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Please Pass the Pickles

February 08, 1996|MARION CUNNINGHAM

When you first read this beef salad recipe, I'll wager you will think there's too much pickle. I would have concluded the same thing, but it happened that this salad was served at a luncheon, and it was so good that everyone there wanted the recipe.

This is an example of how no one can cook in his or her head: One can't know exactly how a recipe will taste until it is made.

I like this recipe because it's an excellent way to use leftover roast beef. I don't like the taste of reheated beef, and using leftover beef in sandwiches can become monotonous. This makes a fine lunch or supper dish.

To put a period on the meal, try serving fresh citrus cookies with a glass of sweetened iced coffee. The recipe here is for an old-fashioned sugar cookie that adds the lively flavors of lemon and orange.

A helpful baking tip: When you're baking cookies with lots of butter, as in this recipe, the bottoms of the cookies often get dark or burned before the cookie is baked through. Some baking sheets are designed to prevent bottom-browning, but many are not. To prevent this, stack two cookie sheets together. This "double-panning" retards the heat a little on the bottom of the cookies.

BEEF SALAD WITH SOUR PICKLES

This makes a bit more than 1 cup of dressing, you probably won't use it all for one salad. Keep the remaining dressing covered tightly in the refrigerator.

SALAD

4 boiling potatoes

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

3 cups thin-sliced, bite-size pieces cooked roast beef or left-over pan-fried steak

1 bunch green onions, sliced

4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups bite-size chunks dill pickles, drained

Boil potatoes until knife pierces easily, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool. Peel potatoes and cut in 1/4-inch slices.

Combine potatoes with eggs, beef, green onions, celery and pickles and gently toss to mix.

DRESSING

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

3/4 cup olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons cold water

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Salt

Whisk together mustard, oil, garlic, pepper, vinegar, water and pepper sauce in small bowl. Taste and add salt if needed.

Pour 1/2 cup dressing over salad and toss gently to mix. Add more dressing if necessary; salad should be just lightly coated with dressing.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving, with 1/2 cup dressing, contains about:

293 calories; 682 mg sodium; 131 mg cholesterol; 23 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 0.71 gram fiber.

FRESH CITRUS COOKIES

1 orange

1/2 lemon, preferably Meyer lemon

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Without peeling, cut orange and lemon into pieces and remove seeds. Grind orange and lemon in food processor. Place ground fruit in strainer and press with back of spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Reserve juice and ground fruit separately.

Beat 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar until light, smooth and creamy.

Firmly pack 1/2 cup ground fruit into measure, add to creamed butter and mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons ground fruit for icing and freeze rest for another use. Add flour, baking soda and salt to creamed butter and beat until well blended.

Drop dough by tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Flatten dough with your fingers. If dough is sticky, dip your fingers into cold water before pressing. Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to racks and cool.

While cookies are baking, make icing. Cream remaining butter and powdered sugar until light. Add reserved 2 tablespoons ground fruit and 2 tablespoons citrus juice and beat until smooth. If icing is still too thick to spread, gradually beat in more citrus juice or water until icing is spreadable. Ice cookies while still warm.

Makes about 3 dozen (2-inch round) cookies

Each cookie contains about:

106 calories; 69 mg sodium; 9 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.03 gram fiber.

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