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Mexico and the Middle East come together for Bulgur Mexicana.

Once considered odd if not actually subversive, a vegetarian diet has a multitude of nuances and an ever-widening group of followers who have found many vegetable dishes to be quite appealing-even without the intrusion of moral issues. Certainly the success of an increasing number of vegetarian restaurants shows that people will not only eat but even buy vegetable-based meals. For his vegetarian tostadas, Michael McCarroll beautifully blends Middle Eastern bulgur with the techniques and ingredients of Mexico, home of one of the world's great vegetable-focused cuisines.
Bulgur Mexicana
 2 tablespoons salad oil
 1 large (about. 1/2 lb.) onion, chopped
3/4 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
 2 cans (10 oz. each) enchilada sauce
 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) Mexican-style
 stewed tomatoes
 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped
 Swiss chard or spinach
 2 fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed,
 seeded, and finely chopped
 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
 1 can (8 oz.) kidney beans, drained
 6 flour tortillas (about 8 in. wide)
 Fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs
 Purchased salsa
 Unflavored yogurt

Pour oil into a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat; add onion and bulgur. Stir often until onion is limp, about 10 minutes. Mix in enchilada sauce, tomatoes, wheat germ, Swiss chard, chilies, oregano, and beans. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes; stir several times to break up chard. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 350[deg.] oven until hot, about 15 minutes. Or, to heat in a microwave oven, wrap tortillas in paper towels and loosely enclose in plastic wrap; warm on full power (100 percent) until hot to touch, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour bulgur mixture into a bowl and garnish with cilantro sprigs. To each portion, add salsa and yogurt to taste. Accompany with warm tortillas. Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 362 cal.; 13 g protein; 6.9 g fat,, 65 g carbo.; 1, 516 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Los Altos, Calif. Not so long ago, cheesecake was a relatively simple and predictable dessert. It was made either with cottage cheese (the spartan version) or cream cheese (the sybaritic version). Its flavor was usually lemon or vanilla, and it was enrobed in virginal white sour cream. But then-as must happen to all desserts-elegant variation came forth. Leonard Cohen from Avila Beach, California, sends us a truly nouvelle cheesecake-Toffee Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce. The filling is conventional, but the creamy caramel sauce contributes a flavor that only empty calories can confer. What makes it nouvelle? The "gravy" is under the "meat," as in the very best restaurants.
Leonard's Caramel Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown
1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) melted butter or
2 large packages (8 oz. each) cream
1 1/4 teaspoons each lemon juice and
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs

Caramel sauce (recipe follows) In a 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim, mix together graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and butter until well blended. Press crumb mixture over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of pan. Chill until ready to use. With a mixer or in a food processor, smoothly blend cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla, and granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating mixture well after each. Pour cheese mixture into prepared crust. Bake in a 350[deg.] oven until cake jiggles only slightly in the center when gently shaken, about 45 minutes. Let cool; if made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. Ladle warm caramel sauce equally onto 12 dessert plates; cut cheesecake into 12 wedges and set a piece on each plate. Makes 12 servings. Per serving: 456 cal.; 5.6 g protein; 29 g fat; 45 g carbo.; 274 mg sodium; 138 mg chol. Caramel sauce. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, melt 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine. Add1 1/4 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; stir until sugar is melted and amber-colored, about 4 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and slowly pour in 1 cup whipping cream, stirring constantly. Keep warm or, if made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days; reheat, stirring. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

Avila Beach, Calif. Every gardener knows that good drainage is essential to the health of most crops. Cranberries are one exception to the rule. These rhododendron relatives thrive in soils too acidic for most plants. They perform best with a water table a few inches below the soil surface, and are flooded periodically to control pests and weeds, to protect plants from frost, and to aid in harvest. Because the plants are only a few inches tall, many berries would be lost beneath the vines if they couldn't be skimmed from the water surface after being shaken loose by a rake or harvesting machine. Although once associated only with Thanksgiving and Christmas, cranberries freeze well and can be had over a fairly long season-check the freezer case in your market. No one willingly eats the berries raw, but their acidity and rich color bring zest to salads, sauces, quick breads, and desserts. Eric Lie comes from cranberry country in Washington. He likes his cranberry sauce spicy, and adds cinnamon, cloves, allspice, orange juice, and (surprise!) cider vinegar to the berries.
Spicy Cranberry Sauce
 1 bag (1 2 oz., or 3 cups) fresh
 frozen cranberries
 1/2 cup cider vinegar
 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
 1/2 cup orange juice
 2 cups sugar
 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Pick out and discard any bruised or spoiled cranberries; rinse and drain the remainder. Place fruit in a 4- to 5-quart pan and stir in the vinegar, orange peel, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Bring mixture to a boil on high heat; reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring often, until reduced to about 3 1/2 cups, 30 to 45 minutes. As sauce thickens, reduce heat and stir more frequently to prevent sticking. Spoon cranberry sauce into jars or plastic freezer containers (about 1-cup size), let cool, then cover and chill for up to 3 weeks or freeze for longer storage. Makes about 3 1/2 cups. Per tablespoon: 32 cal.; 0 g protein; 0 g fat;,8.3 g carbo.; 0.2 mg sodium; 0 mg chol. Edmonds, Wash.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Chefs of the West; recipes
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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