Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet

Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet

Article excerpt

As chef for Soiree Catering in Santa Ana, California, Leslee Mendel Coy constantly invents new recipes. She first developed this double-duty dish for a cooking contest. Although it didn't capture first prize, it's a winner with her clients. Start with a spicy base of black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, and avocado. Scoop it up with tortilla chips for an appetizer, or add cabbage and it becomes a coleslaw.

Cowboy Caviar

Leslee Mendel Coy Lake Forest, California

Prep and cook time: About 30 minutes

Makes: 10 to 12 appetizer or 6 salad servings

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 firm-ripe avocado (about 10 oz.) 1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas 1 can (11 oz.) corn kernels 2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped Salt 1 bag (6 oz.) tortilla chips or 2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1. In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Peel, pit, and cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.

2. Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes to avocado; mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste. Serve pea mixture with chips as an appetizer, or add cabbage and mix to make a salad.

Per appetizer serving: 159 cal., 42% (66 cal.) from fat; 3.9 g protein; 7.3 g fat (1.3 g sat.); 22 g carbo (2 g fiber); 272 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Thai Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster Glendale, Arizona

When Rachel Foster lived in downtown Phoenix, she regularly ordered Thai curry at a favorite restaurant. One day the clerk at the small market next door gave her a recipe for the curry. Foster put the recipe to use when she moved out of town. She still gets a weekly dose of her favorite Thai dish, but she cooks it herself.

Prep and cook time: About 20 minutes

Makes; 2 or 3 servings

1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (10 to 12 oz. total)

1 tablespoon salad oil

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared Thai red curry paste (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne)

1 can (14 oz.) reduced-fat coconut milk

I teaspoon sugar

1 can (8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained

Fish sauce or salt

1. Slice beans diagonally into 1 1/2-inch lengths. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Place a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add oil and beans; stir-fry 2 minutes.

2. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add curry paste, coconut milk, and sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir until curry paste is well blended. Add bamboo shoots; continue cooking until hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Add fish sauce to taste.

Per serving: 325 cal., 30% (99 cal.) from fat; 24 g protein; 11 g fat (5.6 g sat.); 18 g carbo (3 g fiber); 124 mg sodium; 55 mg chol.

Fresh Peas and Pasta

Bill Hunt Burlingame, California

"My wife was repelled by overcooked vegetables as a child and now refuses to eat them. But she can be seduced into eating them raw on occasion," writes Bill Hunt. When fresh peas came into the market, he made this salad for the two of them. Her opinion? "Not bad" - a high compliment in her vocabulary, says Hunt.

Prep and cook time: About 25 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

1/2 cup dried tiny pasta shells 1 pound fresh English peas, shelled 3 tablespoons reduced-fat or regular mayonnaise 3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion 2 to 3 teaspoons horseradish 1 clove garlic, minced Salt and pepper 2 large butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped

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