The spotlight is on sweet potatoes, pecans and garlic, not together but in two different and wonderful recipes -- a pie and a sauce.
The sauce, Skordalia, is an excellent addition to a fish dish, to vegetables or as a vegetable dip. Mary Diab of Baltimore, who asked for the recipe, noted it was made with "garlic and more garlic."
Kari Zipf of Waitsburg, Wash., sent in two recipes for Skordalia, both of which were chosen by Chef Gilles Syglowski, who judged them as "excellent and more excellent."
The first one was from "Greek Cooking for the Gods" by Eva Zane and the second from "Krinos Greek Gourmet Cookbook" by Georgia Lyras.
Skordalia No. 1
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar
Place garlic, potatoes and salt in a blender. Cover and blend at high speed until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil, alternating with vinegar. Blend until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, it may be thinned with several tablespoons of water. Chill in a covered jar for several hours before serving.
Skordalia No. 2
4 to 6 cloves garlic crushed
8 slices firm white bread
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Remove crusts from bread, moisten with water and squeeze dry. Combine garlic, bread and half the oil in a blender until smooth. Add nuts, vinegar and seasonings. With blender on slow, add remaining oil and beat until smooth.
And from Anthony Kuczynski of Baltimore: "Does anyone have a recipe for a sweet potato pecan pie? I would appreciate it very much."
Mr. Kuczynski's answer came from Beth Hunter, Timonium, who wrote that she hoped he liked the pie "as much as my family and I do."
Hunter's Sweet Potato Pie
3 eggs separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
pecan halves for top
1 unbaked 10-inch pastry shell
Beat egg yolks until thick. Gradually add sugar, mix well. Add next seven ingredients and mix well. Beat egg whites, at room temperature, until stiff peaks form. Fold into sweet potato mixture. Pour into pastry shell and top with pecan halves. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set.
* Marie Wingrove of Baltimore writes that she recently ate at Nick Idoni's restaurant in Ocean City and she ate an onion loaf "to die for. All of my family would be grateful for a recipe similar to this onion loaf."
* Shirley Landon of Centreville writes that she always uses the bread shells with cheese like Boboli. She wants to know if anyone has a good bread-shell recipe with cheese or onions or peppers.
* Cynthia D. Valcarenghi of Abingdon, wants a recipe like the "unforgettable dessert she had at the Ad Inn above the Carroll County Racquet Club, which was a cake roll with almond creme filling and topped with toasted almond slivers. I've looked everywhere but nothing comes close," she wrote.
* Lorraine Wade of Catonsville wants a recipe for a dish her mother made, which she called "cherry pig." The cherries were wrapped in dough, the dough was wrapped in cheese cloth and dropped in boiling water, I think," she wrote.
* Robert L. Bartlett of Severna Park wants to make a black-bean soup like Tio Pepe's. "My wife and I have tried to make this soup but to no avail. We would love a recipe similar to the one we had."
* Trudy Ray of Fayetteville, N.C. hopes someone will have "a long lost recipe for meatball stroganoff, which was served over rice. I've searched for years and cannot find it. Thanks," she writes.
Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, tested these recipes.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
If you send in more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Please note the number of servings which each recipe makes. We will test the first 12 recipes sent to us.