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When the Israelites dreamed of onions, where was chef David Ratko?

When the Israelites dreamed of onions, where was Chef David Ratko?

The hankering after onions is as old as Exodus: the Israelites, during their wanderings in the wilderness, found manna plenteous but not filling, and complained to Moses about the monotonous diet, pointing out especially the lack of onions and garlic, "whereof we did freely eat in Egypt.'

If the hankering should overcome you, you can either be a hero and chomp on a raw onion, exclaiming that it is as sweet as an apple, or you can take the civilized course and prepare David Ratko's recipe for barbecued onions.

With justifiable pride, Chef Ratko calls them the perfect accompaniment to any barbecue. He feels, again with justifiable pride, that they are at their best when made from the celebrated sweet onions that bear the name of his home town, Walla Walla.

But if Walla Wallas are not obtainable where you live, try Maui, Vidalia, Sweet Spanish, or other large, sweet onions grown for use fresh--not the very hard bulbs grown for long storage, which tend to have a stronger taste.

Onions Ratkovich

2 large mild sweet onions (about 4 1/2-in. diameter), such as Walla Walla, Maui, red, or white

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

1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Cut and stack two 18-inch squares of heavy-duty foil. Peel and cut onions into 1/2-inch slices and separate into rings; place on foil. Dot onions with butter and sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Tightly fold into a flattish, well-sealed packet.

Place packet on a barbecue grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of fully ignited charcoal briquets. Cook, turning packet frequently, until onions feel limp when pressed through foil, 35 to 40 minutes. Open packet and stir in the cheese. Serve directly from foil or pour into a serving dish. Makes 4 servings.

David C. Ratko

Walla Walla, Wash.

Lan Hay pursues cookery as a hobby because he believes--or professes to believe --that James Beard is the richest man in the world. Who are we to disabuse him of that notion? Let us rather rejoice in the correctness of his breakfast biscuits.

Ian's Breakfast Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 egg

About 3/4 cup milk

2 to 3 tablespoons apricot, peach, or berry jam


In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture forms fine curmbs. Beat egg to blend, then add enough milk to make 1 cup; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Drop batter in about 1 tablespoon mounds 2 inches apart onto an ungreased 11- by 14-inch baking sheet. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon jam onto the center of each mound, then top with about 1/2 tablespoon more batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in a 375| oven until biscuits are golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 biscuits.

I an Hay


In this group of Chefs, Jonathan Kondo won our hearts, or at least our midriffs, with his quesadillas.

With their allusions to tacos, tostadas, and enchiladas suizas, they are an abstract and brief chronicle of Cal-Mex or Tex-Mex cookery.

Meat Quesadillas Kondo

1 pound ground lean beef

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

1 can (2 1/4 oz.) sliced ripe olives, drained

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and dry oregano leaves

3 tablespoons tomato-based chili sauce

2 cups (8 oz.) each jack and Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 package (6 oz.) frozen avocado dip, thawed

1 cup (1/2 pt.) sour cream

8 large (10-in. size) flour tortillas

About 4 tablespoons butter or margarine

Prepared red or green taco sauce

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, add beef and stir often until brown and crumbly. Mix in green chilies, sliced olives, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and chili sauce.

Bring to simmering, then reduce heat and cook, stirring, until juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Pour meat into a bowl and wipe pan dry.

Meanwhile, combine jack and Cheddar cheeses; set aside. Also stir together the avocado dip and sour cream; set aside or cover and chill.

Spoon about 1/8 of the meat mixture and 1/8 of the cheese onto each tortilla; fold tortillas in half. Melt about 1 tablespoon of the butter in the same frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 or 2 folded tortillas at a time, without crowding, and cook until golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes total.

Lift from pan and serve, or keep warm. Repeat to cook remaining quesadillas, adding butter as needed. Offer sour cream mixture and taco sauce to top each quesadilla. Makes 8 servings.

Jonathan H Kondo

Westlake Village, Calif.

Ryan Schmid's rococo brownies raise this baisc Boy Scout fare to new heights. He brings sweets to the sweet when he frosts them with a marshmallow glaze and a seeding of chocolate chips. (Follow with a thorough brushing of teeth.)

Rocky Road Brownies

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 can (16 oz.) chocolate syrup

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 package (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate baking chips

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then mix in the eggs and syrup until blended. Stir in the flour, nuts, and vanilla. Spoon batter into a greased 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350| oven until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately cover the top with the marshmallows. Return to oven for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the chocolate baking chips evenly over the top and return to oven until chips are glossy, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from oven. With a knife or small spatual, lightly spread chocolate over marshmallows. Let cool thoroughly in pan on a rack.

Cut brownies into 1 1/2-inch squares. Serve, or wrap airtight and store at room temperature up to 2 days. Makes 4 dozen.

Ryan Schmid

Menlo Park, Calif.

In this youth-oriented culture, the one thing that youth won't get you is experience. Yet here we have a recipe from a junior Chef who has found a workable substitute for that quality: imagination.

Young Paul Krause demonstrated just that quality during a nutrition class in his Oakland school. One assignment was to devise a dish that is not only nutritious, but delicious and attractive as well. (His teacher deserves a commendation for demanding a recipe rather than an essay or book report.) Here is his highly original creation, which lends itself to either appetizers or a main dish.

Samurai Sushi

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup (about 1/4 lb.) minced cooked ham or Chinese barbecued pork (char siu)

2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup minced celery

1/3 cup each thinly sliced green onion and shredded carrot

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons salad oil

6 fried soy bean puffs (3 oz. total), each about 2 by 5 inches

Soy sauce or hot chili oil

In a large bowl, combine rice, ham, peas, celery, green onion, carrot, and sugar. Beat eggs to blend with the 2 tablespoons soy and the sesame oil. Add liquid to rice mixture and mix thoroughly.

Place a wok or 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat. Add salad oil; when hot, add rice mixture and stir-fry until hot, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Cut ends from each soy bean puff. Insert your fingers and press centers to make puffs hollow. Pack cooked mixture firmly into puffs. Cover and chill until very cold, at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.

To serve, cut each puff crosswise into thirds. Offer additional soy sauce or chili oil for dipping. Serves 8 or 9 as an appetizer, 6 as an entree.

Paul Krause

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Oct 1, 1984
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