Dear SOS: My curiosity turned to awe as I consumed the apple pancake at the Sow's Ear Cafe in Cambria. Would owner Jim Pearson's chef share the recipe?
Dear Judi: She would and she did, with a note saying that the pancake is served for Sunday brunch and requires no butter or syrup because of the butter and brown sugar in the recipe.
SOW'S EAR BAKED APPLE PANCAKE
5 tablespoons melted butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 small apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter with eggs, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and flour. Beat by hand or in food processor until mixed. Set aside.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter with apple slices in 10-inch skillet until sizzling and slightly cooked. Pour in batter. Sprinkle top with brown sugar and bake at 450 degrees 25 minutes or until well-browned and puffed. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes 6 servings.
Note: Pancakes can be baked in 3- to 6-inch omelet pans or skillets.
Dear SOS: I have recently enjoyed a marvelous Italian dinner at the new La Pasteria in Hollywood. They served a wonderful chopped tomato and herb appetizer salad on the house while we enjoyed our wine, waiting for our dinner. It is called panzanella.
Dear Pat: We, too, enjoy this simple but delicious appetizer and highly recommend it as a party salad, to serve with grilled meats, fish or poultry, because it can be prepared ahead.
LA PASTERIA PANZANELLA
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 onion, diced
1/3 bunch parsley, minced
1/2 bunch basil, minced
Combine tomatoes, onion, parsley and basil. Season to taste with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and marinate 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, place handful of croutons (or as much desired) on platter or bowl and top with tomato mixture. Toss before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Dear SOS: I have been trying to locate a good, preferably simple gumbo recipe. If you have any available, I would appreciate your sending it to me.
Dear Mrs. A.L.D.: How about Lala's, a recipe originally printed in the old Los Angeles Times Home Magazine a decade ago? It has been a Food Section favorite ever since.
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 2-inch squares
2 pound okra, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-pound) can whole tomatoes
4 cups boiling water
2 bouillon cubes
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces
Fry bacon until crisp. Remove to large kettle. Reserve bacon drippings. Saute okra in half of reserved drippings, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Place in kettle with bacon.
Add remaining drippings to skillet and saute onions and celery until onions are tender but not browned. Add garlic, mix well, then add 1 cup tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes darken somewhat. Add remaining 1 cup tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 cup boiling water, mixing well. Stir tomato mixture into okra mixture in kettle.
Add 1 cup boiling water to kettle. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add 1 bouillon cube. Stir over medium heat until gumbo comes to boil. Add 1 cup boiling water and remaining bouillon cube, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup boiling water, and cook 10 minutes.
Blend flour with cold water until smooth. Add to boiling gumbo and let come to boil again, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and simmer 5 minutes. Let stand 20 minutes before serving, or refrigerate overnight and reheat. Serve hot gumbo over rice in soup plates. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Dear SOS: I keep watching The Times for a good recipe for wedding cake icing, the same as those on bakery wedding cakes.
Dear Lena: How about the Royal Icing served on Tricia Nixon's wedding cake back in 1971?
TRICIA'S ROYAL ICING
3 egg whites
1 pound powdered sugar, about
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat egg whites with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar in mixing bowl. Add remaining sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Add cream of tartar alternately with sugar as the icing begins to thicken. Beat only until frosting is thick enough to spread. Spread thin layer on cake. Continue beating remaining frosting until it stands in stiff peaks, then spread on cake. Makes enough icing for 1 (10x2 1/2-inch) or 1 (12x2 1/2-inch) cake.