FROM THE TRUCKPATCH comes a quick, cool sauce for serving atop hot pasta -- linguine, fettuccine, whatever, says Ward Sinclair:

Take a ripe tomato, chop it and salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped basil and/or cilantro -- any fresh herbs, in fact, says the farmer. Drizzle in a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle on some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Stir all this together and let it sit unrefrigerated while the pasta cooks.

Spoon the quick sauce over the pasta and sprinkle generously with cheese.

Variation: instead of regular tomatoes, use red and gold cherry tomatoes chopped in half.

JICAMA HAS ITS DEVOTEES, as evidenced by a reader's question On the Fridge July 4 and by the following response it engendered from a Springfield reader:

"Jicama is great.

"I use it raw as an appetizer -- rub lime over it and then dip in bowl with salt and small amount chili powder or eat it just plain.

"Substitute jicama for water chestnuts when you stir-fry or just add it to stir-fry.

"Use in salads.

"Add to fried potatoes.

"Add to a fruit compote.

"As an appetizer I often use jicama instead of chips with a dip."

FALL COOKING CLASSES will be listed Aug. 29 in the Food section. For inclusion in the annual list, information must be received by Aug. 13, only by mail (Cooking Classes, Food Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Specify in 100 words or less the nature of courses offered (French or Indian, participation or demonstration, etc.), total years of operation, costs, location, starting dates and times. Include an address and telephone number for inquiries.

LARD LOVERS may now have the best of both worlds. Kraft Food Ingredients Corp., a subsidiary of Kraft General Foods, which sells a wide variety of oils and other ingredients to food manufacturers, has devised a technology that incorporates the flavors of lard or beef tallow into vegetable oils.

The result: biscuits and crackers with the flavor of animal fat, but without all the saturated fat. Another development from the food science front: red food coloring made from the pigment of red cabbage.

Can red animal crackers be far behind?



(4 main-dish salad servings)

These light parcels can also be wrapped in blanched romaine leaves. Quinoa, botanically a fruit rather than a grain, is low in calories and high in protein. Cooked millet, basmati or brown rice are equally delicious.

16 large Swiss chard leaves, stemmed

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 large mango, halved, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 fresh jalapenåo chili, seeded and minced

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon peanut oil

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2/3 cup vegetable stock

Cut off the thick, center rib from each chard leaf down to the stem. Steam leaves until they are bright green and flexible enough to roll. Plunge in cold water, drain, and dry on paper towels.

Place the next seven ingredients on a large platter. Mix well and divide into 16 portions. Place 1 portion of filling at a leaf's base. Fold the base over the stuffing, then sides, and roll up leaf into a compact roll. Place seam side down in an oven-proof casserole. Repeat process for remaining rolls.

Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. Cover and cook until seeds turn gray and sputter. Remove from the heat, add remaining ingredients and pour over chard rolls. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Baste twice during baking. Serve hot or at room temperature with strained pan juices.

Per serving: 377 calories, 12 gm protein, 70 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, .7 gm saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 343 mg sodium. -- Yamuna Devi


Saturday: Tour of 17 farms (many are organic) in Montgomery County, view and purchase fresh produce, meats, houseplants and yarn, samples available at some farms, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., call 217-2345 weekdays or 301-972-3452 evenings and Saturday for information and directions.