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PARTY LINE : Of Cabbages and Kings

January 06, 1994|KATHIE JENKINS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A dinner dance is always swell, but there's almost always a price to pay--a hefty donation to some worthy charity. At last month's black-tie dinner dance hosted by the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Jimmy's in Beverly Hills, though, no one was hit up for a donation. Of course, each of the 250 guests, including all seven of John Wayne's children, former teen idol Frankie Avalon, producer Danny Arnold and actors Charles Bronson and Kevin Dobson, had contributed more than $1,000 during the year. It was the cancer institute's way of saying thank you to all its generous donors.

"The dinner dance was strictly social," says Jimmy Murphy, owner of Jimmy's and a supporter of the cancer clinic (the event has been held at his restaurant for the past five years). "That's why people have a good time. They are not being tapped again."

The nonprofit John Wayne Cancer Institute, named after the late actor (he died of cancer in 1979), is one of the country's major cancer treatment and research centers. So far, more than $10 million has been raised for the clinic, now located at St. John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica.

Jimmy's parking lot was tented and then transformed into a winter wonderland . . . here in sunny Southern California. "With all these trees flocked and then these flakes coming out of this machine," says Murphy, who is from Ireland, "it looked like you were up on Gstaad or someplace in the Swiss mountains. There was even plenty of whiskey to keep everyone warm."

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There was no stinting on the food, either. During cocktails, two large tables were heaped with imported cheeses, smoked salmon, steak tartare and other hors d'oeuvres. For dinner, guests were fed cold Maine lobster, chateaubriand with truffle sauce, baby greens and colcannon (a blend of mashed potatoes and cabbage). Floating islands with fresh raspberries was served for dessert.

"And then," says Murphy, "we danced it all off."

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You don't have to be Irish to appreciate this soothing dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage. It can be served with eggs and sausage for breakfast, as a side dish for dinner, or even by itself as comfort food.

COLCANNON

1 pound potatoes, peeled

Salt, pepper

1 pound cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)

1 bunch green onions including tops, chopped

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons whipping cream

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to sauce pan and mash to puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Boil cabbage in boiling, salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and chop more finely.

Saute green onions in butter until tender.

Combine potato puree, green onions, cabbage and cream. Blend well over low heat. Makes 6 to 8 side dish servings.

Each of 6 servings contains about:

165 calories; 148 mg sodium; 28 mg cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.99 gram fiber.

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