On the new product front: If you don't have room for one of those trendy but bulky 9professional" mixers, but find hand mixers inadequate for some tasks, Black & Decker offers a compromise: the new 200-watt PowerPro mixer. It has five speeds and offers beaters with no center posts to cut through batter effortlessly. The handle has a user-friendly angled grip, and the beater-ejection switch is inside the handle. The mixer also has an electronic sensor that automatically adjusts to load changes to ensure a steady, consistent mixing speed. The mixer is available wherever Black & Decker products are sold. Suggested retail price is $47.98. "R" you looking forward to oyster season? If you're a fan of the marvelous mollusks, now is the time to start thinking of recipes to enter in the National Oyster Cook-Off in Leonardtown this fall. There are four divisions: hors d'oeuvres; soups and stews; main dishes; and outdoor cookery/salad. Grand prize is $1,000 and 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place prizes of $150, $80 and $55 will be awarded in each division. Recipes must be submitted by Aug. 3. To get a copy of the rules, or to submit a recipe, write to National Oyster Cook-off, c/o DECD, P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, Md. 20650. For a copy of last year's winning recipes, send $3 to National Oyster Cook-Off Cookbook, at the same address.
Time for tomatoes
Right now it certainly seems as if that first tomato will never get ripe. But one day it will, and so will all of its companions, and you will have dozens of tomatoes all at once. Maybe you can eat every single one of them with chopped fresh basil, slices of fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of olive oil . . . or maybe you'd like
some variety in your tomato diet. To the rescue comes Lee Bailey, writer and author of 10 books of cookery and entertaining, with a fresh little book called "Lee Bailey's Tomatoes" (Clarkson Potter, 1992, $14). It has more than three dozen recipes for tomatoes, ranging from tomato spoon bread to savory tomato pie to Mexican eggs to green tomato and apple pie. The introduction is one of Mr. Bailey's charming Southern recollections. Here's a sample recipe; Mr. Bailey says it makes a good addition to grilled meats and can be made mild or hot, depending on personal preference.
Fresh tomato chutney
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
5 green onions, minced (with some green)
1 medium garlic clove, minced
L 1 small red chili pepper (about 4 inches), seeded and minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste
Put the raisins in a small, nonreactive bowl and cover with the orange juice. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the raisins and discarding the juice.
Toss the raisins with the remaining ingredients, and allow to marinate for about an hour before using.
If your summer vacation budget doesn't quite cover running over to Europe with a stop in Spain to check out the summer Olympics, you can still take a culinary journey of sorts by sampling Windows restaurant's international buffets.
Each week features signature dishes from a different country; this week, for instance, is Spain (Barcelona is the site of this summer's Games); future "stops" include Greece, Hungary, Australia, Italy and the Southwest United States. (The program began July 13 with France and then Germany.)
The all-you-can-eat buffet, which costs $10.95 per person, is available weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the restaurant, which is on the fifth floor of the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel, 202 E. Pratt St. (The regular menu will also be available.)
Diners who request a "passport" and sample five buffets are eligible to win club-level seats to an Orioles' game and dinner for two at Windows.
Mimi Sheraton, the New York food writer and restaurant critic whose high standards and acerbic words draw fear, rage and respect in culinary circles, has turned her sharp sights on Baltimore in the August issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
Allegedly her goal was to check out the crabs, hon, but her restaurant selections are so eclectic that all she measures is her own likes and dislikes. The selections include only one crab house, for instance, but five -- count 'em, five -- pricey, top-tier gourmand spots that, while excellent in their way, are hardly places that Baltimoreans intent on a crab feast would consider.
Among her stops, the place noted for crabs is Obrycki's (one star), and the five gourmet spots are: the Conservatory (one star); Hampton's (three stars); the Milton Inn (two stars); and the Prime Rib (three stars) in Baltimore; and the Inn at Perry Cabin (two stars) in St. Michaels. Other places mentioned: Bertha's (no stars); Harrison's Pier 5 (no stars); Haussner's (two stars); and Pierpoint (three stars).