; discard.
 Shred chicken coarsely; transfer to large bowl. 

  Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add
 1 cup onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and cinnamon. Cover. Cook until
 onion is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix
 in chili powder and flour; stir 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in 4 1/2
 cups broth. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil until reduced to
 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat.
 Whisk in chocolate; season with salt and pepper. Cool. 

  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add
 1 tortilla and cook until just pliable, about 20 seconds per side.
 Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining
 tortillas, adding oil as needed. 

  Spread 1/3 cup sauce in each of two 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking
 dishes. Mix 1 cup sauce into chicken. Arrange 8 tortillas on work
 surface. Spoon 3 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon olives, 1 tablespoon
 onion and 1/4 cup chicken over center of each. Roll up tortillas.
 Arrange seam side down in 1 prepared dish. Repeat with remaining
 tortillas, 1 1/2 cups cheese, olives, onion and chicken.

  Preheat oven to 375F. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce, then
 sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes.
 Remove foil and bake until sauce bubbles, about 10 minutes. Let
 stand 10 minutes.

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  Spaghetti with Sicilian Meatballs
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3 oz. cooking sherry
    2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes in juice
    4 oz. grated Romano cheese
    4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    3 tablespoons milk
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    1 large egg
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
    1/2 lb. ground beef
    2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
    2 tablespoons dried currants

    1 pound spaghetti 

  For Sauce: Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add
 onion; saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1
 minute. Add sherry and stir 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juices,
 Romano cheese, and 2 tablespoons basil; bring to boil. Reduce heat;
 simmer until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes with fork, about
 1 hour. Mix in 2 tablespoons basil. Season with salt and pepper.
 Set sauce aside.

  For Meatballs: Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix
 crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan,
 onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, ground beef, pine
 nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into
 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are
 light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add to sauce.

  Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just
 tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Mound in dish. Bring sauce
 and meatballs to simmer. Spoon over spaghetti.

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  Corn Dogs
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 3/4 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 egg
    1/3 cup sugar
    24 hot dogs
    24 wooden skewers

  Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, egg and sugar. Add
 milk until batter has a pancake type consistency (Too much milk,
 and batter wont stay on hot dogs, too little and your batter when
 fried will be cracked).

  Dry off hot dogs with paper towels, coat with flour, and skewer
 through the center of the corndog. Heat 2" deep oil to 370F or use
 a deep fryer. Pour batter into a tall drinking glass. Dip skewered
 hot dogs into batter mix and coat evenly. Fry until golden brown,
 about 2 1/2 minutes. Let cool and drain on a paper towel. Serve with
 ketchup, mustard, tarter sauce or a dressing of your choosing. 

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  Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
    8 or 9 asparagus spears, depending on size 
    1/2 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed 
    1/4 cup butter, melted 
    1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan 

  Preheat oven to 375F. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus.
 Unwrap the phyllo and cut the stack in half lengthwise. Reserve
 1 stack for later use. Cover the phyllo with a damp towel to keep
 it from drying out. Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with
 some melted butter. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. Place 2 to 3
 asparagus spears on the short end of the sheet. Roll up, jelly-roll
 style. Place each piece, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Brush
 with more melted butter and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Repeat
 until all the asparagus spears are used up. Place baking sheet in
 oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

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  Fruit Salad with Cannoli Cream
    1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
    2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup whipping cream 
    3 tablespoons powdered sugar 
    Pinch ground cinnamon 
    12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 2 1/2 cups)
    1/2 dry pint fresh raspberries (about 1 1/4 cups) 
    1 tablespoon sugar 
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
    2 kiwi, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
    3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

  Stir the ricotta and 2 tablespoons of cream in a medium bowl to
 blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/3 cup of cream,
 powdered sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl until semi-firm peaks
 form. Fold the ricotta into the whipped cream. Place in the
 refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to stiffen and yield a creamier
 filling. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

  Toss the strawberries, raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a
 medium bowl to combine. Let stand until juices form, tossing
 occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the kiwi. 

  Spoon the fruit mixture into 4 dessert bowls. Dollop the ricotta
 cream atop the fruit. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.


   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Coleslaw

  "Koolsalade" translates to cabbage salad, cabbage being the base
 ingredient for coleslaw. This base can be complimented with grated
 carrot, cheese, onion, pineapple and red cabbage. To complete the
 coleslaw it can be dressed with a vinaigrette or mayonnaise, though
 it's highly unlikely that the ancient Romans used the latter dressing
 as mayonnaise did not appear until sometime in the eighteenth century.


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