Welcome to Fare Exchange on this fair August morning. The challenge today is for food that has some dietary constraints but doesn't betray that fact by its taste. In particular, please send us low-fat casseroles, vegetarian main dishes, desserts made without flour and with cut-back sugar, and granola that is both low-fat and low-sugar. This is a series of requests that requires the sender's personal stamp of taste approval.
Buttermilk recipes may seem to be old-fashioned; it's been a long time since I heard someone say, "This goes great with a tall glass of buttermilk." The buttermilk topic came up last week, and elicited several replies.
Cindy Tahler came first to say, "This is my mom's recipe and my sister's favorite treat for her birthday. It tastes like a lemon pie -- you'd never know one of the ingredients is buttermilk."
11/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 chilled 9-inch pie crust
Heat oven to 425 F. Combine sugar and flour. Beat 2 eggs, and add to sugar mixture. Using an electric mixer, blend in melted butter and buttermilk. Mix well, then fold in vanilla and lemon juice. Pour into pie crust, and bake at 425 F for 10 minutes then turn oven down to 350 F and bake for an additional 35 minutes. Very important: Do not open oven door until cooking time is complete. Cool on a wire rack. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.
Jeana Reidl looked up buttermilk in a favorite cookbook, "American Discovers Columbus," and found a recipe for buttermilk chicken. "It reminded me of a good cook I knew long ago, Mackie Lanier, who soaked her chicken in buttermilk before frying. The cookbook says, 'delicious slightly chilled for a picnic.' The original recipe called for split chicken breasts skinned and boned, but we can now buy the boneless and that makes it so much easier. And this recipe is baked, not fried, which is also good."
And since there are a few summer -- and Labor Day -- picnics left to be had, let's dive into this one.
Buttermilk Pecan Chicken
1 cup flour
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
10 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk, combined with 1 slightly beaten egg
11/2 sticks margarine or butter, melted
Mix dry ingredients in a shallow 9- by 13-inch casserole. Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, then in flour mixture. Roll in melted butter, and place in casserole. Chicken may be prepared ahead to this point.
Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. May be frozen and stored individually for later reheating.
Serve with parsleyed rice and Caesar salad.
Ms. Reidl sent a recipe not for buttermilk ice cream but buttermilk sherbet, attributed first to Cooking Light magazine, and said the photo alone made it irresistible. She prefers the Cuisinart ice cream maker to prepare this.
Raspberry Buttermilk Sherbet
2 cups fresh raspberries or 1 (14-ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed
1 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnishes: fresh mint sprigs, fresh raspberries
Process raspberries in a food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Press raspberry puree through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding solids. Add sugar, buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to bowl, and stir until well blended.
Pour raspberry mixture into freezer container of a 4-quart ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Garnish each serving, if desired.
n Blueberry-Buttermilk Sherbet: Substitute an equal amount of fresh or frozen blueberries for raspberries. Proceed with recipe as directed. Garnish with fresh blueberries and lemon rind strips, if desired.
n Blackberry-Buttermilk Sherbet: Substitute an equal amount of fresh or frozen blackberries for raspberries. Proceed with recipe as directed. Garnish with fresh blackberries and lemon rind strips, if desired.
Betty Domal's solution to the breakfast casserole dilemma is one she has served to guests with their full approval. It calls for refrigerated crescent rolls. I have given this simply titled dish two extra words to identify the sender's home county in Tennessee.
Moore County Breakfast Casserole
1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent rolls (you may use reduced-fat rolls)
1 pound mild pork sausage, browned
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheese of your choice)
6 large eggs (you may use 3 eggs and 3/4 cup egg substitute)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup milk
Press crescent dough in the bottom of a greased 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Brown sausage; drain. Spoon over dough. Sprinkle cheese over sausage. Whisk together eggs, oregano and milk, and pour over cheese. Bake uncovered at 425 F for 20 minutes or until eggs are set and cheese is lightly browned. Let stand at room temperature. Yield: 6-8 servings
This may be refrigerated overnight, then baked the next morning.
Football Mom has a favorite recipe for her children, and she is baking ahead as school starts. Here is her version of the popular banana bread, with the subtraction of vanilla extract and the addition of chocolate chips. She wrote, "My kids love this in their lunch boxes, and we always have overripe bananas that I don't want to waste."
Banana Nut Bread for Lunch Boxes and More
13/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
11/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup water
11/2 cups bananas, mashed (3 to 4 bananas)
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup or more of chocolate
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add water, bananas, oil and eggs. Pour into 2 greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and use spatula to push them under the surface; adding them last keeps them from all sinking to the bottom.
Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Here's a comment from another mom, preparing to send her four kids off to school. "I am taking one night a week and baking five casseroles. I serve one and use the other four to put in the freezer for the week ahead. My best discovery so far: spaghetti casserole. The kids love it."
And so, J.G.W., we now ask you for that very recipe.
And on such welcome gifts we will wait here, until next week. Thanks to you all.