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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 400

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).



BARBECUE SAUCE FOR PORK
BALSAMIC GLAZED SALMON
BANANA CINNAMON WAFFLES
BEAN AND BARLEY SOUP
BEEF CURRY
BIG BOY'S TOMATO AND SPICE DRESSING
BLACK BEAN, CORN, AND TOMATO RELISH
BLACK RUSSIAN CAKE
BLUEBERRY ANGEL FOOD CAKE
BROWNIES
CANTALOUPE BUTTER
CAROLINA BARBECUE
CHICKEN WITH FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
CITRUS STUFFED MONKFISH
CRACKED WHEAT BREAD
CREAMED CUCUMBERS
CREAMY TUNA PASTA BAKE
CRUNCHY TERIYAKI BURGERS
DRY RUBS
FIRECRACKER GRILLED ALASKA SALMON
FRESH PLUM TART
GRAVLAX AND HERB TERRINE
HAM AND SWISS PASTRY BAKE
HAPPY ENDINGS PLUM CAKE
HERBED CHICKEN LOAF
HIGH ALTITUDE COOKERY
HUMMINGBIRD CAKE
HUMMUS
ITALIAN CHEESE STEAKS
LEMON-DILL LINGUINE
LEMON PEPPER LINGUINE
LOW-FAT SUGAR-FREE RAISIN BARS
NEW POTATOES WITH OREGANO
ONION-MUSHROOM STRATA
ORANGE CHIFFON CHEESECAKE
OREGANO INFORMATION
OUTBACK ORANGE MARMALADE SAUCE
PASTA and SAUSAGE OREGANO
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (LIGHT)
POTATO AND HAM HASH
RED DRESSING
RIB EYE STEAK RECIPE

SALT INFORMATION
SAUTÉED CHICKEN BREASTS W CURRY SAUCE
SAVORY BRINE FOR RIBS
SEVEN LAYER MEXICAN DIP
SHRIMP TEQUILA
SOUTH-OF-THE-BORDER NACHOS
STUFFED ANAHEIM CHILIES
SUPER VEGGIE SPREAD
THREE CHEESE NOODLE BAKE
TOMATO YOGURT DIP
TORTILLA SOUP
TRIFLE I
TRIFLE II
TRIFLE III
UNCOOKED JAM
WARM CAULIFLOWER SALAD



BARBECUE SAUCE FOR PORK

1 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup onions, minced fine
2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/3 cup apricot jam
2 Tbs. chili sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup strong coffee (or 2 shots of espresso)
3 Tbs. lemon juice (or 3 small lemons), fresh
1 tsp. pepper, fresh ground
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. chipotle, ground

1/2 cup bourbon

Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan and sauté onions until translucent. Then add garlic for another 2 minutes.

Add everything else (except the bourbon) and bring to a lightly rolling simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavor. Do you like more sweet, or sour, or heat? Then add the bourbon and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Let it cool and sit for a few hours if possible before serving. Don't refrigerate or it will cool the meat. Refrigerate only left-over sauce.

Brush some onto the pork you are grilling, but not until almost the end of cooking.
(Sugars burn easily.) This is also good for dipping – so you could serve a bowl
of it at the table, as well.

BALSAMIC GLAZED SALMON

1  tbsp. olive oil
4  salmon fillets, 3/4" thick (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  Lemon pepper seasoning
1  can (14 oz.) Swanson(R) Seasoned Chicken Broth with Italian Herbs
3  tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2  tbsp. cornstarch
Hot cooked rice, cooked without salt

Heat oil in skillet. Add salmon, skin side up, and cook until browned, about 5 min. Turn salmon and season with lemon pepper.

Add 1/2 cup broth. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 min. or until done. Remove salmon and keep warm.

Mix remaining broth, vinegar and cornstarch. Add to skillet and cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Place rice in bowls and top with salmon. Spoon sauce over all. Serves 4.

BANANA CINNAMON WAFFLES
6 servings

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 whole egg whites -- slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2/3 cup banana -- mashed
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Prepare waffle iron with cooking spray and heat until hot. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another mixing bowl,
combine egg whites, milk, banana, and sour cream. Add dry ingredients to wet
ingredients just until moistened. Pour enough batter to fill two-thirds of the waffle iron. Cook until crisp and golden brown set aside. Repeat with remaining batter.

BEAN AND BARLEY SOUP

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large white onion, cut in chunks
5 cloves garlic, cut in chunks
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 cup barley, rinsed
1 to 1 1/2 cups edamame (green, shelled soybeans)
1 can (19 oz.) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 quarts fat-free chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon summer savory
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 to 2 teaspoons dried cilantro - or to taste

Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until they are a little limp. Add the zucchini, and sauté until it is hot and the zucchini starts cooking. Add the barley and sauté a little, stirring to coat all the barley. Add the chicken broth and water, and the herbs. Bring to a slight boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Don't cook it at too high a boil or the barley will be hard. Add the edamame and bring back to a low boil. Cook 10 minutes, add the beans and heat through.

BEEF CURRY
A lively way to use up cooked beef, this recipe can also be made with fresh ground beef, fried, then drained of fat.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 large tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
1 cup beef or chicken broth (low sodium if possible)*
1 pound (500g) cooked beef
Hot red pepper flakes

In Dutch oven or deep, heavy frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook onion for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add curry powder, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes to taste. Continue to cook, stirring, about 4 minutes more. Stir in broth, scraping up browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil, add beef (and gravy, if using), stirring. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Season with more red pepper flakes to taste. Serve over hot brown rice. Serves 6.

BIG BOY'S TOMATO AND SPICE DRESSING

1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
   2 Tablespoons ketchup
   1 Tablespoon Heinz 57 Sauce
   1 Tablespoon Light Karo Corn Syrup

  Combine salad dressing, ketchup, Heinz 57 and corn syrup. Stir it with rubber bowl scraper till thoroughly blended. Keep refrigerated up to 30 days.

BLACK BEAN, CORN, AND TOMATO RELISH
This relish (otherwise known as a salsa) has its roots all over Latin America and the Caribbean.  Use freshly roasted sweet corn for best results, but canned or frozen corn can be used during those times when fresh corn is unavailable.

3-4 ears fresh sweet corn in the husks, or 1 1/2 cups frozen or canned corn
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
1 15-ounce (225 g) can black beans, drained
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Carefully peel back the corn husks and remove the "silk" from inside. Soak the corn in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.  Drain the corn and pat dry.  Rub the butter over the corn kernels and fold the corn husks back into place around the cob.  Grill over hot coals or under a preheated broiler for 15 to 20 minutes, turning about every 5 minutes.  Allow to cool, peel the husks and cut the corn off the cobs.

Combine (freshly roasted corn kernels or canned/frozen corn kernels) with the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss to combine.  Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.  Serves 4 to 6.

BLACK RUSSIAN CAKE
(Ghost City Inn B&B, Jerome, AZ)

Cake:
1 package dark chocolate cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (3-ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup creme de cacao
1/4 cup Kahlua

Topping:
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons strong coffee
2 tablespoons creme de cacao
2 tablespoons Kahlua

For the cake, combine the cake mix, oil, pudding mix, eggs, coffee, creme de cacao and Kahlua in a large bowl. Beat 4 minutes until quite smooth. Pour into a well greased 10-inch tube pan until 3/4 full. (Save any remaining batter for cupcakes.) Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the pan and invert onto a serving plate. Punch holes throughout the cake with a skewer or ice pick.

Prepare the topping by combining the confectioners' sugar, coffee, Kahlua and creme de cacao. Mix well and spoon over the warm cake

BLUEBERRY ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Cake:
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup sifted cake flour
12 large egg whites (about 1-1/2 cups)
1-1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Sift together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup flour.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time; fold in. Fold in vanilla and blueberries.

Combine 2 tablespoons flour and lemon rind; toss to coat. Sprinkle over egg white mixture; fold in.

Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 375F degrees for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen the cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto plate.

To prepare the glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle over cooled cake. Yield: 8 servings.

BROWNIES

  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1/4 teaspoon salt
  2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  2 Tablespoons canola oil
  1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  1/4 cup granulated sugar
  2 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
  2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  2 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the bittersweet chocolate and the oil; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in the applesauce, sugars, corn syrup, and vanilla; beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg whites and continue beating until the sugar is dissolved, 1 minute more. Add the reserved flour mixture and stir gently until smooth, about
2 minutes.

Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean, with a few fudgy crumbs, about 15-20 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

CANTALOUPE BUTTER

1 cup chopped cantaloupe with the rind removed
1 tsp. water
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest

In a small pan, simmer the fruit with 1 tsp. water until very tender. Cool to room temperature. Place all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Use with grilled chicken or fish - Also create tropical pancakes with this fruity butter.



CAROLINA BARBECUE

5- pound Boston Butt roast
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
Dash hot pepper sauce

Randomly pierce the surface of the roast with a sharp knife. In a Dutch oven, brown roast on all sides in hot oil. In a mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour sauce over roast and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 2 hours or until pork is fork-tender. Baste roast with sauce during cooking time. Slice or chop to serve.   Yield: 20 servings.

CHICKEN WITH FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
The lightly breaded chicken crisps to golden brown perfection in the
oven. The tomato sauce takes but a few minutes to prepare.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.), trimmed of fat
6 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts trimmed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt to taste (optional)
Fresh black pepper to taste
Non-stick cooking spray
2 large egg whites
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (190C). Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to flatten slightly. Place bread in a food processor and process to crumbs. Add parsley, salt and pepper and process to mix. In a second shallow dish, lightly beat egg whites with a fork. Dip chicken breasts in egg whites, then roll in breadcrumbs (use store bought ones if you
don't have a food processor.)

Spray a large ovenproof skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Carefully add the prepared breasts and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. turn the breasts over and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until no longer pink on the inside, about 15 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the tomato/basil sauce. Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and cook, shaking the pan, for 2 to 3 minutes, just long enough to heat tomatoes. Stir in basil and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken with tomato sauce along side. Serves 4.

CITRUS STUFFED MONKFISH
Serves 4

4 Monkfish Tail Fillets, (about 200g/7oz each), skinned
2 small Oranges
1 Lemon
1 Lime
A bunch of fresh Thyme Sprigs
3 tbsp Olive Oil

1 teas Honey
Salt and coarsely Ground Black Pepper

Cut 2 slices from the end of each of the citrus fruit and arrange lengthwise down the center of 2 of the fillets, overlapping if necessary. Top each with some thyme sprigs and the finely grated rind of the remaining fruit (reserving the fruit).
Season with salt and pepper then place the remaining fillets on top (so you have 2 reconstructed tails) and tie each at intervals with kitchen string. Place in a shallow dish.

Squeeze the juice from the reserved fruit, place in a small bowl, add the olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour over the fish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning from time to time.

Remove the fish from the dish, reserving the marinade and cook over medium hot coals for 20-25 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times and basting with the reserved marinade. Serve immediately.

Note: Be certain that the marinade used for basting is thoroughly cooked before
serving the fish.



CRACKED WHEAT BREAD

1/2 cup cracked wheat
3/4 cup hot water
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 1/2 tablespoons molasses
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup quick oats
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put the ingredients in the machine in the order listed (or follow manufacturer's instructions). Set for whole wheat, medium crust. Makes a 1 1/2 pound loaf.

The same ingredients can be mixed, raised, and baked just like regular bread
that you make by hand.


CREAMED CUCUMBERS

  4  cucumbers -- peeled and sliced
  3  green onions -- chopped fine
  1  cup  mayonnaise
1/4 cup  sugar
  4  teaspoons  wine -- or rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon  dill
  1  tablespoon  mustard

Combine all ingredients except for cucumbers.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add cucumbers and mix well.  Refrigerate until serve.

CREAMY TUNA PASTA BAKE

2 tablespoons butter
6 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk or light cream
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tomatoes, halved, seeded, diced
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
12 ounces penne or other tube-shaped pasta
4 cups broccoli florets and chopped peeled stems
2 6-ounce cans flaked tuna, drained*
1 1/2 cups soft fresh bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Asiago or mozzarella cheese

In a Dutch over or large saucepan,, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook green onions, garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until softened.

In a bowl, whisk flour with 1 cup milk until smooth; add remaining milk. Add to pan along with stock. Bring to a boil, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes, Parmesan and basil. (Can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 7 minutes or until almost tender. Add broccoli; cook for 2 minutes or until broccoli is bright green and crisp and the pasta is just tender. Drain. Chill under cold water. Drain well and return to pot. Stir in tuna and sauce. Spread in greased 13x9-inch baking dish. (Casserole can be prepared to this point; covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before baking. Increase baking time by 15 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and Asiago cheese; sprinkle over top. Place in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and center is piping hot.
Serves 6 to 8.

CRUNCHY TERIYAKI BURGERS

Teriyaki Marinade (see below)
1 1/2 pounds  lean ground beef
   1/2 cup  finely chopped water chestnuts
  4 medium  green onions -- chopped (1/4 cup)

Teriyaki Marinade
1/4 cup  soy sauce
1/4 cup  dry sherry OR 1/4 cup  orange juice
  1 clove  garlic -- finely chopped
  1 teaspoon  molasses OR 1 teaspoon  packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon  ground ginger

Prepare Teriyaki Marinade in shallow nonmetal dish or resealable plastic bag.

Mix beef, water chestnuts and onions. Shape mixture into 6 patties, about
3/4 inch thick. Add patties to marinade, turning to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag and refrigerate, turning patties once, at least 3 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

Remove patties from marinade; reserve marinade. Grill patties uncovered 4 inches from medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, brushing frequently with marinade
and turning once, until no longer pink in center and juice is clear. Discard any remaining marinade.  Yield: 6 servings.

Teriyaki Marinade: Mix all ingredients. About 1/2 cup.


CUBAN SHREDDED BEEF
(Ropa Vieja)

1 lb (450 g) flank steak
8 cups (2 L) water
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and chopped
1 recipe sofrito (see recipe below)
1/2 cup (125 ml) broth reserved from boiling the meat
1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen peas
1 2-ounce (56 g) jar chopped pimientos with their liquid
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the flank steak, water, garlic, carrot, onion, and bell pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2 hours.  Remove the meat and allow to cool, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Pound the meat with a mallet or back of a large knife to separate it onto stringy fibers.  Combine with the sofrito, reserved broth, peas, pimientos, salt, and pepper in a large skillet and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring
frequently.  Serve with white rice.  Serves 4 to 6.

Sofrito

1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) tomato sauce
1 Tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over moderate heat and sauté the garlic, onion, and bell pepper until tender bit not brown, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Makes about 1 1/2 cup.

DRY RUBS

Basic Warm & Sweet Rub
(the base for all of them)

3 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. Fresh ground pepper
3 Tbsp. Dried parsley
2 tsp. Cumin, ground
1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper

Make a Steaks Rub by adding the following (to the base recipe).

1 Tbsp. Espresso coffee beans, ground
Add 2 tsp. more of Cumin
2 bay leaves, ground
1 Tbsp. Oregano
1-1/2 Tbsp. Rosemary, ground
1-1/2 tsp. Ground Chipolte.

Make a Poultry Rub by adding the following.

1 Tbsp. Bay leaves, ground
1 Tbsp. Basil, ground
2 tsp. Rosemary, ground
2 tsp. of sage, ground
1-1/2 tsp. Thyme, ground
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1 tsp. Lemon zest (optional)

Salmon Rub

2 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. pepper, fresh ground
1 Tbsp. dill, ground or 1/4 cup fresh
1-1/2 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. caraway seeds, ground
1/4 tsp. Chipotle, ground
8 juniper berries, ground

FIRECRACKER GRILLED ALASKA SALMON

4 (4-6-oz each) Alaska Salmon steaks, thawed if necessary
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp salt

Place salmon steaks in glass dish. Whisk together remaining ingredients and
pour over salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator 4-6 hours. Remove salmon from marinade and place on a well-oiled grill 5 inches from coals. Grill for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish just flakes when tested with a fork. Turn halfway through cooking. 

FRESH PLUM TART

  refrigerated fill-and-bake pie crust (7 to 7-1/2 ounces)
  4 ripe plums (about 1 pound total), peeled and thinly sliced
  2 large eggs, or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  1/3 cup sugar
  1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Press the prepared pie crust into a 9-inch diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the crust against the fluted edge and trim off any pastry that extends over the top. Discard any extra dough and the trimmings (about 1 ounce). Bake the crust only 5 minutes, until it is set but brown. Cool on a rack.

Arrange the plum slices in overlapping circles to cover the bottom of the tart shell.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, fat-free sour cream, and flour until smooth. Pour the custard over the plums; it should fill the spaces between the plums.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 18 to 20 minutes, until the custard is set and the edges are slightly browned. Cool and cut into 8 equal slices.

GRAVLAX AND HERB TERRINE

1 pound 12 oz cream cheese, room temp
4-5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound gravlax small diced (salt-cured raw salmon, seasoned with dill)
3/4 cup gruyere cheese, finely grated
2 tsp fresh chervil, tarragon or herb of your choice, finely minced
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, fresh ground
1/2 tsp. white pepper, fresh ground

Beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Beat in eggs. Fold in heavy cream and blend well. Incorporate remainder of ingredients until well blended. Spoon into buttered 2 oz. or 4 oz. ramekins. Place ramekins in a bain marie (water bath) and bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven to set, 25-30 minutes. Remove from water bath and cool to room temperature.

May be served at room temperature or chilled. Terrine may be turned out of ramekin or served as is. Serve on bagels with a green salad as an appetizer or light lunch.

HAM AND SWISS PASTRY BAKE

  2  cups  Ham, extra lean -- cooked & cubed
  1  cup  Swiss Cheese, low sodium -- shredded
1/4 cup  Celery -- finely chopped
1/4 cup  Green Bell Pepper -- finely chopped
1/4 cup  Onions -- minced
  1  teaspoon  Mustard Powder
  1  tablespoon  Lemon Juice, bottled
1/3 cup  Mayonnaise, imitation, no cholesterol
  1  large  Pie Crust, frozen -- (9-inch)

In a large bowl, mix cubed ham, cheese, celery, green pepper, onion, mustard
and lemon juice with mayonnaise; place into pie shell and bake, uncovered at
375 degrees F for 25 - 35 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes; serve hot.

To freeze for serving later:
Combine ham, cheese, celery, bell pepper, onion, mustard and lemon juice in
a 1-gallon plastic bag and store in freezer. To prepare for serving, thaw ham mixture, add mayonnaise and place into pie shell.  Bake and serve as directed above.

HAPPY ENDINGS PLUM CAKE
from "The Cereal Murders"

1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 16 oz. can purple plums packed in syrup, well drained and plums chopped
(reserve syrup)
confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy and light, then gradually add the sugars, beating until creamy and
smooth.  Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking powder,
baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  Stir the dry ingredients into the
butter mixture, alternating with 1/2 cup reserved syrup, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Stir in the plums.  Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13" pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Turn the cake out onto a rack and allow it to cool, then dust with confectioners' sugar.  Makes 12 to 16 servings.

HERBED CHICKEN LOAF

1 (3-pound) broiler-fryer chicken
4 bacon slices, minced
8 ounces lean ground beef
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs, such as: tarragon, thyme and oregano
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tablespoons dry white wine
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken meat. Finely chop meat. In a medium bowl, combine chopped chicken, bacon, beef, onion, herbs, garlic, wine salt and pepper. Spoon into greased pan; arrange bay leaves on top. Cover with foil.

Bake in preheated oven 2 1/2 hours or until juices run clear when center is pierced with a skewer. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Discard bay leaves. Cut into thin slices to serve. Makes about 12 servings.

HIGH ALTITUDE COOKERY
In brief, from RealFood4RealPeople

High altitude means lower air pressure, which decreases water's boiling temperature from 212 degrees F at sea level to 203 degrees F at 5,000 feet
and to just 199 degrees F at 7,200 feet. This variation affects cooking of
vegetables, eggs, candies, and internal structure of baked products because
water and liquids evaporate faster and leavening gases in breads and cakes
expand more.

Do not assume your sea level recipe will fail. Try it first because it may need little or no modification. This is especially true of meats and vegetables cooked with dry heat (in the oven). Even with making recommended altitude adjustments to sea level recipes, the quality may never be the same as when it was prepared at sea level.

Cake Baking Adjustment Guide for High Altitudes:

                                Reduce baking powder.
For each teaspoon decrease
 3,000 ft.-   1/8 tsp.
 5,000 ft.-   1/8 - 1/4 tsp.
 7,000 ft.-   1/4 tsp.

                                   Reduce sugar.
For each cup decrease
3,000 ft.-   0-1 Tbsp.
5,000 ft.-   0-2 Tbsp.
7,000 ft.-   1-3 Tbsp.

                                 Increase liquid.
For each cup add
3,000 ft.-   1-2 Tbsp.
5,000 ft.-   2-4 Tbsp.
7,000 ft.-   3-4 Tbsp.

Another adjustment is to increase baking temperature 15 degrees - 25 degrees
Fahrenheit. This helps "set" the batter before it over expands.  Increasing
baking temperature also helps overcome the lighter crust color that occurs
because of fast moisture evaporation.

**Foods cooked in boiling water or steam need to be adjusted for high elevations. As altitude increases, water boils more quickly but at a lower boiling point.

A "three-minute" egg may not be done in three minutes and a bowl of soup may
come to a boil very quickly, but not be especially hot in the high country. It takes longer for vegetables, eggs, dried beans, pot roasts, stews and other foods cooked in liquid. It's impossible to suggest the additional cooking time required at high altitudes, because there's so much variation in the size and the ripeness of different foods.

In general, cooking time must be increased from 4 to11 percent per 1,000 feet,
depending on the product. A pressure cooker is great for cooking meats and vegetables which require long cooking at high altitudes.

**Because of quick breads' firm structure, they can usually be prepared at high altitudes without change, or with only a slight decrease in baking powder.  It's generally recommended to reduce baking powder or soda by one-eighth teaspoon per teaspoon called for and reduce sugar and fat by two to four tablespoons for each cup in the recipe.

**Although many sea-level cookie recipes will give you acceptable results at
high altitudes, they can usually be improved by increasing the baking
temperature 15-25 degrees F. If you notice a soapy aftertaste in your cookies, lowering the amount of baking soda or baking powder by one-eighth teaspoon called for in your regular recipe may help.

If your cookies are spreading too much during baking, try reducing the sugar
and/or fat content by one-eighth to one-fourth the recommended amount, or
increase the flour and liquid called for by one-eighth to one-fourth the
recommended amount.

Many cookie recipes have higher amounts of sugar and fat than necessary even
at low altitudes. For more nutritious cookies with a few less calories, replace up to one-fourth of the sugar called for in the recipe with nonfat dry milk powder.

**The lower boiling point of water found at high altitudes not only affects foods cooked in water but also foods cooked in deep fat. To prevent deep fat-fried foods from over-browning on the outside while being under-cooked in the inside, the temperature of the fat must be lowered at high altitudes.

Temperature decrease varies according to the food you are frying. A rough guide to follow is lowering the frying temperature about 3 degrees F, for each 1,000 feet increase in elevation. For example, at 5,000 feet, a sea-level recipe calling for frying doughnuts at 370 degrees F, would be lowered to 355 degrees F.

**Baking yeast breads in the high country can be a pleasurable and successful experience if you remember these few tips. In a high dry climate, flour tends to be drier and absorbs more liquid. A little less flour, or slightly more liquid, may be needed to maintain the proper dough consistency. There is no hard and fast rule to follow, because changes in humidity will affect the flour's dryness and the amount needed in the same recipe on different days.

A good method to follow is to add one-third of the flour at a time until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

High altitude affects the rising time of yeast bread doughs as leavening gases expand more quickly. Bread doughs double in size faster at high altitudes than at lower altitudes. The higher the altitude, the shorter the time required for dough to rise.

This faster rising time speeds the bread making process, but it also causes problems. A certain length of rising time is necessary for good flavor and a light textured bread. Using less yeast, or letting the dough rise twice before shaping into loaves or rolls, usually allows enough rising time for good flavor. It is important that the dough be allowed to rise only until double its original size before punching the dough down, or before you start to bake. Letting your bread rise too long may cause over-fermentation and result in a coarse, open-textured bread, with a yeast-like flavor.

At altitudes over 3,500 feet it is suggested to increase baking temperature by 25 degrees F. Most sea level recipes require baking temperatures between 375 degrees F and 400 degrees F, so at higher altitudes the best baking temperature is between 400 degrees - 425 degrees F. This higher temperature sets the cell walls quickly and stops further rising, preventing the dough from becoming too light.

Bread Machines may need different adjustments, but a decrease in yeast - even use of active dry yeast in lieu of bread machine yeast, or adding gluten to the recipe to prevent over development of the yeast.  Adding 1-2 Tbsp. additional moisture per cup of liquid may also help.  For more information on high altitude cookery, contact the manufacturers of your appliances and/or the products you
are using; for example, the yeast or the flour companies.

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

3 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
3 bananas, mashed

Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter
16 oz. confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Combine first 5 cake ingredients in a large bowl, add eggs and oil and mix, add vanilla, pineapple, nuts and bananas and mix well. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. To prepare frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together, add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Spread between each layer of cake and along the top and sides. Sprinkle with chopped pecans



HUMMUS

3 cups canned chick-peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
8 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with crackers, pita bread etc.

ITALIAN CHEESE STEAKS

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 - 6 boneless sirloin steaks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15-oz. jar pasta sauce
1 and 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Fresh parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle each steak with salt and pepper and brown in skillet. Remove steaks and set aside. Pour pasta sauce in skillet and heat; add steaks and sprinkle with cheese. Cook covered until cheese melts. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
   
LEMON-DILL LINGUINE

3 cups cooked linguine (about 1-1/2 cups uncooked)
2 tsp. reduced calorie butter or margarine
1 tbsp. minced chives
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. dried dill
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add chives and cook until soft. Combine milk and cornstarch and mix well. Add milk to saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Add dill, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour over cooked linguine, toss to coat and sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

LEMON PEPPER LINGUINE
WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lemon pepper linguine

Drain artichoke hearts, reserving juice. Coarsely chop artichokes and combine with 2 Tbsp reserved juice, olives, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Cook linguine according to package directions. Toss pasta with artichoke mixture. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

LOW-FAT SUGAR-FREE RAISIN BARS

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp honey or favorite artificial sweetener
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a saucepan, over medium heat, cook the first five ingredients until butter is melted; continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Spread into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.


NEW POTATOES WITH OREGANO
(Patate Ariganate) 4 Servings

6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. baby new potatoes; cut in half
1 Spanish onion; sliced paper-thin
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup water
1 bunch fresh oregano, stemmed, rinsed and chopped

In a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, until light golden brown.

Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Spritz the pan with water and allow it to evaporate. Add the oregano, toss for 1 minute and serve immediately.

ONION-MUSHROOM STRATA

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
7-8 day-old white bread slices
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced onion
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp flour

Sauté mushrooms and onions in butter in medium saucepan. Trim crusts from
bread; cut into quarters. Layer ingredients in 10 x 6 x 2 inch baking dish as follows: half the bread squares, half the sautéed vegetables, 1 cup cheese, remaining bread, remaining vegetables, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Place evaporated milk, water, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper in blender container. Cover; blend until smooth. Pour over ingredients in dish. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Bake, uncovered, in slow oven 325 F 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares to serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

ORANGE CHIFFON CHEESECAKE

Crust:                        
    2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1 stick  butter or diet stick margarine – melted (1/2 cup)

Filling:
  1 cup orange juice
    1 envelope unflavored gelatin
   12 ounces low-calorie cream cheese -- softened
    1  cup part-skim ricotta cheese
   12 packets Equal¨ sweetener
    1  packet low-calorie whipped topping mix
 1/2  cup skim milk
    2  medium oranges -- peeled, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup chopped
orange segments)
    1 orange -- peeled and sectioned for garnish
Crust:
Spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Blend crust
ingredients thoroughly and press over bottom and halfway up sides of pan.
Bake in preheated 350F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool.

Filling:
Pour orange juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over orange juice and let soften 1 minute. Heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves (about 3 minutes). Blend cream cheese and ricotta in a large bowl until smooth; stir in EQUAL. Add gelatin mixture to cheese mixture; blend until smooth. Prepare whipped topping according to package directions, substituting milk for water. Fold whipped topping into cheese mixture. Stir in chopped oranges. Spoon into prepared crust and spread evenly. Chill 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with orange sections if desired.  Yield: 16 servings.

OREGANO INFORMATION

Oregano can be grown easily at home in your garden or in planters, so hopefully you have fresh oregano available to you. Most grocery stores now carry fresh oregano in the produce department. Purchased fresh oregano should be rich green in color and not the least bit limp. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can extend the life of fresh oregano by storing whole stems with leaves in a glass of water with a plastic bag loosely tented over the glass in your refrigerator. You can stick a bamboo skewer in the glass to suspend the bag.

Fresh oregano may also be frozen, but it is not recommended. It is readily available in the garden or store.

To dry fresh oregano, tie sprigs into a bunch and hang in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Once dried, seal tightly and store away from sunlight. This is better than the purchased oregano. For the most part, dried common oregano sold in your grocery store is actually a mixture of different varieties of oregano combined with marjoram and thyme.

All dried herbs should be kept in a cool, dark place in a tightly-sealed container and used within six months. It won't go bad if kept longer, but the color and flavor will deteriorate greatly with time.

Oregano cooking tips:

Fresh oregano leaves are always the first choice when possible. Remove and discard the stem.

When using oregano in a bouquet garni, do not strip leaves from the sprigs. Just tie it up with the rest of the herbs.

Oregano can become overpowering and bitter if too much is used on mildly flavored odds. A little goes a long way.

If you find you are out of oregano, marjoram can be substituted. Use 1/2 the amount of oregano called for. Basil, savory, and thyme can also be substituted.

Oregano goes well in almost all tomato dishes. It also compliments meats and vegetables like lamb or zucchini.

When using dried oregano, crush it in the palm of your hand before adding to the food. This helps release essential oils and revive flavor.

1 Tbsp. fresh oregano = 1 tsp. dried.
1 ounce fresh oregano = 1/2 cup chopped.
1 tsp. dried oregano = 1 tsp. liquid oregano.

OUTBACK ORANGE MARMALADE SAUCE
A clone

1/2 cup  Orange Marmalade
1/4 cup  Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup  Honey
  4  drops  Tabasco Sauce -- (or to taste)

Mix together and serve.  Great on meat, poultry, fish or seafood. (Mixture may be kept refrigerated up to 6 weeks).

PASTA and SAUSAGE OREGANO
8 Servings

1 lb. rigatoni
2 tbsp. oil
1 garlic clove; minced
1 lb. hot bulk sausage; -or- sweet sausage can be used
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp. oregano
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a pot, cook past al dente. In a large sauce pan, add oil, garlic and sausage broken up with a fork while cooking for about 5 minutes.

Add wine and oregano and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add cream and parmesan cheese and cook until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cooked pasta and toss to coat.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE (LIGHT)

1 tbsp Butter, softened
1/2 cup Light brown sugar, packed
3 can Pineapple slices (8oz cans) - in unsweetened juice
9 Maraschino cherries
1 cup Cake flour
3/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 cup Thawed frozen egg substitute - equivalent to 1 egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Coconut extract

Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of pan.

Drain pineapple slices reserving 1/2 cup juice.  Arrange 9 pineapple slices on brown sugar in pan.  Place 1 maraschino cherry in center of each pineapple slice.  Puree 2 pineapple slices.  Reserve remaining pineapple slice for another use.

Stir together cake flour, sugar and baking powder in bowl.  In another container, combine 1/4 cup pureed pineapple, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, egg substitute, vanilla and coconut extract. Quickly combine liquid ingredients with dry ingredients, stirring just until blended.

Pour batter over pineapple in pan, spreading evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done in center and is golden brown.  Cool about 5 minutes.

Loosen cake around edges of pan.  Place inverted serving platter over cake and turn both upside down.  Shake gently, then remove pan. Slice into squares and serve warm.  Makes 9 servings.


Note: When preparing the cake, stir the liquid and dry ingredients together just until blended --- overmixing causes toughness.  Also watch the baking closely.  Bake only until the center of the cake tests done – overbaking causes dryness and toughness. After baking, let the cake stand a few minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife.  Invert the cake into a serving platter to reveal the fruit-and-sugar glaze.  This cake is best when eaten warm.  You may want to serve it with nonfat frozen yogurt or a dollop of low-fat whipped topping.

POTATO AND HAM HASH

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup ham, diced
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet, add onion and garlic and sauté for several minutes. Add hash brown potatoes, salt and pepper and ham and cook for about 15 minutes until potatoes are golden brown. Sprinkle with cheese and cook until cheese melts.


RED DRESSING

1/2 tsp. granulated gelatin
1 tbsp. cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup tomato juice, V8 juice or zesty tomato juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
  dash black pepper
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Artificial sweetener to equal 1 tbsp. sugar
Dash or more Tabasco sauce, to taste

Soften gelatin in cold water.  Add boiling water; stir until dissolved. Turn into a pint jar with all the remaining ingredients.  Cover tightly; shake thoroughly.  Chill for a few hours before serving.  Stir occasionally to prevent gelling at bottom.  Shake gently before using. Makes 1 cup

Variation: to make a great low cal seafood dip, put a couple of tablespoons
of red dressing in a little dish and add 1/2 tsp. (or to taste) of prepared or
dried horseradish.

RIB EYE STEAK RECIPE

2 rib eye steaks (or sirloin)
1 pkg. dry onion or vegetable soup mix
1 cup water

Place rib eye steaks in covered pan or cooking bag. Add water to soup and pour over steaks. Cook in 275 F oven for one hour.

SALT INFORMATION FIX THIS

Whenever anyone asks what I do for a living, rather than enduring blank stares and dumbfounded expressions when I try to explain that I am an email publisher (not to mention being Emperor of Recitopia and all that stuff), I usually just tell people that I'm a food writer. This being the case, I think it behooves me to write about food at least once in a while and thus avoid being branded a liar. Today I am pleased to present the first of a series of short essays I will publish on a semi-once-in-a-while basis. I call them my "All About..." features, and the first of these is titled All About... Salt

Let's start with a short quiz. Please answer these questions to the best of your ability, and no peeking at your neighbor's answers.

1. Salt is...

A. The only mineral commonly consumed by humans
B. Also known a halite
C. An ionic compound of poisonous gas and a volatile metal
D. All of the above

2. The only difference between ordinary table salt and gourmet sea salt is...

A. Flavor
B. Chemical composition
C. Nutritional value
D. Price

3. Choose the statements which are true:

A. Excess salt may be removed from a soup or stew by boiling a potato in the liquid
B. Salted water takes longer to boil than unsalted water
C. Only salt labeled "sea salt" actually comes from the sea
D. None of the above statements are true

If you answered "D" to all three questions, you might consider quitting your job and becoming a big ol' food writer like me. Otherwise, you might find the explanations to these answers of interest - please stay tuned.

______________________________



So, how did you do on question #1 in yesterday's quiz? Did you know that salt is the only mineral commonly eaten by humans? Did you also know that it is know to geologists as halite in its mineral form? I bet you knew that it's an ionic compound of chlorine and sodium called sodium chloride, didn't you? Very good, you all get gold stars.

Question #2 was a bit more controversial, and I have already received emails disputing my assertion that the only difference between ordinary table salt and gourmet sea salt is the price, so let's get down to facts. The US Food and Drug administration requires that all food-grade salt be at least 97.5% pure sodium chloride, and most of the salts on the market far exceed that number. Fans of expensive gourmet "sea salt" point out that it also contains the salts of other metals such as magnesium and calcium, and this is true. But so does regular table salt, whether mined from the earth or derived by evaporating sea water (known as "solar salt"). The truth is that even solar salt is almost 100% pure sodium chloride because almost all of the other mineral salts are washed away during processing. What it boils down to is this salt is salt. Regardless of where it came from or how it is processed, salt is always salt.

So why are there so many different kinds of salt on the market? There is table salt, sea salt, iodized salt, rock salt, kosher salt, popcorn salt, margarita salt, fleur de sel... the list goes on and on. The only differences are in two areas the chemicals added during processing, and the size (coarseness) of the grains. Period. That's it.

Let's look at the additives first. The better know of these is the iodine in iodized salt. It is added in the form of potassium iodide (to a maximum of 1/100th of 1% by weight) as a dietary supplement to prevent thyroid disease, and is always accompanied by a stabilizing agent such as dextrose (yes, sugar in salt) or sodium thiosulfate. Even sea salt and kosher salt may be iodized, so read the labels carefully.

The other additives are anti-caking agents such as calcium silicate, magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate, and other compounds. They are insoluble in water, which not only prevents them from forming clumps in humid environments (thus keeping the soluble crystals of sodium chloride separate), but also explains why water becomes slightly cloudy when salt with these additives is dissolved in it. These are all odorless and flavorless substances and contribute nothing, either positive or negative, to the taste of the salt.

So what about the coarseness of the salt? I have already explained that salt is salt, but is a tablespoon of salt always a tablespoon of salt? Ah, that's another matter, and we'll look into it tomorrow. Until then, please have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

______________________________



So, salt is always salt, and except for trace amounts of additives, all the brands on the market are identical with regard to chemical composition, nutritional value, and flavor. The major difference is price, with ordinary table salt usually costing about 30 cents a pound, and some so-called gourmet salts selling for over $15 a pound. Caveat emptor.

Another difference is the size of the salt crystals, ranging from very fine* (like the salt on potato chips) to fine (common table salt) to coarse (most kosher salts and sea salts) and very coarse (rock salt). One major salt producer has over sixty grades of salt for different commercial purposes. So how do all these different grades of coarseness effect us?

Well, you see, as the grains of salt get bigger, so does the amount of space between the individual grains. In other words, a tablespoon of finely powdered salt will contain more salt by weight than a tablespoon of coarse salt because there is less air space between the small grains than the large grains. Make sense? Furthermore, the smaller the grains of salt, the faster they dissolve in a liquid - and in our mouths.

This can lead to some misleading sensory impressions. People frequently think that a certain salt tastes more or less salty than another when the coarseness of the grain is entirely responsible - not the nature of the salt itself, but rather the size of its crystals. You can easily prove this to yourself by popping a single large grain of salt into your mouth, followed by another large grain of salt which you have pulverized with the back of a spoon. The second grain of salt will dissolve on your tongue faster, giving you a faster and stronger taste of salt even though the two samples are identical in every way except for the size of the crystals.

This same factor also effects measurements. Since a tablespoon (or cup, or gallon) of coarse salt will actually contain less salt by weight than an equal volume of fine-grain salt (remember those air spaces between the grains?), precise measurements by volume cannot be relied on. Notice I almost always say "salt to taste" in my recipes? That's why. This has also led some people, including cookbook authors, food writers, professional chefs, and Madison Avenue copy writers, all of whom should know better, to pronounce that one salt is "less salty" or "more salty" than another. One more time - salt is salt - got it?

On Monday I will address some of the fables, myths, and old wives' tales surrounding salt. Have yourselves a great weekend.

* Note These classifications are mine, and different salt producers have their own terminology for the various sizes and textures of salt crystals.

______________________________



For the benefit of those of us whose memory doesn't extend beyond our last meal, here is question #3 from last Wednesday's quiz

3. Choose the statements which are true:

A. Excess salt may be removed from a soup or stew by boiling a potato in the liquid
B. Salted water takes longer to boil than unsalted water
C. Only salt labeled "sea salt" actually comes from the sea
D. None of the above statements are true

Many readers took issue with my contention that "D" was the only true statement, so I will attempt to settle these issues to everyone's satisfaction. Let's start with the potato question.

Adding a potato to a soup or stew that is too salty was one of the first kitchen tips I ever learned, and I have tried it several times. It has never worked. Even so, this tip is still one of the more popular of kitchen old wives' tales, and even one of my favorite TV chefs Sara Moulton (who is also executive chef at Gourmet Magazine) was recently spotted perpetuating this bit of misinformation in a 30-second promotional spot for her TV show. Come on Sara, your fans deserve better than that.

Here is what happens when you add a raw potato to an over-salted liquid: the potato cooks, and when you taste the potato it is salty. Does this mean that the potato absorbed the excess salt? No. All it means is that the potato has absorbed some salty water, just like almost anything else you would add to the soup or stew would do. Think of it this way if you added a sponge to the liquid, and then wrung it out and tasted the liquid absorbed by the sponge, it would be salty, right? Right. But the liquid remaining in the pot is still just as salty because all the sponge did was absorb some of the over-salted liquid, right? Right.

I am sure you are asking yourself, "How does the Chef know all this stuff? Did he conduct scientific experiments in the vast underground World Wide Recipes research laboratory to prove this?" The answer is that I didn't have to conduct scientific experiments because someone much better qualified than I am has already done that. A fellow by the name of Robert L. Wolke, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and author of the Washington Post's syndicated food column "Food 101," to be precise. I won't bore you with the details of his experiment here because he does an excellent and entertaining job of explaining the whole thing here.

So, I hope that settles the old potato-in-the-salty-soup question. Tomorrow I will tackle another couple of food myths, also with the able assistance of Professor Wolke. Please stay tuned.

______________________________



You might recall that in question #3 I maintain that salted water doesn't take any longer to boil than unsalted water, and it's true... well, almost true. OK, so I fudged a bit, but let me explain. When salt (or anything for that matter) is dissolved in water, the boiling point of the water does increase and therefore requires more energy (or time) to boil. However, in order to appreciably increase the amount of time it takes to boil a pot of water, you would have to add a lot more salt than you would normally add in cooking. (No, adding a raw potato to the over-salted water won't remove the excess salt, remember?) In fact, according to Professor Wolke, a tablespoon of salt in five quarts of water will raise its boiling point by seven hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit (about 4 hundredths of a degree Celsius). I think you will agree that the additional half second or so this adds to the clock is negligible, unless of course you happen to be entertaining your mother-in-law at the time, in which case a half second can seem like a very long time.

There are also several cooking myths surrounding the timing of adding the salt to the water. Many otherwise reliable cookbooks and cooking pundits advise that the salt must be added before the water boils, and others insist that it only be added after the water has come to the boil. The bottom line is, it doesn't matter. Just as salt is always salt and nothing more, so boiling salted water is always boiling salted water and nothing more, regardless of when the salt was added to the water. Period.

Tomorrow I'll take another insightful look at the myths surrounding sea salt, or rather salt that isn't sea salt, which, in fact, doesn't even exist. Don't go away.

______________________________



I'll wrap up this little dissertation by asking and answering the following: Where does salt come from? The answer might surprise you, but all salt comes from the sea. I can hear you thinking, "Ah Cheffie, you have tripped up this time, you silly but adorable goof, you. I happen to know that some salt is mined from the earth because my uncle Gus used to work in a salt mine." I won't argue with your uncle Gus and don't want your aunt Tilly to wonder where he spent his days for thirty years because salt is indeed mined from the earth in huge quantities. Just as with the salt removed from sea water, the rock salt that is mined needs to be processed and purified before it is suitable for human consumption, but this is where much of our common table salt comes from. It is also where much of our "sea salt" comes from.

You see, that salt that comes from underground mines used to be in sea water. Millions of years ago the water evaporated from ancient inland seas, leaving the salt behind. Over the ages various geologic processes which I'm not nearly intelligent enough to understand caused this sea salt to become trapped underground, and that's why your uncle Gus had to go down and get it out. So all the salt we eat (and spread on our roads and use in over 14,000 industrial and commercial applications) was originally dissolved in sea water, whether it was extracted millions of years ago or last week.

So what's the deal with this expensive sea salt if, in reality, all salt is sea salt? Ah, that's where the ingenuity of the human mind comes into play. At some point in the near past, some marketing genius at one or more of the commercial salt producers said, "I bet people would pay more for our salt if we called it something fancy like 'sea salt'" and the rest, as they say, is marketing history. The truth is that, depending on where you live, even the regular salt on your supermarket shelves was actually extracted from sea water; customers in the western half of the United States are most likely buying salt processed from sea water when they buy common table salt, and people in the eastern half of the US are probably buying salt that was mined.

The long and the short of it is this since the US Food and Drug Administration doesn't have any regulations regarding the common salt/sea salt thing, some of the salt you buy as sea salt was actually mined, and some of the salt you buy as common salt was actually processed from sea water. After all, who would know better than the big salt companies that it's all the same stuff anyway? And haven't I been telling you that all along? Repeat after me - salt is salt.

SAUTÉED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH CURRY SAUCE

6 4-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast halves
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
5 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

Place chicken breast halves between layers of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-in. thickness. Place 5 tablespoons flour in pie dish. Whisk egg whites, egg, 4 1/2 teaspoons curry powder and salt in shallow bowl to blend. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Coat 3 chicken breasts with flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg mixture. Add to skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Repeat with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken. Tent chicken with foil to keep warm. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, remaining 1 tablespoon flour and remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder and stir 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in broth. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Boil until thickened to sauce consistency, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken to skillet and turn to coat with sauce. Transfer chicken to platter. Drizzle with any remaining sauce and serve. Serves 6.

SAVORY BEER BRINE FOR BEEF AND PORK
This brine goes well with heavier meats which can take on intense flavors such as brisket, and pork.

Dissolve the following ingredients in 2 cups of warm water:
1/4 cup rock or kosher salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 onion, diced
2 Tbs. rosemary, ground
1 Tsp. bay leaves, ground
1-2 Tbs. of your favorite exotic herb or flavoring (e.g. cardamom and powdered
chocolate. Also good: coriander, powdered lemonade, coffee, chipotle, etc)

Add the following to the brine:
3 cans of beer
3/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Place ribs (or other meat) in the brine and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Next day, grill it or cook in the oven; whatever your preference.

SEVEN LAYER MEXICAN DIP

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
9 oz bean dip, about 1 heaping cup
6 oz guacamole, about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 medium scallions, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
6 medium olives, black, sliced

Combine sour cream and taco seasoning; mix well. Spread bean dip on bottom of a 12-inch round glass serving bowl or edged platter. Top with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, scallions, tomatoes and olives.

SHRIMP TEQUILA

2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs (675 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp (45 ml) tequila
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sauté the shallots until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and sauté for
1 minute.  Add the tequila and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the cream, tomato, salt, and pepper and sauté until the sauce thickens slightly and the shrimp are firm and opaque, 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve garnished with chopped chives if desired.  Serves 4 to 6.

SOUTH-OF-THE-BORDER NACHOS

Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup chopped onion
Two jalapeno peppers, seeded, chopped
Three cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
One boneless skinless chicken breast (about 6 ounces)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Mexican-style diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons black olives, chopped
4 ounces low fat tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place chips on 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until
hot. Add onion, peppers, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook and stir five
minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in chicken and tomatoes.

Spoon tomato mixture, cheese and olives over chips. Bake five minutes or until cheese melts. Serves 4

STUFFED ANAHEIM CHILIES WITH OREGANO VINAIGRETTE
4 servings

5 Anaheim chilies; halved, seeded and inner pith removed, rinsed and drained
2 pkgs. garlic and herbs cheese spread; (4 oz. pkgs.), room temperature
3 tbsp. shallots, minced
1/4 cup celery heart; minced
1 tbsp. Anaheim chili; minced (cut one chili up for this)
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. anchovy paste
2 tbsp. imported Romano, freshly grated
1 tbsp. imported parmesan; freshly grated
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro; crumbled
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 tbsp. seasoned bread crumbs

Oregano vinaigrette:

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano; crumbled
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
2 pinches anchovy paste; (pencil-eraser size pieces)

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all ingredients (except those for vinaigrette) in mixing bowl and mix together well with fork.

Spray large baking sheet with Pam or oil lightly with olive oil.

Stuff chili halves with stuffing mixture, mounding slightly on top; place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, filling will be slightly browned.

Place two baked stuffed halves on each of four small plates and drizzle with oregano vinaigrette; serve immediately.

Oregano Vinaigrette:

Mix all ingredients together well with fork. Stir again before serving. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

SUPER VEGGIE SPREAD
This recipe makes a perfect spread for everything from a raw veggie platter to plain old crackers.

2 celery stalks
3 large carrots
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp dill
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

This is the easiest spread you've ever made. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients. That's it. Mix until a creamy consistency is achieved.

THREE CHEESE NOODLE BAKE
Serves 4

4ozs uncooked noodles
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/3 cup chopped green onion with tops
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp pepper
2 egg whites
1 egg

Heat oven to 350. Spray square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cook noodles as directed on package; drain. Mix noodles and remaining ingredients. Spread in dish. Bake uncovered 30-35 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes.

TOMATO YOGURT DIP

1 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped chives
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in an electric blender or food processor to desired consistency. Chill. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. Use as a dip for fresh crisp vegetables.

TORTILLA SOUP

1 cup homemade vegetable broth plus 4 cups water - or – 1 can vegetable broth
and 1 can water
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 green, yellow, or red pepper, diced
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 can black, pinto, or mixed chili beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 Tbsp tequila
Tortilla chips

Simmer the onion, pepper, garlic, rice, corn, and half of the cilantro in the broth and water for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add the tomatoes and beans. When the tomatoes are just cooked, remove from the heat and add the
rest of the cilantro, lime juice, and tequila. The tequila should be allowed to evaporate for 5 minutes or so before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over crumbled tortilla chips.

Notes: Try sprinkling a little shredded Co-Jack cheese on top.




TRIFLE I

1 loaf pound cake
1 can Mandarin oranges
1 large box red Jell-O (raspberry or cherry)
1-2 bananas
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipped cream or 1 bowl Cool Whip
strawberries
sprinkles (optional)

Slice pound cake. Line bottom of trifle dish or 9" x 13" cake pan with the cake. Drain the Mandarin oranges, reserve the syrup. Scatter oranges over the cake. Use the syrup as a portion of water required for the Jell-O. Mix Jell-O per instructions on box. Pour over cake and oranges, until they're a little more than covered. (You may not use all of the Jell-O, depends on the size of your dish.) Cover and leave in refrigerator until set.

When the Jell-O has set, slice bananas and arrange them over the Jell-O layer. Mix up the pudding per instructions on box. Spread over the banana layer. Be sure you DO NOT use the cook & serve variety -- the heat of the pudding will melt the Jell-O.

Spread whipped cream or Cool Whip over the pudding layer. Slice strawberries
in half and arrange over the whipped cream. If desired, scatter sprinkles over the top.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. After the whipped cream and strawberries are added the trifle may come above the top of the dish or pan, and make it difficult to cover. That's okay. Just eat it all.

TRIFLE II

l box chewy fudge brownies, cooked according to directions, crumbled
(reserve some for garnishing the top of trifle)
1 7-oz. jar marshmallow cream
2 small containers cool whip (or 2 cups whipped cream, divided use)
1 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small jar caramel topping
2 pkgs. white chocolate pudding
3 cups low-fat or fat free milk

Beat cream cheese until creamy, add 1 container of cool whip and marshmallow
cream.  Mix until well blended.  Put layer of crumbled brownies (about l/3) on bottom of trifle dish.  Pour l/3 of cream cheese mixture over brownies. Pour l/3 of caramel over cream cheese mixture.  Mix the white chocolate pudding with 3 cups of milk.  Add the other box of cool whip and stir until well blended.  Pour l/3 of this mixture over the caramel.  Repeat layers. Garnish with reserved crumbled brownies.  **Note:  this can be made in large oblong dish, but there is only one layer of each ingredient.

TRIFLE III

1 - 16 ounce pound cake
1 large package instant pudding (3 cup size)
3 cups nonfat milk (or 2% or whole milk)
1 - small container low or nonfat Cool Whip (or generic)
1/2 cup jam or so
1 - 16 ounce can fruit  and  one 29 ounce can OR 3-4 cups fresh fruit

Cut pound cake into 1/2 inch cubes. Prepare pudding using nonfat milk. When
pudding is ready, gently whisk in a container of Cool Whip. If using canned fruit, drain well. If using berries, slice if large.  Layer about 1/2 inch pudding in bottom of bowl. Cover with pound cake cubes. Then cover pound cake with fruit.  Cover with about 1/3 of remaining pudding. Cover with pound cake cubes. Drop jam by half teaspoonfuls over pound cake cubes. Cover with 1/3 of remaining pudding. Cover with pound cake cubes, then cover pound cake cubes with fruit. Cover with remaining pudding. Use fruit slices or whole fresh berries to decorate top.  You can use chocolate pudding, canned peaches and lingonberry jam if you like.
It can also be made with vanilla pudding and raspberries or other fruit.  Trifle is
traditionally served in a clear glass bowl so that the layers are visible.

UNCOOKED JAM

3 cups crushed berries (about 1 1/2 quarts fresh berries)
5 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin
1 cup water

Sort and wash ripe berries; drain.  Remove caps and stems and crush. Measure 3 c. prepared berries into a large mixing bowl.  Add sugar, mixing well; let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Dissolve pectin in water; bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.  Add pectin solution to berries and stir until sugar is totally dissolved.  Pour into freezer containers. Cover and let stand for 24 hours or until jam has set; then refrigerate or freeze. Makes 7 half pint jars

Notes:
*Be sure to measure exactly in order to get it to set properly.
*May be doubled.


WARM CAULIFLOWER SALAD
Adapted from “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” by Elizabeth Schneider.

1 medium cauliflower
2 Tbsp (30 ml) pine nuts (pignoli)
1/4 cup (60 ml) golden raisins (sultanas)
1/4 cup (60 ml) raspberry or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) diced red onion
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) capers
1/2 tsp (2 ml) crushed green peppercorns
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water

Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and cut a large conical plug from the stem to hollow it out.  Bring about 1 inch (2 cm) of salted water to a boil in a saucepan and boil the cauliflower, tightly covered, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over moderate heat until golden brown.  Set aside and add the raisins, vinegar, onion, olive oil, capers, peppercorns, and
salt to the same skillet.  Simmer covered over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce thickens.  Cut the cauliflower into wedges and spoon the sauce over them.  Serves warm. Serves 4 to 6.




 

 

 

 

 

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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