Fare Exchange: Getting hot with pimento cheese, getting creamy with caramel

Fare Exchange: Getting hot with pimento cheese, getting creamy with caramel

December 25th, 2013 by Jane Henegar in Life Entertainment


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: chattfare@gmail.com

Dear readers, how else can we begin than with joy to you and joy to the world? And how else can we continue but with our usual Help Wanted paragraph?

Today's requests are for a dessert made with pumpkin and seasoned with ginger, printed about 10 years ago; anything made with goat cheese, and Fehn's Russian dressing. And this: How to use store-bought prepared food and serve it with a twist. Here, too, is the repeat request that you would tell us your biggest successes in the kitchen this month. If it worked, we would love to try it in our many kitchens, so pass it on.

A.M. remembers a wonderful ginger and pumpkin pie that was printed in this paper about a decade ago, and she has been hungry for it ever since. She has also become a lover of goat cheese and wants any recipe that contains this soft cheese.

Lynnette Harris wrote that, "My husband saw the recipe for Fehn's macaroon pie and wondered if anyone has a recipe for their Russian dressing." Carren Biersch, in exchange for some bright ideas below, hopes there are other single folks who have come up with creative ideas for using prepared foods and topping them with ingredients that make them unique.

A recent request for a sought-after pimento cheese dip, served hot, turned up almost immediately. Although the sender is anonymous, he or she did give credit to the originator, Paula Deen.

Paula Deen's Hot Pimento Cheese Dip

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (8-ounce) package sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 (7-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Bagel chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and next seven ingredients at medium-low speed with a mixer until combined. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Serve with bagel chips.

If you have a cake on your mind, here is the perfect topping for any white cake. Patricia Tate actually sent a photocopy of a handwritten recipe from Miss Gertrude Oehmig, one of the cooking greats of Chattanooga history. "Miss Gertrude and her sister, Bess, did the wonderful cooking for Loveman's Tea Room. I worked at Hamilton National Bank and I and other employees ate there three times a week for years. Gertrude gave me this recipe and she put it over a white cake." The recipe is dated Summer 1959.

Gertrude Oehmig's Caramel Icing

3 cups granulated sugar

2 cups whipping cream

1/2 stick of real butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Boil sugar, whipping cream and butter together until it makes a soft ball in cold water. Add vanilla and beat until creamy. Spread over white cake.

• Now a note from me: It must be said that this recipe is not quite as easy as it seems. Even the experts at bringing icing or candy to the soft ball stage have varying results. In the candy category, our friend Caroline makes buttery caramels every Thanksgiving for Christmas giving. She uses the labor of well-fed Thanksgiving guests to carefully twist the ends of the waxed paper wrapping for each tiny caramel. "This year's batch," she affirmed as she offered us a bag of them, "is better than ever." And Caroline has done this "soft ball" cooking for so long that she has abandoned her candy thermometer. All this to say, sometimes bringing a sweet mixture to a soft ball stage is best done by the experts.

Here's Linda Leake's recipe for apples containing Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, about which Leake says, "I don't know anything much richer."

Creamy Caramel Apples

1 bag caramels

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

1 (8-ounce) carton Cool Whip

Sliced apples

Chopped nuts

In a fondue pot or any other pot, melt peeled caramels and Eagle Brand milk. Then add Cool Whip and stir the mixture. Slice apples into a serving bowl, sprinkle of the caramel mixture on top and sprinkle nuts on top.

Just a Dash...

Carren Biersch's letter was full of creativity. She began by saying of her particular season in life that, "I am tending not to experiment and, instead, trying to stay simple and often make something fancier out of something store-bought (like pizza).

"Give me 10-for-$10 Totino's frozen pizzas, and I can decorate all 10 of them with something unique and unusual (and that way I don't have to make the entire pizza from scratch). I like spinach and marinated artichoke hearts ... mushrooms galore ... perhaps a shrimp fest ... another might be all sorts of veggies (like store-bought broccoli slaw I've sautéed in stir-fry sauce) with a touch of leftover pork.

"Another favorite of mine is chicken tenders (my favorite are the ready-made from Publix) ... although I do bake chicken tenders I get from Wal-Mart. The very best twist on the tenders is to dip them bite-by-bite in the Naturally Fresh brand of Jalapeno Ranch dressing. I don't like this dressing on a salad, but it is a super dip for chicken tenders. The Naturally Fresh folks changed their container from what looked like a Ball jar to a more slender and, seemingly, smaller version ... but it's still that same glorious dip for chicken tenders."

Ms. B's experiments are not about to stop. "My next experiment will be doing something with macaroni and cheese, which I haven't cooked in years. Am attempting to find the canned rice at Publix to experiment with your meat loaf recipe, but they didn't have it at the Hixson store."

Let us know if you have found that Spanish rice elsewhere... and we will meet you again at year's end, same time and place, with great expectations.