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Volume 18   Number 30

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No. 29   


  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   > Article: The Best a Beet Can Hope For

   > Food Funnies: Signs Your Cat is Too Fat

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

    * Skyline Chili
        
    * Grilled Chicken and Ratatouille
        
    * Romesco Style Pork
        
    * BBQ Shortribs
        
    * Elotes (Mexican Corn on the Cob)
        
    * Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
        
    * German Potato Salad
        
    * Pina Colada Pie

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Hash Browned Zucchini

    Diabetic: Beef and Noodles in Lemon Sauce

    Low Fat: Low Fat Peanut Butter Cookies

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

  Baking Tips:

 * When making cookies, always use unsalted butter, never margarine.
   The unsalted butter gives the cookies a lighter texture.

 * Add a pinch of baking soda to your frosting and the frosting will
   stay moist and prevent cracking.

 * Always chill pastry dough before rolling and cutting, and always
   chill it again afterwards, before baking, to further relax the
   gluten.

 * Your yeast will last longer than specified on those little packages
   from the grocery store if kept in the refrigerator and even longer
   in the freezer.

 * For a practically fat-free crust, substitute frozen phyllo pastry
   for traditional pie crust.

 * To keep a cake longer, place half an apple in the cake container
   when storing. More Cooking Tips

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

    Middle Quarters, an area located on Jamaica's South Coast
    is famous for what culinary delight? 

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  Quote of the Week:

   "Grilling is like sunbathing. Everyone knows it is bad
    for you but no one ever stops doing it."

    - Laurie Colwin, "Home Cooking" (1988)

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

           July is: National Ice Cream Month 
                    National Picnic Month 
                    National Baked Bean Month 
                    National Hot Dog Month 
                    National Pickle Month

            July 25 - National Hot Fudge Sundae Day 
            July 26 - National Coffee Milkshake Day 
            July 27 - National Scotch Day 
            July 28 - National Milk Chocolate Day 
            July 29 - National Lasagna Day 
            July 30 - National Cheesecake Day 
            July 31 - National Raspberry Cake Day
            August 1 - National Raspberry Cream Pie Day

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    The Best a Beet Can Hope For
     By Mark Bittman

  Borscht is the highest and best use for a beet. Quick to cook (at
 least in my version), easy to vary, loved by almost everyone - even
 children - borscht is the archetypical midsummer soup, and belongs in
 everyone's repertory.

  There is a grand borscht, laden with brisket or other meat (and
 usually served hot), that casts its too-fussy influence over many
 summertime borschts. I prefer the light, refreshing version whose
 ruby color and clear flavor make it very nearly graceful, even
 elegant. That's really saying something, considering that this is a
 dish with few ingredients, chief among them a lowly root.

  Borscht can be as simple as simmered shredded beets with sour cream
 or yogurt. To make a meal of it, I like this soup with a hot boiled
 potato and a cold hard-cooked egg. Diced cucumber is another nice
 addition. (Borscht lovers can be very particular about the additions.
 Famously, in "The Talk of the Town," Cary Grant plays a fugitive
 whose preference for a beaten egg in his borscht leads to his
 capture.)

  The marvel of this recipe is that you can cook all the components
 separately, and most of them in advance, then combine them just
 before serving. There is something about cooking the potato at the
 last minute and plunging it, hot, into the ice-cold soup that I
 really like, although I can understand the preferences of those who
 add their potato cooked but cold. Prepare the borscht in the relative
 cool of evening, and you can enjoy it the next day with little
 effort.

  There is one little refinement that I think makes this minimalist
 borscht special: I use an entire bunch of dill and bind together the
 stems (and roots, if any). I simmer this little package with the
 beets from the beginning, and it flavors the broth beautifully. I
 garnish the soup with fresh dill at the end. The combination of sweet
 beets and grassy dill screams summer.

  Borscht
  =======
    2 pounds red beets, peeled 
    1 large onion, peeled 
    1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed and tied in a bundle 
    Salt and pepper to taste 
    Lemon juice to taste 
    4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered, optional 
    1 firm medium cucumber or half an English cucumber, peeled if
       necessary and diced, optional 
    4 medium red or white new potatoes, boiled until tender and kept
       hot, optional 
    Sour cream

 1. Grate beets and onion together on a box grater or food processor
    outfitted with basic blade (pulse carefully) or grating disk.
    Place mixture in large saucepan with dill-stem bundle and 6 cups
    of water to cover.

 2. Bring to a boil, then adjust heat so liquid simmers steadily but
    not violently, until beets are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add salt
    and pepper, remove dill stems, and chill.

 3. When soup is cold, taste and add lemon juice, salt and pepper as
    necessary. Chop as much of the dill fronds as you would like for
    garnishing. Serve borscht in bowls, with garnishes of your choice
    and the dill. Pass sour cream at table. Yield: 4 servings

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

   Discover Over 100 World Class Cookbooks!

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Signs Your Cat is Too Fat
  =======================================

 9. Instead of "meow," she says "moo".

 8. Takes 3 days to lick himself.

 7. She has nine lives and ten chins.

 6. He has had more heart attacks than Dick Cheney.

 5. Have to get special extra-large flea collars from
    "Big & Tall Feline".

 4. Instead of a yarn ball, she plays with a meatball.

 3. Only thing he's curious about is when Domino's stops delivering.

 2. When he goes outside, people say, "Can I get your autograph,
    Mr. Gore?".

     ... and the #1 Sign Your Cat Is Too Fat ...

 1. Next month, he's doing a full hour with Dr. Phil.

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  Skyline Chili
  =============
    1 pound ground beef
    2 (14.5 oz.) cans beef broth
    1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
    1/2 cup water
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1 tablespoons corn starch
    1/4 teaspoon allspice 
    4 teaspoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon cardamom
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon coriander
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    shredded cheddar cheese
    spaghetti, cooked

  Brown ground beef in a 4 quart Dutch Oven. While cooking,
 mash the beef into very small morsels. Remove pan from heat
 and add all remaining ingredients except cheese and spaghetti.
 Mix well. Bring chili to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for
 3-4 hours stirring occasionally.

  To serve, place cooked spaghetti in a large bowl. Ladle about
 one cup of piping hot chili over pasta and top with about a
 half cup of cheddar cheese.

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  Grilled Chicken and Ratatouille
  ===============================
    2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
    1 medium eggplant, halved lengthwise
    1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
    1 red onion, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges (leave root
      end intact)
    2 medium tomatoes, halved crosswise
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 3 pounds)
    1/3 cup thinly sliced basil
    1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

  Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place first 5 ingredients in
 large bowl. Drizzle oil over and sprinkle generously with salt and
 pepper; toss to coat. Grill vegetables until tender and slightly
 charred, about 4 minutes for peppers and 7 minutes for remaining
 vegetables. Transfer to cutting board. Place chicken breasts in same
 large bowl. Turn to coat with any remaining oil in bowl. Sprinkle
 chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken, covered, until cooked
 through, about 6 minutes per side. Let stand 5 minutes.

  Meanwhile, coarsely chop vegetables and transfer to another large
 bowl. Add basil and vinegar and toss to coat. Season with salt and
 pepper. Slice chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; serve
 with ratatouille.

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  Romesco Style Pork
  ==================
    1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for rubbing
    1 (5 oz.) package prewashed baby spinach or arugula
    1 (12 oz.) jar roasted peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
    1/2 cup sliced almonds
    4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1/4 cup red-wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar

  Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat.
 Meanwhile, lightly rub pork with some olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt,
 and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Oil grill rack, then grill pork, covered,
 turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted
 diagonally into center registers 150F, 20 to 25 minutes total.
 Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

  While pork stands, put greens and peppers on a platter. Cook almonds
 and garlic in oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring
 frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted
 spoon to paper towels to drain.

  Add paprika, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to oil in skillet and
 cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Pour in vinegar and boil, swirling
 occasionally, 1 minute. Drizzle hot dressing over greens and peppers
 and toss. Top with sliced pork and sprinkle with toasted almonds and
 garlic.

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  BBQ Shortribs
  =============
    2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling 
    4 large cloves garlic, pressed 
    1 cup soy sauce 
    2 tablespoons sherry 
    2 tablespoons honey 
    2 tablespoons sesame oil 
    2 tablespoons water 
    2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated 
    1/2 cup chopped scallions (green and white parts, mixed), plus
      more green tips for sprinkling 
    1 tablespoon red chili flakes 
    6 pounds short ribs, cut into thin pieces, about 2 1/2 inches long

  Grind the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder until fine. Place the
 ground sesame seeds in a medium bowl and add the garlic, soy, sherry,
 honey, sesame oil, water, ginger, scallions, and red chili flakes;
 stir until thoroughly combined. Place the ribs in a large baking
 dish, pour the marinade over, and turn to coat. Cover and let
 marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. 

  Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the ribs from the marinade
 and grill on both sides until golden brown and crispy, about 15
 minutes. Reduce the heat of the grill, close the cover, and grill
 until tender, about 15 minutes longer. Remove to a platter and
 sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

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  Elotes (Mexican Corn on the Cob)
  ================================
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons finely grated cotija or Parmesan cheese
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    4 ears shucked corn

  Prepare grill. Combine mayonnaise and juice in a small bowl.
 Combine cheese and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in another
 small bowl. Place corn on a grill rack coated with cooking spray.
 Grill corn 12 minutes or until tender, turning frequently. Remove
 corn from grill; brush with mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkle with
 cheese mixture. Serve immediately. 

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  Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  =============================
    1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
    Kosher salt
    Olive oil
    1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
    3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
    1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
    6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

  For the dressing: 
    5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained 
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
    6 tablespoons good olive oil 
    1 garlic clove, diced 
    1 teaspoon capers, drained 
    2 teaspoons kosher salt 
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
    1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned 

  Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash
 of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or
 according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to
 cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives,
 mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

  For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive
 oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process
 until almost smooth.

  Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and
 basil, and toss well.

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  German Potato Salad
  ===================
    9 potatoes, peeled
    6 slices bacon
    3/4 cup chopped onions
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons white sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon celery seed
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    3/4 cup water
    1/3 cup distilled white vinegar 

  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook
 until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and slice
 thin.

  Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat
 until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving
 drippings. Saute onions in bacon drippings until they are golden-
 brown.

  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed,
 and pepper. Add to the sauteed onions and cook and stir until bubbly,
 then remove from heat. Stir in water and vinegar, then return to the
 stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one
 minute. Carefully stir bacon and sliced potatoes into the vinegar/
 water mixture, stirring gently until potatoes are heated through.

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  Pina Colada Pie
  ===============
  Crust:
    1 (7 oz.) jar roasted macadamia nuts
    3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

  Filling:
    1 1/2 pints pineapple sorbet, softened
    1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
    4 teaspoons dark rum
    1/2 teaspoon imitation coconut extract
    3/4 cup (packed) sweetened shredded coconut
    2 pints vanilla frozen yogurt, softened

    1/2 large pineapple, trimmed, cored, thinly sliced
    Toasted sweetened shredded coconut

  For Crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10-inch glass pie dish with
 foil, overlapping sides. Finely chop first 3 ingredients in
 processor. Add butter and blend until moist crumbs form. Press
 mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides (but not rim) of prepared
 pie dish. Freeze 10 minutes. Bake crust until golden brown, about
 15 minutes. Freeze 20 minutes.

  For Filling: Spread sorbet in crust; smooth top. Place in freezer.
 Boil cream of coconut in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat
 until reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Pour
 into large bowl. Mix in rum and extract, then 3/4 cup coconut. Cool
 slightly. Add frozen yogurt to coconut mixture and fold in until
 blended. Freeze until semifirm, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
 Spoon filling over sorbet in pie dish, mounding slightly. Cover and
 freeze overnight.

  Turn out pie onto platter and peel off foil. Turn pie right side up.
 Arrange pineapple decoratively atop pie. Sprinkle with toasted
 coconut.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Peppered Shrimp

  You can get these hot treats from vendors in and around
 Middle Quarters by the pound or sold in various sized packets.
 Not for the faint-hearted, as the stock they are prepared in
 often contain large amounts of whole Scotch Bonnet Peppers
 including the seeds! But for most Jamaicans, a trip to Middle
 Quarters is not complete without a sample of shrimp.

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