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April menus.

Celebrate the glories of spring with meals that show off the season's finest produce. Feast on tender spears of green asparagus in a pretty make- ahead patio lunch or supper. Sweet spring strawberries brighten a breakfast. For a speedy supper, try the stir-fried main dish. And for dessert, choose mangoes; they're more plentiful these days, and a few cuts turn them into a showy dessert.

This spring menu expands easily to any number of servings and holds up well until guests are ready to eat.

For each serving, buy 8 to 10 ounces untrimmed asparagus. Snap off and discard tough ends. For a sweeter flavor and more tender texture, peel stalks with a vegetable peeler or special asparagus peeler. Boil the spears in water to cover just until barely tender when pierced, 3 to 4 minutes; drain and immerse in ice water to preserve color. Drain cold spears and serve, or cover and chill up to a day.

Roast a boned and tied turkey breast or, if you're in a hurry, buy sliced roast turkey from a deli. For each serving, allow 1/4 pound raw (or 3 oz. cooked) turkey. You might roast a larger piece of turkey to have leftovers for the next day.

The breadsticks (1 or 2 per serving) and watercress sauce (about 1/4 cup per serving) can be made up to 1 day ahead. If bread is made ahead, recrisp before serving. If time does not permit making the breadsticks, buy them or crusty baguettes.

Purchase or make cream puffs for dessert.


Cold Cooked Asparagus Cool Roast Turkey Breast Watercress Sauce Asparagus Breaststicks Butter Dry Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling Water Cream Puffs

Watercress Sauce

Look for the fish sauce in some supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.

3/4 cup (about 1-3/4 oz.) packed chopped watercress 3/4 cup unflavored nonfat yogurt 3/4 cup reduced-calorie or regular mayonnaise 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves 1 clove garlic 1 to 2 teaspoon fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla) or anchovy paste

In a blender or food processor, combine watercress, yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon, and garlic; whirl until smooth. Add fish sauce to taste; whirl to blend. (If sauce is made ahead, cover and chill up to a day.) Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Per tablespoon: 25 cal.; 0.5 g protein; 2.1 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 1.2 g carbo.; 47 mg sodium; 2.6 mg chol.

Asparagus Breadsticks

2 loaves (1 lb. each) frozen white or wholewheat bread dough, thawed 1 large egg white 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves 1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Set loaves on a floured board and pat each loaf into a 5- by 10-inch rectangle. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cut each loaf crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Pick up the ends of each piece, and stretch it to the length of a 12- by 15-inch greased baking sheet and set on pan; if dough snaps back, let rest a few minutes, then stretch again. Repeat to make each stick, spacing about 1-1/2 inches apart.

With scissors at a 45 [degrees] angle, snip dough to make cuts about 1/2 inch apart along about 4 inches of 1 end of each stick (see picture on page 143).

Beat egg white until slightly frothy; brush dough lightly with egg white. Mix cheese, tarragon, and dill. Sprinkle evenly over dough.

Bake in a 350 [degrees] oven until breadsticks are browned, 20 to 25 minutes. (If using 1 oven, switch pan positions halfway through baking; chill remaining pans of dough until oven is free.) Transfer breadsticks to racks.

Serve warm or cool. If you make sticks ahead, let cool, package airtight, and hold up to 4 hours, or freeze. To recrisp, bake breadsticks (thawed, if frozen), uncovered, on pans in a 350 [degrees] oven until warm, about 5 minutes. Makes 18. Per stick: 120 cal.; 4.5 g protein; 1.4 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 22 g carbo.; 317 mg sodium; 0.9 mg chol.

Brown sausages as you make these thin pancakes laced with cornmeal. Spread crepes with apricot jam and fold into quarters. Guests can embellish them with yogurt or sour cream and lightly sweetened berries.

Cornmeal Crepes

with Berries

3 cups sliced strawberries 2 tablespoon sugar 1 cup milk 3 large eggs 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal 1 teaspoon vanilla

About 2-1/2 teaspoons butter or margarine

About 1/4 cup apricot jam

Vanilla low-fat yogurt or light or regular sour cream

Mix strawberries and sugar; set aside. In a blender, whirl milk, eggs, flour, cornmeal, and vanilla until there are no lumps.

Place a flat-bottom 7- to 8-inch-wide frying or crepe pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add 1/4 cup batter all at once; quickly tilt pan so batter flows over entire surface (don't worry if there are a few holes). Cook until surface is dry and edge is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Turn with a spatula and brown other side. Turn out onto a plate; keep warm. Repeat to cook remainder, stirring batter thoroughly before cooking each crepe (cornmeal sinks), and stacking crepes as made.

Spread 1 side of each crepe lightly with jam; fold in quarters. Offer crepes with berries and yogurt to add to taste. Makes 8 to 10 crepes, 3 or 4 servings. Per serving with berries: 334 cal.; 10 g protein; 8.5 g fat (3.7 g sat.); 55 g carbo.; 101 mg sodium; 173 mg chol.


Cornmeal Crepes with Berries Poultry Breakfast Sausages Tangerine Juice Coffee or Milk

Once you prepare and cut the ingredients, it takes only minutes to cook the couscous, stir-fry the meat, and dress the cabbage. Mound the hot couscous and pork and onion on cool cabbage for a one-dish main course. The cabbage can be on a platter or individual plates.

Conclude the meal with mangoes cut to resemble blossoms. For most effective results using this cutting technique, choose the round, plump- cheeked red-flushed mango varieties.

Select ready-to-eat mangoes, if you can; they give slightly when gently pressed, much like a ripe avocado. Keep firm mangoes at room temperature until ripe; if you chill unripe fruit, the cold temperature halts the ripening process.

Stir-fried Spiced Pork on Couscous

4 cups (about 10 oz.) shredded red cabbage

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, or cider vinegar plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1 cup (6 oz.) couscous

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 pound boneless pork loin or shoulder, fat trimmed, cut in 1/2-by 3-inch strips

1 large (about 1/2 lb.) onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Sauce (recipe follows)

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro (coriander) leaves

Mix cabbage with vinegar; set aside.

In a 1-1/2- to 2-quart pan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover pan tightly, remove from heat, and let stand until couscous is tender to bite and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a wok or 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add 2 teaspoons oil and half the pork; stir-fry until pork is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan; to pan, add 2 teaspoons oil and remaining pork and repeat stir-frying step. Add to cooked meat.

To pan, add 2 more teaspoons oil, onion, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 2 minutes. Return pork to pan, and add sauce. Stir until sauce boils, about 2 minutes.

Place cabbage in a layer on a large platter, or divide among 4 dinner plates. Mound hot couscous on cabbage. Spoon pork and sauce over couscous. Sprinkle with mint. Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 505 cal.; 33 g protein; 18 g fat (4.6 g sat.); 54 g carbo.; 639 mg sodium; 68 mg chol.

Sauce. Stir together 3/4 cup regular-strength chicken broth, 1/2 cup orange juice, 4 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.

Mango Blossoms

2 large (about 1 lb. each) firm-ripe mangoes

1 large orange (about 1/2 lb.), cut into wedges

Slide a sharp knife parallel to broad side of mango and against pit; cut off both sides. Place halves cut side up; cut flesh to the skin, but not through, to make 1/2-inch squares. Gently push up the skin to flare out mango sections; serve with orange wedges. Serves 4. Per serving: 121 cal.; 1.1 g protein; 0.5 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 31 g carbo.; 3.1 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Previous Article:Fence for vines and view.
Next Article:Shortcut to a Moroccan banquet.

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