Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).





































































1 (30-40 oz.) can Refried Beans

16 oz. Fresh or Ready Made Guacamole

12 oz. Sour Cream

1 c. Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1/2 c. Tomatoes, chopped

1/2 c. Green Onions, sliced

1 (2-1/2 oz.) can Black Olives

Taco Seasoning


Layer beans on bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Layer remaining ingredients, except tortilla

chips, in order given. For spicier dip, mix 1 pkg. of taco seasoning in sour cream

before spreading. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.



Serves 4

8 thick pork spareribs or 4 thick pork chops

White wine, such as riesling

2 fresh bay leaves

2 sprigs sage

2 onions, finely sliced

1 carrot, quartered lengthwise

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed

1/2 cup light stock (chicken or veal)

1 cup gin

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound jar prepared sauerkraut, well rinsed under cold running water

Sprigs of watercress, for garnish


Put pork in a bowl, cover with white wine, add herbs, onions, carrot, garlic, juniper berries, stock and gin. Cover and marinate in refrigerator about 2 hours or overnight. Transfer to a glazed clay pot. Put pot in a cold oven and turn to 400 degrees; cook until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove meat, then strain cooking stock, chill and skim fat.


Place layer of meat in bottom of pot, season, then add a layer of sauerkraut. Repeat until all meat and sauerkraut has been used. Add skimmed stock, put into oven and heat to boiling point. Reduce heat to 300 to 325 degrees and simmer slowly 1 1/2-2 hours.





Serves 4

8 thick pork spareribs or 4 thick pork chops

White wine, such as riesling

2 fresh bay leaves

2 sprigs sage

2 onions, finely sliced

1 carrot, quartered lengthwise

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed

1/2 cup light stock (chicken or veal)

1 cup gin

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound jar prepared sauerkraut, well rinsed under cold running water

Sprigs of watercress, for garnish


Put pork in a bowl, cover with white wine, add herbs, onions, carrot, garlic, juniper berries, stock and gin. Cover and marinate in refrigerator about 2 hours or overnight. Transfer to a glazed clay pot. Put pot in a cold oven and turn to 400 degrees; cook until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove meat, then strain cooking stock, chill and skim fat.


Place layer of meat in bottom of pot, season, then add a layer of sauerkraut. Repeat until all meat and sauerkraut has been used. Add skimmed stock, put into oven and heat to boiling point. Reduce heat to 300 to 325 degrees and simmer slowly 1 1/2-2 hours.


To serve: place 1-2 tablespoons sauerkraut on heated dinner plates and put 2 slices of pork on top. Garnish with watercress, drizzle with stock and serve with new potatoes and beer or white wine.


Note: This recipe also can be made without the sauerkraut. Simmer meat for about 1 1/2-2 hours, then serve with mustard-mashed potatoes.

place 1-2 tablespoons sauerkraut on heated dinner plates and put 2 slices of pork on top. Garnish with watercress, drizzle with stock and serve with new potatoes and beer or white wine.


Note: This recipe also can be made without the sauerkraut. Simmer meat for about 1 1/2-2 hours, then serve with mustard-mashed potatoes.









The beat goes on for airy, tender angel food cake


Angel food cake used to be ho-hum until someone marketed it as the ``no-fat'' treasure of the cake world. Then it became a rage. Again.


Angel food cake was a favorite White House dessert in the 1800s. The cake is said to have been originally a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty and contains no solid fat or egg yolk to tenderize the crumb. With its sponge-like delicate texture and incredible versatility, pure white angel food cake has stepped into the 21st century intact.


I love the names for the different types of angel food cake: Hell's Angel (made with brown sugar), Dream Angel (frosted with whipped cream), Snow Angel (with coconut and coconut extract), and Little Angels (made in mini-Bundt or tube pans).


Angel food cakes can be made with all sorts of spice flavorings and extracts, but the basic proportions remain constant. They are also a wonderful venue for chunks of white or dark chocolate. My sister Meg layers her angel food cake with defrosted sweetened raspberries and ices the whole thing with white chocolate whipped cream for a fantastic birthday cake. With the addition of cocoa powder, a lovely low-cholesterol chocolate angel food cake can be made.


The secret to a good from-scratch angel food cake is beating the egg whites until they are so airy that they stand on their own. First, let your eggs sit out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes before you separate them. If you rush this, I guarantee you will not get a great cake. Also when separating the eggs, make sure no yolk gets into those whites. A dab of yolk can ruin a whole cake. I separate each egg into a small bowl, then pour it into the mixing bowl.


At all stages, you want to keep the whites from deflating. This is beautifully accomplished with the electric mixers we have in our modern kitchens, but early recipes call for laborious hand beating.


There are three distinct stages in beating the whites for this type of cake: First, the room temperature egg whites are beaten until frothy with a beater or whisk attachment that is spotlessly clean. If there's even a trace of butter or oil on the beater or in the bowl, you won't have nicely beaten whites. Now the salt and the all-important cream of tartar (which adds stability and volume -- beating egg whites in a copper bowl has the same effect) can be added.


Then, beat on high speed until the whites form soft, billowy peaks when the beater is raised up. While the machine is beating, the fine granulated sugar is sprinkled in in a steady shower. Slow is the key here; add it a tablespoon at a time, to keep the egg whites from breaking down. This makes a classic, sturdy mixture known as a meringue. After the sugar is added, incorporate the extracts.


The other ingredients are ever-so-gently folded in with a rubber spatula, a balloon whisk or very slowly right with the mixer, so that the egg whites retain their full volume. It is the egg whites that give the lift that will allow the cake to double in the oven without any leavening.


Please use cake flour, which is bleached, since it holds the high proportion of sugar in an angel food cake just right and makes it nice and tender. All-purpose flour just won't rise as high.


The shiny metal two-piece angel food cake pan with the tube in the middle is easy to find; even supermarkets often carry them. It is such a common kitchen pan that even people who don't bake seem to own one. It is always used ungreased, since the cake literally ``climbs'' its sides while baking. The tube allows heat to reach the center of the cake and makes for a very evenly baked delight. Friends have baked this batter in cake pans, just for fun, but the cake doesn't perform as well outside of its traditional pan. It's better to leave well enough alone, although you can use a Bundt pan, which would have to be greased.


The tube also performs another function out of the oven. The cake must be inverted during cooling to keep that lovely height or it will sink mercilessly. Usually there are three little feet on the pan edge, but if your cake is extra high, just invert the funnel onto a full soda or wine bottle for about 1 1/2 hours.


With their high, fluffy texture, angel food cakes can be tough to cut without squishing them. Some cookbooks say to cut angel food cakes by tearing them apart with two forks. My mother's utensil drawer contained a gadget called a cake breaker that looked like a pronged Afro comb. It was supposed to tear the cake to perfection, but I never saw her use it. I find that a good serrated knife and a gentle back-and-forth sawing motion works better. Just never press down. Plain (unfilled) cakes keep two to three days at room temperature and a week in the fridge.



16 Fat asparagus spears

1 ts Salt

6 tb Butter

2 Eggs; beaten together


16 sm Slices prosciutto

1 tb Cooking oil


Cook asparagus in boiling salted water until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, spray with cold water, and pat dry.

Lay asparagus out on a platter. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and drizzle it over asparagus spears. Put beaten eggs on one plate and flour for dredging on another. Heat remaining butter and oil in a skillet.


Wrap each asparagus spear in a slice of prosciutto. Roll them in flour (brush off excess), dip in egg, and saute them until golden, about 2 minutes to a side. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.


NOTE: If there are no fat asparagus, use twice as many skinny ones; cook a few minutes less and roll 2 spears in each slice of prosciutto.




16 oz. Sour Cream

2 pkgs Zesty Italian Dressing

2-3 Avocados, chopped fine

1 Tomato, chopped fine

2 T. Mayonnaise

2 t. Lemon Juice


Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight before serving.



(Makes 12 bars)


1/2 cup margarine

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup wheat germ

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

2 eggs

1 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup coconut

1/2 cup chocolate chips


Blend margarine and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat in oats, flours, wheat germ and orange peel. Pat into an ungreased 8-inch square pan.


In another bowl, mix eggs, nuts, raisins, coconut, chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Spread evenly over mixture in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes.


Cool, cut into bars and wrap with plastic wrap to keep moist.





Her abiding love for bamboo goes right down to the shoots

When her shovel goes amiss, this local gardener turns the tender rhizomes into hot-and-sour soup




"If you hit one with your shovel, you eat it -- especially the expensive ones such as Phyllostachys bambusoides 'castillonis'!" Jackie Johnson says. "It just felt shameful to waste these perfectly beautiful bamboo shoots."


In the mid-'90s, Jackie Johnson worked at the Bamboo Garden in Milwaukie watering bamboo in pots -- lots and lots of pots -- for six hours a day.


"It didn't happen very often, because we were very careful. But after a few well-meaning bemoaned 'Oh no's!' you just had to do something to make it feel right," says Johnson. "Eating the crunchy shoots on the spot was a way to say thank you to the bamboo.


"We'd just peel back the tough sheath material and there would be a tender bamboo shoot -- much better-tasting than any you'd ever get in a can."


By the end of the summer Johnson had learned the names of her many charges -- about 200 varieties, some indoor, some outdoor.


Johnson's summer days began at 5:30 a.m. "It was a beautiful time in my life, being outdoors all day, listening to the bamboo leaves singing. Nursery work like that is 100 percent about attentive caregiving: protecting the plants, paying attention to who needs to be repotted, who's tipping over, who's stressing -- who needs water NOW -- and spotting new sprouts in large pots for potential rhizome division.


"But it's very hard physical work; you go through a lot of rubber boots."


During the winter, she worked in the greenhouses helping to propagate the bamboo by dividing the potted plants. It was wet work, and in winter, her hands get really cold. This is when the shovel accidents happen, especially when the spring shoots were just getting going.


After all that intimate time with bamboo, Johnson says her personal favorite variety is Moso -- Phyllostachys heterocycla pubescens. It's the largest of the hardy bamboo varieties, and when planted in full sunshine it can grow 75 feet tall with canes up to 7 inches in diameter.


Johnson has a nice planting of bamboo in her front yard. Although the shady site limits the plants' growth, the soil is loose and full of organic matter, "so it's easy to control the runners," she says.


Eat one of her precious Moso shoots? "Never!" she says. "I want the bamboo full-grown, so I can sit on the front porch and listen to it sing."


Spring bamboo is highly prized in most parts of Asia for its lovely fresh tender taste and texture. If you have a stand of bamboo in your yard, especially one that requires a constant round-up of runners, consider harvesting some of those tender shoots for impromptu use in the kitchen.


Ned Jaquith, Johnson's boss at Bamboo Garden, recommends planting Phyllostachys vivax for good-eating shoots in the Northwest. Johnson says Jaquith donated the many bamboo varieties that were planted last year at the new Chinese Garden in Northwest Portland.


This year the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the American Bamboo Society will be hosting the national meeting in Portland Sept. 20-23. For information, visit the Bamboo Garden's Web site at www.bamboogarden.com; or call 503-654-0024.




1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 6-ounce lean boneless center-cut pork chops, 1/2 inch thick

2 teaspoons butter


Combine paprika, salt, sage, cayenne, black pepper and garlic powder. Coat chops well on both sides with seasoning mixture. Heat butter over high heat just until it starts to brown. Put chops in pan, reduce heat to medium. Fry on both sides until dark brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.



60ml/4tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 small Savoy cabbage, cored and sliced

1 hot Italian sausage, sliced

6 medium ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1 vegetable stock cube

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 packet of macaroni

1. Place the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions with the sausage on a low heat for 2 minutes

2. Add the cabbage, potatoes,carrots and celery until it is all soft

3. Add the tomatoes and the vegetable stock cube. Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste

4. Boil the maccaroni until it is half cooked, drain and add to the vegetables

5. Simmer until the pasta is cooked and serve with grated Parmesan cheese




Any dried white haricot beans, navy or great Northern, will work for this recipe, Guste says. If you do not want the heat of the red pepper, substitute black pepper to taste. The Italian sausages can be cut into pieces rather than left whole. I prefer them cut into half-inch rounds so that more of the sausage flavor is infused into the dish. This dish can be served over cooked rice.

1 pound dried cannellini (white haricot) beans, soaked overnight, rinsed (see note)

3 tablespoons light-flavored olive oil

6 Italian link sausages

2 onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 large sweet red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon aniseed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

11/2 quarts water (6 cups)

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Put the beans in a large pan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, until tender.


Heat the olive oil in a bean pot, Add the sausages and saute until nicely browned. Pierce the sausages several times with the tip of a knife or fork to release the fat and flavor into the cooking liquid.


Add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Saute until the vegetables begin to color, about 10 minutes. Add the aniseed, oregano, rosemary and pepper flakes. Add the water and cooked beans.


Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Add salt. Adjust the seasonings and stir in the chopped parsley.


Serve in bowls with a sausage on the top of each serving.


Note: As an alternative to overnight soaking, use the quick-soak method -- put beans in large saucepan with water to cover by 3 inches. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, cover, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour; drain.



Serves 4

1 yellow bell pepper, cored and quartered

3 large red onions, in wedges

3 tablespoons corn or sunflower oil

6 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon paprika

Salt and 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus extra for garnish

3 pounds beef or lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup dark rum

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon grated mace or nutmeg

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

Water or stock

1 large, very hot red chili, pierced, such as Jamaican Scotch bonnet or habanero


Broil bell pepper, skin side up, until skin blisters. Scrape off and discard blackened skin, dice flesh and set aside.


Separate onion wedges into ``petals'' if preferred, then heat oil in a skillet, add onions and cook until golden. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a glazed clay pot.


Mix flour with paprika, salt, pepper and chopped oregano, and dust meat with mixture. Add meat to skillet in batches, saute until browned, then transfer to clay pot.


Add sugar to skillet and cook until very dark and caramelized. Deglaze skillet with rum, then simmer until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Add bay leaves, mace or nutmeg, citrus juice, celery, tomatoes and broiled pepper. Transfer to clay pot. Add water or stock to cover, then whole Jamaican Scotch bonnet chili. Cook at 400 degrees until boiling, then reduce to 300-325 degrees and simmer gently for 3 hours.

Discard chili. Sprinkle beef with sprigs of oregano, and serve with basmati rice.




2 (8 oz.) pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened

2 c. Sharp or Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 T. Chopped Pimento

1 T. Onion, finely chopped

Garlic Powder to taste

2 t. Worchestershire

1 T. Lemon Juice

Dash of Cayene & Salt

Pecans, finely chopped


Combine cheeses. Mix until blended. Add pimento, onion, Worcestershire sauce,

lemon juice and seasoning. Mix well. Chill & shape into ball. Roll in chopped pecans.




1/2 c. Unsalted Butter, softened

1-1/2 c. Flour

1/2 t. Salt

1 (4 oz.) pkg. Fancy Shredded Swiss or Cheddar Cheese

2 T. Ice Water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer.

Add flour and salt, beat one minute. Add cheese, beat another minute. Sprinkle with

water, beat until dough begins to come together. Press into a 5" square on a lightly

floured surface, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Roll dough to 9" square

on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 equal sized squares then cut each square into

8 strips. Place strips on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until

light brown. Makes 32. These can be made 2 days in advance then stored in an airtight

container or wrap lightly and freeze. To reheat baked cheese straws, place on an

ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 300 degrees oven for 5 minutes.



4 sun dried tomatoes

1 cup freshly boiled spinach chopped

1 tsp. lemon zest, grated

2 tsp. butter

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs


Finely chop tomatoes. Press excess liquid from spinach and combine with tomatoes, zest, butter and parsley.


Slightly flatten the chicken breasts.

Divide spinach mixture and spread over each chicken breast. Roll up chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.

Roll in breadcrumbs.


Bake chicken for around 35 minutes in an oven at 350F.


Remove toothpicks before serving.



4 sun dried tomatoes

1 cup freshly boiled spinach chopped

1 tsp. lemon zest, grated

2 tsp. butter

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs


Finely chop tomatoes. Press excess liquid from spinach and combine with tomatoes, zest, butter and parsley.


Slightly flatten the chicken breasts.

Divide spinach mixture and spread over each chicken breast. Roll up chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.

Roll in breadcrumbs.


Bake chicken for around 35 minutes in an oven at 350F.


Remove toothpicks before serving.



1 lb skinless chicken breasts -- about 3

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove -- minced

1/2 tsp ground cu min

1/2 tsp crushed coriander seed

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 limes


Trim all visible fat from chicken breasts.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Away from the heat, coat with cooking spray. Add breasts, onion, and garlic. Saute until breasts are browned, about 8 minutes, turning once. Add seasonings and soy sauce. Reduce heat; cover; cook until chicken is fork tender and no longer pink, about 15-20 minutes.

Cut one lime in quarters; halve the other.

Place chicken on serving dish; top with the sauce from the pan; sprinkle with juice from the halved lime (about 2 Tbsps). Serve with the lime quarters.




1 cup chopped fresh mint, dill and parsley in about equal proportions, or to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved (about 41/2 pounds)

6 12-by-15-inch sheets parchment paper or aluminum foil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 lemons

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Mix herbs and garlic together in a small bowl. Flatten chicken breasts by pressing them gently against the work surface with the palm of your hand. Arrange breast pieces on paper or foil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle herb and garlic mixture over chicken breasts.


Slice lemons and arrange 2 or 3 slices over each breast. Dot with butter and seal the packets. Set on a baking sheet.


Set packets in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to serving plates and allow guests to open packets at table.



(Serves 4 to 6)


3 cups beef or pork cut into cubes

3 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons chili powder

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3 cups water

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, brown meat on all sides in oil. Add flour and stir until browned. Add chili powder, onion, garlic and cumin and cook until onion is tender.


Slowly add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add bay leaf and simmer until meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, beans and flour tortillas. This can be used as burrito filling, as well.




2 (10-3/4 oz.) cans Chili-Beef Soup, undiluted

1 (11 oz.) cans Cheddar Cheese Soup, undiluted

1 (2-1/2 oz.) can Chopped Black Olives

1 (2 oz.) jar Diced Pimento

3 (10 oz.) bags Tortilla Chips


Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; cook over low heat until thoroughly

heated, stirring often. Serve warm with tortilla chips.




The chocolate recipe comes from baker and food entrepreneur Robert Lambert from his book, ``Chocolate Fantasy Desserts.'' The secret to the great chocolate flavor is the use of chocolate extract, available at Williams-Sonoma. If you like chocolate fondue, this is the cake to cube and dip.


The orange-cinnamon version is from an old Chocolatier magazine. It makes six individual cakes in that specialty baby Bundt mold that there are never enough recipes for. Get ready to lick the spoon after glazing it. Search out Boyajian orange oil; it is absolutely divine.

Makes one 10-inch cake

1/2 cup cake flour (Softasilk)

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (like Droste)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (Baker's Secret from C&H, if possible) divided use

12 large egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons chocolate extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, cocoa and 3/4 cup of the sugar onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating until soft peaks are formed, then reduce the speed to medium and sprinkle in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a steady shower. Increase the speed to high again and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Add the extracts on low.


Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, with a large rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture very gently, one-third at a time, to form a fluffy batter.


Scrape the batter into an ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan, taking care there are no air pockets. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean.


Remove cake from the oven and invert the pan over the neck of a full bottle (such as a wine bottle). Cool completely to room temperature before turning upright. Run a thin metal spatula around the inner and outer edge of the cake to loosen it. Remove the side of the pan (the cake will still be attached to the tube). Invert onto a cake plate. Remove the tube and base.





Special to the Mercury News


Do too many cooks spoil the broth? Although it's a traditionally held notion, Japanese people might challenge you on this one, especially when it comes to nabemono, their national hot pot fare.


For nabemono, pots of boiling hot stock and sauces provide a savory cooking medium for fresh Japanese herbs, vegetables, tofu and marbled meats -- all cooked communally at the table.


When I lived in Japan, nabemono-style dishes were my very favorites among Japanese cuisine. So when I visited my dad in Japan last spring, a nabemono dish was among my dinner requests. I specifically asked for shabu-shabu, which consists of thinly sliced beef and pork with an array of vegetables that you cook in a simmering watery broth.


My dad obediently trotted off to the suupaa, or supermarket, to buy our ingredients. Dad used to be a chef, and over the course of 13 years of living in Japan, he has made shabu-shabu many times. But once he found himself in the vegetable aisle, his nosy nature took over, as did his desire to prepare the dish in an authentic way. He asked the Japanese woman standing next to him, ``How do you make shabu-shabu?''


She timidly gave him her answer and then said, ``But, wait a minute. Let me see,'' and she turned to another Japanese woman standing nearby. ``How do you make shabu-shabu?'' she asked.


Woman No. 2 gave her answer, and the two of them collaborated, in search of the one true way to make the dish. They were still a bit unsure, so they both went to the Japanese greengrocer.


``How do you make shabu-shabu?'' they asked, and soon many Japanese were embroiled in a painstaking committee meeting about how to prepare this dish authentically. Each had his or her own variations, but all felt there must be one exact way, as Japan is a land steeped in tradition.


Dad came home with what he thought to be a cross section of their methods, and we set out to have a traditional experience.


In Japan, these ``at table'' meals are not elevated restaurant fare. Rather, they are a typical menu for a family dinner, bringing everyone together to take the edge off of winter's chill. Using spindly, shiny chopsticks, they dip thin slices of beef into the steaming hot pot in the middle of the table. They cook and eat heartily, with huge platters of food surrounding them, queuing up for the pot.


Each person's contribution to the group cooking effort serves to draw him or her deeper into the social interaction. The food weaves its web of warmth, familiarity and charm.


It would be a shame to leave these social and culinary experiences in Japan. It is time we adopted nabemono into our own culture, embracing the dishes for their ease and sociability.


Asian hot pot meals in general are making steady inroads into the United States; with many of the variations, you are free to throw any of your favorite Asian ingredients into hot stock and cook them up. But there is also something to be said for experiencing traditional dishes with their timeless ingredient combinations, and a few such Japanese meals are standouts to me. In addition to shabu-shabu, the dish called sukiyaki is well-loved. In fact, sukiyaki is called the ``friendly pot'' because it is so popular with foreigners who visit Japan. These two famous dishes each take their own type of pot.


In addition, there are a host of other nabemono combinations that are cooked in a unique earthenware pot. However, you need not invest in special cookware unless you want to.


Once you've purchased your ingredients, you're ready. These recipes require little preparation time. You can be extremely casual about the whole thing, or go the extra mile and get out your favorite serving platters and your best sake.


Each of these dishes is prepared using a portable gas burner at the table for the cooking heat source. It is also possible to use a single electric burner, taking care to use extension cords and keep them contained and out of the way. Any nabemono dishes go well with steamed rice, Japanese beer or sake, and tsukemono (Japanese pickles).




1 pound (3 to 4 large) yellow onions

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup (about) very thin vermicelli, uncooked

2 cups milk

3 egg yolks, beaten

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated parmesan or Swiss cheese


In a saucepan, slice onions and cook gently in butter until tender. Add chicken broth and cook slowly for 20 minutes.


Strain or force mixture through a sieve, or puree in blender. Work in 2 batches if necessary. Return mixture to saucepan.


Add vermicelli and cook 10 minutes. Lower heat. Stir in milk. Then add a little hot broth to the egg yolks, whisking to incorporate. Add egg mixture to soup, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until thickened (about 5 minutes).


Stir in cream and cheese and serve.




2 c. Cold Milk

1 sm. Chocolate Instant Pudding

1 (8 oz.) Whipped Topping, thawed

1 (16 oz.) pkg. Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (cream removed & cookies crushed)


Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat with whisk until well-blended,

1-2 mins. Let stand 5 min. Stir in whipped topping and half of crushed cookies.

Fill 8 custard cups 3/4 full with pudding mix. Top with remaining crushed cookies.

Refrigerate 1 hour. Decorate before serving with gummy worms, frogs or candy flowers.




4 to 5 quarts water with 2 tablespoons salt added

9 lasagna noodles (about 1 pound regular, not "oven-ready" lasagna)

1 eggplant (about 1 pound)

21/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 large onion

6 cloves garlic

4 Roma tomatoes

6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)

2 cups tomato sauce (divided)

1 pint large-curd cottage cheese (2 cups, divided)

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using your fingers, spread a thin layer of olive oil in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Set aside.


To make noodles: Pour 4 or 5 quarts of water into a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, add 1 lasagna noodle at a time to the water. When all the noodles have been added, gently stir so they don't stick together. Reduce the heat a little, but keep the water boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Using a fork, pull out a noodle and test it. If it seems soft and pliable, the noodles are done.


Drain off the water. Fill the pot with cold water and, using your fingers, move the noodles around in the water so they are not stuck to one another.


To make vegetables: Slice off and discard the stem of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into 3 long slices. Then slice the 3 long strips into strips 1 inch wide. Holding the strips together, cut crosswise into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out and sprinkle with a little salt; set aside.


Cut off the stem and roots of the onion. Peel off the papery skin. Cut the onion in half from top to bottom. Cut each half into 4 or 5 slices. Keeping the slices of each half stacked, cut the stack crosswise into about 5 strips. Still holding the cut half onion, chop each half into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces. Spread out the onion pieces and season lightly with salt. Set aside.


Remove the papery outer skin from each garlic clove. Chop each clove into small pieces and add to the onion.


Cut out and discard the core of each tomato. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut-side down on a cutting board and cut into small cubes. Spread them out and season lightly with salt. Set aside.


Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Tilt the pan so the oil coats the bottom. Place over medium-high heat and add the eggplant, onion, garlic and tomatoes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly cooked. Add about 11/2 cups of the tomato sauce, stir to mix well, and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Remove from heat.


To assemble: Put 3 lasagna noodles side-by-side in the oiled baking dish. Spoon a layer of vegetables over the noodles. Spread 1 cup of the cottage cheese over the vegetables. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Repeat layering vegetables and cottage cheese. Top with the remaining 3 lasagna noodles.


Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil into the remaining1/2cup tomato sauce and spread evenly over the lasagna.


Bake for 40 minutes. The lasagna is done when the eggplant is soft. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the optional parmesan over the top.



By MARGIE HELTON of The Oregonian staff


Consider serving little gifts for dinner. Once they are on your plate, peel away the parchment paper or foil to reveal their surprise: a steaming, fragrant meal.


The French call it cooking en papillote. The technique gets its name from the French word for butterfly, which is what the heart-shaped parchment looks like before being folded and filled with meat or fish, broth or sauce, and savory herbs. But you can also make packets using aluminum foil; it's much simpler and the result is the same.


Making dinner in packets is fast, fun and flavorful and uses little or no added fat. The packages seal in the flavor and moisture so the ingredients cook by steaming -- without the need for butter or oil.


And, because of the steam, they cook in a hurry. Dinner can be ready in about 20 minutes. To be certain it is fully cooked, use a thermometer poked through the paper or foil into the thickest part of the meat.


Packet cooking makes sense whether you're entertaining, are single or have a family to feed. You can prepare the packages ahead of time and even freeze them. When you're ready, just thaw before baking.


Packets are a handy way to prepare meals when you're camping, too. Fill your foil pouches before you leave home. Then, at the campground, take them out of the cooler and put them on the grill. Voila! It's a fine French dinner on the picnic table.


The possibilities for filling packets are practically limitless. In addition to chops, fish and poultry work well, as do vegetables sliced or cut into matchsticks (julienne). For flavoring, almost anything goes: Try your favorite spices, herbs, sauces and broths.


Some possibilities include boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salsa and cheese on a bed of crumbled tortilla chips (the moisture in the packet softens the chips into a tamale-like crust). A lamb chop and mushrooms on a bed of spinach. Or a salmon fillet with fresh dill and lemon butter. You'll find that half the fun is experimenting.





1 Lemon Cake Mix

1 sm. Lemon Instant Pudding

1 c. Water

1/2 c. Oil

4 Eggs

4 t. Poppy Seeds


Mix all ingredients together for 3 min. at high speed. Pour into a greased & floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 mins. Turn onto wire rack after cool to the touch.




1 eggplant (about 3/4 to 1 pound)

Coarse salt

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese

2 large eggs

2 cups tomato sauce, warmed

6 to 8 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil

1 packed cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 egg buns or other soft rolls, about 4 inches across

1 whole clove garlic, peeled


Peel the eggplant and cut off the ends, and slice the eggplant crosswise into pieces about 1/4- but no more than 1/2-inch thick. Lay the slices on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap.


Sprinkle generously with the coarse salt and let sit for 45 minutes. The salt will help draw the bitter juice from the eggplant.


After the 45 minutes, pat eggplant dry with paper towels to absorb all the liquid.


Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow bowl or a pie plate. Combine the bread crumbs, pine nuts and Romano in a second shallow bowl or pie plate. In another bowl, whisk the eggs well.


Place the tomato sauce and basil in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and keep the heat a low simmer while you prepare the eggplant.


Dip a slice of the eggplant into the eggs, letting any excess drip into the bowl. Transfer the eggplant to the flour mixture and coat both sides. Gently shake off the excess.


Dip again in the eggs, letting the excess drip off quickly. Place the floured eggplant in the bread crumb mixture, and pat the crumbs in firmly on both sides.


Place the coated slices of eggplant on a plate or tray. Repeat the process with the remaining slices.


Preheat the broiler. In a wide saute pan, heat the 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in a few slices of the coated eggplant. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the slices until dark golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.


Remove the slices to a baking sheet lined with foil as they are done.


Add 2 tablespoons of the oil if necessary, and fry the remaining eggplant.


Distribute the mozzarella and Parmesan evenly on top of the eggplant. Broil for about 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Be careful that the eggplant does not burn.


Slice the buns or rolls open and toast lightly. Gently rub the toasted interiors of the buns or rolls with the garlic. Spread 1 or 2 teaspoons of the tomato sauce on each interior face.


Distribute the eggplant slices equally among the bottoms of the buns or rolls, layering as necessary to fit. Top the eggplant with 2 teaspoons of sauce per bun and cover with the tops of the buns.


Serve immediately, with any extra sauce passed warm at the table for dipping.




2 Ripe Avocados

2 Tomatoes, medium sized

1 bunch Green Onion, finely chopped

1/2 t. Tabasco

2 T. Lemon Juice

2 t. Salt

Dash of Pepper


Peel avocados; remove pits and save one. Mash pulp with a fork into fairly small pieces. Place tomatoes in boiling water, peel off skin and finely chop. Fold all ingredients together. Spoon into serving bowl and place an avocado pit in center. (This will keep mixture from darkening.) Cover and chill in refrigerator until serving time. Remove pit and stir before serving. Serve with corn or potato chips. Makes 3 cups.





(Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2001)


Nick Stellino knows that the real language of love is in sounds: the rustle of pasta being tossed in a bowl, the sizzle of garlic frying in a skillet and the slap of a well-browned pizza crust hitting the cutting board.


As the host of the cooking shows "Cucina Amore" and "Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen" on public television, Stellino acts out his love of Italian food for viewers.


He also demonstrates the pleasures of the table with his latest cookbook, "Nick Stellino's Passione: Pasta, Pizza and Panini" (Putnam, $28.95).


Many of the recipes collected are the author's favorites, the kind of comfort food that he grew up with in Palermo, Sicily, and that were heartily welcomed in this country.


There are no revelations about Italian cooking here, either in recipes or instruction. Variations of these stuffed pastas, risottos, gnocchi, pizzas and the little sandwiches called "panini" are well-covered in the many Italian cookbooks that have preceded this one and that surely will follow.


But Stellino provides enough pleasant recipes and likable commentary to make the book enjoyable even for those people not familiar with his cooking shows.


This is a man who adores his family, immediate and extended, and it shows in stories about family trips around Italy, an impromptu dinner fashioned by his father from stale bread, and his mother's pride when Stellino was awarded a medal from the mayor of Palermo.


The past and present merge in the recipes. Those of Stellino's boyhood -- sandwiches stuffed with chickpea fritters and pizza with caramelized onions -- are mixed with his improvisations on chicken salad and such creations as tortellini with smoked salmon and creamed tomato-caper sauce.


Our experiments sampled both styles: a classic fried eggplant sandwich and a Stellino version of pasta with clam sauce that features shiitake mushrooms.


Both recipes called for tomato sauce, and it seemed worthwhile to make it from scratch, as the author suggests. The recipe included in the book, while serviceable, tasted slightly bitter. This could be the fault of the brand of canned tomatoes used or other factors, such as using dried instead of fresh basil (both are recommended), or simply the personal preference of some tasters for a sweeter sauce.


In any case, it seems that a favorite commercial tomato sauce will serve just as well.


What will require a little effort and mess are the yummy fried-eggplant sandwiches. Double-dipped in seasoned bread crumbs, flour and eggs, the crisp rounds of eggplant, topped with melted cheese and tomato sauce, make a terrific weekend meal.


The pasta with clams also pleased tasters with its tomato cream sauce, spiced with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, as well as its crisp bits of bacon, chewy slices of shiitake mushrooms and the briny juice of fresh clams.


If your family isn't wild about shellfish in pasta, it would be easy to leave out the clams, substitute chicken broth for the clam juice and still have a flavorful, filling pasta dish.


Directions, even for the more difficult recipes for fresh pasta dough and gnocchi dumplings, are clear and easy to follow. Enlivening the pages are color photographs handsome enough to make even the sausage, pepper and onion sandwich look glamorous.




This is a simple dish that captures the fresh clean flavors of Japanese cooking. Chicken, shrimp or firm tofu are easily substituted for the fish. And if you prefer not to use parchment paper, foil works just as well.


4 15-by-12-inch sheets parchment paper or aluminum foil

4 4-ounce fish fillets, such as salmon, sea bass, cod or snapper

2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

1/2 teaspoon prepared wasabi (Japanese horseradish)

2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1 cup snow peas, trimmed

1 large carrot, cut into julienne

4 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup julienned daikon radish

1 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


Fold 1 piece parchment paper or foil in half. Unfold and place 1 fillet in the middle. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, wasabi, mirin and ginger. Sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil over the fillet. Top with a quarter of the snow peas, carrot, green onions, daikon and mushrooms. Drizzle a quarter of the soy mixture over vegetables and fish. Fold paper over fish, pleat edges and twist ends to seal. You can secure package with staples or paper clips if necessary. Repeat with remaining fillets.


Carefully place packages on a baking sheet and bake 7 to 9 minutes. Packages made with parchment should turn light brown and puff up slightly when done. Transfer packages to plates and cut open at the table. Be careful of the hot steam when you open them.




11/2 pounds boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

11/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (11/2 teaspoons dried)

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 cup chopped onions

2 fresh chilies, finely chopped (see note)

3 cloves garlic, minced


Place pork in a large self-sealing plastic bag. In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, combine oil, lime juice and vinegar. Add thyme, brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg, pepper, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, cloves, onions, chilies and garlic. Mix until blended. Pour over pork. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours or overnight.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain pork, discarding marinade. Place meat in single layer, not touching, in a shallow baking pan. Roast 25 to 30 minutes, until pork is tender. Remove to serving platter. Serve pork pieces hot as an appetizer.


Note: Wear gloves when handling fresh chilies; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin.




Nabemono dishes other than sukiyaki and shabu-shabu are cooked in a donabe pot -- a special earthenware dish made from clay that can be used directly over a flame or in the oven. It retains heat well and distributes it evenly. This pot can be used to prepare hundreds of nabemono combinations or beautiful casseroles of any ethnic background. A Dutch oven or a braising pan are alternatives.


Kim chee nabe is a Korean-influenced dish that is now trendy in Japan. The spiciness adds zip to this healthy hot pot.


2 1/2 quarts water

1 tablespoon bonito flakes

1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups kim chee, preferably Japanese style

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast and chicken thigh pieces, cut in 1- to 2-inch chunks

2 Japanese naganegi long onions (cut on the diagonal)

12 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1/4 head of napa cabbage (roughly 2 cups large chunks)

1/2 bunch of the Japanese herb shungiku (edible chrysanthemum leaves)

1 block firm tofu, 14 ounces

1 cup bottled ponzu sauce (soy/citrus)

1 cup bottled goma dare sauce (sesame)

Steamed rice to accompany the meal


Prepare a dashi stock by boiling 2 1/2 quarts water and then adding 1 tablespoon bonito flakes. Boil 2 minutes. Strain stock into another large stainless steel pot to remove the bonito flakes (or into the donabe pot if you have one). Bring to a low boil and add the kim chee, tasting it as you go to suit your taste -- the more you add, the spicier it will be. Reduce heat and keep simmering on the stove.


Rinse vegetables and herbs, cutting them into bite-sized chunks. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes. Prepare two identical platters of these items, one for each side of the table.


Set your table with the tabletop burner, 2 small bowls for each guest (put 1/4 cup ponzu sauce in one, 1/4 cup goma dare sesame sauce in the other), platters of food, bowls of rice, chopsticks, and an extra plate for each person.


Fifteen minutes before dinner time, add all of the chicken to the simmering broth and transfer it to the tabletop burner. Bring to a low boil. Once everyone is seated, and the chicken is cooked through until no longer pink, diners can begin cooking vegetables, tofu and the shungiku in the kim chee broth. Dip the cooked food in the sauces as desired.


Variations: Thinly sliced pork loin may also be used. Add it to the broth at the same point as the vegetables.


The base stock can also be made using a 3-by-6-inch sheet of kombu seaweed in lieu of bonito flakes.



Do you eat it, fling it or scoop it?



(Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2001)


Question: What fruit sports short, relatively harmless protuberances on the outside and a chartreuse gelatinous substance on the inside?


Answer: While the official calling card reads kiwano (kee-WAH-noh), more-casual acquaintances have dubbed it the horned melon, and some stores even decorate it with a sticker calling it "cuke-asaurus."


A member of the cucumis family -- which encompasses melons and cucumbers -- the kiwano's flavor has been compared to a combination of cucumber, banana and lime.


It is a somewhat unremarkable flavor if you weigh it against the onerous task of scooping out the slippery seeds to eat them -- not to mention the $4 price tag.


The good news? The kiwano has precious few calories but considerable amounts of potassium and vitamin C.


HOW TO SELECT AND STORE: Kiwanos begin as pale green or yellow and ripen to a vibrant orange. They are oval and range from three to five inches in length. Pass over those with bruises or soft spots. Kiwanos are available year round from California and New Zealand, depending on the season.


Do not refrigerate kiwanos. We're told that unripe kiwanos may be kept at room temperature for up to six months, but they are best if consumed within 10 days.


The skin is, despite appearances, very delicate; do not stack the fruit.


HOW TO PREPARE: With a stubby, inedible exterior and pulp within, the kiwano makes for a striking presentation. In fact, it is commonly considered more decorative than flavorful.


To eat, halve the melon lengthwise, then scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. You could reserve the shells for a serving dish for ice cream, pudding or mousse.


More cumbersome preparations involve rinsing the fruit and peeling it -- good luck -- then slicing it for use as a garnish for fruit salads or roast poultry or ham.


Ambitious juicers may strain the seeds and drink the remaining fruit juice.


The fall-back position may be to use it as a centerpiece. Or a weapon.







1/2 cup pasteurized process cheese spread (such as Velveeta)

2/3 cup evaporated skim milk

3 cups cooked elbow macaroni (from 13/4 cups dry)

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 1-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray.


In a 1-quart saucepan, combine cheese spread and milk and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until cheese melts.


In the casserole, combine macaroni, egg, egg whites, paprika, mustard and pepper, mixing well. Stir in cheese mixture and shredded cheese, mixing until blended.


Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned.



Place ingredients in a 1-quart, wide-mouth jar in this order: 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup M&Ms candies

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup chocolate rice cereal, such as Cocoa Krispies

1/2 cup white chocolate chips


Attach these instructions to the jar:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together 1/2 cup soft butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg. Stir in contents of jar until well-blended. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.



It need not take hours to produce an out-of-the-ordinary dish with a gently exotic touch that suggests a faraway origin.


Here's a recipe for Caribbean-style Mango Chicken that asks of the cook only 30 minutes start to finish. It's one of many appetizing, practical suggestions in Better Homes and Gardens "Big Book of Healthy Family Dinners" (Meredith Books, $24.95 hardcover).


Nutrition, not privation, is the principle guiding the book's editors. They say they have trimmed fat, calories and sodium, but not flavor.


Their recipe selection is generous; in addition to Saffron Lobster With Couscous, a fine dinner centerpiece, they include snacks such as Peasant Pizza With Goat Cheese; breakfast ideas such as Blueberry Pancakes With Orange Sauce; and desserts from Mint-Chocolate Cream Puffs to Berry-Lemon Trifle.


1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons finely shredded lime or orange peel (colored part only), plus additional

strips for garnish

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon cornstarch

12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or thighs

2 teaspoons peanut oil or vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red onion, sliced

2 cups chopped fresh mango or papaya

2 cups hot cooked rice (see note)


In a small bowl, stir together the broth, shredded lime peel, lime juice, brown sugar, curry powder and cornstarch. Cut chicken into bite-size strips.


In a large wok or 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add onion slices; stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove onion mixture from wok. Add chicken; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Push chicken from center of wok.


Stir sauce; add to center of wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return onion mixture to the wok. Add mango or papaya. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately over rice. If desired, garnish with lime peel strips.


Note: To complement the dish, the editors suggest cooking the rice accompaniment with a little fresh ginger and chopped mint. It takes about 2/3 cup rice and 11/3 cup water to make 2 cups cooked rice.




2 quarts water (8 cups)

1 fresh (unsmoked) pork hock

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 16-ounce package frozen turnip greens, thawed

1 16-ounce package frozen mustard greens, thawed

Chopped green onions (optional)

1 tomato, chopped (optional)


In a 2-quart saucepan, combine water and pork hock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 to 2 hours, or until the pork is tender. Remove meat from hock, trimming any fat, and reserve. Chill broth until fat can be spooned off surface and discarded.


In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook onion in oil over low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.


In a blender, process1/4cup broth, garlic, vinegar, salt and red pepper until garlic is minced. Add garlic-broth mixture and remaining broth to onions. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir in greens and meat from hock.


Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25 to 35 minutes, until greens are tender. Serve with chopped green onions and tomato.





2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 8-ounce packages tempeh, cubed and steamed (see note)

3 cups sliced zucchini, cut into half-circles

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed

1 141/2-ounce can Italian-style stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup boiling vegetarian beef-flavored broth

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cup chopped dried apricots (see note)

1 cup date pieces (see note)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional garnish; see note)


In a Dutch oven, heat oil and pepper flakes over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add garlic and onion and saute 3 minutes. Add tempeh and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.


Add zucchini, garbanzo beans and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook mixture 3 minutes, then add broth and cinnamon sticks. Add apricots, dates, coriander, allspice and cilantro. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Serve with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.


Note: Tempeh is a high-protein food of Indonesian origin made from partially cooked, fermented soybeans.


Note: Steam the tempeh cubes for 20 minutes over simmering water to tenderize them.


Note: An easy way to chop dried apricots is to snip them with kitchen shears. If the blades become sticky, coat lightly with vegetable-oil cooking spray or wipe with oil.


Notes: Chopped dates that have been rolled in oat flour instead of sugar are available in health-food and specialty stores.


Note: To toast sesame seeds, place in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast until seeds turn light brown, shaking the pan to keep the seeds from scorching. Remove from heat right away.




1 16-ounce package frozen okra, or 1 pound fresh, trimmed and sliced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups cherry tomato halves

1 cup sliced celery

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

2/3 cup vegetable oil

Torn assorted varieties of lettuce


In 2 portions, cook okra in oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Drain and cool.


Combine okra, tomatoes, celery and onion and mix lightly.


In blender, combine vinegar, wine and soy sauce. Add sugar, mustard, salt, red pepper flakes and garlic. With machine running, gradually add oil, mixing until well-blended.


Add 1/2 cup dressing to okra mixture and toss lightly. Cover and chill. Serve on lettuce, with remaining dressing on the side.




Special to the Mercury News


When I grew up in the '50s and '60s, almost every meal had a meat, poultry or fish entree, a starch, a vegetable, a salad, even dessert. Today, many of us don't have time for such elaborate meals. That's why one-pot meals are often so attractive.


One of the keys to fast stews and hearty soups and stews is to use tender cuts of meat or to use poultry or seafood because there isn't time for tougher cuts such as lamb shoulder or beef chuck to soften. A wide saute pan (or deep skillet) allows the contents to come to a boil more quickly because the ingredients are spread out evenly over the heating surface.


Another concept is layering, meaning first putting in ingredients that need more time to cook, then ingredients that need less. For example, in my curried vegetable stew, sliced sweet potatoes go in first, then onions and bell peppers, then green beans or the smaller haricots verts. After each addition, you prepare the vegetables for the next addition.


Perhaps the biggest category of one-pot meals is bean dishes. Chili immediately comes to mind. It could be vegetarian with just the beans (try a combination of two or three) or beans with corn kernels. If you use beef, it has to be a tender cut such as sirloin. But that can be expensive and fatty. A cheaper, lower-fat alternative would be cubed or ground turkey.


One of my favorite bean dishes is cassoulet. Cassoulet in 15 minutes? Sure, if you use canned beans, and smoked meats such as turkey kielbasa. However, if you're watching your sodium, be aware that smoked meats are very salty. That's why instead of Canadian bacon, I chose fresh pork tenderloin. You could also use some of that leftover roast pork, duck or lamb from Sunday dinner.


You could use other beans such as cannellini (white kidney), navy or Great Northern beans. Some brands of beans are mushy, so experiment until you find the one you like.






Makes 6 mini cakes


Mini-Bundt pan with 6 molds


1/2 cup cake flour (Softasilk)

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

5 large egg whites at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar (Baker's Secret from C&H if possible)

1 teaspoon orange extract or Boyajian orange oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grated zest of 1 large orange

Orange glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons orange juice


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the 6 molds on a mini-Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sift together flour, confectioners' sugar and cinnamon onto a piece of waxed paper. Set aside.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high until frothy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating until soft peaks are formed, then reduce the speed to medium and sprinkle in the granulated sugar in a steady shower. Increase the speed to high again and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Add the extracts and zest on low.


Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and with a large rubber spatula, very gently fold in the flour mixture, one-third at a time, to form a fluffy batter.


Divide the batter among the 6 pans, taking care there are no air pockets. Bake in center of preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until cakes pull away from sides of pans and cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and loosen cakes by running a small metal spatula around inner and outer edges of each cake. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Place a wire rack over the mold and invert. Remove the pan. Allow to cool completely before glazing.


To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and juice until smooth. Dip a large fork into the glaze and drizzle over the top and sides of each cake. The glaze will firm up as it stands.






4 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, thickly sliced and cut into 1/4-inch dice, or bacon, cut into small pcs.

1/2 cup chopped onion

6 large cloves garlic, thickly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

11/2 pounds small clams, well scrubbed

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup clam juice or chicken stock

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound linguine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook until crisp and brown, 2-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.


In the same pan, saute the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes until the garlic is golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms have browned and the onions are tender, 6-10 minutes.


Add the clams and wine, and stir well. Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat and remove the clams as they open.


Discard any clams that have not opened after 4 minutes. Stir in the clam juice or stock, tomato sauce, cream, salt and pepper, and bring sauce to a boil.


Reduce the heat to medium and simmer to a sauce consistency, 10-12 minutes.


Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions. Drain and return to the cooking pot. Pour on the sauce, clams and pancetta or bacon. Toss together over low heat until the pasta and sauce are well combined, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.




1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 medium muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and baking powder. Whisk together milk, peanut butter, banana, egg, oil and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients mixing just until moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full.


For topping, mix all topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of batter.


Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.




1 pkg. Flour Tortillas, burrito size

16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1/4 c. Mayonnaise

2 T. Green Onions, finely chopped

2 T. Black Olive, finely chopped

Dash of Season Salt

1/4 c. Ham, finely chopped (optional)


Tortillas should be room temperature. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onions, olives, seasoned salt and ham (optional). Spread this layer of cream mixture on each tortilla. Tightly roll up each tortilla. Wrap individual rolls in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. To serve, cut into 3/4" diagonal slices.



Serves 6

6 large ripe tomatoes, halved

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

2 large eggplants, thickly sliced

3 yellow zucchini, thickly sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, thickly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For gremolata (optional):

4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

6 garlic cloves, crushed

Grated zest of 2 lemons

About 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Put tomatoes in a roasting pan, cut side up, and push slivers of garlic into each. Roast in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle eggplants and zucchini with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.


Heat half the oil in large skillet, add onions and saute until softened and translucent. Spread over the base of the tian (a Provenal shallow clay pot). Arrange other vegetables on top in overlapping layers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


To make gremolata, if using: Chop parsley, garlic and lemon zest together, then mix with bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Sprinkle on tian, then cover with remaining Parmesan. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and cook at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until browned.



Serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil

One 12-ounce pork tenderloin

1 small onion, about 4 ounces

3 cloves garlic

12 ounces turkey kielbasa

Two 15-ounce cans low-sodium pinto beans

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup low-sodium canned tomato sauce

1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Hot-pepper sauce

1 loaf crusty country French bread


Put oil in 12-inch saute pan over high heat. Cut pork tenderloin in half, lengthwise, then crosswise into chunks about 1-inch wide. Add to pan, stirring once or twice while you peel and quarter onion and peel garlic. Put both in a food processor. Pulse until onion is coarsely chopped. (Or chop by hand.) Add to pan and stir. Cut kielbasa crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Add to pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a few times.


Meanwhile, open canned beans into a colander, rinse and drain. Chop thyme leaves, if fresh.


Add beans, thyme (if dried, crush between your fingers), tomato sauce, stock and salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste to the pan. Cover and cook 7 minutes, stirring a few times. Adjust seasoning as desired. Uncover for last 2 minutes to let sauce thicken slightly. Serve in shallow soup plates with the French bread.




There are many variations of red beans and rice, Guste says. Many seasoning meats can be used: pickled pork, pork chops, sausage, salt pork, pigs' tails, bacon, tasso and smoked meats. But ham is probably the most popular.

1 pound dried red kidney beans (21/2 cups), soaked overnight (see note)

2 quarts water

2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound smoked ham, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 cups hot cooked white rice (2 cups raw)


Put the soaked dried beans in a heavy soup pot with the water. Bring the water to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour, until tender.


In a saute pan, heat the bacon drippings and saute the onion, green onions, bell pepper and garlic until they begin to color, about 10 minutes. Add to the beans.


In the same saute pan, brown the smoked ham cubes. Add them and the bay leaves, thyme, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper to the bean pot.


Simmer 30 minutes or until the beans are tender and have made their own thick sauce of the liquid in the pot. Add water to the pot if the beans become too dry before they are completely cooked.


Stir occasionally to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Do this carefully with a wooden spoon so you don't break the beans.


Adjust the seasonings, discard the bay leaves, and serve the beans spooned over the hot cooked rice.


Note: As an alternative to overnight soaking, use the quick-soak method -- put beans in large saucepan with water to cover by 3 inches. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, cover, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour; drain.





1 pound broccoli rabe or broccoli, heads trimmed and separated into florets

3/4 pound dried rotini, rotelle, fusilli or other curly pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound mild or spicy Italian sausage, homemade or good-quality purchased,

removed from casings

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese (for garnish)


In a small amount of salted, boiling water in a tightly covered saucepan, steam the broccoli rabe or broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure not to overcook; the broccoli should be bright green and very crisp. Cool under cold running water, drain and reserve.


Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes; drain and reserve.


Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and fry for 3 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked broccoli rabe and the balsamic vinegar and stir well.


Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender, but still crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Transfer the sausage-broccoli mixture to a large serving bowl. Toss with the pasta, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and serve hot or at room temperature.




1 lb. Sausage

2 c. Bisquick

10 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded


Let sausage sit out at room temperature until it gets soft. Mix sausage with other

ingredients till it forms a very stiff batter. Form into small balls & bake on cookie

sheet approximately 15 min. at 350 degrees.




1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

1/4 pound dried soba noodles

1/2 pound firm tofu, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese wine)

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil


In small skillet, cook sesame seeds over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet and set aside.


In large saucepan, bring broth and water to boil; stir in noodles. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Stir in tofu, watercress, ginger, mirin, soy sauce and sesame oil; simmer for 1 minute. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with reserved sesame seeds.




Legend has it that Genghis Khan used this mild dish to feed his armies in the 13th century. Shabu-shabu allowed the troops to conserve limited fuel resources by cooking meat very quickly in the hot broth -- the name is said to have come from the ``swish swish'' of the meat. Hot pot cooking in various forms survived in China for centuries, and shabu-shabu was introduced to Japan in the early 1900s. The stainless steel pot's construction, which includes a central chimney, also dates to the time when the dish was cooked over burning coals and required a way for the intense heat to escape. Investing in a shabu-shabu pot will allow you to cook a variety of Chinese or Mongolian firepots as well. In lieu of the traditional pot, use a dutch oven or small stockpot with a wide opening, preferably of stainless steel with a thick bottom.


2 1/2 quarts water

1 tablespoons bonito flakes

1 package shirataki noodles, 7 ounces (see Note)

1 small package enoki mushrooms

12 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 bunch of the Japanese herb shungiku (edible chrysanthemum leaves)

2 Japanese naganegi, long onions

1/2 head napa cabbage

8 ounces thinly sliced prime rib, ribeye or chuck (available at Japanese markets)

8 ounces thinly sliced pork loin (available at Japanese markets)

1 cup bottled Japanese ponzu sauce (soy/citrus), for dipping

1 cup bottled Japanese goma dare sauce (sesame), for dipping

1 package refrigerated udon noodles, 7 ounces (optional)

Steamed rice to accompany the meal


Prepare a dashi stock by boiling 2 1/2 quarts of water and then adding the bonito flakes. Boil 2 minutes. Strain stock into another large stainless steel pot to remove the bonito flakes. Keep hot on the stove.


In another pan, parboil the shirataki noodles, or pour boiling water over them to rinse and partially cook; drain.


Rinse vegetables and the shungiku and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on two platters with the shirataki noodles, one for each side of the table. Arrange beef and pork onto two platters containing some of each. Set your table with the tabletop burner, 2 small bowls for each guest (put 1/4 cup ponzu sauce in one, 1/4 cup goma dare sesame sauce in the other), bowls of rice, chopsticks, and an extra plate for each person. Bring the dashi stock to a low boil, either in its stainless steel pot or in a shabu-shabu pot. Transfer pot to the tabletop burner and bring back to a low boil.


Call the diners. Have each person start with a round of meat: Each diner ``swish swishes'' a piece of meat in the broth until it's cooked, then dips it into a sauce and eats it. Next toss in some of the vegetables, herbs and shirataki. Fish out the pieces, dip in the sauces, and enjoy. Continue by alternating meat and vegetables in the broth. If you're really hungry, add udon noodles near the very end of the meal to create a noodle soup for the last course.


Note: Shirataki noodles, sometimes called konnyaku noodles, are made from yam. Clear or dark-colored, they are sold packed in liquid in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator section of Japanese markets.




2 12-by-18-inch sheets aluminum foil

11/2 cups cooked rice (1/2 cup raw)

1/2 141/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion

1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup sliced celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 to 11/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium raw shrimp


Preheat oven to 450 degrees or grill to medium-high. Spray foil with nonstick spray. Combine rice, tomatoes, green pepper, celery, onion, Creole seasoning, brown sugar and oregano. Stir in shrimp.


Center half of mixture on each sheet of aluminum foil. Bring up sides of foil. Double-fold top and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Repeat to make two packets.


Bake 14 to 16 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven or grill 8 to 10 minutes on covered grill.





11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine (1/2 stick; see note)

1 egg

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, toasted (see note)



1 17-ounce can sweet potatoes in light syrup

1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 egg whites

1/2 cup milk


To make crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixer bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, butter, egg and pecans, mixing at medium speed until crumbly. Press mixture onto bottom and along sides of a 9-inch spring form pan.


Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.


To make filling: Drain sweet potatoes, reserving1/4cup syrup. In food processor, process potatoes until mashed. Combine potatoes, yogurt, brown sugar and flour, mixing until blended. Stir ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves into potato mixture. Stir in egg whites, milk and reserved sweet potato syrup. Blend well. Pour sweet potato mixture into crust.


Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 50 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.


Note: To toast nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake in 375-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until brown.



1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 1-quart baking dish. Chop artichokes finely in a food processor. In a bowl, mix chopped artichokes, spinach, mayonnaise, Parmesan and 2 cups of Monterey Jack. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack. Bake in the middle of preheated oven until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.





kim chi,

hot Asian chili oil,

rice vinegar,

soy sauce,

canned bamboo (if no fresh is available),

dried shiitaki mushrooms and kombu seaweed for the broth,

and a refrigerator stash of ground turkey sauteed with ginger and garlic (recipe follows).


To make broth: Since the '60s I've kept dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed in my pantry for making quick soup broth. There is no actual recipe except for making sure to briefly (10 minutes) soak these dried vegetables before bringing them to a boil. Put about 2 cups of water in a saucepan and add the seaweed and mushroom. I usually break off a 2-inch piece of dried seaweed -- it swells when wet to at least twice its dried size -- and toss in 3 very small or 1 medium dried mushroom. After the mushrooms and seaweed re-hydrate, I bring them to a boil for just 2 or 3 minutes, then remove the seaweed and reduce the heat to a low simmer until ready to use as a broth for the soup. Adjust quantity using the same proportions.


To make turkey saute: White or dark meat, antibiotic/hormone-free ground turkey is available at most natural foods stores' meat departments. I usually buy about 1 pound of the white meat version and saute it with a little oil, a few cloves of chopped garlic, a 1-inch knob of chopped fresh ginger, and a couple pinches of salt.


This mixture cooks into a flavorful crumble that stores well for several days in the refrigerator and is ready to add by the spoonful to most any broth or soup.


The kim chi: Kim chi is the fiery Asian version of sauerkraut. It's made from Chinese cabbage, garlic, ginger and chilies (the jars will usually be labeled mild or hot). Most supermarkets carry ready-made kim chi in the refrigerator case. I like the preservative-free brands available at natural food stores.


The bamboo shoots: If using canned shoots (available at Asian grocery stores or in the ethnic foods section of supermarkets) just rinse and slice thinly. If using freshly harvested shoots, carefully peel off the outer leaf sheath material to get to the tender core. Rinse well and steam in a little water (using a pan with a tight-fitting lid) until tender. To use, slice thinly.


To assemble and serve: Using a large mug, pile, as desired, one or two spoonfuls each of turkey saute, kim chi, tofu (cut into cubes) and thinly sliced bamboo shoots. Top the pile with a few drops of hot chili oil and rice vinegar and cover with boiling hot broth. Stir gently, allowing the salty kim chi to flavor the broth. Adjust seasoning with soy sauce.




Sukiyaki's savory-but-slightly-sweet flavor has entranced visitors to Japan for years. Originally, it was cooked outdoors on a plow, which may explain why today's sukiyaki pot is made of cast iron with a high arching handle to keep hands away from the fire. Any cast-iron pot of moderate depth is ideal for making sukiyaki.


1 package shirataki noodles, 7 ounces (see Note)

12 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 bunch of the herb shungiku (edible chrysanthemum leaves)

2 Japanese naganegi long onions (cut on the diagonal)

1/2 head of napa cabbage

1 block firm tofu, 14 ounces

4 eggs, or pasteurized egg product equal to 4 eggs, optional

1 pound thinly sliced beef prime rib, ribeye or chuck (available sliced for sukiyaki at Japanese markets)

1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

1/2 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup water

Steamed rice to accompany the meal

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil


Parboil shirataki noodles or pour boiling water over them to rinse and cook partially; drain. Rinse vegetables and chop into bite-sized chunks. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes. Arrange all vegetables, shirataki noodles and tofu on two platters (one for each side of the table). If using, lightly beat 4 eggs and pour into four small bowls. (The egg is for dipping food after it has been cooked. Those who do not wish to eat raw egg can use a pasteurized egg product instead.)


Divide the meat into three equal portions. Arrange two portions of the beef on two platters, reserving the third. Set your table with the tabletop burner, platters of food, small bowls of rice, bowls of egg for dipping (if desired), and an extra small plate with chopsticks for each person.


Combine brown sugar, mirin, sake, soy sauce and water in a small pitcher to create the sauce.


In a cast-iron skillet with moderately high sides (or cast-iron dutch oven), heat the canola oil on the stove and add a few pieces of the beef. When sizzling hot, add all of the reserved beef (one-third of the total amount) and brown. Pour in half of the sauce and heat to a low boil.


Transfer the pan to the tabletop burner and bring back to a low boil. It's time for everyone to come and eat (and cook). Guests can now put whatever they like into the pot until it is cooked to their liking, dip it into the egg if they wish, and enjoy. The host can help everyone along by putting both meat and vegetables for everyone into the pot as well.


Note: Shirataki noodles, sometimes called konnyaku noodles, are made from yam. Clear or dark-colored, they are sold packed in liquid in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator section of Japanese markets.




3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 11/2-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth

11/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Season beef with salt and pepper. In large flameproof casserole, heat oil over high heat. Add beef in 2 batches, and cook for about 5 minutes per batch, or until browned, turning occasionally. Return all beef to pan; add onion, turmeric, cumin, paprika, tomatoes and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 11/2 hours, or until beef is very tender.


Stir in sweet potatoes and simmer for 30 minutes, or until softened. Stir in cilantro and parsley just before serving





(Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2001)


In recent years, the trend has been toward culinary innovations that combine Asian, European and American ingredients and cooking styles. We might think that only modern sensibilities could fathom such sophistication, but we should remember that it isn't the first time a gastronomic meeting of East and West culminated in a kind of fusion cuisine that changed cooking forever.


Tempura came long before, in the 16th century. Many people think of it as Japanese fare, but that's only partly true. This dish of deep-fried, crispy seafood and vegetables actually was the brainchild of Portuguese Christian missionaries who made their home in Japan.


The name "tempura" derives from the Latin term Quattuor Tempora -- the Ember Days during Lent and other specified times of the year.


These were fasting days, when meat was forbidden to be consumed. The abundance of Japanese seafood helped mightily.


The Jesuits cooked it in accordance with traditions back home: deep fried and crunchy brown. The Japanese refined the recipe. Gone was the thick, European-style batter in favor of a light one that would give the fish and shellfish a lacelike, crispy coating.


Japanese cooking oil was lighter, so the flavor of fresh seafood, rather than the taste of fat, would prevail. The Japanese decided to include a dipping sauce to give the ingredients extra flair.


And they added vegetables. Fried foods were so well received in Japan that cooks must have figured, why not fry everything? Thus a dish born of religious sacrifice became a world-renowned, popular favorite -- delicate, lightly golden, visually beautiful and satisfying.


Tempura is the kind of dish you make for an informal dinner. If family or friends don't mind hanging around the kitchen, it's much better to feed them as you cook, handing out the finished pieces as they're done, fresh from the fryer.


The pieces do hold for a while in a 250-degree oven. We're used to tempura straight, but, for special occasions, the Japanese serve it over rice and for lunch, over buckwheat ("soba") or "udon" noodles and broth.


The recipe isn't difficult to prepare, although two things are essential:


First is a cold batter mixed only slightly and used immediately after preparation to assure a tender coating.


The second essential is hot vegetable oil kept at a constant temperature. Hot oil sears the surface, preventing excess oil from penetrating the food, causing it to be greasy.


Firm white fish, shrimp, Asian eggplant, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and sweet potatoes are among the more typical ingredients of a traditional tempura plate. But squid, scallops, clams, small whole fish, carrot slices, green beans, bell pepper strips, scallions and onion slices can be included. Be sure the ingredients are dry, and dredge them lightly in flour before dipping them in the batter. This helps the coating adhere better.


A side dish of pickles gives the dinner a more Japanese touch; plain rice is a fine accompaniment as well. All this, plus a glass of sake, beer or tea and the meal will be fit for a shogun.




3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (see note)

2 cups butter or margarine (4 sticks; see note)

1 pound powdered sugar (41/2 cups sifted), plus extra for dusting

4 eggs

4 egg whites

2 teaspoons imitation coconut flavoring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.


Crush coconut coarsely in blender.


In a large mixer bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add egg whites and beat well. Blend in coconut flavoring and vanilla.


Mix together flour, baking powder and coconut, then add gradually to butter mixture. Mix just until thoroughly blended. Pour into prepared pan.


Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Before serving, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.


Note: To toast coconut, spread on shallow baking sheet and toast at 325 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, or heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until it starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to burn.


Note: Use real butter or stick margarine that's at least 80 percent fat. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results




Special to the Mercury News

Genghis Khan may have popularized the Mongolian hot pot in Asia, but these days another hot pot rules the tabletop burners of China: yuan yang huo guo.


Though the name means Mandarin duck hot pot, there is no duck cooked in this pot.


The duck in the name is from Chinese folklore, where the Mandarin drake and hen symbolize a harmonious pair. This hot pot lives up to its traditional name: two broths, one spicy and one mild, are cooked in the same pot -- separate but inseparable.


My husband, who grew up in China, introduced me to yuan yang huo guo, and it has become the hot pot of choice at our house. Available at several local restaurants, this two-broth hot pot is also gaining favor in Silicon Valley.


Typically the yuan yang pot is stainless steel and has a thin strip of metal down the center, neatly dividing the pot into two sections.


Here's where the two broths come in: A fiery Sichuan peppercorn-based broth called ma la is poured into one side, and a mild chicken broth is poured into the other. As with other Asian hot pots, raw vegetables and meats are cooked in the broth at the table. With yuan yang huo guo, the fun is doubled: You and your guests are free to cook your meal in both broths.


Just as the broths offer something for everyone's palate, so do the dipping sauces.


My husband remembers using a minced garlic and oil dipping sauce when eating this dish in China, but we have not been successful in duplicating it so far.


However, there are two authentic sauces available ready-made. Both sesame paste and sa-cha (a tangy blend of seafood, sesame oil and peppers) can be found at Asian groceries.


Serve these sauces alongside black vinegar and chili oil and have guests create their own mix at the table in individual sauce bowls.


Once the broths are bubbling and the sauces are ready for dipping, what is cooked in yuan yang huo guo varies by region in China. Traditionally, meats are kept to a precious minimum and vary from lamb and beef in the north to shrimp and fish in the south. Vegetables are served in abundance and according to the season, usually including leafy greens and at least one root vegetable.


In California, where Asian vegetables of all sorts can be found year-round, it's easy to put together an enticing meal.


You and three friends can have a tasty introduction to yuan yang huo guo for about $60 at King's Wood restaurant at Cupertino Village shopping center. But for the same price, you can purchase the pot, tabletop burner and various ingredients and enjoy yuan yang huo guo many times at home.




11/2 pounds tenderized boneless veal cutlets

One (1-pound 4-ounce) bag refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes

1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 medium onions, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into thin slices

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.Spray rectangular baking dish, 13-by-9-by-2-inches, with cooking spray. Remove fat from veal. Cut veal into 6 serving pieces.


Spread potatoes in baking dish. Spread bell peppers over potatoes. Sprinkle with salt. Cover and bake 15 minutes.


While potatoes are baking, spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat oven over medium-high heat. Cook veal in skillet about 5 minutes, turning once, until slightly pink in center. Remove veal from skillet.


Cook onions and garlic in same skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are tender.


Place veal on potato mixture. Spread onion mixture over veal. Sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.




1 box Honeycomb Cereal

1 box Rice or Corn Chex

1 bag Mini Pretzels

1 jar Peanuts or any kind of nut

3 trays CandiQuick White Chocolate


Mix the dry ingredients in two large bowls, about 1/2 and 1/2. Melt CandiQuick in

microwave. It takes 1-1/2 trays to do one bowl. Do one bowl at a time or it will start

to harden in bowl. Stir in CandiQuick. Coat all ingredients well and spread flat on wax

paper. When hardened, break into pieces.



Serves 4

1 quart plus 6 cups water

1 to 3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorn sauce (ma la)

2 cups chicken broth

1 16-ounce package firm tofu

8 ounces thinly sliced boneless lamb

1/2 head Napa cabbage

8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

4 medium potatoes

1 medium daikon radish

1 pound lotus root

8 ounces green pea shoots or spinach leaves

1 package cellophane (mung bean) noodles


1 7-ounce jar sa-cha sauce

1 8-ounce jar sesame paste

Chinese black vinegar

Chili oil


To prepare spicy broth, combine 1 quart water with Sichuan peppercorn sauce in one side of yuan yang pot on your stove top. Add remaining 6 cups water and chicken stock to other side of pot. Bring stocks to boil then lower heat to simmer.


Prepare vegetables: Cut cabbage leaves into bite-size pieces. Slice mushrooms into 1/2-inch strips. Peel potatoes, radish and lotus root, then slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Rinse and drain greens. Assemble vegetables on serving platters.


Soak cellophane noodles in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain and place on a serving platter. Arrange lamb on a separate platter.


Place sauces in serving bowls.


Transfer pot from stove to tabletop burner. When stocks return to a boil, invite diners to begin cooking using both broths. It's best to start with the root vegetables and tofu first since these will take longest to cook, with other vegetables and meat following. Enjoy the cooked meat and vegetables with the dipping sauces. Toward the end, add the cellophane noodles to the pot. Finish the meal with a bowl of these noodles and a ladle of broth, spicy or mild.



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