The Dish


January 07, 2004|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff

Healthful comfort food

On cold winter days, we crave comfort foods -- hot soups, chilies and mashed potatoes. Included on that list of familiar favorites are bread puddings, but too often, the traditional bread pudding contains fat and calories we should avoid.

The American Institute of Cancer Research suggests savory bread puddings as a more healthful alternative. These dishes, made with herbs, mushrooms, cheese, vegetables and whole-grain bread, can hold their own as side dishes to formal dinners or as tasty one-dish breakfasts.

For recipes, visit the Web site

Oats: a delicious option

January is the month we buy more oatmeal than at any other time, according to Quaker Foods & Beverages. Last year, Americans purchased 36.3 million pounds of oats -- enough to make 363 million bowls of oatmeal.

Looking for ideas on how to use it all? If you're weary of oatmeal for breakfast and gaining too many pounds from oatmeal cookies, Quaker has plenty of suggestions for other ways to use oatmeal, including this recipe for Macadamia and Oat-Crusted Halibut With Tomato-Orange Relish:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups uncooked Quaker quick oats, 1/2 cup chopped raw macadamia nuts, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and mix well.

In a second shallow dish, beat 3 tablespoons of water and a slightly beaten egg white with a fork until frothy. Dip six 4-ounce fresh halibut fillets, one at a time, into the egg mixture and then the oat mixture. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, place fish on sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

To make relish, combine 1/2 cup coarsely chopped orange segments; 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, patted dry and chopped; 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives; 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion; 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves; 1 tablespoon of oil from tomatoes; and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with fish.

Rice with a difference

Open a box of Uncle Ben's new Flavorful Rice and you'll find something is missing: the seasoning packet.

That is because the leading rice brand has infused the flavors into the rice grains themselves. It took researchers more than a decade to figure out how to put the flavors into the grain. To accomplish its goal, the company had to grow an entirely new strain of rice.

Flavorful Rice comes in seven varieties and is available in grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $1.29 for a 6.2-ounce box.

For saucy setups

Creating a perfect Italian meal means not only finding the perfect wine to accompany your pasta, but also finding the perfect sauce.

Barilla, which makes both pasta and sauces, offers these suggestions:

* Use chunkier, meatier sauces on ridged pasta, such as penne and rigatoni.

* Pair smooth shapes, such as mostaccioli and ziti, with light sauces such as olive oil or simple fresh tomato.

* Use robust sauces on fettuccine.

* Pair linguine with pesto, tomato sauces, oil-based sauces or fish-based sauces.

For a free guide to pasta and sauce pairings, call 800-922-7455.


* Learn to make winter stews, biscuits and corn breads 7 p.m. tomorrow at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. $45. On Saturday and Jan. 17 and 24, kids can learn to cook in a three-class course. $150. For more details on these and other classes, call 410-539-8600.

The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail

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