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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning, and good May cooking to you; our May days are numbered. A certain Nashvillian sent an assortment of requests a while back and some still remain: Town and Country’s cinnamon coffee rolls and their hamburger steak, Fehn’s fried chicken, Lott’s roast beef and Shrimp from the Shrimp Boat near Eastgate.
That same Nashvillian, HJH2, is puzzled by the recipe printed here for the Read House’s Bavarian Cheese Pie. If you have that recipe, can you clarify what is meant by seasoning the cottage cheese? Those are savory memories and it would be wonderful if you could supply one or two, or all, of these missing links.
Here’s a plea from a woman we’ll call Wife on the Road who, when she leaves town, prepares all kinds of things for her husband to eat in her absence. It just seems like the good-wife thing to do. “He never eats any of them,” she laments. “What foods are easy enough and user-friendly enough for a husband to reheat when his wife is out of town? And please keep it simple.”
There may be no better dessert than a bowl of good ice cream, and it’s easy to embellish the bowl. Sarah Lambert keeps a supply of canned pitted black cherries on hand, and she chills them in the refrigerator before serving on vanilla ice cream.
“Canned plums go well when mixed with this, too. Or, if in season, serve fresh raspberries, blueberries or strawberries on vanilla ice cream. This dessert is good after a pasta meal.”
I especially like Lambert’s idea of using expensive fresh berries over ice cream — a pop of color, a pop of taste.
Last week’s discussion of gumbo filé powder continues with this note from Delbert Secrest of Harrison.
“One time when I was wanting some gumbo, I decided to make some filé powder; after all, it’s just dried, ground-up sassafras leaves. Having plenty of sassafras around my property, I went and picked a good handful of pretty green leaves. You may air dry them, but being in a hurry, I dried them in the microwave in just a few minutes. Do not leave them unattended as they dry fairly rapidly and might catch fire. It also helps to stir them up every minute to even out the drying and check their ‘doneness.’
“Then all you have to do is grind the dried leaves in a mortar and pestle, sift and your filé is ready to go. Works better than the store-bought powder; it thickens up the gumbo with only a tablespoon or two.
“Oh, and don’t forget to pull up some tender saplings in the spring, clean and chop up the roots. Steep in boiling water for about 15 minutes to make a tasty sassafras tea.”
Reading this, I have to wonder who first figured out that this would be a tasty thing to do. Surely aroma was a large part of the draw. This year I’ve had the delight of going out the kitchen door right before dinner and snipping a variety of herbs to stir in the pot. There is a runaway batch of lemon balm just beyond the garden. We’ve been putting it in tea, but are there other uses? If so, pass them on, please.
Gabi Miles is just out of college and honing her cooking skills. As she reported, this bread was so good that she just had to send it.
Easy Beer Bread
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour (If using regular flour add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.)
3 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces beer (any variety, but light beer works well, and so does amber ale.)
1 egg, beaten
1 stick butter
Mix flour and sugar together in a large bowl.
Add beer and egg to flour mixture and mix well.
Scrape batter into greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 minutes.
Remove bread from oven; melt butter. Brush melted butter onto bread and return to oven to bake 5 to 10 additional minutes.
Cool on wire rack; serve with a hearty soup or beef stew.
Inspired by a friend, Miles created her own recipe for a bacon and mushroom and spinach and Asiago cheddar quiche. The recipe follows. You can obviously vary the ingredients based on what you have on hand.
1 ready-made pie crust or homemade crust
1 1/2 cups light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices bacon, fried crisp and cut in small pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced and browned in butter
8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and lightly cooked and squeezed of all liquid
1 1/2 cups grated Asiago cheddar cheese
Prepare pie crust and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
While pie crust bakes, in a medium bowl, beat eggs until frothy with a wire whisk. Then beat in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste
In the pie crust put bacon, mushrooms and spinach. Pour egg-cream mixture over the top. Sprinkle top with Asiago cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Just a dash …
Another member of the Miles family likes his meals a little simpler. Here are two Dash Dinners:
Coat boneless chicken breasts on all sides with cracked pepper, garlic salt and your choice of Cajun seasoning or lemon pepper. The more you use, the crunchier the result. Sauté in olive oil in a skillet on both sides until done, and serve with steamed or roasted vegetables.
The second Dash Dinner centers around salmon. Sprinkle a salmon filet with olive oil, lemon pepper and dill. Put on rack in the oven and broil 8 minutes per inch of thickness, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
Our time is up; our May is up. Fare Exchange continues and hopefully you will be present for four June Wednesdays.