The Dish

THE DISH

January 22, 2003

A bay-leaf primer

When you're making your favorite stew or stock this winter, don't forget the bay leaf.

Its pungent and spicy flavor lends itself well to winter recipes and it is frequently found in ethnic dishes ranging from French to Indian.

According to spice maker McCormick & Co., the bay tree originated in Asia Minor and is grown throughout the Mediterranean, with the most prized leaves coming from Turkey.

In ancient Rome and Greece, the bay leaf was a symbol of victory and courage, and crowns of bay leaves were placed upon the heads of winning Olympians and soldiers.

Try adding a couple of bay leaves to red-wine marinades, gumbo, creole sauces, curries, roasted chicken, chili or polenta. Just remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.

More healthful student fare

If your college kids came home packing more than dirty laundry, here're some ideas on how to help them battle the weight gain new students often experience when they go away to school.

Glad Products Co. advises sending them back to college with plenty of healthful snacks, like dried or canned fruit, peanut butter, canned tuna, soup and granola for their dorm-room pantries.

Encourage them to stock their mini refrigerators with milk, fresh fruit and vegetables so when they get the late-night munchies, they'll have an alternative to chips.

Cookie-candy combination

Can't decide whether you want a cookie or candy to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Now you can have them both. Two companies have come up with cookie-candy hybrids. Kraft's Oreo and Chips Ahoy Cookie Barz give you the familiar cookies covered with fudge and sprinkled with topping.

Masterfoods' Cookies& gives you the taste of M&Ms, Snickers, Twix and Milky Way candy bars combined with a crunchy cookie.

Both kinds come in individually wrapped bars and sell for $2.99 a box in food stores and from mass merchandisers.

A vacation that's cookin'

If your idea of a dream vacation is learning the secret of French pastries while at the same time taking in the sights along the Champs Elysees, the Ritz Escoffier school in Paris may be for you.

The school offers 2,200 hours of courses each year to more than 800 students. Instruction ranges from a single evening workshop for beginning cooks that cost $128 to 12-week courses for professionals that cost $10,893. Classes are taught in French and English and include sessions on how to pair wine and food, cooking seasonal dishes and learning the basics of sauces and pastries.

For more information, visit www.ritzparis.com or call 01-43-16-30-50.

Events

Learn to make winter soups 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Red Tapas Restaurant, at the corner of Calvert and Redwood streets. $40. Call 410-561-CHEF for information.

Learn to make pasta sauces 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Donna's in Clarksville, 5809 Clarksville Square. $25. Call 410-659-5248, Ext. 112 for reservations.

Explore the secrets of Thai food 7 p.m. Monday at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. $45. At 7 p.m. Tuesday, learn to make quick meals. $45. Call 410-539-8600 for reservations.

Enjoy red wine and chili 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Boordy Vineyards, 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes. No reservations required. Call 410-592-5015.

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