Trendy rice One of the latest frozen-food trends is...



Trendy rice

One of the latest frozen-food trends is rice-bowl meals, a market segment that grew 50 percent last year.

But you don't have to turn to Uncle Ben or Lean Cuisine for a quick and easy dish. Here's a recipe from the USA Rice Federation to make your own rice bowl:

Thread 1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, on skewers. Place on broiler rack coated with cooking spray. Brush shrimp with oil reserved from a 1/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil. Broil for 4 minutes 4 to 5 inches from the heat. Then combine 3 cups hot cooked rice, one 11-ounce can of corn (drained), the 1/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spoon into bowls and top with shrimp. Makes 4 servings.

Turning up the heat

If you want to do some serious grilling, Thermador's new line of fully assembled barbecues can handle it. The Char-Glo series comes in built-in, slide-in models as well as ready-to-go free-standing versions with up to 80,000 British thermal units of power under the grilling surface. How hot can they get? The temperature gauge on the hood goes up to 1,000 degrees.

These babies come with rotisseries that can handle a 25-pound turkey, and larger models include a smoker tray.

The suggested retail price for models in the Char-Glo series range from $2,729 to $5,179. For information, visit or call 800-656-9226 to request a brochure.

Facts for curious diners

Did you know Starbucks' 20-ounce White Chocolate Mocha has as many calories as a Big Mac? Or that cheese fries with ranch dressing contain four days' worth of saturated fat?

If you read Restaurant Confidential (Workman Publishing, 2002, $12.95) you may never look at a restaurant menu the same way again.

Michael F. Jacobson and Jayne G. Hurley with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for the Science in the Public Interest analyze nearly 1,500 foods found in the largest chain restaurants, looking at the fat, calories, cholesterol and salt of these popular dishes. They conclude that you can have a healthy meal in a restaurant, and tell you how.

The book is available at online booksellers and local bookstores.

Fast, crustless sandwiches

Food makers, it seems, will go to any lengths to make snacks more convenient. Smucker's has even found a way to make peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches easier with its new line of Uncrustables, thaw-and-serve crustless sandwiches, with - you guessed it - peanut butter and jelly.

The sandwiches come four to a box and are made with soft white bread, creamy peanut butter and either grape jelly or strawberry jam. They do taste good, but have we really become so busy that we can't make a sandwich?

Look for them in the freezer section of local supermarkets at a suggested retail price of between $2.39 and $2.59 a box.


Join in a nationwide celebration of Julia Child's 90th birthday on Aug. 1 when restaurants in 20 cities will hold dinners in her honor. In Baltimore, the birthday bash will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Gertrude's in the Baltimore Museum of Art with VIP guest TV chef Curtis Aikens. Price is $75 with proceeds going to benefit the Julia Child Endowment Fund providing scholarships for culinary research in France. Call 410-889-3399 for reservations.

Learn to make barbecue sauces and rubs 7 p.m. Friday at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. $45. Call 410-539-8600.

Cooking Without a Conscience author Neil Beller will make recipes loaded with taste, calories and seasonings at 1 p.m. Sunday at Barnes & Noble, 1 E. Joppa Road in Towson. The event is part of a summer cooking series the store is holding the fourth Sunday of every month.

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