Going Bananas Over Coconuts

Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: If possible, please obtain the recipe for a most delicious coconut flan from Cache restaurant in Los Angeles.


Dear M.H.: The recipe calls for coconut in syrup, which is available at gourmet sections at supermarkets under various brand names. A Philippine brand is called Coconut Sport or Macapuno.


2 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup grated coconut in syrup

3 1/2 cups milk

8 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon apple-flavored brandy

Drop yellow food coloring

Place 1 cup sugar in heavy saucepan. Heat until sugar caramelizes to golden brown. Pour immediately into 10 1/2-inch flan mold, tilting pan to cover bottom. Set aside.

Separate grated coconut from syrup and spread coconut over hot caramel. Beat together milk, remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs in large bowl. Add vanilla, apple liqueur and yellow food coloring until well blended. Strain through cheesecloth onto caramel layer in mold. Place in larger pan filled 1/3 way up mold with hot water and bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour, or until set. Invert onto serving dish when cool. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Dear SOS: On a trip to Ireland a few years ago I was frequently served Shepherd's Pie. I have not been able to find a good recipe for this dish. Can you help?


Dear Clare: The pie probably resulted as a solution to what to do with leftover roast and mashed potatoes. However, you can still create the pie from scratch when no leftovers are available.


4 or 5 large potatoes

Butter or margarine

Milk or whipping cream

Salt, pepper

1 tablespoon oil

1 pound ground beef or ground cooked beef or lamb

1 large tomato, chopped

6 mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1 cup brown gravy

1 (10-ounce)package frozen peas

Boil potatoes, then mash with butter, a dash of milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat oil in skillet, add beef and cook until browned, stirring to keep meat crumbly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add tomato, mushrooms, parsley, tomato paste, Worcestershire and gravy. Stir to mix. Add peas and cook about 5 minutes. Turn mixture into casserole. Spread potatoes evenly over meat. Bake at 400 degrees 40 minutes until top is crispy brown. Makes 4 servings.

Dear SOS: Would you have a recipe for a drink that comes close to Orange Julius? I would appreciate it.

--MRS. P.M.F.

Dear Mrs. P.M.F.: As a matter of fact, we do, as published under the alias, Orange Juliana, in "The Los Angeles Times California Cookbook," (Abrams: $25, hardcover; New American Library: $9.95 paperback).


1 cup orange juice

1 cup crushed ice

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder

1 egg white

Combine orange juice, ice, nonfat dry milk and egg white in blender container and blend until frothy. Pour into tall chilled glass. Makes 1 serving.

Dear SOS: Would you happen to have a recipe for crispy artichoke hearts served with garlic butter?


Dear Sharon: No, we don't, but it's not hard to make one up.



10 small artichokes


1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup olive oil

Garlic Butter

Trim hearts from artichokes. Cut each heart in half and add to 1 inch boiling water seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer 6 minutes. Drain and dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on artichoke hearts, then sprinkle on both sides with flour.

In large skillet, heat olive oil to just below smoking point. Add artichoke hearts and quickly fry, browning on both sides. Do not crowd pan. Remove fried hearts from pan as done. Drain on paper towels. Serve with Garlic Butter.

Garlic Butter

3/4 cup butter or margarine

1 clove garlic, crushed

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Melt butter, then add garlic, salt, pepper and mustard. Mix well. Serve hot as dipping sauce with artichokes. Makes 6 servings.

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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