Put a twist into your meals with some of these fun and flavorful recipes.
Cooking On The Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Camp cooking is part of the fun of traveling in a motorhome, especially when creativity and improvisation enter the picture. Dining is more than just an exercise in nutrition. It’s part of the social life of the campground and a way to teach youngsters about camping and the outdoors.
Keeping that in mind, here are some easy ways to use the simple spiral as a way to turn everyday dishes into something more special.
Strawberry Spiral Shortcake
2 cups biscuit mix
1 tablespoon sugar
½ stick butter, melted
2/3 to 3/4 cup milk
10-ounce jar strawberry preserves, at room temperature
Sugar to taste
1 quart strawberries, trimmed and coarsely mashed
Whipped cream or topping (optional)
In a bowl, stir together the biscuit mix and 1 tablespoon sugar with a fork, gradually adding in the melted butter until well combined. Pour in the milk just until the dough stiffens. Do not overmix. Turn out the dough onto a floured cloth or paper towel, knead just to combine well, and roll or pat the dough into a rectangular shape. Carefully spread with preserves.
Roll up the dough rectangle and slice into eight spirals. Place the slices on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees until the pastry is puffy and browned.
In a bowl, sprinkle the sugar over the mashed berries and allow them to stand for approximately 30 minutes. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the spiral slices and top with whipped cream.
Puff Pastry Spiral Splurge
2 sheets puff pastry
3 to 4 4.25-ounce cans liver pate *
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
½ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured towel or paper towel and pat to seal the cracks where pastries were folded. Roll gently to make an even rectangle. Using two spoons, dot the pastry sheets with small bits of pate to cover as evenly as possible. Roll up each pastry and slice into ½-inch-thick pieces. Arrange the spirals on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees until golden.
In a microwavable bowl or a small saucepan, heat the cranberry sauce. Stir the dried cranberries and vinegar into the warm cranberry sauce and mix well. Cool to room temperature. Serve the spirals as an appetizer, either warm or at room temperature and drizzled with the cranberry mixture.
* Canned liver pate can be found in supermarkets or ordered online. You also can use 12 ounces (1½ cups) of homemade liver pate.
It doesn’t take long to shred carrots with a hand grater. Packaged grated carrots are too coarse for this recipe. The roll-ups are ideal for a cocktail snack or as a quick, cold breakfast. These spirals can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.
6 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
1 16-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple, very well drained
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
Lay out the tortillas and spread with peanut butter. (You won’t need the whole jar.) Spoon a thin layer of pineapple over top of the peanut butter and sprinkle with the grated carrot and coconut. Roll up tightly and wrap each one in plastic or waxed paper. Chill. To serve, cut into 1-inch-thick slices.
Alternate recipe: Substitute whipped cream cheese for the peanut butter.
Peachy Pecan Pork Pinwheel
4 pounds boneless, lean pork loin roast
1 15-ounce can sliced peaches in peach juice
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large garlic cloves
1 can or jar of pork or turkey gravy
1/4 cup applejack or other sweet, fruity liqueur
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Ask the butcher to slit the pork roast for stuffing. Spread it flat. Drain the peaches, saving the juice, and add a line of peach slices down the center of the meat. (You may not need the whole can.) Add the pecans, raisins, and a mixture of the sugar and cinnamon. Roll up the roast and tie it every few inches with kitchen string. Use a small, sharp knife to make slits in the outside of the roll at intervals and place a sliver of garlic in each. Put the roll seam-side down in a slow cooker. Whisk together the gravy and liqueur and pour over the roast. Cook for four to five hours on high or until the pork reaches 165 degrees. Remove the roast to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Leave the cooker on high. Stir the cornstarch into the peach juice and add to the pan juices to thicken them while the roast cools. Serve the pork with the pan juices and mashed potatoes or creamy polenta. This recipe makes six to eight servings.
Spin Control Lasagna
This isn’t your mother’s lasagna. Buy the salami at the deli counter so it’s sliced very thin. You’ll need to overlap it.
2 cups ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 wheat tortillas, burrito-size
I can or jar spaghetti sauce
16 thin slices cotto salami
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Whisk together the ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Put a tortilla on a flat surface and use the back of a spoon to spread with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Top with two slices of salami and spread with a portion of the ricotta mixture. Roll up and place seam-side down in a greased casserole. Repeat with all tortillas. Drizzle with spaghetti sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and bake at 350 degrees just until bubbly and golden.
- After making your favorite meatloaf recipe, press it out between two pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap to make a flat rectangle. Top the meatloaf with stuffing, grated cheese, pesto, or parboiled vegetables. Roll it up, place it in the loaf pan, and bake as usual. Cool for 10 minutes and then slice to make a pretty platter.
- Roll out pizza dough, add a layer of grated cheese, and roll up. Slice in pinwheels and arrange on a cookie sheet. Use your favorite toppings to make individual pizzas.
- There’s no reason to make a mess when rolling out dough or pastry. Sprinkle flour on paper towels, put the pastry on the paper towels, and use a rolling pin or round bottle.
- Buy both vanilla-flavored and chocolate-flavored cookie dough. Flatten each roll of dough with a rolling pin, and place one flavor on top of the other. Roll up the combined dough and cut into thin slices to make spiral cookies. You also can roll out vanilla dough and sprinkle it with finely chopped nuts, then roll it up and slice it in spirals.
- Roll out slices of fresh sandwich bread as thin as possible and spread them with lemon curd. Roll up and serve with whipped topping.
- Make pancake batter a little thinner than usual and spoon on the griddle in 6-inch circles. When the pancakes are finished cooking and still warm, spread with apple butter and roll up. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Put creme fraiche into a ketchup dispenser; shake well; and squeeze out a dollop into bowls of cream soup. Swirl with a spoon handle to create a spiral.
- Cut full-length, paper-thin slices from zucchini, yellow squash, or peeled eggplant. Roll the slices up around crescents of onion, green pepper, and/or red sweet pepper. Place into a steamer seam-side down and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Carefully remove with tongs. Serve as a side dish or with cheese sauce as a vegetarian main dish.
- Sushi is the ultimate spiral food, but its preparation is best learned from an expert. If you don’t make your own, buy some take-out sushi to add to a platter of spiral appetizers.
- Buy thin chicken breast cutlets and spread them with pesto. Roll up, fasten with toothpicks, brown, and braise until done. Slice in spirals and serve with white sauce or chicken gravy.
- Make snacks by topping a square of deli baked ham with a square of cheese. Roll up and slice.
- Buy marzipan in two colors; roll it out; and place one color on top of the other. Roll up and cut into thin spirals to decorate cakes or cookies.
- Make a jelly roll omelet. Whisk two eggs and cook in a six-inch skillet. As soon as the egg is set, spread with jam or jelly. Roll up and serve at once.
- Peel large carrots and, using the peeler, shave off thin, full-length strips. Curl them around your finger and place them in a bowl of ice water to chill overnight. They’ll stay curled. Serve as a snack or garnish.
Books For Cooks
Cowboy Food ($11.95, Infinity Publishing) by DD Little is fun to read and use, because it’s packed with authentic old-time recipes for chili and other classic Southwestern recipes that have been updated for today’s heart-smart diets. Mr. Little has participated in plenty of chili cook-offs, and he has sacrificed none of the kick of his famous recipes. The book can be ordered through online booksellers or by visiting www.cowboyfood.com.
Maple Sugar ($12.95, Storey Publishing) by Tim Herd is both a cookbook and a pleasurable read. The story of the magnificent maple, from sap to syrup, is told in this beautifully illustrated edition. If you try local maple syrup in the regions that you travel, or dote on maple festivals, this book is for you. It lists maple festivals throughout North America and gives recipes for maple classics, as well as offbeat recipes such as a divine way to make English peas with maple and pecans. The book provides information about how to make your own maple syrup and where to buy the special equipment needed.
Do you love nonstick cookware but worry about health hazards associated with man-made coatings? A new line of pots, pans, skillets, and casseroles called Xtrema from Ceramcor is pure ceramic. It’s naturally nonstick, so nothing leaches out, flakes away, or gasses off. I recently field-tested several of these pieces and here’s what I found.
Xtrema is as heavy as cast iron and under severe abuse would shatter like cast iron. Like cast-iron cookware, it’s heavy to handle and store. It’s slow to heat, but once hot, it stays hot. The nonstick surface is so durable it can be used with regular utensils and, like cast iron, it should be handled with oven gloves or mitts, because the handles get hot.
Unlike cast iron, it has a permanent nonstick surface, won’t rust, and is quite versatile. It can be placed on a burner, under the broiler, in the freezer and microwave oven, and also can be run through the dishwasher. Because it’s ceramic, it doesn’t react with acidic foods. For more information about this new cookware, visit www.ceramcor.com.