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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Turkey Devonshire Sandwich still a classic Pittsburgh original

Thursday, February 15, 2001

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Pittsburghers have been dining on Devonshire sandwiches (and its variations) since 1934. That's when the creator of the Devonshire, Frank Blandi, opened his first restaurant, The Stratford, at Millvale and Centre avenues in Shadyside. The sandwich was such a success Blandi began making the sauce in five-gallon batches. The many variations of the Devonshire are crab, shrimp, chicken, tomato and asparagus -- the sauce may vary, too.

Cooking term
of the week

Bouquet garni: A bundle of herbs tied together or placed in a cheesecloth bag (tying or bagging allows for easy removal) to flavor soups, stews and broth.


The original Devonshire is composed of crisp bacon and slices of turkey placed on a single piece of toast and then covered with a rich creamy cheese sauce. It should be served bubbling hot from the oven.

Kitchen Maibox would like to thank the following readers for providing us with the recipe: Maggie Gall, Butler; Linda Bleil, Hampton; Rhoda Kurtz, Scott; Susan Cohen, Stanton Heights; Corinne K. Lange, Squirrel Hill; P.S. Polivka, Pleasant Hills; Sophie Loverich, Aliquippa; Rosemary Galiano-Marcus, Churchill; Bess Churchfield, North Versailles; Marge Barker, Whitehall; Cynthia Bowan, Oakmont; Heidi Souza, Moon; Elenor Kerr, Mt. Lebanon; Joyce Remaly, McCandless; Phyllis T. Kernick of Penn Hills.

Joanne Caputo of Forest Hills requested the recipe for the original Devonshire sandwich.

Frank Blandi's Original Devonshire Sandwich

Cream Sauce:
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 cup flour
1/4 pound Cheddar cheese, grated
1 pint chicken broth
1 pint hot milk
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in deep pan and add flour, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and then hot milk, stirring all the while. Add cheese and salt. Bring to boil, then cook slowly for 20 minutes, still stirring. Cool to lukewarm. Beat with wire whip until smooth before using. This makes enough sauce for 6 Devonshire sandwiches.

For each sandwich:
1 slice toast, crusts trimmed off
3 slices crisp bacon
5 thin slices cooked turkey breast
Cream Sauce, recipe above
Melted butter
Parmesan cheese and paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In each flat, individual oven-proof casserole dish, place 1 slice of toast and top with 3 slices bacon. Add 5 thin slices of cooked turkey breast. Cover completely with cream sauce. Sprinkle with a little melted butter, then with the combined Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Ron from Oakdale wants to know if any of our readers have a recipe for Pasta e fagioli similar to what they serve at the Olive Garden.

Patricia B. Clark of Aspinwall would like the recipe for a chocolate cake made with mayonnaise.

Alice Majeski of Mt. Lebanon would like a recipe for hush puppies similar to Long John Silver's.


Stephen J. Griffiths of Mount Washington writes:

"I am strictly a meat-and-potato person. Next on my preferred list is rutabaga. I would like to hear of some ways to prepare ... this delicacy. My preparations include boiling in salted water with a bouillon cube or boil together potatoes and rutabaga after cooking -- then mash and serve with butter or homemade beef or chicken gravy. I add rutabaga to my soup, and after mashing rutabaga I sometimes add a little sour cream and top with grated Cheddar cheese. About 80 percent of the people I have questioned have never heard of rutabaga. How about you?"


A letter from LaVerne Porta of McKees Rocks:

"Over the holidays, I tasted a mini chocolate pizzelle with a chocolate-raspberry nut filling. I can make the pizzelle cookie but can't duplicate the filling. Can anyone help? The cookie is absolutely delicious. Someone told me this used to be a favorite at Italian weddings and showers."

Buzz Pusateri of Shadyside poses this question to our readers:

"Many years ago there was an Italian bakery on Webster Avenue in the Hill District called Caputo's. I remember going there on Christmas and Easter and other special occasions with my uncle to buy the Italian pastries such as cannoli, pasticiotti and sfogliatelle. What was really special was the rum cake. It was a confection of sponge cake layers soaked in rum, pastry cream, and buttercream frosting decorated with an apricot glaze, candied fruit and thinly sliced almonds.

"After the bakery was demolished to make way for the Civic Arena, Mr. Caputo sold his cake from Gimbels' Bakery. People would come from all over the area to purchase these cakes. I would have to put my order in ahead of time to have this cake for the holidays. When Gimbels closed, the Caputo Rum Cake was no more.

"My question is this: Is there someone in the area who knows where this cake can be bought or, better yet, have the recipe for this cake? I make my own cannoli, pasticiotti and sfogliatelle. I would dearly love to have the Caputo Rum Cake as part of my Italian pastry repertoire.

"Hoping someone out there can help me."

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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