The Mailbox: Teri Watson

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5D

Carol's enchilada sauce

I recently ate at Carol's Restaurant in West Sacramento and had the chance to try the homemade enchilada sauce. It was delicious.

Apparently, Carol's is known for it. It was different, more of a creamy style. I checked the website but did not find any references to this enchilada sauce recipe.

Can anyone help? – Don Edgar Jr., Roseville

Tres Hermanas pintos

Last summer, friends and I had the most delicious pinto beans at Tres Hermanas.

Normally just a side dish, it was absolutely the centerpiece of the meal for me.

Does anyone have this recipe to share? Thanks.

– Jenina Deshler, Seattle


Almost-famous peppermint bark

Prep time: 45 minutes
Standing time: 1 hour

Makes about 2 pounds (about 2 dozen pieces)

Rio Terlinde of Sacramento was looking for a peppermint bark recipe.

Williams-Sonoma started selling peppermint bark in 1999. It quickly became one of its most popular holiday items, usually selling out before Christmas. The recipe for this famous peppermint treat is a closely guarded secret, but Food Network Kitchens tried their hand at duplicating Williams-Sonoma's version. They think this recipe is a pretty close match.

Linda S. Jones of Sacramento found it in the December 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Debbie Balfrey of Fair Oaks shared a similar recipe and suggested that you don't allow the first layer to cool too long before topping with the second layer, otherwise the two layers will separate. Make this special treat for your peppermint- loving valentine.

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract, divided use

1 pound good-quality white chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

3 candy canes or 12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed

INSTRUCTIONS

Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out any wrinkles. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming. Put all but 3/4 cup of the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until one-third of the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan; keep the steaming water over low heat. Gradually stir the reserved 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate into the bowl, a few pieces at a time, until all of the chocolate is melted. Return the bowl to the saucepan, 5 to 10 seconds at a time, to help melt the chocolate, if needed. Do not rush this step. It may take up to 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.

Wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Stir 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, then quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature until almost set, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl and repeat the melting process over the steaming water; dry off the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes or peppermint candies, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Per piece: 169 cal.; 2 g pro.; 19 g carb.; 10 g fat (7 sat., 2 monounsat., 1polyunsat.); 4 mg chol.; 17 mg sod.; 0 g fiber; 54 percent calories from fat.


Halibut chowder

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves 8

Gina Yancey of Sacramento was looking for new ways to prepare halibut.

Jean Hunerlich of Davis has made five trips in the past 12 years to Alaska, where this dish was served at many campout potlucks. She says it's delicious.

INGREDIENTS

2 cans cream of potato soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 cups milk

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Two 10-ounce packages frozen corn in butter sauce

2 to 3 carrots, diced and cooked, optional

1 1/2 pounds halibut chunks, raw

6 green onions, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

Cayenne pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot, combine soups, milk, cream cheese, corn and carrots, if using.

In a sauté pan, sauté the halibut, green onions and garlic until the fish flakes. Add fish mixture to the soup mixture in the large pot and heat over medium heat until thoroughly heated through. Serve with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on top.

Per serving: 361 cal.; 22 g pro.; 31 g carb.; 15 g fat (8 sat., 4 monounsat., 1 polyunsat., 2 other); 82 mg chol.; 1,078 mg sod.; 3 g fiber; 40 percent calories from fat.


HOW TO CONTACT THE MAILBOX

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 twatson@sacbee.com or fax (916) 556-5625. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

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