On Oct. 25, Ruth Tulkay asked for a Greek dish she called
papatsokia. I thought it might be a misspelling because I could not find the
recipe in any of my cookbooks. According to June Liokos of Maverne, the correct
spelling is papoutsakia, meaning "little shoes," which describes how these
stuffed halved baby eggplants look on your plate.
A variation calls for spooning a bechamel (also called a white sauce) over
the "little shoes" and sprinkling them with more grated cheese before they go
into the oven. (Consult a basic cookbook for bechamel sauce.) Zucchini can be
substituted for the eggplant.
The recipe is from "The Complete Book of Greek Cooking" by the Recipe Club
of St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hempstead. Angelo Voyiaziakis of New
Hyde Park sent the same recipe, as did Teena Grosinski of Mineola and Mae
Gabrielides of Bayside.
6 baby eggplants
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
� pound ground lamb or beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1� cup tomato sauce
� cup grated defalotiri or Parmesan cheese
1. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp. Chop pulp, set
2. Lightly brush the eggplant shells on all sides with olive oil. Broil
shells until they begin to soften and transfer to a lightly greased baking dish.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and saute onions until golden.
Add meat and continue to cook until meat is browned. Add eggplant pulp, salt,
pepper and parsley and � cup tomato sauce. Mix well and simmer until most of
the liquid has evaporated. Cool. Add 1/4 cup grated cheese and mix well.
5. Fill eggplant shells with meat mixture, top with remaining grated cheese
and dot with remaining butter. Place in baking pan, add remaining 1 cup tomato
sauce to pan and bake until the eggplants are soft, about 15 minutes. Makes 6
Barbara Weiss and her brother Dan Zinman (Oct. 18) aren't the only ones who
reminisce about the favorite dessert of their childhood. It seems there are
lots of readers who only went shopping with their mothers in the '50s and '60s
because they would be treated to the ice-cream/frozen custard/mousse served in
tall stainless-steel parfait glasses at stores like A&S in Brooklyn, Gertz in
Jamaica and various Woolworth's and McCrory's.
This unique dessert was always served with either chocolate or strawberry
topping and eaten with a long stainless-steel spoon.
When Jeanne Greco began Brooklyn Law School in 1978, she walked three
blocks to A&S for "that memorable custard." However, it was served in a plastic
dish with a plastic spoon and she writes that it just didn't taste the same.
"I prefer to remember the way it was in the late '50s and '60s."
Pat Oettinger of Rego Park writes that "the dessert was the reward to a
very weary day of shopping with your mother." Diane Macher of Jericho remembers
that it was "the big treat before embarking on the trip home on the Culver
Line." Pege Chellis of Northport recalls the sign, "The drink you eat with a
spoon" and Karen Maila of Port Jefferson Station remembers it was called
"Frosty Malts." Sandra Mennella of Long Beach believes "there may be a cult
following out there" for this frozen dessert. Dorothy O'Donnell, who lives in
Cleveland, found it in the early '60s at May Co., a local department store.
The price of the dessert, however, is debatable. Ina Kaplan of Syosset
writes that it cost 15 cents, yet Norma J. Brenner of Douglaston believes it
was 10 cents, 12 cents for the slightly larger size.
The reason it tasted so good, writes Phyllis Matonte of Lynbrook, is that
"it was made of good old-fashioned custard which is certainly hard to find in
these days of nonfat frozen yogurt." Only Eileen Decker of Commack could
identify the machine responsible for all these food memories. "The treat was
dispensed from a machine called a Sweden Soft Server. I recall this," she
writes, "because, as a child, my fantasy was to own one."
Marie Bianco is a regular contributor to Food Day. Send letters to Marie
Bianco, c/o Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, N.Y. 11747-4250.
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