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Culinary SOS

Date Bars Make Good Impression

February 26, 1987|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: The Date Bars at City restaurant in Los Angeles are incredibly good. Any chance for a recipe?

--GALE

Dear Gale: They are, indeed, outstanding date bars, especially when served warm with ice cream as is done at the restaurant. The flavor is surprisingly different from what you'd expect--rather more raspberry than date.

CITY RESTAURANT DATE BARS

3 cups dates, finely cut (about 8 to 10 ounces)

1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 lemon juice

3 cups quick-cooking oats

2 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 cups brown sugar, packed

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Combine dates, water and granulated sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 5 minutes or until mixture mounds. Add lemon juice. Cool to room temperature.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and butter, mixing well. Spread half of oats mixture in 13x9-inch baking pan, pressing down slightly. Cover with cooled date mixture. Spread remaining crumb mixture evenly on top. Bake at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool before cutting into squares. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired. Makes about 24 bars.

Dear SOS: I have had a hankering for Tamale Pie and can't find a recipe for it. There are plenty for casseroles, but not for the pie. Can you help?

--C.I.B.

Dear C.I.B.: How about this one made with cornmeal?

TAMALE PIE

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 cup chopped onions

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano

1 (1-pound) can stewed tomatoes

1 (12-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey

Combine broth with water to measure 2 1/2 cups. Heat with 3/4 teaspoon salt.

Mix 1 1/4 cups cornmeal with 1 cup cold water and stir into hot broth. Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat, cover and cook until very thick, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook onions and garlic in oil until tender. Add oregano, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and simmer 5 minutes. Slowly stir in remaining 1/4 cup cornmeal and cook until thickened. Add chicken.

Line 5 1/2-cup baking dish with cornmeal mixture, reserving about 1 cup for topping. Add chicken mixture to baking dish. Spoon or pipe reserved 1 cup cornmeal mixture around edge. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Dear SOS: Some years ago you printed a recipe for Fruit Cocktail Cake. It is a most tasty cake and everyone enjoyed it. When I wanted to bake one recently, I simply could not find the recipe. Would you please help?

--SONYA

Dear Sonya: Certainly, with pleasure. This old-fashioned cake is, indeed, tasty and easy, too.

FRUIT COCKTAIL CAKE

2 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 (17-ounce) can fruit cocktail

Pudding Icing

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add eggs and undrained fruit cocktail. Mix well and turn batter into greased and floured 8- or 9-inch tube pan. Bake at 300 degrees 1 hour, or until wood pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack. Top warm cake with Pudding Icing, then cool completely.

Pudding Icing

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 egg yolk

1 to 3 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Place butter, sugar, milk and egg yolk in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vanilla to taste, coconut and nuts, mixing well. Cool icing slightly and spread on top of warm cake.

Dear SOS: I have been looking for a good recipe for cream of corn soup that has potatoes and onions in it.

--PEGGY

Dear Peggy: Corn Chowder?

CORN CHOWDER

4 ounces salt pork, diced

1 small onion, diced

1/2 cup diced celery

1 1/2 cups cubed peeled potatoes

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups corn kernels or 1 (1-pound) can whole kernel corn

Chopped parsley or paprika

Cook salt pork in large kettle until lightly browned and crisp. Add onion and celery and cook in pork drippings until tender, but not browned. Add potatoes, water, salt, sugar and pepper. Cover and simmer until potato cubes are tender. Add milk and corn and bring to boil. Serve in warm bowls and sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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