The signs have been posted at seafood stores: "Buy 12 crabs and get 6 free," and the restaurants are once again offering all-you-can-eat deals on the popular crustacean. So it only figures that readers' appetites have been whetted for the succulent taste of Maryland's famous shellfish.
Marla Berker of Bel Air asked for a recipe for individual crab souffles that get very puffy when baked. Fran Shivler of Pasadena responded with a recipe appropriately called "Crab Puffs," from "How to Cook Crabs," by Dorothy M. Robey and Rose G. Kerr. She said she made the puffs some time ago and thought Ms. Berker would like to try them.
It was chosen by our food testers as a good substitute for a souffle, but they added, it could use a touch of some old fashioned English cheese (2 tablespoons)and Old Bay ( 1/2 teaspoon) to spice it up. They also suggested using a tad less flour (1 tablespoon is plenty) and eliminating the pan of water when baking.
1 pound crab meat
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
dash Tabasco sauce
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup whipping cream
2 egg whites, beaten
Remove any shell or cartilage from crab meat. Melt butter, blend in flour and seasonings. Add milk gradually and cook until thick and smooth, stirring constantly. Stir a little of the hot sauce into the egg yolk; add to remaining sauce, stirring constantly.
Add paprika and crab meat. Whip cream. Fold in egg white and whipped cream. Place in six well-greased 10-ounce casseroles. Place in a pan of hot water, bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees, for 40-45 minutes until puffs are firm in the center. Serve immediately.
Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, tested this recipe.
* Andy Brizzolara of Pasadena is looking for a "slim gourmet" recipe called Baghdad Chicken.
* Fran Shivler of Pasadena would like a recipe for chocolate cookies similar to the Berger's brand she has seen in the grocery store. She says the cookies are firm on the outside and "cakey" on the inside with a firm fudge topping. Ms. Shivler adds, she ate a similar cookie made by a woman in Annapolis at a holiday tour of the historical Hammond-Harwood House last year.
* Veronica Carico of Baltimore is looking for a recipe for cream cheese pound cake.
* Ken Christley of Havre de Grace cannot bear to go through a summer of grilling without his favorite spice called "Cajun Grill" made by Lecroy Farms Inc. He says he cannot find it anywhere locally and would like to know if anyone has seen it.
* Marie Foster of Baltimore has lost her recipe for pan grease. She says she uses it to grease cake and muffin pans.
* Ruth Beeker of Upperco needs a recipe for a cake called "The Ugly Duckling," which she says appeared in Readers Digest a few years back. It is made with lemon pudding and fruit cocktail.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, write to Jill L. Kubatko, Recipe Finder, Food Section, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.