Living

Take a trip without leaving kitchen

Poof! Just like that, it seems, fall is entrenched and Halloween is almost upon us. So you didn't go everywhere and do everything you'd planned over the summer? These recipes can at least take your taste buds on a tantalizing trip or two.

Philadelphia

Next summer, for sure, you'll take the family to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other icons of American history. And while you're in the City of Brotherly Love, or just thinking about it, don't pass up its most famous food - the Philadelphia Cheese-steak.

This recipe was adapted from Pat's King of Steaks in south Philly, one of the city's best-known purveyors of this sandwich.

CHEESESTEAK SANDWICHES

For quick cooking and best results, the meat in these sandwiches should be sliced thinly. Ask your butcher to do it, or partially freeze the meat before slicing yourself. Packages of thinly sliced meat also are sold in the freezer sections of some supermarkets.

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms

1 lb. thinly sliced rib-eye or top roast

Salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce to taste

6 hoagie or sandwich rolls

Provolone cheese or Cheez Whiz

Heat some olive oil or butter in a large pan set over medium-high heat and saute the vegetables until soft. Set aside and keep warm.

Working in batches, add meat to the pan and quickly cook until done, about 1 minute per side. Remove from heat and keep warm while cooking remaining meat.

Pour off cooking juices and add oil or butter as needed. When done, roughly chop meat.

Divide meat and vegetables between buns. Top with choice of cheese (to melt provolone, microwave sandwich about 30 seconds).

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Colorado

Most people know Colorado as the home of winter ski resorts. Many know the mountains as a great place to beat the summer heat, hike scenic heights and fish fast-running, pristine streams.

Here's an easy recipe for the kind of trout you might pull out of one of those streams, even if you really bought it at the local supermarket.

PAN-FRIED TROUT

This fish is delicious served with horseradish sauce.

4 trout fillets

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon wedges

Season filets to taste with salt and pepper. Combine cornmeal and flour in large bowl. Dredge filets in mixture; shake off excess breading.

In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add trout to skillet and cook, turning once, until done, about 5 minutes.

Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the fish and serve with remaining wedges.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: "American Cooking: The Great West" by Time-Life Books.

Paris

Did you hear about the woman who found a last-minute $300 round-trip airfare to Paris, zipped over and spent the weekend eating and drinking in French bistros? Yeah, some people have all the luck.

If you've not visited the city that many still consider the center of the culinary universe, comfort yourself with this bistro-style roast chicken, flavored with

oh-so-French tarragon and shallots. And keep looking for that bargain airfare.

TARRAGON ROAST CHICKEN WITH TOMATOES AND SHALLOTS

1 chicken, about 3 1/2 to 4 lbs.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

8 shallots, peeled

1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse and pat chicken dry. In small bowl combine olive oil, tarragon, garlic and salt.

Rub about two-thirds of the mixture over chicken. Toss remaining mixture with shallots and tomatoes.

Place chicken breast side up on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Cook about 1 1/4 hours or until leg moves freely in the joint and juices run clear.

During last 25 minutes of cooking, add shallots to baking pan. During last 10 minutes of cooking, add tomatoes to pan.

When chicken is done, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before carving. Divide chicken, shallots and tomatoes between four plates.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from McCormick's

Baja Mexico

In terms of visitors, the Baja trails better-known Mexican resort areas such as Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. In terms of seafood, the Baja is second to none.

Seaside restaurants on the Baja offer up fish tacos, ceviche and seafood cocktails with a dazzling array of fresh catches.

Here's a salad that combines tuna with the lively flavors of cilantro, lime, serrano peppers and more. Enjoy it with a cold Mexican beer and we'll bet you'll practically feel the breeze off the water.

BAJA TUNA SALAD

1 lb. tuna

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Juice of 1 lime

Salad:

1/3 cup chopped red or yellow onion

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make a double layer of aluminum foil about 18 inches long. Pour olive oil, salt and lime juice in center of foil. Roll tuna around in mixture, then wrap foil around tuna.

Place tuna in oven and cook about 30 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In bowl, mix together onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, serrano chile, red wine vinegar, olive oil and mayonnaise. Flake tuna into mixture.

Serve on plates or in hollowed out avocado shells topped with chopped avocado.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: "Baja! Cooking On The Edge" by Deborah Schneider.

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