published Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Fare Exchange: Comfort food for fall from slow cooker

Jane Henegar

We begin this November Exchange with requests for protein shakes and smoothies, chicken broth with medicinal qualities from the marrow of chicken bones, biscotti or other cookies that may be dipped into a mug of coffee and white yeast bread.

Our first requests came from J.P., who wants recipes for protein shakes and smoothies. She has been making chicken soup for friends, but now has been told that the marrow of chicken bones has a special healing quality.

"And so I want to know how the marrow ends up in a bowl of chicken broth. How do you get the essence?"

Cookie in the Kitchen wants to expand her repertoire to "coffee cookies," cookies that are good to dip in coffee. She wrote, "I would like a recipe for biscotti or other cookies that are flavored with coffee."

Kudos for your cooking:

I loved hearing from two of you today recommending recipes from Fare Exchange. First, Elsie Keith recommended the whole-wheat bread made by a father and shared with this column.

"I have now made it numerous times," Ms. Keith wrote from LaFayette, Ga., "and we love it. We make sandwiches or toast out of it. It is delicious. I also make white bread and no longer buy commercial bread of any kind."

Now Ms. K, you asked for this, that we would ask: give us your white-bread recipe please.

Ginny Gaines was treating her book group to mushroom asparagus quiche, sent by an anonymous Exchanger from Taste of Home magazine. "It is made with refrigerated crescent rolls and is quite easy to put together," she said. "I have made it before. It calls for fresh asparagus but I'm using frozen. I am glad the reader sent it in."

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Now comes the new news: Nadine Carden of Flintstone, Ga., sent her slow-cooker version of a fruit butter, and you may use either apples or pears.

Apple or Pear Butter

Pears or apples, peeled and sliced, enough to fill your slow cooker

1 cup sugar for apples or 2 cups sugar for pears (dark brown sugar works well for apples only)

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Variation: Other spices of your choice

Cook overnight in slow cooker on low. The next morning, mash with a potato masher if desired. Add sugar and spices. Cook with the lid ajar until the liquid is absorbed. Fill pint jars and invert to seal.

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Ms. Carden also supplied the missing stew. As I read her recipes, I thought how good the house would smell with either of these cooking.

Brunswick Stew

1 package each Lloyd's barbecue pork and barbecue beef (in the prepared-meats section)

1 (13-ounce) can chicken, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can cream-style corn

1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained

1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained

1/4 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1 onion chopped fine

1 small can lima beans (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a slow cooker, and cook all day or overnight on low.

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Up next is Danielle Quick, who learned to love red lentils from the part of her family that grew up in India. She says it is a comfort food that she often feeds to her husband and young sons, "inexpensive and great protein."

Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 30 minutes.

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon paprika (or use chili power for more kick)

Extra-virgin olive oil

5 cloves garlic, grated

1 inch piece ginger, grated

1 small onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-cut tomatoes, liquid drained

2 cups masoor dal (red lentils), rinsed (these may be purchased at Greenlife or Earth Fare)

5 cups water

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Measure out the spices (turmeric, coriander, cumin and paprika) into a small bowl, and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, add olive oil. When the oil starts bubbling, stir in spices and cook for a minute. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute. Add onions and pepper, and stir until the onions start to soften. Add in tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and get pulpy.

Add in lentils and water, and bring to boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer until lentils are soft and tender, 20-25 minutes. Stir in most of the chopped cilantro, reserving a little to garnish. Serve with naan bread or basmati rice or both. Naan bread may be found at international foods stores and is increasingly in supermarket specialty bread sections. Sometimes it is available in the frozen-bread section.

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