Computing for cooks


August 21, 1994|By Karol V. Menzie

Cooks who are computer literate, and who have access to a Macintosh CD-ROM, can sample an uncommon treat with "4 Paws of Crab," an interactive cooking and cultural exploration program from Live Oak Multimedia Inc., Emeryville, Calif. Live Oak calls it "a narrative Thai cookbook," and it includes 45 recipes with photo demonstrations (18 have video demonstrations as well), a glossary of Thai ingredients (with an order form so some of the harder-to-obtain can be delivered right to your door), a "time line," or survey of recent Thai and American political history, and, finally, a video with the reflections of two friends, an American woman, Nora Bateson, creative director of Live Oak, and her Thai friend Bancha "Bird" Leelagaugoon, on their travels through each other's countries. (The "4 paws" in the name come from Mr. Leelagaugoon's unwitting substitution of "paws" for "claws" in a recipe calling for crab.)

The information is illustrated with scenes of life in Thailand and sounds of the markets and streets. "4 Paws" is easy to use -- just point and click -- and easy to like. The recipes (which can be printed out) sound delicious, and the illustrations and comments of the two friends are completely charming.

Don't leave anything untended on the stove while you check this out; it'll be burned to a crisp by the time you next look up. "4 Paws" requires a Mac CD-ROM, a 13-inch 256 color monitor, four megabytes of free RAM, with system 7.01 or higher. Available only from Live Oak for $59.95, plus $3 shipping (or $8 overnight). Call (800) 454-7557.

' Here's a sample recipe:

Thai Ice Tea

Serves 6 to 8

5 cups water

1 cup Thai tea leaves

1-2 cups condensed milk

5-7 cups crushed ice

In a saucepan or kettle bring water to boil. Place tea in large sock-like strainer or tea balls. Pour hot water over tea into a heat-proof pitcher or teapot and allow to steep for 30 seconds. Remove strainer or tea balls and place in second pitcher. Pour tea back through strainer or tea balls. Repeat until brewed to taste. Traditionally served very strong. Thais usually repeat three times. Allow to cool. Add condensed milk to taste to each glass and pour over ice.

Less salt, more heat in seafood spice

Until now it's been a well-kept secret among some crab houses and seafood restaurants, but now it's out of the bag -- that is, it's out in bags and cans in sizes convenient for consumers who need a little spice in their lives. It's spice blends from J.O. Spices of Baltimore, who offer J.O. #1, a red pepper-based blend for shrimp, fish and poultry that's also available with 50 percent less salt, no salt, and extra hot. Also in regular and extra hot is J.O. #2 crab seasoning. J.O. spice blends are available by mail and at Safeway, Basics, Farm Fresh, Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood, the Broadway Fish Market and other markets and seafood shops. Suggested retail price for an 8-ounce can of J.O. #1 or #2 is $1.59; a decorative 2-pound tin of crab seasoning is $3.59. To order, to request a catalog or for more information, call (800) 537-5714.

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