Short Order: Be brave and try something new

I can think of a few things people might call me, but "coward" isn't one of them.

I can think of a few things people might call me, but "coward" isn't one of them. With several guests expected for Friday night dinner and Shabbat just a few hours away, I attempted a main dish I had never made before. Some might call that courageous. I already had chicken baked in an orange juice, soy sauce, wine, ginger, garlic and sage marinade, but felt it wasn't enough, so I did what I often do: I phoned my good friend Alice Jonah. "I was thinking of making tiny meatballs in tomato sauce. Any ideas for spicing them up?" "Wait a minute. You have chopped meat?" "Yes." "Potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes..." "All of the above." "Then forget the meatballs. I made a recipe I got from Rachel Aron last week, and people raved about it. Now write this down..." MELTING MOUSSAKA very little oil 2 large potatoes, sliced 1-2 onions, sliced 500 gr. chopped meat 1 largish eggplant, sliced 4-6 fresh, ripe tomatoes, sliced horizontally 1 small (100-gr.) container tomato paste salt and pepper to taste basil and thyme or other dried herbs The dish is made in layers, and you need enough of each main ingredient to cover a fairly wide pot. This moussaka is no-fuss, and it's already a favorite in my family. Use just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Arrange the potato in one layer, followed by a layer of onion, then a layer of meat. Sprinkle a little salt, to taste, over the meat, then add a layer of eggplant. Add a layer of fresh tomato, then dab the tomato paste over it. Sprinkle some herbs reasonably generously over the top, with a teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Pour one-third of a cup of water over the moussaka, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer over low-medium heat for an hour. A NEW cookbook called Meatless Meals by ESRA, the English Speaking Residents Association - telephone (09) 950-8371 - is intended to raise funds for the group's support of community projects in the areas of special needs, social problems and training programs for immigrants. It offers easy recipes for vegetarians and those who want to vary their carnivorous habits. Here are two recipes: CINNAMON-MANGO GLAZED SALMON 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced 2 cinnamon sticks, around 7 cm. each 11⁄2 cups mango nectar 1 salmon fillet enough for 4, about 2.5 cm. thick Combine the first four ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced to three-quarters of a cup (about half-an-hour). Strain the liquid through a sieve over a bowl and discard the solids. Preheat the broiler (grill). Place the salmon on a broiler pan lined with foil. Broil for 5 minutes. Brush the fish with a quarter-cup of the mango mixture. Broil for another 3 minutes, or until the fish is lightly browned. It should flake easily. Serve with the remainder of the mango sauce. RICOTTA-FILLED EGGPLANT 2 medium eggplants 2 tsp. salt 1⁄2 cup oil 750 gr. ricotta cheese Marinade: 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, minced 1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, minced 1⁄3 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar 1 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste Parmesan cheese, grated Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1-cm slices. Salt lightly on both sides. Drain for 1 hour on a rack. Rinse and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 180°. Oil a heavy cookie sheet and arrange the eggplant in a single layer. Brush the slices with oil on both sides and bake 5 minutes on each side. Remove and let cool. Spread ricotta on each slice, roll them into tube shapes and place them in a shallow dish. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the rolls. Chill, preferably overnight, then bake, covered, for half an hour. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan. IN THE crowded supermarket, pushing my cart, I came face-to-face with a woman pushing her cart in an area where there wasn't enough room to pass. Feeling kind that day, I stepped aside and motioned for her to move ahead. Very surprisingly, she did the same and we stood for a second or two, smiling at each other. I don't remember who finally took "right of way," but I do know that the little incident left a feeling of warmth and fellowship. [email protected]