Whidbey Recipes

"I'm heading for my soapbox, so you'll have to decide whether or not you even choose to read the rest of this column. It has nothing to do with food, at least not yet, but I promise it will before I finish. You can skip to that part right now, or join me on the soapbox.First, I should tell you that I watch very little television, which gives you every right to claim that I'm hardly in a position to criticize. Well, I'm not letting that stop me, because it now seems that whether I watch or not, I can't escape what's on or about to be on TV. The Stupor Bowl buildup was bad enough, but now I've had it up to the eyebrows and more with what I consider to be the worst example (other than wrestling) of television fare ever foisted off on the viewing public, and even though I don't and won't watch it, I still know what I'm talking about because I'm subjected to a constant, virtually unavoidable barrage about this program in almost every other form of media. Every newspaper, magazine, radio station and even surrounding conversation is full of endless palaver about something so trivial, so banal, so inane (what other words can I think of to describe this obscenity, I wonder), that I'm up in arms without ever having witnessed one episode. I'm sick to death of it and I've never even seen it.I'm talking about Survivor, in case you hadn't guessed, technically Survivor II, which only makes it worse. I find it beyond belief that, in a week when tens of thousands of human beings, everyday people living everyday lives, have suddenly been thrust into a nightmare of survival beyond anything we could ever imagine, we in the good old USA are subjected to triple the amount of media coverage for some trumped up phonies in the Outback than for the incredible stories of survival going on every day in the real world. Millions of dollars were spent hyping the Stupor Bowl; millions more have been tossed away persuading us to watch a group of cockamamie people, desperate for attention, betray each other, figuratively stab each other in the back and behave toward each other in ways we'd like to believe we never would. Not just columns but entire pages of copy have been written describing the participants, their backgrounds and the odds and guesses about who will be the survivor. And more pages have been used to conjecture about whether Friends will survive against Survivor in what apparently is the TV programming battle of this century. Do they truly believe we give two hoots? What claptrap! It gives new meaning to the word travesty.Well, I told you there'd be something about food before this column ended and here it is. I suggest we put an end to the insults to our intelligence while also saving a great deal of money for other purposes by rounding up the TV moguls who perpetrate this nonsense, along with all Survivor participants, past and present, as well as Regis Philbin and all the wannabe millionaires, and turn them into stew meat, which can then be put to some good use feeding people who know the true meaning of the word survival.RecipesNo, I won't give you stew recipes, although it's tempting, and even though it's hypocritical to talk about the travails in India rather than print recipes for rich, delicious desserts, I'd nevertheless like to focus on something hopeful, like love and friendship. Next Wednesday is Valentine's Day, and yes, it's also about commercialism, but only if you let it be. Reach out to someone who needs some caring, some love, some attention, and if you're in the mood and have the time (instead of watching TV?) making a special treat is a small but expressive gesture. Try one of these.Tart from the Heart1 3/4 cups flourPinch salt1/4 cup sugar1/2 cup butter, chilled1 egg1/4 t. lemon zest1 1/4 cups raspberry or strawberry jam (or any red jam of preference)1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 T. cream, for glazing1. Make pastry: Place flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl; using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter as quickly as possible, until mixture is like coarse corn meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the lemon zest, then pour this over the flour mixture and combine with a fork until pastry holds together (if it's too dry, add 1-2 t. water). Separate dough into two balls, one a bit larger than the other, and flatten balls into discs. Wrap in waxed paper and chill at least 40 minutes.2. Lightly butter a 9-inch shallow tart or pie pan, preferably with a removable bottom (better yet, a shallow heart-shaped pan if you have one). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger disc of pastry to about 1/8-inch thickness. Roll the pastry around your rolling pin and transfer to the prepared pan, trimming edges evenly with a sharp knife. Prick bottom with a fork and refrigerate crust for 1/2 hour. 3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. spread the jam evenly over the chilled pastry crust. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into strips about 1/2-inch wide. Arrange the strips so they form a heart on top of the jam filling, or you could spell out I love you if preferred, or form the strips into two hearts with initials (you get the idea). Brush pastry with the egg/cream wash and bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow tart to cool before serving, with perhaps a small spoon of whipped cream or ice cream of choice.This one is a bit tricky, but a real eye-popper when it's served. An ice cream-lover's delight, it'll makes both adults and kids happy, Valentine's Day or not. Please use the best quality ice cream you can lay hands on. Valentine's Day Surprise1 1/2 qts. vanilla ice cream, softened slightly1 qt. strawberry or cherry ice cream, softened slightly1 cup whipping cream1 T. maraschino liqueur (ask for one of the little bottles at the liquor store so you won't have a lot left over), or just use 1 t. vanilla1 egg white2 T. powdered sugar4-6 T. chopped red candied cherries (or to taste)Whole candied cherries, or even better, whole fresh cherries, if available1. Line the bottom and sides of a 2-quart mold evenly with the vanilla ice cream (traditionally a round mold would be used, but oblong or even heart shape is fine; whatever you think will work for your project). Freeze at 0 degrees until very firm, then cover the vanilla ice cream with a layer of the strawberry ice cream and again freeze until very firm.2. In a chilled bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the cream until very stiff, then blend in the maraschino liqueur. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and beat until stiff. Fold the beaten egg white into the whipped cream, along with chopped cherries. Spoon this mixture into the center of the molded ice cream, spreading to make what will be the bottom smooth. Cover and freeze until very firm (up to 2 weeks).3. Unmold by dipping the mold in hot water up to the rim for about 5-6 seconds then invert onto a cold serving plate. If ice cream mold doesn't come free immediately, dip in water again for 2-3 seconds. Smooth over surface, if necessary, after unmolding. Return dessert to freezer again for at least 1/2 hour before serving.4. When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream and use it to decorate the dessert, along with whole cherries. Allow to stand at room temp. about 10 min. then slice into wedges. Serves 10-12. "

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