The Mailbox by Teri Watson

Zukes and away

I used to have a recipe for a zucchini dish that was very good. I lost it in a move, so I hope someone can help me. You slice the zucchini lengthwise, dip the slices in breading, fry them a short time, then put them in a baking dish. You then pour a tomato sauce over the top and bake it. Thanks for any help.

– E. Lindgren, Pioneer

Pumpkin muffin was great

Last Saturday I had a delicious lunch at Heidi’s in Carson City, Nev. I ordered the fruit plate which came with strawberry yogurt and a very good pumpkin muffin. This was the first pumpkin muffin I’ve ever had. I’ve looked for a recipe in cookbooks with no luck. I’ve also checked grocery stores for a mix but couldn’t find any. Does anyone have a recipe to share? I’m sure my husband would love them. Thank you.

– Betty Beller, Placerville

Cheesy and easy

I am hoping someone can help me find a favorite recipe that I’ve had for years. I lost the recipe in a move. It was for cheddar cheese bread. It called for cheddar cheese, regular flour, yeast and maybe eggs. The best part of the recipe is that the dough does not need to be kneaded, you just mix everything in a bowl and pour into pans. This bread is delicious and so easy.

I never miss your column. Thank you and your readers for many great recipes and ideas.

– Irene Jensen, Sacramento



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) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

Pomegranate flan

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 65 minutes

Serves 8

Jacquie Maples of Carmichael has a pomegranate tree in her yard that's producing a lot of fruit. She was hoping for recipes.

To get to those little red gems, you’ll want to cut off the crown end of the pomegranate and lightly score the skin down the sides in several spots. Soak the pomegranate in a bowl of water for 5 to 10 minutes. Break the sections apart underwater, carefully removing the seeds from the membranes. Discard the skin and membranes. Strain the seeds and spread on a clean dish-towel to dry.

You can make pomegranate juice using one of two methods. Place the seeds in a cloth bag and squeeze the juice out or process the seeds in a blender, pour into a cheesecloth bag and strain. If you’re in a hurry, cut the pomegranate in half and firmly press and turn the halves on a porcelain orange juice squeezer to extract the juice. Strain the juice through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Three-quarters of a cup of seeds will yield ½ cup juice.

Here is a pomegranate recipe for Maples that was featured in the Mailbox in 2006. Kathy McLaughlin of Elk Grove shared this recipe that would make a nice finish for a holiday meal.

Note: The prep time does not include the cool or chill times after flan is prepared.


1 ¼ cups sugar, divided use

4 eggs

3 egg yolks

2 cups half and half

1 ¼ cups fresh pomegranate juice

Pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional


Heat 3/4 cup of the sugar in a medium skillet until golden. Do not allow to burn or flavor will be bitter. Quickly spoon caramel over bottom and sides of eight custard cups or a 1 ½-quart baking dish. Set aside.

Beat together eggs, egg yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar until well blended. Stir in half and half then pomegranate juice. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Pour into caramel-lined custard cups or baking dish.

Place cups or dish in a baking pan and add boiling water halfway up sides of cups or baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center of flan comes out clean.

Remove from water and cool. Refrigerate at least three hours. Unmold and garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Per serving: 287 cal.; 7 g pro.; 40 g carb.; 10 g fat (5 sat., 4 monounsat., 1 polyunsat.); 216 mg chol.; 66 mg sod.; 0 g fiber; 38 g sugar; 34 percent calories from fat.