Bag some Old BayThe secret's in the bag -- that is, the...

TIDBITS

June 13, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Bag some Old Bay

The secret's in the bag -- that is, the secret of cooking succulent seafood with no mess and no bother in as little as seven minutes. Old Bay, whose dry seasoning blend has long been beloved by Marylanders as the essential element in cooking crabs, has introduced a series of new seasoning blends for seafood that come with oven bags.

The seasoning blends, called Seas'n Easy, are ginger lemon, garlic and herb (both for shellfish), and lemon dill and Creole (for fin fish). You simply add seafood and liquid, along with the seasoning, to the bag, and pop it in the oven. The fish cooks in 15 to 20 minutes in the regular oven or seven to nine minutes in the microwave.

Seas'n Easy blends are available at major grocery chains and other stores where Old Bay products are sold. Suggested retail price is $1.69.

It's always time for Tupperware, especially when it makes preparing meals easier. That's the goal of the new Meals in Minutes microsteamer, which can cook such meals as chicken and rice or shrimp and linguine for one or two in three to eight minutes. The three-piece set includes a 1 1/2 -quart dish, a removable colander and a lid; the unit is designed to go from microwave to dinner table to dishwasher. The steamer's suggested retail price is $17.50, and it comes with a recipe booklet. Call toll-free, (800) 858-7221, to locate the Tupperware distributor nearest you.

This may be the easiest quiz you ever took, and, regardless of your answers, I promise the results will be delicious:

1. Popcorn is served in my house:

;/ A. Occasionally. B. Never. C. As an entree.

My idea of a side dish is:

A. Steamed asparagus. B. Salted pretzels. C. M&Ms.

There will be a party at my house:

A. Any time. B. When the O's win the pennant. C. When visitors from Mars drop in.

If you chose any of the C answers, you are a prime candidate for a new cookbook by Kevin Crafts called "Desperate Measures: 90 Unintimidating Recipes for the Domestically Inept" (Clarkson Potter, $18). Even if you're domestically "ept," Mr. Crafts' humor, practicality and perfectly delicious recipes make the book a welcome addition to any cookbook library.

Mr. Crafts, a New York food stylist, writes in the book's introduction: "I have earned my living putting together unbelievable meals with the aid of more weapons from the batterie de cuisine than I care to remember. But I have also learned how to make those same meals possible for those of us with great aspirations and realistic appetites (and real kitchens)."

The book is arranged by occasion ("A cocktail party of one's own," "T, my name is turkey") and besides the recipes, there are many tips throughout. Even the most humorous ones are quite useful: "Anything served with lots of grapes on endive has to look good. Use this idea to death."

H

Here's a sample recipe, from the cocktail party chapter:

Camembert in herbed pastry

Serves 10 to 20.

1 17 1/2 -ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 8 1/2 -ounce Camembert rounds

1 egg white

Thaw the pastry according to the package instructions. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out two pastry sheets on a well-floured surface. Spread the chopped parsley or basil evenly over both pastry sheets and sprinkle with the garlic. Place a round of cheese in the center of each pastry sheet and wrap the pastry around the cheese. Twist the top to seal and cut away any excess pastry. Brush the pastry with the egg white to seal all the edges.

Place both rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Serve with crackers and honey mustard or capers.

There's good news for people who would like the grocery items they buy to be organically grown, environmentally sensitive or both. Fresh Fields, the "good for you foods" grocery chain based in Rockville, is opening a store in Annapolis.

The 25,000-square-foot store will subscribe to the same product-selection criteria as stores in Rockville and Bethesda in Maryland and in Alexandria and Charlottesville in Virginia. That is, food with no synthetic preservatives, artificial colors or flavors; no refined sugar or synthetic sweeteners; no hydrogenated oils, tropical oils or cottonseed oil; meats and dairy products from animals given no hormones or growth-inducing drugs; food that is organically produced, wherever possible; products that are not tested on animals; and products that do not contain phosphates or chlorine.

Fresh Fields is noted for extensive in-store information about the products it sells and for deli counters that offer hot and cold foods, including vegetarian choices.

The newest store, at Annapolis Harbor Center, 2504 Solomons Island Road, will open to the public Friday. Store hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

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