Extending herbsAutumn brings an end to many of summer's...

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September 19, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Extending herbs

Autumn brings an end to many of summer's joys, but it need not be the end of having fresh herbs at hand for cooking. With a little effort, you can bring some herbs indoors, and extend the life of others.

Here are some suggestions from Paul Todd of Stirling Nursery, Baltimore, who tends the herb gardens at the Milton Inn in Sparks:

*Annual herbs like basil can be snipped and kept in a jar of water in a sunny window. They will last for days, or weeks, and may even develop roots.

*Toward the end of the growing season or even a little sooner, transplant tender annual herbs into pots and bring them inside to a sun room or other sunny location. "In a good situation, they'll last through the year," Mr. Todd says.

*Outdoors, clean perennial herbs of dead growth and mulch them with cut-up leaves or straw. Keep the mulch loose enough to allow air and moisture to penetrate.

A couple of noted authors are coming to Books for Cooks, 301 S. Light St., Harborplace, this week. From noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, chef Michel Richard, of Los Angeles' Citrus restaurant and Citronelle restaurants in Baltimore and Washington will be signing copies of his new cookbook, "Michel Richard's Home Cooking with a French Accent" (by Michel Richard with Judy Zeidler and Jan Weimer, William Morrow & Co., $25). And from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, author and TV chef Nathalie Dupree will be signing copies of her latest book, "Nathalie Dupree's Southern Memories" (Clarkson Potter, $30). For more information, call (410) 547-9066.

The Vegetarian Resource Group of Baltimore is sponsoring two cooking demonstrations and food samplings by two cookbook authors from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Ave. Debra Wasserman will demonstrate low-fat international dishes, and Bobbie Hinman will demonstrate ideas for quick and easy appetizers, main dishes and sandwiches. To register in advance, send check or money order for $10 per person to the Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, Md. 21203. (Advance ticket requests should be postmarked by Friday.) Tickets will also be available for $15 at the door. To order tickets by MasterCard or VISA, or for more information, call (410) 366-VEGE.

Wine enthusiasts, take heart: the 8th annual Fine Wine Auction weekend to benefit the American Heart Association will be held the first weekend in October at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel.

The event is a chance for wine lovers of all levels of experience to learn a little about wine, sample some wines and bid on more than 200 lots offered in silent and live auctions.

Here is the lineup of activities:

*Friday, Oct. 1: Wine and Food Walk About, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A chance to sample a variety of wines from around the world, with light fare. Cost is $40 per person, or $70 per couple, which includes valet parking.

*Saturday, Oct. 2: Black tie dinner, 6:30 p.m. Hostess for the seven-course meal by Omni chef Tim Barger will be California winery owner Marimar Torres, of Torres Wines North America. Auction lots will be displayed during the dinner. Cost is $125 per person, including valet parking.

*Sunday, Oct. 3: Tasting of 10 California cabernets with Robert M. Parker Jr. of the Wine Advocate, starting at 10 a.m. Admission is $50 per person.

There is no charge to attend the auction, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

There will also be a raffle for a trip for two to the wine country of France. Tickets, limited to 500, are $25 each.

For copies of the auction catalog, to order raffle tickets, to make reservations for any event or for more information, call the heart association at (410) 296-2491 or (800) 624-4489.

Good enough to eat or order by mail

Sometimes cookbooks look good enough to eat. An example is "Best-Ever Breads," from Fleischmann's Yeast, part of the company's 125th anniversary celebration. The 80-page book features recipes for loaves, rolls and buns, sweet breads and coffee cakes, holiday and specialty breads, and pizza. There's an introductory section on yeast breads, and tips throughout. There's also a section on bread machines.

The booklet is available by mail. To order, send $2.95 in check or money order to: Best-Ever Breads Recipe Book, P.O. Box 5970, Department PR, Stacy, Minn. 55078-5970. (Checks should be made out to Best-Ever Breads. Postage and handling are included in the price.)

5) Here's a sample recipe from the book:

Lemon spice puffs

Makes 1 1/2 dozen

1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)

1/2 cup sugar

5 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 tablespoons poppy seed

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Place warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Stir in warm milk, 6 tablespoons sugar, butter, poppy seed, lemon peel, salt and 2 cups flour; blend well. Add eggs and remaining flour, stirring until smooth. Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Stir batter down. Grease 18 2 1/2 -inch muffin pan cups. Spoon batter into cups, filling half full. In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon sugar mixture evenly over each cup. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown on top and bottom. Remove muffins from cups; let cool on wire racks.

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