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January menus.


Cozy ambience, warm meals, and friendly gatherings with good conversation are effective antidotes to winter's chilly blasts and gloomy skies. Simple, familiar dishes fit these menus.

For a casual get-together some afternoon or evening, serve a chili buffet. With its built-in flavor flexibility, it suits a range of tastes and ages. Another day, do fish-and-chips with a neater, leaner twist: oven-fried and crisp.


Gloria's Add-on Chili with Beans

Cornbread Sticks and Shells

Build-your-own Sundaes

Beer or Merlot

A day ahead, you can cook beans and chili, and bake cornbread (from a mix or favorite recipe) in corn-shaped or other decorative pans. For dessert, top ice cream with your choice of nuts, sauces (caramel, chocolate, fruit), granola, fruit, and whipped cream.

Gloria's Add-on Chili with Beans

2 pound each boned beef chuck and pork shoulder or butt, fat trimmed

3 large (about 1 3/4 lb. total) onions, chopped

8 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 cups regular-strength beef broth

2 bottles (12 oz. each) tomato-based chili sauce

1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon each anise seed, cumin seed, and crushed dried hot red chilies

Beans (recipe follows)

Chili toppings (suggestions follow)

Cut beef and pork into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Put meat in a 5- to 6-quart pan; add 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes. Uncover and boil on high heat until liquid evaporates and drippings in pan sizzle and are dark brown; stir often. Add 1/3 cup water; stir to release drippings. Add onions, garlic, and 1/2 cup water. Stir often until liquid evaporates and browned bits stick in pan. Add 1/2 cup water and stir browned bits free. Boil until browned bits stick again.

Add broth, chili sauce, oregano, anise, cumin, and crushed chilies; stir browned bits free. Simmer, covered, until meat is very tender when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. (If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 day; reheat.) Ladle chili and beans into bowls; add toppings as desired. Serves 8 to 10.--Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls, The Big Four Restaurant, San Francisco

Per serving without toppings: 485 cal. (18 percent from fat); 43 g protein; 9.9 g fat (3.2 g sat.); 58 g carbo.; 1,022 mg sodium; 89 mg chol.

Beans. Sort debris from 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 1/3 cups); rinse and drain beans.

Combine beans and 2 quarts water in a 5- to 6- quart pan. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat; remove from heat and let stand 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Drain and discard bean liquid. To beans add 1 1/2 quarts each regular-strength beef broth and water; 1 large (about 10 oz.) onion, chopped; and 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves. Bring to a boil on high heat; cover and simmer until beans are tender to bite, about 1 1/2 hours. (If making ahead, let cool; cover and chill up to 2 days. Reheat.) Makes about 6 cups.

Chili toppings. Wipe dust from 2 medium-size (about 3/4 oz. total) dried ancho, California, or New Mexico chilies; cut into thin strips. Discard seeds and stems.

In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir chili strips in 2 teaspoons salad oil until chilies are crisp and smell toasted, about 2 minutes; drain on towels. (If making ahead, store airtight up to 1 day.)

In separate dishes, arrange chilies, 3 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce, and 2 cups each shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes, sliced celery, and shredded cheddar cheese.


Baked Fish-and-Chips

Green Salad Pears

Milk Mineral Water

While vegetables and fish bake, make the salad.

Baked Fish-and-Chips

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon pepper

About 1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large egg whites

2 large (about 1 1/2 lb. total) potatoes, scrubbed and each cut into 8 wedges

2 large (about 1 lb. total) zucchini, ends trimmed, each cut lengthwise into 6 slices

3 tablespoons salad oil

4 pieces (4 to 6 oz. each) skinned and boned, firm, white-flesh fish such as rockfish or orange roughy

Malt or cider vinegar

Tartar sauce (optional)


Mix cornmeal, sugar, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish.

In another shallow dish, lightly beat egg whites until slightly frothy.

Dip potato wedges and zucchini slices, 1 piece at a time, into egg white; roll in cornmeal mixture. Lay pieces in a single layer.

Rub 1 tablespoon oil in bottom of each of 2 pans, 10 by 15 inches. Place pans in a 450|degrees~ oven for 3 minutes. Lay potato and zucchini pieces slightly apart in separate pans. Bake zucchini until crust is crisp, about 25 minutes; bake potatoes until they are tender when pierced, about 40 minutes. After 15 minutes of baking, turn vegetables with a spatula.

Meanwhile, dip fish into egg white and turn to coat with cornmeal mixture; lay in a single layer. With spatula, transfer cooked zucchini to a platter and keep warm.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; lay fish slightly apart in pan. Bake until crusty and golden on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn fish with spatula and bake until bottom is golden and flesh is opaque but still moist-looking in thickest part (cut to test), about 6 minutes longer.

If fish is done before potatoes, keep warm on platter.

Season fish and vegetables to taste with vinegar, tartar sauce, and salt. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 549 cal. (21 percent from fat); 33 g protein; 13 g fat (1.9 g sat.); 74 g carbo.; 126 mg sodium; 40 mg chol.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Bateson, Betsy Reynolds
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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