golf course may not be the place you expect to rub shoulders with local chefs, but Monday, Aug. 9, that's exactly where you'll find some of the area's culinary hot shots. Among the luminaries already signed up for the second annual Duck Press Golf Classic at the Indian Springs Country Club in Silver Spring are Francois Dionot and Mark Ramsdell (L'Academie de Cuisine), John Fulchino (Cashion's and Johnnie's Half Shell), Gerard Pangaud (Gerard's Place), John Pearson (Flint Hill Public House), Francesco Ricchi (Cesco) and Jeff Tunks (D.C. Coast).

Sponsored by L'Academie de Cuisine, whose students will prepare breakfast and lunch, the tournament is a fundraiser for the D.C. Central Kitchen. Included in the $125 cost: green fees, food and drink, contests, door prizes. To register ahead of time, call L'Academie de Cuisine, 301-670-8670. On-site registration and breakfast on the day of the tournament begin at 8 a.m.


Mint-Brushed Lamb Chops

(6 servings)

Simple can be sublime. The secret to a great dish is often the well-conceived pairing of just a couple of common ingredients. This recipe is a perfect example; it's from "Prime Time: The Lobels' Guide to Great Grilled Meats" by Evan, Leon, Stanley and Mark Lobel (Macmillan, $25).

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

12 loin or rib lamb chops, each about 2 inches thick

Nonstick spray oil

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Salt (optional)

Preheat the grill on high.

In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer the sugar-vinegar mixture along with the mint to a blender; process until the mint is finely chopped.

Brush the mint mixture on both sides of the lamb chops; set them aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Reserve the remaining mint mixture.

Lightly spray the grill rack with the nonstick spray oil. Grill the chops, basting several times with the remaining mint mixture, until cooked to desired degree of doneness, about 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium-rare. Watch for flare-ups. Season with the pepper to taste and serve.

Per serving: 868 calories, 53 gm protein, 1 gm carbohydrates, 70 gm fat, 223 mg cholesterol, 31 gm saturated fat, 183 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

Here's smoking made easy. Forget about the grill, indirect fires and soaking wood chips. Just place a few fish steaks, chicken pieces or lamb chops in a shallow dish. Slip it all into the Savu Food Smoker Bag ($2.99)--a wood-chip-lined, heavy-duty aluminum sack-and bake. Forty-five minutes or so later, you'll have a lightly smoked meal with almost no fuss or mess. The disposable bag keeps the smoke inside. Craig Gottlieb discovered the bag after his wife's aunt sent him samples from Finland. He tried one and got hooked on the concept. Now, he and his wife, Marya, are importing the bags. One last thing, though there's no smoke, your house will fill with a pleasant wood-smoke aroma.

Look for the bags near the fish counter at most Fresh Fields locations, Sutton Place Gourmet stores, Arlington City Market (3461 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington; call 703-243-3330) and Westover Village Market (5863 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington; call 703-538-5968).

Add this Web site to your bookmarks:

Feeling like those idyllic summer picnics have been virtually nonexistent this year? Well, with the help of this site, you can reclaim your seasonal watermelon and checkered-tablecloth fantasies before the close of yet another swift summer. This site includes creative recipes like Watermelon Walla-Walla Sweet Onion Salsa, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad Rangoon, and even shows how to make your own watermelon vase. With all this activity and the knowledge that this fruit has a mere 80 calories in 2 cups, you can really cut loose.

To Do

FRIDAY: Wine & cheese tasting and lecture with Rob Stewart. $40. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Arlington Hilton, 950 N. Stafford St., Arlington. Call 703-685-7970.

TUESDAY: Italian wine dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy. $29.95 includes tax and tip. 6-8 p.m. 5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-966-5500.


AUG. 11: Virginia Peach Festival--includes locally grown peaches and peach products. $18. 4-8:30 p.m. Rotary Field, Stuart, Va. Call 540-694-6012 or

AUG. 14: Sicilian Opera and Wine Dinner at Lichendale Farm. Benefits Peabody Conservatory's Opera Outreach program. $65. 5:30-9:30 p.m. 2797 Pfefferkorn Rd., West Friendship. Call 410-465-5989.

A Call for Cooking Classes

Fall cooking classes in the metropolitan area will be listed in the Sept. 1 Food section. For inclusion in the list, information must be received by Aug. 13 by mail, fax or e-mail. Mailing address: Cooking Classes, Food section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071-4700. Fax: 202-334-5059. E-mail: Specify in 100 words or less the nature of the courses offered (Scandinavian, French, low-fat, etc.; whether courses are participation or demonstration only, etc.), the number of years the school or instructor has been in operation, the fee and materials costs (if any), location, starting dates and times. Include an address and telephone number for inquiries.