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CONFIDENTIAL CHAT

The original readers' forum of ideas and advice

Thanks for shields on recipe cards

Dear Chatters:Please thank the Chatters for being so good to me, helping me find where to get 3-by-5-inch plastic covers for my recipe cards. The are NAUTICAL NURSE, POONIE, JAN MARIE, MCTOOTLE, SINGING IN THE RAIN, and SEARCHING FOR ANGELS, who sent me a package of covers.

What a great help they are!

SUNNY DAYS

Chunky gazpacho promises summer

Dear Chatters: NANA JUKE wants a good gazpacho recipe. PHONO says hers is heavenly. Here is a gazpacho without tomato juice that is on the crunchy side. If you prefer it smoother, blend it for a longer time in blender or with hand-held blender or4 process in food processor longer. CHUNKY NON-TOMATO
JUICE GAZPACHO
2 cups fresh tomato puree3 tomatoes1 cucumber1 green pepper1 medium onion, red or white1 or 2 cloves garlic2 tablespoons olive oil3 tablespoons chopped parsley3 tablespoons chopped cilantro2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce1 stalk celery (optional)Juice of 1/2lemonGenerous shake of hot sauce or 1 small chili pepper, cut very small; seeds removedSalt and pepper1 teaspoon dill weed (optional)Water, if too thickPlace all ingredients, cut into 1-inch chunks, into a blender or a food processor, or into a deep pan or bowl if using a hand blender.

Blend until chunky, stirring intermittently to make sure everything is being chopped and nothing is pureed. One to two minutes should do it. Serve very cold.

To make the tomato puree, peel three tomatoes by plunging them into hot, then very cold, water, then peel. Place into a blender and puree until smooth.

This may seem difficult, but it is not. The taste is heavenly -- like summer in a bowl!

PHONO

Chatter's mailbox has some returns

Dear Chatters: Confidential Chat has mail for the following people: The mail has either been returned marked "undeliverable," or in some cases, Chatters did not include their name or address. Please write to Confidential Chat with your current address. ALLEGRO, CHRISTMAS GAL, CLUELESS IN CONN., COOL CAT, CUDDLES, GELINDA, GRAMMY FROM N. H., GREAT GREAT GREAT AUNT, J. D., J. M. FROM WHITMAN, KATIE SKATES, LECTURA ESPANOLA, LUKMANIER, M IN EASTHAM, MARINA, ME ME, MIDGE, MIRANDA'S NONNIE, MOTH GRAM, OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK'S DAUGHTER, PATRICK'S MOM, PIDGE, PINA, SASSY LADY, SIX TO ELEVEN, SUMMER GOLD, SUNSHINE BEHIND A CLOUD, S. V. M. TEILANA BRETOR, TRISH'S SISTER, TURBO, and VISTACARE QUILTERS in Canton. Thanks.

CHAT STAFF

How to free photo from its old frame

Dear Chatters: GRANDDAUGHTER wonders what to do with an old photograph stuck to the glass in a frame. Chatters offer suggestions:

TASHER STUDIOS: Being a photography studio that also does framing, we feel we could give some advice that may be helpful. First, if the portrait is stuck to the glass, do not try to remove it. If you need a photo taken of the stuck picture, you can shoot through the glass as long as you can shoot it with no reflection against the glass. You can't shoot straight on and, of course, if the flash you are using is above the camera, that's a problem. You need to separate the flash and camera. To avoid getting a reflection, use a sync cord. Call us at 781-938-3838 for more informationsend us an e-mail message at Chris@tasherstudio.com.

JOY: I have had success copying a framed photo using a digital camera. A scanner may also work, but it uses light which may reflect off the glass. I think your best bet is to locate someone with a good quality digital camera and have a few photos taken in good natural light.

As long as you watch for reflection, it can often be avoided. You can then have the photos printed at your local developing place. I have had good success with prints at Wal-Mart. They can do many sizes on archival quality photo paper.

Thanking Chatters for blankets. . .

Dear Chatters: This letter offers heartfelt thanks to the kindness and caring of so many talented and generous people who have helped Project Linus.

While answering a pattern request several years ago, I mentioned that I was making blankets for a nonprofit charity called Project Linus. The response from Chatters was immediate and overwhelming. Over the years it has been my privilege to meet and correspond with so many of these wonderful women.

We have delivered your blankets to Boston and suburban hospitals, rehabilitation centers and shelters. We provide a reserve of blankets for police and fire departments, ambulances and Samaritan flights. In December of 2003 Parents' Magazine chose Project Linus as one of the 10 most worthwhile children's charities.

There has been an outpouring of donations since that first letter. Brownie and Girl Scout Troops have run yarn drives and made no sew blankets. Groups from churches, assisted living facilities and senior centers have made beautiful quilts, blankets, tiny hats and sweaters. But the major source of blankets is still individual women who send us a continuous supply.

So many wonderful and generous people have given of their time and talent that we have reached the level of 10,000 blankets delivered to children in trauma in Greater Boston. You can take great pride in knowing that your blankets have been there for children in need of a handmade hug. Thank you.

PURPLE THUMB . . . and for help on making mittens

Dear Chatters:
Many thanks to MONOMOY, HONEY, PAPA AND BRANDIE, M AND HER 3 Rs, as well as others who sent me the mitten directions. They were just what I wanted.

I also appreciated receiving the address of the person to send whom I could send completed projects.

OREO'S NANNY

How to rid wood of old water rings

Dear Chatters: NOT THINKING wants to know how to remove water rings on a wood table.

SETH FAN: Make a paste of cigarette ashes and 3 in 1 oil. With a Q-tip, pat the paste into the rings and let it set for several hours or overnight. Wipe clean and polish with furniture polish. If you don't have 3 in 1 oil, you can use olive oil. If you can't get cigarette ashes, you could possibly use ashes from a wood fireplace. I've not used that, but it might work. I've used this solution on cherry and oak. I've used this formula for 40 years and it always works. NEWBERRY: For white rings on furniture, try oil of peppermint and rub with a soft cloth. It should do the trick.

Happy consumer of chicken soup. . .

Dear Chatters: To all the good folks who answered my request many months ago for a good Jewish chicken soup, thank you.

I am very late in my thanks but appreciate all of you who answered my plea. I will use the recipes and give them to others.

Many thanks,

LINCOLN'S LADY

. . . and of recipe for lobster sauce

Dear Chatters:
I want to thank you all for answering my request for Chinese lobster sauce. Many thanks to DASSALA, LONG TIME READER, LLEAN GREENSTEIN, DIAMOND HYACINTH, ST. BART PAL, RAIN IN THE FACE, HAPPY HOME ACRE, and ARIZONA. I've tried a few and they were all delicious. Here's the recipe sent to me by RAIN IN THE FACE. The sauce accompanies a Chinese-style lobster and, despite its name, contains no lobster. Customers at the Kowloon restaurant liked it so much they started ordering it without lobster, and it has become a phenomenon. Enjoy this memento of Chinese food in New England! KOWLOON'S LOBSTER SAUCE

1/3 pound ground pork

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 tablespoon black bean sauce

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon molasses

Cornstarch as needed

1 egg

Salt to taste

Place the ground pork in a wok or large saute pan. Stir fry until the pork is about three-quarters cooked. Add the water, the black bean sauce, the garlic, and the molasses. Thicken to taste with the cornstarch.

While stirring, add the egg. Continue stir frying as the egg cooks and the sauce heats through. Season to taste. The cooking time will depend on the type of pan you are using and the temperature of your stove. Serve with rice.

The recipe makes about 3 cups.

OCEAN BY MY DOOR

A Fireman's Wife: Revisiting recipes

Dear Chatters: A FIREMAN'S WIFE'S GRANDDAUGHTER wants to find her grandmother's recipes. Many Chatters tell her where to get the recipes and also send in a few of their favorites.

SARA'S DAUGHTER: Many years ago -- more than 50 -- my mother and I read Confidential Chat regularly, and used many of A FIREMAN`S WIFE's recipes. She was very definitely a legend, and her recipes were superb. When the first "Boston Globe Cookbook for Brides" was published in 1962, there was a section in it titled "A Fireman's Wife's Recipes."

I have that cookbook and would be very happy to print copies of the 24 recipes for A Fireman's Wife's Granddaughter. If The Boston Globe ever wants to raise money, may I suggest that it reprint the 1962 version of the Cookbook. (There was another cookbook printed in 1981, but it was not as good.)

A SMALL NIGHT: I have an old Boston Globe cookbook with this recipe from your grandmother:

MY FAVORITE SUGAR COOKIE

1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

2 beaten eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the beaten eggs, the sifted dry ingredients and the vanilla. Mix with milk. Roll the dough until very thin, sprinkle with sugar ( I use a salt shaker with large holes for this purpose), shape the cookies, and bake them in a 350-degree oven until toast color. You can vary the flavor by adding coconut, spices, rind nuts, fruits, etc. They are delightfully tender, yet crisp and crunchy.

A FIREMAN'S WIFE, 1969

THE GREEN SCAPULA: Found this recipe in my scrapbook.

PENUCHE FUDGE

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup chopped nuts

Cook the sugar and milk together until the mixture forms a soft ball. Remove from fire. Pour into a mixing bowl. Then add nuts and stir and stir a few more minutes. When it sugars around the edge of the bowl, pour into a buttered pan and cut when not too set.

A FIREMAN'S WIFE

AGATHA MAE: I saw the request from A FIREMAN'S WIFE'S GRANDDAUGHTER today and it brought back memories from my childhood. That named had instant recognition to me, so I investigated one of my late mother's cookbooks. I have the 1963 "Boston Globe Cookbook for Brides" (I remember the day it arrived in the mail: My brother, in his reading prowess, read the title out loud, asking why we had gotten a "Cookbook for Birdies"? It forever had that name to us. The Fireman's Wife has her own section in this cookbook with 25 recipes.

I'm sure there's probably more scattered throughout the book. The specific request is for her famous chocolate cake, which I am guessing is the recipe titled Prize Mocha Cake. Here it is.

PRIZE MOCHA CAKE

1/2 cup butter

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sifted cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the butter, add the sugar gradually and cream until fluffy. Add the beaten yolks and salt and cream well. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Add the vanilla to the milk. Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternately with the milk. Fold in the egg whites, stiffly beaten. Pour the batter into two well-greased 8-inch cake pans and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Fill and frost with Mocha Frosting.

A FIREMAN'S WIFE

Confidential Chat is a forum for Globe readers to exchange ideas, advice, or helpful information on any subject. Letters should be addressed to Confidential Chat, Living/Arts, The Boston Globe, P.O. Box 55819, Boston MA 02205-5819, or via e-mail to chat@globe.com. Writers should choose a pen name but include real name and address (for our files only) in order for the letter to be printed. When a letter is addressed to a writer, it is always forwarded and may also be printed.

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