DEAR SOS: The ultimate candied yams are made at Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch in Marina del Rey, California. It would make a major addition to the holiday table if you could get the recipe.
DEAR HERBERT: Aunt Kizzy's came through, as I knew they would. True yams are rarely found in this country; it's more of a nickname given to certain varieties of sweet potatoes. The restaurant advises picking sweet potatoes "with moist, dark orange flesh and skin ranging in color from almost purple to copper." The paler sweet potatoes have less colorful, drier flesh and skin.
AUNT KIZZY'S CANDIED YAMS
3 yams, about 2 1/2 pounds
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Peel of 1/4 lemon
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Scrub yams and place in large pot. Cover with boiling water and cook, covered, over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender but firm. Drain and cool potatoes. Peel potatoes and slice into thick pieces. Butter shallow baking dish and arrange yam slices in single layer in dish.
Heat sugar, water, nutmeg and lemon peel in saucepan. Add 1/4 cup butter and lemon juice. When butter melts, remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir syrup and pour over potatoes in dish. Bake at 425 degrees until bubbly, 30 minutes.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Each of 6 servings contains about:
387 calories; 93 mg sodium; 21 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 79 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.6 grams fiber.
Liqueur for the Bird
DEAR SOS: I am looking for a recipe for game hen made with Grand Marnier. Can you help?
DEAR MRS. L.M.K.: Here's a recipe called Bronzed Birds because of its dark golden skin. You can use Grand Marnier, brandy, Bourbon or any liqueur.
3 (20-ounce) game hens
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Bourbon
1/2 cup butter, melted
Place game hens in shallow baking pan. Crush garlic with salt, then combine with black pepper, honey, Grand Marnier and melted butter. Brush hens with butter mixture and bake at 350 degrees until bronzed, 35 to 40 minutes, basting often with remaining butter mixture.
Makes 6 servings.
Each serving contains about:
500 calories; 608 mg sodium; 137 mg cholesterol; 37 grams fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams protein; 0.02 gram fiber.
Toffee for Toffs
DEAR SOS: With the holidays quickly approaching, I would love to have a really great recipe for English Butter Toffee. My toffee always seem too brittle.
DEAR CHANIN: Try this English Butter Toffee from our files.
ENGLISH BUTTER TOFFEE
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/4 pound milk chocolate
1/2 cup minced pecans or walnuts
Combine butter, sugar, water and salt in heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high to high heat, stirring often, until candy thermometer reads 290 degrees or until drop of syrup in cold water forms firm ball. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into heavily buttered 9-inch square baking pan, spreading to fill pan. Cool completely.
Melt semisweet and milk chocolates in top of double boiler or in microwave oven on MEDIUM (50%) power, spreading until smooth. Spread 1/2 of chocolate over toffee and sprinkle with 1/2 of nuts. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Reheat remaining chocolate until flowing. Turn toffee over and spread other side with chocolate and sprinkle with remaining nuts.
Makes 1 1/3 pounds, or 3 dozen pieces.
Each piece contains about:
110 calories; 38 mg sodium; 14 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.08 gram fiber.
DEAR SOS: Several years ago you printed a recipe for Mrs. Eisenhower's fudge. I lost my recipe and would like a copy.
DEAR MRS. R.D.C.: This fudge recipe has remained high on the list of recipe requests for three decades.
MAMIE EISENHOWER'S FUDGE
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces
3 (4-ounce) packages sweet cooking chocolate, broken
2 cups marshmallow cream
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
Combine sugar, butter, salt and milk in large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine semisweet and sweet chocolates, marshmallow cream and nuts in mixing bowl. Pour syrup over chocolate and beat until chocolate is melted. Turn into well-greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Cool several hours or until firm. Cut into squares and store in airtight container.
Makes about 5 pounds.
Each ounce contains about:
123 calories; 13 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 19 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.22 gram fiber.
* Trivet, basket and napkin, above right, from Bristol Farms, South Pasadena.