Originally created 10/17/01

Small portions



Sweet spreads

Bigelow, the tea company, has added a line of flavored honey spreads useful for buttering your toast or warming up as a syrup for waffles, among other things. The 11-ounce jars sell for about $3 each and are available in six flavors - black currant, cinnamon, French vanilla, lemon, orange and raspberry.

For marinating beef or poultry, mix half a jar of the orange honey spread with 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, 1 small clove of fresh minced garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped onion. Add to meat and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. Discard unused marinade or boil it for 5 minutes before using it as a sauce.

Other recipes and serving suggestions are available on the company's Web site, www.bigelowtea.com. Or write to R.C. Bigelow Inc., PO Box 326204, Dept. HPR, Fairfield, CT 06432-6204.

Cooking contests

Competitive cooks can keep posted on contest possibilities at www.recipecontests.com. Or subscribe to a newsletter:

The Cooking Contest Newsletter, PO Box 339, Summerville, SC 29484. Joyce Campagna, editor.

Cooking Contest Chronicle, PO Box 10792, Merrillville, IN 46411-0792. Karen Martis, editor.

Both newsletters offer 12 monthly issues for $19.95.

Making stew

The key to a successful stew is to make sure the liquid is kept at a gentle simmer. Boiling reduces the meat to a stringy mess.

The easiest way to ensure that a stew simmers at a moderate rate is to cook it in the oven. After an initial searing of the meats and vegetables on top of the stove, transfer the pot to a 350-degree oven. (To keep the liquid from evaporating too quickly, cover the stew with a round of parchment paper or aluminum foil.) Cook the stew as you would normally, until the meat is tender but not falling apart.

Whipping eggs whites

Room-temperature eggs whip up better than those straight from the refrigerator. To bring eggs to room temperature, set them in a bowl, cover with tepid water, and set aside for 5 minutes.

Apple ideas

For more complex apple taste and texture, try a mix of varieties in your pie. Use apples that hold their shape - Golden Delicious, Cortland or Mutsu - as well as varieties that are more saucy - a Macintosh, Baldwin or Gravenstien. If you find your filling is too raw or soggy, try sauteing the apples in a little butter and sugar and cooling it down before forming the pie. If the apples are very juicy, pour off the juice and boil it down to a syrupy consistency before mixing it with the apples.

Recipe offer

The California Olive Industry is offering Recipes From Around the Mediterranean, a free brochure with recipes, color photos and nutrition advice, available by mail from COI, 1903 N. Fine, 102, Fresno CA 93727, or on the Net: http://www.calolive.org/med.