The Dish

THE DISH

February 23, 2005|By Holly Shiver | By Holly Shiver,SUN STAFF

A spicy forecast

The flavor experts at McCormick & Co. have teamed up with cookbook authors, television personalities and some of America's best chefs to examine new flavor trends in its 2005 Flavor Forecast.

This year's top choice is pickling spice -- a combination of cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chile peppers, cloves, black pepper, mace and cardamom.

Pickling spice makes for a nice complement to pot roasts, braised meats, stews, soups and rice dishes.

Others on the top 10 list include: allspice, annatto, cardamom, cinnamon, curry, ginger, mint, sage and vanilla.

For cooking tips and recipes using the top 10 flavors of 2005 call 800-632-5847 or log on to www.mccormick.com.

Just cut and serve

If your kids turn their little noses up at crusts on their bread, try the Good Bites Crustless Sandwich Cutter. The tool removes the crust, and in one motion seals and slices sandwiches, making them ready to serve. Good Bites is safe for kids to use as well.

It is $5.95 at www.mommyshop.com.

Hungry for snack, not salt?

Responding to new concerns about diet and nutrition, Planters has introduced Nut-rition, a new line of lightly salted snack nuts.

The line includes Lightly Salted Heart-Healthy Mix, Lightly Salted Almonds and Reduced Sodium Smoked Almonds, as well as a Lightly Salted Cashews, Almonds and Macadamias Mix specifically recommended for people on the South Beach diet.

Planters Nut-rition snacks are available in the snack / nut aisle of grocery stores nationwide and have a suggested retail price of $5.49 for a 10-ounce can.

For more information, visit www.nutnutrition.com.

To your health

While it's tempting to stop at the local convenience store for your usual cup of joe, here's a more healthful alternative: almond hot chocolate. Not only does it taste good, but it packs the added boost of vitamin E, fiber, potassium, calcium and iron.

Here's how to make it: Place a metal bowl with about 6 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chopped chocolate on top of a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of water.

Bring water to a low simmer, stirring chocolate until melted.

Place the melted chocolate and 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa into a mixing bowl. Bring 2 cups of almond milk to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiled, pour over chocolate and cocoa mix and mix well to melt and make frothy.

Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour into mugs and serve immediately. Dust with cocoa to garnish and serve with chocolate-covered almonds. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 278 calories; 6 grams protein; 15 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 36 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 0 grams cholesterol; 77 milligrams sodium

-- Recipe and analysis from

the Almond Board of California

EVENTS

The Yum Yum Sisters (Ilene Spector and Sandra Spanos) will be showing off new recipes to use in entertaining your guests from noon to 1 p.m. March 3 at the East Arcade Stage at the Lexington Market.

Learn to make hearty meat stews 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 2 at Donna's in Columbia, 5850 Waterloo Road. $35. Call 410-659-5248, ext. 112.

Make stews from around the world 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Chef's Expressions, 9526 Deereco Road, Timonium. $40. Call 410-561-CHEF.

Explore bisques, chowders and pureed soups 7 p.m. Tuesday at For the Love of Food, 20 Clarks Lane, Reisterstown. $50. Call 410-833-5579, 443-865-0630.

Find out about low-carb cooking 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Feb. 28 to March 7, at Loch Raven Academy, 8101 LaSalle Road. $35, plus food fee. Call the Community College of Baltimore County at 410-869-1225 or visit www.ccbcmd.edu / ceed / spring / le_cooking.html.

Join the Brass Elephant Restaurant's 5th Book Club Dinner, featuring The Martini Diet and guests Pascale Lemaire and Steve Boorstein, 6:30 p.m. March 2. $45, includes martini, hors d'oeuvres, four-course dinner and complimentary valet parking. Call 410-456-7010 for more information.

Help decide who has the best soda bread and brown bread in the city at 4 p.m. today at Finnerteas Tea Room, 3547 Chestnut Ave. in Hampden. The contest for home cooks and commercial bakers is being sponsored by the Caroline Center, which helps train unemployed women.

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 food@baltsun.com.

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