Something fishy going on hereWhat's vegetarian, a...


Something fishy going on here

What's vegetarian, a native of Africa that now comes from Latin America, and weighs more than 20 million pounds?

Chances are you didn't guess tilapia, a mild-flavored, white-fleshed, freshwater fish that is widely farmed around the world and has been designated "fish to watch in the 1990s" by Simply Seafood, a national consumer seafood magazine. The American Tilapia Association, based in Nebraska, predicts Americans will consume more than 20 million pounds of tilapia this year -- up from less than 2 million pounds as recently as 1990. While tilapia is farmed in the United States, most of the U.S. supply currently comes from Ecuador and Costa Rico.

Eat well and do good at 'A Vintage Affair'

A bit of tasty food and good wine can do wonders for an evening -- especially if the occasion benefits a good cause. Voices for Children of Howard County is holding its second annual fund-raiser, "A Vintage Affair," from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at Oakland Manor, a restored 19th-century mansion at 5430 Vantage Point Road in Columbia.

About 10 area caterers will be providing hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Among caterers contributing are Wilkenson's of New Windsor, Golden Gourmet of Columbia, Rendez-vous of Catonsville, Hunan Manor of Columbia and Innovative Gourmet of Owings Mills. Wines will come from local, national and international wineries, including Chaddsford of Pennsylvania and Woodhall and Basignani of Maryland, coordinated by Dorsey's Search Wine & Spirits of Columbia.

There will also be music from the Columbia jazz group Thin Air.

Tickets to the event, which benefits the Howard County advocacy program for abused and neglected children, are $35. For tickets or information, call Voices for Children at (410) 740-0933.

If the very word "waffle" makes your mouth water, you're in for a treat if you pick up Dorie Greenspan's new book, "Waffles from Morning to Midnight" (William Morrow & Company, $15).

Yes, she does offer scrumptious recipes for "eye-opener" waffles -- creamy cottage-cheese waffles with peach-honey topping, and whole-grain sourdough waffles, to name two -- but then she goes on to present luscious-sounding waffle and waffle-iron treats for brunch and lunch, snacks and appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Curried waffle club sandwiches with chutney mayonnaise, pecan waffles with tuna-apple salad, waffle pizzas, cilantro waffle chips with chunky guacamole, apple-onion and Gruyere waffles with pickled onions, and chocolate-amaretto heartbreaks are just a few of the innovative and reasonably simple dishes Ms. Greenspan, a New York food writer and cookbook author, has gathered.

Here's a sample recipe that would work for breakfast or an elegant brunch.

Blueberry-yogurt waffles

Makes about 6 6 1/2 -inch waffles

4 tablespoon ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries (see note)

maple syrup for topping

Heat waffle iron. If you want to hold waffles until serving time, heat oven to 200 degrees.

Melt butter; reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In another bowl, vigorously whisk together the yogurt, milk, eggs and vanilla. Gradually pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, whisking until they are just combined. Fold in the blueberries and melted butter.

Lightly spray or butter the grids of your waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if waffles stick.

Spoon out 1/2 cup of batter (or the amount recommended by your waffler's manufacturer) onto the hot iron. Smooth the batter almost to the edge of the grids with a metal spatula or wooden spoon. Close the lid and bake until browned and crisp. Serve the waffles immediately, or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the heated oven while you make the rest of the batch.

To serve, place on warm plates and serve with gently warmed maple syrup.

Note: If fresh blueberries are not available, use unsweetened frozen berries -- do not thaw -- or unsweetened canned berries, drained and patted dry.

Fans of pineapple should know it's been introduced in a new, convenient form: cut in wedges and packed in an airtight 12- or 16-ounce pouch. The producer, Del Monte, says the pineapples are shipped within 24 hours of being picked in Hawaii. Del Monte suggests using the ready-cut chunks on grilled-chicken kebabs, topping pound cake with pineapple chunks and whipped cream. Suggested retail prices are just over $2 for the smaller pouch and just under $3 for the larger size. Del Monte Fresh Cut Pineapple is available nationwide; supply is based on grocer orders. For recipes and other information about the product, call the Del Monte Fresh Cut Pineapple Hotline at (800) 659-6500.

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