Dear SOS: I called Rossini Ristorante in Torrance asking them if they would share the recipe for their wonderful Italian Sausage With Green Peppers and Onions. They said "no way." Can you please try for me? I'm having out-of-town company next month and would love to serve this dish.
Dear R.A.: Well, when we called they said, "OK," and here is the recipe in time, we hope, for company.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE WITH GREEN PEPPERS AND ONIONS
3 pounds mild Italian sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
3 green peppers, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups canned, crushed and peeled Italian tomatoes
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1/3 cup whipping cream, optional
Place sausage in large skillet with 1/2 inch water in bottom. Cook over medium heat until water evaporates. Add olive oil and saute a few minutes until browned on all sides.
Remove sausage and add onions and green peppers. Season with oregano and basil. Saute until onions are golden brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes.
Add Sherry and cook over high heat until Sherry is absorbed. Add sausages to sauce during last 2 minutes. Add cream, mixing well. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Dear SOS: The Times printed a fabulous recipe from Hayden's located in Desert Hot Springs. I told my sister that I had the world's greatest rice pudding recipe, but, alas, I can't find my copy.
Dear Teresa: Hayden's Rice Pudding is one of our favorites too. It's an old-fashioned, top-of-the-stove, long-cooking type.
HAYDEN'S RICE PUDDING
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less to taste)
1 quart milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
Cinnamon-sugar or nutmeg
Combine boiling water, rice and salt in saucepan. Bring to boilagain and cook 7 minutes. Add milk and butter. Bring to boil again, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 1/4 hours.
Beat eggs with sugar and vanilla and add to cooked rice mixture. Remove from heat and add raisins. Turn into shallow buttered pan and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar or nutmeg. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Dear SOS: I would like to use the leaves from our grape vine to make stuffed rolled grape leaves. How would I prepare the leaves? Do you have a good recipe for the filling?
Dear Mrs. J.V.: You can use fresh grape leaves by simply plunging them in boiling salted water to blanch (parboil) before using in order to soften them. If you want to store them, it's best to follow standard canning instructions for canning the leaves without refrigeration. Otherwise, parboiled grape leaves kept in brine in the refrigerator will last a month or two without spoiling. Commercially preserved grape leaves are available at most gourmet food stores, Middle Eastern and Italian grocery stores. Here's a standard recipe for stuffed grape leaves in the Greek style, with a lemon egg sauce to serve on them. They are great served by themselves as appetizers or entrees.
STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES (Dolmades)
50 grape leaves, fresh or canned
1 large onion, chopped
5 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground lamb or lean beef
1/2 cup raw rice
1/2 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried mint
Dash black pepper
1/4 cup water
Wash fresh grape leaves and parboil until pliable. (If using canned leaves, rinse in water and place in boiling water for a few minutes to remove excess brine.)
Cook onion in 3 tablespoons butter until golden, then mix with ground meat, rice, tomato sauce, parsley, mint, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Stir in water.
Place heaping teaspoon of filling on each large grape leaf. If leaves are small, use 2 leaves, overlapping to make large leaf. (Be sure shiny side of leaf is down so that it will be on outside after rolling.) Carefully fold over top and sides like envelope and roll up to resemble miniature football.
Place a few coarse grape leaves in bottom of large kettle. Carefully arrange stuffed leaves, folded side down, in layers in kettle. Add sufficient boiling water to cover and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with heavy plate to hold stuffed leaves down and simmer slowly about 45 minutes or until cooked through. Serve hot with Avgolemono Sauce. Makes 8 entree or 16 appetizer servings.
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dolmades broth, about
Beat eggs well. Slowly beat in lemon juice, then hot broth. Be sure to beat slowly and constantly so eggs do not curdle. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Spoon sauce over grape leaves. Serve at once. Do not reheat sauce. Makes about 1 cup.
Dear SOS: I have misplaced my chocolate-covered strawberry recipe and want to make them for a bridal shower for my daughter-in-law next month.
Dear Doris: Lucky daughter-in-law.
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Melt chocolate pieces in top of double boiler. Add butter and vanilla. Dip strawberries in chocolate, swirling to coat only. Place on wax paper and set in cool dry place.
Note: Cherries or other fruit may be substituted for strawberries.