Thursday, March 22, 2018

Coleslaw: The Salad Specialty Just Right For Summer Meals


Posted: July 06, 1986

Culinary logic and an appreciation for the appropriate suggest that coleslaw should be a winter specialty, winter being the season when cabbage is at its best. But as soon as swift shipping and cold storage made it a summer possibility, custom made it a summer staple, and though slaw is actually a salad that knows no season, it's a safe bet that far more of it will be forked down on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day than was ever consumed on a Christmas Day.

The incongruity of the cabbage aside, this makes a lot of sense. For one thing, the stuff is durable, not only OK when prepared in advance but generally improved by a bit of marination. Furthermore, it is compact. Ten portions of coleslaw take up a lot less than 10 portions of green salad, an important consideration when the refrigerator is full of beer and watermelon. Finally, it's tidy, easy to eat at picnics, barbecues and other informal occasions - no flapping leaves, no drippy dressing, no elusive, unspearable cherry tomatoes to careen off the plate into Aunt Maude's decolletage.

When you add to these advantages the fact that it's almost impossible to make bad coleslaw and almost impossible to spend much time making it, well, no wonder it's just about the national salad.

Coleslaw's history in America dates back at least to the 18th century. Most authorities describe it as a Dutch import, the name coming from the New World Dutch kool sla (or slaa), which translates to cabbage salad. Food historians John and Karen Hess, on the other hand, point out (in The Taste of America) that "cole" is old English for cabbage (whence we get "cole crops" to describe the whole family from broccoli to kale) and that cabbage is kohl in German. They state flatly that "slaw is a simple corruption of salad."

Authorities do, however, agree that the original dressing was not mayonnaise but what is classically called "boiled dressing" - a cooked mixture of vinegar, seasonings and eggs that often includes milk, cream or sour cream as well. In the hands of unskilled cooks, boiled dressing can be floury, sour and lumpy, and it seems to have seldom been seasoned with the herbs, garlic or onions that we have come to associate with salad. The eminent food writer M.F.K. Fisher called it "dreadful stuff - enough to harm one's soul."

Sometime around the mid-1800s, coleslaw began being called "cold slaw," a change that can be attributed only to mis-hearing, since the salad was often served immediately after having been mixed with the hot dressing. It wasn't until somewhat later that unthickened dressings began to appear, such as this one from The Country Kitchen (1916) "Plain Cold Slaw: Chop a cabbage very fine, add salt; a cup of sugar and good cider vinegar and water in equal parts, to cover."

Commercial mayonnaise manufacture began in 1912 and mayonnaise-based dressing rapidly replaced boiled dressing except in old-fashioned households, particularly those in the Midwest. Vinaigrette-style has never really taken hold, though slaws so dressed do enjoy great popularity in some places, parts of the South and the Southwest especially. Pineapple, raisins, nuts and marshmallows are not, by the way, an inspiration of the 1950s. They were already showing up in salads of all sorts, including coleslaw, when the '20s began to roar.


In the following recipe, a brief salt bath tempers the strength of cold- storage cabbage while moderating the heat of chili peppers, while the dressing is influenced (mildly) by Oriental sauces for cold noodles. Don't be alarmed by the peanut butter; most people won't be able to tell what makes the dressing seem so smooth and rich yet scarcely be there. Though peanut butter is a high-calorie item, there isn't much of it here, and the finished slaw is less fattening than most.


1 medium-sized head firm green cabbage, about 2 pounds

2 medium-sized bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green

1 medium-sized onion

1 or 2 long hot fresh green peppers, cayenne type, enough to make 2 or 3 tablespoons prepared

2 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted chunky peanut butter (pure, all-peanut type)

A 1/2-inch cube of peeled fresh ginger (measured after peeling)

2 medium-sized cloves garlic

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Remove the coarse outer leaves and core from the cabbage, then chop into small pieces - not too fine, about one-third-inch square. A processor works fine as long as you don't let it get carried away. Chop bell peppers and onion to the same size. Remove all but about one-quarter teaspoon of the hot pepper's seeds, then chop the peppers a bit smaller than the other vegetables. The object is a gentle heat, not a roaring fire.

Combine the prepared vegetables in a large bowl with the salt, stir thoroughly, and allow to sit for an hour or so at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Turn the mixture into a colander or large strainer and drain, pressing, stirring, and pressing again so as much juice as possible will be removed.

Make the dressing. Put the peanut butter in a small bowl, position a grate over it and grate in the ginger and garlic, using the small (one-eighth inch) round holes. You should get thin shreds, not crumbs. Add sugar, and stir well. Stir in the lime juice and soy, then enough water to make a dressing the texture of mayonnaise - about two tablespoons. The amount will seem scant but it will be enough.

Combine the dressing with the salad, let it marinate 20 minutes or so, then taste. Depending on the thoroughness of the draining, it may actually need salt. Depending on what the slaw will be served with, you may also want a bit of sourness; but be careful not to upset the subtle balance that distinguishes this version of the old favorite. It's particularly nice with grilled fish. Makes six to eight servings.

A Smorgasbord Of Neighborhood Specialties

Source: Posted: March 18, 1987

Potluck has gotten a bad name. It almost has the feeling of leftovers, something that isn't quite up to par, something less than exotic. That's one reason University City's Potluck Gourmet appears to be a culinary oxymoron.

Invite someone over for "potluck" and it's saying "Diner Beware." And an invitation to a potluck dinner brings to mind a table full of tuna-noodle casseroles and Jello salads.

Potluck deserves an image change. As practiced by a group of West Philadelphia neighbors, potluck means tiny phyllo triangles stuffed with cheese, a tangy Oriental chicken served in a giant wok, sweet and sour meatballs, a raisin-studded kugel, and spicy barbecue. Any of the main courses would stand proud on its own; together they form an embarrassment of riches.

Neighbors living on the 400 block of S. 49th Street gather twice a year for ''potluck," a dead-of-the-winter dinner and an early spring barbecue, a tradition that began about 12 years ago. The winter dinner, in particular, is a chance for weather-hindered neighbors to catch up on the news that flows more easily on summer evenings when many are outdoors on patios or working in their yards.

The United Nations quality of the neighborhood - where black, Oriental, and white is spiced with Ethiopian and Greek - colors the potluck menus. It's the kind of neighborhood where someone who's lived there five years can still feel like a veritable newcomer, compared to the 20-, 30- and 40-year residents. But everyone is thrilled when the newest neighbor, a single man, shows up at the door, his arms full of homemade bread.

The most recent 49th Street potluck, held in late February, was organized by Jeanette Greipp and Lela Bethel, who each took one side of the block and called every neighbor, keeping track of who wanted to bring what. The party was held in the home of Polly and James Muhly; she and her mother contributed authentic Greek delicacies. Block captain Tony Searles came parading in with his famous spicy barbecue, and he fielded the questions about how to eat pork and beef necks.

Here are a few of the dishes brought to the dinner. All of them are perfect potluck fare because they are delicious served at room temperature.

This hearty and healthy casserole was contributed by Lela Bethel.


3 boxes frozen chopped spinach

3 boxes frozen chopped broccoli

3 cans cream of mushroom soup

3 cans french fried onions

2 cans sliced water chestnuts

Cook and drain spinach and broccoli. Mix all the ingredients together and bake in a 13x9-inch dish at 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serves a crowd.

Rosalie King brought these rice-and-meatballs.


1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup raw rice

3 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 (4-ounce) cans tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients and form into 12 or 15 small balls. Place 3 tablespoons of fat in a large frying pan and brown the balls lightly. Drain off the excess fat and place meatballs in a casserole dish. Pour the 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of water over them. Cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender.

This may be the most exotic barbecue sauce ever, created by Tony Searles.


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 lemon, sliced

1/4 cup wine vinegar

15 dried red hot peppers, crumbled (or 6 for milder flavor)

1 can tomato paste

2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup spicey mustard

1/4 cup Pickapeppa Sauce (Jamaican)

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

2 small onions, finely diced

1 teaspoon garlic powder or 4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoons liquid smoke or 1/4 cup of water from boiled hickory chips

Chili powder to taste for hotness (if desired)

2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 hours.

Cut up 6 pounds of beef or pork necks in 2 1/2-inch chunks. Marinate in sauce for 2-3 hours. (Wrap in bacon slices to preserve the meat's moisture. This will make continuous baste while smoking.)

Smoke with hickory chips for 3 hours or grill to taste.

These Sweet & Sour Meatballs are the specialty of Jeanette Greipp.


3 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

Grated onion

1/2 cup bread crumbs


Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together, using just enough water to dampen, and form into small meatballs.


Juice of 2 lemons

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil. Drop in meatballs and simmer for 3/4 hour. Then add an 8-ounce can tomato sauce and simmer for an additional 1/2 hour.

Here's a nice all-American salad to balance all the spicy ethnic main dishes.


1 10-ounce package fresh spinach

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 large red onion, sliced thin

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded

1 pint mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

Salt, pepper, and sugar

Start layering salad with spinach, then lettuce, sliced onion, bacon, and peas. After each layer, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and sugar. Continued layering until all ingredients are used up (you'll need a big salad bowl.) Mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream until blended. Spread over the top of the salad, like cake icing. Sprinkle the Swiss cheese over the top. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, just dig in. Makes 8-10 servings.

Perfect Pasta Sauces - Pronto Some Can Be Made With No Cooking At All

Source: Posted: March 18, 1987

Spaghetti is a natural convenience food. Made of nothing but flour and water, it can be stored at room temperature for years and be freshly cooked just minutes later.

Spaghetti sauces, though, are usually a different story. Most of them call for long lists of ingredients and hours of simmering. Jarred and canned varieties cut preparation time, but many of them are loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives, making them undesirable for many consumers.

The good news is that there are scores of spaghetti sauces that can be made in minutes from a few artfully combined ingredients.

Take clam sauce, for example. Home-cooked clam sauce takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and contains fewer than 10 ingredients, including the salt and pepper. And its flavor makes canned varieties obsolete.

Tomato sauce is another example. Long-simmered tomato sauces are wonderful, but there is no law that requires them to cook all day. Tomatoes are vegetables, after all. They require no more cooking than zucchini or asparagus to release their flavor. Fresh tomato sauce can be ready in five minutes from start to finish, and it has a brighter flavor than many sauces taking 10 times as long. Try the recipe below for Tomato Sauce With Vodka and Cream if you doubt us.

Many quick pasta sauces are dry. In a dry sauce, a few flavorful ingredients are tossed together and then put on top of the spaghetti. Their aromas infuse the pasta as bits of ingredients nestle among the tangle of noodles. Our recipes for Green Parsley Pasta and for Pasta With Smoked Turkey, Pine Nuts and Rosemary both fall into this category.

Two ingredients make almost any pasta sauce instantly delectable: wine and cream. Wine reduced with flavorful vegetables and herbs takes just minutes to coat a plate of spaghetti with an aromatic sweet-and-sour bite. Cream needs only a moment on the heat to transform into a silken sauce. Combine it simply with bacon and cheese for a perfect Alfredo or flecks of garlic and a stream of hot-pepper sauce for a rich and piquant sauce that both burns and soothes with every bite.

Another type of sauce requires no cooking at all. In this one, flavorful ingredients are marinated together and then tossed onto the hot spaghetti just before serving. The final two recipes below fall into this category. In one, roasted peppers are marinated in oil and garlic and then tossed with pasta, walnuts and cheese. The effect is casual and sophisticated. In the last recipe, marinated artichoke-heart salad is tossed with feta and pasta. It's both exotic and homey - not bad for a meal that's on the table 10 minutes after the water begins to boil.


All of the following recipes are written for one pound of spaghetti cooked al dente in rapidly boiling salted water mixed with a tablespoon of oil. The cooked spaghetti should be thoroughly drained and washed briefly in hot running water before it is mixed with the sauce.


2 shallots, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

In skillet, cook shallots and garlic in olive oil over low heat until they just begin to soften. Add parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with one pound of piping-hot cooked pasta, and toss in the cheese. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

12 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, cook garlic over moderate heat in olive oil until its aroma is released. Add crushed pepper, and stir briskly. Add tomatoes, and cook until they begin to release their liquid. Add vodka and cream, and simmer a few minutes until sauce thickens lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with one pound of piping-hot spaghetti. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 cup diced smoked turkey

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, ground

1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Heat oils gently in skillet. Add pine nuts, turkey and dried rosemary, and heat gently until pine nuts toast lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Add orange zest, garlic and fresh rosemary leaves. Toss with one pound of piping- hot spaghetti. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

2 dozen littleneck clams

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons butter

In heavy saucepan, heat olive oil, and cook onion and garlic in it until just softened. Add wine, thyme and lemon juice, and cook until alcohol evaporates.

Add clams, and cover pot until clams open, about four minutes. Remove clams from their shell, and place back into sauce. Discard shells. Stir in the parsley and butter, and toss with one pound of piping-hot cooked spaghetti.

Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


1 cucumber, peeled, split and seeded

1 teaspoon coarse salt

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 bunch scallions, white part only, thinly sliced

1 pound medium or small shrimp, peeled and cleaned

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed

1 cup cream

In mixing bowl, mix cucumber and coarse salt, and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Turn into towel and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Set aside.

In skillet, melt butter, and saute scallion and garlic until barely softened. Add wine, and reduce to one-third its volume. Add shrimp and dill, and stir until shrimp are opaque and firm. Add cream, and reduce until lightly thickened. Add cucumbers, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with piping-hot cooked spaghetti, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.


2 large roasted bell peppers, homemade or canned

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

1/4 cup walnut pieces

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Remove seeds and stems from peppers. Cut peppers into medium dice. In mixing bowl, marinate peppers in olive oil and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper. Marinate for as long as possible, though as briefly as 10 minutes is fine.

Toss this mixture with one pound of piping-hot cooked spaghetti, and toss with walnuts and cheese. Adjust seasoning, and serve immediately. Makes four servings.


12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, cut in eighths

4 ounces feta cheese, cut into small dice

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix artichoke hearts with feta, and allow to marinate for at least an hour. Toss with one pound of cooked hot spaghetti. Then toss with parsley and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

A Bit Of Beef Starts Supper

Source: Posted: June 03, 1987

No such thing as leftovers at your place? That's great! You're such a capable cook that you always prepare just the right amount and not a morsel more. Hat's off! But wait a minute. Does the "right amount" always coincide with all the food that's available? Do you stretch your appetite to accommodate whatever's left on the serving platter, because otherwise the food would "go to waste?"

To prevent unneeded extras from going to YOUR waist, think of those last few slices of meat, that extra chop or chicken breast as a head start on another day's dinner. Forget that wallflower word "leftover." Recycled into a fresh new dish, extras lose their orphan status and make a glamorous comeback.

Cold cooked hamburgers may seem like a lost cause - better stick it on a bun and have another while it's hot. But think of it this way: Extra hamburgers on the grill are merely browned ground meat, the first step in more complex casseroles. When the meat is cool, simply crumble it into a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze it for use in spaghetti sauce, lasagne or stuffed peppers. Or try this super simple dish:


1 large, sweet Spanish onion, thinly sliced

1 red (or green) bell pepper, cut in squares

2 celery ribs, diagonally sliced

2-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained

1/2 cup tomato juice

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 cups fresh (or canned, drained) bean sprouts

Optional: 5-ounce can water chestnuts, drained, sliced

2 cups (10 ounces) crumbled cooked lean hamburger

1/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine onion, bell pepper, celery, mushrooms, tomato juice and soy sauce in a large non-stick skillet. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Uncover; stir in bean sprouts, water chestnuts (if using) and meat. Cook and stir over moderate heat until mixture simmers. Mix water and cornstarch; add to skillet. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and clears. Makes 4 servings, 225 calories each; water chestnuts add 30 calories per serving.

What about baked or broiled chicken breasts? The cooked meat can be saved for salads or sandwiches or recycled into this pronto pasta-topper:


1 teaspoon oil

1 tablespoon water

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)

16-ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained, broken up

4-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons each, fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon each, dried) basil and oregano

Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

2 or 3 broiled chicken breast halves

optional: 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

Combine oil and water in a large non-stick skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients except chicken and cheese, if using. Cover; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While tomato mixture simmers, remove skin and bones from chicken and dice meat into bite-size pieces (you should have about 2 cups). Stir chicken into tomato mixture. Simmer uncovered 4 to 5 minutes until mixture is thick. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Makes 4 servings, 190 calories each; cheese adds 15 calories per serving. Serve with pasta or rice, if preferred.

Leftover lean steak or roast beef can be combined with any favorite frozen vegetable mixture to make this meal in a minute:


10-ounce package Oriental vegetables (or any frozen mixed vegetables), thawed

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion (or celery)

6 ounces ( 3/4 cup) tomato juice

1 cup (5 ounces) leanest cooked roast beef, sliced

1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or pumpkin pie slice)

Combine vegetables and water in a non-stick sauce pan or skillet. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until liquid evaporates to a thick glaze, about 3 to 4 minutes. Makes 2 servings, 230 calories each.

Basics: How To Clarify Your Butter

Source: Posted: June 29, 1988

Most cooks can close their eyes and imagine the sounds of butter sizzling in a saute pan. That's a nice recollection. They can also probably recall the bitter smell of that butter scorching when the heat was too high, or when it was left to sizzle unattended.

Burning butter is frustrating; the time it takes to clean the pan and start over also can have a domino effect on the timing of your recipe. There's a simple way to address that problem: Use clarified butter.

Butter is clarified by being melted slowly. That causes the milk solids to sink to the bottom of the saucepan, leaving a clear, yellow liquid on top. The clear (clarified) liquid is saved; the milky residue is discarded.

When heated, the clarified butter will not easily burn or become bitter, because it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than unclarified butter. It also will not turn rancid as quickly.

Clarified butter is excellent for quick sauteing of such delicate foods as scallops and chicken breasts. Because it can be heated to a higher temperature, food cooked in it also browns better.

There is a negative side: Butter, when clarified, loses some of its rich flavor. But the virtues far outweigh the drawbacks.

Here are two ways to clarify butter:

Cut 1 pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter into small pieces, and place the pieces in a saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, skimming off the foam that appears with a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the milk solids settle. Skim the clear, yellowish liquid off the milky residue in the bottom of the saucepan, place it in a jar, cover and store in the refrigerator. Discard the residue, but keep the foam for seasoning vegetables. Clarified butter will last for at least a month.

Another method is to cut 1 pound of butter into small cubes and place them in a glass, oven-proof bowl. Place the bowl in a 325-degree oven until all the butter melts. Remove the bowl from the oven, and allow the liquid to cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. In a few hours, the liquid will have solidified in three layers - the milky residue, the clarified butter and the foam. Remove the solid mass from the bowl and separate the center layer of clarified butter from the solids on the bottom and the thin layer of solidified foam on the top. Wrap the clarified butter in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator until needed.

A Guide To Greater Grilling, Other Outdoor Cooking

Source: Posted: August 03, 1988

A handy companion for this season's outdoor-grilling activities is Barbecuing, Grilling & Smoking ($7.95) produced by the California Culinary Academy. Its more than 140 recipes are a trusty treatment of a cooking technique that continues to grow in popularity.

The book explores the regional and international differences in barbecuing, which it concludes are not very substantial. Much of the book deals with the fundamental execution of grilling, with specific discussions of how to grill different meats. Smoking techniques also are defined, and a chapter is devoted to campfire cooking.

There are recipes for dry spice rubs, marinades and barbecue sauces. Along with main-course grilling, the book features recipes for interesting side dishes, such as grilled tofu or grilled polenta.

Mail-order sources are listed for specialty meats and ingredients, as well as those for sausage-making equipment, outdoor-cooking equipment and camping information.

Here are some recipes from the book:


1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 large bluefish filets (approximately 1 pound each)

Fresh rosemary sprigs, soaked in water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Rub garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into each bluefish filet, and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, use hardwood sawdust to create a smoky flavor. If using charcoal, which is preferable for this recipe, use presoaked hardwood chips. When the fire is ready, throw the moistened rosemary sprigs on the coals.

Place the bluefish, meat side down, on grill, and close lid. Bluefish is a very oily fish and will take longer to cook than others. Cook six to eight minutes per side, moistening the flesh with lemon juice as it cooks. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges. Makes three to four servings.


1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into pieces

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons oil, plus oil for the grill

Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Remove and discard the skin. Prepare a marinade by mixing the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cayenne, parsley, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with the marinade, and cover. Refrigerate for at least two and not more than six hours; leaving chicken in marinade overnight is not recommended, as meat will become too tender and fall apart on the grill.

Rub excess marinade from chicken, and lightly coat the chicken with oil. When the fire is ready, place the chicken on the oiled grill, meat side down, and immediately close lid to avoid flare-ups.

Turn the chicken several times while it cooks, and baste frequently with oil to prevent meat from drying. Chicken will be done much more quickly than you may expect because of the cooking action of the marinade and because the skin has been removed. Cook until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes three to four servings.


1 duck, 4 to 5 pounds

2 stalks lemongrass

4 to 5 slices fresh ginger

3 scallions

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons Poultry Spice Rub (recipe below)

Prepare the grill for indirect-heat cooking by moving the hot coals to either side of the grill and placing an aluminum drip pan between the coals.

Wash the duck, and pat it dry. Prepare a stuffing by roughly chopping the lemongrass, ginger, scallions and cilantro. Combine the mixture with the five- spice powder, and stuff the mixture into the duck. Close the opening of the duck with toothpicks, or sew tightly with butcher's string. Prick the duck all over with a fork so that the fat will render during cooking.

Rub the duck all over with the minced garlic and the spice rub. When the fire is ready, add hardwood sawdust for a smoky flavor if using a gas grill; if using charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chips. Place the duck on an oiled grill over the drip pan, and close the lid. Allow the fire to cool down to about 350 degrees, and try to maintain that temperature for the duration of the cooking time (about 1 1/2 hours). The duck is done when the skin is crisp and dark brown, or when an instant-read thermometer inserted between the thigh and the breast registers between 165 and 170 degrees.

Remove the duck from the grill, and discard the stuffing. Disjoint the duck with a boning knife or kitchen shears. Serve immediately. Makes two to three servings.


1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons tarragon

1/2 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Mixture can be stored for up to four months in a jar in the spice rack. Makes three tablespoons.


8 lamb loin chops, about 5 ounces each

1/4 cup Lamb Spice Rub (recipe below)

4 tablespoons unsweetened butter

Lightly coat the lamb chops with the olive oil. Massage the chops with the spice rub until well coated.

Cover and let them rest at room temperature for at least one hour.

If using a gas grill, add hardwood sawdust for a smoky flavor; if using charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chunks.

When the fire is ready, place the meat on an oiled grill, baste with butter, and close lid. Cook four to five minutes, turn, baste with more butter, and cook for an additional four to five minutes. Spices will blacken as they form a crust.

Be careful not to inhale too many of the vapors from the spices as they cook, for they are quite strong. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.


1 teaspoon fennel seed, braised or crushed in a mortar and pestle

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons rosemary

1 teaspoon basil

Combine all ingredients, and mix well. Can be stored for up to four months in a jar in your spice rack. Makes four tablespoons.

Use as directed above.

All The Comforts Of Home

Source: Posted: February 15, 1989

The aftershocks of the Oct. 19, 1987, stock market crash - not to mention the fall of the dollar - have brought the charge-it generation of the 1980s back to reality.

Now baby boomers are salving the wounds of conspicuous consumption by staying at home with their young families and eating "comfort" foods.

"Fewer people are able to spend money like yuppies did in the early '80s. When you stay at home, you have more control over spending," notes Mona Doyle, president of Consumer Network Inc., a consumer research organization based in Philadelphia.

The stay-at-home concept was dubbed "cocooning" (Doyle calls it ''nesting") by trend spotter Faith Popcorn. Comfort foods are defined by Holly Garrison, author of "Comfort Food" (Donald I. Fine, $16.95), as ''reminiscent of childhood, adolescence, less complicated times and 'Mommy!' " Thus, classic comfort foods are dishes such as mashed potatoes, Welsh rarebit and pot roast.

Garrison says comfort food and cocooning go hand in hand.

"People are looking for reassurance. It's a very scary world out there," she says.

To recover from the big, bad outside world, Garrison "can't imagine anything better than settling down in front of the television with a plate of cold fried chicken, an old movie and maybe a little fudge for later. That would be heaven." She also notes that "people have had it up to here with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes."

Fast-laners may not have given up pesto or traded in the BMW for a Ford Country Squire, but at least they've installed a car seat for the baby. They've also added a lot of equipment to their houses so that retrenching in their abode isn't exactly the adult version of going to your room.

According to Paul Verden, associate professor of sociology at Santa Clara University, "The home was previously thought of as secure but dull. Now people can broaden their experiences without leaving home by utilizing all the creature comforts that used to be available only outside the home."

Though Verden describes comfort food as possessing "sensate" qualities (that is, sense-satisfying), it isn't exactly the kind of food that's going to endear you to your cardiologist - or your interior decorator.

"Comfort foods are really fatty and not very dashing - usually beige, brown and white," said Garrison, who said the essential quality of comfort food is that "it makes you feel good when you swallow it."

Since the nature of comfort food is nostalgia, if not a regression to childhood, one wonders what the comfort food of the Pepsi generation will be.

"Who knows?" Garrison said, "it might be McDonald's."


Before spaghetti and noodles became pasta, there was macaroni and cheese. As soothing as former President Reagan's avuncular voice on radio, macaroni and cheese comforts like no other food. Here is Reagan's recipe for macaroni and cheese, from "The White House Family Cookbook" by Henry Haller (Random House). Use elbow macaroni or a similar short "pasta" for your noodle.


1/2 pound macaroni

1 tablespoon butter

1 large egg, beaten

3 cups (12 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup warm milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Pinch of paprika

Add macaroni to 2 quarts of boiling salted water and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole.

Drain cooked macaroni well in a colander; transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the 1 tablespoon butter and beaten egg. Add 2 1/2 cups of the grated cheese. In a small bowl, combine milk with salt, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon macaroni-and-cheese mixture into prepared casserole. Pour milk mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining half-cup of grated cheese. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake on middle rack at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until macaroni is firm to the touch and the top is crusty and browned. Serve at once. Makes four servings as an entree, six to eight as a side dish.

Holly Garrison said fried chicken, in addition to being one of the most popular comfort foods, is also one of the most controversial. Her grandmother, like many others, fried the chicken in lard, about as repugnant to most people these days as Agent Orange. She suggests solid white vegetable shortening as an alternative. If you don't have a large 12-inch skillet like Grandma's, try two 10-inch skillets simultaneously.


1 broiler-fryer chicken cut into 8 pieces (the back broken in half, should be fried, too, because it makes great "picking" for those who enjoy the crispy part as much as the meat)

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 to 1 cup solid white vegetable shortening, if using one large skillet, and about 1 1/2 cups shortening if using two smaller skillets

Rinse chicken pieces and place in a colander to drain thoroughly. However, the chicken should not be so dry that the seasonings and flour will not stick to it.

Sprinkle chicken rather liberally with salt and pepper, especially pepper. Place flour on a large piece of waxed paper and dredge chicken pieces, one by one, placing them on a rack.

Melt shortening in a heavy, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. The fat should be at least 1/4 inch deep. When it is very hot, add the chicken pieces (the oil should really sizzle when the chicken is added), without crowding them, skin side down. It's best to start with the dark-meat pieces because they will take longer to fry.

Fry chicken pieces until golden brown, turning occasionally. It should take about 6 to 7 minutes to brown each side, so if the pieces brown too quickly or too slowly, adjust the heat down or up accordingly. When both sides are appetizingly colored, partly cover the skillet to allow the steam to escape and the chicken to finish cooking. Continue to cook, turning the pieces three or four times, for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece and whether the meat is white or dark.

As the chicken pieces finish, drain them on paper towels and place on a platter. Put the platter in a 200-degree oven, where the fried chicken will keep very nicely until you are ready to serve it. Makes four servings.

Garrison calls chocolate "the quintessential feel-good food." And what could be more comforting than the uncomplicated days of the Eisenhower presidency?


2 cups sugar

1 (5.3-ounce) can evaporated milk (not condensed)

Pinch salt

1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces (1 cup)

6 ounces (from 2 4-ounce bars) sweet baking chocolate, cut into small pieces

1 (7 1/2-ounce) jar marshmallow cream

1 cup coarsely broken walnuts

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a heavy, 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add both kinds of chocolate, marshmallow cream and nuts. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is a uniform color. Scrape into prepared pan. Cut cooled fudge into squares. Makes about 2 1/2 pounds of inch-high fudge.

You can use fresh corn for the following recipe, but it is infinitely easier with canned cream-style corn. Most canned cream-style is sweet enough to make the addition of sugar unnecessary.


2 (17-ounce) cans cream-style corn

2 eggs beaten

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine corn, butter, eggs, flour, salt, pepper and sugar, if desired, in a larger bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn corn mixture into a prepared casserole. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set in the center and crust forms around the edge. Makes six servings.

Basics: Clarifying Butter And Becoming A Ghee Wiz

Source: Posted: January 03, 1990

The virtue of clarified butter is that it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than unclarified butter. That means it will not burn as easily, making it a better medium for sauteing and browning foods.

Another plus is that clarified butter keeps longer than regular butter.

Though some cooks might miss the buttery flavor that's lost in the clarifying process, an interesting, subtle, nutty flavor takes its place.

Clarified butter is made by simply melting butter slowly so that the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan in the form of a residue. These solids are discarded; the clear, yellow liquid on top is the clarified butter.

There is an Indian version of clarified butter, called ghee, that is made in such a way that it can be stored longer than the product of the traditional Western method.

Here are instructions for both methods, and a recipe for Wiener schnitzel that utilizes either the traditional clarified butter or ghee.

Traditional clarified butter: Cut one pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter into small pieces. Place the pieces in a saucepan and melt them over medium heat. Skim off the white foam as it appears. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the milk solids settle. When the solids settle, skim off the clear, yellowish liquid and place it in a clean, airtight jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Ghee: Melt one pound (four sticks) of unsalted butter, being careful not to brown it, over medium heat. Bring it gently to a boil, skimming off the white foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, until the milk solids on the bottom are brown and the top liquid clear. Line a sieve with four layers of cheesecloth, and strain the liquid. Repeat the straining procedure if the liquid is not perfectly clear. Store in an airtight jar. Will keep up to three months at room temperature.

Here is a recipe that uses clarified butter. It is a favorite of Steven Raichlen, a classically trained chef and food writer who founded A Taste of the Mountains Cooking School in New Hampshire.


1 pound veal scaloppine, each slice about 2 ounces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

1 cup bread crumbs

6 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee

8 lemon wedges, for garnish

Season the scaloppine on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip each piece of veal first in the flour, shaking off excess, then in the egg, and finally in the bread crumbs. Place the slices of veal on a clean, dry plate until ready to fry. The scaloppine can be prepared up to three hours ahead to this stage, but will taste better if breaded at the last minute.

Heat the clarified butter or ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. It should be hot but not smoking. To test the temperature, dip in a piece of veal - if bubbles dance around it, proceed.

Fry the veal pieces for 30 seconds on each side. Do not crowd pan, or the veal will stew rather than crisply fry. Use two pans if necessary. Serve the Wiener Schnitzel as soon as it is cooked, garnished with lemon wedges for squeezing. Makes four servings.

The Real Skinny On Sponge Cake

Source: Posted: January 30, 1991

There are two ways for the weight-wary to eat cake without guilt: One is to maximize natural flavors and remove as much fat and sugar as possible; the other is to sneak in some real nutrition so that when you skip half the meal to save room for dessert, you're not robbing your body of something it really needs. The best approach is to do both!

Sponge cake is a prime example of the first approach. Our recipe gets its little bit of fat from egg yolks and nothing else. It's lightly sweetened so that you can sweeten it up with natural, good-for-you fruit as a topping.


2/3 cup cake flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

8 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside. Beat the 3 egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff, but not dry.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of sugar over whites. Beat in thoroughly. Set aside. Beat the 2 egg yolks until thick and light, about 3 minutes. Beat in water, remaining sugar and extract. Continue beating for 5 minutes. Gently fold flour mixture into yolk mixture in several small additions.

Then, gently but thoroughly fold in beaten egg whites. Divide mixture between 2 non-stick layer cake pans lined with waxed paper circles. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 to 40 minutes, until cake is springy and done. Cool.

Remove layers and peel off paper. Makes two layers, 395 calories per layer. Each later can be cut into six wedges at 65 calories each. (Top with sliced fresh berries, if desired.)

Here's an off-season sweet treat that can be made with canned peaches or the sliced fresh nectarines appearing in some markets this time of year. You can cut calories about 15 per serving by using unsweetened raspberries (sweeten to taste with low calorie sweetener, if desired.)


1 layer Slim Sponge Cake, baked (recipe given)

16-ounce can peaches, sliced, juice-packed, drained or 4 ripe nectarines pitted and sliced

10-ounce package frozen sweetened raspberries

Put the cake layer on a platter and arrange the peach slices on top, facing in the same direction. Puree the raspberries in a covered blender and drizzle over the peach slices. Makes 8 servings, 110 calories each.

Here's a lower caloried version of the classic "dump" cake: (it gets its unappetizing-sounding name from the fact that you "dump" all the ingredients in the cakepan and stir like crazy! This recipe is not only low-cal but it's also quick and easy and quick-to-clean-up!


3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons plain cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 cup water

Sift first five ingredients together into a 9-inch non-stick cake pan, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Stir in remaining ingredients until thoroughly blended. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 12 servings, about 145 calories each.


Cake: 4 eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup self-rising cake flour, sifted

2 tablespoons cocoa, plain, lowfat

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar, sifted

Filling: 4-serving package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup yogurt, plain, lowfat

CAKE: Combine egg whites and salt. Beat until stiff. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Set aside. Beat egg yolks until light. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar. Continue beating until thick, about 5 minutes.

Fold yolks into beaten whites. Sift flour and cocoa together. Gently fold into egg mixture a little at a time. Line a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Spread batter evenly over paper.

Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar over a cotton or linen dish towel on a flat surface. Turn the cake on to the towel. While still warm, peel off the waxed paper and roll towel and cake together lengthwise. Cool. Unroll to fill.

FILLING: Beat together the pudding mix, milk and yogurt. Mixture will be thick. Unroll cake. Spread evenly with filling. Re-roll. Sift the remaining teaspoon of confectioners' sugar over the top. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 12 servings, 133 calories each with sugar-free pudding mix.

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