Q. I am entranced by the raspberry and mascarpone dessert at the Miami Beach Caffé on Ocean Drive, and would love to make it for a dinner party. Can you get the recipe for me?
Executive chef Ludek Munzar, formerly of Prague, kindly supplied the recipe, which we’ve adapted for home use. The restaurant, which is at 1412 Ocean Dr., specializes in complex dishes embracing molecular gastronomy (what Munzar defines as “chemical reaction when using raw ingredients”). One example on the menu is “instant” ice cream made tableside with liquid nitrogen. Happily, the recipe you requested doesn’t need magic beyond the ingredients themselves.
Lecithin can be purchased in health food stores and pharmacies and acts as an emulsifier in this recipe, keeping the sauce well blended, but is not essential.
Ann Divine of Fort Myers asked for help re-creating a dish her mother made in the 1960s, a lime gelatin ring mold with crab meat. Two sleuths sent recipes from vintage Jell-O recipe books. Liz Chifari of Miami found a lime ring mold that had some of the ingredients Divine mentioned, and Wendi Ward of Clayton, N.Y., sent the recipe here, noting: “This is close, though it is lemon instead of lime.” The recipe has retro appeal along with a punch of flavor.
Q. My grandmother used to make something called "poor man’s" sauerbraten. It was baked in one dish and it had ground beef patties, potatoes, and a gravy with crumbled ginger snaps. I am unable to find this anywhere and would really like to enjoy a taste of my childhood again.
Sara Perkins, Watertown, N.Y.
I am always happy when I can help someone taste a memory again. This is a recipe my grandmother, whose father came from Germany, used to make during hard times when sauerbraten made from a roast was simply unaffordable.
During the Depression she made it with little or no meat at all, depending upon what was in the relief bag. We always teased that she could make a gravy out of nothing, but the truth is her way with a skillet is what made hard times more bearable.