Dear SOS: I'm absolutely flabbergasted that you don't know how to make halvah. Even I, practically a non-cook, know how. I've used this recipe for years as holiday gifts for friends. It's simple.
Dear Margi: Sorry, but it isn't making halvah that is the problem. It's matching the commercial type that is difficult. We tried your recipe and while it, too, does not remotely resemble the commercial halvah candy, it is, however, a good confection. (And why not, with all that good stuff in it?)
So we give the recipe as tested, although we have turned one of the confection blocks into balls for after-dinner sweets with coffee or brandy.
Another reader sent in a recipe for chocolate-flavored halvah, which also is given here. Again, it's nothing like the store-bought halvah candy, but it's still good.
1 cup unhulled sesame seeds
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Place seeds in blender container and blend until consistency of peanut butter. Add honey and vanilla and blend until smooth. Shape into 1/2- to 3-inch balls. Serve in tiny paper liners. Makes about 8 balls.
1 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon white corn syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Sesame Paste
Place sesame seeds in blender with water and corn syrup. Process until fine and powdery. Add sugar, cocoa, vanilla and Sesame Paste. Process until well mixed and holds together. Mold into rectangle on piece of wax paper. Cool at least 3 hours before cutting. Makes about 1 cup.
3 cups sesame seeds
Place sesame seeds in blender container. Starting at low speed, and increasing to high speed, crush seeds until paste is formed.
Dear SOS: I'm hoping you can be the answer to my almost lifelong search for a recipe for chicken burgers. It's a spicy patty served like a hamburger. I enjoyed this tasty treat in Memphis, Tenn., then in St. Louis.
Dear E.H.T.: We consulted with a St. Louis food editor who indicated that she did not know of a special regional recipe for chicken burgers. See if this recipe will do.
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 small onion, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 slice wheat bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Combine chicken, onion, garlic, bread, egg, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste in bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended. Form into 6 to 8 patties.
Melt butter in skillet. Add patties and fry until browned underneath, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and brown other side or until done as desired. Serve with or without hamburger buns. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Dear SOS: Today a nerd told me she couldn't share her only special recipe. This means that my family will never taste an easy-to-make caramel peanut-flavored candy that can be mixed with chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, nuts and whatever and dropped on waxed paper for a flavorful candy. Is it possible that you, or one of your generous readers might have the recipe?
Dear Joy: I'm not sure. This recipe for Peanut Clusters calls for butterscotch. See what you think. If not, I'm sure a reader will have just what the doctor ordered. To this recipe you can add raisins, coconut or whatever.
1 (6-ounce) package chocolate pieces
1 (12 ounce) package butterscotch pieces
1 (12-ounce) package salted Spanish peanuts
Combine chocolate and butterscotch pieces in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook on medium heat until melted. Stir once during melting. Stir in peanuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper. Let set until firm. Store airtight. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen.
Dear SOS: My daughter is a vegetarian and is looking for a simple and nutritious recipe for Zucchini Lasagne. Can you help me?
Dear E.M.: Yes. We have one.
6 to 8 large zucchini
1 quart bottled thick marinara sauce
1 pound ricotta cheese , 1 large onion, sliced
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon oregano, crushed
1 tablespoon basil, crushed
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Toasted sunflower seeds, optional
Slice zucchini 1/2-inch thick. Spread thick layer of marinara sauce in 13x9-inch baking dish. Add layer of zucchini slices, then spread with a layer of ricotta. Top with onion and mushrooms, then sprinkle with oregano and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Top with layer of mozzarella cheese slices. Cover with second layer of sauce and repeat layering process, ending with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with sunflower seeds and a few slices of zucchini or mushrooms, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until zucchini is cooked but not mushy. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Note: For non-vegetarian dish, use meat sauce or add sausage or pepperoni to marinara sauce.
Dear SOS: Would you please provide a recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie.
Dear T.K.: This is it.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound rhubarb
1 box strawberries
Pastry for 2-crust (9- or 10-inch) pie
2 tablespoons butter or margrine
Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt and mix well. Cut rhubarb into 1/2-inch slices and wash, hull and slice berries. Add rhubarb and strawberries to sugar mixture and toss lightly to mix. Let stand while preparing pastry.
Roll out half of pastry and fit into 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Fill pie shell with fruit mixture. Dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry and fit over pie. Seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 degrees 45 minutes or until syrup boils with heavy bubbles that do not burst. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 1 (9- to 10-inch) pie.