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SmackDown! dining
By RITA DEMONTIS - TORONTO SUN


He calls it in the ring, he calls it in the kitchen. And no one does it quite like Jim \"Good Ol\' J.R.\" Ross, of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) world and -- lately -- in the culinary world as well.

In town recently touting a line of decent sauces (J.R.\'s BBQ and Grilling Sauce and J.R.\'s Roasted Hot Pepper), the famed wrestling commentator was also talking about his new read, J.R.\'s Cookbook (Pocket Books/WWE), full of simple, yet effective, recipe ideas, along with reams of funny wrestling trivia.

\"Food and company are a given,\" said J.R. \"I remember growing up and knowing that when company was coming it was a combination of a great meal and a great time. It was all about sharing moments.\"

His book\'s like that as well. It features regional dishes from his days growing up in Oklahoma as well as other personal favourites that have been in his family for more than 50 years.

The book also covers the gamut of barbecue delights -- from meat basics to garden essentials. Fans of both the half nelson and a half side of beef will revel not only in this guide to heating up the backyard, but J.R.\'s tales of the road and personal memories of some of sports entertainment\'s most famous stars.

\'MAMA\'S BBQ SAUCE\'

The sauces are particularly close to J.R.\'s, heart. \"One of my fondest memories of growing up in Oklahoma was the great taste and aroma of my mama\'s BBQ sauce, which was slow cooked to perfection using the finest natural ingredients and her secret blend of spices,\" said J.R, who said he worked with a talented group of Canadian food specialists to replicate the exact flavour. \"There was a lot of trial and error, but we didn\'t stop until we got it down perfect.

\"My mother would have been proud.\"

Ross has been involved in the sports-entertainment business for more than 25 years. Along the way he did stints as an NFL broadcaster, an XFL broadcaster, and was the host of a successful radio talk show. As the lead commentator on WWE Monday Night RAW since 1993, J.R.\'s considered by many to be the greatest wrestling broadcaster of all-time.

His first cookbook, Can You Take the Heat?, was a New York Times best-seller. He currently serves as senior vice-president of talent relations and wrestling administration and is the \"voice\" of WWE RAW (TSN, Mondays at 9/8 CT). The proud father of two daughters, he lives in Connecticut with his wife Jan, whose recipes are also celebrated in his new book.

Both the book and the sauces are now available. Here are a few recipes you can wrestle for!

JAN ROSS\' CHICKEN CACCIATORE

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken breast

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 14-oz. cans stewed tomatoes

3/4 tbsp. light brown sugar

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, oregano, basil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Rinse chicken and cut into 11/2- 2-inch pieces. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil. Cook chicken, turning pieces over until all sides are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.

3. Add to skillet onion, peppers, garlic and 1 tbsp. of oil. Saute 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp and tender. Sprinkle with flour/spice mixture while cooking. Add tomatoes with juice and stir until bubbly. Add brown sugar.

4. Continue to stir, add chicken to mixture. Cook 10-15 minutes more on low heat.

Serve with buttered noodles or rice.

Serves 4.

SLOBBERKNOCKER SALMON

We had to run the recipe, if only to celebrate the name!

2 6-oz. salmon steaks

3 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. country-style Dijon mustard

1. Heat grill to medium. Rinse and pat dry salmon. Set pieces on a sheet of aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix honey and mustard well.

2. Set salmon on foil onto grill (or broil in oven on rack on middle level of oven). Spread honey mix on salmon and grill (or broil) away from direct heat. Make sure honey mustard doesn\'t burn. Cook for about 15-20 minutes (add five minutes more for broiler) or until thick part of flesh is cooked through.

Serves 2.

SMACKDOWN! S\'MORES

More\'s the better with these delicious treats.

2 graham cracker squares, or cinnamon graham crackers

1/2 plain chocolate bar (Try a Hershey bar)

1 large marshmallow

On a graham cracker, place 4 squares of chocolate bar and 1 marshmallow. Microwave on high for 15 seconds, or until slightly melted. Top with second graham cracker. May be made on grill as well.

Serves 1.

J.R.\'S BABY BACK RIBS

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 1 to 1 1/2 racks of baby back ribs

5 drops of liquid smoke

J.R. BBQ Sauce

1. In a bowl, combine first three ingredients to make a rub and set aside.

2. Rinse and pat dry ribs. Rub a few drops of liquid smoke into meat. Massage rub into ribs, then coat generously with BBQ sauce.

3. Cover and let stand in refrigerator for three hours. Place racks on grill and brush with extra BBQ sauce. Cook until desired.

Serves 3 to 4.