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Volume 18   Number 40

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  >  Article: It's All In The Roux

  >  Food Funnies: Signs You Won't Win the Cooking Competition

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

    * Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad
    * Beer Brats
    * Sweet and Sour Brisket
    * Chicken Riggies
    * Black Bean Soup
    * Spanish Rice
    * Grand Marnier French Toast
    * Sour Cream Apple Pie

    Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

    Diabetic: Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

    Low Fat: Pasta Shrimp Pot


  This Week's Cooking Tips

  Cooking A Pumpkin:
  Scoop out seeds and strands if using a new pumpkin. Stand pumpkin
upright and cut down the middle. Halves should be able to fit on a
baking sheet. Place one half pumpkin, or two if they fit, cut side
down on the baking sheet. You may sprinkle a little water on the
sheet first. Bake at 350F for 30-60 minutes, depending on the size.
When done, the skin darkens and the pumpkin begins to collapse. Check
for softness with a fork or knife. It will go in easily if done.
Remove from oven, cool about 20 minutes. Scoop pumpkin flesh away
from skin. Discard skin then puree in food processor.

  Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
    1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
    2 teaspoons melted butter or oil
    salt to taste

  Options To Taste:
    garlic powder
    cayenne pepper
    seasoning salt
    Cajun seasoning blend

  Preheat oven to 300F. While it's fine to leave some strings and pulp
on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks. Toss
pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings
of your choice. Purist will want only salt as a seasoning, but, if
you're feeling adventurous, experiment and have fun with seasoning
blends. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet and
bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
More Cooking Tips


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

  A theory that there is only one fruitcake in the world and that
  it is regifted Christmas after Christmas was proposed by which
  well-known US television personality?


  Quote of the Week:

    "In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery,
      eats twice as much as nature requires."

      - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)



          October is: National Cookie Month
                      National Pasta Month
                      National Apple Month
                      National Seafood Month
                      National Pork Month
                      National Pretzel Month
                      National Dessert Month
                      National Pickled Peppers Month
                      National Country Ham Month

            October 2 - National French Fried Scallops Day
            October 3 - National Carmel Custard Day
            October 4 - National Taco Day
            October 5 - National Apple Betty Day
            October 6 - National Noodle Day
            October 7 - National Frappe Day
            October 8 - National Fluffernutter Day
            October 9 - National Dessert Day


  It's All In The Roux
    by John Havel

  The inspiration for this recipe came this past summer when I wanted
to make an authentic gumbo. Among other things, I needed some fresh
okra and some good andouille sausage - both not very easy to find in
Upstate New York. In the grocery store I spotted what looked like
okra only to find out it was baby zucchini. The only andouille they
had was made from chicken, but right near it was some fresh Italian
sausage ... I started thinking.

  Many of you (especially in the South) will say "This isn't gumbo".
However, gumbo is the result of the melting of cultures in Louisianan
history during the 18th century; the dish itself is based on the
French soup bouillebasse. I feel that taking liberty to substitute
certain ingredients still puts it in the gumbo realm.

  But you can't make gumbo without a roux. Roux is most often made
with butter as the fat base, but when making a dark roux it's best to
use vegetable oil as it does not burn at high temperatures like
butter will. In this case we make a "peanut butter" roux which adds
a distinct nutty flavor to the dish along with being a thickening
agent. Also, using part olive oil makes it healthier.

  Even among the traditional gumbo chefs there are differences. Creole
gumbos generally use a lighter (but still medium-brown) roux and may
include tomatoes, while Cajun gumbos are made with a darker roux and
never contain tomatoes.

  After the roux is cooked, some recipes say to set it aside and saute
the vegetables in another pan, while others just have you use he same
pan. I prefer to saute in the same pan as the roux, both for the
extra flavor and to have one less pot to wash.

  The blend of onion, celery and carrots called mirepoix is the
essential aromatic base for soups and stews of all sorts. In New
Orleans, the "holy trinity" as it's called consists of onion, celery,
and green bell pepper. Many Cajun and Creole dishes begin with this.

  The addition of scallops (instead of shrimp) tests the idea that
there are no hard and fast rules for making gumbo beyond the basic
roux and your imagination. There are probably as many distinctive
recipes for gumbo as there are cooks in Louisiana. Here's one more.

  Nor'easter Gumbo
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1/3 cup olive oil
    2/3 cup flour
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 cup chopped celery
    1 cup chopped green pepper
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 pound hot Italian sausage links, cut crosswise in 1" pieces
    1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut in 1" chunks
    1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    1 (26 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
    3 cups chicken stock
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
    2 teaspoons dried basil
    1 pound zucchini, cut in 3/4" chunks
    1 pound bay scallops
    1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
    cooked white rice

  Before you start the roux, chop the onions, celery, green peppers,
and garlic. Set aside. Cut sausage in chunks and set aside. Rub the
chicken with the smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper to
taste. Cut chicken in chunks and set aside.

  In a large (preferably cast iron) Dutch oven, combine both oils and
flour. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Over low heat, cook roux until
the color of peanut butter; about 12-15 minutes. Whisk every 20
seconds so it does not burn.

  Turn heat to medium and add the onions, celery, and green peppers to
the roux. Stir well and often and cook for about 6 minutes. Stir in
sausage and garlic and cook until the sausage is browned; about 4
minutes. Stir in chicken chunks.

  Turn heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, chicken stock, salt,
cayenne pepper, and basil. Bring to a light boil, reduce heat, and
simmer for 45 minutes. Add zucchini and simmer for 30 minutes.

  Return gumbo to a light boil and add scallops. Cook for 5 minutes
and turn off heat. Stir in Italian parsley and serve over white rice.

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Signs You Won't Win the Cooking Competition

10. The Ladies Knitting Club of Farmgate, Ohio rated your Five Alarm
    Flaming Acid Burn Chili "dandy".

  9. Judge Paula Deen suggests you ease up on the butter.

  8. The only "BAM!" heard in competition was Emeril shooting at you.

  7. Your grandma's recipe for bacon-stuffed pork chops with
    venison dressing is great, but it seems to be ill received at
    the National Vegetarian Cookoff.

  6. Two of your best ingredients contain the word "Helper".

  5. Your Ratatouille is actually domestic field mouse pate.

  4. Heated argument with the judges over exactly how many rodent
    hairs are acceptable.

  3. The judge asks if you'd like to use one of your lifelines.

  2. Is Chicken Kiev supposed to glow?

  ... and the #1 Sign You Won't Win the Cooking Competition ...

  1. It's a British cooking competition: Everyone loses!


  Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad
      1 egg
      1/2 cup milk
      1/2 cup flour
      1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
      1 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
      oil for frying
      3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
      1 cup red cabbage
      1 cup Napa cabbage
      1/2 carrot, julienned
      1 green onion, chopped
      1 tablespoon sliced almonds
      1/3 cup chow mein noodles

      3 tablespoons honey
      1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
      1/4 cup mayonnaise
      1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
      1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

  Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and

  Cut the chicken breast into 5 strips. In one bowl, beat egg with
milk. In a separate bowl, combine flour, corn flake crumbs, salt and
pepper. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pan to 350F.

  Place each piece of chicken in the milk mixture and then roll in the
flour mixture. Fry chicken until browned (about 5 minutes), drain and
set aside.

  Make the salad by combining the romaine, red cabbage, Napa cabbage,
and carrots. Arrange sliced green onions, almonds, and chow mein
noodles over the salad. Slice the chicken into 1" chunks and place in
the center of the salad. Serve with the salad dressing.

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  Beer Brats
    1 dozen brats
    Beer, to cover
    1 medium large sweet onion, sliced
    1/2 stick butter

  Place brats in a Dutch oven with onions and butter and cover the
brats with beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until brats
are cooked. Remove brats and set aside beer mixture. Grill brats
until golden brown and return to beer mixture until ready to serve.
Serve brats on fresh baked brat buns with sauerkraut, onions, green
peppers, and mustard.

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  Sweet and Sour Brisket
    1 12-ounce bottle beer
    1 cup packed canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
    1/2 cup catsup
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 4- to 5-pound flat-cut beef brisket
    1 large onion, sliced

  Preheat oven to 350F. Combine beer, cranberry sauce and catsup in
medium bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven
over high heat. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Add brisket to
Dutch oven and sear until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer
brisket to plate. Add sliced onion to same pot and saute until soft
and brown, stirring and scraping bottom of pot frequently, about 8
minutes. Place brisket on onions. Pour beer mixture over brisket.
Bring liquids to boil. Cover pot tightly. Transfer to oven and bake
until brisket is tender, about 3 hours. Let brisket cool 30 minutes
before serving.

  Spoon fat from top of gravy. Transfer brisket to cutting board.
Thinly slice brisket across grain. Return brisket to gravy.

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  Chicken Riggies
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 cup butter
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    10 tablespoons minced shallot
    2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 (4 ounce) jar sweet red peppers, drained and julienned
    1/2 cup fresh tomato sauce
    1/4 cup dry sherry
    1 pint heavy cream
    1 (8 ounce) package uncooked rigatoni pasta

  In a large saucepan, heat oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add
garlic and shallots and saute until soft, then add chicken, season
with salt and pepper to taste and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, or until
halfway cooked.

  Add peppers and stir in tomato sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer
about 10 minutes. Add sherry and simmer for another 10 minutes, then
stir in cream and simmer for 10 minutes more. Toss all with hot,
cooked pasta and serve.

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  Black Bean Soup
    12 oz. dried black beans
    8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    1 cup carrots, chopped
    1 cup celery, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    Fresh cilantro (optional)

  Rinse and sort though black beans, discarding any that are shriveled
or discolored. Place beans in a large stockpot. Cover beans with
water and refrigerate to soak overnight. Drain beans and return to
stockpot. Add stock and heat to boiling.

  Meanwhle, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until tender,
approximately 5 minutes. Add to stockpot along with oregano, thyme,
bay leaf and cayenne pepper. Cover stockpot and reduce heat to simmer
for 3 to 4 hours.

  Transfer soup to blender or food processor and puree to desired
thickness. Just before serving add lime juice and garnish with a
sprig of fresh cilantro, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste
and serve.

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  Spanish Rice
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons yellow onions, chopped
    1 cup rice, white, long grain
    1/2 cup tomato juice
    1 cup water
    2 chicken bouillon cubes
    3 dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 pinch black pepper
    1 Roma tomato, chopped
    2 tablespoons red bell peppers, chopped
    2 tablespoons green bell peppers, chopped

  In a sauce pan that has a tight fitting cover, melt the butter and
saute the onions until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice
with butter, then add the tomato juice, water, bouillon cubes, pepper
sauce, chili powder, and black pepper. Stir to dissolve the bouillon
cubes and bring to a boil. Once the liquid reaches a boil, reduce
heat to its lowest setting, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Do not
stir, do not lift the lid.

  Once your timer goes off, remove the pan from the heat, lift the lid
off quickly and throw in the tomatoes, and chopped peppers and put
the lid back on quickly without stirring. Allow the rice to steam in
the pan for 20 more minutes.

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  Grand Marnier French Toast
    4 large eggs
    3/4 cup half and half
    1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon grated orange peel
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    8 3/4-inch-thick French bread slices
    4 tablespoons(1/2 stick) butter
    Powdered sugar
    Warm maple syrup

  Whisk first 6 ingredients to blend in medium bowl. Dip each bread
slice into egg mixture and arrange in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
Pour remaining egg mixture evenly over bread. Let stand until egg
mixture is absorbed, at least 20 minutes.

  Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 350F. Melt 2 tablespoons
butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 bread slices
to skillet and saute until cooked through and brown, about 3 minutes
per side. Place on baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat cooking
with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 4 bread slices. Transfer
French toast to 4 plates. Sift powdered sugar over. Serve with maple
syrup and Canadian bacon on the side.

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  Sour Cream Apple Pie
  For crust:
    1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled butter
    1/4 cup ice water or cold apple cider

  For filling:
    8 Mcintosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
    1 2/3 cups sour cream
    1 cup sugar
    1/3 cup all purpose flour
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon salt

  For topping:
    1 cup chopped walnuts
    1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    pinch of salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

  To make crust: Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium
bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture
resembles coarse meal. Add water and toss mixture gently with fork
until evenly moistened. Gather gently into ball. Transfer to lightly
floured board and roll into circle slightly larger than a deep ten
inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pan and flute the edge. Set aside.

  To make filling: Preheat oven to 450F. Combine apples, sour cream,
sugar, flour, egg, vanilla, and salt in large bowl and mix well.
Spoon into crust. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F
and continue baking until filling is slightly puffed and golden
brown, about 40 minutes. (If edges of crust begin to brown too
quickly, cover with strips of aluminum foil.)

  To make topping: Meanwhile, combine walnuts, flour, sugars,
cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and mix well. Blend in butter until
mixture is crumbly. Spoon over pie and bake 15 minutes longer.


  This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Johnny Carson

  Fruitcake has a long history. Some trace it to Egypt (due to the
prevalence of dried fruits and nuts in the Middle East.) Other
authors comment on its durability which made it a good thing for
medieval knights to pack on their quests. In the US, Southern
teetotalers omitted the liquor often used as a preservative. There
is a tradition to use fruit cake as a wedding cake and to dispense
it in small decorated boxes such that guests can put the cake under
their pillow after the wedding to produce nuptial dreams.


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