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Culinary evolution leads to ... Couscous Ole?

Although no single label can describe the philosophy of the western chef, syncretism comes close. The syncretist is one who attempts to reconcile various schools of thought; he would be happiest if he could prove that all cooking sprang from one primordial dish-barbecued or otherwise-varied through the ages by time, the confusion of tongues, and the availability of local produce.

This culinary evolution gets some help from Robert Ronald, who has brilliantly grafted Latin American seasonings-chilies of varying degrees of heat, and tomato-onto a Middle Eastern understock of couscous, olives, and raisins. Serve when you're not pining for the latest stage in primordial barbecue.

Couscous Ole

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced or


1 large red bell pepper, stemmed,

seeded, and chopped

1 large fresh Anaheim (California)

chili, stemmed, seeded, and


1 fresh jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

1 tablespoon each ground cumin and

chili powder

1-3/4 cups (or 1 can, 14-1/2 oz.) regular

strength chicken broth

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 cups couscous

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

1 large firm-ripe tomato, cored,

peeled, seeded, and chopped

1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

Salt and pepper

Chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

Sour cream or unflavored yogurt

Melt butter in oil in a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat; add onion, garlic, red pepper, Anaheim chili, and jalapeno. Stir occasionally until onion is golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in cumin and chili powder. Pour broth, water, and lime juice into onion mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add couscous and raisins; stir well. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand until liquid is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Mix in peas, tomato, and olives. Cover until flavors are blended, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon couscous onto a platter. Garnish with cilantro. Offer sour cream or yogurt to add to individual portions. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving : 185 cal; 4.9 g protein; 28 g carbo.; 6.4 g fat; 6.2 mg chol.; 86 mg sodium.

Robert C. Ronald Pullman, Wash.

One definition of tragedy is the fall of a noble personage from a high estate to ruin. By this definition, the fate of the holiday turkey-in its feastable glory so shortly ago-is truly a tragedy. Plump, glisteningly brown, breathing savory vapors, it is the center of attention-for an hour. By the time dessert is served, the bird is a melancholy bulk, its keel and ribs showing bare as those of a shipwreck on a desolate reef.

Still (and again this fits in with tragic theory), its ghost lurks behind, leaping ftom refrigerator or freezer to affright the family as turkey hash, turkey noodle casserole, turkey sandwiches, even turkey croquettes. The bird is simply seeking the respect it had when it first came to the table. Bring rest to its troubled spirit as Don Drew does, by serving the leftovers in turkey quiche. Your family will love it, and the turkey will haunt you no more.

Turkey Quiche

5 large eggs

2-1/2 to 3 cups leftover bread stuffing or

1/2 package (6-oz. size) bread

stuffing mix, prepared according

to package directions

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

1 cup diced cooked turkey or chicken

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions,

including tops

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup half-and-half (light cream)

Salt and pepper

In a bowl, beat 1 egg until blended, then add stuffing and mix well. Press stuffing over bottom and up the sides of a greased 10-inch pie pan or deep quiche pan or dish. Bake on the lowest rack in a 425' oven until stuffing is crisp and dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven; lower oven temperature to 350'. Sprinkle cheese over bottom and sides of stuffing crust, then evenly top with turkey, onions, and mushrooms.

In the same bowl, beat remaining 4 eggs to blend, then stir in half-and-half and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over turkey and vegetables.

Bake on the lowest rack in a 350' oven until liquid mixture looks firm and set

Chuck Ploof's baby back ribs owe their distinction to their creator's uncommonly good basting sauce. With 14 ingredients, it is not the simplest of sauces, but neither is it the most complex. Like most barbecue sauces, it contains sweet, sour, and spicy ingredients-in this case, the right ingredients in the right proportion. Essential to your complete enjoyment of these ribs are finger bowls and paper napkins.

Baby back ribs, in case you wonder, haven't anything to do with the age of the pig but are actually the bones that parallel the pork loin. With much pork loin being sold as boneless roasts, these succulent bones are more frequently available.

Chuck's Baby Back Ribs

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1/2 cup each water, catsup, and

tomato-based chili sauce

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

1/2 cup dark molasses

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon each pepper and paprika

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

3 to 4 pounds pork baby back ribs

Melt butter in a 10- to 1 2-inch frying pan over medium heat; add onion and stir often until onion is limp, about 10 minutes. Then stir in water, catsup, chili sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire, molasses, mustard, pepper, paprika, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to about 2-1/4 cups, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim and discard excess fat from ribs; place ribs in a 6- to 8-quart pan. Add water to cover bones. Place over high heat; when boiling, cover and reduce heat. Boil gently for 5 minutes.

Drain ribs and arrange in a single layer in roasting pan or broiler pan that is at least 12 by 14 inches. Brush ribs generously with sauce, then cover pan. Bake in a 400' oven for 15 minutes. Uncover, baste generously again, and continue to bake, basting generously every 15 minutes until ribs are very tender when pierced and all the sauce is used, about 1 hour longer. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

Per serving: 831 cal.; 43 g protein; 57 g carbo.; 48 g fat, 184 mg chol.; 934 mg sodium.

Charles T. Ploof

San Rafael Calif.

A newspaper we know of has an annual contest in which children are awarded prizes for growing the largest and heaviest zucchini. If this were a just world, in which reason prevailed, the children would be punished for letting the zucchini grow so big. Making them eat these huge zucchini (boiled plain, without salt, pepper, or butter) would be appropriate.

These summer squash are at their best when they are just a few inches long-finger-size or a little bigger. Their will to live is so strong, though, that a few manage to hide among the leaves until they have passed optimum size. These are still salvageable if you stuff them, and quite delightful if you stuff them according to this recipe submitted by John Rockwell.

Despair not that it's winter. Zucchini not only persist among the leaves, they also manage to hang around markets, which offer up squash of varying sizes all year.

Stuffed Zucchini Elegante

4 zucchini, each 6 to 7 inches long

1/4 pound mild Italian sausage

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 small firm-ripe tomato, peeled,

cored, seeded, and diced

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar


Split zucchini in half lengthwise. Place, cut side down, in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan. Add about 1/2 inch water, cover, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and boil gently until zucchini are slightly soft when pierced, 4 to 5 minutes. Lift zucchini from pan and drain, cut side down.

Discard water, wipe pan dry, and place over medium heat. Remove sausage casing; crumble meat into pan. Add onion and garlic; stir often until sausage is browned and onion is limp, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard fat. Add oregano, corn, and tomato; stir often for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 2/3 cup cheese.

With a spoon, scoop out and discard zucchini seeds. Evenly mound sausage mixture in zucchini halves. Set side-by-side in an 8- by 12- or 9- by 13-inch baking dish or pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in a 3750 oven until stuffing is heated through, 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 120 cal.; 7.4 proteing; 6.6 g carbo.; 7.6 g fat; 23 mg chol.; 190 mg sodium.

John Rockwell

COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1989
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