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© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001


explanations from the inside out


It's nearly impossible to get through a show on the Food Network without hearing someone talk about chipotles. A search on the network's Web site ( turns up 150 recipes that call for them. Chipotle corn bread, chipotle mayonnaise, chipotle barbecue sauce and chipotle salsa are just some of the recipes.

Technically, the Spanish word chipotle (chee-POHT-lay) can mean any smoked chili, but in the United States it is mainly used to refer to a smoked, dried jalapeno, according to Cook's Illustrated. (Chipotle is a Spanish abstraction of the Aztec word chilpotle, chil meaning hot pepper and potle meaning smoked.) Chipotles have wrinkly brown skin and a smokey, sweet, almost chocolate flavor. They are medium hot, about 5,000 to 15,000 Scoville units, the measurement used to gauge the heat of peppers. (A green bell pepper would be 0 and a habanero about 300,000.) A chipotle is hotter than a fresh jalapeno.

Most chipotles are smoked over hardwoods such as hickory, oak and pecan. The wood adds dimension to the flavor of chipotles.

Chipotles are sold either dried (by the pound or already packaged) or canned in tangy adobo sauce, made with oil, tomato and herbs. The sauce reconstitutes the dried chilies, making them easy to mince. Chipotles, in adobo or dried, are available in Mexican markets, such as Mexico Lindo in Pinellas Park and Clearwater, and sometimes in the Mexican foods section of grocery stores.

this web site cooks

Do you remember the apron your mother wore? How good her meatloaf tasted? How bad? What have you brought to your kitchen from hers? These memories and more are gathered here by sons and daughters who have written essays about Mom and her cooking. The sweet stories are accompanied by lots of recipes, most of them from Italian and German kitchens. There is no charge to register and submit a story about your mother. It's likely a fee will be initiated as the site gets more popular. It's free to look, though, and remember the tastes and smells in Mama's kitchen.

constant comment

"More people will die from hit-or-miss eating than from hit-and-run driving."

-- Duncan Hines, cookbook author and inspiration for cake mixes.

cooking class

Breaking up blue cheeses by hand -- such as Roquefort for sprinkling over salads -- can be a gooey mess. To avoid this, chill the cheese in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until firm. This makes it easier to break it into fine-grained pieces without mangling the cheese.

tea for 2-billion

According to the Tea Council of the U.S.A., Americans consume more than 2.2-billion gallons of tea a year, and 80 percent of that is iced. To make delicious tea from scratch, start with cold water and 1 teaspoon of tea (or 1 bag) for each cup. Heat water to a full boil, pour it over the tea and brew for 3 to 5 minutes. For iced tea, use 50 percent more leaves to compensate for melting ice.

that's a lot of dough

Nothing about pizza has been the same since California Pizza Kitchen opened its first eatery in Beverly Hills in 1985. At least that's what owners Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield say inThe California Pizza Kitchen Cookbook (Macmillan, 1996). Now Tampa Bay area folks can taste signature delights such as Thai chicken, tandoori and BLT pizzas when Pizza Kitchen opens at the International Plaza in Tampa. On Friday, a whopping 100 percent of all pizza sales will be donated to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Mama mia!

isn't that . . . ?

French's Taste Toppers might look like a new item on the store shelves, but they are actually the same fried onions that add crunch to the queen of all potluck dishes: green bean casserole. French's wants to widen the appeal of the fried onions and suggests they be added to meatloaf, tacos, hamburgers, salads and baked and mashed potatoes. We suggest eating them right out of the can; they are addictive.

a different plate

The American Institute of Cancer Research is on a mission to get us to eat less meat. Its "New American Plate" campaign suggests that meat should only take up a third, or less, of the space on our plates. The other two-thirds should be vegetables and grains. Vegetables are especially important because they have many elements known to help prevent and fight cancer. To get a free booklet with recipes, call toll-free 1-800-843-8114 or go online at

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