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What's more American than apple pie? History tells us that rockahominie is.

What's more American than apple pie? History tells us that rockahominie is

What's more American than apple pie? History tells us that hominy is. The name is from the Algonquian Indian rockahominie, meaning parched corn. Corn itself (Indian corn, maize) certainly antedates the apple on this continent, as does hominy's preparation, which, far from simply parching the corn, boils it in a weak lye solution until the grains swell and soften and the hulls come off.

Hominy comes in two forms. Grits, the breakfast staple of the American South, is merely ground hominy. The whole-grain product is available canned. White and yellow hominy look different, but the average cook could not distinguish one from the other in a blindfold test.

The individual hominy grain looks like a tiny dumpling, has a texture between mealy and doughy, and tastes rather bland. The blandness makes it a good helper in casseroles and vegetable dishes. Ralph Walker uses it in a sort of stir-fry he calls Hominy Fry Delight.

Hominy Fry Delight

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 medium-size carrot, thinly sliced

1 medium-size red or green bell pepper (stem removed and seeded), cut into thin, short strips

1 medium-size zucchini (ends trimmed), thinly sliced

1 can (about 1 lb.) white or yellow hominy, drained

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

3 green onions (roots trimmed off), including tops, sliced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and place over high heat. When oil is hot, add the carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, hominy, and lemon pepper. Stir until vegetables are tender-crisp to bite, about 3 minutes. Stir in onion and Worcestershire; serve. Makes about 4 servings.

Liver is not universally admired, but those who like it do so with a passion. Skill in preparing liver--largely a matter of not overcooking it--is certainly one test of a cook. If you are looking for a new way to serve liver, try this recipe. If you are trying to convert a liver hater or induct a novice, the touch of a sophisticated cordial might be the bait you need.

Cordial Liver

1 pound calf's liver, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon salad oil

1/8 teaspoon grated lemon peel Pepper

1/4 cup herb-flavored cordial-and-brandy blend, such as B & B liqueur


Trim membrane from liver and discard. Rinse liver and pat dry. Cut each slice into 2-inch squares. Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Mix lemon peel with liver, then sprinkle meat lightly with pepper. Add liver to hot oil and cook for 30 seconds; turn liver pieces over and cook 30 seconds more. Pour in the cordial and cook, stirring, until liver is just pink in center (cut to test), about 1 more minute. Serve, spooning pan juices over liver. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Upside-down pizza sounds like something that could be created only in the zerogravity environment of a space capsule. Visualize an astronaut in a chef's cap plastering olives to the underside of a pizza crust with one hand, while the other holds the crust in place to keep it from floating onward.

Reality is more prosaic; the upside-down pizza is really more like a savory version of pineapple upside-down cake.

Jim Hardeman's recipe gives you all the pleasure of pizza (except a chewy crust), with far less effort.

Upside-down Pizza

1 pound mild or hot ltalian sausages

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 jar (15 1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 can (about 6 oz.) pitted black ripe olives, drained and sliced

1 package (6 oz.) sliced mozzarella cheese

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon salad oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Remove and discard sausage casings; crumble meat into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is limp and sausage well browned, about 10 minutes. Discard fat and stir in spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, and olives. Heat until bubbly, then pour into an ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking dish or pan. Evenly arrange mozzarella over top.

In a blender, whirl eggs, milk, oil, flour, and salt until smooth. Evenly pour over mozzarella, then sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake, uncovered, in a 400| oven until crust is puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cut into squares and serve at once. Makes 6 servings.

This rye bread, Swedish in origin, has hints of mystery suffusing a sturdy, forthright loaf. The hints arise from orange peel and anise seed, and they suggest the craving for sunlight that sends northern Europeans stampeding to the Mediterranean for their vacations.

But those flavors do not dominate; they just add a pleasant, subtle complication to the dark, dense, faintly sweet loaf.

Orange Rye Bread

1 1/4 cups water

1 package active dry yeast

1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

1 teaspoon anise seed

3 cups rye flour

1/2 cup (4 oz.) candied orange peel

1 cup milk

4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

Heat 1/4 cup water to lukewarm (110|) Pour into a cup or small bowl and sprinkle with yeast; let stand to soften, about 5 minutes.

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine 1/2 cup of the water, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt; bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, crush anise seed. Place in a large bowl with rye flour. Pour in sugar mixture and stir well; let cool.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, whirl orange peel, adding 1/2 cup water until peel is pureed. Add puree, yeast, and milk to rye mixture with 4 cups flour.

To mix with a dough hook, beat dough until it pulls from bowl sides and feels only slightly sticky when lightly touched; add a little more flour if needed. Remove hook; cover dough with plastic wrap.

To mix by hand, stir until flour is well moistened. Scrape dough onto a board lightly coated with flour; knead until smooth and satiny, 10 to 15 minutes. Add flour if dough sticks. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap.

Let dough rise in a warm place until about doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours. Punch dough down; knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air. Divide dough in thirds. Shape each into a loaf; place each in a greased 4 1/2- by 8 1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover loaves and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350| oven until bread is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn bread out of pans and let cool on racks. Slice warm or cool. If made ahead, freeze to store; thaw unwrapped. Makes 3 loaves.

Photo: "Upside-down pizza could be created only in the zero-gravity environment of a space capsule'
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1986
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