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DISH: A weekly serving of food news and views

By JANET K. KEELER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 23, 2001


spotlight on plant food

carrots

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eating: There's a reason Mom pushed carrots on you every chance she got. One Bugs Bunny munchie contains 270 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. It's also a source of vitamin C and fiber. The carrot first sprouted in the Mideast 3,000 years ago. The natural sweetness of carrots is especially pronounced after cooking, and their rich flavor is favored in salads, soups, stews and casseroles.

buying: Carrots, available year-round, are usually sold unpeeled in bags. Sometimes they can be purchased loose with greens still attached. Miniature peeled carrots, introduced in the late '80s, have gained popularity, especially as snacks for children and in brown bag lunches. When buying carrots, peek through the bag and make sure they are not cracked, a sign of age. They should also be firm, not wiggly. Peeled carrots offer convenience, but they dry out more quickly than unpeeled ones. A bag of whole, unpeeled carrots will last in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Medium-size carrots, about six to a pound, are the best. Larger carrots often have tough, woody cores.

preparing: Trim the ends and remove the tough outer skin with a vegetable peeler, and they are ready to be prepared for a recipe or eaten raw. Cut on the diagonal for a pretty presentation.

cooking: Carrots can be boiled, braised, roasted or even sauteed if sliced thinly. Boiled, sliced carrots take about eight to 10 minutes, leaving a slight crunch. Roasting takes longer, about 45 minutes for a pound of carrots cut into 2-inch lengths and drizzled with olive oil.

quick fix: Curried carrot dip. Mix 1/3 cup finely grated carrots; 1 pint sour cream (regular or low-fat); 2 tablespoons apricot preserves; 1 tablespoon yellow mustard; 4 teaspoons curry powder; and dash of cayenne. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with raw vegetables or pita chips.

constant comment

"I was determined to know beans." -- Henry David Thoreau

this web site cooks

http://www.breadmachine.org

The Bread Machine Industry Association offers new recipes and creative ideas for using your bread machine on this site. Don't have a bread machine but want one? Look here for guidance on how to select one to best suit your needs.

cooking class

To stabilize the bowl so that you can whisk contents with gusto, fold a small, damp towel in the shape of a capital letter Q. Nestle the bowl snugly in the towel. The dampness gives traction to the bowl as well as the work surface. Whisk with one hand, and your other hand will be free to add ingredients.

a glass a day

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Ever wonder how TV superman Regis Philbin, 67, has enough energy to host both a five-day-a-week morning talk show and a four-night-a-week hit game show? Maybe it's the daily glass of soy milk he is tipping back during Live With Regis and Kelly. He says his fave is chocolate soy milk, rather than vanilla. Maybe he'll cut back on soy when Millionaire goes to twice a week in the fall.

portable pudding

First it was yogurt in flexible plastic tubes. Now it's pudding. Kozy Shack's Tube-a-licious portable chocolate pudding is kid-friendly and can be eaten refrigerated or frozen. Look for them at Sam's Club in a 24-count package for about $5.79. No word on whether the Shack's rice pudding will become portable any time soon.

kids and juice

Researchers from the University of Tennessee say they have found no connection between overweight children and the amount of juice they drink. Rather, they found, children who drink less juice tend to drink more soda. The researchers say parents should encourage children to quaff water, milk and 100 percent juices.

kitchen companion

book coverSharon Tyler Herbst has revised and updated her kitchen reference guide, The New Food Lover's Companion (Barron's, $14.95), considered by many to be the food bible. This 800-page paperback is chock-full of thousands of definitions and pronunciations of food, drink and culinary terms. This reference book is definitely a pantry staple for serious and beginning cooks.

Compiled by Janet K. Keeler, from staff and wire reports

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