Dinner in 25 Minutes

Maple and Pepper Lamb Chops

4 servings

The sugars in this glaze caramelize quickly -- and scorch shortly thereafter -- so use it only on relatively thin, quick-cooking rib chops. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Adapted from a recent issue of Donna Hay magazine:

8 rib lamb chops (about 1 inch thick)

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Scant 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for searing

6 generous tablespoons maple syrup

Place a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub each chop with about 1/2 teaspoon of oil and season on both sides with salt and plenty of pepper. Add the chops to the skillet and sear, without moving, until browned on 1 side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and repeat.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, heat the sugar, oil and syrup, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; pour half the syrup into a small bowl.

After you turn the chop, brush the newly exposed top of the chop lightly with some of the syrup mixture from the bowl, being careful not to let any syrup drip down the side. Continue to cook until the desired degree of doneness, about 2 more minutes for medium-rare, turning and basting again if necessary. Transfer the chops to a cutting board, season again with pepper and brush the top lightly with the syrup from the pan. (If the syrup has thickened, warm over low heat until spreadable.) Set the chops aside to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Per serving: 381 calories, 38 gm protein, 27 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm fat, 121 mg cholesterol, 4 gm saturated fat, 202 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

SHOPPING CART | Turkey Brining Bags and Frozen French Green Beans

In our opinion, brining a Thanksgiving turkey is worth the hassle. And the hassle includes finding a leak-proof, sturdy, food-safe, brining bag (not a trash bag, please!) into which you can pour the liquid, add the turkey and park the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally.

For this singular task Williams-Sonoma has created a bag about the dimensions of a king-size pillow with a safe-looking double seal. Each bag can hold a turkey as large as 23 pounds. Cautious types may still want to put the bag in a roasting pan in the fridge to ensure that brining liquid doesn't spill all over the place.

Set of two turkey brining bags, $10; available at Williams-Sonoma stores.

Haricots verts (ah-ree-koh VEHR) can be slender, vibrantly colored, just this side of crisp and sweetly flavorful. But bundles of fresh, unwilted French green beans that are not past their prime can be difficult to find. Our solution is to keep a stash of Trader Joe's French Green Beans in the freezer. As flavorful as any we've tried.

$1.99 per 16-ounce package; available at Trader Joe's locations.

EQUIPMENT TEST | Oven Rack

This catalogue shot of Williams-Sonoma's new three-tiered oven rack set our single- oven cooks' hearts aflutter, but practicalities may trump best intentions.

The contraption effectively gives you room for two extra casserole dishes, but the middle rack of your oven must be removed to accommodate it. Also, it's worth your while to measure your interior oven width against the size of what you're planning to put alongside the multilevel rack. Our 121/2-inch-wide roasting pan did not fit next to it, which negated space-saving gains.

The three-tiered stainless-steel oven rack measures 16 by 11 by 9 inches and folds flat for storage; available for $15 at Williams-Sonoma stores.

The Evolving Food Scene, 1994 to 2004

1,755 Number of farmers markets in the United States 3,137

1 Number of FDA-approved bioengineered foods 54

7 Viewers of the Food Network (in millions) 79

-- From the October issue of Saveur magazine

TIP

To make easy-to-pour ice water for pastry dough, place the ice cubes and water in a fat separator cup. The water pours through the spout, conveniently leaving the ice behind.

-- From the July 2004 issue of Fine Cooking

TO DO

TONIGHT: National Press Club Book Fair featuring cookbook authors. $5 for nonmembers. 5:30 p.m. 529 14th St. NW. Call 202-662-7564.

TONIGHT: Book signing with "Bouchon" author and French Laundry chef Thomas Keller at Sur la Table. Sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. $45 for nonmembers includes food and wine tasting. 7-9 p.m. 5211 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 301-807-7647.

THURSDAY: Beaujolais Nouveau wine dinner at Le Gaulois Restaurant. $42 excludes tax and tip. 5-10 p.m. 1106 King St., Alexandria. Call 703-739-9494.

THURSDAY: Southeast Asian dinner at the residence of the ambassador of Indonesia. Guest speaker: Irene Khin Wong, Burmese-born caterer. Sponsored by the Asia Society and the ASEAN Washington Committee. $70 for nonmembers. 7 p.m. 2700 Tilden St. NW. Call 202-833-2742 or see www.asiasociety.org/events. SATURDAY: Thanksgiving wine tasting at Magruder's. Free. 1-4 p.m. 5626 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-686-5271.

SUNDAY: Vegan Thanksgiving potluck sponsored by Action for Animals Network. Free; guests are asked to bring a vegan dish that will serve eight. 3-7 p.m. Reservations required. Northern Virginia location. Call 703-461-3283.

RESERVE NOW

NOV. 28: Book signing and food tasting with "Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington" author Patrick O'Connell at Sur la Table, Pentagon Row. Free. 1-3 p.m. 1101 South Joyce St., Arlington. Call 703-414-3580.

PLEASE NOTE: Space limitations sometimes prevent Food from publishing all submissions. For possible inclusion, send notices -- including organization name, date, cost, time, address and phone number -- to: To Do, Food, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C., 20071 or food@washpost.com. Submissions must be received at least 14 days prior to publication date.

A NOTE TO OUR READERS

This is the first of two Thanksgiving issues. The Food section will also appear Sunday (read: more recipes!); we will not publish on Wednesday, Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. We will resume publication on

Dec. 1.

For the complete package of Thanksgiving articles and recipes -- and some additional favorites from our archives -- visit washingtonpost.com.