Cooking the bay-area bountyNo question about it, the...

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August 08, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Cooking the bay-area bounty

No question about it, the Chesapeake Bay area is a good place to be hungry. The bounty of the farms and waterways and woodlands means a nearly endless array of fresh ingredients for chefs and home cooks to draw on, from crabs and oysters to corn and tomatoes to wild duck and venison.

So it's not surprising that there are a lot of regional and specialty cookbooks that celebrate the culinary qualities of the region.

Among the more recent is "Dock 'n Dine in Dorchester: A Collection of Recipes and Art from Maryland's Eastern Shore," from the Long Wharf Lighthouse Committee of Cambridge. The recipes were gathered from local families, and proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Long Wharf Lighthouse building project.

Here's a sample recipe, submitted by Doris K. Lewis.

Crab pie

Serves 16

1 pound crab meat

4 eggs

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup milk

8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 tablespoon green pepper, finely chopped

2 9-inch "deep-dish" pie crusts Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crusts 3 minutes and cool. Combine eggs, flour, mayonnaise and milk. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients. Fold into pie crusts. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

For a copy of the book, send $14.95 plus $3.50 for postage and VTC handling for a single copy, and $1.50 for each additional copy, to the Lighthouse Cookbook Committee, Committee of 100, P.O. Box 643, Cambridge, Md. 21613. Maryland resident must add 75 cents sales tax for each book.

Another recent book that focuses on regional cooking contains recipes for many of Maryland's fish and game creatures. "Cooking Along the Chesapeake" is written and published by Baltimorean Kelly Ann Karwacki. Ms. Karwacki is the food editor of the Fishing & Hunting Journal, a Baltimore periodical for hunters and fishermen. She also does cooking demonstrations for hunting and fishing expeditions. "I teach the wives how to cook venison," she says. Some recipes she collected herself, some are from family members. The book was a family effort: Ms. Karwacki's brother-in-law, Andrew Jackson Brown III, did the illustrations, and her cousin, Timothy J. Fitzsimmons, took her picture for the back cover.

Here's a sample recipe:

Oyster stew

10p3 Serves 6 to 8

1 quart oysters

2 quarts of half and half

1 stick of butter

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

Put oysters and butter into a large pan. Add salt and pepper and heat slowly until butter melts and oysters curl slightly. Remove from heat and add half and half. Refrigerate 2 hours or until ready to serve, allowing the oysters to flavor the milk. Heat again when ready to serve.

The book is available at Greetings and Readings in Towson and at a variety of gift shops around the state. Or, for a copy, send $7.50 (which includes postage and handling) to Kelly Ann Karwacki, P.O. Box 11462, Baltimore, Md. 21239. It's billed as a battle, but it's really more of a love-fest: It's the National Capital Barbecue Battle, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Saturday and Sunday at RFK Stadium in Washington. More than 40 teams of both amateur and professional chefs will be competing for $5,000 in prizes and a chance to go to the 1994 Memphis in May international barbecue contest. Among the judges will be Andy Nelson Jr., of Andy Nelson's Southern Pit Barbecue in Cockeysville.

Besides the food, there'll be music, entertainment and crafts. Admission is $3, with a portion going to So Others Might Eat, a Washington charitable group.

A research dietitian at Tufts University is recommending that people over 60 break the "three square meals a day" habit, and turn instead to six snacks or mini-meals a day to aid digestion.

Diminished production of hydrochloric acid, which helps digest food, can make older people feel uncomfortable after a big meal, says Helen Rasmussen, whose findings appeared in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. She suggests dining on low-fat cookies and crackers, fruit-based shakes, small sandwiches, pastas, grains and cereals in smaller, more frequent servings. Plenty of water and a short walk every day will also aid digestion, she says.

Speedy spuds

Gadget lovers, take note: There's a new device on the market that promises perfect "oven-baked" potatoes in 25 minutes. It's the Mr. Coffee Potato Perfect, a sort of mini-oven with two heat-conducting skewers inside. To bake potatoes, skewer them, add 3 tablespoons of water to the device, and plug it in. Most parts of the device are dishwasher-safe, and it stands upright for more compact storage. It could be a boon to baked-potato lovers who don't like the way microwave ovens cook potatoes but don't want to heat up the house with a !B full-size oven. Suggested retail price is $29.95, and the device is available wherever Mr. Coffee products are sold, including department stores and major discount centers.

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