DINNER TONIGHT

Herbed Chicken Thighs

With Cider Red Cabbage

(6 servings)

Early fall signals an abundance of apple cider, and just in time to take the chill from an early October evening. Pour a steaming glass along with this hearty dinner; we found the recipe in "A is for Apple" by Greg Patent and Dorothy Hinshaw Patent (Broadway, $15).

3/4 teaspoon ground thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 30 ounces total)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds red cabbage, cored and sliced (about 8 cups)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup apple cider

In a small bowl, stir together the thyme, oregano, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Coat the thighs with the spice rub and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the skillet, bring the onion, cabbage, vinegar and sugar to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cider and place the chicken on top of the cabbage mixture. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 236 calories, 30 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrates, 7 gm fat, 118 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 327 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

* Do you ever look at a restaurant menu and wish you could order just dessert? No salads or healthy stuff for me, please --I'll stick to the fat, starch and sugar. Well, your dreams have come true. On Oct. 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Westin Grand Hotel downtown, you can feast on top area bakers' pastries, desserts and breads at Creme de la Creme: A Bakers' Extravaganza. Organized by the National Capital Area chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food the event was dreamed up by Ris Lacoste, executive chef of 1789 Restaurant, as a way to pay tribute to area bakers. For $45 ($35 for members of AIWF), the public can sample selections prepared by about 40 local pastry chefs--and you don't have to finish your vegetables first. For information, call 202-333-0421.

* Try this fantasy: You get to set a table using the storehouse of Tiffany & Co.: the best china, crystal and sterling silver from the company's archives as well the contemporary collections. That was the opportunity put to three of the area's top chefs: Greggory Hill of Gabriel Restaurant, Ris Lacoste of the 1789 Restaurant and Patrick O'Connell of The Inn at Little Washington. Each chef chose a theme and incorporated his or her own special table touches. Hill's table, "Rattle Me Blue," was inspired by the birth of his son. Lacoste's "It's Time for Soup" celebrates her favorite thing to make. And O'Connell's "A Reconciliation in the Wood"? Well, head to the bookshelf for "Little Red Riding Hood" as well as the work of Freud and Jung.

"The Tiffany Table: Entertaining With Creativity and Style" is on view until Oct. 3 at the Chevy Chase store at 5500 Wisconsin Ave.

TO DO:

THURSDAY: Mexican Gastronomy: A Culinary Journey Through Mexican Culture--lecture and cooking demonstration at the Mexican CulturalInstitute. Guest chef: Zarela Martinez. $20. 7 p.m. 2829 16th St. NW. Call 202-728-1675.

THURSDAY: Oktoberfest--beer, wine and food tastings at the German Embassy. Sponsored by the Wine Tasting Association. $60 for nonmembers. 7 p.m. 4645 Reservoir Rd. NW. Call 703-780-WINE or www.winetasting.org.

THURSDAY: Down Under!--food and Echo Point wine tasting at Eatzi's Market & Bakery. Free. 6-9 p.m. 11503-B Rockville Pike, Rockville. Call 301-816-2020.

SATURDAY: Gone Fishin': A Celebration of Fish and Seafood--seminar and luncheon with "Seafood Cooking for Dummies" author Leslie Beal Bloom. Sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates. $86 for nonmembers. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. McCormick's & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, 1652 K St. NW. Call 202-357-3030.

SATURDAY: Taste of Georgetown--food samples from local restaurants on the grounds of Grace Church. Benefits community programs. Free admission. Noon-4 p.m. 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-333-7100. cq

SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Russian bazaar featuring traditional foods at St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Free admission. Noon-6 p.m. 17th and Shepherd streets, NW. Call 202-726-4989.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY: Greek festival featuring traditional foods at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church. Free admission. Noon-10 p.m. 3149 Glen Carlyn Rd., Falls Church. Call 703-671-1515.

MONDAY: Kitchen Kabaret--local chefs compete in a quiz show before preparing a four-course dinner. Benefits D.C. Central Kitchen's job training programs. $150 includes tax and tip. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. Call 202-234-0707 or www.dccentralkitchen.org.

TUESDAY: Series of wine classes begins at Dan & Brad's Steakhouse. Sponsored by Arrowine. $30-45 per person; $150 for series of five classes. 7:30 p.m. 950 N. Stafford St., Arlington. Call 703-525-0990.

RESERVE NOW:

OCT. 5: Countdown to the Millennium--Moet and Chandon champagne dinner at Red Sage. $125 plus tax and tip. 7 p.m. 605 14th St. NW. Call 202-638-4444 or www.redsage.com.

OCT. 7: A Lighter Side of Politics--buffet cigar dinner featuring a troupe of Congressional staffers-turned-comedians at Lansdowne Resort. $75 includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 44050 Woodridge Pkwy., Lansdowne, Va. Call 703-729-4090.

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