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Volume 18   Number 24

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   > Article: For Dessert, No Eggs Allowed

   > Food Funnies: Reasons Why Spoons Are Better Than Forks

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

    * Steak & Ale's Bourbon Street Steak 
        
    * Basil Cream Chicken
        
    * Super Short Ribs
        
    * Spicy Blackened Catfish
        
    * Fried Green Tomatoes
        
    * Muffaletta Salad
        
    * Guacamole with Crabmeat
        
    * Strawberry Margarita Pie 

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Flank Steak with Peanut Sauce

    Diabetic: Turkey Burgers

    Low Fat: Chili Burritos

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  This Week's Cooking Tips

   Biscuits Tips:

 * Biscuits will be crisp on the outside and flaky in the center if
   you roll the dough thin and fold it over once before cutting out
   biscuits. They'll also split open easily when you're ready to
   butter them.

 * To re-freshen and heat biscuits, put them in a well-dampened paper
   bag, twist it closed and put in a 300F oven for several minutes or
   until warm.

 * If you want soft-sided biscuits, bake them in a pan with sides and
   put the biscuits close together.

 * If you want crusty biscuits, bake them on a cookie sheet and place
   them apart from each other. More Cooking Tips

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

   In India at the time of the Raj, in the absence of turkey this
  would often be the main meat in the Christmas meal. Which glamorous
  bird, the national bird of India, is it? 

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  Quote of the Week:

    "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young
     man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it
     stays with you, for all of Paris is a moveable feast."

     - Ernest Hemingway (1950)

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

           June is: National Papaya Month 
                    National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month 
                    National Iced Tea Month 
                    National Dairy Month 
                    National Seafood Month

            June 12 - National Peanut Butter Cookie Day 
            June 13 - National Lobster Day 
            June 14 - National Strawberry Shortcake Day 
            June 15 - National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day
            June 16 - National Fudge Day 
            June 17 - National Apple Streudel Day 
            June 18 - National Cherry Tart Day 
            June 19 - National Martini Day  

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    FOR DESSERT, NO EGGS ALLOWED
     By MARK BITTMAN

  Panna Cotta may be an Italian invention, but the idea of thickening
 sweetened cream with gelatin has spread far and wide.

  The almond-flavored pudding known as blancmange is one good example,
 and the Caribbean tembleque, which uses coconut milk, is another. 

  These are all eggless custards, and panna cotta (which means cooked
 cream) is the most pure, simple and delightful version.

  If you can get good cream, preferably local and fresh, the flavor is
 unbeatable. If the cream is bland, you might consider using a
 stronger flavoring than the vanilla I use here: a little orange
 flower water, maybe, an Earl Grey or jasmine tea bag, some almond
 extract or a few lavender flowers. Any light flavor in you might add
 to ice cream will work in panna cotta. 

  The original is unbeatable, though, and amazingly foolproof.

  The gelatin used is essentially glue, but it works time after time,
 with little judgment required of the cook. Make sure it dissolves
 fully and you will have no lumps or granules in your smooth panna
 cotta. 

  Once you have made the dessert a few times, you can begin to play
 with the amount of gelatin you use.

  One envelope is two teaspoons; if you prefer a slightly stiffer
 concoction, add another teaspoon (not the two tablespoons suggested
 by some recipes, which will give you cement). If your cream is really
 thick, try just over a teaspoon. This will yield a dreamy, ethereal
 concoction that is incredibly light. 

  One other trick: panna cotta can be used as a base for an ice cream
 that requires no churning. Make the recipe below and freeze it for
 several hours or overnight. Let it soften for 15 to 30 minutes at
 room temperature and you have something close to what used to be
 called Philadelphia-style ice cream. Not bad, and almost no work.

  Panna Cotta
  ==========
    3 cups cream, or 1 1/2 cups cream and 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
    1 package (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or to taste) or 1 vanilla bean 
    1/2 cup sugar

 1. Put 1 cup cream in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over it;
    let sit for 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring, until
    gelatin dissolves completely.

 2. If using vanilla extract, add remaining cream and sugar to gelatin
    mixture and heat gently, just until sugar dissolves; add vanilla
    and proceed to Step 3. If using vanilla bean, cut it in two,
    lengthwise. Scrape out seeds; add seeds and bean pod to pot, along
    with the sugar and remaining cream. Cook over medium heat,
    stirring, until steam arises. Turn off heat, cover, and let steep
    for 15 to 30 minutes.

 3. Remove vanilla bean, if you used it. Pour mixture into 4 large or
    6 small custard cups. Chill until set, about 4 hours. Serve in
    cups, or dip cups in hot water for about 10 seconds, then invert
    onto plates. Serve within 24 hours. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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

     Discover our very special collection of over
     100 cookbooks filled with world class recipes ...

              Click For The E-Cookbooks Library

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Reasons Why Spoons Are Better Than Forks
 

 9. Try forcing strained spinach into a screaming toddler’s mouth
    with a fork sometime. You’ll be a spoon fan for life.

 8. When you try to play the forks, they keep getting caught
    together.

 7. By the time you get enough sugar from the bowl into your
    coffee with a fork, the coffee is cold.

 6. Your health never seems to improve much when you take your
    cough medicine with a fork.

 5. Spoonerisms are polite little mis-speaks that are appropriate
    for mixed company. Fork-ups on the other hand ….

 4. Trying to fix your makeup in the reflection of a shiny fork
    leads to disturbing results.

 3. Party tricks that involve hanging a fork off your nose all fun
    and games until someone loses an eye.

 2. Any ninja can kill a man with a fork, but it takes a *cool*
    ninja to kill a man with a spoon.

      ... and the #1 Reason Spoons Are Better Than Forks ...

 1. Salad FORKS. Ice cream SPOONS. ‘Nuff Said.

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  Steak & Ale's Bourbon Street Steak
  ============================
    2 Tbls. yellow onion, diced 
    1/2 cup bourbon 
    1/2 cup soy sauce 
    1/2 cup brown sugar 
    1/2 cup lemon juice 
    1 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic (about 2 cloves) 
    4 (10-ounce) New York strip steaks

  Mix onion, bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and garlic
 in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Place steaks in a
 shallow dish large enough for them to be in a single layer. Pour
 marinade over steaks. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours. You
 may turn steaks occasionally. Remove steaks and discard marinade. 
 Grill to desired doneness. Makes 4 steaks.

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  Basil Cream Chicken
  =================
    1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed 
    1 cup minced onion 
    3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced 
    2 tablespoons oil 
    3 tablespoons butter 
    3 tablespoons flour 
    2 cups chicken broth 
    1 tablespoon chicken bouillon 
    1 cup whipping cream 
    2 tablespoons minced fresh basil 
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    hot cooked and drained fettuccine

  Saute chicken, onions, and mushrooms in oil for 4 minutes. In large
 saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Add chicken broth,
 boullion and cream. Stir in basil and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook
 and stir for 2 minutes. Combine with the chicken mixture. Serve over
 fettuccini.

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  Super Short Ribs
  ==============
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    4 1/4 pounds beef short ribs
    2 onions, quartered
    1 (8 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks with syrup
    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can beef broth
    1/2 cup bottled chili sauce
    1/4 cup honey
    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    4 garlic cloves, chopped
    Chopped fresh parsley

  Preheat oven to 350F. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over
 medium-high heat. Add ribs and brown well, turning frequently,
 about 10 minutes. Add onions, pineapple with syrup, broth, chili
 sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce and garlic to ribs; stir to
 coat. Cover pot and bake ribs 1 hour. Uncover and bake until ribs
 are tender, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
 Sprinkle with parsley.

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  Spicy Blackened Catfish
  ===================
    2 teaspoons sweet paprika
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 catfish fillets (about 1 pound)
    1 large garlic clove, sliced thin
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    lemon wedges as an accompaniment 

  In a small bowl combine the paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne,
 sugar, salt, and black pepper. Pat the catfish dry, and sprinkle
 the spice mixture on both sides of the fillet, coating them well.
 In a large skillet saute the garlic in the oil over moderately
 high heat, stirring, until it is golden brown and discard the
 garlic. Add the butter, heat it until the foam subsides, and in
 the fat, saute the catfish for 4 minutes on each side, or until
 it is cooked through. Transfer the catfish fillets with a slotted
 spatula to 2 plates and serve them with the lemon wedges. 

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  Fried Green Tomatoes
  ==================
    6 cups canola oil, for frying 
    1 cup all-purpose flour 
    2 cups milk 
    Kosher salt 
    Freshly ground black pepper 
    Pinch paprika 
    Pinch cayenne pepper 
    2 medium green tomatoes 
    2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko)

  In a large, deep, heavy pan, heat the oil to 350F. In a medium
 bowl, whisk the flour and the milk together. Mix in the salt,
 black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. 

  Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Dip the tomato slices
 into the batter, making sure they are coated thoroughly. Cover
 both sides with bread crumbs. Carefully add to the hot oil and
 fry in the oil until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve
 immediately.

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  Muffaletta Salad
  =============
    1 tablespoon garlic, minced 
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
    1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
    1/4 cup olive juice from can 
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
    1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    1 carrot, peeled and diced 
    1/2 cup diced black olives 
    1/2 cup diced green olives 
    1/2 cup diced marinated artichoke hearts, diced 
    1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced 
    1/2 cup diced celery 
    1/2 red onion, minced 
    3 cups cooked orzo 
    1 cup feta cheese 
    8 to 10 Bibb lettuce cups 
    1/2 cup diced Roma tomatoes

  In a food processor, combine the garlic, vinegar, extra-virgin
 olive oil, olive juice, lemon juice, red chili flakes, pepper and
 all vegetables up to the red onion. Pulse until well chopped but
 not pureed. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, place into
 refrigerator and let marinate for 2 to 4 hours.

  Add orzo to marinated vegetables, toss, then add feta and toss
 again. Serve in lettuce cups and top with tomatoes.

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  Guacamole with Crabmeat
  =====================
    3 large, ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2" pieces 
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
    1/3 cup minced cilantro leaves 
    1 tablespoon minced jalapeno 
    1 teaspoon cumin 
    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
    1/2 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
    1/2 cup minced red onions 
    1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomatoes
    2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 
    1/2 pound lump crabmeat, shells and cartilage removed
    Tortilla chips, for dipping

  In a large bowl, place all but 1/4 cup of the avocado pieces. Add
 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro,
 1 teaspoon of the jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin, 1/4 teaspoon
 of the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch of cayenne, and
 mash with the back of a fork until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the onions
 and 1/4 cup of the tomatoes to the avocado mixture, and stir well to
 combine. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with
 the crabmeat and gently toss to combine. Fold the crabmeat mixture
 into the mashed avocado mixture, stirring to combine, but being
 careful not to break up the crabmeat. Season to taste. Divide among
 4 chilled Martini glasses and serve with tortilla chips.

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  Strawberry Margarita Pie 
  ====================
  Crust: 
    1 1/4 cup pretzel crumbs 
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted 
    1/4 cup sugar

  Filling: 
    1 1/2 cup strawberries, diced 
    14 oz. sweetened condensed milk 
    1/3 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed 
    1/4 cup Tequila
    2 tablespoons Triple Sec 
    1 1/2 cup Cool Whip, thawed

  Combine pretzel crumbs, butter, and sugar, mix well. Press firmly
 on bottom and up sides of a lightly buttered 9-inch pie pan.

  Combine milk, lime juice, strawberries, tequila and triple sec,
 blend well. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour into crust. Place in freezer for
 four to eight hours. Remove from freezer and let stand 10 minutes
 before serving. Garnish with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Peacock

    Though the turkey was introduced to India from America in the
   late eighteenth century, it was never bred particularly well as
   food. Many didn't adapt to the climate and died and those that
   could be bred to maturity tended to be much more fatty than the
   birds usually served on the Christmas menu. Peacock was considered
   to be far superior meat, although in certain parts of India it was
   not served, in deference to Hindus who considered the bird sacred.

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