Dear SOS: I have been named chairman for a parish dinner. It was suggested that we serve a vegetable lasagna for Lent. Can you help?
Dear Janet: This vegetarian lasagna using zucchini instead of meat can be considered ideal for the Lenten season. If you like, prepare it ahead and freeze it.
6 to 8 large zucchini
1 quart thick marinara sauce
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Toasted sunflower seeds, optional
Slice zucchini 1/2 inch thick. Spread thick layer of marinara sauce in 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with layer of zucchini slices, then layer of ricotta. Top with half of onion and mushrooms, then sprinkle with oregano and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with layer of mozzarella cheese slices.
Cover with second layer of sauce and repeat layering process, ending with mozzarella cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with sunflower seeds and a few slices zucchini or mushrooms, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until zucchini is cooked but not mushy. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Note: For non-vegetarian dish, use meat sauce, or add sausage or pepperoni to marinara sauce.
Dear SOS: Several years ago you printed a recipe for haystacks, a coconut macaroon cookie that was made in the bakery department of a supermarket. Unfortunately, I lost the recipe and the new bakery department has never heard of haystacks.
Dear R.E.: Could it be that the recipe I think you were thinking of came from Griswold's restaurant in Claremont, Calif., and not a supermarket?
13 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
6 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine egg whites and sugar. Cook in top of double boiler over simmering water until mixture reaches 120 degrees or feels hot to touch. Stir constantly.
Combine coconut, dates, walnuts, salt and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add hot sugar mixture and blend well.
Using small ice cream scoop, form into balls and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and remove from pan. Makes about 3 dozen.
Dear SOS: Would you be so kind as to find a recipe for pickled eggs? I have friends who love them and I want to surprise the couple.
Dear Anne: These are pink and pretty.
PINK PICKLED EGGS
6 hard-cooked eggs, shelled
3/4 cup juice drained from canned or cooked beets
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
Place eggs in quart jar. Combine beet juice, wine, vinegar, bay leaf, allspice, salt, pepper and garlic in saucepan. Heat but do not allow to boil. Pour hot liquid over eggs. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight or longer, if desired. Makes 6 eggs.
Dear SOS: Would you possibly have the recipe for Clear Orange Sauce? This was in the old Betty Crocker Cookbook (circa 1950) and it called for egg yolk and used fresh orange juice. I'd be eternally grateful.
Dear Celice: It so happens we have a copy of the old Betty Crocker Cookbook of that period, and in it was the Clear Orange Sauce, as you remembered. It's a great sauce to add to puddings or warm plain cakes.
CLEAR ORANGE SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Mix sugar, salt and cornstarch in saucepan. Stir in orange juice, lemon juice and boiling water. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and orange and lemon peels. Makes 2 cups.