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GOOD COOKING : The Birds of August

August 18, 1994|ABBY MANDEL

These waning days of summer pose a challenge in the kitchen. The problem is simple: August. What can possibly be appealing to cook after a full day of heat?

The following Asian-inspired menu saved the day recently when friends gathered around my table on a sultry evening. The main course was chicken marinated in an orange-teriyaki sauce and barbecued to a deep-bronze. On the side were fried rice with summer vegetables and a bold green salad in a fresh ginger dressing. Both were refreshingly light yet robustly flavored--and both were made ahead of time during the coolest hours of the day. For dessert, fragrant peaches were tossed in a simple mix of vanilla, lemon juice, orange zest and sugar.

CRUNCHY GREEN SALAD WITH FRESH GINGER DRESSING 6 cups iceberg lettuce, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes 3 cups watercress leaves 1 1/2 cups radish sprouts, top only Ginger Dressing

Combine lettuce, watercress leaves and radish sprouts in large bowl and refrigerate until well chilled and crisp.

To serve, toss chilled salad with Ginger Dressing to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning. Divide between 6 chilled salad plates. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving, with dressing, contains about:

161 calories; 317 mg sodium; trace cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.22 grams fiber.

Ginger Dressing 3 tablespoons peeled, minced ginger root 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon paprika (preferably Hungarian) 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 cup rice vinegar 1/3 cup peanut oil 3/4 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper

Mix ginger, sesame oil, paprika, sugar, rice vinegar, peanut oil, salt and black pepper to taste in food processor fitted with metal blade or blender until ingredients are well-blended. Can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before using.


This colorful rice dish is tasty whether it's served hot, at room temperature or chilled. It's essential to use chilled cooked rice for the best texture.

FRIED RICE WITH COLORFUL VEGETABLES 2 large eggs 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons peanut oil 1 tablespoon sesame oil 3 cups chilled cooked rice 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1 cup julienned carrots 1 cup corn cut off cob, about 1 large ear 1 cup thinly sliced green onions 1 cup frozen tiny peas 3 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon light soy sauce Red pepper flakes

Whisk together eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in non-stick wok or 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add eggs and cook, stirring, until just set. Remove eggs from pan and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil and sesame oil to pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add cooked rice and garlic. Mix well and stir-fry until very hot, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and corn. Mix well and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 more minutes.

Add reserved egg, green onions, peas, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes to taste. Break apart egg into chunks with spatula. Toss to combine well. Stir-fry until just hot, about 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot, at room temperature or chilled. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

264 calories; 553 mg sodium; 71 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 1.16 grams fiber.


Chicken always works well on the barbecue. But if you're watching your fat intake, skinless chicken breasts also grill successfully. To substitute chicken breasts, put them between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently flatten with a meat mallet until they are uniform in thickness, then marinate them. Cook five minutes or less over a hot fire, turning them once. Brush on the reserved marinade as indicated for the hens.

ASIAN ROASTED CHICKENS 1/2 cup lite teriyaki sauce 3 tablespoons peanut oil 1/4 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate 4 large cloves garlic, minced 2 (3-pound) chickens Salt Freshly ground pepper

Combine teriyaki sauce, peanut oil, orange juice concentrate and garlic in small bowl. Set aside.

Divide marinade equally between two bowls, half will be for marinade, remainder for final brushing after chicken is cooked. Set both aside.

Use kitchen scissors to cut chicken in half, removing backbone. Wash and pat dry with paper towels. Place in large plastic storage bag. Add half of marinade and secure bag so that chickenis resting in marinade. Reserve remaining marinade for final brushing after chicken is cooked. Refrigerate chicken in marinade for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. If marinating overnight, refrigerate remaining marinade reserved for final brushing.

Remove chicken from marinade. Place skin-side-up on foil-lined jellyroll pan. Brush with marinade in bag. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast at 450 degrees in center of oven until deeply browned and juices run clear when pierced with knife at joint, about 35 minutes. Remove hens from oven and brush generously with reserved marinade. Serve hot or very warm. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

574 calories; 569 mg sodium; 153 mg cholesterol; 42 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 39 grams protein; 0.05 gram fiber.


Given great peaches, this is the best way to enhance them. Th e recipe was inspired by a dish of fresh strawberries served much the same way at a wonderful Provencal restaurant, La Merenda, in Nice, France.

SIMPLY PEACHES 6 medium, firm but ripe peaches, sliced 1/3-inch thick 1/2 tablespoon vanilla 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons grated orange zest

Toss peaches in bowl with vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and orange zest to coat evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

To serve, divide evenly between 6 chilled shallow bowls. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

56 calories; trace sodium; trace cholesterol; trace fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.56 gram fiber.

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