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Culinary SOS

Garlic adds zip to this cool, refreshing dish, which is ideal for warm weather entertaining. : Zucchini Soup

August 27, 1987|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: Could you please help me obtain the recipe for Chilled Zucchini Soup served by Alfredo's restaurant at the South Coast Plaza Hotel in Costa Mesa? It's wonderful.

--SUSAN

Dear Susan: Certainly, and the recipe arrived with the complements of executive chef Maurizio Binotto. It's the perfect seasonal cold soup you can prepare several hours ahead or even the day before a party.

CHILLED ZUCCHINI SOUP

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

8 medium zucchini, trimmed, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups whipping cream, about

Dash fresh thyme

Salt, freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat until rippling. Add onion and saute until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add zucchini and garlic.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, over low heat until zucchini is very tender, but not browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups cream and thyme. Let cool slightly.

Place half of zucchini mixture in blender and blend until mixture is very smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in 1 additional cup cream. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini mixture and remaining whipping cream.

Push mixture through fine sieve. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate, covered, several hours before serving. If soup seems too thick add a little cream to thin to desired consistency. Makes about 8 cups.

Dear SOS: I need to make a Macadamia Nut Cheesecake at the end of September but can't find a recipe for it in any of my cookbooks. Do you have the recipe for this wickedly good cheesecake?

--AMANDA

Dear Amanda: From our wicked file:

MACADAMIA NUT CHEESECAKE

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted

1 (8 1/4-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, optional

1 kiwi, peeled and sliced, optional

Combine cookie crumbs and butter and press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees 10 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, sugar and milk, mixing at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in nuts, then pour over crust. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes.

Loosen cake from rim of pan, then allow cheesecake to cool. Remove rim from cooled cake. Chill. Top with pineapple and kiwi before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Dear SOS: I recently had a very delicious dish called Cincinnati Chili served over spaghetti. It was not a hot chile, just spicy with a little zip to it. Do you happen to have a recipe?

--FRANCES

Dear Frances: We dippity do.

CINCINNATI CHILI

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 quart water

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Dash ground cinnamon

Cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

Salt

Brown beef, onions and garlic in large heavy pot, then spoon off excess fat and grind mixture in food processor until mealy in consistency. Return to pot.

Add tomato sauce and paste, water, chili powder, vinegar, pepper, bay leaf, cumin, marjoram, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, sugar and salt to taste. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer 1 to 2 hours or until thick, stirring occasionally.

Serve alone or over cooked spaghetti with shredded Cheddar cheese and chopped onions, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dear SOS: Do you have any recipes for using nectarines? We have a tree full of them and give lots away, but we still have many more.

--LOIS

Dear Lois: Lucky you.

NECTARINE SUGAR PIE

Pastry

6 to 8 nectarines

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

Granulated sugar

Ice cream, optional

Prepare Pastry, then cover and set aside. Peel, halve and remove pits from nectarines. Crush 1 nectarine and combine with lemon juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and ginger. Quarter remaining fruit. Add to mixture.

Roll out half of Pastry and fit into 9- or 10-inch pie pan or shallow skillet. Add nectarine mixture. Top with Pastry, fluting and sealing edges to edge of pan. Cut 5 slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush top crust with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees about 40 to 45 minutes until crust is crisp and golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pastry

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup cold milk

Resift flour with salt. Cut in shortening and then butter. Add milk gradually, mixing until dough is mixed. Do not overmix. Divide evenly and form into balls, ready for use for two-crust pie.

Dear SOS: On a recent trip to Yugoslavia we enjoyed having Cevapcici, the well-seasoned ground meat fingers served with onions and red pepper. I've searched my cookbooks and the library for a recipe with no luck. Can you help?

--PAULA

Dear Paula: Cevapcici (pronounced sev-aap-chi-chi) make wonderful appetizers for a pool party, especially if you have someone turning them out fresh from the grill.

CEVAPCICI

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Hungarian-style paprika

1/4 cup water

Mix together ground beef, salt, pepper, paprika and water. Let stand 2 hours to blend flavors.

When ready to broil or barbecue, pinch off pieces and form into fingers about size of thumb. Broil or barbecue and serve topped with green or chopped onions, red peppers and crusty bread, if desired. Makes 6 to 12 appetizer servings.

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