Revolution In The Kitchen

food preparation patternMy mother was a working homemaker, but she followed ritual food preparation patterns which she shared when I learned to cook at an early age. Three brothers would announce they were hungry. It never occurred to them, or to me, that they could prepare a snack or a meal for themselves.

It never occurred to me not to plan and prepare meals–from casseroles left for my new husband as a married college senior, to 21 days of prepared microwavable meals in heat-and-serve containers, when I traveled on an extended work assignment.

I watched some years ago, as my married daughter, her friends and consumers across the country began importing meals for an easier Sunday schedule, or for weekday dinners. Her children loved the Chinese pot stickers, fried rice and sesame broccoli. Sometimes she played baseball or tennis during the hours I used to spend preparing Sunday dinner. Her midwestern neighbors traded takeout food sources with the same grapevine energy homemaker once reserved for recipe exchanges.

Watching the changes in food pattern that have occurred in my daughter’s 40 years, and noting her daughter’s even more efficient directness in choosing a meal or setting up a spontaneous party on the kitchen table, I realize that mounting statistics on shifts to more takeout and prepared dishes represent more than a search for convenience, variety and better quality in home food preparation. They reflect a difference in attitudes and relationships in which food remains a symbol, an expression of love, sometimes a medium of exchange, sometimes a weapon or even a bribe … but no longer the responsibility of a sole food preparer, nor routinely cooked at home. Food is coming into its own as an independently selected expression of taste, as well as a satisfier of hunger.

$62 billion start of the story

According to a 2007 study, Americans spent 15 percent of their food dollars ($62 billion annually) on fresh takeout meals. Another 19 percent goes to sit-down restaurants, and the rest is spent on home-prepared components. Some of what are called home-prepared meals include prepared components. Such items as salads, refrigerated sauces, a purchased rotisserie-cooked chicken, ready-to-serve cheese or frozen components may be overlooked as takeout. Supermarkets have more than a one-third share of the takeout market. Restaurants this year report per capita takeout occasions have increased 40 percent in the last five years, while restaurant visits have remained flat.

Even more dramatic than the statistics on sales volume are the less statistical attitudinal changes in expectations and acceptance of new takeout food patterns. Today’s reflection on Mom’s (or Dad’s) most delicious meals include a variety of broader tastes, ethnic mixes and textures as a result of assembling a meal with more prepared components, rather than cooking all from scratch. And even so-called scratch cooking is simplified by selecting precleaned and sometimes precut fresh produce, new preseasoned chicken portions ready to pop into the pan or microwave and a host of other chef-assisted components.

Who’s buying?

customer service

More than a third (39 percent) of consumers purchasing chilled entrees come from four-person households, according to a 1988 survey of supermarket shoppers. Statistically, this is the highest single category of users.

A higher percentage of four-person households, families with children, buy chilled entrees than do not buy them. Three-person households are the next higher percentage (32 percent); two-person households number 13 percent; five-person households 10 percent; one-person households 4 percent; and six-or-more-person households 2 percent.

Visualize the mindset of a young mother (or not-so-young mother) who more than half of the time works outside the home and most of the time considers other factors in life more urgent than meal preparation. Take-home foods offer a technique of management rather than limited problem solving.

What are refrigerated prepared meals replacing? More than 40 percent replace scratch cooking; about 20 percent replace frozen entrees, which have slumped in perceived consumer satisfaction; 28 percent replace carry-out restaurant or fast foods; and 3 percent restaurant meals. This is the industrialization of home prepared meals.

Surprisingly, some of the most advanced developments in fully prepared fresh meals are in European bastions of traditional coding.

Who’s cooking for U.S. kitchens?

cooking in kitchensLooking at the total pattern of takeout food purchases, one out of every 10 consumers buys a takeout meal on any given day, and they are purchased from different outlets.

Increasingly, shoppers look for prepared foods in supermarkets. In fact, when it comes to preparing a quick dinner, supermarket takeout, 20 percent, ranks third after homemade and frozen, 34 percent and 32 percent respectively. Thus, supermarket operators are exploring various methods to produce these meals. Some go as far as to hire chefs and staff commissaries for such production. Byerly’s, in Minnesota, pioneered a takeout meal department; Grand Union and Kings on the East Coast are answering those with impressive in-store setups.

Where does the consumer stand on all this? Like the ice cream fan in front of the “26 varieties” counter, many seem to seek more “plain vanilla” selections–basic foods, well-prepared, appetizing but not too fancy. Perhaps in 2020, my daughter will order via her direct computer linkup with a supermarket’s menu board, availably for pickup or delivery and charged out on her meal voucher account.

A new fresh prepared food category made a strong appearance at the recent FMI Supermarket Industry Convention in Chicago. These foods, such as poultry, meats and fish, are either precut and fully seasoned, stuffed, on skewers or even sauced. They are ready for the consumer to place in the microwave or pan for effortless home cooking. Preseasoned fresh foods solve a number of production problems, since manufacturers need not invest in cooking machinery, or in safety procedures for cooked foods. Packaging is also simpler.

Will this solve the future need? It may be part of the solution. With microwaves in more than 75 percent of homes, and microwave cooking moving into the “real-food preparation” category, prepared uncooked foods may offer a shortcut to easy, good-quality meals.

Prepared fresh foods, not yet cooked, also offer a fresher store image projection for consumers than those which have been precooked and need to be reheated. This approach, if it is to succeed, will require some major producers to develop the new methods of preparation. New chef skills, a technical understanding of the culinary, safety and quality control challenges will also need to be met.

Results of a new survey on at-home dining by FMI and Better Homes and Gardens magazine indicated the beginnings of the changes ahead for 2020.

  1. Meals eaten together at home, whether home-prepared or takeout, are deemed “the best part of the day,” especially by women who work.
  2. Men and children share in the dinner “group effort” for preparation as well as cleanup. They also participate in the shopping.
  3. Family dinner together may not occur every night, and is the more valued when it does. One 16-year-old boy, who is from a two-income family and has a twin brother and older sister, told how he cherishes the few nights a week his family can eat together. “Wednesday, Friday and Saturday we all have to eat dinner together–it’s the law. I can’t wait for tonight (it was Wednesday). I haven’t had good food in four days.

Of the families surveyed, 56 percent reported eating together every night. Baby boomers, families with young children and families in the 55-plus age group are prone to eat together most frequently. And, because eating-together occasions are somewhat more limited, they seem to be more appreciated, particularly when mothers work outside the home. Dinnertime becomes an anchor for the day, a time of pleasure and relaxation. That’s more important than the effort of home preparation.

However, despite the appreciation of eating together, the end of the meal may be staggered, with children departing sooner (no news there), and others taking off for varied interests.

What’s for dinner

milk soda teaToday, the dinner menu and table service are more streamlined than in the past. A main dish and a beverage appear on almost every family menu. All of the family is likely to share the same main dish, and the beverage is usually milk, soda, tea or tap water during the meal. Coffee is the after-dinner beverage of most frequent choice. Vegetables and breads are the most often preferred meal accompaniments, yet only a little over half mention serving them. Potatoes and salads are next most popular. Dessert is served only half the time, with convenient ice cream and frozen deserts preferred.

One out of five families reported using recipes for their meals–and then mostly one weekends. There are more guests on weekends and dinner attendance is less required for families. Weekend dinners last a little longer–35 minutes vs. 32, and more time is spent in preparing weekend dinners–10 minutes longer than the weekday 20-minute average.

Measuring change

Margaret Mead once said that it takes a generation to change a food habit. We have changed food attitudes, as well as habits, in each of the last four generations–and the fourth is evident even while it is maturing.

My mother’s generation accepted post-Victorian food preparation as a day-to-day chore, a matter of conscientious necessity both in the making and in the eating. This job was made easier by the convenient tin cans, the prebaked breads and the prepared dry pasta which emerged in their lifetimes. My generation took the pasta packages for granted, until fresh pasta and pasta-makers revived the craft for this easy-to-make dish.

My daughter’s generation has abandoned the pasta maker, easy as it was, for fresh pasta of homemade quality. When my granddaughter, Lucia, reaches 38, in 2020, she is likely to call up for a cooked dish to serve her family or friends she has casually invited to stay to dinner. I invited dinner guests casually, too, but this type of invitation required an inventory of foods and skills upon which I could draw quickly.

What does the future hold?

The technology of food manufacturing is catching up with consumers’ quality expectations. Our method for product development is a techni-culinary process. The key to product satisfaction for the products of the future is a fusion of technical and culinary skills, to provide prepared take-home meals that meet oncoming consumer expectations.

Now They’re Cooking Recipes Boost The Pc’s Usability

Companies like Presto and Kuhn Rikon have cooked up computer programs to make life in the kitchen a little easier for cooks, and to give pc owners a reason to use their machines regularly. Features such as automatic shopping lists, customized recipes and microwave/conventional oven recipe conversion have whetted the appetite of the main body of end users.

Cookbook

Despite the fact that companies publishing the disks have done little or no advertising recently, sales have continued to grow steadily. Pinpoint Publishing’s Micro Cookbook, which is in its eight editions in its third year of marketing, has experienced a doubling in sales this year, and ships more than 5,000 units per month.

Feeding Yuppies

The users with a real appetite for this type of software are mainly Yuppies. The majority of users are business professionals. The auto shopping list feature saves them time. Twenty percent of our customers use this feature at the office meals. The software also features a reference section for ingredient substitutions, nutrition information and English to metric conversion.

Le Com Enterprises’ Smartcook series converts recipes for conventional and microwave cooking. Microwave/conventional conversion is still a unique feature. With microwave penetration in the U.S. at nearly 50 percent, families with two working partners lean toward microwaves.

Cooking ProfessionalsCooking professionals, too, have put available cooking programs to good use. About 30 percent of our Recipe Writer sales are to professionals. The Recipe Writer is a home record management system for IBM pc’s and compatibles and the Apple II family. The upcoming professional version will have customizable cross-referencing.

For anyone who likes to cook, although not for people who devise six different tuna casseroles every week. But the program’s even useful to someone who only cooks once a week, such as a hostess planning her menu Saturday morning. She finds out from the computer what ingredients she needs, goes shopping, then prepares the meal for three couples Saturday night.

With the Recipe Writer, cooks can also call out a food, such as raspberries, and the program will list what recipes can be made from such a product.

Tasting the future

A couple of the suppliers surveyed hinted that they may publish cooking software or titles with “big names in the cookbook world” in the future, but would not divulge any more information. In the meantime, suppliers are planning to expand through other cooking titles and features, and to continue to sell the programs through a variety of outlets: specialty computer shops, gourmet retailers, bookstores, food catalogs and mail order houses.

And they’re keeping an eye on computer technology such as voice synthesis, which would prove a boon to the market. We have to recommend now that people who use cooking software in general have a printer attached to their home computer. Otherwise, they’d be rewriting the recipe by hand or running back and forth from the den to the kitchen to prepare meals.

Making The Most Of Odds And Ends

Producing FoodProducing food that is attractive and cost effective is a challenge. Seeking out competitive prices from suppliers and buying foods in season help offset food costs. Further-processed products help defray labor costs. Another method to keep costs down, and one that becomes a creative challenge for the kitchen, is to get the greatest possible yield from the kitchen inventory.

This involves using the odds and ends, leftovers, and by-products– which might ordinarily be discarded or used for staff meals–in dishes that are suitable for the menu. Maximum usage of high-cost items such as meat and fish and potentially high-labor items such as fresh fruits and vegetables can cut costs and eliminate waste. Even a professionally managed, tightly organized kitchen may occasionally find itself with a surplus of cooked rice, pasta, or stale bread.

Food For KitchenUsing food efficiently stimulates creativity and increases the kitchen’s profitability. In some cases, a signature dish may result. In the Zodiac restaurants in the Neiman-Marcus department stores, for instance, each customer is given a complimentary cup of chicken broth when he is seated. The broth is a by-product from poaching the chickens that are used in salads, sandwiches, and hot dishes.

At Atwater’s, a fine-dining restaurant operated by the Davre’s division of ARA Services on the 30th floor of the U.S. Bancorp Tower in Portland, OR, chef George Poston uses veal trimmings to make a bratwurst, which he runs as a special. Duck, chicken, and pheasant livers are marinated in brandy or Madeira under refrigeration and then used in pates or liver mousses.

TRIMMINGS

Garrett Cho, the regional food and beverage manager for Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited– the parent company for Cutter’s, a four-unit upbeat eatery–says trimmings from a roast leg of lamb are the basis of a lavash sandwich, which is offered as a weekly special for about $4.35. The cubed lamb is sauteed with onions, parsley, and cinnamon; then it is coarsely processed. Seasoned cream cheese is spread on the softened lavash bread, thinly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes are layered on top, and the meat is spread on top of that. Then the bread is rolled up and refrigerated in plastic wrap until needed. Two, two-inch thick slices are served warm with a cucumber-yougurt sauce.

Ethnic Dishes

At the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA, Walter Zuromski, executive chef of Rarities and The Courtyard Cafe, suggests that fish tails and ends be used in a bouillabaisse. Broccoli and mushroom stems may be used in ethnic dishes such as Oriental stir-frys, for stuffings, or in stews. Zuromski makes a bread pudding from brioche bread, to which he adds nuts, raisins, or a seasonal fruit such as persimmons. Fruits that are too soft may be used for marmalades and preserves which make fine accompaniments to poultry and game, or they may be used to make fruit vinegars.

His kitchen does much of its own butchering. Excess fat is accumulated in a barrel and sold by the pound to a soap company. Pork and beef trimmings are used for a chili filling for tacos. A complimentary taco bar, with toppings, is set up in The Ragata Bar from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The bones from the country hams are used to flavor black bean soup and the trimmings are used in a ham mousse made with butter, sour cream, and brandy. This is packed in a cropck and used for room service or as a spread with cocktails.

Fresh fruits that are too soft to be used in the guest fruit baskets are used for sorbets. Or, they are pureed with sugar, seasonings, and possibly a spirit, and are reduced to a fruit butter over low heat. The butter may be used on toast or it may be used in a charlotte for dessert.

From the RB Test Kitchen come additional suggestions: Surplus ham, turkey, chicken, beef, or corned beef may be turned into croquettes or hash. Lamb or beef trimmings may be used for shepherd’s pie. Cheese, ham, and salami ends may be accumulated for macaroni and cheese casseroles.

RICE IDEAS

Rice Ideas

Rice cakes, for breakfast or brunch, may be made with leftover cooked rice. Suppli al telefono are especially good rice croquettes filled with ham and mozzarella cheese. Rice callas, a type of croquette commonly found in Louisiana as a sweet starch or snack, may be served for dessert.

Excess chicken and duck skins may be sauteed for cracklings and then used to garnish pasta or salads. Dark green outer leaves of lettuce such as romaine, escarole, and spinach may be wilted as a side dish for roasted meats and poultry.

Stale pound cake may be toasted, brushed with liqueur, and topped with cream and berries. Stale bread may be used for crumbs, croutons, or sliced very thin and toasted for melba toast.

Leftover cooked egg noodles may be deep-fried, seasoned with salt, pepper, and an herb, and used as a salad garnish or bar snack. We also like them drizzled with honey or dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon and used as a cookie-like accompaniment for dessert wine, or with fruit and cheese.

WILTED GREENS

The ingredients may be prepped in advance but should be sauteed to order.

(Yield: 14 servings)

3 lb. green outer leaves of escarole, romaine, or spinach, trimmed

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

4 oz. ham, finely diced

4 oz. raisins

2 oz. toasted almonds

Salt, ground pepper, to taste

Rinse and drain the leaves; cut them into 2 to 3-in. pieces. Saute the garlic in the oil until aromatic; add the ham and raisins; saute for 1 minute. Add the almonds; saute for 15 seconds. Add the lettuce, salt, and pepper. Saute, tossing constantly, until leaves are barely wilted. Serve immediately. Flavored with cocoa and cinnamon makes a home for stale rolls. Serve with cream and bourbon.

FRIED RICE

This dish may be varied by the number and kinds of ingredients that are included. It is a smart use for odds and ends, as long as all ingredients are in good condition and the tastes are compatible.

(Yield: about 2 1/2 quarts)

5 tb. good-quality soy sauce

1 1/2 tb. Oriental sesame oil

1 tsp. sugar

Hot red pepper sauce, to taste

Salt, ground pepper, to taste

6 tb. vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

5 large garlic cloves, minced

3/4 oz. fresh ginger, trimmed, minced

3 oz. mushrooms, rinsed, thinly sliced

10 oz. cooked pork roast, julienned

1/2 lb. bay shrimp, defrosted

6 oz. celery, trimmed, cut into 1/4-in. dice

3 large scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced

4 cups leftover cooked rice

Fresh cilantro leaves, as needed

  1. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, red pepper sauce, salt, and pepper; reserve this sauce.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a 7- or 8-in. omelette pan; pour in half the egg, rotating constantly to from a very thin egg sheet. Cook until set on one side. Flip; cook for 30 seconds. Remove and repeat with remaining egg. Roll the egg sheets up; cut them into very thin strips (chiffonade). Reserve.
  3. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in large saute pan until rippling; add garlic and ginger; saute, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Add mushrooms; saute, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds; add pork; saute, stirring constantly, for 45 seconds; add shrimp and toss. Add celery and scallions; toss briefly. Add rice; toss thoroughly.
  4. Add reserved sauce; toss until rice is thoroughly coated. Add egg chiffonade and toss. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro leaves.

CORNED BEEF HASH

Leftover beef, chicken, turkey, or pork may be substituted.

(Yield: 12 servings)

2 large onions, diced

5 oz. butter

2 oz. cider vinegar

2 large red peppers, seeded, diced

1 large green pepper, seeded, diced

2 1/2 lb. all-purpose potatoes, cut into 1/4-in. dice, cooked

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 lb. corned beef, trimmed, cut into 1/4-in. dice

1/2 cup chopped pickles

1 1/2 tb. coarse-grain mustard

1 tb. worcestershire or steak sauce

Salt, ground pepper, to taste

  1. Saute onions in 3 oz. of butter until wilted; deglaze with vinegar until dry. Add red and green peppers; saute until wilted. Reserve.
  2. Process until smooth: half the potatoes, all of the eggs, and 2/3 cup of cream; transfer to large bowl. Add onion mixture, remaining potatoes, corned beef, pickles, mustard, worcestershire sauce, 2 oz. of melted butter, salt, and pepper. Toss gently but thoroughly. Pour hash into greased half hotel pan; smooth top.
  3. Bake in preheated 450|F. oven for 15 minutes. Drizzle with half the remaining cream; bake an additional 10 minutes. Add remaining cream; bake until top is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

FRIED PASTA

This is an unusual, cost-effective treatment for leftover cooked egg noodles.

(Yield: 12 servings)

1 lb. cooked egg noodles

powdered sugar, as neeeded

ground cinnamon or cocoa, as needed (optional)

Deep-fry the noodles in 350|F. oil until they are puffed and golden; drain well. Sprinkle with powdered sugar mixed with ground cinnamon or cocoa.

CINNAMON-COCOA BREAD PUDDING

This recipe calls for cinnamon buns, an item we had on hand and developed a recipe around. Bread pudding is versatile: Stale danishes, doughnuts, or bread may be substituted. The amount of sugar will depend on how sweet the bread is. If your bread is not too sweet, add more sugar to taste, in the custard. Also add spices such as ground nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, or allspice and vanilla extract. Jams, nuts, raisins, prunes, dates, and spricots may be added. The pudding may also be served with a sauce.

(Yield: 12 servings)

6 whole eggs

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 qt. milk

20 stale cinnamon swirl buns, each 2 oz.

Butter, as needed

3 oz. chopped pecans or walnuts

1 1/2 qt. heavy cream

1/3 cup bourbon

  1. For the custard, beat together the eggs and egg yolks. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa until well combined. Whisk in the milk.
  2. Cut the buns in half; place them in a well-buttered half hotel pan. Add the nuts; pour the custard over the buns and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes so the buns absorb some liquid.
  3. Bake pudding, uncovered, in 325|F. oven until browned and custard is set, 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Cool to luke warm. Combine heavy cream and bourbon. Pour about 1/3 cup of this mixture over each serving of warm pudding.

Steve Mellina, Manhattan Ocean Club, Serves Tonno Con Vitello

Seafood DishesSome forty seafood dishes are available for lunch or dinner, as diverse as steamed lobster with drawn butter; baked clams with a filbert nut and herb pesto; grilled gulf shrimp with garlic flan; and rainbow trout dredged in pecan flour and fried in ham fat.

Many of our dishes are rooted in traditional seafood house preparations, but we’ve varied the cooking methods and ingredients to suit the times and our own style. You might say this is a seafood house for the eighties. In most seafood houses in the U.S., almost all the fish is broiled or fried. We’ve tried to change the perception of what a good seafood house can be, by getting the highest quality products possible, and by basing cooking methods for different kinds of fish on their particular characteristics and structure.

For instance: Bluefin tuna is a lot like meat in texture, so we started treating it that way–cooking it rare, even serving it raw, like beef carpaccio. Swordfish also has a texture similar to meat and holds up to high heat. One dish we serve is swordfish aupoivere. The fish is coated in crushed mixed peppercorns, grilled, and served with a compound lime butter.’

For every fish on the menu, Mellina does a yield test to determine what size fish will give the best portion size and plate coverage. “We base our buying on these yield tests. We also buy what’s called the tail wheel section of the swordfish, which lies about six inches up from the tail and right below the stomach. From that, we cut four steaks which will yield portions of eight to nine ounces.

In buying fresh fish, Mellina cautions the buyer to know his products well. The fish industry is not as strictly regulated as many other food industries are, and someone who doesn’t know his products can wind up with fish he didn’t bargain for.

In cooking fish, the most important thing is not to overcook it. It’s hard to give an exact cooking time for a specific piece of fish. There are so many variables –size, age, and nature of the fish. The skill of the cook and his knowledge of his product are much more important than any general rule about timing. Feel is important.

The following recipe is a twist on one of Mellina’s favorite dishes, vitello tonnato. The tuna is dredged in pepper and then, in an exceedingly hot black iron skillet, it is barely cooked until the outside is charred, but the inside is still raw. It is well chilled before slicing, and is served cold with a smooth, piquant veal and mayonnaise sauce.

TONNO CON VITELLO

Tuna with veal sauce

Veal sauce

(Yield: about 1 quart)

1 lb. lean veal trimmings and dices (meat only)

Salt, to taste

Ground white pepper, to taste

1 oz. olive oil

1 1/2 oz. brandy or cognac

3 cups very stiff mayonnaise

1/2 to 1 anchovy fillet

3 tbsp. small capers

1 1/2 oz. caper juice

Juice of one lemon

2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

  1. Season veal with salt and peper; saute veal in hot olive oil, without browning it, until the meat is just cooked through. Add brandy and deglaze until dry. Transfer veal to bowl, partially cover, and cool thoroughly.
  2. Puree veal, with one cup of the mayonnaise, in food processor until smooth. Add anchovy, a small amount at first, and then additional if necessary; flavor should be subtle. Pass mixture through a food mill.
  3. Fold in remaining mayonnaise, capers, caper and lemon juice, chives, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Chill this sauce, at least one hour, before serving. Adjust seasoning if necessary, before serving.

TUNA

(Yield: 12 servings)

36 oz. loin of bluefin tuna

Coarsely ground black pepper

1 oz. clarified butter

36 slices French or Italian bread,

1/2-inch thick

2 oz. olive oil

1 garlic clove, cut

24 blades of fresh chive

12 thin slices of lemon or strips

Lemon peel

  1. Cut tuna into 3, 12-ounce steaks, each about 3 inches wide, 4 to 5 inches long, and 1 inch thick. Liberally coat the tuna steaks with the pepper, pressing the pepper into the tuna so that it adheres.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it is so hot that it turns white. Add the butter and immediately add the tuna using tongs, as the butter will flame up immediately. Char the tuna on all sides, cooking it only long enough so that the outside is cooked, and the inside remains raw, about 3 minutes in all. Remove tuna from skillet; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate tuna, covered, until thoroughly chilled.
  3. Lightly brush one side of the bread with olive oil. Rub the cut garlic clove over the bread. Toast bread in preheated 350|F. oven until edges are golden, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. At service, slice the tuna lengthwise into 3 to 4 thin slices per portion, about 3 ounces in all. Arrange the slices, slightly overlapping, on a chilled plate. Garnish with about 2 tablespoons of the sauce, 3 croutons, 2 blades of chive, and a slice of lemon. Note: Cooking the tuna should be done with care; the extreme heat causes the butter to flame easily.

Chicken Wings Revisited

In the culinary arena, where “what’s in and what’s out’ lists come and go faster than you can say “carpaccio of tuna with fresh raspberry sauce,’ chicken wings have real staying power. Ingenious kitchens have stuffed the wing or simulated miniature drumsticks using the meaty portion only. But mostly, chicken wings are happily found on the menu as simply sauced or crisply coated finger foods for appetizers, bar food, or as a fast food meal.

Wings are relatively inexpensive to serve and plentiful in supply. Many versions of Buffalo-style and crispy-coated wings are available frozen. The following recipes, from the Test Kitchen of Restaurant Business magazine, offer a variety of preparations–fried, baked, grilled, coated, and sauced. When a marinade is called for, we advise pricking the wings first, so that the flavors penetrate better. One recipe, called corn wings, is a little involved in the preparation of the wing, but gets points for its distinctiveness: The meat of the drummette is scraped down the bone so that it forms a handle.

recipes

ORIENTAL SWEET-SOUR WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

36 chicken wings, disjointed

10 oz. pineapple juice

3 oz. good quality soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp. ketchup

1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

3/4 tsp. Oriental sesame oil

3/8 tsp. ground ginger

3/8 tsp. ground pepper

Hot pepper sauce, to taste, 2 medium garlic cloves, minced and 2 tsp. vegetable oil

  1. Deep-fry chicken wings in 350|F. oil until crispy; drain well.
  2. Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, cornstarch, sesame oil, ginger, pepper, and pepper sauce; reserve.
  3. Saute garlic in very hot oil. Remix sauce, if necessary. Whisk in sauce, heating until thickened; add wings; quickly toss and baste the wings to completely coat them with sauce. Serve wings immediately, six pieces per portion, with only the amount of sauce that clings to them.

WINGS A LA GREQUE

(Yield: 12 servings)

36 chicken wings, disjointed

12 oz. fresh lemon juice

6 oz. olive oil

1 tbsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. coriander seed, crushed

Ground pepper, to taste, Salt

  1. Prick the wings so marinade will penetrate. Marinate them in lemon juice, oil, oregano, coriander, and pepper for at least four hours; drain. Season wings with salt.
  2. Grill or broil the wings until crisp and cooked through, six to 10 minutes. Serve hot, six pieces per portion.

Note: wings may also be lightly dredged in flour and pan-fried.

CORN WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

48 chicken drumettes

1 lb. yellow corn meal

8 oz. all-purpose flour

2 oz. sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup shortening, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 qt. buttermilk

Chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce, for dipping

  1. Using a sharp knife, scrape the meat down the bone to form a ball at the end and to leave the bone exposed.
  2. Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cayenne and black peppers; make a well in the center.
  3. Whisk together the shortening, eggs, and buttermilk; gradually whisk mixture into dry ingredients to form a smooth batter.
  4. Dip wings into batter, coating the meat only and leaving the bone exposed. Deep-fry in 350|F. oil until batter is golden brown and chicken is cooked, about five minutes. Serve hot, four pieces per portion, with one of the dipping sauces.

ROSEMARY CHICKEN WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

36 chicken wings, whole

4 oz. butter, softened

1/2 oz. rosemary

Ground pepper, to taste and 3 cups white wine vinegar

  1. In two lightly greased roasting pans, brush wings with the butter; season with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Divide vinegar into each pan.
  2. Bake chicken wings in preheated 350|F. oven, basting with the vinegar occasionally, until wings are browned and crisp and most of the vinegar is evaporated, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Serve chicken hot, three wings per portion.

CHEESE WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

12 oz. breadcrumbs

8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

3 oz. grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. dried basil

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. salt

36 chicken wings, whole

3 eggs, beaten

Tomatillo sauce, for dipping

  1. Combine breadcrumbs, cheeses, basil, cayenne, and salt; Dip chicken wings into beaten egg, and then into breadcrumbs.
  2. Bake chicken wings on greased sheet pan in preheated 350|F. oven until chicken is crisp and cheese is melted, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve hot, three wings per portion, with tomatillo sauce for dipping.

TORTILLA WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

24 chicken wings, disjointed

12 oz. tomato juice

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. chili powder

Salt, to taste

12 oz. cornmeal

Guacamole, for dipping

  1. Prick the wings so marinade will penetrate. Combine tomato juice, the three peppers, and chili powder. Marinate wings in this sauce for 4-6 hours.
  2. Drain wings; season with salt. Dredge wings in cornmeal. Deep-fry in 350|F. oil until browned and cooked through, three to four minutes. Serve four per portion, with guacamole.

BARBECUED CHICKEN WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

36 chicken wings, disjointed

8 oz. good-quality barbecue sauce

12 lime wedges

Brush wings with sauce. Grill or broil wings, brushing occasionally, until crisp and cooked. Serve hot, siz pieces per portion, with lime.

TEMPURA CHICKEN WINGS

(Yield: 12 servings)

10 oz. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground pepper

2 egg yolks, beaten

16 oz. ice cold water

24 chicken wings, disjointed

Teriyaki, duck sauce, or plum sauce, for dipping

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk one third of the flour into the yolks. Whisk in the ice water alternately with the remaining flour. Use batter immediately, while it is still cold, for best results.
  2. Dip wings into batter. Deep-fry in small batches, in 365|F. oil, until batter is puffed and chicken is cooked through, about four minutes. Serve immediately, four pieces per portion, with one of the sauces.