AN EMBARASSMENT OF RICHES, SUMMER TIME PRODUCE

The RX for "FRIDGE-TOO-FULL" GUILT

Embarassed by a garden or orchard making you knee-deep in food that you can't use in this quantity. The answer? FOOD DESPERATION CAN BE RESOLVED BY FOOD PREPARATION.  Your most frequent garden produce offenders are citrus, tomatoes, zucchini and chiles. USE them up in spectacular, SUMMER TIME MEALS, when the LIVING IS EASY and you don't want to stay in a hot kitchen for very long. These easy making VEGE ENTREES are WORTHY OF TRYING, and guaranteed to use up the produce.

QUESTION: Help, I'm having a citrus meltdown. Trees are inundating us.. OUR TREES ARE FULL OF LEMONS, and OUR NEIGHBORS' trees TOO! I leave bushels of the little yellow suckers out by the curb! What do I do? Sign me "SOUR ON LEMONS", in San Fernando Valley. OF ALL THE MANY, tasty LEMON BASED DISHES, my favorite is:

LEMON MERINGUE LING COD SHEPHERD'S PIE- This dish can be done in a baking dish or as beguiling, little individual pies. All shepherd pies use mashed potatoes as piecrust. Top, bottom. To make this easy, quarter the spuds, 1 per person, simmer (then remove water, simmer a bit more til dry, mash with jackets on, add cream, butter, season). Bake lingcod or other terrific thick, but delicately flavored fish, halibut is second best if fresh, IN FOIL. Bass is third. Swordfish is great too.
Take the fish liquid out of the foil after l0 minutes and make it into a gravy by adding a cornstarch, flour and cream roux, stir that in to the fish broth. It instantly becomes thick like hollandaise. Add honey, curry powder, grated onions, cilantro, raisins, and all the lemon rind and lemon juice. You get a yellow, thick savory gravy with a unique tang and immense flavor. Quick, Lay fillets in the potato piecrust, cover with the yellow gravy--- a real thick layer. More spuds, dotted with butter, cream, broil 1 min. Serve wi cilantro.

 LETTER FROM ANOTHER CITRUS COMPROMISED LADY in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

"HELP, ALL THE ORANGE TREES in CALIFORNIA HANG KNEE DEEP IN FRUIT! HOW EMBARASSING. People starving in Ethiopia and we're letting the crows eat excess oranges! Our friends don't want my crop. Their trees did the same to them!"

 ANSWER: No problem. Lose the red face and GAIN some red punch in the bargain. Get in the habit of making a huge pitcher of SANGRIA every morning and leaving it on ice. With hearty summer meals, this is an ace beverage for the lunch, dinner and supper table. Why let those slob kids crack costly pop cans all day? No more non-nutritive sodas to be found! None at all, so everyone's forced to drink this posh but thrifty WINE FLAVORED VITAMIN RICH, bioflavenoid - rich, stroke preventing CITRUS!

 RECIPE FOR SANGRIA - In Winter I confess I use lemonade mix, but in SUMMER I have sweet and sour lemons, grapefruit, orange trees and (by autumn, pomegranates), so I use a pom/citrus mix (lemon, lime, orange juice). I abrade the rind and drop rinds into pitcher too as they have the stroke-preventing bioflavenoids! Add ice cubes, water, squashed peppermint leaves, rose petals and sugar, THEN Take a few sloshes of any red wine at bottom of fridge. I cork all excess party wine and keep it at bottom of fridge for this drink. Lots of ice cubes. THE smallest amt of red wine lends an opulent flavor to citrus! OLE! The few tblsps of wine in a huge pitcher can't even get your newborn infant sloshed! Frankly, I think older children skateboard better on the stuff!

MISS ELLEN GEER'S LEMON BARS- IF LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS (or YOU HAVE A LEMON TREE) make LEMON BARS. INGREDIENTS: 2 1/4 cup sifted flour, 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup butter, 8 eggs, 3 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup lemon juice, 4 tsp lemon zest, l tsp bk powder, 1 tbsp UNsifted flour. METHOD: Sift flour, pow. sugar, cut in butter until it resembles crumbs. Pat into bottom of 13 x 9 baking pan, bake 350 deg. until brown. Beat eggs with gran. sugar, stir in juice, zest, bk powder, unsifted flour, mix well, pour over crust, bake 350 for 45 min. Cut into 32 bars. This recipe came from the actress daughter of Will Geer, that old man on the Walton Family, who was not only a good socialist, who knew about Poverty and the Great Depression 1st hand. Met her at writer Gwen Davis' party.

I INVENTED THIS RECIPE, LEMONY, HOMEMADE JUNGLE MARZIPAN-(Grind dates, walnuts, blanched almonds, lemon juice, lemon rind, coconut meat in blender, or food processor, whiz it around, add almond extract.) Scoop into balls, wrap in square of plastic wrap, twist neck and tie. Great gift is a dozen of these little pinatas in a decorative glass jar.

LEMON /ORANGE SESAME COOKIES- Cream l stick butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and l egg. Add almond flavoring or vanilla, spices, pumpkin pie spice is good, and 4 tbsp of pan-toasted litely browned sesame seeds, 1 tbsp orange and lemon rind. Add 1 cup brown flour or unbleached whole wheat w. a little *NON-aluminum baking powder, (only avail at HFS) salt, stir, add little liquid, (l tbsp, can be orange juice or milk) Raisins, oatmeal, dates, nuts would make them even better. Bake, being careful not to burn raisins which require a cool oven. (*note: Aluminum bk. powder may cause Alzheimers so throw it away.) Bake at 325 until done.

 THE HAVE IT ALL TAHITI CAKE- I can never decide which cake is my favorite, lemon, coconut, fruit cake or almond marzipan, so I have all FOUR COMBINED. Is this greedy or schizophrenic? INGREDIENTS: 3 cups whole grain or unbleached flour, 2 cups Succanet sugar or real sugar, 2 cubes room temp butter, or 1 cup cold clarified butter which is called ghee, 4 or 5 eggs depending on size, a can of coconut milk, extracts, spices, nuts, dried citrus rind, raisins, pineapple chips.

TO START: SOAK your dried fruit in lemon juice and rind to reconstitute and flavor. After all, lemons are cheap now, so let's flagrantly use them.

NEXT: Cream 2 cubes butter, four yolks, (reserve whites to make a meringue to help 'lift' the cake.) Succanet to taste (actually, this IS real sugar with all the vitamins), add extracts: coconut, almond or vanilla flavoring, plus plenty of orange & lemon zest, beat until creamy. As liquid, I use canned or real coconut milk as liquid in the cake or use orange juice and milk as liquids and You will now take the LIQUID THAT DRIED FRUIT WAS ReCONSTITUTED IN, and even add some fresh orange juice and rind.

SIFT DRY INGREDIENTS. We are going to slowly add them to butter, ALTERNATING with the liquid. You need 2-3 cups sifted whole grain flour (sift and throw away the bran) or Kamut flour. Sift/ mix with 3 tsp aluminum free baking powder. WHEN YOU put flour in, add a dose of flour followed by a dose of the liquids. Always finish with dry.

Add liquid, stir a little bit, then another 1/2 cup dry ingred, then another dose of the juice/lemon/coconut milk liquids, stirring until batter feels right. For a light cake, the minimum of flour is used. If you feel it's OK at 2 cups dry ingred, quit there.

SEPARATELY, BEAT EGGWHITES TO peaks. Fold stiff whites into the cake batter, then put a lot of pecans in batter using a dusting of flour on them. THEN ADD DRIED FRUIT: (We refer to fruit that you soaked in lemon juice several hours before but to do this, pat fruit dry, flour lightly) and fold into the batter. We used the juice they were soaked in, in the LIQUID section of the cake.

BAKE: Turn into buttered, floured or paper lined pans, put in very hot oven for the initial 4 minutes. It solidifies from the heat. But this is too fast an oven to cook the thing through so then you open door slightly, turn oven down to 325, finish to deep golden brown color, turn off oven, remove gently. COOL.

FROSTING- USE ALMOND MARZIPAN (recipe below) between the layers. YOUR OUTER FROSTING IS LEMON FLAVORED, so get a cube of butter and cream it, beat in a lot of lemon rind, then a whole box of powdered sugar added 1/3 at a time with lemon juice after each dry addition.

As we want several different but very clear 'sing out Louise' flavors, we make sour lemon the outer frosting. Coconut frizz lays on top of it. We will put real almond paste between the layers, either the imported kind or homemade.

ALMOND PASTE: grind a pound or two of blanched almonds (To blanch, pour on boiling water, one minute later peel) with some boiled sugar syrup and almond extract. In Europe, they wrap it then put it away for a few weeks to soften up. When they take it out, they add the confectioner's sugar half and half. I don't fancy the bother of waiting a month to make it, myself. So just add half powdered sugar immediately.

DECORATING THE TAHITI CAKE- The third, clear flavor is coconut. Cover entire exterior frosted cake with shredded sweetened coconut. Put some LEMON SLICES on outside. Overkill is necessary as we're talking TAHITI here, so put garden flowers on top. In LA We have tropical Hawaiian flowers like Ginger-Frangipani , scented gernanium, or gardenia. Make edible leaves of kiwi slices.

 BERRY BOTHERED LADY LIVING IN MULTIPLE CAT HOUSEHOLD WRITES: Birds won't land in my yard and the flood of RASBERRIES ARE MAKING US CRAZY. Why is there no recipe anywhere for Raspberry pie ? Did I pick the wrong vine? Should I have gone for Boysenberries?

ANSWER: NO WAY. Raspberries are a class act. Boysenberries don't have the RED flavor nuances. They are too PURPLE/BLACK. You can add interest to your cheese cake with raspberries or make this totally unique

RASPBERRY MARMALADE . (The Freezer section of your market has very cheap 12 oz. bags of these berries now if you don't have her problem.) Put Equal amt berries and sugar in a copper bottomed steel pan, simmer until the two blend, then add peels off multiple lemons, use a paring knife. Get just the yellow outside peel. Not the white inner peel. Don't use grater, pare them off like for marmalade. After 4 min of slow simmering, jam thickens, then add pectin which will thicken it further, very quickly! NOTE PECTIN IS very expensive stuff, but one box lasts for l0 berry jam makings so don't worry! 1 tsp is always enough for a 12 oz bag of berries. Simmer one more minute with the pectin. Just before you turn off flame, add the juice of those lemons. I don't boil lemon juice as pasterurizing triples its sourness! Cool, pour into any clean jar. I don't seal jar it as will be gone in l0 days. Just a lid or a plastic bag. (you'll still have to pick your teeth but the charm of this berry is its very small seed.)

BERRY IMPORTANT CITRUS TRICK: THANKS to our friend, THE SOUR LEMON, the raspberry becomes much more interesting and useful, but those of you who have MULBERRY trees will find this lemon method makes purple, red or lavendar mulberries suitable for eating cooked. The lack of a citric note in this prolific 'berry that grows on trees' makes them uninteresting and unpopular. Adding the citric note will make these sweet but not tangy berries a candidate for many jam/ pie recipes that wouldn't have worked otherwise. People will eat sweet things with tang and lemon rind but not with that plain purple sweet, too mild flavor.

 QUESTION: I'm embarassed. I keep growing zucchini because it makes the amateur gardeners in my neighborhod think I'm hot stuff. (It's so easy to get big, dramatic harvests) But I have a hard time eating the stuff. What to do? signed, Lady in Ohio who can't get the crows to eat raw zuch pieces.

 DEAR OHIO: NOBODY can eat the whole harvest, not even crows! The RX? Make ZUCCHINIS with TOMATO AND EGG AND CILANTRO which together make a whole new flavor so people chow it down thinking it's something NEW! and while these two items (Zuch/Tomato) FILL our GARDEN do these fab, ZUCCHINI RELLENOS! ! NOTE, copy this recipe, give it away to no-yard people --- with a big bag of zuchs!

 ZUCCHINI RELLENO- Nobody can deal with summer bounty of zuchs unless they have this recipe. Treasure it! Steam the zuch, sliced like coins 1/2 inch thick. MAKE A GOOD TOMATO sauce. Lots of olive oil, garlic, onion, in go as many tomatoes as you can find in garden, chopped. Simmer long, add basil or oregano.

THEN, Beat l0 egg whites, to peaks, add yolks, season. We are going to Dip the drained zucchini coins in egg but it won't STICK if you don't DREDGE coins in whole wheat flour or 'cornbread mix' FIRST and THEN dip into the puffy egg. Fry this fat soufflee thingie in hot oil, both sides, set on drain paper. Looks like a big donut now. When oil free, put into the pot of simmering tomato sauce. Set Lots of garlic jack cheese on top. Close lid until the cheese MELTS. Serve from tomato sauce pan. The pan goes straight to the table! If you're elegant, put the drained coins in a baking dish, add tomato sauce to that dish, OVEN bake it til cheese melts.

 LADY IN SANTA FE WRITES. I've HUNG MY KITCHEN WITH STRINGS OF CHILES. The children ask me what they're for. I haven't a clue. What do I DO?

 VEGIE ENCHILADAS- Take a string of those DRIED red or burgundy or even the black wrinkly dry chile pods, (They are in the market in plastic bags for $3). Clean out interior waste, i.e. stems, seeds (plant seeds next spring if you have warm climate in your area). Pour boiling water on the pods. Let the chiles sit for an hour until they plump up. GRIND the pods which are now meatier with the chile water and then, strain the skin out. You just have red paste at this point. Saute your onions, garlic lightly in any oil but canola. Then add the red chile sauce paste. Season w. cumin, onion, garlic & salt. SET ASIDE to cool while you make….

VEGE FILLING. Saute onion, garlic, add chopped tofu, blanched then toasted almonds ground into nut meal, chopped cheese, celery, cilantro, bell pepper, mushrooms, water chestnuts if you wanna get fawncy.

ASSEMBLE- Classic dropping tortilla into very hot oiled skillet adds too much oil. Instead, heat a tortilla until pliable, via gas flame stove. Drop in the red sauce, until wet all over. Fill it with nutmeal mixture, roll, set in cassarole dish. Get the dish full, lay grated cheese on top, then POUR the red sauce on all. Dot wi. Olives, onions, cilantro. Bake 20 min.

 QUESTION: TOMATOES ARE AN EMBARASSSMENT! HELP!

ANSWER: MAKE GAZPACHO- The Spanish must know something! They invented Sangria, Julio Iglesias, didn't they? This soup requires NO STOVE HEAT, (so nifty in summer) AND NO WORK but so opulent in the china cauldron that it makes you look like Martha Stewart.

WHAT AND HOW: Put all the ripe tomatoes in the blender, whiz with a few onions, some bell peppers, a hefty load of cucumbers, strain the different skins out via a steel or plastic (not aluminum) strainer. Throw into a porcelain soup cauldron with a spoon. Salt it, stir in with a whisk. FRIDGE IT FOR AN HOUR. Garnish with chopped cukes, grated cheese (or parmesan) and chopped green things, watercress, basil, cilantro, green onions. Croutons if it's not too much work. In cafes in Spain they offer cracked, black pepper but Yogi Bhajan says this isn't good for us. He says use whole pepper in cooking, in the oil phase, then remove the corms. He says the little grains land in folds of intestine unable to move, and do great damage! The end of my having cracked pepper on salad!! No problema, FRY your croutons in oil that has a LOT of black pepper corms floatin' around. PEPPER CROUTONS will do the black hot flavor thing to your MOUTH and not your bowel!

<===BACK TO ANITA'S POORHOUSE GOURMET PAGE