Spreading around the cheese Interest in ethnic cuisine...

THE DISH

May 01, 2002|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Spreading around the cheese

Interest in ethnic cuisine has cooks picking pecks of peppers -- chili peppers, jalapenos and habaneros. But sometimes the sweeter, milder pimiento is overlooked.

Long favored in the South to flavor cheese spread, pimientos can add flavor and color to all sorts of dishes, from soups and sauces to entrees and side dishes. They also have more vitamin C than two oranges and are rich in antioxidants, according to the California Associated Pimiento Growers.

Here's an easy pimiento-cheese spread to slather on your sandwich or burger:

4-Cheese Pimiento Spread

4-ounce jar diced pimiento

12 ounces shredded white Cheddar

8 ounces shredded yellow Cheddar

4 ounces crumbled feta or

Gorgonzola

4 ounces Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons sweet pickle juice

3 tablespoons mustard

1 cup mayonnaise

Drain pimiento and discard liquid. Combine all ingredients. Chill if desired.

All about oil

All cooking oils are not created equal. Using the correct oil is important to achieving the flavor you want. Nextdaygourmet.com offers these tips for using oils:

* Replace oils every six to 12 months.

* Avoid heating oil over high heat because it has a low smoking point and will burn.

* Do not cook with walnut oil; heat destroys its delicate flavor.

* Grapeseed oil is perfect for sauteing, baking and frying. It is easily digestible and high in antioxidants.

* Most oils have about 120 calories per tablespoon, so use oils sparingly.

How wine lovers can seal in freshness

Sometimes a new product comes along that just clicks with the consumer. That is the case with Vacu Vin's new wine saver, an upgrade of the company's popular original, which keeps wine fresh up to 10 days by creating a vacuum seal.

In addition to a more sophisticated, ergonomically shaped handle and large-capacity pump, the new Vacu Vin Concerto clicks to signal when the vacuum has been obtained.

OK, so clicks don't make a concert, but the innovation is helpful to avoid over-pumping or under-pumping when you're using the device.

The wine saver has a suggested retail price of $19.99 and comes with two stoppers. It's available at Brookstone, Crate & Barrel, Amazon.com, kitchen stores and gift shops.

A chance to cook with world's best

While some moms would prefer to go out to eat on Mother's Day, here's a gift idea to send Mom to the kitchen -- an internship with one of the best chefs in the world.

L'Ecole des Chefs Relais Gourmands is a program that allows amateur cooks to learn from chefs like Charlie Trotter (pictured), Gerard Boyer in Reims, France, or Daniel Boulud in New York.

One-on-one internships are available with 100 chefs in 17 countries. All are part of Relais & Chateux Relais Gourmands, the prestigious association of small hotels and gourmet restaurants.

Two- and five-day programs cost from $1,100 to $2,600. For more information, call toll-free 877-334-6464 or log onto www.ecoledeschefs.com.

EVENTS

* View culinary masterpieces created by guest chefs at the Women's Housing Coalition's Annual Kitchen Party, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art. $65 ($50 tax-deductible). For information: 410-235-5782.

* Learn what makes a great wine from Europe in a Guide to European Label Reading, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Bin 604, 604 S. Exeter St. $24. For information: 410-576-0444.

* Taste fresh strawberries with May wine, listen to bluegrass music and enjoy a slice of German chocolate cake at Berrywine Plantations Black Forest Family Weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, 13601 Glissans Mill Road in Mount Airy. Free. For information: 800-514-8735.

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