DINNER IN 15 MINUTES

Fish Fillets With Rosemary,

Citrus and Garlic

(4 servings)

Sometimes it's difficult to infuse flavor into quick-cooking but mild-flavored fish. This simple approach incorporates the subtle flavors of rosemary, orange and garlic into the fish and an oil to drizzle over the top. The infused oil also imparts a lively note to side dishes, such as steamed rice, boiled potatoes or blanched snow or sugar snap peas.

Adapted from "How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food" by Nigella Lawson (Wiley, 2002).

4 fillets (4 to 6 ounces each) orange roughy, mullet, cod, sea bass or other flaky white fish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (from about 1 sprig)

Zest from 2 oranges, finely chopped

Pat the fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary and orange zest and heat just until the garlic sizzles. Add the fish and cook until golden and crisp on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until the fish is opaque throughout and flakes easily, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness. The garlic and zest will turn golden; if they begin to brown, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low.

Transfer the fillets to individual plates and spoon the flavored oil mixture over the top. Serve immediately.

Per 6-ounce serving: 183 calories, 25 gm protein, 1 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 178 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

Recommended Reading

Did you know that the hot fudge sundae has been around for 96 years? Or that the first box of Kraft mac 'n' cheese was rolled out in 1937 and cost 19 cents? And how about this: In 1940, M&Ms were introduced in six colors: red, yellow, green, orange, brown and violet. Violet? Didn't we just vote to make violet the "new" color? These and a century's worth of other fascinating food facts can be found in "The Century in Food: America's Fads and Favorites" by Texas food writer Beverly Bundy (Collectors Press Books, $35). The book includes archival photos, historic advertisements and typical recipes from each era. A fun read and a great gift idea.

Does the holiday time crunch find you choosing between Pilates and the mall? Don't feel too bad if you choose the latter. According to this month's issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, three hours of hard-core holiday shopping will burn 429 calories (based on a 130-pound female).

Shopping Cart

* No two snowflakes are alike. Nor should any two snowflake-shaped cookies be the same. So the folks at R&M International Corp. devised these clever cookie cutters. The set of five pieces comprises two tiny decorating tools that can be used to make additional cutouts in any of three larger snowflake shapes. A slender tin accommodates all five pieces for ease of storage.

The Snowflake Cookie Cutter Set is available for about $7 at Arlington Gift & Garden (2920 Columbia Pike, Arlington, 703-920-2448), La Cuisine (323 Cameron St., Alexandria; call 703-836-4435) and Sur La Table stores. Also available by mail-order from R&M International Corp.; call 800-401-0101.

* Ever find yourself standing in the packaged bread aisle squeezing the loaves for freshness and squinting at the items on the list of ingredients?

Not us. Not since we happened across Big Sky Bread Company's English muffin bread. And multi-grain. And honey whole-wheat. And more.

These hefty loaves from a Baltimore bakery boast all-natural ingredients and a remarkably homemade taste. Delivered to area stores several times a week, the breads have a short shelf life -- owing both to their lack of preservatives and their popularity among Big Sky regulars.

The company also makes a granola that upends our notion of the '80s breakfast favorite. The slightly sweet, incredibly enticing, immense slabs of honey-lacquered oats, almond, pumpkin and sesame can be crumbled into milk, sprinkled over ice cream or nibbled pretty much whenever.

Big Sky Bread Company breads (about $2.99 per loaf) and granola (about $3.99 per 1-pound bag) are available at many area health food, grocery and wine stores. We found ours at Calvert Woodley (4339 Connecticut Ave. NW; call 202-966-4400), Dean & DeLuca (3276 M St. NW; call 202-342-2500) and Magruder's locations.

Today's Tip

To avoid floury splotches on the dough when you make roll-out cookies, instead of sprinkling the work surface and rolling pin with flour, use confectioners' sugar.

To Do

FRIDAY-SATURDAY: Velatis candy making demonstration and tasting. Free. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Hecht's Metro Center (1201 G St. NW); Saturday at Hecht's Chevy Chase (5400 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase). Call 703-558-1648.

SATURDAY & DEC. 14: Holiday cooking classes at Ristorante Tosca. $75 each includes a light breakfast and lunch. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 1112 F St. NW. Call 202-367-1990.

SATURDAY: Cooking demonstration and book signing with "The Art of Chinese Cookery" author Joan Shih. Free. 1-3 p.m. Bloomingdale's White Flint, 11301 Rockville Pike, Rockville. Call 301-984-4561.

SATURDAY: Champagne tasting featuring more than 25 different houses at Magruder's. Free. 1-4 p.m. 5626 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-686-5271.

SATURDAY: Champagne tasting at the Wine Source. $30. 2-4 p.m. 3601 Elm Ave., Baltimore. Call 410-467-7777.

SATURDAY: Virginia wine tasting in an Enchanted Forest with live jazz. Sponsored by the Junior League of Northern Virginia. $55 per person, $100 per couple includes light fare. 8-11 p.m. Dulles Expo Center, 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly. Call 703-848-2884 or see www.jlnv.org

SUNDAY: Lecture on food-based collections at the Smithsonian Institution. Special guest: David Shayt, museum specialist, National Museum of American History. Sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Washington, D.C. Free. 4-6 p.m. The George Washington University at Mount Vernon College, Eckles Library Auditorium, 2100 Foxhall Rd. NW. Call 703-281-5281.

MONDAY: Wild game and wine dinner at Grapeseed American Bistro and Wine Bar. Sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. $100 for nonmembers includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 4865 Cordell Ave., Bethesda. Call 301-424-2975

MONDAY: French wine dinner at Chef Geoff's Downtown. $69 excludes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 13th Street between E and F streets, NW. Call 202-464-4461.

TUESDAY: Sparkling wine and Champagne tasting sponsored by the Taster's Guild. $40 for nonmembers. 7 p.m. Sputnik Cafe, 1397 Generals Hwy., Crownsville, Md. Call 410-923-3775 or see www.awcubed.com/tasters

TUESDAY: Wine Basics 101 -- wine tasting at the Radisson Barcelo Hotel. Sponsored by TasteDC. $40. 7:30-9 p.m. 2121 P St. NW. Call 202-333-5588 or see www.tastedc.com.

RESERVE NOW:

DEC. 16-19: Nutcracker performance and tea for children at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. $42. Dec. 16-18, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-3:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, 11 a.m. performance only. 1700 Tysons Blvd., Tysons Corner. Call 703-917-5498.

DEC. 18: A Sip of Italy, A Taste of France -- wine dinner at La Colline. Sponsored by American Institute of Wine and Food. $105 for nonmembers includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 400 North Capitol St. NW. Call 301-424-2975.