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Welcome to Spike's & Jamie's "Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection Archives"!! Here we store all the back issues of the original "Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection" and of the "Spike’s Jewish Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection". These newsletters were written by Spike (Jann McCormick) and published by Jamie from 2000 until Spike's death in 2008. Spike loved to cook and share her cooking with those she loved. Sharing her recipes was the next best thing.
[Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection] [Spike’s Jewish Good Eatin’ Recipes]
(¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·->Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection Issue 39<-·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯)
April 25, 2003
from: Spike's and Jamie's Recipe Collection
Many of these recipes have not yet been added to the recipe web site, so you are getting a "sneak peek" of future additions. We hope you enjoy these recipes. Spike's comments are in Brackets.
Spike the Grate & Jamie the Webmistress
 Don’t we all love Spring? All the lovely veggies and fruits are coming up from the bountiful earth, and we feel like being outside enjoying the sunshine and all the budding (some blooming) flowers. It is like a reaffirmation and it is grand! 
Nothing is easier than fixing artichokes. Cut off the stems and hold them under a stiff spray of cold water, leaves pointing up, so that they are rinsed down to the base of each leaf. Put them upside down into a steamer basket. Add a couple slices of fresh lemon to the water in the bottom of the steamer. Put enough water to last for an hour. When it comes to a boil, put on the steamer basket and its lid. Turn the heat to a medium setting, so that the water simmers, and plan to leave it alone for about 45 minutes. Check the degree on doneness by removing the lid and poking the tines of a fork into the place from which you cut off the stem. If it goes in easily, it is done. If it doesn’t, it isn’t.
Melt some butter in a custard cup or ramekin – one for each diner – or put about 2 tablespoons mayo into each cup; whichever would be your preference. We like to serve the artichoke in small soup bowls – just drop it in there – and put the cup of butter on the side. Serve the other stuff you’re having on a regular dinner plate. Have available a large container to hold the leaves after they have been de-fleshed by our happy teeth. Have spoons for removal of the choke (fuzzy seeds), so that the heart can be placed into the little butter containers so that the diners will feel like they are in heaven when they enjoy this part of the artichoke.
 I have a small streak of wicked which I exercise at artichoke time. I tell my partner that something horrible got into his artichoke heart and because of my love I am willing to make the sacrifice of eating his heart. After all, I wouldn’t want for him to be poisoned. I tried this on my children, but they were wise to me by the time I tried to steal their hearts. 
 I see in other newsletters’ request sections that people seem to fear
changing the ingredients of recipes. Of course, you can’t decide to use honey
instead of granulated sugar, without calculating the liquid balance of your
recipe, but there are lots of things that don’t deserve the worry. If you don’t
like walnuts, put in another kind of nut or none at all. Certainly you can
substitute baby greens for the lettuce called for in a salad recipe. You can
substitute lettuce for spinach in a spinach salad, but then you have to change
the name, too!
I have observed that men have a much more adventurous attitude toward cooking than women do. We girls are concerned about using what we have to the fullest advantage (I mean in the kitchen!) and about the cost of ingredients. Men have no qualms about tossing in a pound of butter at the drop of a hat. So what if it costs more? We can have hotdogs tomorrow!
In substituting fats used for frying, we need to point out to our adventurous men that they need to figure out smoke points of various fats; not just pay attention to the flavor they seek. Sometimes readers ask if they substitute something won’t it taste different? Of course it will – but if you don’t like the taste of that which is suggested for the recipe, it makes sense to change it. I think that people could figure it out for themselves if they determine what is intrinsic to the recipe, and what it needs in order to work. You can’t substitute chocolate for fish – but the ingredients that are enhancements rather than basic to the dish can almost always be changed or deleted. Take charge of your cookery! Do it! 
EASY CHICKEN MOLE
1 package chicken parts – or cut up a chicken, if you’re brave and skilled
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup butter (1 stick, 1/4 lb)
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)
1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
Rinse and pat dry the chicken parts. Add the salt and pepper to the flour, and dredge the chicken parts in that. Set aside.
Put the butter, chocolate, and peanut butter into a baking pan or dish. Melt it while the oven is heating. Put the chicken into that, in one layer, turning each piece as you put it into the pan, so that all sides of the chicken are coated. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 45 minutes or until the biggest piece tests done.
Plan to have plenty of paper napkins on hand; it is rather messy. Don’t tell people that there is chocolate and peanut butter in there until after they have told you how good it was. Spanish rice is good with this, and a green veggie.
1 (10.75) can condensed tomato soup
1 (10.75) can 98% fat free condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cup low fat milk
2 cans crab meat (or use the imitation crab, called “Krab”**)
salt/pepper to taste
Stir the soups and milk together until smooth over medium high heat. Add the salt, pepper, and crab meat. Heat until steaming. Do not boil.
** That imitation stuff is really quite good. There are several different brands, but I think they are basically the same. Boned and cooked Pollock – or some other kind of white fish. The word “imitation” puts off some people, including me, but they do have to be honest about it when they package it for sale. It is not crab, but it comes as close to the same taste and mouth-feel as possible. If I like it, it must have some merit, because there are many foods I dislike. 
CHICKEN PASTA SKILLET
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1-1/2 cups water
2 cups rotini pasta, cooked to the al dente stage, in a separate pot
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce (or make your own – see below)
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Spray large skillet with no stick cooking spray. Add chicken; cook and stir on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Add green pepper and onion; cook and stir an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
Stir in the basic sauce. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Reduce heat to low; continue cooking 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is heated through.
 I never buy spaghetti sauce – it costs too much and is not as good as you can
make at home. Here we go: 
SPIKE’S FAMOUS basic SPAGHETTI SAUCE
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato puree
1 can tomato paste
1 paste can of water
1/2 chopped onion
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp veggie oil
In the oil, sauté the onion until it is translucent. Add the other stuff, stirring with each addition. Let it simmer – never boil – for a couple hours, adding anything you like. That could be pepper, chives, chopped green bell pepper, or whatever. For the Chicken Pasta Skillet that already has a bell pepper, I would not add more; however a chicken bouillon cube may be nice.
At the end of summer, if your tomato plants are loaded, you can chop them and can your own tomatoes for sauce all winter. You can even make the sauce and freeze it.
PORK CUTLETS MEXICANO
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (fresh or from a jar)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 boneless pork cutlets (1-1/4 pounds total), slightly flattened
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
1 cup salsa
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until softened.
Meanwhile, place flour on waxed paper. Lightly coat cutlets in flour, shaking off excess. Add cutlets to skillet; sauté 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Add cumin, broth, vinegar and salsa; cook about 4 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
Yield: 4 servings.
POACHED EGGS INFORMATION
 I used to baby sit a darling little girl named Tammy Cordoni, when she was in the primary grades and her mom went to work before school started. One morning, I was fixing my breakfast when Tammy arrived. She asked, “What are you doing?” I replied, “I am poaching eggs.” She asked, “What did you do, hunt for them out of season?” 
Poaching is a popular cooking technique where food is gently simmered in a liquid on the stovetop. Foods commonly poached include fish, fruit, vegetables and eggs.
Poached eggs show up in dishes ranging from Eggs Benedict to nursery-style egg-and-toast. A perfectly made poached egg is a pretty sight perched on a golden piece of toast, an English muffin or nestled in a puff pastry nest.
Here are some tips for perfect poached eggs:
* Start with the freshest eggs possible. Older eggs tend to have yolks that are off-center and watery whites.
* Poaching liquid can be water, broth, milk or any liquid seasoned with some herbs or a little lemon or vinegar. (Don't add vinegar if using milk to poach eggs, as the vinegar will curdle the milk!)
* Break each cold, fresh egg into a little custard cup or saucer. Hold the dish close to the simmering liquid's surface and gently slip the egg into the liquid. Use a spoon to gently pull the white in around the yolk.
* It helps to add a little vinegar to the cooking water, which helps coagulate the white to keep it from spreading while it cooks.
* Test for doneness by lifting an egg gently from the water with a slotted spoon and gently poking it with a fingertip. The white should be firm, the yolk soft.
* Poached eggs can be made in advance and stored until you're ready for them. Gently remove the eggs from the simmering water and place them in a shallow bowl of ice-cold water to stop the eggs' cooking. Cover and refrigerate in the cold water for a day.
* To reheat poached eggs, transfer them to hot water for a minute or two with a slotted spoon.
* Drain poached eggs briefly on paper toweling to remove excess liquid before nestling them upon their toast, English muffin or puff pastry beds.
 I purposely didn’t include any Easter recipes. Everybody is publishing and sending Easter recipes. Same with Passover – I put no Passover recipes into my Jewish recipe newsletter. I think that at holiday times, if there are specific recipes or cookery information that a person wants, they can be requested.
Otherwise, the daily food tasks can be always nice and always fun without the extra special super duper fine and dandy holiday recipes. They seem to be pretty much the same each year, anyway. It is better to have “special” dishes for no reason other than to please your loved ones, than it is to have them only at holiday time. When one has love, to give and to receive, every day is a holiday, and merits special cookery.
We hope your Easter was pleasant and fun.
Shalom, from Spike the Grate and Jamie the Webmistress
SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE
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