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Eclectic Dining

November 20, 1986|BARBARA HANSEN | Times Staff Writer

Eclectic menus make sense in Los Angeles, given the unique cultural mix of this city. The idea of a main course from India, a salad from Poland, potatoes from America and dessert from Italy might seem odd, but in actuality the dishes relate quite well.

In "International Flavors," a cookbook compiled by the Mothers' Assn. of Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, each of these dishes appears in a menu drawn from its own cuisine. The motive for putting them together was to demonstrate the range of foods in this unusual book.

Aiming at authenticity, the cookbook committee collected recipes from Chadwick parents who were either born abroad or represent the first generation of their families born in the United States.

The recipes are combined into more than 30 menus, among them a Russian dinner, a Korean barbecue, an Oriental salad buffet luncheon, a Canadian dinner highlighted by New Brunswick fish chowder, a hearty German sauerbraten dinner and a children's luncheon from Scotland that features minced beef, gooseberry fool and shortbread cookies.

American menus include a Tex-Mex Christmas Eve dinner, a Papago Indian dinner of chili and fried bread and a White House dinner from President and Mrs. Reagan. The Reagans were asked for recipes because the President's son Michael and daughter Maureen attended Chadwick. The Reagan menu consists of onion-wine soup, Baja California chicken and pumpkin-pecan pie.

Additional recipes pay tribute to Margaret Chadwick, who started Chadwick School in her home and took an active part in its activities until she died at the age of 91. An independent school, Chadwick is coeducational and has about 600 students in levels from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

'International Flavors" is a large, spiral-bound book illustrated with sketches of South Bay scenes. To order a copy, send $17.50, which includes postage and handling, to CMA, Chadwick School, 26800 S. Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif. 90274. Proceeds from book sales will be turned over to the school, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1985.

LAMB VINDALOO

1/2 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup oil

1/2 lemon, sliced

1 large tomato, sliced

4 cloves garlic, pureed

2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon mustard oil

3 pounds cubed lamb

Combine vinegar, coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard, cayenne and black peppers, ginger and oil in 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven and blend to paste. Cook 2 minutes. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little more vinegar.

Add lemon, tomato, garlic, chiles, mustard oil and lamb. Cover and cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours until meat is tender. If sauce becomes too watery, uncover and cook until thickened. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

MOM'S SUPER POTATO CASSEROLE

4 white potatoes, boiled and cooled

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 tablespoon butter

Peel potatoes and shred coarsely into large bowl. Add cheese and melted butter. Mix lightly. Add green onion, salt, pepper and sour cream. Mix lightly. Turn into baking dish and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

CUCUMBER-SOUR CREAM SALAD

4 medium cucumbers, peeled

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

3 hard-cooked eggs

1 1/3 cups sour cream

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 1/4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon or Dusseldorf mustard

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

4 to 6 large lettuce leaves, well washed and dried

1 tablespoon finely cut fresh dill weed

Cut cucumbers in halves lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place in large bowl. Add salt, coarse salt and distilled vinegar and toss with large spoon until cucumber slices are well moistened. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes. Turn cucumbers into large sieve, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Clean bowl. Return cucumbers to bowl.

Separate yolks from egg whites. Cut egg whites into strips 1/8 inch wide and 1 to 2 inches long. Stir into cucumbers. Rub yolks through fine sieve set over small bowl. Slowly beat in sour cream, wine vinegar, sugar, mustard and pepper until smooth. Pour dressing over cucumber mixture and toss together gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Arrange lettuce leaves on large flat serving platter or on individual plates. Mound salad on top. Sprinkle with dill. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.

ALMOND TORTONI

1 egg white

1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon dry Sherry or Marsala wine

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup almond macaroon crumbs or other cookie crumbs

6 red maraschino cherries, chopped

6 green maraschino cherries, chopped

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, ground

4 red or green maraschino cherries, halved

Beat egg white until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and beat until egg white is thick and glossy.

Whip cream until stiff. Fold in wine, almond extract, macaroon crumbs and chopped cherries. Fold egg white into whipped cream mixture. Spoon into individual paper baking cups. Sprinkle almonds over top. Freeze 3 hours. Just before serving, top each with 1 cherry half. Makes 8 servings.

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