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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
March 6, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 6, 1998
 

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CAPE GAZE'ITE, Friday, March 6 - March 12, 1998 - 59 F(,,)D & DRINK Soup's an integral part of the Mediterranean region Soup. It is one of the most sim- ple, yet often most refined, dishes in any cuisine. Soup has been a basic element in the diets of all the world's cultures. It is the common liquid thread that binds us to one another and to our cultural her- itage. It can be served hot and soothing or cold and refreshing. Soup is truly the world's comfort food. Nowhere are soups a more inte- gral part of the dining experience than in the countries of the Mediterranean region. In the Mediterranean, the main meal of the day is often a broth or soup that combines vegetables, meat or fish with bread or pasta, legumes, cereals or yogurt. The soups can be thickened by purreing some of the vegetables and returning them to the pot or by adding yogurt or slices of bread. Olive oil is an indispensable ele- ment of soups and hot broths from all Mediterranean cuisines. When combined with hot liquid, olive oil's flavor and aroma are released, enhancing all other ingredients. In chilled soups, olive oil acts as a blending agent, mak- ing them smooth and flavorful. Try any of the delicious soups featured here as a first course, a filling luncheon entrre or the headliner of a simple supper. A Mediterranean gift Mediteranean countries produce 98 percent of the world's finest olive oils and have enjoyed the rich variety of flavors, aromas and delicious tastes olive oils impart to different foods for more than 6,000 years. Now, olive oil is the fastest growing segment of cook- ing oil in American supermarkets. Olive oil contains absolutely no cholesterol and because of its greater flavor and aroma, you'll probably use less olive oil in cook- ing than other oils, thus helping you cut fat calories. The wide variety of natural fla- vors available makes olive oil unique among all oils. Try a cross section of olive oils from several countries and from different grades including the following: Extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree by mechanical and physical methods under controlled temper- ature conditions that preserve the fruity flavor, color and natural properties of the olive. It offers the widest range of perfect flavors and aromas with no more than lper- cent (1 gram per 100 grams) free oleic acid. Its relatively low pro- duction level makes extra virgin less widely available than other grades of olive oil. Virgin is obtained the same way as extra virgin. It's described as having a good flavor and has an acidity level in terms of free oleic acid of above 1 gram and less than 3.3 grams per 100 grams of oil. Olive oil is simply the common name for a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil. Its acidity, expressed in terms of free oleic acid, is below 1.5 grams per 100 grams of oil. Hearty Vegetable Soup Makes 4 servings 2 T olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 doves garlic, minced 3 medium tomatoes, peeled andchopped 4 C chicken stock (or broth) 2 C fresh corn kernels 1 large red pepper, cut into thin strips 11/2 inches long 1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips 1112 inches long 1 stalk celery, cut into thin strips 11/2 inches long 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 2 T chopped fresh basil Salt and pepper to taste Heat oil over moderate heat in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes. Add toma- toes and chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingre- dients, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Mediterranean Three Bean Soup Makes 4 servings 1/3 C olive oil 2 leeks, coarsely chopped 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 C chicken stock (or broth) 1 t thyme 1 t marjoram I bay leaf Pepper to taste 11/2 C cooked kidney beans 11/2 C cooked garbanzo beans 1 lb. string beans, cut into 1- inch pieces Heat olive oil over moderate heat in large pot. Add leeks, celery and garlic; saute 3-4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except string beans. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat; simmer 20 minutes. Add string beans, sim- mer 15-20 minutes more until string beans are cooked but still crunchy. Chili Con Turkey Soup Makes 10-12 servings 1 lb. ground turkey 1/4 C very flavorful extra vir- gin olive oil (Spanish or Greek) Continued on page 60 Just bring out the grill, despite the cold weather Good food jokes are very, very hard to find, as the following col- lection will confirm. But first, campers, this is the beginning of March and the time has come to bring the grills out into the backyard. This is the time of year when you think summer is terminally lost. So, the solution is to pretend summer is here and bar- becue. First, go get some steamers. At least six per person. Scrub the clams. Cover them with water, a splash of dry white wine, and a. dash of garlic salt. Boil just until they open. (Don't eat any that do not open). Serve with sour dough rolls and use the broth for dipping. Before you do that, get some Delmarva chicken. Soak the chicken in salted water for 30 min- utes, drain and marinate in Italian salad dressing mixed with a tea- spoon of Dijon mustard overnight. Add some sausage to the dinner for diversity. Grill the chicken for 45 minutes. The chicken should be grilled skin down for the first 15 minutes, then bone side down. Baste with marinade. Add sausage toward the end of grilling. Cook until well done. Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide. Why did the chicken cross the road, roll in the mud, and cross the road again? Because he was a dirt3, double-crosser. Why did the cow cross the road? To go to the moooooovies. Hang on, I am almost done. Why did the chicken cross the basketball court? He heard the referee calling fowls. FOCUS ON FOOD Ouch. We do not have the great local tomatoes or corn this time of year, but a bag of frozen white corn cooked properly'is a pretty good substitute while we wait for the fresh corn. (Why is it not wise to tell secrets in a cornfield? Too many ears). Cook the frozen white corn according to directions. Drain. Mix with garlic salt and unsalted butter to taste. You will be surprised at how good this is. And, of course, if we are pre- tending summer is here, we need potato salad. Knock, knock. Who's there? Spectator. Spectator who? Do you spectators will grow well this year? So get five small red potatoes, unpeeled, 1 tablespoon minced dill, I/4 cup minced red onion, 1/4 cup chopped celery (What did the lettuce say to the celery? Quit stalking me), 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, a dash of lemon, and salt and paprika to taste. Cook potatoes in a medium pan in water, covered, for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and dry potatoes completely. Quarter potatoes and place in bowl. Add dill, onion, celery, sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt and paprika. Cool. Salads can be a real challenge this time of year. I do not care where they come from this time of year, tomatoes do not taste the way they do in June grown here. So here is a green bean salad that makes an excellent substitute for March. All you need is a can of Blue Lake beans, 1/4 cup of vine- gar, a rounded tablespoon of sug- ar, a teaspoon of parsley, a tea- spoon of salt, a small onion sliced into rings, and a sliced clove of garlic. Save liquid from beans. Layer beans nd onions. Combine other ingredients with liquid from beans, Boil and pour on beans "and onions. Cool. If you really want to get into the groove, throw a blanket on the floor and pretend you are having a picnic on the beach. But remem- ber, if you do that, you "need to fol- low beach regulations and use plastic glasses (caution: oxy- moron). Top off your barbecue with the "Flavors of Cape Hen- lopen" recipe for Old-Fashioned Chocolate Brownies, by Ann McAuley. 4 squares unsweetened choco- late 1/4 lb. butter 1 3/4 C flour 3 eggs 1 t vanilla 1 T chopped nuts (optional) powdered sugar (optional) Melt chocolate and butter. Set aside. Mix sugar and flour. Add eggs separately to sugar and flour mixture, beating well after adding each egg. Add vanilla to sugar, flour and egg mixture. Mix well, then add melted chocolate and but- ter. Beat well and pour into greased 71/2-inch by 12-inch pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top before baking, if desired. Bake in preheated oven at 300 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. So march on, we will. This is the time to plant lettuce. Lettuce entertain you. Knock, knock. Who's there. Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce irr and you'll find out. Growing lettuce is easy and inexpensive. Lettuce requires direct sunlight for at least four to six hours a day. The plants require rich, cool, well-drained soil. The plants do well in large pots and planters. You can bring those in on cold nights, which is convenient. Sprin- kle the seeds on top of the soil and cover lightly. As the seedlings grow, they need to be thinned. At about 2 to 3 inches tall, pull the largest plants and enjoy your first home-grown salad. You should begin harvesting the lettuce about 45 minutes after planting. You do this by either picking the outside leaves or cut- ting the plants down to about 2 inches. It is very important to do this or the plants will become bitter and flower. (What do you say to rotten lettuce7 You should have your head examined.) You can start your lettuce (and argula) and continue to plant and harvest through the fall. You can also experiment with growing these plants and parsley and other herbs indoors during the winter. There are three categories of let- tuce seeds: Cold-Weather (Rouge d'Hiver red, romaine-type; Arctic King, green, semiheading; and Winter Marvel, green, semihead- ing); Cool-Weather (Tom Thumb, green, semi-heading; Royal Oak Leaf, green, leaf lettuce; and Lolla Rossa, red, leaf lettuce), and Heat- Tolerant (Two Star, green leaf let- tuce; Red Riding Hood, red, semi- heading; and Black Seeded Simp- son, green, leaf lettuce). Two more bad food jokes and I'm outta here. "Mixed Vegetables and Fruits" To my favorite honeydew, do you carrot all for me? My heart beets for you, with your turnip nose and radish face. You are a peach. If we can- taloupe, lettuce marry. Weed make a swell pear. Onion: Do you want "corny" jokes? Nah= We want jokes with "a peel." Sorry, but jokes about onions bring tears to my eyes. Next week: Recipes that will turn you green. As in St. Patrick's Day, that is.