March menus: a hurry-up brioche brunch, a curry without mystery, mushroom soup for a light supper Essay

Meals that go together quickly are the emphasis of menus this month.
For a spring brunch, purchased brioches provide a quick way to dress up
scrambled eggs. Make preparation of curry less complex by adding the
seasonings to the rice and baking the chicken separately. And for utter
simplicity, try the flavorful mushroom soup for a light supper.

Brioche and banger brunch

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Purchase brioches at a bakery, or substitute toasted English
muffins. If the British-style sausages called bangers are not in the
meat counter or frozen food section of your supermarket, order them from
your meatman, or use a veal sausage such as bratwurst.

Scrambled Eggs in Brioches

British Bangers

Romaine and Mandarin Orange Salad

Champagne or Ginger Ale and Strawberries

While the brioches toast and sausages brown, prepare the salads.
Keep the sausages hot in the oven while you scramble the eggs. Drop 2
or 3 strawberries into each glass of champagne or ginger ale. Scrambled
Eggs in Brioches 8 to 10 large eggs 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.)
butter or margarine 1/2 cup chopped green onion Salt and pepper Toasted
brioches (directions follow) or 3 3 English muffins, split and toasted
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, beat eggs and milk to blend; set aside.

In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add
green onion and cook, stirring, just until onion wilts, about 1 minute.
Add egg mixture; as it begins to firm on pan bottom, use a wide spatula to push aside or lift cooked portion so raw egg can flow down into pan.
Cook until softly set but still moist on top, about 6 minutes. Add salt
and pepper to taste.

Spoon egg mixture evenly into hollowed brioches or on top of each
split English muffin. Sprinkle egg with shredded cheese. Set brioche
tops gently on eggs; present English muffins open-face. Serve at once.
Makes 6.

Toasted brioches. Cut off the tops of 6 small (about 2-in.
diameter) brioches about 1 inch beneath topknot. Pull out insides of
rolls, making a shell about 1/4 inch thick (save crumbs for other uses).
Set shells, hollow sides up, and tops in an ungreased 12- by 15-inch
baking pan.

Bake, uncovered, in a 300[deg.] oven until broiche shells are dry
and crisp, about 20 minutes. Brush inside shells and cut sides of tops
with melted butter or margarine (you’ll need 3 to 4 tablespoons);
return to oven and continue baking just until butter is absorbed, about
5 minutes. Use hot. Makes 6. Romaine and Mandarin Orange Salad Smaller
inner leaves (about 30) of 2 large heads romaine, washed and crisped 1
cup peeled tangerine or mandarin orange segments, or 1 can (10 oz.)
mandarin oranges, drained 6 tablespoons pecan halves or sliced almonds
Honey–poppy seed dressing (recipe follows)

Arrange 5 or 6 romaine leaves on each of 6 individual plates. Top
equally with fruit and sprinkle with nuts. Offer dressing to spoon over
salads. Makes 6 servings.

Honey–poppy seed dressing. In a blender or with a wire whisk,
smoothly blend 1/3 cup salad oil, 1/4 cup honey, 3 tablespoons white
wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced shallots, and 1-1/2 teaspoons each
poppy seed and Dijon mustard. Use, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Makes about 3/4 cup dressing.

Curry dinner

Rice and vegetables, instead of the chicken, carry the curry
seasoning in this dinner. Serve the chutney-glazed chicken on the rice,
and top individual servings with condiments of yogurt, nuts, coconut,
and green onion.

Chutney-glazed Chicken Thighs

Curried Rice and Onions with Peas

Baked Lemon Curd

Hot Spiced Tea

You can bake the lemon curd as long as a day ahead. The chicken
and rice cook at the same time. As they cook, heat frozen petite peas
just until steaming, and assemble the condiments.

For a moister, creamier consistency in the curried rice, use
medium- or short-grain rice instead of the long-grain type.
Chutney-glazed Chicken Thighs

Arrange 8 chicken thighs (about 2 lb.) with skin sides up in an
ungreased 12- by 15-inch pan. bake, uncovered, in a 400[deg.] oven
until meat is no longer pink at the bone (cut to test), about 35
minutes. Brush thighs evenly with 1/2 cup Major Grey or other Chutney,
chopped. Bake just to set the glaze, about 5 minutes. Serves 4. Curried
Rice and Onions with Peas 2 medium-size onions 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
or margarine 1 cup short-, medium-, or long-grain white rice 2 teaspoons
curry powder 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed 1 can (10-1/2 oz.) condensed beef
consomme About 1/2 cup water Salt 3 cups hot cooked frozen petite peas
Condiments (directions follow)

Cut onions lengthwise into 1-inch-wide wedges. In a 10- to 12-inch
frying pan over medium-high heat, cook onions and butter, stirring,
until onion is translucent and limp, about 5 minutes. Add rice, curry
powder, and cumin seed. cook, stirring, until rice begins to brown very
lightly and turn opaque, about 4 minutes. Stir in consomme and 1/2 cup
water and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir; cover and cook over low
heat until rice is tender to bite, about 25 minutes. Add water if
needed to prevent scorching. Add salt to taste.

Mound rice mixture onto center of a warm serving platter (about
12-in. diameter). Spoon peas around rice. Serve hot. Offer
condiments. Makes 4 servings.

Condiments. Put in small dishes: 1 cup unflavored yogurt, 1 cup
chopped salted or unsalted roasted peanuts, and 1/2 cup each chopped
green onion and shredded unsweetened coconut. Baked Lemon Curd 1
medium-size lemon 4 large eggs 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or
margarine, at room temperature Boiling water

Cut off and discard ends of lemon. Slice lemon; discard any seeds.
Put lemon slices into a blender or food processor with eggs, sugar, and
butter. Whirl until smoothly blended. Pour mixture into 4 individual
ovenproof dishes (3/4- to 1-cup size). Set in a 9-inch square pan; pour
in 1 inch boiling water. Bake, uncovered, in a 300[deg.] oven until
centers look set when gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Remove from
water and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 4

Mushroom soup supper

Quick and simple, this soup is dense with mushrooms. The asparagus
and Belgian endive share the same dressing. For dessert, no-cook
cheesecake gets a new look when served in a wine goblet.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Asparagus Spears and Belgian Endive

With Dijon Vinaigrette

Goblet Cheesecake

The dessert can stand overnight but also will be ready if made just
before you cook the soup and prepare the salad.

Arrange cooked asparagus spears (hot or cold) and Belgian endive
leaves on individual plates with a small cup of Dijon-flavored
oil-and-vinegar dressing. Dip vegetables into vinaigrette to eat. Cream
of Mushroom Soup 2 pounds mushrooms 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or
margarine 2 medium-size onions, chopped 4 chicken bouillon cubes 1/4
teaspoon ground nutmeg 3 cups milk Whole or ground nutmeg Dry sherry

Rinse mushrooms and trim off discolored base of stems; thinly slice
mushrooms. Melt butter in a 4- to 5-quart pan; add mushrooms, onions,
bouillon, and the 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. cook, stirring, over medium-high
heat until liquid from mushrooms evaporates, about 30 minutes. Add milk
and heat just until simmering; do not boil. Ladle into bowls and top
with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmet. Add sherry
to taste. Makes 4 servings. Goblet Cheesecake

With an electric mixer or in a food processor, beat until smooth 1
large package (8 oz.) cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, 1
tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cover and refrigerate
until mixture is firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, crush enough graham
crackers (about 7) to make 1 cup crumbs. Pour crumbs into a 10- to
12-inch frying pan and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until
crumbs begin to smell toasted and darken slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir
in 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or
margarine, cut into small pieces. Stir until butter melts. Remove from
heat; let stand to cool slightly. Spoon crumb mixture equally into 4
glasses (6-to 8-oz. size) with or without stems. Pat crumbs up along
one side of glass.

Beat chilled cream cheese mixture until creamy, and carefully spoon
into glasses without disturbing the crumbs. Serve, or cover and chill
as long as overnight. Makes 4 servings.


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