Starters
Recipes from our Monday mailings. Click on a recipe to see it.

Low-fat recipes are indicated by
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Quick and easy recipes are indicated by hourglass1.gif (309 bytes)

Canapés of Gorgonzola Cheese and Nuts hourglass1.gif (309 bytes)
Celery Rosette hourglass1.gif (309 bytes)
Charoset heart1.gif (331 bytes) hourglass1.gif (309 bytes)
Cheese Balls Florentine

Cheese Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Chevre-Stuffed Artichokes
Chicken Broth with Pasta and Parsley
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Curried Carrot Soup heart1.gif (331 bytes) hourglass1.gif (309 bytes)
Deep Fried Camembert
Eggplant "Caviar" heart1.gif (331 bytes)
Fettuccine with Lemon Sauce
Jannson's Temptation
Keftedakia (mint and ouzo flavored meatballs)
Marinated Artichokes
Mesclun Salad with Roasted Chevre
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Mushrooms a la Grecque heart1.gif (331 bytes)
Norma's Olive Spread
Papas a la Huancaina (Peruvian potatoes with cheese sauce)
Rumaki
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
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Surullitos (Cheese Corn Sticks)
Two Hearts Salad
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Welsh Rabbit

Cheese Balls Florentine

1 cup cooked spinach, drained and chopped very fine
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
1 small shallot, chopped fine
1/2 cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except for 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Form mixture into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and coat with additional bread crumbs. Deep fry in 375F (190C) degree oil until brown and crisp. Serve with Marinara sauce, or your favorite mustard.

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Canapés of Gorgonzola Cheese and Nuts

1/2 cup Gorgonzola (imported Gorgonzola dolce if possible)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
rye toast triangles

Mix together the gorgonzola, butter and most of the nuts. Spread on the toast triangles and garnish with the remaining nuts. Heat briefly in a warm oven. Good accompanied by grapes. Serves 4.

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Jannson's Temptation

6 medium boiling potatoes
6 1/2 Tbs. butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (4 cups)
16 anchovy fillets,drained
White pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk

Peel the potatoes and cut into match sticks, 2 in.(5 cm) long and no more than 1/4 in. (1/2 cm) thick. Place in cold water to prevent discoloring. Heat 4 Tbs. butter in a heavy skillet, add onions, and cook 10 min. until soft but not brown.
Grease a baking dish with 1/2 Tbs. butter. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange 1/3 of the potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by half the onions and half the anchovies. Sprinkle with a little white pepper. Repeat, and then place remaining 1/3 of the potatoes as the top layer. Dot with the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, cut into small pieces, and add the cream and milk. Bake in center of a hot oven (400F, 200C) for 45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Serves 4 to 6.
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Marinated Artichokes
Reprinted by permission. Visit http://www.wooden-spoon.com for more recipes.

3 to 4 lbs. (1.5 to 2 kg) small artichokes
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
12 fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cups white vinegar
1 lemon
6 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp. whole peppercorns
You will also need at least two 1 qt. (1 liter) canning jars with seals and lids.

Artichokes discolor once they are cut. To avoid discoloration, fill large bowl with water and juice from lemon. Throw in the empty lemon carcass as well. Clean and peel artichokes from bottom until yellow core appears. Remove choke and hairy growth. Cut 1/2 in. (1 cm) from top of artichokes. Cut artichokes into quarters. Immerse cleaned artichokes in prepared lemon water to prevent browning.
In large pot combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to boil. Toss in quartered artichokes and boil for 5 minutes. Drain.
Pre-sterilize canning jars, seals and lids. Let cool. Finely chop 2 cloves garlic. Put garlic, 4 mint leaves and 1/4 tsp. whole peppercorns into bottom of prepared jar. Layer artichokes over garlic mixture to fill jar to 2 cup level. Press down firmly with wooden spoon. Finely chop another 2 cloves garlic. On top of artichokes, layer garlic, 4 more mint leaves and another 1/4 tsp. peppercorns. Add another layer of artichokes. Firmly press again with wooden spoon. Finely chop last 2 garlic cloves. Place garlic, remaining mint leaves and 1/4 tsp. peppercorns as top layer. Fill jar to top with olive oil. Seal firmly. Artichokes will be ready to serve in 1 week. Refrigerate after opening.
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Two Hearts Salad

1 can (approx. 14 oz./400 g) hearts of palm
1 can (approx. 14 oz./400 g) artichoke hearts
8 to 12 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing* or low fat dressing
Watercress, lettuce, or other leafy green

Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters (if they are not already cut) and slice the hearts of palm into 1/2 in (1 cm) rounds. Combine the artichokes, hearts of palm, tomatoes and vinaigrette in a bowl and toss gently so as not to separate the hearts of palm into individual rings. Serve on bed of watercress or lettuce. Serves 2. (This actually will serve more than two. The leftovers will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.)

*Use your favorite recipe, or ours in the Pantry.
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Chicken Broth with Pasta and Parsley

6 cups low fat chicken broth (or 6 cups water and six bouillon cubes)
1/2 lb. your favorite shape of pasta
2 cups (packed) fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 star anise (optional)*

Bring broth and tomato paste to a boil, along with optional star anise. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Add parsley one minute before pasta is done. Serves 4 to 6.

* Star anise may be found in better supermarkets and Asian specialty shops. Omit if not available in your area.
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Papas a la Huancaina

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1+1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, peeled, sliced thin, and separated into rings
8 medium boiling potatoes
1 cup coarsely crumbled queso blanco, or grated fresh mozzarella, or grated Muenster cheese
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp finely chopped, seeded fresh red or green hot chili (or to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil
4 hard cooked eggs, cut lengthwise into halves
8 black olives
Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves for garnish

In a large mixing bowl combine the lemon juice, dried chili, 1/2 tsp of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Add the onion rings, tossing to coat them evenly with the mixture. Set aside while the potatoes boil.
Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until done, but not falling apart. Meanwhile, combine the cheese, cream, turmeric, chopped fresh chili, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grindings of black pepper in a blender jar. Blend at high speed until thick and creamy. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat. Pour in the sauce, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened.
To serve, arrange the potatoes on a heated platter and pour the sauce over them. Drain the onion rings and strew them over the potatoes. Decorate the edge of the platter with the lettuce, eggs, and olives. Serves 8.
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Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

16 cherry tomatoes
1 can (3 1/4 oz) low-sodium tuna in water, drained and flaked
2 Tbs plain low-fat yogurt
2 tsp finely chopped green onion
2 tsp low-sodium chili sauce
1/4 tsp prepared horseradish
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a small spoon. Drain upside down on paper towels. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and spoon equal amounts into each tomato. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Makes 4 servings.
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Fettuccine with Lemon Sauce

4 Tbs butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest (the colored part of the skin, not the white part)
1 tsp grated lime zest
1 cup beef broth or bouillon
4 to 6 tsp caviar (optional)
Fettuccine, linguini, or angel hair pasta to serve 4 to 6

In a sauce pan or skillet large enough to hold the pasta when it is done, combine the butter, cream, and beef broth or bouillon and simmer over medium heat until reduced by about half. Add the lemon juice, lemon and lime zest and set aside. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When cooked and still al dente (firm to the tooth) drain it and add it to the pan containing the sauce. Toss over medium heat for 20 to 30 seconds, until most of the sauce is absorbed. I like to form "nests" of the pasta using a kitchen serving spoon and fork, twirling the noodles into a mound, and sliding them off the spoon onto the plate. Place a teaspoon of the optional caviar in the center. Serves 4 to 6.
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Mesclun Salad with Roasted Chevre

4 slices of French or Italian bread, cut 1/2 in. (1 cm) thick
1 garlic clove, cut in half
3 ounces goat cheese cut into 4 rounds
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (450 g) mesclun*
1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette (try ours at http://wwrecipes.com/pantry.htm)

Lightly toast the bread in a toaster or under a broiler. Rub the top side of the toast with the garlic clove. Place a round of goat cheese on the toast, top with a sprig of thyme, a grinding of black pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil. Set the toasts on a small baking sheet and broil about 6 in. (15 cm) from the heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is soft.
In a medium mixing bowl mix the greens and half the vinaigrette, tossing to combine well. Divide the greens among 4 plates, and top with the goat cheese toast. Serve the remaining dressing on the side. Serves 4.

* Mesclun is a mixture of wild salad greens, and is becoming more available in American supermarkets. They are frequently labeled "gourmet salad greens" or "French salad greens". Any combination of greens can be substituted, such as Boston lettuce, chicory, spinach, radicchio, and leaf lettuce.
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Charoset

This fruit, nut and wine mix is eaten during the Passover seder. It is meant to remind us of the mortar used by the Jews to build during the period of slavery. It should have a coarse texture, and you may substitute other fruits or nuts. It is traditionally eaten on matzos, or on crackers for a non-kosher alternative. The "ch" is pronounced like the Scottish "loch" or German "Bach".

4 medium apples, 2 tart and 2 sweet
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup sweet red wine
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 Tbs. cinnamon

Grate the apples. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit for 3-6 hours, until the wine is absorbed by the other ingredients.

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Keftedakia (mint and ouzo flavored meatballs)

2 slices home-made style bread, trimmed of crust and torn into small pieces
1/4 cup ouzo (or substitute another anise flavored liqueur)
7 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 lb (450 g) lean ground beef
1 egg
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh mint leaves, or 1 tsp dried mint leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour

Soak the bread in the ouzo for at least 5 minutes. Heat 3 Tbs of the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat, add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, placing them in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the bread dry (discard the ouzo) and add the bread to the onions. Also add the ground beef, egg, mint, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and knead vigorously with your hands, then beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Shape the beef mixture into balls about the size of walnuts (you may find that wetting your hands with water helps prevent sticking) and then roll the meatballs in the flour to coat evenly. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Add the remaining 4 Tbs of olive oil to a large skillet and brown the meatballs, 7 or 8 at a time, over high heat, cooking 8 to 10 minutes and shaking the pan from time to time. As each batch is done, remove them with a slotted spoon and place on an ovenproof serving platter. Keep them warm in a 200F (100C) oven while you finish cooking the rest. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or first course (about 30 meatballs).
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Mushrooms a la Grecque

8 oz (225 g) fresh mushrooms, wiped clean
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs balsamic or red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp fresh tarragon leaves, or 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1 Tbs minced fresh parsley
1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano

Combine all the ingredients in a stainless steel (non-aluminum) pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and place in a glass or ceramic bowl. Continue to boil the remaining liquid until it is reduced to about 1 cup in volume. Pour the remaining liquid over the mushrooms and chill for a minimum of 2 to 4 hours, or for as long as 4 days. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6.
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Curried Carrot Soup

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger root
1 tsp good quality curry powder
1 cup diced, peeled potato
1 lb (450 g) fresh carrots, scrubbed and sliced into 1/4 in (5 mm) rounds
5 cups low-fat chicken broth, or chicken bouillon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh mint leaves, sliced into thin ribbons (chiffonade)

Heat the oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Add the onion, ginger, and curry powder and cook for 10 minutes, until onions are soft but not brown. Add the potato, carrots, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, cooking for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Let the soup cool a little, and then puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the cooking pot and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with the mint chiffonade before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
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Here is what reader Charlene Pearce says about her clever recipe "Use this as a garnish or a canape. It is always a hit and causes people to ask "how did you do that?". It tastes good too!"

Celery Rosette

Cream cheese at room temperature
1 bunch of celery

Cut both ends off the celery and wash the ribs, keeping them in order as much as possible. Dry. Fill each rib of celery with cream cheese. Now reassemble the bunch of celery, the cream cheese will act as glue. When compactly back together, wrap the celery in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill for several hours. Unwrap and slice in half inch (1 cm) slices. You will have lovely rosettes of cheese and celery.

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Eggplant "Caviar"

2 medium eggplants, about 1 lb (450 g) each
4 Tbs (60 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, crushed through a press or chopped very fine
6 to 12 drops of Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wrap the eggplants in aluminum foil and bake in a 400F (200C) oven for one hour, until very soft. Unwrap carefully and allow the eggplants to cool before handling. Scrape the softened eggplant out of the skins and place in a food processor or blender. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve cold as a dip with crackers or crudites, or as a spread on melba toast or thinly sliced bread. Serves 8 as an appetizer.

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Rumaki

12 chicken livers (optional)
12 to 15 slices of bacon, cut in half crosswise
2 (500 ml) cups soy sauce
1 Tbs (15 ml) chopped fresh ginger (optional)
1 small can (8 oz., 227 g) sliced water chestnuts, drained
About 1/2 cup brown sugar

Combine the chicken livers, the soy sauce, the bacon slices, and the optional ginger in a bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Drain off and discard the soy sauce and cut each chicken liver in half (or smaller if needed to make a bite-sized piece). Dip each slice of bacon in the brown sugar, lightly coating both sides. Place the bacon on a flat work surface and place a slice of water chestnut in the center. Place a piece of chicken liver on top of this. Fold both ends of the bacon over the top of the chicken liver and secure all with a toothpick. Bake on a wire rack placed over a shallow baking pan (to catch the drippings) in a preheated 400F (200C) oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Serve immediately. Makes 24 to 30 appetizers.

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Cheese Stuffed Mushroom Caps

1 cup (250 ml) ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped parsley
1/4 lb (100 g) prosciutto (thinly sliced Italian cured ham), finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbs (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
4 Tbs (60 ml) olive oil
18 medium-sized mushroom caps
2 oz (50 g) mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 in (5 mm) pieces

In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta, parsley, prosciutto, salt, pepper, and the lemon juice and mix until thoroughly combined. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat and fry the mushroom caps for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Remove from the heat. Fill the mushroom caps with the ricotta mixture and top each with some of the mozzarella pieces. Arrange in a shallow baking dish and bake in the center of a 400F (200C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the filling begins to bubble. Brown the tops under a hot broiler for about 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or first course.

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Norma's Olive Spread

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) green olives, pitted (no pimientos)
1/2 cup (125 ml) black olives, pitted (Greek Kalamata or oil-cured, not those awful things in a can)
1/4 cup (60 ml) capers
8 oz (225 g) cream cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor. With the motor running add the olive oil slowly in a thin stream and process until pureed. Refrigerate or serve at room temperature with crackers, raw vegetables, or large croutons. Makes about 2 cups.

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Surullitos (Cheese Corn Sticks)

3 cups (750 ml) water
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
1+1/2 cups (375 ml) yellow cornmeal
1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated, good quality Edam, Gouda, or Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
1+1/2 cup (375 ml) vegetable oil for frying

Combine the water and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cornmeal in a slow, constant stream, stirring constantly, and making sure the water does not stop boiling. Continue to cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese and optional cayenne pepper. Cool to room temperature. Roll 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the mixture into cylinders about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick (7.5 cm x 2.5 cm). Moistening your hands with water will help prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. The surullitos may be kept refrigerated at this point, covered with plastic wrap or wax paper, for a day or two. When you are ready to fry the surullitos, heat the oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until the surface of the oil begins to shimmer (approx 350F, 180C). Fry the surullitos 4 or 5 at a time for about 5 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. You may keep the surullitos warm by placing them on paper towels in a baking dish in an oven set on its lowest setting. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes about 20 to 24 sticks.

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Chevre-Stuffed Artichokes

12 frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
4 Tbs (60 ml) chicken stock
2 Tbs (30 ml) red wine vinegar
1 Tbs (15 ml) lemon juice
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried thyme
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 oz (60 g) chevre (goat cheese)
2 Tbs (30 ml) skim milk
1 Tbs (15 ml) butter or margarine
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs (30 ml) dried bread crumbs

Mix together the chicken stock, vinegar, lemon juice, thyme, tarragon, and pepper in a bowl. Add the thawed artichoke hearts and toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain the hearts and discard the marinade. Mix the goat cheese with the milk until smooth and creamy. Pipe the mixture onto the artichoke hearts with a pastry bag, or spoon it on using a small spoon. Melt the butter or margarine in a small skillet and saute the garlic over low heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir until lightly browned. Place the artichokes on a lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the tops. Bake in a 350F (180C) oven for 10 minutes, until heated through. Serves 4 to 6.

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Welsh Rabbit

4 slices homemade-type white bread, trimmed of crusts and toasted
2 cups (500 ml) freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese (approx. 1/2 lb, 225 g) combined with 1 Tbs (15 ml) flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) beer
1 Tbs (15 ml) butter
1 tsp (5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dry English mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine in a heavy 2 to 3 qt (2 to 3 L) saucepan the cheese and flour mixture, beer, butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly and not allowing the mixture to boil, until it is smooth. Place the slices of toast in a shallow ovenproof dish just large enough to hold them (you may use more than one dish if you do not have one the right size to fit all four pieces snugly) and pour the rabbit evenly over them. Place the dish under the broiler for one or two minutes to brown the cheese lightly and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4.

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Deep fried camembert

Camembert cheese
Oil for Deep Frying
Bread crumbs
Flour
Egg
Cayenne Pepper

Freeze cheese for 1 hour. Add pinch of cayenne pepper to flour. Heat oil so cube of bread turns golden in about 60 seconds (about 350F, 180C). Cut cheese into bite sized cubes. Roll cheese cubes in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Deep fry for 30-40 seconds then remove and drain on absorbent paper. Serve immediately as an appetizer with any sauce. Fruit sauce works well.

Note: Cheese must be very cold, and well coated with bread crumbs, or else it will fall apart.
(Note from the Chef You might like to try my Cumberland Sauce with these. The recipe is located in the Pantry.)

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