fun making these friendly black cats at your next Halloween
gathering. Both kids and adults love these
marshmallow-and-cereal goodies. Get
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patrons encouraged to share
and dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are
the traditional “must haves” for any Thanksgiving
celebration. But, it’s the side dishes, special salads and
additional dessert choices served alongside that allow families
to personalize the menu into unique tradition. Some of those
dishes might have been a mother’s or grandmother’s specialty
that was adjusted to suit your family’s taste.
example, have you ever made Sweet Potato Balls? It’s a mixture
of cooked sweet potato with butter and brown sugar folded in,
heaping spoonfuls of which are formed around a full-size
marshmallow, then rolled in coarsely crumbled corn flakes and
baked in a hot oven just until the exterior is nice and crisp.
How about Cheesy Potatoes – cooked cubed potatoes set to swim
in a smooth Velveeta cheese sauce, then topped with crumbled
cheese crackers and baked until golden?
you’re a big fan of the green bean casserole topped with
French fried onions, you might enjoy a similar dish made with
frozen cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli bathed in a mushroom
soup and sour cream sauce, then topped with cheddar cheese and
French fried onions. Finally, cranberry sauce from a can will
do, if you just can’t do any better, but I’ll bet you’d
love a jellied cranberry salad that uses a can of whole
cranberry sauce, some chopped celery and walnuts, a package of
gelatin, and that’s it. It’s quick and easy, and the result
is “to-die-for” good!
all these recipes fall into that same category of “easy, but
just can’t beat it – delicious!” They all came from
Defense Commissary Agency patrons and will be posted in Kay’s
Kitchen on DeCA’s Web site at www.commissaries.com.
When Thanksgiving rolls around, no one will be short of good
recipes to serve thanks to these contributions!
for the Web site are still being accepted. Send them in the same
format found on the site – recipe name, ingredients list, and
directions listed numerically. Make sure they are clear,
complete, and written in easily understandable terms. Send your
recipes to: email@example.com.
start the ball rolling here is a must have recipe for my house
for Five-Cup Salad. Make some up and don’t forget to share
your Thanksgiving recipes with all of us.
cup pineapple chunks, drained
cup mandarin oranges, drained
cup flaked coconut
cup miniature marshmallows
cup sour cream
cup chopped pecans (optional)
Drain fruits well.
Mix all ingredients together.
and chill several hours or overnight and serve.
offers a wide variety of culinary courses for everyone from the
aspiring professional chef, to the backyard grill master.
healthy as a family – on the go
With a little planning, preparation and commitment, today’s
busy families can enjoy healthy meals and snacks whether on the
run or sitting down together. At the same time, teens can learn
the value of the commissary benefit and the 30-percent savings
that can stretch any grocery budget. Make a meal plan for a week
and put it on the refrigerator. Have each person in the family
sign up for something, to include planning the meals and snacks,
buying the food, fixing the food and cleaning up. As part of
your plan, consider the following tips:
● Keep a list of favorite foods and meals on the
refrigerator to help in planning meals and snacks.
● Make the meal plan serve as a shopping list and weekly
menu. Include your children when shopping at the commissary for
the foods on the meal plan.
● Teach children about budgeting money for food. They can
learn to plan the menu around your budget.
● Commit to eating together as schedules allow. Aim for at
least one night a week.
more information on family meals or other nutrition topics, go
and visit the DeCA Dietitian forum. You can post your questions
there or access other helpful information in The Dietitian’s
A nibble of
dark chocolate a day may keep blood pressure at bay
DeCA Home Economist Kay Blakley
Eating a small piece of dark chocolate with less than 30
calories seems to lower blood pressure, according to a recent
study published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids and
antioxidants, which relax blood vessels and protect against free
radicals that contribute to heart disease. Look for dark
chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content. Identify the
type of fat used to make the dark chocolate and choose one that
is made with cocoa butter, which has a neutral effect on cho
terol levels in your body.
Very dark chocolate may be somewhat
bitter so you may have to try different ones to find one you
like. A word of caution: Chocolate is high in fat and calories.
A 3½-ounce dark chocolate bar has about 500 calories, whereas a
medium apple has about 60 calories. Portion control is the key
to getting the heart-healthy benefit of dark chocolate without
getting too many calories. For more information on chocolate or
any nutritional topic, visit “Ask the DeCA Dietitian” at commissaries.com-dietitian,
an online forum where you can post a question or comment and get
quick feedback from DeCA Dietitian Maj. Karen Fauber.
scrumptious grill, throw some ‘shrimp on the barbie’
DeCA Home Economist Kay Blakley
– Are you a shrimp lover? Odds are pretty good you’ll answer
in the affirmative, since shrimp is the No. 2 selling seafood in
, outranked only by canned tuna. All commissaries carry frozen
shrimp and some may even offer it fresh. Although, “fresh”
might actually mean previously frozen and recently thawed.
This practice applies to all retailers who sell fish, not just
to commissaries. About the only way you can truly buy it fresh
is if you meet the shrimp boat as it pulls into the dock. Shrimp
is such a popular item it has become an international commodity,
and much of what we eat in
is imported from all over the world. It almost has to be frozen
to survive the journey to your commissary in good shape.
So what kind of quality indicators do you look for, if it comes
shrimp with black spots on their shells, which may be a sign of
spoilage. The exception to this rule is a species called black
tiger shrimp, a commonly sold shrimp which has a distinctive
gray shell with black, red, or yellow feelers. Also, avoid
shrimp with dry spots, which may be an indicator of freezer
Shrimp freezes beautifully, but once thawed, it is highly
perishable. If you purchase it frozen, keep it frozen until the
day before you plan to cook it. Thaw in the refrigerator, or
under cold running water. If purchased thawed or fresh, keep it
as cold as possible and plan to cook it the following day.
What’s the best cooking method for shrimp? Any method you
choose. It can be baked, broiled, steamed, breaded and fried, or
boiled with excellent results. But, one of the quickest and
easiest methods is on the grill. All it takes is a fast four
minutes on the fire and you’re ready to enjoy. Follow the
steps in this easy but delicious recipe, if it’s your first
time grilling shrimp. Once you experience how easy it is, you’ll
have the confidence to branch out in whatever direction tickles
your taste buds.
out your commissary’s shrimp selection. Then savor the savings
– 30 percent or more – as much as you savor the flavor, once
you’ve thrown those shrimp on the barbie.
more Kay’s Kitchen recipes, visit DeCA on the Web at www.commissaries.com.
Shrimp with Fresh Herb Sauce (serves 4)
pounds large or extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
cup fresh lemon juice
cup extra-virgin olive oil
tablespoon minced garlic
to ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (any combination of parsley,
sage, thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano,
and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Prepare a
medium-hot fire (hardwood charcoal works best); clean the grate,
and place it as close to the fire as possible.
Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a large serving
bowl, and set aside.
Place the shrimp in a separate bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons
olive oil and toss to coat well.
Place the shrimp on the grill -- thread shrimp on skewers, if
desired, or just place it on the grate carefully, so it doesn’t
fall through. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. Turn the shrimp
after the first side becomes pink, and repeat the process for
the second side.
shrimp from the grill, add it to the sauce mixture, toss gently,
and serve immediately.
DeCA Home Economist Kay Blakley
– Bouquets of roses make an appropriate fuss, but this Mother’s
Day, just make mine asparagus. Sounds ridiculous at first blush,
but dig a little deeper, and you’ll see this elegant looking
vegetable, prized for its delicious flavor, is tailor made for
If mom is watching her figure, a generous five-spear serving of
asparagus will only cost her about 25 calories. If she’s of
child-bearing age or perhaps pregnant right now, she’ll get a
super dose of folic acid, a B vitamin important for prevention
of birth defects, and a significant amount of the antioxidant
glutathione, which is linked to cancer prevention. Asparagus is
also a good source for vitamin C, thiamin, and vitamin B6.
Does mom ever get a case of puffy ankles or swollen feet? Well,
bring out the asparagus! It acts as a natural diuretic,
efficiently flushing the excess fluid from those uncomfortably
enlarged tissues. Once the diuretic effect kicks in, don’t be
alarmed if the urine takes on an usual odor. Asparagus contains
a sulfur compound (also present in onions and garlic) that
releases this scent once it is broken down in the digestive
tract. Not everybody has this experience – apparently
your genetic makeup determines whether or not your body can
break down the substance. At any rate, it’s nothing to worry
Asparagus is one of the first fresh vegetables to come into
season the minute spring arrives. If you’re stationed in
your commissary may have fresh, locally grown spears available
as early as February, with the season in full swing from April
through May. The growing season for the
and East starts a little later, but extends through July.
If you happen to be stationed in
, it’s almost impossible to miss asparagus season. From late
April to the end of June nearly every restaurant you see will
have a sign posted heralding their spargel (asparagus) menu of
the day, and many cities and villages hold spargel festivals.
Germans love white asparagus, which is basically the same as
green, except that the developing shoots of white asparagus have
been protected from exposure to direct sunlight. The other big
difference is its flavor – very smooth and delicate, but very
deep and rich. European commissaries routinely have both green
and white asparagus on hand, but since the white variety is not
yet widely available in the states, your stateside commissaries
may not. If your commissary doesn’t have it, ask your produce
manager if it’s possible to get it.
Whether white or green, choose the freshest looking spears you
can find – ones with smooth, tender skin, compact, tightly
closed, pointed tips, and cut ends that are not overly dry.
Choose thick or thin spears depending on how you plan to cook
them. Thin asparagus (no bigger than the size of your little
finger) are best steamed, boiled, sautéed, stir-fried, or
microwaved, while thicker spears are better suited for roasting
Once purchased, get the asparagus home and refrigerated as soon
as possible, as spear toughening occurs rapidly at room
temperature. To keep the spears crisp and fresh, store them
standing upright in a cup, a plastic glass or similar container.
Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the container, and
cover the spears, from the tips down, with an unsealed plastic
bag. If this is not possible, wrap the cut ends with a damp
paper towel and store in a closed plastic bag. For best results,
try to use the asparagus on the day of purchase or the next day.
If the asparagus is very fresh when purchased and carefully
stored it may keep for three to five days in the refrigerator.
But then again, it may not, so using it quickly is always best.
When you’re ready to cook, rinse the asparagus well with cold
water, then snap off the tough cut ends in the following manner.
Use one hand to grasp a spear at the base (cut end) and hold it
upright, gently bend the spear with the other hand placed a
couple of inches higher up the stalk toward the tip. The spear
will snap at the point where it begins to toughen, usually about
an inch, or so, from the cut end. If the spear above the break
appears to be very fibrous, use a vegetable peeler to remove the
skin up to, but stopping before, the tip.
To Boil: Use a skillet, wide enough to accommodate the asparagus
spears in a single layer, and deep enough to cover them with
water. Bring the water to a boil (add a teaspoon or two of salt
to the water, if desired.) Once the water is boiling rapidly,
gently add the asparagus, and bring quickly to a second boil.
The cooking time required will vary from about 5 minutes for
thin spears to 10 minutes for thick spears. Watch the pot
carefully, and the minute a spear turns bright green, you will
know it is tender-crisp, and just about perfect. Use a slotted
spoon or tongs to remove spears to a plate as they reach this
state of doneness. Be sure to drain any accumulated water from
the plate before serving.
To Microwave: Place one pound thin to medium trimmed spears in a
2-quart baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons lightly salted water.
Cover and cook on high until tender-crisp, 4 to 9 minutes,
rearranging spears (moving those in the center to the outside,
and those on the outside toward the center) every 3 minutes. Let
stand, covered, for 2 minutes.
To Grill: Use paper towels to pat the rinsed and trimmed spears
completely dry, then generously brush with oil. Place the spears
crosswise on the grill grate, so they don’t fall through, over
a slow wood or charcoal fire. Turn the spears frequently until
you can smell the asparagus and one tastes cooked through.
Cooked asparagus can be served hot or at room temperature, and
can be enjoyed just as it is, which is the lowest calorie
option, drizzled with melted butter, seasoned oil or basic
vinaigrette dressing, or topped with classic Hollandaise Sauce,
either made from scratch or from one of the packaged mixes your
Make asparagus part of your Mother’s Day meal, and chances
are, you’ll be re-creating that part of the celebration again
and again throughout the year. Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day, and
I’ll see you at the commissary!
rouladen brings a taste of Germany
your kitchen table
DeCA Home Economist Kay Blakley
hardly a dish more traditionally German than beef rouladen –
perfectly seasoned, totally tender rolls of stuffed beef in a
luscious brown sauce. And, there’s hardly anyone more
qualified to share the secrets of preparing it than Arno Franke,
a master butcher for the Defense Commissary Agency, who also
happens to have six years of training as a cook – first in the
German army, then as a restaurant hotel chef. Today he travels a
circuit of European commissaries making sure each local store’s
meat department is serving its customers just right.
to Franke, a lifelong resident of
, beef rouladen is a traditional Bavarian dish that is now
commonly served in restaurants and homes throughout the country.
That’s because it’s so good, everybody wants to know how to
make it. It’s perfect for a traditional Sunday family meal, or
anytime company is expected. “There’s nothing complicated
about it,” Franke said. “It takes a few minutes to put it
all together, but the more you do it, the easier, and quicker it
If you shop one of the European commissaries, you will
find a cut specifically labeled “top-round for rouladen” in
the fresh meat case. If you’re located elsewhere, but your
commissary has an in-store butcher, ask for scallops of top
round cut one-quarter-inch thick. Chances are fairly good the
butcher will know exactly what you need. Especially when you
tell him you are making rouladen. Don’t bother trying this at
a retail grocer outside the gate. Unless you happen to live in
an area heavily populated with German-Americans, they will have
no clue what you’re talking about. They don’t have the
international flair and well-traveled clientele that we have.
Just one more reason that shopping the commissary is always
worth the trip!
Serve beef rouladen with braised red cabbage and spätzle or
creamy mashed potatoes.
Rouladen (serves 6)
the beef rolls
½ to 2 pounds “Top Round for Rouladen” – two packages
containing 3 scallops each – makes about 12 rolls
tablespoons German mustard (
mustard may be substituted)
cup finely chopped onion
cup finely chopped dill pickle (choose a firm dill that’s not
too sour or too salty)
slices bacon, diced
tablespoons minced fresh parsley
tablespoon vegetable oil
cups canned, low sodium beef broth
medium onion, coarsely chopped
large rib celery, thinly sliced
carrot, coarsely chopped
leek (white part only) halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
medium potato, peeled and coarsely diced
cup tomato paste
cup evaporated skim milk
and freshly ground black pepper
bacon and ½ cup onion in medium skillet over moderate heat
until bacon is crisp and onion is tender, but not browned,
about 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the parsley, remove from heat
and stir in the pickle. Let cool while you prepare the beef
the beef scallops on a wax paper covered counter or cutting
board. Trim so each is about 3 inches wide and 6 inches
long. Trim off and discard any ragged edges.
spread each scallop with mustard. Evenly divide the filling
mixture among the scallops, arranging neatly across one
the short end, roll each scallop around the filling, jelly
roll style, into a cylinder. Secure each roll with a
toothpick, pinching ends together to prevent the filling
from oozing out during cooking.
the butter and oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add beef rolls and
brown on all sides, slowly, so as not to burn them. Transfer
rolls to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
beef broth into skillet and heat, scraping up any browned
bits on the bottom of the pan into the broth. Add the
chopped onion, celery, carrots, leek and potato.
beef rolls to skillet. Cook at high heat until liquid begins
to bubble, then lower heat, cover skillet and simmer for 1
to 1¼ hours until a fork easily pierces through each beef
beef rolls to heated platter and keep warm while you finish
the cooking liquid, saving both the solids and the liquid.
Return the liquid to the skillet and heat to a simmer.
the solids by blending 15 to 20 seconds in a blender at high
speed or in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping
the puree back into the skillet, stir in the tomato paste,
half-and-half and evaporated milk. Adjust the temperature so
the mixture simmers gently. Keep the heat low – allowing
the sauce to boil may cause it to curdle.
the beef rolls to the skillet, cover, and warm slowly in the
sauce 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly
ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
up the Day with Memphis Barbecue spareribs
By Kay Blakley, DECA
FORT LEE, Va. – A backyard cookout for a family gathering is
about as American as you can get and a great way to beat the
summertime blues. If you’re searching for something a little
snazzier than humdrum burgers and dogs, you’re in the right
place. Why not try preparing succulent, seasoned-to-perfection,
fall-off-the-bone-tender barbecued ribs? Priced-right
ingredients from your commissary, along with some “how-to”
tips from yours truly, and a trust worthy recipe are sure to
earn you the title of “Pit Master Extraordinaire” even if
you’ve never grilled ribs before!
The Memphis Barbecue recipe calls for spareribs, which are from
the side or underbelly of the pig. To avoid having to trim the
rack at home, look for spareribs called “St. Louis” style,
which means the brisket bone and breast meat have been trimmed
off to produce a narrower, more rectangular rack. Spareribs have
a marvelous meaty flavor and, since they are not as lean as the
more popular baby back ribs, they do very well on the grill.
Baby backs, cut from the loin section or the back of the pig,
will also work fine in this recipe. They are smaller, easier to
eat, and very tender, but because they are leaner, they can dry
out easily during a long slow cook. If you choose to use baby
backs, be sure to mop them generously, and check for doneness
after two and a half to three hours.
the way, if you normally think of “mop” only in terms of
something done to a dirty floor, just keep reading. In this
case, mop refers to a kind of basting, done with a cooking tool
resembling a rag mop. All will be clarified as you read through
the recipe – I promise. Plan on about one pound per person for
either type of ribs.
Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe. Even though it
might look complicated at first glance, believe me, there is
nothing difficult about it. All it requires is a five-minute
stretch of your full attention, at the appointed time, over a
span of three to four hours. Let your guests bring all the side
dishes and spend that time visiting and working up an appetite
from the scrumptious aroma you’ll be creating in your own
Spareribs (serves four to six)
These ribs are moderately spicy – adjust the cayenne and
Tabasco, as you wish. To reheat leftovers, place ribs in an
ovenproof dish, add a few tablespoons water, cover with foil,
and place in a 250-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
full racks St. Louis cut, pork spareribs, 2 ½ to 3 pounds each,
trimmed of excess large pieces of fat, membrane removed, and
tablespoons light brown sugar
tablespoons chili powder
tablespoons black pepper
teaspoons garlic powder
teaspoons onion powder
teaspoon cayenne pepper
cups apple cider
cup cider vinegar
cups wood chips, hickory or mesquite
Good quality charcoal
About an hour before cooking time, mix the spice rub
ingredients together in a small bowl; stir cider and vinegar
together in a small saucepan and set aside. Place wood chips in
a bowl with enough water to cover, and set aside.
To ready the ribs for the grill, trim away any large
pieces of fat; turn the racks rib-side-up and remove the thin
membrane lining that sits atop the ribs. Starting at one end of
the rack, loosen the edge of the membrane with the tip of a
paring knife, or the slender tip of a spoon handle. Using a
folded paper towel to increase your grip, grab the membrane and
slowly pull toward the opposite end of the rack. It should come
off in one piece. Once you see the membrane and feel how very
tough it is, you’ll understand how important this step is to
ensuring tender and easily edible ribs.
Reserve 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon spice rub for later use,
then using your fingers, work remaining rub into both sides of
rib racks. Use the entire amount of spice mixture, rubbing it in
firmly and packing it on generously. Let ribs stand at room
temperature until ready to cook.
Light about 45 charcoal briquettes, using the smallest
amount of lighter fluid possible to get the fire started. You
don’t want your ribs to have a faint taste of lighter fluid!
When coals are covered with thin layer of gray ash, about 20
minutes, stack them two to three briquettes deep on one side of
the grill. Set cooking grate in place, open top and bottom vents
halfway, cover grill and heat for five minutes.
Remove cover and scrape cooking grate clean with a wire brush;
drain wood chips; position ribs on cool side of the cooking
grate, as far away from the coals as possible. Drop ¼ cup wood
chips through the grate onto the coals; cover grill, positioning
lid so that vents are opposite coals to draw smoke through the
grill and over the ribs. Bring the mop mixture to a simmer, on
the stove; cover and keep warm.
Every 30 minutes: Add ½ cup wood chips to the coals, and turn
the racks, switching their position from closest to the fire to
furthest from the fire, and rotating them 180 degrees.
Every hour: Add 12 unlit briquettes to the fire, sliding the
top and bottom vents completely open after the first addition.
Mopping: After the first hour, baste the ribs (when
turning them) with the warm mop. Use a pastry brush to apply the
mop if you don’t have a barbecue mop.
Ribs are done when the meat starts to recede from the tips
of the bones and has a rosy glow on the exterior, three to four
hours. Before removing ribs from the grill, sprinkle each rack
with 1 tablespoon reserved spice rub. One at a time, place each
rack of ribs on grate directly over the coals, cooking about 30
seconds on each side, then transfer to cutting board. If you’re
confident they are tender, tent the ribs with aluminum foil and
let them rest for 20 to 30 minutes. To be absolutely certain
they are tender; seal them tightly in foil for a 30-minute rest.
While ribs rest, add remaining 1 teaspoon spice rub to
remaining mop and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to
about 2 cups. Add Tabasco and more salt and pepper, if desired.
Slice ribs between bones and serve with sauce on the side.
and Sour Meat-loaf
5 tablespoons ketchup, divided
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons onion soup mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Meat loaf is a great meal because it takes very little
time to prepare and it can be made in large quantities and
stored in the refrigerator or freezer and warmed up in the
microwave for a very quick hot meal. It is also very
inexpensive to make and good for you.
In a large brown, lightly beat the egg. Add 2 tablespoons
of ketchup, mustard, bread crumbs, dry soup mix, salt and
pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape in a
shallow 1-qt microwave-safe dish; cover with waxed paper.
Microwave on high for 11-12 minutes or until meat is no
longer pink, rotating a half turn once; drain. In a
shallow bowl, combine the sugars, vinegar and remaining
ketchup; drizzle over meat loaf. Cover and microwave on
high for 3-5 minutes Let stand 10 minutes.
1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (scrubbed)
3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon crumbled rosemary (optional)
Because most of their nutrients are directly beneath the
skin, don't peel new potatoes. Just scrub and cook.
Makes 8 servings.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the
potatoes with the garlic, oil, and rosemary, if using.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast about 45 minutes or
until golden and cooked through.
Look for smooth-skinned solid potatoes. Avoid potatoes
that are blemished or sprouting and those with a green
color, which will taste bitter.
1 pound large brown mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper
In selecting mushrooms, look for firm, dry skin. Colors
vary from white to brown.
Makes 4 servings.
Preheat broiler. Arrange mushrooms, stem side down, on
rack over a broiler pan.
Brush generously with oil and broil until slightly soft.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.
Marinate at least 2 hours.
Preheat the broiler. Line a broiling pan or shallow baking
pan with the rock salt or a layer of crushed foil. Cut
each slice of bacon in half crosswise, then lengthwise. In
a small bowl, mix the parsley with the garlic.
To prepare mushrooms, gently clean with a damp paper towel
or wash under cold water and pat dry. Trim or remove
5 pints (10 cups) fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice (chilled)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 bottle (4/5 quart) champagne or sparkling wine (with or
without alcohol) chilled
Since colonial days, a punch of champagne and fruit has
been a favorite for "very proper receptions."
Makes about 2 quarts or 10 6-ounce servings.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Freezing time: 6 hours.
Chilling time: 2 hours.
To make the strawberry ice cubes: At least 6 hours before
party time, wash the berries. Place 1 small, pretty berry
(with leafy hulls attached) in each compartment of 2
standard-size ice cube trays, then fill with water and
To prepare the punch: Remove the hulls from the remaining
berries and place them in a food processor. Process for 2
minutes or until pureed, then transfer to a punch bowl.
Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and sugar; cover
and refrigerate. Just before serving, pour in the
champagne and float the strawberry ice cubes on top.
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup triple sec (optional)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
4 cups ginger ale, chilled
This sparkling red punch is a good choice for a buffet at
holiday time with a citrus bite. For a less sweet punch,
substitute seltzer or club soda for the ginger ale.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.
Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time.
In a large glass container, combine ingredients and chill
Just before serving, slowly stir in the ginger ale. Pour
into a punch bowl or large jug and add ice cubes.
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon minced (or dried) fresh basil or thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Many grandmothers made their own cream cheese from milk
and rennet. Today, you can get that rich old-fashioned
taste, with less fat, by making yogurt cheese. Then, just
stir in fresh herbs and spread on crackers.
Makes 2/3 cup.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Chilling time: 6 hours.
Line a sieve with 100 percent cotton cheesecloth, coffee
filter, or a white paper towel and place over a bowl.
Spoon in the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6
hours or until it is cream-cheese consistency. Discard the
liquid in bowl.
Transfer the yogurt to a small bowl. Stir in the basil,
garlic powder, lemon rind, and pepper until well mixed.
Serve the spread with an assortment of crackers or party
rye or pumpernickel bread.
1 1/2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over and flaked
3 green onions, with tops, finely chopped (6 tablespoons)
1/4 cup minced parsley
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay or Creole seasoning (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
3 large egg whites
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large unpeeled lemons (thinly sliced to garnish)
Since colonial days, Maryland has prided itself on serving
some of the finest crab cakes in the land, often made from
the blue crabs of Chesapeake Bay.
Makes 6 servings.
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Chilling time: 1 hour.
Cooking time: 17 minutes.
In a large bowl, lightly toss the crab with the green
onions, parsley, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Old
Bay seasoning if you wish, Worcestershire, salt, and red
pepper sauce. Stir in 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs.
In a small, clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an
electric mixer on High until soft peaks form, then fold
into the crab mixture. Form the mixture into 4-inch-round
patties, about 1 inch thick. On a piece of wax paper,
spread the remaining 3/4 cup of bread crumbs and use to
coat each patty. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the
oil over moderately high heat. Cook the crab cakes for 3
minutes on each side or until brown, adding the remaining
3 tablespoons of oil as needed. Serve with the lemon
slices and tartar sauce.
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A cooling drink is an essential partner to this hot and
spicy nut mix. You can adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Makes 3 cups.
Preparation time: 2 minutes.
Cooking time: 32 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300°. In a 13- by 9-inch baking pan,
place butter; set the pan in the oven to melt the butter.
Remove the pan from the oven; add pecans, almonds,
peanuts, and Worcestershire sauce to the melted butter.
Stir until well mixed.
Bake the nut mixture until it is toasted, stirring
occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove the nuts from the
oven and sprinkle the mixture evenly with chili powder,
garlic salt, and cayenne pepper. Toss until well mixed.
Transfer the warm nuts to a bowl and serve immediately, or
let cool and store them at room temperature in an airtight
container until ready to serve.
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
1 4-ounce package blue cheese
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 .65-ounce garlic dressing mix package
2 cups sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
hollowed-out whole pumpernickel bread or hollowed-out red
If you can chop and stir, then our wonderful Spinach Dip
will be a snap to make. It's a tried and true party
Makes 6 cups.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach (thawed and drained),
and crumbled blue cheese. Stir in the water chestnuts,
celery, red pepper, green onion, and garlic dressing mix.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and mayonnaise.
Gradually stir sour cream mixture into spinach mixture
until the ingredients are easy to spread. If you like,
spoon the dip into a hollowed-out whole pumpernickel bread
or hollowed-out red cabbage.
1 container (8 ounces) reduced-fat, soft style cream
cheese at room temperature
1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese (4 ounces), at room
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces), at room
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dry white wine or low-fat (1% milkfat) milk
1/4 cup finely chopped sliced almonds (toasted)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (toasted)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (toasted)
In the early 1900s, cheese and crackers were served with
coffee after dessert. By the 1950s, cheese had become an
appetizer, and nothing was more popular than cheese balls.
Makes 16 servings.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Chilling time: 2 hours.
In a small bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat the
cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese,
mayonnaise, and wine until well mixed. Wrap in plastic
wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours
(will keep for 2 days).
Place the almonds, pecans, and walnuts on separate sheets
of wax paper. Unwrap the cheese mixture and divide into
thirds. Form each third of cheese mixture into a ball.
Carefully roll one ball in the almonds, one ball in the
pecans, and one ball in the walnuts, coasting each
completely. Rewrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until
time to serve. Serve the cheese balls with an assortment
For a rich, toasty flavor, bake nuts in a 350° oven for 5
to 10 minutes or until they are golden, stirring
Fruit and Nut Truffles
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac or rum
1 1/4 cups apricots, finely chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
30 hazelnut halves
An irresistible indulgence or a luscious gift for a
special occasion, these chocolate truffles will delight
your family and friends.
Makes 30 servings.
Preparation time: 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment or
In the top of a double boiler over low heat, stir 4 ounces
of the chocolate until melted.
Remove from the heat and beat in the cream and cognac.
Blend in the apricots, chopped hazelnuts, ginger, and
confectioners sugar. Stir well to combine.
Chill the mixture, if necessary, until firm enough to
handle. Form into 1-inch balls and set aside on a sheet of
In the top of a double boiler over low heat, stir the
remaining 5 ounces of chocolate until melted. Remove from
Using a fork, dip each truffle into the melted chocolate,
allowing any excess to run off. Place the truffles on the
prepared baking sheet. Top each with a hazelnut half and
When the chocolate has set, the truffles can be stored in
an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cup shelled raw peanuts or coarsely chopped raw
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
The key to perfect brittle is adding baking soda. It
reacts with the caramelzed sugr to make the candy porous
and not too hard-so it's easy to eat.
Makes about 1 pound (50 pieces).
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Chilling time: 30 minutes.
Butter a large baking sheet; set aside. In a large havey
saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and
butter. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat,
stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar.
(Avoid splashing mixture onton side of the pan.) Boil for
3 minutes. If using a candy thermometer, carefully clip to
the side of the pan, making sure the bulb is immersed but
not touching the bottom of pan.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, to 240°F
on candy thermometer, soft-ball stage (10 to 12 minutes).
(Or, use this cold water test. Using a spoon, drop small
amount of hot mixture into very cold, but not icy water.
Dip your fingers into water and form mixture into a ball.
Remove ball from water; it should immediately flatten and
run between your fingers.)
Stir in peanuts. Cook over moderate heat, stirring
constantly, to 300° on candy thermometer, hard-crack
stage (10 to 15 minutes). (Using a spoon, drop a small
amount of hot mixture into very cold, but not icy, water.
It should separate into hard, brittle threads that snap
easily.) Watch carefully so mixture does not burn.
Remove the pan from heat; remove the thermometer from the
saucepan. Immediately stir vanilla and baking soda into
hot mixture, stirring constantly until light and foamy.
Quickly pour and spread mixture onton prepared baking
With 2 forks, lift and pull candy into 14 x 12-inch
rectangle. Pull gently to avoid tearing. Cool completely
on wire rack. Break candy into pieces. To store, cover
1 store-bought or homemade pie crust
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 cup maple-flavored syrup or pure maple syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter or margarine (melted)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Saturated Fat 9g
Total Fat 14g
Grandma used whatever nuts she had on hand, which is how
this delicious variation of pecan pie came to be.
Hazelnut, macadamia nuts, cashews, or peanuts also work
Makes 8 servings.
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 55 minutes.
Cooling time: 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie
crust. Trim crust to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate.
Fold under extra crust and crimp edge. Line crust with
foil and fill with dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or
until light brown. Cool crust on a wire rack for 5
minutes; discard foil. (Save beans for future pastry
baking.) Lower oven temperature to 350°.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using a rotary beater or fork,
beat the egg whites and egg just until mixed. Whisk in the
maple-flavored syrup, brown sugar, flour, butter, and
vanilla just until smooth. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour the syrup mixture into baked crust. Bake for 40 to 45
minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out
clean. (If the edge of the crust seems to be browning too
quickly, cover with foil.) Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
Serve with frozen vanilla yogurt or cover and store in the