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The Case of the Mysterious Mint

From:          	Crystal
Date sent:     	Tue, 27 Jul 1999 09:21:08 EDT
Subject:       	Vietnamese Cuisine
To:            	phaedrus

> Hi!
> I'd like to find out about an herb served in Vietnamese restaurants
> along side a dish called "Three Beef".  You are served a big platter or
> lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber, cilantro and something that looks
> and tastes like mint or basil.  That "something" is what I'm interested
> in indentifying. Thanks ! Crystal 

Hi Crystal,

Well, I was not able to find a recipe for "Three-Beef". However, perhaps we can deduce the identity of your mystery herb.

The Southeast Asians are quite fond of basil for cooking. They use sweet basil, holy basil, and lemon basil, perhaps more in Thailand than in Vietnam.

In Madhur Jaffrey's "Far Eastern Cookery", however, I found the following:
"Mints of various sorts are ...nibbled at on the side during meals or, as in Vietnam, added to morsels of food just as they are about to be eaten. Nothing but fresh mint can be used for this." Therefore, I believe that the herb you ask about, served on the side, was fresh mint.


Italian Love Cake

> From:          lrimer 
> To:            phaedrus
> Subject:       Italian Love Cake
> Date:          Fri, 5 Sep 1997 19:58:16 -0400

> Can you find a recipe for Italian Love Cake.
> It is a choclate cake with a layer of ricotta or cream cheese mixture. 
> The icing is a chocolate cool whip.  It is made with a chocolate box
> cake mix.
> thanks,
> lrimer

Dear lrimer,

Try this one:


Italian  Love  Cake

 Ingredients : 
 1 box fudge marble cake mix
 2 lbs. Ricotta cheese
 3/4 c. sugar
 4 eggs
 1 tsp. vanilla
 1 box (3 3/4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding
 1 c. milk
 1 carton (8 oz.) whipped topping

 Preparation : 
    Mix cake as directed on box.  Pour into greased and floured
 9x13 inch pan.  In separate bowl, combine Ricotta, sugar, eggs
 and  vanilla; mix well. Spoon well over top of unbaked cake. 
 Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Cool.  Mix pudding with
 milk; fold in whipped topping.  Spread over cake; refrigerate.


From:           	Marg
To:             	phaedrus
Subject:        	B.Sauce
Date sent:      	Thu, 4 Nov 1999 10:50:43 +1000

> I regularly go to a local Italian Restuaurant and frequently have their
> Bosciaola Sauce which I adore, however I have not been able to find a
> receipe for the same, and would love to e able to make it at home.
> Thanks. Marg 

Hi Marg,

I wasn't able to find very much about bosciaola. The term is usually applied to dishes from Tuscany. I found several restaurants that had bosciaola dishes, but I found no recipes. I did, however find a restaurant menu that described a bosciaola dish, saying that it used a "napoli sauce". Below is a recipe for napoli sauce, which may be another name for the bosciaola sauce that you seek.


Napoli Sauce

1 large onion finely chopped
garlic finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
2 large tomatoes finely chopped
1 tab dried basil
1 chicken stock cube
salt & pepper

Saute onion and garlic until transparent, add carrot, basil, stock 
cube, tomatoes, salt and pepper. let sauce cook uncovered for
about 10 minutes. Add a little water, place lid over pot and cover. 
Reduce sauce. Continue reducing and adding water for about 45 minutes or
longer if desired.

Chili Crabs

> From:          jeanne
> To:            phaedrus
> Subject:       Help! with finding a recipe for Chili Stingray
> Date:          Fri, 18 Sep 1998 00:42:02 -0400

> Hi!  My husband spent a couple of weeks in Singapore.  He came back 
> with lots of nice stuff - and a love of a dish called Chili Stingray.  
> I haven't had any luck finding a recipe.  I have spent hours 
> searching. Can you help?

> Thanks...........Jeanne

Hi Jeanne,

Here's the thing.... Unless you go out and catch your own, it's not easy to obtain stingrays. We don't eat stingrays much in the U.S., and this dish contains real stingray fish. I had no luck finding the actual recipe for the stingray version myself, but the Singaporeans also make this dish with crab. Maybe that would do?

Chilli Crabs or Lobster

This is a popular dish amongst Singaporeans. It is also
a common feature in the menus of famous seafood
restaurants (along East Coast and Punggol).
The abundance of fresh chillies and garlic makes this a
very spicy and full-bodied dish. Chilli crabs/lobster bears
testimony to the great love Chinese have for spicy
Malay food.
The real way to eat this dish is with a serving of large
square chuncks of bread to dip into the delicious sauce. 


Lobster or crabs weighing about 450 grammes (1 lb) 
6 fresh red chillies 
5 cloves garlic 
2 stalks spring onions 
One coriander (cilantro) plant 
3 Tbs vegetable oil 


3 Tbs tomato ketchup 
One-and-a-half Tbs sugar, according to taste 
Quarter tsp salt 
One tsp pounded salted brown soya bean paste 
One cup water 
One-and-a-half tsp cornflour 
Half tsp rice or malt vinegar of freshly squeezed lime juice 
Quarter tsp dark soya sauce 

Instructions to cook

1.Wash uncooked shellfish well, break off the claws and crack the
shell by gently hitting it with a pestle. When preparing crabs, chop
the bodies in half and then each half into 3 pieces. Wash and retain
the shells. When using lobsters, chop off the tail and head, and chop
the body, with shell still on, into thumb length pieces. 
2.Plunge head and tail of lobster into boiling water and cook till the 
shell turns red. Remove from water and set aside for decoration. 
3.Peel garlic and pound coarsely. Pound chillies coarsely too. Or grind 
in a food processor. 
4.Wash spring onions, discard roots, cut into finger lengths. Cut 
coriander into one-inch lengths. 
5.Mix sauce ingredients except for the vinegar or lime juice. 
6.Heat wok, add oil and when hot, add the garlic, stir fry for one 
minute, add chillies, stir fry for another minute and add crab or 
lobster pieces. 
7.Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes till shells turn slightly red. Stir sauce, 
add to the crabs or lobster and stir well for 2 minutes. Cover with a 
lid and simmer over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes till shells turn a 
bright red.
8.Remove cover, squeeze the lime juice over or add the vinegar, stir
well and add spring onions. Turn heat off, stir well and serve,
garnish with coriander leaves. 

The above menu is served with freshly baked bread pieces.

Here are some sites with information about Singapore food:

These two sites mention chili stingray - no recipes, though:

Singapore Trip


These sites have chili crab recipes and other Singaporean recipes:


Singapore Recipes


Spinach Parmesan Dip

Date sent:      Sat, 20 Nov 1999 20:15:22 -0800
From:           Gretchen 
To:             phaedrus
Subject:        dip recipe

> HI,
> I've looked all over the net for a spinach dip similiar to what they
> make at Applebee's. It was perfect. Any ideas...thanks so much, Gretchen

Hi Gretchen,

I couldn't find a recipe for applebee's spinach dip, and I haven't tried the dip myself. However, I did find several references to "applebee's hot spinach parmesan dip". Then, I was able to find a recipe for hot spinach parmesan dip and one for "warm" spinach parmesan dip. I can't guarantee that either of these is the Applebee's dip that you are looking for, but here they are.

- Phaed

Hot Spinach-Parmesan Dip

 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze out excess moisture)  
 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese 
 1 large onion, finely minced
 1 clove garlic, chopped (or more, to taste)
 4 oz cream cheese, softened  
 1 cup mayonnaise
 3 fresh hot peppers, thinly sliced (optional) 
 1 tsp paprika 
 1 loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into very thin slices

 Mix spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, onion, garlic, cream cheese, 
 mayonnaise well with a blender.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 
 Place in greased casserole dish.  Top with peppers (optional) and
 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake at 350 degrees
 for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. 
 Turn oven up to 400 degrees.  Place French bread slices flat on
 cookie sheet.  Cook in 400 degree oven for approx 5 minutes - but
 watch them closely to make sure they don't overcook.  Remove
 them when they're golden brown.  Of course, you could use store
 bought crackers and/or melba toast instead.

 This dip can also be made in the microwave.  Allow to cook on 
 high, covered, for 6-10 minutes, depending on the power of your
 microwave. Its done when the onions are translucent.
 Warm Spinach-Parmesan Dip

Makes about 3 cups

2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 3/4 c. onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. flour
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. cream
6 1/2 c. fresh spinach or 10 oz frozen spinach, either roughly chopped
1 c. parmesan
1/4 c. sour cream
1/2 t. cayenne pepper

In a medium sauce pan, saute onion and garlic in the butter and 
olive oil, for 6 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add flour
and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Wisk in the chicken broth 
and cream and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat
and stir in remaining ingredients. Serve warm. 


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