The Mailbox: Teri Watson

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 9D

Cuevas' picosita burrito, anyone?

I read your column regularly and with much delight and interest. I'm hoping you can help me with a recipe that I would love to have.

Many years ago there was a Mexican restaurant in Dixon called Cuevas. I think it was owned and operated by a local family. The restaurant served many delicious items.

For me the most outstanding dish they served was their picosita burrito. It was very spicy and I loved it. To this day my mom and I still talk about and miss this burrito. Does anyone have this recipe?

– Nikki Schwab, Davis

Wanted: A dense-textured chocolate cake recipe

I make a lot of cakes for different events and would like a recipe for a scratch chocolate cake.

I'm looking for a cake that is more dense in its texture, not light like a sponge cake. Thank you.

– Sarah Stachniuk, Carmichael

Microwave peanut brittle

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 6 minutes

Makes about 1 pound

We heard from the Rocklin Ladies, who were looking for a microwave-oven peanut brittle recipe to make for the holidays. Linda Brown of Sacramento has made this recipe dozens of times and says it's always a crowd-pleaser.

She has also made this brittle using other kinds of nuts with great results.

Lovelyn Robbins of Rocklin and Marilyn Skala of El Dorado Hills shared similar recipes. Skala makes this brittle every year.

She received this recipe from her 98-year-old friend who makes it every week for Sunday school class.


1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Pinch salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda


Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. In a glass bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook in the microwave oven for 4 minutes on high. The mixture should be bubbly and peanuts browned. (Use oven mitts when handling bowl, as it will be very hot.)

Stir in butter and vanilla quickly. Cook 2 minutes longer. Quickly stir in the baking soda, just until mixture is foamy. Pour immediately onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread using two forks. Let cool, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Per 2-ounce piece: 334 cal.; 6 g pro.; 48 g carb.; 15 g fat (3 sat., 7 monounsat., 5 poly- unsat.); 4 mg chol.; 209 mg sod.; 2 g fiber; 38 percent calories from fat.

Curried lentil soup

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Serves 6

Ilene Torres of Rocklin enjoyed the curried lentil soup served at Fresh Choice. She wanted to make this vegan soup at home.

Mary Margolis of Sacramento shares this Bon Appetit recipe and says it's excellent. She makes it for her vegan family members. Margolis omits the butter and does not purée the garbanzo beans, giving the soup more texture.

Note: French green lentils are small, dark green and speckled with black. They can be found at some supermarkets and at specialty food stores.


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided use

2 tablespoons (or more, to taste) curry powder

1 cup French green lentils

4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided use

One 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter (omit to make soup vegan)

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 lemon cut into 6 wedges


Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of the chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, purée chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining garlic in food processor. Add chickpea purée and butter (if using) to soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more curry, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency.

Soup can be made up to 1 day ahead to this point. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.

Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions; serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 303 cal.; 11 g pro.; 39 g carb.; 12 g fat (4 sat., 7 mono- unsat., 1 polyunsat.); 10 mg chol.; 225 mg sod.; 9 g fiber; 36 percent calories from fat.


If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email or fax (916) 556-5625. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

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