Serves 4 to 6
4 to 5 cups coarsely grated unripe papaya
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small chilies, chopped
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
pepper to taste
lettuce and cabbage leaves
tomato slices and tomatoes carved into rose shapes to be used as a garnish
Mix the grated papaya with the garlic, chilies, fish sauce, lemon juice and peanuts. Season with pepper. Serve on a bed of lettuce and cabbage leaves. Garnish with tomatoes.
--"Discover Thai Cooking," by Pierre Chaslin and Piyatep Canungmai (Times Editions, 1987, $18)
Makes 28 rolls; serves 14
3 pounds lean ground chuck
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons celery salt
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup crushed unsalted crackers
2 heads (2-pound size) green cabbage
6 quarts boiling water
3 cups chopped onion
2 bottles (12-ounce size) chili sauce, 2 cups
1 cup grape jelly
In a large bowl, combine chuck, salt, pepper, celery salt, ketchup, eggs and crushed crackers. Mix with hands just until mixture is well-combined. Cut out and discard hard center cores of cabbages.
Place cabbages in large kettle. Pour boiling water over; let stand until leaves are flexible and can be removed easily from the head, about 5 minutes. (If necessary, return cabbages to hot water to soften inner leaves.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a 1/4 -cup measure, scoop up a scant 1/4 -cup meat mixture. With hands, form into rolls, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, making about 28 rolls in all. Place each meat roll on a drained cabbage leaf. Fold top of leaf over meat, then fold sides and roll up into an oblong. Continue rolling remaining meat rolls and cabbage leaves.
In the bottom of a lightly greased 12-inch-by-11 1/2 -inch- by-2 1/2 -inch roasting pan, spread chopped onion evenly. Arrange cabbage rolls in neat rows on top of onion. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the 2 cups of chili sauce and the grape jelly with 1/4 cup water; heat over medium heat and stir to melt jelly.
Pour over cabbage rolls. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake 2 hours. Remove foil; brush rolls with sauce; bake, uncovered, 40 minutes longer or until sauce is thick and syrupy and cabbage rolls are glazed. Serve with sauce spooned over rolls.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a big production, culminating in some serious oven time. Make it for a big family get-together or even as a buffet item. I think it doesn't need the full 40 minutes at the end. I would recommend more like 20 minutes.
"The more you move around the little cabbage bundles, the likelier you are to tear the delicate cabbage, so leave them be on the bed of onions until you are ready to plate them. The sauce is sweet and tomatoey (a little like the sauce on the classic Swedish meatball recipe) and appeals to young and old alike. Try to use very lean ground chuck to avoid making the sauce overly fatty."
Roast Pork Tenderloin With Fennel
Makes 4 main-dish servings
Total preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
2 medium bulbs fennel (about 1 pound each), trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2 -inch-thick slices, leaving core intact
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 whole pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
herb sprigs for garnish
Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
In 15 1/2 -inch-by-10 1/2 -inch jellyroll pan, toss fresh fennel with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Push fennel to sides of pan.
Place pork in center of pan with fennel. In small bowl, stir sugar, fennel seeds and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Rub fennel-seed mixture all over pork.
Roast pork and fennel, stirring fennel occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork reaches 155 degrees.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir parsley and lemon peel.
Transfer pork to cutting board; cut into slices. Place sliced pork on large platter; sprinkle with half of parsley mixture. Toss fennel with remaining parsley mixture and arrange around pork. Garnish with herb sprigs.
Per serving: about 260 calories; 26 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrate; 11 grams total fat (2 grams saturated); 5 grams fiber; 71 milligrams cholesterol; 580 milligrams sodium
Hometown Girl Chocolate Ice-Cream Soda
Makes 1 serving
1 tablespoon vanilla ice cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
carbonated water to taste
generous scoop of vanilla ice cream
Mix 1 tablespoon ice cream into chocolate syrup. Add carbonated water to taste (see note). Balance the scoop of vanilla ice cream on the lip of the glass.
Variation: To make a Hometown Girl Chocolate Egg-Cream Soda, omit the final scoop of ice cream.
Note: Soda fountains, at least the old-style ones, have two strengths of carbonation and can create a frothier drink than is possible from bottled carbonated water.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Serves 4 to 6
2 slices white sandwich bread (crusts discarded) torn into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons of whole milk
1 pound ground meat (preferably 3/4 pound ground chuck and 1/4 pound ground pork)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper
about 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil for pan-frying
SMOOTH TOMATO SAUCE:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
salt and ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the meatballs: Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl and let stand, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.
Place meat, cheese, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Add bread-milk mixture and combine until evenly mixed. Shape 3 tablespoons of mixture into 1 1/2 -inch-round meatballs. (When forming meatballs, use a light touch. If you compact the meatballs too much, they can become dense and hard.) You should be able to form about 14 balls.
Pour vegetable oil into 10- or 11-inch saute pan to depth of 1/4 inch. Turn flame to medium-high. After several minutes, test oil with edge of meatball. When oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Regulate heat as needed to keep oil sizzling, but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in large pot for the pasta.
For the sauce: Meanwhile, discard oil in pan but leave behind any browned bits. Add olive oil for tomato sauce along with garlic and saute over medium heat, scraping up browned bits, just until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, bring to boil and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and simmer, turning them occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Keep warm over low flame.
Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, drain and return to pot. Ladle several large spoonfuls of sauce (without meatballs) over spaghetti and toss until noodles are well coated. Divide pasta among individual bowls and top each with a little more tomato sauce and 2 or 3 meatballs. Serve immediately with grated cheese passed separately.
Rhubarb Sorbet With a Bite
Makes 4 generous servings
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound fresh or frozen rhubarb in 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Combine sugar, water and lemon juice; warm over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and add rhubarb. Simmer until rhubarb is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir in jalapenos and corn syrup.
Refrigerate until cold, then use ice-cream maker and finish according to manufacturer's instructions. You may also place mixture in a flat pan or freezer tray and freeze.
As mixture begins to freeze solid, be sure to stir or use mixer to break up the ice crystals periodically. With either method, take sorbet out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving to make serving easier.--The Rhubarb Gourmet