Dear SOS: Are you able to find an Eastern-style chow mein? I can't seem to locate a recipe or place to eat it in Los Angeles.
Dear Larry: My sympathies. Any New Yorker brought up on gooey, pasty chow mein is bound to develop a case of New York chow mania for life. My best wishes for your quick recovery with this recipe. NEW YORK-STYLE CHOW MEIN
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned, deveined and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into julienne
Rice wine or Sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound bok choy, sliced
2 to 4 dried black mushrooms, soaked in warm water 20 minutes and slivered
1/4 cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced
1/4 cup canned water chestnuts, sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons water
4 cups canned crisp chow mein noodles
Combine shrimp, salt and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch in bowl. Mix well. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in wok or skillet. Add shrimp mixture and stir-fry until shrimp turns pink. Remove from wok and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in same wok or skillet. Add chicken strips and stir-fry until chicken turns pale. Add 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and sugar. Stir-fry 1 minute. Remove from wok and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in same wok. Add bok choy and stir-fry 1 minute. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and stir-fry 1 minute.
Add chicken mixture, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and chicken stock. Bring to boil. Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with water. Stir into liquid in pan until smooth, shiny and slightly thickened. Mound chow mein noodles on large platter. Spoon chow mein over noodles. Serve at once. Makes 4 servings.
Dear SOS: I am anxious to try the funnel cakes made at Knott's Berry Farm myself. I understand you have the recipe.
Dear Alaine: Yes, we do. Knott's uses their standard waffle batter but has a special technique for achieving the funnel shape. Here is how you do it.: KNOTT'S BERRY FARM FUNNEL CAKES
Prepare any waffle batter or mix according to number of servings desired. Pour amount for 1 funnel cake in swirling motion from pitcher or through standard funnel into oil in deep fryer heated to 390 degrees. Batter will rise to surface and bottom side should be cooked until lightly browned. Turn with tongs and cook other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Continue to fry remaining batter as directed. Dust with sifted powdered sugar. Serve at once.
Dear SOS: I had dinner at the Palace Court restaurant at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and one of the dishes was a very unusual potato dish. The potatoes were puffed, thin-skinned, hollow and crisp. It would make a great dish as an hors d'oeuvre stuffed with various foods. When cold it kept its shape and was not greasy. I would appreciate it if you could obtain the step-by-step method of making these potatoes.
Dear Shirley: You've just met a classic French dish created, they say, by a turn-of-the-century chef cooking a meal in a traveling wagon or train for a French dignitary en route to another city. The shaking and jarring of the oil in his pan seemed to have caused thinly sliced, partially cooked potatoes to puff like souffles when reheating them. Hence the name Pommes Souffle.
A word of caution, however. You were lucky to find Pommes Souffle at Caesar's, or anywhere else, for that matter. Few princely chefs can pull off this trick in any kitchen, so you ought not be disappointed if even given the proper instructions, your pommes do not souffle. But you can always try. You will need to work with two skillets at the same time. Of course, be extra careful with the hot oil when shaking the pan or stirring the oil. Oh, yes, one more thing. No, you cannot stuff them. They are too fragile to handle once they puff of their own accord. POMMES SOUFFLE
3 to 4 large Idaho or Maine potatoes
Oil for deep-frying
Peel each potato and slice lengthwise 1/8 inch thick or thinner. Place in ice cold water. Use 2 deep-fryers or heavy kettles for frying. Fill each halfway with oil and heat first fryer to 300 degrees and second fryer to 400 degrees.
Pat dry a few potato slices between paper towels. Drop slices, 1 at a time, into first pan. Do not crowd. Cook 5 minutes or until begin to puff. Stir constantly using slotted spoon for even cooking.
Remove potatoes and plunge into hot oil in second pan. Potatoes will puff immediately and rise to surface. If potatoes do not puff, remove and set aside for other use. Turn until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt as desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.