BALTIMORE isn't the only city with a harbor. Norfolk's annual Harborfest celebration--this year, it's June 10th through 12th--is a southern alternative. There's no aquarium, but they do have the U.S. Navy.
In addition to the music, dancing, stage productions, tall ships, sports, jugglers, clowns, air shows and art exhibits, food figures prominently in the festival. Last year, at the International Pavilion, area restaurants and philanthropic organizations offered a marvelous collection of exotic dishes.
There were "Chinese Potato Chips"--deep-fried won-ton skins broken into large pieces; Italian hoagies and baked ziti; Filipino adobo, lumpia, pancit bihon and barbecued beef skewers, made with mango juice and wafting clouds of mouthwatering aromas. Barbecued sticks of souvlaki at the Greek stand added to the delectable aromas and tasted fine, even without benefit of mango juice.
At the Irish stand, there was a southern version of the potato standby called colcannon. And booths serving down-home favorites were scattered over the three acres of Harborfest's waterfront.
There was wine and, naturally, cheese: Holland's Cre me de Polder, France's Sacre' Bleu and Denmark's Peach Melba, a sweet, creamy cheese dotted with bits of peach.
Here are several recipes culled from a cookbook published by Norfolk's Chrysler Museum, and from a remarkable Norfolk visit. OYSTERS BINGO (1 serving) 6 fresh, large plump oysters, drained and liquor reserved Cornstarch 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper or 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon dry white wine 1 tablespoon chopped shallots or 1 teaspoon instant minced onion 2 tablespoons butter
Drain oysters, reserving liquor. Mix cornstarch, salt and pepper, and dredge oysters. Combine lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oyster liquor and wine, and add shallots (or onion). Heat butter to the smoking point and fry oysters on both sides until golden brown. Place each in an oyster half-shell or arrange in a serving dish. Turn off heat, add lemon-juice mixture to pan, and stir until liquid bubbles. Pour over oysters. PANCIT BIHON (4 generous servings)
Essentially a stir-fry, this Filipino dish was one of the delights of the International Pavilion. 1/4 pound boned pork 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided 1/2 cup chicken broth 2 3 1/4-ounce packages cellophane noodles 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided 1 clove garlic, chopped fine 1 small onion, diced 3 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch strips 4 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch strips 1/2 small head cabbage, shredded 1/2 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Coat uncooked, boned pork with soy sauce and add enough boiling chicken broth or water to almost cover. Cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer gently until pork is done, about 20 minutes if using a cut such as tenderloin. Drain, reserving liquid. If prepared 1 or 2 days ahead, refrigerate pork in cooking liquid, first covering surface with plastic wrap. (When cold the fat will come off with the wrap.) Cut pork into 1-inch strips.
Soak noodles in hot water until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and, with scissors, cut into 2-inch lengths.
In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes, stirring as necessary. Add carrots and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add celery and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add cabbage and stir-fry 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and add remaining oil to skillet. When hot, add pork, stirring to coat it with oil. Add shrimp and stir-fry until cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved liquid and remaining soy sauce. Return vegetables to skillet and add noodles. Mix well and simmer until noodles are cooked and have absorbed most of the liquid--about 5 minutes.
Note: Cooked pork roast with its gravy may be substituted. Make up the required amount of liquid with broth or water. STIR-FRY FISH (4 servings)
This is an easy-to-do variation of restaurateur Germaine Swanson's stir-fry fish recipe. Swanson uses sea-bass--choose whatever fish you prefer. 1 tablespoon plus enough cornstarch to coat fish fillets 3/4 cup chicken stock, divided 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fish fillets Fat for frying 1/4 cup carrots, shredded 1/4 cup snow peas, shredded 3 large mushrooms, sliced For the sauce: 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons vinegar 1 teaspoon chili sauce 1 small clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped 1/4 teaspoon salt
Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/4 cup chicken stock. Coat fish fillets with additional cornstarch and deep-fry in hot fat until done, about 15 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper and keep warm. Pour off fat and add remaining chicken stock, plus sauce ingredients, to skillet. Bring to boil and add vegetables. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch/stock mixture and cook, stirring until mixture thickens, and pour over fillets. OYSTER FRITTERS (Makes 6 to 8 2-inch fritters)
These "fritters," served by the Epicurean restaurant at last summer's festival, actually were pancakes, fried on a griddle, rather than in deep fat. For variety, clams or scallops may be substituted. 1 pint fresh oysters, drained and liquor reserved 1/2 cup milk, approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 1/2 cups flour, approximately 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper or 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 egg 2 tablespoons onion, minced Fat for frying
Drain oysters. Add liquor to measuring cup and fill to the 1-cup mark with milk. Sprinkle oysters with lemon juice. Mix flour with baking powder, salt, and pepper. Beat egg, beat milk mixture in, add onion and flour mixture. Stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Stir oysters in and, if necessary, add more flour to achieve batter consistency.
Fry spoonfuls in deep, hot fat, turning to brown both sides, or fry on a hot greased griddle as for pancakes. COLCANNON (4-plus servings) 1 cup cabbage, about 1/4 medium 2 cups mashed potatoes, about 2 large 4 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon minced onion 1/4 cup cream, approximately Salt, white pepper and paprika
Chop cabbage coarsely and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Combine with hot potatoes. Melt butter, add onion, cream and heat. Stir into vegetables and add more cream if necessary for fluffy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, preferably white. Top with butter, and sprinkle with paprika. TOMATOES PERSILLEGGS (6 servings)
This distant relation of the Italian pesto substitutes parsley for basil and saute's instead of pure'es. 3 large tomatoes, halved Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced fine 1 tablespoon pine nuts 1/4 cup parsley, minced
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt, and turn upside down to drain. Fry in oil, allowing about 3 minutes on each side, and drain on absorbent paper. Pour off most of oil and add garlic and pine nuts. Fry until nuts brown slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and stir in parsley. Heat briefly and top tomatoes with mixture. RUM MOLASSES ICE CREAM (4 servings)
This dessert is served at Norfolk's waterfront Omni Hotel. For best results, begin with high-quality ice cream. 5 tablespoons molasses 1/4 cup dark rum 1 pint vanilla ice cream
Chill 1 large and 1 small bowl in freezer. When cold, add molasses to small bowl and stir rum in until homogenous. Slightly soften vanilla ice cream in large bowl and, working quickly, stir in molasses mixture, incorporating it completely. Smooth down, cover surface with plastic wrap and re-freeze, preferably overnight. Transfer to attractive serving bowl or fill individual serving dishes.