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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Successful ladyfingers search gives green light to cool, creamy dessert

Thursday, April 27, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

We were on a hunt for cake-like ladyfingers -- we tried several stores with no luck. Then we had a thought: What if we asked our readers to help? We did, and they came through. Here is a list of stores that sell ladyfingers. By the way, we needed the ladyfingers to test Ice Cream Party Dessert for the accompanying recipe.

Charlotte Erdely of Natrona Heights writes: "I also was looking for the ladyfingers, as I wanted to make my crown jewel Jell-O pies, which called for the ladyfingers. I called our Foodland and was pleased to learn they carry the soft ladyfingers -- plain and cream-filled. They were $1.39 for a package of 12. Perhaps the other Foodland stores also sell the ladyfingers."

We called the Curry Hollow Road Foodland -- they sell ladyfingers also.

Joyce Tonecha of Venetia tells us that ladyfingers can be found at Scozio's Market Place, McMurray.

Rachael Syzmanski of Finleyville writes: "I often have trouble finding ladyfingers. Last week when I was not looking for them, I saw them in the Donaldsons Crossroads Giant Eagle, in the bakery department. Also, I find them in the produce section of grocery stores with the shortcake shells."

Helen Kutrufins of McKees Rocks told us to check out the Jenny Lee Bakery in McKees Rocks -- we did and they do.

Margaret Patajak of Wampum, Pa., found ladyfingers at Loccisano's Golden Dawn in Ellwood City. And Helen Samila of Washington reports Shop & Save stores sell ladyfingers in their bake shops.

Even though we checked out the stores listed above, we still suggest calling first. Thanks, readers, for taking the time to send us this information.

When we read through the Vegetable Casserole recipe, our first thought was that it would appeal to just about everyone -- vegetarians obviously, but if you add your favorite meat, this dish turns into a hearty casserole. (This dish works great with ham or turkey.) And if you're watching your fat intake, switching this dish to low-fat is a breeze. (We made this dish twice, using all low-fat ingredients the second time with little difference in taste.)

Kathy Jacobi of Murrysville sent this sweet creamy dessert from the "Joys of Jell-O" cookbook. Made with Jell-O and vanilla ice cream, this is a perfect dessert for the upcoming summer months.

Ice Cream Party Dessert

2 (3-ounce) packages Jell-O or 1 (6-ounce) package (they suggest black cherry, black raspberry or raspberry -- we used black cherry, but any flavor would work)
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1 quart vanilla ice cream
12 ladyfingers, split

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water.

Add ice cream by spoonfuls and stir until melted. Chill, stirring occasionally, until very thick (this takes a few hours). Trim ladyfingers to about 21/2-inch lengths, then place around sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Stir Jell-O mixture and pour into pan. Chill until firm. Before serving, loosen mixture around sides of pan. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping and fruit. Makes 12 servings.

Note: We didn't want to take the chance of the dessert sticking to the pan, so we lined the bottom of the pan with foil.

Barbara Cannon of Valencia sent us her daughter-in-law Robin Antanaitis' recipe for Vegetable Casserole. We loved it and thought you would also.

Vegetable Casserole

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can green beans, drained
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained
2 cups chopped onions (we used Vidalia)
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed fine (we placed the crackers in a plastic bag and used a rolling pin to crush the crackers)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 1/2 cups precooked turkey or chicken (optional)

Mix all vegetables in large bowl. (If using precooked poultry, add to vegetables.)

In another bowl mix cheese, sour cream and soup. Make 2 or 3 layers of vegetables and soup in a 4-quart casserole dish; set aside. Melt butter in skillet add crushed crackers and mix. Sprinkle crackers/butter over vegetables. Top with almonds.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Note: We believe any combination of vegetables could be used. We substituted a 10-ounce box of frozen chopped broccoli for the water chestnuts.


"Sometime ago my daughter (living in Dallas) mailed us several packages of Bruce's Pancake Mix. To our surprise, the Post-Gazette Food section mentioned this article in last week's Supermarket Sampler. However, for months, we have been unable to purchase this product in the Pittsburgh area. It was luck my daughter mailed us several packages; but supply is running low."

John Mihelcic, Mt. Lebanon
Anyone know where Bruce's Pancake Mix can be purchased?


Lois Fitzgerald of Point Breeze would like a recipe for cinnamon sauce for pouring over apple dumplings and apple pie.

Another Klein's Restaurant recipe request from Ruth Jerome of Ellwood City: "Does anyone have the recipe for the shrimp salad that was served at Klein's on Fourth Avenue?"

Mary E. Ferons of Oakland would like a recipe for strawberry jam that jells well and doesn't call for a large amount of sugar.

To our readers

We love hearing from you! But we can't print your request unless you supply us with your name and the neighborhood where you live. A daytime phone number is helpful, too, in case we have questions about your request. Thanks.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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