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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Kielbasa dish a hearty meal

Thursday, June 08, 2000

Tested by Karen Carlin

Despite its name, don't expect San Diego Salad to be light fare. Sent in by Jean Davies of Monessen, this Countdown to Dinner recipe makes a hearty, substantial dish.

Davies made up the concoction of kielbasa, peppers, onions and mushrooms about 8 to 10 years ago. "I just experimented and came up with it. It sounded good to me in my mind," she said.

As for the dish's name, she said, "I have cousins in San Diego that I like so well that I named it after them."

Davies, a widow, prefers casseroles when cooking for herself, but when she has guests, she likes to make appetizers. "I don't cook as much as I used to, since I live alone, but when I entertain, I do cook," she said.

Davies was an English teacher at Monessen High School until she retired last year after 38 years of teaching. "I loved very minute of it, and I do miss it."

Retirement, however, has led her to another project. "It was a former student [from her first year of teaching] who called me and said, 'Why don't we collaborate on a book?' We both like to cook, so we decided to do a cookbook."

Davies and her friend will call it "The Mystery Lovers' Cookbook." Each section in the book will include a short mystery and a mystery recipe.

"We leave out a key ingredient and the reader has to guess what it is," Davies said.

There was no mystery involved in San Diego Salad -- it was fast and it was easy. Another perk is you can add or subtract amounts according to your own taste. (We went heavier on the mushrooms and lighter on the peppers when testing the recipe.) And it would have been tasty served on a steak roll or other bun.

If we had had more time, we would have also tried this on the grill, wrapping the ingredients in foil spritzed with a little cooking spray.

San Diego Salad

1 pound kielbasa
3 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
3 large mushrooms
1/2 stick butter

Slice kielbasa into 1/4-inch pieces and fry until cooked. Set aside.

Melt butter and fry peppers and onions until soft. Add mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Add kielbasa; mix together, and serve.

Makes 2 plentiful servings or 4 small servings.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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