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'Gourmet Gents' warm to their task in the kitchen


More than 100 "Gourmet Gents" are warming up their !B saucepans in preparation for the third annual Gourmet Gents of Baltimore Taste Extravaganza next Sunday. Participants include Mayor Kurt Schmoke, chef Benny Gordon, Meldon Hollis, chair of the Urban League board, and Stuart O. Simms, Maryland secretary of juvenile justice. Dishes last year ranged from chicken salad to Louisiana-style gumbo.

The event, which begins at 2 p.m. at Martin's West, Beltway and Security Boulevard, is organized by the Baltimore chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and all proceeds benefit the advocacy group's community service programs.

Tickets are $25 per person. To order tickets or get more information, call the coalition office at (410) 669-4974.

Dinner, as if by magic

It's the philosopher's stone of the late 20th century: Instead of an element to turn lead instantly to gold, today people are seeking something that will turn groceries pretty quickly into dinner -- and let it also be nutritious and low-fat, if you please, Mr. Sorcerer.

Noted cookbook author Faye Levy comes pretty close to providing that precious element with her new book, "30 Low-Fat Meals in 30 Minutes" (Warner Books, $9.99 paperback). There are 100 recipes, arranged into menus, along with tips, alternatives and a "game plan" that should make preparation a snap.

Here's a sample recipe, from the menu for a spicy shrimp dinner, Southwest style, which also includes jicama and red pepper salad, chili potatoes with garlic and fruit for dessert.

Quick Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 14 1/2 -ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

1 pound large shrimp (30 to 35), shelled

3 tablespoons shredded fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute 1 minute over low hear. Stir in cumin, then tomatoes and 1/2 cup of their juice. Add salt, pepper, thyme and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes.

Add shrimp to sauce, stir and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat , stirring occasionally, about 3 or 4 minutes or until tender. To check, cut through a thick end of a shrimp; it should be white throughout. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve sprinkled with fresh basil; if using dried basil, stir it into sauce.

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