Fare Exchange: Tips for setting up an informal supper club

Fare Exchange: Tips for setting up an informal supper club

July 24th, 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

Fax: 423-668-5092

Good morning, dear readers. We have a request for Oscar-winning recipes - homemade French fries as made at the former Oscar's Restaurant, and for their pork rub and instructions on how to prepare barbecued pork like theirs ... and their barbecue sauce recipe, too. Finally, we are looking for the cheesy spinach casserole once made by Casa Rolls.

Beverly Causer's request included a delightful reminiscence of "growing up eating at Oscar's."

"My mother tells me they started out downtown, but moved to Highway 58. The building still stands empty. It was a family owned restaurant run by the owner, Oscar, and his wife. His son also worked there. Oscar's had a diner-type atmosphere, with photos of the kids and grandkids proudly displayed. The servers worked for them for years. They had a small menu that was posted on the wall and included hamburgers. A smokehouse was out back where they smoked the pork. The barbecue pork sandwich had the best sauce I ever put in my mouth. Their homemade French fries were also the best. I would love to get the recipe for how they cooked the pork, rub and the sauce."

Angie Thomas wrote that "my family was a huge fan of the cheesy chicken spinach casserole made by Casa Rolls in East Brainerd. We have missed them since they closed and my son, Brooks, has often asked if I would make this casserole. Sure would love to find the recipe. It is made of thin spaghetti noodles, a cheesy filling, chicken and spinach and a cornflake topping."

The next topic is supper clubs, as per your request. Camille of Hixson told us: "My husband and I were members of a very informal supper club while living in Florida. Six to eight couples met once a month, usually the third Saturday of the month (12 regulars and any guests the host might invite). We all looked forward to seeing each other. The food was never fancy, but the friendships were priceless.

"Here are some guidelines we used, always subject to what the hosts planned.

• Third Saturday of the month is not set in stone. If that date is a holiday or some other date members are unlikely to be able to attend, like spring break, do the second or fourth.

• Hosts select the main dish or theme. Send out emails three weeks in advance listing date, time and dish assignments. We found it easier for hosts to assign which category each member was to bring: Broad categories such as appetizer, salad, etc., and let them choose their particular dish compatible with whatever the main dish was.

• Hosts provided soft drinks and members BYOB. No fancy china needed. Paper plates, cups, utensils are much easier to clean up, especially if hosts set up a large trash can lined with plastic.

"Some themes we especially enjoyed:

• Each member brings a dish from their ancestry -- German, Italian, Lebanese, etc.

• Upside-down night: First course is dessert, then entrée, ending with breakfast.

• Low country boil from Charleston.

• New York pizza night with different styles of pizza found in New York City

• A sit-down meal with nieces and nephews acting as servers.

• A North versus South dinner serving Yankee pot roast and shrimp and grits with voting for the winner

• Two different kinds of lasagna: traditional Italian and white seafood lasagna.

• Usual themes such as Mexican fiesta, Hawaiian luau, barbecue, German schnitzel, country cooking, etc. The sky is the limit. Of course, it could also be bring your favorite dish with no particular theme."

Yeast of the Ridge read the request for a cheese spread from Whole Foods and wondered whether this might answer that request. "The recipe was attributed to Whole Foods in an Internet article."

Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese Dip

Serve this fresh herbed twist on goat cheese with crisp endive leaves, carrot sticks, crackers or tortilla chips for dipping.

5 ounces fresh goat cheese

2/3 cup low-fat sour cream

3 green onions (white and most of green part), chopped

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine goat cheese and sour cream thoroughly with a whisk or food processor. Stir in remaining ingredients by hand. Let flavors blend in refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper before serving.

Signal Mountain Rose sent a recipe she remembers liking very much. "I hope it is the one Brainerd Reader is looking for. Now that it has resurfaced I will be making it the next time I go to a potluck social."

Dried Beef Dip

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

2 tablespoons milk

1 small jar dried beef, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

2 tablespoons onion flakes

Fresh-ground pepper, to taste

Garlic salt, to taste

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter

Blend cream cheese and milk. Add remaining ingredients and place in casserole. Top with chopped pecans sautéed in butter and sprinkled with salt. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly. Serve hot with Ritz crackers.

Just a Dash ...

M.D. is a grandmother par excellence. Her easy summer meal for hungry grandchildren is grilled chicken or flank steak sliced and ladled into individual bowls with black beans, grated cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and refrigerated salsa. She tops each bowl with crushed corn chips.

I'm still waiting for the perfect summer peach -- or for that matter, for a perfect tomato ready to be the centerpiece of a tomato sandwich. Please let us know when you find the best source for either, and do come back next week.