The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 14, 1997 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, May 14, 1997
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Page 13
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WEDNESDAY MAY 14, 1997 THE SALINA JOURNAL III MONEY/C3 NEWS / C4 CLASSIFIED / C6 c USING YOUR MICROWAVE Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and contain folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects By JOYCE ROSENCRANS Scripps Howard News Service ', CINCINNATI, Ohio — When "June is bustin' out all over," sometimes the local strawberry crop is a bust, too. Capricious spring weather sees to that. So without complete assurance of a strawberry crop by Memorial Day, most people settle for California strawberries because they're available practically year-round. Some Florida berries show up in February, but California ships the lion's share, starting into pre-spring volume by January. More than 80 percent of all strawberries grown in the United States come from the sunny coastal area of California. So far, the 1997 California strawberry crop is sizable. According to the California Strawberry Commission, nearly 14 million trays had been shipped by the week ending April 5. A tray of strawberries contains a dozen one-pint baskets. Peak period for the California crop is April through June because all five California growing areas are producing berries then. The California Strawberry Commission has made it clear that California berries are not linked to the hepatitis A scare, an outbreak associated with Mexican-grown frozen berries. According to the California Department of Health Services, the outbreak was traced to frozen strawberries grown in fields in Mexico last year and isolated to one specific processor in San Diego, Calif. This incident does not involve fresh strawberries from California fields. "Consumers may be getting the wrong message," says Dave Riggs, president of the California Strawberry Commission. Our farmers operate under the most stringent field sanitation standards . . . and California also has the most stringent enforcement mechanisms." ,,It would be a shame for consumers to stop eating fresh strawberries as high season begins, based on a mistaken notion that all strawberries are contaminated. Strawberries are not only a seasonal pleasure, but the red berries are always a worthy purchase for the sake of good health. Strawberries are practically super-fruit when it comes to vitamin C. One pound of strawberries contains 55 percent more vitamin C than one pound of oranges. And eight medium strawberries (only 50 calories) contain 20 percent of the daily recommended intake of folic acid, proven to prevent Breakfast for one begins with leftover pancakes Freeze homemade flapjacks in plastic bag; reheat in microwave Some of my favorite ways to use the microwave: • Homemade pancakes for one: On a weekend morning when you have a little more time than usual, bake a favorite pancake recipe. Freeze what you can't eat, this way: Put small pieces of wax paper between the pan- WOODENE MERRIMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazelle Scripps Howard News Service California strawberries crop up In produce sections this time of year. The California Strawberry Commission has made It clear that California berries are not linked to the hepatitis See BERRY, Page C2 A scare, an outbreak associated with Mexican-grown frozen berries. cakes, so they won't stick together, and put enough for one breakfast in a plastic bag. Seal so it's airtight. On a busy morning, take your pancakes out of the freezer, put a bit of butter in between each one (removing the wax paper, of course), top with your favorite syrup and zap one minute on high. Continue zapping at 30-second intervals until the pancakes and syrup are hot and the butter is melting. Do not overzap. • Frozen, cooked crab legs: Often now you can buy them at large supermarkets as well as fish stores. Put five or six in the microwave on a flat plate, uncovered, for about two minutes on high. (Time will depend on how many you zap at once, whether they are still frozen or have thawed, etc.) Preparation? Nothing but breaking the crab legs in half if they are too big. Cover the table with paper while they're zapping, put out a bowl of melted butter (which you have melted in the microwave, of course) and get ready for a cracking good feast. • One-pot cooking and storing: The glass measure, in various sizes, is something no smart mi- crowaver should be without. If you like stewed prunes, for example, stew them in a glass measure in the microwave. Cover the prunes with water and zap on high until water is boiling. Amount of time will depend on the quantity of prunes and water. You can cover the prunes with vented plastic wrap, or just put a microwave-safe saucer or plate on top. That's it. • Second time around for couscous, rice, etc.: Freeze leftover couscous or rice in a sturdy plastic bag with a recloseable top. Be sure to work out all the air before closing. Next time you need couscous or rice, open the top of the plastic bag, so it won't explode, and zap on high for 1 minute. Squeeze and knead the couscous, to mix it up, and zap again. Repeat until it is heated throughout. Spoon right onto dinner plates. This also works for spaghetti, noodles and other cooked pastas. Don't add water for the reheating, and don't remove the food from the plastic bag. This pilaf recipe is from "What Else Can I Do With My Microwave?" by Ruth Spear. If you have leftovers, remember the plastic bag trick. Rice pilaf 2 tablespoons butter 1 medium chopped onion 1 cup long-grain rice 1% cups chicken broth 1 tablespoon parsley In 2-quart microwave-safe casserole (or 8-cup glass measure), melt butter on high, about 30 seconds. Add chopped onion and cook, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes on high, until onion is tender, stirring once. Add rice, stirring to coat every grain. Add chicken broth and cook on high 4 to 6 minutes, or until liquid is boiling; reduce to medium and cook 7 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender. Add chopped parsley, fluff with 2 forks, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Serves 4. Woodene Merriman is the author of "Zap It Again,"featuring more than 400 ways to use your microwave. T NATIONAL ICE CARVING ASSOCIATION Icemen cometh at sculpture carving competition Demand for ice GSfcyings heats up cRJiVjng wedding season By tISA JENNINGS Scripps Howard News Service MEMPHIS, Tenn. — "You'd better know how to carve something to be a chef these days," said Garry Hooper, former chef at The Racquet Club in Memphis, Tenn. And he wasn't talking turkey. What Hooper carves these days is very cold, weighs about 300 pounds, and requires the use of chain saws. Ice. It's less expensive than marble, and perhaps more forgiving. When done right, an ice sculpture can look as dazzling as Waterford crystal — though it won't last as long. Sadly, the beauty of 4n ice sculpture depends hugely qn temperature and time. Hooper is one of a growing number of chefs who have been drawn V KITCHEN HINTS to ice carving — partly because of interest in the art form and partly as a way to build a resume. Last year, Memphis Country Club chef Joe Rimer organized the city's first chapter of the National Ice Carving Association (NICA). It's not the sort of group you'd think would crop up in a city where, in summer, you could not only fry an egg on the sidewalk, you could probably roast a pig. Still, as long as there is air-conditioning in Memphis, there can be ice carving. Members of the local NICA chapter meet regularly to learn from each other and improve their sculpting skills. In terms of demand, they say, ice carving is hot. Not only do the casinos want ice sculptures, and lots of them, they are ever popular at country clubs and catered events — especially now as the wedding season kicks off. For about $200, anyone can have an ice sculpture designed for their specific needs — from a company logo to, well, just about anything. Consider the results of the first NICA-sanctioned ice carving competition held in Memphis last February. The weather was overcast and temperatures were frigid with the smell of snow in the air: A perfect day, by ice carving standards. Working outside on wood pallets with generators rumbling nearby to supply electricity to their tools, the sculptors attacked 300-pound blocks of ice with chain saws, die grinders, chisels, gouges, blow torches, and even hot irons — yes, the kind you'd use to iron your shirt. In the individual division, carvers had two hours to complete their sculptures. In the team event, they had three hours. Snow piled up on their clothes as they shaved and chipped, drilled and welded. Their backs ached, their pants split and their fingers grew numb. When the six-minute warning was called, panic seemed to set in. Parts fell off, edges didn't match up, surfaces were not quite as Scripps Howard News Service Matt Simonds of Nashville, Tenn., prepares to attach a leg to one of his ice sculptures as he competes In the team division of a National Ice Carving Association competition in Memphis. smooth as they could be. Still, the results were magical. There was a glistening Adonis figure leaping into the wind, with muscles rippling ("Free Spirit"). There were two birds nestling in a giant bird cage. An alligator boogied to a Walkman ("Crocodile Rocks"). And a hoop-skirted maiden saved a baby carriage from rolling down a hill ("Saved by the Belle"). The competition was dominated by Nashville, Tenn., ice carver Matt Simonds, chef at the Crowne Plaza and owner of Specialty Ice Carving. Simonds went home with bronze and silver medals, and he placed first in both the individual and team competitions (the latter with partner Greg Butaski of Ohio). This was no surprise to anyone who saw Simonds's truck, which is decorated with pictures of a chain saw over the words "The Iceman." His license plate reads ICUTICE. You can't just carve any old block of ice. It has to be clear ice, which is frozen while a pump circulates the water to eliminate blemishes. The 40-by-20-by-10-inch blocks are best when left out to "temper" so they don't crack. Most ice carvers use templates — blown up drawings that are placed directly on the ice to mark an outline of the figure. Remove mushroom stems with melon bailer Dear Heloise: I would like to offer the following hint: When preparing mushroom caps for stuffed mushrooms, I use a melon bailer to remove the stems and hollow out the cap. This is much easier than using a paring knife. — Bernice Young, Burlington, N.J. ma Dear Heloise: I HELOISE wonder how many King Features cooks realize the * great savings to be had from buying fresh spices in bulk rather than dried spices in the brand-name jars on the grocery shelves. Today I cleaned out seven out- of-date spice jars and went to the grocery store to replace the spices. I had a choice of purchasing brand-name spices at a large supermarket, or buying them at another store that sells them in bulk. I compared shelf prices at the supermarket and the bulk supplier, and for the minimal effort of scooping out the spices from large plastic jars, pouring them into small plastic bags and placing a tie around the bag, I saved $21.74! The seven spices cost me a total of $3.99. If I had purchased them in the small, brand-name jars the total would have been $25.73. I cleaned out the old glass spice containers and poured the fresh spices into them. Since some of these are spices that I use infrequently, it was an added benefit that by purchasing them in bulk, I could buy a smaller amount that will get used up before it, too, is stale and out of date. — Barbara Halliday, Salem, Ore. Dear Barbara: Wow! That is a big savings for a little effort. Saving money easily can add some spice to your life! — Heloise Dear Heloise: To keep salads crisp longer, chill the serving bowl and salad plates. It makes them delicious. — Mildred Sherrer, Bay City, Texas Dear Heloise: Here is another little funny for you. Several years ago when our daughter was about 10 years old, I invited my boss to dinner. I had prepared almost everything the night before, so I called home and asked the boys to put the dinner in the oven and set the table. I asked my daughter to make a salad before I got home. As we were getting ready to sit down, my daughter proudly placed her salad on the table. It looked wonderful except she had gotten mixed up and made it with cabbage instead of lettuce. My wonderful boss stated that she never had such a special salad made in her honor and she proceeded to fill her salad plate. Debbie is now grown up but her brothers never let her forget about that salad. It comes up every time we have a family dinner with a guest present. We read arid enjoy your column every day. — Barbara Baker, Katy, Texas Send a money- or time-saving tips to Heloise, PO Box 795000, Sun Antonio TX 78279-5000 or fax it to 210-HELOISE. I'll use the best hints received in my column. Tips provided by SHERRIE MAHONEY • Extension Agent • Family and Consumer Sciences mm fruit rflhis nutritious shake takes only a few minutes to prepare for a eat-on-the-run breakfast. Combine these ingredients in an electric blender: 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, l k cup skim milk, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 cup sliced fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, peaches, pears or pineapple. Frozen, unsweetened fruit can slo be used. Cover and blend until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into large glasses and serve immediately. SUGGESTIONS? CALL SHERIDA WARNER, FOOD EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT 8 |news®sal|ournal.com

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