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THE HOME COOK : Quick-Fix Feasts to Help Busy Chefs

September 13, 1990|MARION CUNNINGHAM

I have been making two favorite dishes that are speedy to fix, good to eat, and certainly a help when hospitality is needed and time is scarce.

Tomato Rarebit and Mustard Celery Salad are what I call "making a lot with a little." You need two tomatoes, Cheddar cheese, celery and parsley, and a few kitchen staples.

Tomato Rarebit is light and creamy, with a little zing from the cayenne pepper. It is served hot over toast, and is well matched with the cold, crunchy Mustard Celery Salad. The salad holds up very well for several days and can be served as a condiment with chicken or fish dishes, enhancing the flavor of the main dish. If the salad is made early, all that is necessary is to stir the rarebit together, serve it and sit down.

I have also included a recipe for moist, Dried Apricot Cake that has a brown sugar walnut filling. Any dried fruit may be substituted for the apricots. This can be frozen, as can most cakes, without suffering.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 27, 1990 Home Edition Food Part H Page 40 Column 3 Food Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Food Front Page--Credits for the food shots on the Sept. 13 front page were inadvertently deleted. The photographer was L. Kent Whitehead and the props were supplied by Mottura in Los Angeles.


3/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes (about 2)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk, heated

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


4 slices toast

Combine tomatoes and baking soda. Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour, cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly pour in heated milk, stir constantly until mixture is smooth and thick.

Add tomatoes, cheese, eggs, mustard and cayenne. Season to taste with salt. Cook over very low heat, stirring until cheese melts and mixture is smooth and well blended. Serve over toast. Makes 4 servings.


3 cups finely diced celery

1 cup, loosely packed, finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared mustard


Butter lettuce leaves

Combine celery and parsley in large bowl and toss. Stir mayonnaise and mustard together until smooth, taste and add more of either to balance taste.

Add to celery mixture and toss well. Season to taste with pepper. Chill well before serving. Serve on butter lettuce. Makes 4 servings.


2 cups finely chopped dried apricots

2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

If dried apricots are too dry, place in bowl and pour boiling water over. Let stand 10 minutes and drain, pressing out any excess water.

Combine sugar, eggs, milk and butter in large mixing bowl and beat well.

In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into butter mixture, mixing until well blended. Stir in apricots.

Spread 1/3 batter in bottom of buttered and floured 10-inch tube pan or Bundt pan. Spread 1/2 Brown Sugar Filling over batter. Spread another 1/3 of batter over filling. Spread over remaining filling and cover with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 60 minutes, or until straw inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes in pan. Carefully invert onto rack to cool completely before slicing. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Brown Sugar Filling

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl, stirring with fork until cinnamon is well distributed. Stir in walnuts.

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