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Culinary SOS

Chinese Almond Chicken Is Worth the Wait

February 04, 1988|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: Does anyone read this mail? I hope so. Otherwise I am wasting my time and stamps. I asked for a recipe for Chinese restaurant-type almond chicken. Hopefully you will respond this time since I'm not inclined to seek help directly from mainland China.

--GEORGE

Dear George: Please accept a thousand apologies from our end. You'll find endless versions of almond chicken, restaurant to restaurant, mainland China notwithstanding. Here's one from a Los Angeles restaurant, which we hope will do.

JADE GARDEN ALMOND CHICKEN

3/4 cup diced cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup diced bamboo shoots

1/2 cup diced water chestnuts

1 1/2 cups diced celery

1 1/4 cups diced hearts of Chinese cabbage

3/4 cup pea pods

Salt

Chicken broth

1 cup toasted slivered almonds

Combine chicken, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, celery, cabbage and pea pods in steamer or saucepan. Sprinkle with salt to taste and add about 1 inch chicken broth to pan. Cover and steam until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dear SOS: Unfortunately, I've lost the recipe for Griswold's Haystack Cookies. They were a big hit over the holidays and everyone is hounding me to make more.

--LORIE

Dear Lorie: I don't blame them.

GRISWOLD'S HAYSTACK COOKIES

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: Rarely do I see pizza recipes in your column. Try as I may, my pizzas are lacking the pizazz of a good pizza. Numero Uno makes a tasty sweet crust, and it is my favorite commercial pizza. Would you please print their recipe.

--PANTING FOR PIZZA

Dear Panting: I don't think we'll get Numero Uno to part with their trade secret, but why don't you try a similar Sicilian pizza made with a thick crust that bakes in a pan. The pizza would make a wonderful meal-in-a-dish with a salad. If you're in a hurry, as often I am, try substituting frozen bread dough for the crust. It works pretty well, too.

SICILIAN PIZZA

2 envelopes dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

7 cups flour

1 1/2 cups water, about

Tomato Sauce for Pizza

Sliced Mozzarella cheese

Other fillings, optional

Soften yeast in warm water, then blend in eggs, salt and sugar. Place flour in large bowl or on board and work in yeast mixture. Knead in enough water to make soft, not sticky dough. Continue to knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into ball and cover with inverted bowl. Let stand 15 to 25 minutes. Divide dough into halves. (Use both halves or use 1 and freeze other).

Roll each ball of dough into rectangle to fit greased 13x9-inch pan. Push dough toward edges to raise rim slightly. Spread about 1 cup Tomato Sauce for Pizza over dough and distribute mozzarella slices as desired over sauce. If desired, add thinly sliced salami, cooked sliced Italian sausage, strips of chiles or lightly cooked sweet green peppers. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees until edges are lightly browned and bottom shell is firm, about 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 2 pizzas.

Note: If frozen dough is used, roll 1-pound loaf to fit 13x9-inch pan.

Tomato Sauce for Pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 2 medium cloves garlic

1 (1-pound) can tomato puree

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

Salt, pepper

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add garlic and cook over low heat until garlic softens slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato puree and cook until bubbly. Add oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.

Cool. Remove garlic cloves and pour into 8-ounce jar or plastic container. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze until ready to use. Makes enough sauce for 1 pizza.

Note: If heavily sauced pizza is desired, double recipe.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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