Cook’s Corner

Whipped cream the key to Jell-O ‘Bavarian’ dessert

 

Sleuth’s Corner

Q. You mentioned Schrafft’s in a recent column, and it made me think about the butterscotch cookies there. One of my favorite memories is of walking to our neighborhood Schrafft’s at 79th and Lexington in New York and getting one of the butterscotch cookies and my grandfather always got the oatmeal. I’d love to bake a batch if anyone has the recipe.

Joan Newman , North Miami


Main Dish

Armadillo Café Crab Cakes

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup each finely diced yellow bell pepper, scallion and celery

2 shallots, finely diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

1/4 cup each finely chopped cilantro and parsley leaves

3 large basil leaves, chopped fine

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

1 pound fresh lump crab meat, picked clean of shell fragments

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons heavy cream

3/4 cup dried bread crumbs

Salt, cayenne and Old Bay Seasoning to taste

To finish:

2 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup or more all-purpose flour

1 pound or more panko bread crumbs

Olive oil for frying

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt butter and sauté the peppers, scallions, celery, shallots and jalapeños until soft but not browned. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in chopped herbs, crab meat, egg, 2 tablespoons cream, bread crumbs and seasonings. The consistency should be firm enough to form a cake; if not, add bread crumbs. Form the mixture into 10 cakes; place on a sheet pan and chill for 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, whisk the eggs and cream. Place flour in a second medium-size bowl and crumbs in a third. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Roll each one lightly in the flour, then carefully dip (one at a time) in egg mixture and immediately into crumbs. Coat each cake well and compress slightly to form a thick, 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cake. Place on a clean sheet pan and refrigerate. (May be made up to one day in advance.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat about 1/2 inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Brown the cakes on each side. Place on a clean sheet pan and finish them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot with a spicy homemade mayonnaise or fresh lemon wedge. Makes 10 cakes.

Per cake: 478 calories, 18 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (13 g saturated), 46 percent calories as fat, 2.7 g fiber, 171 mg cholesterol, 653 mg sodium.


Dessert

Basic Jell-O Bavarian

One cup sliced or diced fresh or drained canned or frozen fruit may be folded into the Bavarian before molding The drained fruit syrup may be used in place of the fruit juice in preparing the gelatin.

4-serving package fruit flavor gelatin

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cold water or fruit juice

1 cup whipping cream

Dissolve the gelatin and sugar in the boiling water. Add cold water. Chill until slightly thickened. Whip the cream; stir 1 1/2 cups into the gelatin until blended. Pour into a 1-quart mold or bowl, or 6 individual molds or dessert dishes. Chill until firm, or freeze until firm, about 4 hours. To serve, unmold and garnish with remaining whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 291 calories, 45 percent calories from fat, 14.8 g of fat, (9.2 g sat fat, 4.3 g mono fat) 54.8 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 39 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 83 mg sodium.


Sauce

Grand Central Oyster Bar Mignonette Sauce

Prepare in advance to give the flavors a chance to bloom. Given the simple ingredients, it is essential to use best quality vinegars for this traditional accompaniment to oysters. The Grand Central uses French imports.

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and preferably overnight before serving. Keeps 1 week. Makes 3/4 cup.

Per serving: 6 calories, 0 calories from fat, mg cholesterol, .1 g protein, .5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 mg sodium.


LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com

Q. Could you find out how S&S Cafeterias make the orange and lime gelatin salads? They put whipped cream or buttermilk or cream cheese in, but no nuts or visible fruit parts.

Judy S. Veal Lawrence , Milledgeville, Ga.

I found the recipe here in Joys of Jell-O, a booklet produced by General Foods in the 1970s. It boasts that Jell-O “first grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897. Just how many brands in your kitchen go back over 70 years?”

Jell-O has now been around 116 years, and I still get lots of requests for recipes using the gelatin or pudding as an ingredient. The booklet says “This basic Bavarian recipe is quite versatile — you can use any flavor, add fruit or make a batch of Jell-O and cut it into cubes [a favorite 1970s ‘trick’], or layer two flavors.”

Armadillo crab cakes

Gail Ackerman asked if anyone had the recipe for the crab cakes at the gone but not forgotten Armadillo Café, “chocked full of flavorful ingredients” and “unlike others I’ve made.” She thought it came from Cook’s Corner, but I couldn’t find it. Happily, thanks to Sue Cvejanovich of the Miami-Dade Main Library, we learned the recipe was published in May 2000 in a story by Herald Food Editor Kathy Martin.

This is a wonderful crab cake, by Eve Montella, with a nice nip of jalapeño and an amazing bouquet of fresh herbs. I’m glad it’s been resurrected!

Cookbook Corner

Whether you’ve lived in New York or simply wish you did, anyone who loves the city’s magic, energy and, of course, food will want to check out two new cookbooks that explore a bit of what makes the city beat.

•  The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant Cookbook by Sandy Ingber with Roy Finamore (Stewart, Taboori & Chang, $35) is a big, handsome book full of wonderful photographs, nostalgic tales and enticing recipes — some dating to the restaurant’s opening 100 years ago.

If you’ve stood in awe and watched the bustle, then slipped past the Whispering Gallery to swoon over Long Island steamers or fresh shucked blue points with mignonette sauce, you’ll appreciate the no nonsense recipes and instructions for buying, cooking and serving seafood.

•  The Chelsea Market Cookbook by Michael Phillips with Rick Rodgers (Stewart, Taboori & Chang, $29.95) is a bright paean to the amazing variety of tastes and aromas to be found at the storied food hall, where 22,000 people a day wander the stalls in search of the perfect something.

Amazing photographs and an eclectic range of recipes make this celebration of the market’s 15th anniversary an eminently readable book with recipes that are straightforward and easy to understand. South African bobotie, Guinness steak and mushroom pies and carne asado tacos are here along with garlic mashed potatoes, buttermilk fried chicken and firehouse chili. Advice on everything from wine pairing to tablecloths makes this cookbook as intriguing as the market itself.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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