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Getting dinner on the table--lickety-splitWhat's for dinner...


Getting dinner on the table--lickety-split

What's for dinner tonight? If you don't know, you may need Michele Urvater's advice.

The author of "Monday to Friday Cookbook" (Workman Publishing, $22.95), Ms. Urvater is a corporate chef who has devised more than 300 recipes with hundreds of variations and dining strategies to help readers get a good dinner on the table after an exhausting day at work.

Inspired by her own hectic schedule as a professional chef, wife and working mother, she has put together a system for week-night cooking that includes a blueprint for efficient shopping, kitchen organization, stocking a pantry and quick recipes. Meet her between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Kitchen Bazaar in the Towson Town Center Plaza.

That shop also will feature Jennifer Lang, author of "Jennifer Lang Cooks for Kids" (Crown Publishing, $22.50), in a book signing and tasting of recipes from the book from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Towson Town Center Plaza store.

Her book features 153 recipes that promise to make mealtime fun, including contributions from acclaimed chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Bradley Odgen and Lydia Shire.

Ms. Lang, a mom and professional chef, is author of "Tastings" and editor of "Larousse Gastronomique."

Wine festival this weekend

If you're interested in learning about the current vintages in Maryland wine but don't want to break the bank, mark your calendar for this weekend at the Carroll County Farm Museum, )) 500 South Center St. in Westminster.

The $10 admission entitles each ticket holder to 10 1-ounce samples of the finest vintages from the wineries represented. You must be of legal drinking age; children accompanied by an adult will be admitted free. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free. No pets allowed.

The program includes:

*Wine Tasting Education Seminars, which will be repeate each hour on the half-hour, in which wine authorities explain the art of wine tasting. All attendees are required to take their own glasses.

*An amateur wine competition on Saturday only. All participants are required to produce and bottle their own wine. Wines will be judged on clarity, color, aroma, taste and conformation to type. Only table wines, no fortified wines, are eligible. Those interested in submitting a wine should contact the museum in advance for an entry form. For more information on the competition, call the museum office at (301) 848-7775 or 876-2667.

Prize-winning recipe

The recent Montgomery County Fair, renowned for its racing pigs, ducks and goats, is also a great place for cooks to be rewarded for their recipes.

Leanne Adams of Wheaton was the grand prize winner of the Kraft Mayonnaise Great State Salad Bowl contest for her Crabmeat Salad Fiesta featuring Maryland crab meat, mayonnaise, sour cream, celery and jalapeno peppers. She took home $500, a purple ribbon, salad bowl, tongs and apron.

"I think the spicy jalapeno peppers give it that extra little kick and helped set it apart from the other salads," she said.

Crabmeat Salad Fiesta

Makes 6 servings

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 pound crab meat, flaked

red leaf lettuce

Garnish: radish rose, green bell peppers, pitted ripe olives, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno pepper slices and green onions.

Mix all ingredients, except crab meat and lettuce until well blended.

Toss mayonnaise mixture and crab meat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve on lettuce-lined platter. Garnish with radish rose, green bell pepper slices, pitted ripe olives, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno pepper slices and green onions.

The Tidbits column welcomes interesting nuggets of food news -- new products, food-related news events, local cookbooks, great mail order finds, openings and closings of restaurants and food shops. Please send press releases to Tidbits, Attn.: Charlyne Varkonyi, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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