Welcome to issue no. 17 of Foodstuff

January 19, 1999

In this issue:

Phytochemicals and The Blueberry Connection

Why You Should Eat More Blueberries

In the September 1997 issue of Foodstuff I reported the recent talk about "secret" disease-fighting foods. Phytochemicals (pronounced Fi Toe) were the latest stars in the world of health and nutrition. Finally the mainstream media has been reporting on these foods too. Foods containing phytochemicals are known to boost health and prevent diseases. The best part is that they're very easy to find. Many of you already know about garlic, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, onions, soybeans and grapes. But the new "hero" is the blueberry! Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of 40 fruits tested. Studies show blueberries, like cranberries, have a unique component that's useful in treating and preventing urinary tract infections. Studies are also showing the health benefits from eating blueberries may be as far reaching as preventing cancer and retarding the effects of aging, particularly loss of memory.

We all need to be reminded from time to time that diets high in fruits and vegetables protect against heart disease and cancer. Blueberries are available year-round in a variety of forms, including frozen, dried, canned and concentrated. Keep frozen blueberries around all the time to toss in pancake batter, muffins, fruit shakes, or just delight in them naturally. And next time you're faced with ordering dessert (such a problem!) choose the blueberry pie and feel less guilty. The following recipe is my personal favorite way to enjoy blueberries.

Easy Blueberry Tarts

2 cups blueberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 sponge cake shells
1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Set aside 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Fill sponge cake shells with fruit. Top with a dollop of yogurt


The first time I ever heard of Mulligatawny Soup was in an episode of Seinfeld. Of course I was intrigued because I have been around a lot of recipes these last few years, but hadn't heard of this one. At first I thought it was an Irish recipe, but later found out it's really an Anglicized version of an Indian soup and Mulligatawny translated means "pepper water." It's basically a curried chicken soup adapted by the British in India. Originally the soup was enriched with coconut milk and embellished with almonds and apples. It can also contain rice, eggs, cream, and other meats besides chicken.

My curiosity took me onto the web for more info. And as many of you know, sometimes you find much more than you thought you ever would when surfing the web. Yes, I did find some wonderful recipes for Mulligatawny, and I will share them with you in this issue. But I also found so much more and I want to share that too.

Often the story behind the recipe is very interesting. I think knowing the stories adds to the pleasure of trying the recipes. Reading very old and out-of-date cookbooks will give you a wealth of knowledge, indicating trends and pointing out preparation styles for that period. These old cookbooks reflect American progress and way of life, reveal social customs, ethical concerns, the staples then available, and progress in nutritional research. These old books can also be downright comical. Next time you find yourself in a used bookstore, treat yourself to the oldest cookbook you can find. I'd love to hear what turns up, and it'd be fun to share the info with all my subscribers. My favorite old cookbook is _A Treasury of Great Recipes_ by Vincent Price. (Yes, THAT Vincent Price!) Vincent and his wife Mary were serious gourmets and the book really is a treasure.

And just for trivia's sake, the first cookbook in America was Eliza Smith's The Complete Housewife, a reprint of a popular English work, appearing in 1742. The publication of the first cookbook by an American author, American Cooker by Amelia Simmons, didn't appear until 1796. In 1896, at the age of 39, Fannie Merritee Farmer wrote one of the best selling cookbooks of all time, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

If you wish to research more on food history, the following websites will give you a good start:

A great place to start

Very nicely organized glossary for foodies

Are you wondering what the Romans ate?

The recipes on this site are a hoot!

Medieval/Renaissance Foods and much more

Roast Cockatrice and other very strange recipes from a web site from the author of It's Disgusting-and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World--and Throughout History!

Fat-Free Mulligatawny Soup

2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 cups bouillon
1 dried red pepper, crumbled
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 carrots, chopped
2 red potatoes, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring the onions, celery, green pepper and 1/2 cup of the bouillon to a boil in a large pot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining bouillon, seasonings, carrots and potatoes and simmer 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, lemon juice and cilantro and simmer 5 minutes. Serve with ground pepper to taste.

Betty Crocker's Mulligatawny Soup

3 1bs broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
2 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 large all-purpose apple, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Heat chicken, giblets (except liver), neck, water, salt, curry powder, lemon juice, cloves and mace to boiling in Dutch oven; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 45 minutes or until juices of chicken run clear.

Remove chicken from broth. Cool chicken about 10 minutes or just until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and bones from chicken. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Skim fat from broth. Add enough water to broth, if necessary, to measure 4 cups.

Heat margarine in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion in margarine about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth. Add chicken, tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until carrot is tender. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Top Secret Recipes version of Indian Mulligatawny Soup, and how Todd Wilbur found out how to make it taste just like the version sold by Al Yeganeh, is posted on the Top Secret Recipe web page. The URL is: http://www.topsecretrecipes.com. Don't miss this one.


If you have canned pumpkin left over from the holidays, here's a delightful and easy pumpkin soup recipe:

1 can pumpkin
1 can chicken broth
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Combine all and heat through. I personally can't resist adding a little cream just before serving, but of course that's optional.


There was a time not too long ago, that if you wanted upscale chic food, served with style, you'd have to get all dressed up and pay very high prices. But trends change and the new direction all around Southern California is the upscale casual restaurant. It's refreshing, relaxed, and a lot of fun too. The Sherman Oaks/Studio City area bustles with just these kinds of restaurants and Joe Joe's is one of my favorites. Joe Joe's dining room is done with great taste--it's elegant, but not at all stuffy and includes beautiful modern art, fresh flowers, and soft music playing at just the right volume. The staff is attentive and very friendly, without being obtrusive. The food is fresh, and although most people might not notice, it all balances (flavors, textures, and even temperatures) masterfully.

With a few exceptions, the menu leans towards the lighter fare. Most recently I enjoyed Joe Joe's version of the California sandwich-- grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, tomato and mozzarella cheese on toasted rosemary bread with mayonnaise. Dessert was a trio of sorbets (coconut, pineapple and blackberry) that were light and refreshing. All lunch entrees come served with brioche and rosemary breads with butter and an olive tapenade, salad, and soup. On the day of my visit, the soup was a delicious yellow squash, with a touch of cream, and served piping hot. Other notable items on the lunch menu include ahi tuna tar tar salad with wontons, crispy whitefish served with potato gnocchi, grilled sea bass with couscous and wild mushroom raviolis in a mushroom broth with parmesan and frisee.

Joe Joe's Restaurant, 13355 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks (818) 990- 8280.


The Singing Chef- Back to Basics (The Do-Re-Mi's of Cooking) by Bruch Van Alstyne

Bruce Van Alstyne is a singer, songwriter, and chef who has combined his talents in a very interesting and unique new cookbook. Interesting because he includes a lot of how-to information and really useful household hints; unique because his singing and songwriting are included with the book on a CD! The book contains quick casseroles, lots of comfort foods, old fashioned dishes, family favorites, as well as new and original recipes. Each recipe includes nutritional information.

Bruce's CD is a mellow, soulful medley of easy-listening romantic songs. What a treat to hear one of my all-time favorites--With You I'm Born Again--a tribute to Johnny Mathis done just as beautifully.

Bruce's cookbook/CD set is $26.95 plus $3.50 (per copy) for shipping and handling. Send your check to:

The Singing Chef - Back to Basics
Bruce VanAlstyne
5600 Paseo Rancho Castilla (Box1-135)
Los Angeles, CA 90032


The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that the heat in a crock pot should be set on "high" for the first hour of cooking no matter what type of meat (beef, lamb, pork) or poultry you are cooking. This will create steam more quickly and start the food cooking more rapidly. This will bring the temperature up to the levels needed soon enough to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.


Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Okay folks, it's 1999 and it's time to clean the refrigerator. Food should not be furry or smell funny. Am I talking to you? If so, here are some tips you might find useful. It's a good idea to date your food when you put it in the refrigerator. Remove any leftovers that have been reheated more than once. If you can't remember how long the food has been in there, toss it. Remember--if in doubt, throw it out. If you can, remove the shelves, and wash them in hot soapy water, rinse with water, but use a cloth dipped in vinegar just to be sure all odors have been removed. Dry with a towel. Wipe down the sides and the back of the refrigerator with baking soda mixed in water or vinegar and water. For the really tough dried on spills, cover with a paste made from baking soda and water, leaving it to dry (about 5 minutes). That should do the trick. Don't forget to remove the crispers, and clean beneath them. That's where most of the spills go, dry up, and cause odors.

If by some chance you are having a really tough time getting rid of old food odors, and the baking soda/water solution isn't working, try one of the new odor eliminators now on the market. Recently I tried a product called NON SCENTS. It works on plastic, wood and metal items, cooking utensils and coolers. If you're interested in more info, leave a voice mail for Steven at Castle Six (805) 379-4022, and your call will be returned promptly.

© 1999, 2003 Debbie Puente
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