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eat your veggies


© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 6, 2001

spotlight on plant food
red cabbage

eating: Red cabbage, delicious though it is, has a stinky reputation. Malodorous sulphur compounds are released when this member of the cruciferous family is cooked too long. The solution is to eat it raw or cook until just tender. The less you cook it, the more it retains its ample vitamin C. Other widely eaten cabbages include green, Savoy and Napa.

buying: Look for heavy heads that have only a few loose outer layers. Outer leaves should have good color and be free of blemishes. The stem, where the head is cut from the plant, should not be dried or split. Avoid quartered or halved heads, even if they are tightly wrapped. When air hits the inner leaves, nutrients begin to break down.

preparing: Cabbage keeps well, up to 10 days, if refrigerated. Don't wash the head until ready to use. To clean, peel off loose outer layers, cut in half and remove the tough white core. Leaves that are to be stuffed should be cut gently from the core and peeled off.

cooking: It is best blanched and then sauteed, boiled in soups or stews or braised in a flavorful liquid. Vinegar pairs well with red cabbage's sweetness and also helps keep its purple color. Most stove-top preparations take 10 to 15 minutes.

quick fix: Red cabbage with sesame. Clean and core one head of red cabbage. Cut in quarters and slice thinly. Saute over high heat in 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for about 3 minutes. Use tongs to keep cabbage moving. Salt and pepper lightly while cooking. When cabbage has wilted but is still crunchy, drizzle with sesame oil. If desired, sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds before serving.

this Web site cooks

Forget Oscar, Emmy and Tony. What you really need to know is who won the cookbook awards. Named "Best Cookbook of the Year" by the International Association of Culinary Professionals was In the Sweet Kitchen (Random House, 2000), a book of recipes, techniques and ingredient information by pastry chef and author Regan Daley.

This site has a complete list of winners, information on the IACP, plus recipes in many categories.

constant comment

"Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

cooking lesson

A common mistake when baking is measuring incorrectly. Always measure dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar or cocoa, in cups that exactly match the measurement called for: 1 cup flour, for example, measured in a 1-cup measure, not in two 1/2-cup measures. Use a clear, graduated measuring cup for liquids.

Emeril overload?

Chef Emeril Lagasse does his star turn at his restaurants, on his TV shows and in his cookbooks. His cookware line is doing so well that new pieces, such as a whistling tea kettle, will hit stores soon. This fall, he'll play himself on an NBC sitcom about Himself. And now, the ultimate form of flattery. Bob's Carpet Mart, with several locations around the Tampa Bay area, is running TV commercials featuring an Emerilish guy in chef uniform among the rolls of Berber. You guessed it; he wants you to "kick your carpet up a notch."

open wide and say yuck

We checked out Cheetos' new "Mystery Colors X's and O's" and have one word for them. Gross. This new snack treat, which tastes the same as the original, is part of the trend toward coloring food that began last year with Heinz's green ketchup. These Cheetos turn the tongue blue after you munch them. Problem is, to see the color you have to open wide with a mouthful of food, hardly a pleasant experience for tablemates older than 12.

bottoms up

Korbel of California offers these tips to those of us (un)lucky enough to be giving a toast at a wedding:

  • Preparation is the key to feeling comfortable.
  • Write down thoughts ahead of time.
  • Always stand to deliver a toast.
  • Speak honestly and from the heart, but avoid past relationships and inside jokes.
  • Your good wishes should be no longer than two to three minutes.

Pardon me ...

Do you have any yellow Poupon? The tangy Grey lady is now marketing a version of yellow mustard. It's hard to believe the world needs another yellow mustard, but of course every company must find ways to expand its customer base. Grey Poupon Yellow should be in grocery stores this month. Suggested price is $2.89 for a 10-ounce squeeze bottle.">

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