You may remember the recipe request from a while back for shepherd's pie, specifically the one served by Tommy Condon's restaurant in downtown Charleston. Debbie Sigwald of James Island says she has enjoyed Condon's version for years and that it transports her back to her mother's kitchen.

Co-owner Skip Condon put me in touch with director of operations Scott Long, who in turn supplied the recipe.

Shepherd's pie originated as an economy dish, a way to use leftovers from the traditional lamb or mutton "Sunday roast." Cooked ground or diced meat is mixed with vegetables and gravy and covered with mashed potatoes, which are browned like a crust in the oven.

Tommy Condon's Shepherd's Pie

2 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 large white onion, diced

3 ribs celery, diced

1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of celery soup

1.5-ounce package of dry onion soup mix

1 (15-ounce) can peas

1 (15-ounce) can corn

1 ounce Kitchen Bouquet

Mashed potatoes

Cook ground beef, onion and celery together until meat is browned and the vegetables are tender. Drain off the grease.

Add the celery soup and dry onion soup mix and stir together. Add the peas and corn and let mixture cook for 10 minutes. Add the Kitchen Bouquet. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with a layer of mashed potatoes. Heat dish under broiler until the potatoes turn golden brown. Serve.

Orient Express

Jo Ann Langley of North Charleston did some nice detective work for Glenda Long of Bonneau, who asked about a Japanese Fruitcake her mother used to make.

"This recipe is from the Southern Living's 'The Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook.' It has coconut in the icing layers, but the top and sides are iced with cream cheese icing. The only fruit is raisins. It is a dark layer cake."

Also thanks to Eloise Gatch of Walterboro, who sent a similar recipe.

Eloise says her mother also used to make this cake at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but, she adds, "It is very good anytime."

Japanese Fruitcake

Yield: One 4-layer cake

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 cup chopped raisins

Coconut Filling (recipe follows)

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Chopped pecans

Grease and flour four 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon one-half of batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Combine spices and raisins; stir into remaining batter. Spoon into remaining prepared cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove layers from pans, and let cool completely. Spread Coconut Filling between layers of cooled cake; spread top and sides with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle cake with chopped pecans.

Coconut Filling

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

2 cups flaked coconut

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine sugar, water and coconut; cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water; stir into coconut mixture. Cook over low heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Add lemon zest and juice; stir well. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields enough for one 4-layer cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine butter and cream cheese, beating until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Spread the wealth

S. Salmon of Summerville was hoping to get the recipe for the Jalapeno-Cheddar Cream Cheese Spread from Bagel Nation or a reasonable facsimile. Margaret Sams says this recipe, while perhaps not the exact one, is very, very good.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Spread

1 medium onion, diced fine

Oil for sauteeing

12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

16 ounces cream cheese, cubed

1 small jar chopped/diced pimiento, drained

1 (8-ounce) jar jalapenos, drained and chopped

Cook diced onion in small amount of oil over medium heat until clear. Add cheeses. Stir well until melted and well-blended (about 20 minutes). Add pimiento and jalapenos, stir well.

Serve warm with toast rounds or tortilla chips. Can be reheated on low to medium heat.

Postscript

No, we didn't get the recipe for Roy Hart's hot dog chili, but we did get a cruise down memory lane with Bud Thomas of Walterboro.

"Despite my living my teen years about two miles south of Roy Hart's and eating there frequently, I do not recall eating their hot dogs. What I do recall clearly were his 35-cent cheeseburgers and I still make them this way when local tomatoes are in season. ... The cheeseburgers were cooked on a flattop, the buns grilled alongside them, and were simply the patty, a slice of white onion, a thick slice of fresh tomato, pimiento cheese, and a swab of yellow mustard. Man, they were good, if my 50-year-old memories are accurate."

Who's got the recipe?

--Mary Burton saw Swiss chard growing at Brookgreen Gardens and also this spring downtown when she did a garden tour. She loves fresh greens so much she decided to try to grow some.

"I sowed some seed a couple of days ago. Not sure yet if I will get any to harvest. If my seeds don't sprout, I'll just be on the lookout for them at the market."

Mary asks if readers have any suggestions or recipes for cooking Swiss chard. "I am so interested in tasting this green that I may not wait to harvest it from my garden," she says.

--With the change of seasons, Jean Powell of Goose Creek is interested in canning recipes using fresh veggies and fruit.

Looking for a recipe or have one to share? Reach Teresa Taylor at 937-4886, food@postandcourier.com.