Nabisco celebrates 100 years of rolling out...


Nabisco celebrates 100 years of rolling out cookies and 0) crackers

It may not surprise you to learn that the Nabisco company produces 256,000 cookies and crackers per minute, but did you know it's been producing some sort of baked item since 1792? That's when John Pearson, the company's oldest predecessor, established a bakery in Newburyport, Mass., to produce hard tack for sailors. To celebrate its 200th birthday, Nabisco is producing commemorative packages of its three most popular brands: Oreo cookies, Premium saltines and Honey Maid grahams.

Hey, St. Valentine, let's do lunch! Can't make it? Never mind, you can have it delivered -- in a special Valentine "Celebration Box" from Cuisine Catering of Baltimore. Each box includes gourmet chicken salad on a croissant, pasta salad, gourmet popcorn and a brandied chocolate truffle. Boxes are hand-delivered with a fresh flower and a "Mr. Heart" stuffed toy. Besides being a nice way to say Happy Valentine to a friend or colleague, the boxes are a way to help the homeless. Cuisine President Nick Sheridan says the firm will donate 1 percent of sales to Baltimore-based Action for the Homeless. Boxes cost $21 each, including tax and delivery; orders for Valentine boxes must be placed by Feb. 10.

Getting (cake) frosted elegantly

Feb. 8 is your last chance to catch chef Caterina Borg demonstrating elegant cake-decorating techniques at the Williams Sonoma store at Owings Mills Town Center. Ms. Borg, who is executive chef of Premier Pastries of Severna Park, will present decorative techniques with rolled fondant icing and European buttercream icing, plus royal icing trimmings, pastillage flowers and chocolate plastique roses. The demonstration will run from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the store. For more information call Premier Pastries at (410) 647-1188, or Williams Sonoma at (410) 356-2922.

Just because it's the middle of winter, you don't have to give up crab cakes, hon -- the Seafood Marketing Program of the Maryland Department of Agriculture is reminding everyone that pasteurized crab meat is in good supply and available all year. The pasteurizing process gives the crab meat a refrigerator shelf life of 6 to 12 months and the taste, the program says, is "virtually indistinguishable" from fresh. The Seafood Marketing Program offers the following recipe for a winter crab meat treat:

Spicy crab soup

Makes 8 servings

1 quart water

3 chicken parts (neck or wing)

3 pounds canned tomatoes

8 ounces frozen corn, thawed

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup potatoes, diced

3/4 cup celery, chopped

3/4 cup onion, diced

3/4 tablespoon seafood seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 pound crab meat, fresh or pasteurized, cartilage removed (regular or claw)

Place water and chicken in a 6-quart soup pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least one hour. Remove chicken parts and discard. Add vegetables and seasonings and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes or until vegetables are almost done. Add crab meat cover and simmer for 15 minutes more, or until hot. (For a milder soup, decrease seafood seasoning to 1-1 1/2 teaspoons.)

For more crab recipes, send a stamped, self-addressed, legal-size envelope to: Maryland Crab Recipes, Seafood Marketing Program, Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis 21401.

And, speaking of lunch, ever wonder what's on the menu when world leaders get together to discuss the weighty matters of the day? When folks gathered for a summit meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday take a break, they'll dine on cold lobster, loin of veal and Grand Marnier souffles, a U.N. source told Reuters. Petit fours and coffee will follow the meal, which is to be accompanied by red and white wines and champagne.

U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali will be host to the heads of state or government of the 15 council members and their foreign ministers in the main Delegates' Lounge beneath a huge tapestry of the Great Wall of China, Reuters reports.


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