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Culinary SOS

City Restaurant's Poppy Seed Cake Is Great for Any Holiday Table

November 28, 1986|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: My husband adores the lemon-glazed poppy seed cake served at City restaurant in Los Angeles. I would love to surprise him with the cake.

--JUDY

Dear Judy: What a hit this would be on a dessert or brunch table throughout the holiday season.

CITY RESTAURANT POPPY SEED CAKE

1 cup poppy seeds

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Lemon Glaze

Butter and flour 1 (10-inch) tube pan. Set aside.

Combine poppy seeds, honey and water in saucepan and cook over low heat 4 to 5 minutes or until water evaporates, stirring frequently. Cool.

Cream together butter, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add and combine thoroughly at low speed sour cream, poppy seed mixture, salt and lemon juice. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add flour mixture to poppy seed mixture. Beat at low speed until thoroughly combined.

Pour dough in prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees about 60 to 75 minutes or until cake draws from sides of pan and center is dry when tested. Cover with foil if cake browns too quickly. Cool about 15 minutes in pan. Invert and cool to lukewarm. Pour hot Lemon Glaze over cooled cake. Makes 1 (10-inch) cake.

Lemon Glaze

6 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 1 to 2 minutes or until thin syrup is formed.

Dear SOS: Please, can you supply me with a recipe for Mexican Lasagna? It makes use of tortillas and is seasoned with red chile sauce. It's a favorite at our house. Just writing about it makes me hungry.

--MARGE

Dear Marge: You and many others alike. And what a good choice for upcoming open house buffet parties.

MEXICAN LASAGNA

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (1-pound) can tomatoes

1 (10-ounce) can red chile sauce

1 (4-ounce) can chopped black olives

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup oil

8 corn tortillas

1/2 pound Jack cheese

1/2 pound ricotta cheese

1 egg

Tortilla chips

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cherry tomatoes for garnish

Black olives for garnish

Brown meat, onion and garlic in large skillet. Add tomatoes, chile sauce, olives, salt and pepper, stirring to blend. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat oil in small skillet and add tortillas, 1 at a time, to soften. Drain on paper towels. Slice Jack cheese into thin slices. Mix ricotta with egg. Spread 1/3 of meat mixture in 13x9-inch shallow baking pan. Top with half of Jack cheese and ricotta mixture. Add layer of tortillas, cut in halves.

Repeat layers, reserving 1/3 of meat sauce for top. Top with layer of tortilla chips and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and black olives. Makes 6 servings.

Dear SOS: I have been looking all over for a recipe for pumpkin cookies to help use up my Halloween pumpkins. Do you have such a recipe?

--C.M.

Dear C.M.: Certainly. And they are so festive.

GREAT PUMPKIN COOKIES

2 cups flour

1 cup oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup mashed canned or cooked pumpkin

1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Icing of choice or peanut butter

Assorted candies, raisins or nuts

Combine flour, oats, baking soda cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter. Gradually add brown and granulated sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.

Alternately add dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate pieces.

For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto lightly greased baking sheet. Spread into pumpkin shape using thin metal spatula. Add bit more dough to form stems.

Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. Decorate using icing to affix assorted candies, raisins or nuts. Makes about 20 cookies.

Note: One cup raisins may be substituted for chocolate pieces.

Dear SOS: Could you please print a recipe for wassail for a holiday party I am planning.

--MARGI

Dear Margi: The classic wassail, according to one source, originally meant "be well" when Anglo-Saxons drank to each other's health. Later, when associated with the Christmas season, wassail was served with roasted crabs on each of the 12 days of Christmas from oversize bowls into which poor folk, who caroled from door to door, dipped their ladles in exchange for song.

So good cheer to you.

CLASSIC WASSAIL BOWL

3 quarts warm beer

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups cream Sherry

Sliced lemon

Combine 1 quart beer and sugar in bowl, then stir in nutmeg and ginger. Add Sherry and remaining 2 quarts beer. Float lemon slices on punch. Serve slightly warmer than room temperature. Makes about 30 punch-cup servings.

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