Question: Can you provide some information about calamari steaks? Most major markets are selling them, but I cannot find any mention of them in my cookbooks. What are they and where do they come from? How should they be cooked? I would appreciate a recipe as well as advice.
Answer: The steaks are squid, filleted and tenderized by machine before they are packed and usually frozen. They may be simply sauted with a little butter and garlic and served with lemon wedges or prepared using this recipe, which is said to have originated at San Francisco's waterfront.
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream, half and half or evaporated milk
4 squid steaks
2 cups fine soda cracker crumbs
Beat egg in shallow bowl. Stir in whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste. Dip squid steaks in egg-cream mixture, then roll in cracker crumbs.
Pour oil about 1/2-inch deep in large skillet. Heat and add squid steaks. Fry 3 to 4 minutes, turning to brown evenly on both sides. Drain. Makes 4 servings.
Q: What do you add to flour to make it self-rising?
A: According to Marlene Johnson, manager of consumer communications for Pillsbury, it is possible to approximate self-rising flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and one-half teaspoon salt to one cup of all-purpose flour. Since self-rising flour is made from soft wheat and all-purpose flour from a mixture of soft and hard wheat, some differences will result in the end products, especially in biscuits and cakes.
Combining one cup plus two tablespoons cake flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and one-half teaspoon salt is another alternative. These substitutions can be used in an emergency, but recipes calling for self-rising flour will probably work best when the actual ingredient is used.
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In response to the Sept. 11 You Asked About . . . column on walleyed pike, I. Lipkin of West Los Angeles tells us the fish is available regularly at his neighborhood fishmonger--Gordon's Fresh Local & Eastern Fish Market, 9116 W. Pico Blvd. Gordon's confirmed the information and told us they market the fish as yellow pike.
Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About . . ., Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.