'Maryland in Season'Education may not be the first thing...

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September 13, 1992|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

'Maryland in Season'

Education may not be the first thing on the minds of restaurant diners, but the Maryland Department of Agriculture wants to make sure diners learn how much of their meal originated in the state. That was the point of a just-ended month-long promotion, "Maryland in Season," that involved nearly three dozen restaurants around the state.

Among them were Carrol's Creek Cafe in Annapolis, Harbor House in Chestertown, Trio at the Avalon in Easton, and Gampy's, Haussner's and Harrison's Pier 5 in Baltimore.

Though the promotion lasted just a month, the state is hoping patrons remember that restaurant dining helps Maryland farmers, fishermen and other food producers. "We have all Maryland produce" as a general rule, said Charles Gibby, of Gibby's Seafood, Timonium, another participant. "Maryland .

tomatoes, Maryland cucumbers -- we even serve Silver Queen corn as a side dish." While applauding the state's efforts to promote local products, Mr. Gibby expressed a common concern of chefs and restaurateurs these days: that a shortage of crabs and poor quality may mean Maryland won't have them to promote in the future.

Muffins, easy to make and hard to turn down, are enjoying new popularity. If you're a fan of the often-healthful goodies, you may want to enter a contest sponsored by the Quaker Oats Co. Any original recipe for muffins and/or breads, cookies or desserts may be submitted, as long as it uses at least one cup of oats (old-fashioned or quick-cook). Grand prize is $10,000; three first prizes are worth $3,000 each; and three second prizes are worth $1,000 each. Recipes will be judged on the basis of taste, convenience, appearance and creativity. For complete contest rules, send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to: Quaker Oats Contest Rules, P.O. Box 1370, Barrington, Ill. 60011. Contest closes Oct. 31.

Here's a sample of an oat recipe developed by Quaker.

, Pumpkin oat streusel muffins

Makes 1 dozen

FOR THE MUFFINS:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, slightly beaten

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING:

1/4 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon margarine, melted

1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups or lightly grease bottoms only. For streusel topping, combine oats, brown sugar, margarine and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. For muffins, combine dry ingredients, including nuts. Add combined pumpkin, milk, oil and egg; mix until just moistened. Fill muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle the tops of muffins evenly with streusel mixture. Bake 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let muffins stand a few minutes; remove from pan. Serve warm or cool on wire rack.

for photo A: Most people know that flowers, which are always beautiful, are often edible as well. Peppery nasturtium petals give oomph to salads; squash blossoms are wonderful in stir fry. The problem is that few of us are expert enough to know which flowers are safe and which are not. (Of course, even among edible types, only flowers grown organically are safe to eat.)

A lecture-demonstration at the Nature Company store at Harborplace may make things clearer for garden and wildlife foragers. Plant enthusiast Bill Messenger will deliver a slide lecture from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, that will be accompanied by a sampling of edible blooms. The event is free; for more information, call Lydia Robert, (410) 576-0909.

A new brew

So what's a gourmet foods purveyor to do when the perfect brew to offer for sale cannot be found? Could do like Sutton Place Gourmet and have a beer brewed especially for you. The new beer is called Blue Point, and it will be available at Sutton Place Gourmet stores, including the store at Festival at Woodholme, 1809 Reisterstown Road.

The brew, developed by Sutton Place Gourmet's resident beer expert Ed Charping in cooperation with Old Dominion Brewing Co., Ashburn, Va., combines five varieties of malted barley and a blend of four kinds of hops for a distinctive taste. Sutton Place Gourmet expects to have the no-preservatives-added beer on store shelves just two days after it's bottled. The beer costs $5.99 plus tax for six.

A spokesman for Sutton Place Gourmet called it "fruity, malty and hoppy, in that order, full-flavored but not heavy. . . .," she said.

Calendar for kids

Riddles, games, recipes and survival tricks are among the information packed into the Jell-O "Sammy and Watson's Busloads of Fun School Year Calendar," from Kraft General Foods. The calendar starts with September, which offers this hint: "The first day of school can be confusing. There's no need to get scared. If you can't find your way, ask a teacher." October has masks to color and warns: "Halloween candy is dandy. But you should never eat anything that is opened or unwrapped."

Recipes include Cookie Dunk Pudding, Pudding Pizza, Star Spangled Snack and Gobbler Cookies. There are also stickers to mark birthday parties, library book due dates and class trips.

To order, call (800) 652-9500. A charge of $3 for shipping and handling will be billed to your Visa or MasterCard. Allow four weeks to process your order. Offer expires Oct. 31.

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