Dear SOS: I am hoping you can help me with a recipe my son had while in the Navy. It was called Beef Cordon Bleu and was made with thinly sliced cooked beef, ham and cheese rolled in a batter and deep-fried.
Dear Virginia: Chicken or veal are usually associated with cordon bleu dishes, but any thinly sliced meat can be used, including turkey breast and even pork loin slices. Any tender beef cut, such as filet mignon or sirloin, may be used. Cube steak, a less expensive yet tenderized cut, also can be used. Once you've experimented with beef, you might want to try some of the other cuts as well.
BEEF CORDON BLEU
6 slices filet mignon, sirloin or cube steak
6 thin slices ham or prosciutto
6 slices Swiss cheese
2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
Fat for deep-frying
Butterfly filet mignon if too thick. Place beef slices between 2 sheets wax paper and pound until very thin. (Cube steak should be flattened slightly.)
Place 1 slice ham on each beef slice, then top with 1 slice cheese. Roll up, jellyroll fashion, tucking in ends. Fasten with wood picks.
Beat eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Dip each beef roll in flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs. Fry beef rolls in deep fat heated to 360 degrees until golden brown on all sides. Do not crowd pan. Drain on paper towels. Makes 6 servings.
Dear SOS: I had a recipe from The Times for Florentines made with coconut. I lent it and lost it. Would it be possible to have a reprint?
Dear Jane: These lacy cookies are wonderful on a tea table.
1/3 cup sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 squares semisweet chocolate
Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Cream butter and add brown sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add corn syrup and egg and beat well.
Stir in flour mixture, vanilla and coconut. Drop by teaspoons on greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Spread into thin rounds. Bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes. Remove at once from baking sheet.
Heat chocolate over hot water until partly melted. Remove from hot water and stir rapidly until entirely melted. Drizzle chocolate in lacy pattern over cookie or halfway dip cookie into chocolate, then place on wax paper to harden. Makes 1 dozen.
Dear SOS: Sometime in the late '70s you published a chili recipe that was a winner at the Texas Chili Cook-Off. The one thing I remember is that flank steak was used in making the chili. I've lost the recipe and would like to have it replaced.
Dear Tony: Rufus Valdez won the chili contest in 1976 with this recipe, and it's a hot one.
RUFUS VALDEZ'S WORLD
2 pounds flank steak, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds coarsely ground flank steak
1/4 cup oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
3 onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 (7-ounce) cans chili salsa
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
1 tablespoon medium chili powder
1 tablespoon hot chili powder
4 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
In large Dutch oven, brown chopped and ground flank steak in 2 tablespoons oil. Cover and simmer gently about 45 minutes.
In separate pan, brown pork in 1 to 2 tablespoons oil, cover and simmer gently 45 minutes. Add pork to beef. Stir in cumin and oregano. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Skim off about 1/4 cup drippings from mixture and heat in separate saucepan. Saute onions and celery until tender. Add tomatoes and chili salsa. Simmer 30 minutes, then add chili powders, chiles and garlic. Cook 30 minutes longer.
Add salsa mixture to meats, then boil gently over medium heat 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer during last 1/2 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Makes 12 servings.
Dear SOS: Steven Spielberg's mother owns a restaurant called Milky Way in West Los Angeles. They make the best-tasting guacamole. Could you possibly get the recipe?
Dear Jackie: Spielberg's mother, Leah Adler, was happy to ask her Mexican chef for the recipe. It's surprisingly simple--and, yes, good.
MILKY WAY GUACAMOLE
1 small onion, minced
1 medium tomato, diced
Peel, seed and mash avocados in bowl. Add onion and tomato. Mix well. Makes 12 servings.
Dear SOS: My boss' birthday is a few weeks away and I'd like to surprise him with a cake containing his favorite flavor--coconut, but not one using packaged coconut. Do you have such a recipe?
Dear Sharon: This Pina Colada White Cake contains fresh coconut. It definitely has a happy birthday look.
PINA COLADA WHITE
1 (1-pound 4 ounce) can crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (18.5-ounce) box white cake mix
2 cups finely shredded fresh coconut
1/2 cup dark rum
2 egg yolks
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream, whipped until stiff