published Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Fare Exchange: Rice, orzo recipes top list of requests

Good morning readers. We've got more rice and orzo requests, to wit: Cajun rice at Church's Chicken; wild rice salad, curried and otherwise; orzo salads. And one final one: using Mexican crema in Mexican dishes.

Randy Thompson hopes "you can work your magic to find a similar recipe to the one formerly used for Cajun rice at Church's Chicken. I contacted Church's hoping they might show some Southern hospitality by sharing the discontinued-items recipe but got nowhere. It seems as though the rice had maybe sausage, sage and a little something spicy like cayenne pepper."

Anonymous requests also came for "wild rice salad of any kind, as it's so much easier to make than potato salad. I once had a curried wild rice salad with currants and toasted almonds, and I would like that recipe or any other without curry. Your recent request for recipes using orzo made me want recipes for orzo salad as well."

Now on to the recipes. Lennis DuBan wrote from Ooltewah: "I don't know whether this is anything like the salad Susan Miller is looking for, but it is a wonderful and easy cake."

Cranberry Dessert Cake

12 ounces whole fresh cranberries

11/2 cups sugar, divided

1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

2 eggs

1 cup self-rising flour

3/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease or coat with cooking spray a 9-inch square dish or 10-inch pie plate. Place cranberries in pan. Sprinkle berries with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

In a bowl, beat eggs. Add 1 cup sugar, self-rising flour and melted butter or margarine. Mix well. Pour batter over cranberries.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until top is golden brown. To be safe, put dish on a baking sheet in case of runover.

Marla Neal was in the vegetable aisle at Fresh Market looking for a jar of artichoke tapenade. She had a special purpose for that tapenade, and this week she shared it. Her recipe originally came from the Chicago Tribune and is a simple pasta meal with some equally simple variations. The name of the recipe came from the fact that sometimes "you come home so late that only a simple supper will do." And here is that simple supper.

Late-Night Spaghetti

1 pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive or artichoke tapenade

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss. Stir in tapenade, top with gorgonzola and serve immediately.

The next two recipes are from Sage Wellspring, who is admittedly "in my salad phase. Both of these seemed a little unusual, which is what I like."

Black-Eyed Pea or Black Bean Salad

1 (151/2-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (or substitute black beans)

1 large tomato, diced

1 medium-ripe avocado, peeled and diced

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

2 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup prepared Italian salad dressing

In a large serving bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss to coat. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 4 servings.

Layered Spinach Salad

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini

2 cups shredded red cabbage

6 cups torn fresh spinach

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 (8-ounce) bottle Ranch salad dressing

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside. In a large glass bowl, layer cabbage, spinach, tortellini, tomatoes and onions. Pour dressing over top; sprinkle with bacon, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To Reach Us

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

-- Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.

-- E-mail: janehenegar@gmail.com.

-- Fax: 423-668-5092.

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