Originally created 03/10/99

Small portions



Color me green

The Irish Food Board offers a free recipe leaflet to help the home cook produce dishes with the flavor of the Emerald Isle, from smoked salmon tarts to tea bread.

For a copy, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Irish Foods and Irish Druids, Irish Food Board, 12 West 37th St., New York, NY 10018.

St. Patrick's specials

Web surfers visiting StarChefs.com can find a St. Patrick's special section with a colorful variety of Irish insights on eating and drinking.

Recipes are a major part of it, with such goodies as basic porridge for breakfast, shepherd's pie or Irish stew for dinner, and a lot of other extras. Among assembled data are listings of Irish cookbooks, addresses of Irish pubs around the United States, and background on Irish cheeses.

Culinary creatures

Care to try Pest-O, made from common weevils in a creamy basil sauce?

It's on the menu at Eat Your Own Frog Food, a whimsically different kind of scientific cooking show planned at The Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Really. Also featured are Sheesh Kabobs made of katydids and locusts, Alpha-Bait Soup and cockroaches in cream sauce, otherwise known as Cockroach a la King.

The show is related to the science museum's current exhibition, Frogs.

Naturalist David George Gordon, author of the Eat-a-Bug-Cookbook and The Complete Cockroach, is the chef du jour for the weekend event March 27-28.

Dr. Gordon, the museum promises, will prepare an edible menu of the bugs -- such as beetles, earthworms and crickets -- that frogs and toads delight in gobbling down. True to the institution's interactive tradition, "generous samples will be offered to members of the audience, and all are welcome to stay for seconds."

All critters provided are commercially raised for consumption, the museum says. In many parts of the world, these nutritious organisms are important, happily savored parts of people's diets.

Gourmets on the go

Shady Brook Farms has set up a spring edition of Gourmet-On-The-Go, its toll-free Dial-A-Chef hot line.

The turkey-products company enlists Rozanne Gold, Jasper White and other well-known chefs to suggest ways of using fresh turkey. There also is advice on putting together meals in 30 minutes, saving time in the kitchen, low-fat cooking and entertaining.

Gourmet-On-The-Go is available through May 1 by phone at (888) 723-4468 and online at www.dialachef.com.

Fragrant kitchens

Crabtree & Evelyn -- maker of those fragrant bath products -- has come out of the boudoir. Now, the Massachusetts company has cooked up a line of items for the kitchen.

Aroma sprays in four "flavors" send mists of salad greens, gingered orange, pastries or cranberry wafting through the house, even if you haven't cooked all week. And when you do put on an apron, odor diffusers -- in the form of small candles -- cover up unpleasant food odors, and the Fruit & Vegetable Wash removes wax and pesticide residue from produce. Priced from about $5 to $20, the products also include potpourri, vegetable-based soaps, enriched hand lotion and antibacterial hand wash.

Making peanut butter

Since March is National Peanut Month, why not whip up some homemade peanut butter? In a blender, place 2 cups dry-roasted shelled peanuts, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if salted peanuts are used). With lid secured, blend until mixture becomes spreadable (about three to four minutes). Scrape sides and continue blending until desired consistency is reached. Store in tightly closed jar in refrigerator. Stir before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

It all adds up

With spring cleaning on the horizon, a new book, The Joy of Simple Living by Jeff Davidson (Rodale Press, 1999), offers 1,500 ways to make your life easier. In organizing the kitchen, he shares this insight: "If you have just eight recipe books in your household, each offering 250 to 650 recipes, they can add up to as many as 5,200 recipes. If you tried one new recipe each week, it would take 100 years to prepare them all."