Begging for Chocolate Creme Brulee

TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEAR SOS: Can you obtain the recipe for chocolate creme brulee from the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, Fla.? It's divine.

--CHARLENE

DEAR CHARLENE: You can say that again. Tasters in our Test Kitchen went ga ga over this unusual chocolatey creme brulee .

CHEECA LODGE CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE

15 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup half and half

1 vanilla bean

1 quart whipping cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

Raw or granulated sugar

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar. Bring half and half and vanilla bean to boil. Stir small amount of milk mixture into egg yolk mixture, then return to milk mixture, stirring to blend well. Stir in whipping cream. Strain.

Place shaved chocolate in 13x9-inch baking dish. Fill baking dish with cream mixture. Place baking dish in larger pan filled halfway with hot water. Bake in water bath at 325 degrees 60 minutes or until set. Coat evenly with sugar and broil until sugar caramelizes. Makes 12 servings.

DEAR SOS: I have searched for a recipe for chicken lasagna that was published in the SOS column around 1986. Could you please run the recipe again?

--HELEN

DEAR HELEN: With pleasure, assuming that this recipe from Pagliacci's in British Columbia, which was printed in 1987, is the one you have in mind.

PAGLIACCI'S CHICKEN LASAGNA

2 to 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts

Tomato Sauce

24 fresh lasagna noodles, uncooked, or 24 dried noodles, cooked

1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Parsley

Bake chicken breasts at 375 degrees 25 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven, cool enough to handle, then skin and cut into cubes. Set aside.

Spread each of 2 (13x9-inch) baking pans with some of Tomato Sauce. Layer each pan with some of lasagna noodles, some of cubed chicken, then cover with more sauce. Top sauce with some of shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with some of Parmesan cheese.

Top with another layer of noodles, remaining chicken and more sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with remaining noodles and top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes until bubbly. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings per pan.

Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup diced onion

2 to 3 bay leaves

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped mixed sweet red and green peppers

1 (48-ounce) can tomatoes

1 (14-ounce) can tomato puree

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried hot chiles

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried basil

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt, pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup red wine

Heat oil in saucepan. Add garlic, onion and bay leaves. Saute until onion is tender. Add zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato paste. Add fennel and crushed chiles, basil, oregano, sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add parsley and red wine. Heat through.

DEAR SOS: I am looking for a recipe for making Chow Chow, a mixed vegetable relish using green or yellow tomatoes.

--ETHEL

DEAR ETHEL: What a wonderful homemade relish to use with outdoor barbecue meals throughout summer. Keep it in mind, also, for gifts you can make now for the holiday season.

CHOW CHOW RELISH

4 cups chopped cabbage

3 cups chopped cauliflower

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped green tomatoes

2 cups chopped green peppers

3 tablespoons salt

2 1/2 cups vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons celery seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Combine cabbage, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Sprinkle with salt. Let mixture stand 4 to 6 hours in cool place. Drain well.

Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard, turmeric, ginger, celery and mustard seeds in large saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetable mixture and simmer 10 minutes longer. Bring to boil.

Pack, boiling hot, into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust lids and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes 4 pints.

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