Dear SOS: Ever since I graduated from UCLA I have been craving the blueberry bran muffins and banana nut bran muffins sold at its North Campus food facility. No one makes them as big and as delicious.
Dear Jill: When you wish upon a star, you get two recipes in one:
NORTH CAMPUS BRAN MUFFINS
1 cup margarine, melted
1 1/4 cups honey
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
3 1/2 cups bran flakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound blueberries or 2 pounds bananas, peeled and mashed or finely diced
Combine melted margarine, honey, eggs, buttermilk and oil in bowl and mix well. Mix bran flakes, flours, salt, baking powder, sugars and walnuts in another bowl. Pour liquid ingredients over dry mixture and stir to combine well. Add desired fruit. Do not overmix. Pour into muffin cups until 2/3 full. Bake at 325 degrees 40 minutes. Makes 28 muffins.
Dear SOS: I'm interested in an ice cream recipe I can make in my refrigerator freezer. Can you help?
--MRS. R. C. F.
Dear Mrs. R. C. F.: How about a tortoni, which you can freeze in a mold or individual cups to have on hand for any impromptu party occasion as well as snacks?
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup light rum
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup coconut macaroon crumbs
1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
Additional maraschino cherries
Additional toasted slivered almonds
Combine condensed milk, egg yolks, rum, vanilla, macaroon crumbs, slivered almonds and chopped cherries. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream.
Pour into lightly greased 2-quart ring mold or 12 individual, small paper cups. Cover with foil. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. If using ring mold, unmold tortoni, using hot cloth on outside of mold to loosen, onto serving plate. Garnish with cherries and almonds. Makes 12 servings.
Dear SOS: I would be delighted if you could get for me a recipe for beef fajitas as served at El Torito restaurant chain in Los Angeles. I'd like to make the recipe at home.
Dear Phyllis: Here's the recipe. As mentioned in previous runs of the recipe, it is helpful to know that restaurant chefs usually heat the inside of aluminum platters or skillets directly over a flame before piling the fajitas onto them for a sizzling effect. If you use this method of heating the platter, do so with care. Otherwise, you can serve the fajitas on a platter or skillet heated in the oven, but the sizzling effect will not be there. Either way, it's a great dish for a party.
EL TORITO BEEF FAJITAS
3 pounds tri-tip or bottom sirloin of beef
1/3 cup margarine
2 medium Spanish onions, cut into 1/4-inch julienne slices
4 medium green peppers, cut into 1/4-inch julienne slices
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 pound tomatoes, cut into wedges
Place meat in shallow pan. Pour Marinade over and let marinate in refrigerator 3 hours. Remove meat from Marinade and cut into 3x1/2-inch strips.
Melt margarine in large skillet. Add onions, green peppers and seasoning salt and saute until vegetables are tender.
Place meat in large cast-iron skillet and sear over medium heat. Remove from skillet when browned. Place another iron skillet upside down over high flame. Heat almost to point of smoking, about 90 seconds. Remove hot serving skillet from burner and pile with meat strips and vegetables. Place tomato wedges over meat and vegetables. Garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.
2 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white pepper
Combine soy sauce, water, vinegar, garlic and pepper in large container. Whip with wire whisk until mixed.
Variation: For chicken fajitas, use 3 pounds chicken breasts. Marinate and cut according to recipe for beef fajitas. Prepare as for beef, but baste chicken with Achiote Sauce while sauteing.
4 ounces achiote powder
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Place achiote powder, orange juice, garlic and oregano in blender container and blend until smooth. Note: Achiote powder can be purchased at most Mexican grocery stores or gourmet food markets.