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PG tested recipes

Sunday, August 17, 2003

By Suzanne Martinson, Post-Gazette Food Editor

Power Dose Orange Saute

This unusual combination, based on delicate Valencia oranges with paper-thin skins, has a range of bioflavonoid activity enhanced by a peppery dash of cayenne. Quick cooking retains maximum estrogenic properties.

  • 2 unpeeled Valencia oranges
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • Pita bread for serving

With a very sharp knife, cut the oranges, onion and tomato into wafer-thin crosswise slices. In a saute pan, over high heat, heat the olive oil and saute the oranges, onion, tomato and garlic. Saute for 2 to 4 minutes or until the oranges are beginning to brown. (This took us 8 minutes.)

In a small bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients except the pita bread.

Arrange the orange mixture on a platter. Drizzle with the balsamic mixture. Serve at once with pita bread.

Makes 4 servings.

"The Hot Flash Cookbook" by Cathy Luchetti.

Yam Silk Soup

Luscious and thick, this rich golden soup is a harvest offering of sweet corn, yam and squash with a genial dash of added spice.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (3 cups)
  • 1 yam (3 to 6 ounces), peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Dash each of ground ginger and allspice
  • Freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • Garnish: Shaved fresh ginger and Julienned red bell pepper

In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, shallots and salt until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the squash, yam, corn and thyme. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add the broth, and puree until smooth. Season with the spices and garnish with the ginger and red pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

"The Hot Flash Cookbook" by Cathy Luchetti.

Skewered Chicken With Hot Peanut Sauce

This variation of a classic Southeast Asian dish was created by Linda Hillel. Serve as an appetizer or as a main course with fragrant jasmine or basmati rice.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted chunky peanut butter

    1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili oil, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake) or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips, or chicken tenders (see tips below)
  • 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, oils, mirin or sherry, soy sauce and ginger; stir to blend. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with about 1/3 of the peanut sauce mixture and reserve the rest. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Stir the vinegar and cilantro into the reserved peanut sauce and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Light a fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Thread the chicken strips lengthwise on skewers. Grill the chicken over hot coals for 1 or 2 minutes on each side, or until opaque throughout.

Note: We used 9 chicken tenders to equal 1 1/2 pounds. Tenders need to cook about 6 to 8 minutes.

Serve with reserved peanut sauce on the side.

Makes 8 appetizer servings or 4 main-dish servings.

"The Hot Flash Cookbook" by Cathy Luchetti.

Preparation Tips

Preparing these recipes brought forth some shortcuts and suggestions:

Because squash is almost impossible to cut when raw, we sliced the butternut in half and microwaved the half we were using for 5 minutes on high. This softens the skin and makes it easier to peel.

If you buy your corn with the husks on, save the end of the ear as a "handle" to hold when you slice off the kernels. Use a big bowl, because fresh corn will spit and the kernels can sometimes go flying, too.

Chicken tenders may be used in place of chicken breasts. This saves the cutting and makes a handy serving size to thread on a skewer. If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in water first. This usually prevents their igniting when placed over the fire.

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