Luck Be a Lady
A winery tour of Beaujolais and Burgundy, French cooking classes, and a romantic getaway for two in Middleburg are just a few of the many culinary treats to be raffled off this Sunday by the Washington chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, the professional society of women in the wine and food trades. Proceeds from the organization's fundraiser, to be held at Maxfield's Grille in Rosslyn, will benefit the Ann Crutcher Professional Scholarship, presented each year to promising culinary talent.
Also on the menu will be the signature dishes of a score of Washington's female restaurant and catering professionals, as well as drinks and tapas, served by the restaurant.
The address: 1300 N. 17th St. in Rosslyn. The time: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The cost: $40 per person, with raffle tickets priced at $5 each, or 12 for $50. -- Tom Sietsema
Nibbling the Big Apple
Bethesda's L'Academie de Cuisine is taking to the road for a belt-stretching tour of culinary delights in the Big Apple, April 22-24. The weekend kicks off with a luncheon tour of the prestigious French Culinary Academy, followed by a visit to Gracie Mansion, and Spanish appetizers at The Ballroom Hotel.
Before guests return Sunday afternoon, they'll sit in on a two-hour discussion of food and wine, presented by the International Wine Center; a food photography workshop in SoHo; lunch at Union Square Greenmarket; dinner and a peek into the kitchen of The Four Seasons Restaurant; a visit to Lox Around the Clock for brunch; and shopping at Balducci's.
Transportation from Washington is via Amtrack; in New York, participants will be escorted to and from events in a glass-topped motor coach (and in between all the touring and noshing, stay at the Warwick Hotel). For more information, call tour leader Janice Martin at (301) 986-9490. -- T.S.
Chicken Soup Therapy
If there's a bright side to having a cold or the flu, it's the chance to ask riends and family to come to one's rescue with chicken soup.
Indeed, it has more than Mom to recommend it -- doctors point out that hot chicken soup can speed the expulsion of germ-laden mucus from the nasal passages, thus helping fight infection. And probably the best soup is made with homemade chicken broth.
It's not necessary to use expensive chicken parts to make stock -- backs, wings and necks serve just as well. In fact, Giant and Safeway package these items separately, for 39 cents a pound. (If your outlet doesn't have them, consumers can place orders with their store's meat manager, according to spokesmen for both grocery chains.)
Meanwhile -- in response to the height of the cold and flu season -- we offer the foundation for a speedy, satisfying recovery:
HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK (Makes about 1 1/2 quarts)
About 7 pounds bony chicken parts, such as backs, wings and necks
16 cups water
4 medium-sized carrots, coarsely sliced
4 large celery stalks, coarsely sliced
5 to 6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 parsnips, or 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt
Peppercorns to taste
In a large stock pot, combine the chicken parts, water, carrots, celery, parsley, parsnips and onions. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently, with cover slightly askew, for 1 1/2 hours, skimming the foam from the top of the stock frequently during the first 20 to 30 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients. Simmer the stock over low heat for an additional 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary to cover the chicken and vegetables. Remove the chicken, vegetables, and bay leaves with a slotted spoon and discard them. With a large shallow spoon, skim the fat from the top of the stock and discard it. You should have about 10 cups of stock.
Strain stock through a sieve and taste; if it is not strong enough, wash out pot in which stock was prepared, return stock to the pot, and reduce further.
The stock may be refrigerated for 2 or 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. -- T.S.