Originally created 01/20/99

Small portions



Hot dishes

The hot dish is king in Minnesota, and Gopher State cook Bill Connell has dozens of easy ways to make this perfect winter meal. From Tater Tot to Tuna Noodle Hotdish to Cheesy Potato, all the favorites and a few others are at his Casserole of the Week site (www2.bitstream.net/~connell/casserole).

Helpful hints

Ingredient lists can be helpful to people with special food needs because of allergies or religious or cultural reasons.

The lists appear on foods with two or more ingredients. The ingredients appear in their order of predominance, from most to least, by weight. Ingredients must be listed by their common names to make the lists consumer friendly.

Allergy brochure

To answer consumers' questions about food allergies, the International Food Information Council is offering a free brochure. To request a free copy of Understanding Food Allergy, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to Food Allergy, IFIC Foundation, P.O. Box 65708, Washington, DC20035 or visit the Web site at www.ificinfo.health.org.

Gummy vitamins

Forget the Flintstones. The latest way for kids to get their vitamins is in a Gummi Bear.

Trader Joe's chewy bear-shaped Gummi Vites come in four all-natural flavors (orange, cherry, lemon and grape) and contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or milk derivatives (important for today's vegan toddlers).

From two Gummi Vites a day, children ages 2 to 4 receive 100 percent of their daily allowance of vitamins A, E, B-12, thiamine, riboflavin and folic acid, and more than 70 percent of their daily allowance for vitamins C and B-6.

"We think they have a good combination of vitamins and minerals in the right quantities. And Gummi Bears are really popular right now," said Lori T. Latta, senior buyer for Trader Joe's Co. "They taste better than most chewables out there."

Trotter teaches

Charlie Trotter, owner-operator of the top-rated Chicago restaurant that bears his name, is throwing his toque into the TV cooking-show ring.

Starting Sunday, the master chef will introduce a 13-part series, called The Kitchen Sessions, on Maryland Public Television. With jazz playing in the background, the half-hour weekly show features Trotter preparing such dishes as poached beef tenderloin with gnocchi and roasted root vegetables, pumpkin soup with pheasant breast and fried ginger and chocolate-ginger truffle tart with pear-caramel sauce.

Healthy calendar

Make this year a healthy one with a wall calendar from the American Institute for Cancer Research that offers cooking techniques and recipes. This month, you'll learn how to "Wok, Rattle and Roll" with a tasty stir-fry. The calendar covers the basics of poaching, baking, roasting, steaming and more -- all ways to cook healthier, eat smarter and lower cancer risk, the institute says. The cost of the calendar is $5 and can be purchased with a credit card by calling (800) 843-8114, Ext. 716 or by sending a check with your name and address to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Dept. C99, P.O. Box 97167, Washington, D.C. 20090-7167.

Killer cuisine

You know a cook's especially proud of a concoction when it's called a "killer." Combing the Web, we found several dishes that claim to be fatally delicious. Start with some Killer Shrimp (copykat.com/copykat/85.html), then move on to Killer Chicken Mole (www.zip.com.au/~cs/recipes/html/chicken-mole-2.html). How about some Killer Garlic bread (web.wt.net/~daba/recipe/side/side2.htm) with that? And for dessert, sample the Killer Cake (http://ei1.ei.ele.tue.nl/~ paul/recipes/00067.txt) or Death by Chocolate (www.pastrywiz.com/archive/deathby.htm)Hope you survive all that.

Pork overload

The citrus supply has taken a big hit, but it turns out the United States has plenty of hogs -- too many, in fact. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman is discussing ways to relieve the problem, meaning some sort of governmental support. How about pleas for public support: A chop a day, that's all we ask.

By the pound

How many flavors can you pack into a poundcake? The creator of the Six-Flavor Poundcake -- one of the Internet's most requested recipes -- adds almond, lemon, rum, coconut and other ingredients to his cake. You can find the recipe at www.joyofbaking.com/wwwboard/messages/71.html. For those who prefer fewer flavors, consider the Blueberry Patch Poundcake (www.gingerich.com/recipebbpoundcake.html); Bourbon Poundcake, (www.hugs.org/BourbonPoundCake.shtml); or Sour Cream Poundcake (hambeach.dn.net/recipes/srcpndck.html).

Natural is best

It might be more fun to pop a vitamin pill than to eat broccoli, but eating plenty of veggies probably works better in terms of getting disease-preventing antioxidants, a Johns Hopkins University researcher reports in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.