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One man's mush is another's masterpiece.

LIKE THE ROMAN GOD Janus, cornmeal wears two faces. Served as mush, it's about as classy as a chrome-plated boat on a blue mirror coffee table. But serve it as polenta and you will get accolades.

Grits, lacking any detectable continental equivalent, remain just grits.

But grits are moving north and west and going upscale.

They can, like their cousin cornmeal, make a splendid foundation for all sorts of casseroles. Retired Colonel Sam Roberts sends us his formula for a cheddar- and jalapeno-enhanced preparation that just may bite back.

Hot Grits with

Jalapenos and Cheese

5 cups water 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1 to 2 canned jalapeno chilies, minced Salt 4 large eggs, beaten to blend Cayenne (optional)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heart, gradually stir water into grits. Stirring over high heart, bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

Add 3 cups cheese to grits and stir until cheese is smoothly melted. Add jalapenos and salt to taste.

Beat about 1/2 cup hot grits into eggs, then stir egg mixture into the remaining grits. Scrape mixture into a greased to 2- to 2 1/2-quart shallow casserole. Top with remaining cheese and dust very lightly with cayenne.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350[degrees] oven until mixture is set when lightly touched 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 234 cal.; 13 g protein; 14 g fat (8.5 g sat); 13 g carbo.; 274 mg sodium; 111 mg chol.

RUSSIAN CUISINE IS notable for its soups. Borscht--either with beets or with cabbage, and richly endowed with thick sour cream--is the most familiar. Schav, a green soup made with sorrel, is another Slavic (and Jewish) favorite.

Sorrel, however, is not easy to find, and spinach is. Bill Lilken re-created this remembered favorite from a Russian restaurant (no longer in existence) on San Francisco's Clement Street.

Russian Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 large (1/4 lb.) carrot chopped 1 large (1/2 lb.) onion, chopped 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 6 cups or 1 can (49 1/2 oz.) regular-strength chicken broth 2 dried bay leaves 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed Salt and Pepper Unflavored nonfat yogurt, or sour cream Chopped hard-cooked eggs (optional)

Melt butter in a 4- to 5- quart pan over medium heat; add carrot and onion and stir often until onion is limp, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour. Remove from heart and smoothly blend in broth, then add bay and nutmeg. Stirring, bring to a boil on high heat; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes to blend flavor.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, whirl spinach until smoothly pureed.

Remove bay leaves from soup and stir in spinach. Laddle into bowls, adding to taste salt, pepper, yogurt, and chopped egg. Makes 8 cups; allow 1 to 2 cups per serving.

Per 1 cup: 77 cal.; 4.5 g protein; 2.9 g fat (1.2 g sat); 9.2 g carbo.; 113 mg sodium; 3.9 mg chol.

COSTLIEST OF SPICES, saffron is not the sort of ingredient you pick up at your neighborhood convenience store. Indeed, markets that sell it may display it in a locked case. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. Tom Visel, king of the potluck chefs at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, uses a practical, therefore limited, amount to create a marinade and glaze for baked chicken.

Saffron and Honey


2/3 cup regular-strength chicken broth 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons honey 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads 1 teaspoon white Worcestershire 2 teaspoons curry powder 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon pepper 2 teaspoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons white rice flour blended with 4 tablespoons water 6 each chicken drumsticks and thighs (about 3 1/4 lb. total), skin and fat removed Chopped parsley

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, stir together broth, lime juice, honey, saffron, Worcestershire, curry, oregano, paprika, pepper, and soy. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in rice flour mixture; stir over high heat until boiling rapidly.

Rinse chicken and pat dry; arrange pieces in a 9-by 13- inch pan. Spoon sauce over chicken; cover pan with foil.

Bake in a 375 degrees oven until meat at thigh bone is no longer pink, about 35 minutes. Lift chicken onto plates; stir sauce to blend and spoon evenly over meat. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving; 225 cal.; 31 g protein; 6.1 g fat (1.5 g sat); 9.8 g carbo.; 259 mg sodium; 121 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.

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Title Annotation:recipes by well-known chefs
Author:Di Vecchio, Jerry Anne; Dunmire, Richard; Griffiths, Joan
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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