Dear SOS: My friend tells me that the tapioca pudding served at the Los Angeles Times cafeteria is wonderful. Since it's my favorite dessert, do you suppose you can print the recipe?
Dear Reader: You are not alone in your quest for wonderful tapioca pudding. And I must say, the pudding served on occasion at The Times' cafeteria is excellent. Hershel Jones, the manager of our cafeteria, sent us a quantity-size recipe, which we broke down to make 12 half-cup servings. The resulting pudding is not exactly like the one in the cafeteria, but it is very good in its own right, and some tasters thought it was even better than the cafeteria version.
LOS ANGELES TIMES CAFETERIA TAPIOCA
1 quart milk
1/3 cup tapioca
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Heat milk until scalding. Stir in tapioca gradually. Cook mixture over boiling water or direct low heat 6 to 8 minutes until tapioca is done.
Beat egg yolks until pale in color. Beat with 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Stir into tapioca. Cook and stir until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in vanilla. Cool slightly.
Beat egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff. Fold into hot pudding. Cool thoroughly, covered with wax paper.
To serve, spoon into dessert or parfait dishes. Garnish with whipped cream and maraschino cherry, if desired. Makes 12 (1/2-cup) servings.
Dear SOS: This is the third time (and I hope the lucky time) I've requested a recipe. How about an Italian sausage and green pepper dish?
Dear F.D.: I think you struck gold. We happen to have a recipe for Frank Sinatra's Sausage and Peppers, which came to us via Merle Ellis, who writes The Butcher column in The Times. Ellis says the recipe is from Dinah Shore's book, "Someone's in the Kitchen With Dinah."
FRANK SINATRA'S SAUSAGE AND GREEN PEPPERS
3 green peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausages
1/3 cup red wine
Remove stems and seeds from green peppers and cut into large chunks. In oven-proof baking dish that also can be used on top of stove, saute green peppers in oil until they begin to soften. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove green peppers from dish and set aside.
Brown sausages in same baking dish. When browned, add red wine. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes or until done. Uncover and add sauteed green peppers. Bake additional 30 minutes and serve in same baking dish. Makes 4 servings.
Dear SOS: I would love a recipe for Langos, which I had in Vienna. Do you have a recipe?
Dear Annie: Langos is a doughnut-like Hungarian fried bread that is sprinkled with salt and rubbed with garlic to serve with goulash and red wine. So, why don't we give you both the recipe for the Langos and a goulash soup (Gulyas) from the executive chef of the Artium Hyatt restaurant in Budapest, Hungary?
(Hungarian Fried Bread)
1 cake dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Oil for deep-frying
1 large clove garlic, split, optional
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Add eggs and mix well. Sift together flour, sugar and 2 teaspoons salt and stir into yeast mixture. Work dough with hands until all flour is absorbed. Knead on lightly floured board until dough is no longer sticky.
Place dough in floured bowl, cover and let rise until doubled or more. Punch down, turn out onto floured board and roll until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 8-inch square pieces and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Sprinkle both sides with salt and rub with garlic. Serve warm with Goulash Soup and red wine. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.
2 pounds medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup lard or chicken fat
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons red wine
12 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
12 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
1 medium green pepper, seeded and diced
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Saute onions in lard until golden. Add beef, paprika and tomato paste. Mix well. Add red wine and beef broth.
Combine caraway seeds, marjoram and garlic in grinder or blender. Blend until smooth. Stir into beef mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring often.
Combine flour and 1/2 cup of beef broth in bowl until smooth. Stir into soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes longer.
Add green pepper, tomato and potato. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Dear SOS: I can imagine the disappointment and frustration when S.H.D. read your response to her request for a recipe for fig jam to use up the figs on her tree and some stupid person in your section gave her a recipe using dried figs. How dumb can you get?
Dear Barbara: Pretty dumb. The wrong fig recipe slipped through the leaves. Strange things do happen, you know. Perhaps S.H.D. will forgive us when she sees this unusual, but very easy-to-make fig jam, using strawberry gelatin.
ROSY FIG JAM
3 cups peeled, mashed figs, about 20
1 (6-ounce) package strawberry gelatin
3 cups sugar
Thoroughly mix figs, gelatin and sugar in large kettle. Bring to boil over medium heat and boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour quickly into sterilized glasses and cover at once with 1/8-inch hot paraffin. Makes enough for about 6 medium glasses.
Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.