- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Fusion cooking, in which aspects of one cuisine are merged with those of another, has been the rage among chefs for years.

It comes unglued, however, if not done with some knowledge of cooking techniques and ingredients used by different cultures. That’s why many home cooks haven’t been comfortable experimenting on their own.

Now there’s an easy way to get the excitement of this blended cooking style without time-consuming experimentation.

Thanks to the marvelous array of condiments in specialty stores and finer supermarkets, you can add bold accents to everyday ingredients.

My favorites combine a fruit base with a hot seasoning, such as peach and mustard or raspberry and chilies.

The marriage of sweet and hot turns even the most mundane dishes into flavorful treats.

For example, brushing apricot-mango wasabi sauce over low-fat chicken sausages transforms dull diet food into a luxurious entree with Japanese and Caribbean flavors. Basting peach-flavored mustard over roast pork tenderloin creates a succulent main course that’s a mixture of French and Californian cooking. All that is possible using just a few ingredients.

Check both the ethnic and gourmet food isles of your market to see what products catch your eye.

Now that fall apples are plentiful, prepare a brunch dish of sauteed apples and sausages with apricot-mango wasabi sauce. The condiment, from Robert Rothschild Farm in Urbana, Ohio, is available in gourmet food stores or online at www.robertrothschild.com.

Garlic-scented Swiss chard

1 bunch Swiss chard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

½ cup chicken broth

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons sour cream or 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Wash chard; separate stems from leaves. Cut the stems into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop leaves. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add stems and saute 5 minutes. Add chard leaves and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth.

Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until chard is tender and liquid absorbed. Season to taste with pepper. Stir in the sour cream or Parmesan. Serve warm. Makes 2 servings.

Apple and sausage with apricot-mango wasabi sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small red onion, sliced

1 crisp sweet apple, such as Braeburn or Fuji, thinly sliced, unpeeled

2 chicken sausages with apple

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons apricot-mango wasabi sauce

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and apple and saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Slice the sausages ½-inch thick and add to skillet.

Stir in vinegar, apricot-mango wasabi sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 1 minute to blend ingredients. Makes 2 servings.


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