Truly taste-full giftsLooking for holiday gifts with a...

Tidbits

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

Truly taste-full gifts

Looking for holiday gifts with a true flavor of Maryland? The Maryland Historical Society Museum Shop's new Maryland Pantry has just the thing - baskets packed with all sorts of locally made goodies. There are jams and jellies by Connie Stevens of Baltimore, at $4-$5 each, Lord Baltimore Tea, prepared exclusively for the Museum Shop by the Eastern Shore Tea Co., 85 for 3 ounces, and sugar and ginger cookies from the Otterbein Bakery of Baltimore, $4.50 for an 8-ounce bag. There are also selected herb vinegars by Cinda Sebastian of Westminster, $4 a bottle, and homemade candies by Nancy Simms of Baltimore - $1 for a lollipop, about $9 for a chocolate Santa. The baskets are free, and filling one can cost as little as $10. It takes just a few minutes to assemble each one, but if you don't have time to select the items, there are pre-packaged gift tote bags starting at about $20.

The shop also stocks other Maryland and food-related items such as Maryland china coffee mugs ($8). crab-decorated tea towels ($3), and a book called "Maryland Trivia" ($5.95). The shop is located at the historical society, 201 W. Monument St. All the Items are also available individually. There's no charge for admission to the shop; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 9a.m. to 5p.m. Saturday. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (410) 685-3750, Ext. 305.

Help is at hand

The turkey's too big for the oven, the sauce is curdling, the guests are due in 30 minutes and your spouse is calling from the wine store wanting to know whether to bring home red or white. Wish you could just shout "Help!' and be rescued from culinary disaster?

Well, for a small price, you can. Culinary Consulting Services of Ocean City offers two phone-in help lines, Dial-A-Chef, and the Wine Line, that can answer virtually any question you may have about food and cooking. "You call up with your question - how many people will a 12-pound turkey serve, what appetizer should I serve, how much you want to spend on wine." says Pat Nash. who founded the service with his wife, Karen. "Some questions we can answer right away - what kind of wine to serve with duck, or how many cold cuts to buy." If the question is more complicated -a recent caller asked for a recipe for onion-cranberry relish - you'll be told when to call back for the answer.

The Nashes, who both work at Fager's Island, one of Ocean City's best-rated restaurants will research the question - perhaps consulting Paul Long, formerly of the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, who now has a gourmet wine and cheese shop in Ocean City, or Don Pelletier, beverage manager for Fager's Island. where the wine list won an award from the Wine Spectator and have the answer when you call back. The service costs $2.95 per minute. Mr. Nash expects the average call to be 4 to 5 minutes, Hours are from 10a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Mr. Nash expects the hours to be expanded soon. The numbers are (900) 933-CHEF (900) 933-2433) and (900) 933-WINE (900) 933-9463).

And by the way, what wine you serve with duck depends on the sauce. For duck a la orange, for instance Mr. Nash suggests a French Beaujolais or California pinot noir.

Newman' s Own winners

It's hard not to love a company whose slogan is "Shameless exploitation in pursuit of the common good" - especially if it's Newman's Own, the food company founded by actor Paul Newman that gives all its after-tax profits to charity - $48 million since 1982. Last year the company began sponsoring a recipe contest using Newman's Own products in which prizes were gifts to the winners' favorite charities. This year's winners have recently been announced. The grand prize of a $50,000 contribution went to Janet Sutherland of Escondldo, Calif., for her lasagna primavera. She donated the money to the Assistance League of Escondido Valley. a group that, among other projects, provides new clothing to needy children. Seven other winners picked up prizes of $10,000 for charities ranging from Habitat for Humanity, the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society and an AIDS clinic in Chicago. Here is Ms. Sutherland's recipe.

Lasagna primavera

Serves eight.

1 8-ounce package lasagna noodles

3 carrots, cut into 1/4 -inch slices

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup zucchini, cut into 1/4 -inch thick slices

1 cup crook-neck squash. cut into 1/4 -inch thick slices

2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed

8 ounces ricotta cheese

26-ounce jar Newman's Own Marinara Sauce with Mushrooms

12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 6-quart sauce-pan over high heat. Add lasagna noodles and cook 5 minutes. Add carrots: cook two minutes more. Add broccoli, zucchini and crook-neck squash and cook final 2 minutes or until pasta is tender. Drain well.

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