Dear SOS: I am a bran muffin fanatic and am constantly seeking a tasteful yet healthful version of them. I visited the Upper Crust Bakery in Cambria Pines, Calif., recently, which had the most wonderful bran muffins I've ever tasted. Can you help?
Dear Lisa: Here they are. Dark, moist and as healthful as you'll find. The muffins contain apples, walnuts, raisins, bran, rolled oats and stone-ground whole-wheat flour. Need we say more?
UPPER CRUST DOUBLE
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups pure bran
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup bread flour
1 1/3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs
2 (8-ounce) cartons yogurt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dried apples, diced
1/2 cup walnuts, optional
1/2 cup raisins, optional
Peel of 1/2 lemon
Blend together brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, bran, rolled oats, bread flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine oil, honey, molasses, vanilla, eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, applesauce, cider, apples, walnuts, raisins and lemon peel. Blend well.
Mix yogurt mixture into flour mixture, just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Refrigerate overnight. (Muffin batter can be kept refrigerated for about 1 week.)
To bake, spray top of muffin pan with non-stick spray. Line cups with paper liners. Fill each cup to rim with muffin batter. Bake at 400 degrees 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Muffins are done when firm and just lightly colored around edges. Tops will overflow when baked to meet other muffins. Cut apart to serve. For whole individual muffins, fill 2/3 full. Brush tops with warm honey, if desired, while still warm. Makes about 24 muffins.
Dear SOS: I have lost a favorite recipe for Hungarian pork chops for two people. It appeared a few years back and it was easy and delicious.
Dear Lila: Certainly. Although it is doubtful that the dish is of Hungarian origin, the novel mustard-catsup spread on the chops makes them tasty.
HUNGARIAN PORK CHOPS FOR TWO
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
2 thick pork chops, about 3/4 pound
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 avocado, sliced
Combine salt, pepper and flour. Dredge pork chops in flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet. Brown chops in hot oil. Drain off fat. Mix catsup, mustard, Worcestershire and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Spoon mixture over chops.
Cover and simmer over low heat until chops are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chops from pan, then stir sour cream into sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until heated through. Pour sauce over chops and top with avocado slices. Sprinkle with paprika. Makes 2 servings.
Dear SOS: I have lost my favorite cookie recipe for Mexican Wedding Cakes. It was printed in The Times many years ago.
Dear Dorothy: Here is the standard recipe. The texture of the cakes allows them to be formed into balls or cut-outs before baking.
MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES
1 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Cream together butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Add salt, vanilla, flour and nuts and mix well. Roll dough into small balls and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees 15 minutes. Roll in additional powdered sugar. Makes 4 dozen.
Dear SOS: Within the last year or so, a recipe for jalapeno pepper jelly has been in The Times. I remember how attractive the jars of red and green jellies appeared and promptly clipped out the recipe, making a mental note to plant plenty of peppers and save small jars. Well, now the peppers are ripe in the garden. I've plenty of cute little jars, but I've lost the recipe.
Dear Paula: Yes, they do make marvelous jellies to serve with roast. If your skin is sensitive, wear protective gloves when handling peppers and chiles.
3/4 cup ground green pepper
1/2 cup ground jalapeno chiles
6 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 (6-ounce) bottle liquid pectin
Green food color
Remove seeds from green pepper and jalapeno chiles. Grind green pepper and chiles, using fine blade of meat grinder. Mix green pepper, chiles, sugar and vinegar and bring to rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add pectin and 4 or 5 drops food color. Mix well. Strain into hot sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 6 half-pints.
Note: If skin is sensitive to pepper and chiles, protect by wearing gloves.
Dear SOS: For many years my family has enjoyed the creamed corn at Gulliver's restaurant in Irvine.