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Jicama will never win a beauty contest, but beneath its drab skin....

Jicama will never win a beauty contest, but beneath its drab skin . . .

Competing with an eggplant or a tomato, jicama will never win a beauty contest, but beneath its drab skin lies a white flesh of delicate flavor and unquenchable crispness. Although it is usually eaten raw, this firm, nutty root retains its texture when cooked, much like the water chestnut (with which jicama is sometimes confused). More remarkable still, the crispness remains even when the jicama is pickled; not even boiling vinegar can soften its proud spirit. Compared with the audible crunch of pickled jicama spears, the finest dill pickle is mere mush.

The touch of red chilies and the sprigs of cilantro pay homage to Mexico, jicama's native home. There, it's often sold by street vendors, usually as slices bathed in lime juice and sprinkled with salt and chili powder.

Pickled Jicama

1 1/2 to 2 pounds jicama, scrubbed

2 tablespoons salt

Water

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon dry dill weed

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies

4 sprigs fresh cilantro (coriander)

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup sugar

Peel jicama and cut into sticks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches long. Place sticks in a glass or stainless steel bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the salt, and add enough water to cover. Stir until salt is dissolved, then let stand at least 1 or up to 2 hours; drain.

Pack jicama upright into 2 wide-mouthed 1-pint jars. In each jar, put half the mustard seed, dill weed, chilies, and cilantro.

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, bring to a boil the vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon salt, onion, and sugar. Boil, uncovered, for 1 minute, then pour hot mixture into jars to cover jicama. Let cool, then cover tightly and chill at least until next day or up to 1 month. Makes 2 pints.

??

Sacramento

Nostalgia works for some people: Francois Villon achieved immortality by lamenting the snows of yesteryear, Samuel Woodworth grew dewy-eyed over the old oaken bucket, and a whole generation sighed over yesterday's gardenias and last year's crop of kisses. Harry Lockwood, however, keeps his eyes firmly fixed on the future, especially when he's cooking Tomorrow's Potatoes.

Why the name? You prepare the potatoes one day to bake and serve the next (although you can rush matters with no loss of character--except perhaps as an organized cook--and plunge right ahead on the first day).

Shredding the boiled potatoes produces a vegetable dish that artfully combines the textures of potatoes au gratin with that of lumpy mashed potatoes now in vogue.

Tomorrow's Potatoes

2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed

1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

6 green onions (roots trimmed), thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups sour cream

Salt and pepper

Paprika

Place potatoes in a 3- to 4-quart pan and add 2 inches water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and boil gently until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 45 minutes. Drain, let cool, then peel and coarsely shred.

In a large bowl, combine shredded potatoes, cheese, onions, and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Butter a shallow 2-quart casserole; pour in mixture. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350| oven until hot throughout and golden brown on top, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with paprika. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

Hany Lockwood

Troutdale, Ore.

Clever cooks have devised many ways of stretching expensive seafood to serve a number of guests. Some add celery, greens, macaroni, even fruit to make salads, while others use seafood helpers such as rice, linguine, and vegetables to create casseroles, gumbos, and other mixed blessings. Too often the clenched hand of economy is evident in such preparations, especially when the chunks of protein are widely dispersed.

Not so with J. Harry MacArthur's recipe; he uses chicken to stretch his seafood. By blending a large amount of chicken with a modest quantity of seafood and heating them together with a lavish sauce of reduced cream, wine, and cognac, he convinces fellow diners that they have stuffed themselves with shrimp and scallops-- and some chicken, too.

California Chicken Seafood

1/2 pound medium-size shrimp (43 to 50 per lb.)

Shrimp stock (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon salad oil

3 whole chicken breasts (about 1 lb. each), skinned, boned, and halved

1/4 pound scallops, rinsed well and drained

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup cognac or brandy

Several whole chives

Salt and pepper

Rinse, shell, and devein shrimp. Use shells to make shrimp stock. Set aside shrimp.

Heat butter and oil in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat; add chicken breasts and cook, turning as needed, until golden brown and meat in center is no longer pink (cut to test), 8 to 10 minutes. Lift out chicken and keep warm.

If using sea scallops, cut them into 1/2-inch chunks. Add scallops and shrimp to pan and stir often on medium-high heat until shrimp turn pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Lift out and set aside. Add shrimp stock, cream, and cognac to pan and bring to a boil on high heat; stir frequently until sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup, thickens, and large, glossy bubbles form, 5 to 8 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and return chicken and seafood to pan, turning to coat with sauce. Arrange on a serving dish. Garnish with chives; season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Shrimp stock. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine reserved shrimp shells (preceding), 1 cup dry white wine, and 1 cup regular-strength chicken broth. Boil, uncovered, over high heat until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Pour through a fine strainer; discard shells. Return shrimp stock to pan and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Use hot or cold.

J. Harry MacArthur's

Ventura, Calif.

Many Western diners who pride themselves on the breadth and discrimination of their palates are perfectly happy to eat no bread but sourdough French. This is not a bad decision by any means, but it shuts off a whole universe of other breads, such as Lyle Farrow's Walnut Bread.

This is not a dense, sweet, banana-nut or tea-sandwich sort of bread to load with cream cheese, but an honest, light loaf to spread with butter (and possibly jam), then serve as a buttress to a light meal or as toast for breakfast. The yeast dough is started the night before.

Walnut Bread

About 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups warm water (110|)

2 packages active dry yeast

4 teaspoons sugar

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 cups rye flour

Stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, water, yeast, and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at least 18 or up to 24 hours.

Put nuts in an 8- or 9-inch-wide pan. Bake in a 350| oven, shaking occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool; if made ahead, set aside.

Stir milk, honey, butter, salt, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, and nuts; beat until well blended. With a spoon or a dough hook, beat in 2 more cups all-purpose flour.

If mixing by hand, scrape onto a floured board and knead until dough is smooth and satiny, 15 to 20 minutes; add as little flour as possible to keep dough from sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl.

If using a dough hook, beat until dough is stretchy and begins to pull from bowl, then add all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough pulls fairly cleanly from bowl. Remove dough hook.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, knead briefly to expel air, then divide dough into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round loaf; place well apart on greased baking sheets (you will need 2 pans: 1 pan 12 by 15 in. and 1 pan 9 by 11 in.). Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.

Bake loaves, uncovered, in a 350| oven until richly browned, about 35 minutes. Let cool on racks; serve warm or cool. To store, wrap cool loaves airtight and keep up to 3 days; freeze to store longer. Makes 3 loaves, about 1 pound each.

Lyle Farrow's

Los Gatos, Calif.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1987
Words:1445
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