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Corn casserole on the fly.

One chef writes recipes in small planes. Another turns to baby food

UNEASY SIT THE haunches of those constrained to ride the fluttery windup planes that carry travelers beyond the hub airports to land--or rather, skip and frolic--on gopher-pocked grassy fields. Most of these nervous passengers merely bite their nails; the tough-minded struggle to get some work done, take notes, or make plans.

Dr. Gary Fauskin prefers to devise recipes, and his French Gulch Corn Casserole is the happy result of his self-administered in-flight psychotherapy.

On a recent trip from San Jose to Redding en route to French Gulch, he warded off apprehension by considering the inadequacies of existing corn casseroles and planning improvements. This is his winning formula.

French Gulch Corn Casserole

2 tablespoon butter or


3/4 cup minced onion

1 medium-size (5 to 6 oz.)

red bell pepper,

stemmed, seeded, and


2 cans (17 oz. each)

cream-style corn

1 tablespoon chopped

fresh cilantro


1/3 cup peeled, seeded,

and chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons cornstarch

blended with 2

tablespoon water

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup shredded sharp

cheddar or jack cheese

Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper; stir often until vegetables are limp, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in corn, cilantro, tomatoes, cornstarch mixture, and salt and pepper to taste.

Scrape mixture into a shallow 1-1/2-quart casserole; sprinkle with cheese. Bake in a 350[degrees] oven until bubbling around edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Per serving: 159 cal.; 4.2 g protein; 5.8 g fat (3.4 g sat.); 26 g carbo.; 418 mg sodium; 15 mg chol.

THE POTATO HAS HAD a roller-coaster history.

From South America, its culture spread rapidly in the years following the discovery of the New World. Spain and Italy grew the potato first on the Continent, and it was firmly established in England by 1629, when John Parkinson, in his A Garden of Pleasant Flowers, pronounced the Virginian potato, as he called it, almost as good as the Spanish potato (we call the latter sweet potato). He recommended cooking this sweet vegetable with wine, sugar, and spices.

For sheer comfort, few dishes can equal a steaming baked potato, freshly split, anointed with butter, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The addition of a meat or cheese topping makes the baked potato a substantial entree. From Moscow, Idaho, home of the baking potato, A. J. Marineau sends us a recipe for such a dish.

Moscow Idaho Bakers

4 large (about 1/2 lb. each)

russet potatoes,


1 tablespoon butter or


1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup milk

5 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup dry marsala or


1 cup (1/4 lb.) shredded

jack cheese

6 to 8 ounces cooked

ham, cut into julienne

strips (1 to 1-1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon Dijon


1 tablespoon prepared


Chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Pierce potatoes in several places with a fork. Set potatoes on oven rack and bake at 400[degrees] until potatoes give readily when squeezed, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a 1-1/2 to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir often until limp, about 5 minutes. Mix milk with cornstarch and stir into pan along with buttermilk and marsala.

Stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in ham, mustard, and horseradish; if sauce is ready before potatoes, set aside. To use, stir over medium-high heat until hot.

Split potatoes in half lengthwise; fluff centers with a fork. Set 2 halves on each plate and spoon sauce onto potatoes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley; season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 486 cal.; 23 g protein; 17 g fat (3.8 g sat.); 52 g carbo.; 987 mg sodium; 63 mg chol.

NEARLY 50 YEARS AGO during the food shortages of World War II, Sunset Magazine deplored the use of canned baby food (always, apparently, in good supply) as a substitute for scarcer products. Now, after half a century, we turn to baby food once again, this time to recommend it as a principal ingredient in Maureen W. Valentine's Oriental Plum-glazed Chicken.

Why baby-food plums? They're already pureed, saving preparation time, and they're available all year.

Oriental Plum-glazed Chicken

1/4 cup canned pureed

plums for babies

3 tablespoons dry white


2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons firmly

packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely

chopped green onion,

including tops

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five

spice or ground allspice

6 chicken legs, thighs

attached (about 4 lb.

total), skin and fat

pulled off

Fresh cilantro

(coriander) springs

Mix together plums, wine, soy, sugar, lemon juice, onion, and five spice.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Arrange legs in a 10- by 15-inch pan. Brush with plum sauce. Bake, uncovered, in a 375[degrees] oven for 25 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over, brush with remaining plum sauce, and continue to bake until meat at thigh bone is no longer pink (cut to test), 20 to 25 minutes longer. Baste with pan juices during last 10 minutes of baking.

Lift chicken onto a platter and garnish with cilantro. Skim fat from pan juices; add 1/4 cup water to pan and stir over high heat just until boiling. Serve juices with chicken. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 241 cal.; 35 g protein; 6.6 g fat (1.7 g sat.); 7.3 g carbo.; 495 mg sodium; 138 mg chol.

LENTILS WERE EATEN long before Rome was founded; it is generally thought that the pottage for which Esau sold his birthright to Jacob (Genesis 25) was a stew of lentils. Sidney Taylor offers a better deal: you can have his recipe for lentils and keep your birthright. And we may assume that his lentil bisque is smoother. Jacob had no blender.

Sherried Lentil Bisque

11 cups regular-strength

chicken broth

3 cups chopped celery

3 cups chopped carrots

3 large (about 1-1/2 lb.

total) onions, chopped

1 small (about 1/4 lb.) red

or green bell pepper,

stemmed, seeded, and

finely chopped

1 medium-size (about 6

oz.) zucchini, ends

trimmed, finely diced

2 packages (12 oz. each,

or 3-1/2 cups total) lentils,

sorted for debris and


3 tablespoons dry sherry

1-1/2 tablespoons cream
 Thinly sliced green
 onions, including tops
 Sour cream
 Salt and pepper

In an 8- to 10-quart pan, combine broth, celery, carrots, chopped onions, bell pepper, zucchini, and lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer until lentils are very soft to bite, 50 to 55 minutes.

Whirl mixture, a portion at a time, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan and stir in dry sherry and cream sherry. (If made ahead, or if there are leftovers, cover and chill up to 4 days; or freeze in 2- or 3-servings portions.) Heat until steaming and ladle into bowls. Add green onion, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 quarts; allow 2 cups for a serving.

Per serving: 268 cal.; 19 g protein; 2.2 g fat (0.5 g sat); 43 g carbo.; 93 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:Chefs of the West; recipes
Author:Dunmire, Richard; Griffiths, Joan
Article Type:Column
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:On-the-go bars for breakfast.
Next Article:Onward and upward with guacamole.

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