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Our chefs win at the Olympics, in the kitchen, and on the barbecue.

Our Chefs win at the Olympics, in the kitchen, and on the barbecue

Sometimes the noble cap worn by our Chefs of the West conceals Olympic laurels, hoped-for or real. Look into the lives of our quintet of Chefs this month and you'll find a discus thrower, a track coach, a distance runner, and two swimmers. As the Olympic flame burns over Los Angeles Coliseum once again (as it last did in 1932), they present Olympian fare for your consideration.

First, John Naber. Ah, you recognize the name! Winner of one silver and four gold medals at the 1976 Games in Montreal, he set Olympic records in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke. A volunteer member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC), he finds time to win applause in the kitchen. Garnishing his Five-ring Chicken are five lemon slices, in tribute to the interlocking rings of the Olympic symbol.

Naber's Five-ring Chicken

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon each pepper and paprika

4 whole chicken legs with thighs attached (about 2 1/2 lbs.)

3 tablespoons salad oil

2 large lemons

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon each chopped fresh thyme and basil leaves (or use 3/4 teaspoon each dry thyme leaves and dry basil)

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 medium-size (about 1/2 lb. total) zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices Chopped parsley

In a big, combine flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Rinse chicken legs, pat dry, then shake in the seasoned flour. Lift out, shaking off excess flour.

Heat oil in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken (avoid crowding) and cook until well browned on all sides. Discard excess fat.

Meanwhile, cut 5 thin center slices of lemon and set aside. Cut off and discard the peel and white membrane from the remaining lemons; thinly slice fruit, discarding seeds. Add peeled lemons, mush-rooms, thyme, basil, and wine to chicken. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Add zucchini; cover and cook until meat near thigh bone is no longer pink (cut to test) and zucchini is tender-crisp when pierced, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken and vegetables to a rimmed platter; pour pan juices over all. Arrange reserved lemon slices on top to resemble the Olympic symbol and sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

John Naber


Chef Al Oerter dominated discus competition in the 1956, '60, '64, and '68 Olympics --the only athlete to win four gold medals in four successive Games. Until a late-season injury this year, he was trying for one more round. He stays in shape with afternoon workouts, occasionally restoring his energy with oatmeal cookies about the size of a discus, though not nearly so heavy.

Oerter's Discus Cookies

3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

2/3 cup candy-coated plain chocolate candies or chocolate or butterscotch-flavored baking chips

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla; mix well. Stir together the flour, soda, and cinnamon; add to butter mixture and blend well. Stir in rolled oats and walnuts.

Line two 12-inch pizza pans or two 14-by 17-inch baking sheets with foil; grease the foil. Place half the batter on each pan and spread or pat into a 9- to 10-inch round. Sprinkle half the candies or chips evenly over the top of each round of dough.

Bake in a 350| oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on pan 10 minutes, then gently transfer foil holding each cooky to racks to cool. Peel off foil and present cookies whole; cut or break into pieces for 16 to 20 servings.

M Oerter

Los Angeles

In his college days at USC, Payton Jordan was an outstanding sprinter. He went on to coach teams at Stanford and the men's track team for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Still running, Jordan has won sprints in the senior masters division. Between meets, he tends his apple orchard. Jordan's chunky, cinnamon-laced applesauce wins him a Chefs hat.

Track and Field Appesauce

10 large (about 5 lbs.) apples, such as Gravenstein or Golden Delicious

2 cups water

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peel, core, and slice apples; you should have 14 cups. In a 6- to 8-quart kettle, combine apples, water, and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until apples begin to splatter, about 15 minutes; stir several times. Sprinkle cinnamon over apples. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until apples mash readily, about 30 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes. Taste halfway through cooking and add more sugar if desired.

Remove from heat. With a heavy spoon, break up and coarsely mash apples; sauce should be chunky. Return to heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve warm or cooled. To store, cover and refrigerate up to 1 week. Makes about 5 cups; allow about 1 cup for a serving.

Payton Jordan

Los Altos, Calif.

A graduate student at Brigham Young University and a promising prospect for this year's Olympic track team, Doug Padilla has been rated number one in the 5,000-meter run. Padilla's roommates also rate his lasagna number one.

Since time is of the essence for him, on the track as well as off, his recipe goes together quickly and heats in the microwave. We also give directions for heating it in a conventional oven.

Doug's Lasagna

1 pound ground lean beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 cans (15 oz. each) marinara sauce or tomato sauce

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons each chopped fresh oregano, basil, and rosemary leaves (or use 1 teaspoon each dry oregano leaves, dry basil, and dry rosemary leaves)

1 package (8 oz.) lasagna noodles

3 to 4 quarts boiling water

3 cups (12 oz.) shredded mozzarella, jack, or Cheddar cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat; crumble in the beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until onion is limp. Drain off and discard excess fat, then stir in marinara sauce, the 1/4 cup water, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Boil gently, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in the boiling water until tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

In a 7- by 11-inch glass baking dish or pan, arrange about 1/3 of the noodles in a single layer. Top noodles evenly with about 1/3 of the meat sauce. Distribute half the mozzarella and ricotta over sauce. Repeat layering with another 1/3 of the noodles and sauce, then evenly cover with remaining mozzarella and ricotta. Top with remaining noodles and sauce; sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese.

To heat in a microwave oven, cover dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on high (100 percent power) for 8 minutes; rotate dish 1/4 turn and microwave 8 minutes more or until hot throughout. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

To heat in a conventional oven, cover dish with foil and bake in a 350| oven until hot throughout, about 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes about 18 servings.

Doug Padilla

Provo, Utah

A standout swimmer at the 1967 Pan American and World Games and a member of the 1968 Olympic team, Andrew Strenk later attended the '72, '76, and '80 Olympics as a journalist. Strenk now works on the LAOOC staff as researcher and writer. When bachelor Chef Strenk invites friends over on the spur of the moment, he's likely to serve this quick stir-fry vegetable medley that goes well with grilled meats.

Olympic Vegetable Medley

2 to 4 tablespoons salad oil

1 medium-size onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 medium-size carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

About 6 green beans, ends snapped off, then cut into 1-inch lengths

1 small red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

2 or 3 small zucchini or crookneck squash (about 1/2 lb.), sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels

6 to 8 medium-size mushrooms (about 6 oz.), sliced

1 large tomato, cored and chopped

1 teaspoon each chopped fresh basil and oregano (or use 1/2 teaspoon each dry basil and dry oregano leaves)

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese Salt and pepper

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil; when hot, add the onion, garlic, and carrot; stir-fry 1 minute. Add the beans and stir-fry 1 1/2 minutes longer. Add remaining oil if needed, then add the pepper, zucchini, and corn and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, tomato, basil, and oregano; stir-fry another 1 1/2 minutes.

Sprinkle in the cheese; then remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand until cheese melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 4 servings.

Andrew Strenk

Los Angeles
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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Aug 1, 1984
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