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March menus; spring artichoke fest, crepes with shrimp and cheese, chicken and rice dinner.


Plain or fancy, there's a meal to suit your mood in this month's menus.

For simpler tastes, try a peasant-style feast of spring artichokes and eggs to dip into flavorful sauces. Silverware is almost frivolous for this hands-on meal.

When you yearn for something more refined, try the crepes. The thin pancakes are layered with shrimp and cheese for a dressed-up lunch or brunch entree.

Ease of preparation prevails in the last menu. Chicken and rice steam together in the same pan. A spiced soy sauce is served alongside to spoon over the meat.

Artichoke feast

A platter of hot or cold artichokes and hard-cooked eggs with a trio of sauces for dipping will delight the thistle lover.

Boiled Artichokes

Tarragon Cream Caper Mayonnaise

Mustard Vinaigrette

Hard-cooked Eggs

French Bread Butter

Cheese with Pears, Dried Figs, and Grapes

Cider or Sauvignon Blanc

If you prefer to serve the artichokes and eggs cold, cook them ahead. Allow 1 or 2 artichokes and 1 or 2 eggs for each serving. Make the sauces shortly before serving or up to a day ahead. Leftover sauces can be used to dress salads. For dessert you might try a Brie, Camembert, or Explorateur cheese to eat with fruit.

Boiled Artichokes

5 to 6 quarts water

1/3 cup vinegar

3 bay leaves

12 whole black peppers

3 tablespoons salad oil

10 to 12 large artichokes, 2 1/2- to 3-inch diameter

Pour water into a 10- to 12-quart pan. Add vinegar, bay, peppers, and oil. Cover and bring to boiling.

Meanwhile, remove coarse outer leaves from artichokes and trim stems even with base. With a sharp knife, cut off top 1/3 of cach artichoke. With scissors, trim thorns from tips of remaining leaves. Wash artichokes, then plunge them into the boiling water. Cover pan and boil gently until artichokes are tender when pierced in base, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain. Serve hot; or let cool, cover, and chill as long as 2 days. Serves 5 to 12.

Tarragon Cream

Stir together 3/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon dry tarragon. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days.) Makes 1 cup.

Caper Mayonnaise

In a blender or food processor, combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon drained capers, 1 clove garlic, and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Whirl until blended. With blender or food processor on, gradually add 1 cup salad oil in a thin steady stream, until fully incorporated. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days.) Garnish with 1 teaspoon drained capers. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Mustard Vinaigrette

Stir together 1/2 cup olive oil or salad oil, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 clove garlic (pressed or minced), 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day.) Makes 1 cup.

Crepe stack brunch

For a showy make-ahead brunch or lunch entree, layer crepes with cheese and shrimp.

Crepe Shrimp Stack

Avocado Wedges with Orange Slices

Florentine Cookies

Coffee or Spiced Tea

Assemble the crepe stack up to 1 day ahead. Bake to serve. As it warms, cut 2 large ripe avocados into wedges, then pit and peel. Also cut 2 or 3 large peeled oranges into slices; arrange on lettuce leaves to serve alongside.

Crepe Shrimp Stack

7 ounces (about 1 cup) creamy garlic-herb cheese, at room temperature

8 crepes (recipe follows)

1/2 pound small cooked shrimp

3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onions

2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) shredded jack cheese

On a flat surface, gently spread about 2 tablespoons of the garlic-herb cheese over 1 crepe. Set, cheese side up, on a 9- to 11-inch ovenproof serving plate.

Mix together the shrimp, chives, and 2 1/4 cups of the shredded jack cheese. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of this shrimp mixture evenly over crepe. Repeat layers with remaining crepes, garlic cheese, and shrimp mixture, ending with a crepe on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup shredded jack cheese evenly over top. (Cover and chill, if made ahead.)

Bake crepe stack, uncovered, in a 350| oven until hot throughout, 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into small wedges to serve. Makes 5 or 6 servings.--Ulla Pironi, Belmont, Calif.

Crepes. In a blender or food processor, combine 2 eggs and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and whirl until smooth. Blend in 2/3 cup milk. St a 6- to 7-inch crepe pan or other flat-bottom frying pan over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles and jumps about the pan. Add 1/4 teaspoon butter or margarine; tilt pan to grease bottom. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of the batter all at once into center of pan, swiftly tilting pan in all directions so batter flows quickly over entire flat surface.

Cook until lightly browned on bottom and sides, 30 to 40 seconds. Run a small spatula around edges and turn crepe over to set lightly, about 20 seconds. Turn crepe out of pan and let cool on a paper towel. Repeat to make each one, stirring batter occasionally. Stack crepes as they come from pan. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days. Let warm to room temperature before separating.) Makes 8.

Chicken and rice supper

Chicken steams on top of rice, fragrantly scented with allspice, ginger, and garlie.

Steamed Chicken with Fragrant Rice

Stir-fried Mustard Greens

Tropical Fruit Compote

Tea or Beer

The chicken and rice cook together; stirfry the mustard greens shortly before serving. For dessert, look in the Asian section of the supermarket or check Oriental markets for interesting canned tropical fruits. You might find white juicy spheres of lichees, rambutans, or longans; golden sections of jackfruit; or sweet orange-colored mango slices. Serve the fruit well chilled with some of its syrup; consider mixing two kinds for variety.

Steamed Chicken with Fragrant Rice

3 tablespoons salad oil

5 thin slices of fresh ginger, each about the size of a quarter

3 cloves garlic, crushed

5 whole allspice

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

3 cups regular-strength chicken broth

2 whole chicken breasts (each about 1 lb.), split, boned, and skinned Fresh cilantro sprigs (coriander) Garlic soy sauce (recipe follows)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine oil, ginger, garlic, allspice. Stir over low heat until garlic begins to soften. Add rice and stir until rice begins to turn light gold. Add broth and boil, uncovered, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Lay chicken in a single layer over rice. Cover and continue cooking over low heat, just until chicken is opaque when cut in thickest part, 12 to 15 minutes.

Lift chicken out and serve alongside rice. Garnish with cilantro. Serve garlic soy sauce to spoon over individual servings. Makes 4 servings.

Garlic soy sauce. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, combine 1 tablespoon salad oil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, and 4 cloves garlic, minced. Stir over low heat, just until garlic begins to turn light gold, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons each soy sauce and dry sherry, and 1 teaspoon each sugar and vinegar; stir to mix. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Stir-fried Mustard Greens

Wash and drain 3/4 pount mustard greens. Trim off and discard tough stems; cut remaining into 2-inch lengths. Place a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons salad oil and mustard greens. Stir-fry just until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Photo: Simple meal: big platter of artichokes and hard-cooked eggs to eat with caper mayonnaise, mustard vinaigrette, and tarragon cream; dessert is cheese and fruit

Photo: Cut wedges of crepe stack to serve for brunch or lunch
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Mar 1, 1984
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