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wine and dine on barbecue

Wine can be a perfect partner to grilled foods. For a burger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and ketchup, try an Australian Shiraz or California Syrah. If you prefer pickled relish and yellow mustard on your burger, go for a white zinfandel. And if your tastes are more toward sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese toppings, try an Italian Chianti or California Sangiovese. For more wine-and-food-pairing ideas, visit www.wineanswers.com.

cold snap

food and drink for the long, hot summer

gazpacho

Some people call gazpacho a cold soup but we like to think of it as liquid salad. Either way, the juicy veggies in the mix buoy a sinking body in the dead of summer.

And the brute force of summer has muscled its way into our lives, hasn't it?

Gazpacho was born in the Andalusian region of southern Spain when it was part of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages, according to cookbook author Clifford A. Wright (A Mediterranean Feast, William Morrow, 1999, and Mediterranean Vegetables, Harvard Common Press, 2001). The name is of Arabic origin, deriving possibly from the word caspa which means "residue" or "fragments."

Gazpacho, as we are most familiar with it, is small dices of raw cucumber, onion, celery and green pepper nestled in a tangy tomato broth. The Americanized zing usually comes from Worcestershire sauce or spicy V-8 juice. Chunky croutons floating on top soak up delicious liquid.

Traditional Andalusian gazpacho has no tomatoes in it at all because they were not indigenous to Spain and weren't introduced until after the New World was discovered. The first gazpacho was made with bread crusts soaked in water, then mixed with anchovy bones, garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and olive oil. "Salad" ingredients would be added to that. We're guessing the bones were fished out at some point.

With the weather as warm as it is, a bowl of gazpacho for lunch, or even dinner, is a lovely way to chase away the heat and get a healthy dose of veggies in the meantime.

Sort of like air conditioning in a bowl.

this Web site cooks

www.tabasco.com

If you're fired up about outdoor cooking, dive into this hot spot on the Web for inventive recipes that will curl your toes. The famed pepper sauce is synonymous with sultry Louisiana, where the McIlhenny Co. invented Tabasco in 1868. Unless you've got galvanized taste buds, have some respect for the firepower in the familiar bottle. Just a couple drops in any dish will pep it up.

constant comment

"No poems can live long or please that are written by water-drinkers." _ Horace, Roman poet (65-8 B.C.)

cooking class

If more oil needs to be added to the pan when sauteing or frying, it is best to drizzle it along the inside edge of the pan so it heats up before coming in contact with the food. Adding oil directly into the pan cools it down and causes the food to absorb more oil and get greasy.

fresh in flavors

What the world needs, apparently, is more breath mints. To help accomplish this mission, Blitz Power Mints has introduced four "outrageous" flavors _ berry, chocolate, orange and lemon _ to its funky, sugar-free Power Mints line. In addition to the new flavors, Blitz is marketing an itty bitty mint holder that clips on to your keychain. Now you'll have no excuse for bad breath when you're driving and talking on your cell phone. Look for them at Target, Kmart, Walgreens and Circle K.

love those duds

For many movie munchers, those nuggety kernels of half-popped corn at the bottom of the bag are the best part. And that's all Foreman Foods of Austin, Texas, puts in its cans of Popnots. They're delicious. They come in plain, butter, white Cheddar and spicy cheese flavors, and they are making their way into supermarkets. They can also be ordered from www.popnots.com. They are $3.50 for a seven-ounce tin and about $1 for a 1.5 single-serving packet.

tuna with a twist

Starkist's Charlie the Tuna shed his tin nearly two years ago when he was marketed in a pouch. Now Starkist is making another change. Hitting store shelves soon will be marinated Tuna Creations, available in Hickory Smoked, Herb & Garlic and Zesty Lemon Pepper flavors. The 5-ounce servings can be eaten straight out of the pouch or added to your favorite tuna recipe. They sell for $1.99.

Compiled by Janet K. Keeler, from staff and wire reports

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