Fare Exchange: Farro dishes, Read House chess pie

Fare Exchange: Farro dishes, Read House chess pie

June 5th, 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, good readers. We have one request with many aspects. Brownies. The requester, who remains anonymous, wants desserts that combine chocolate and caramel "without having to unwrap all those caramel candies.

"I would prefer caramel sauce in a jar," the requester says. "I saw one recipe that had the caramel sauce on top, and it looked good but also looked hard to cut and serve. I prefer brownie mix to homemade brownies, but I would like ways to make the brownies extra-special. I have also heard of a brownie that uses three big Symphony candy bars, and I would love that recipe too."

The conversation continues about the healthful grain farro, with added help from Kay Boettger of Athens.

Farro with Pistachios and Herbs

2 cups uncooked farro

4 cups water or chicken broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided)

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 cloves minced garlic (2 teaspoons)

4 ounces (about 1 cup) salted, shelled pistachios, toasted (optional) and chopped

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine farro, water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, until the farro is tender, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent, 4-6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Combine pistachios, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl; toss to combine.

Drain the farro and add to the bowl along with the onion mixture and parsley. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Quinoa and Farro Pilaf

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup farro

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1 cup kale, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2-1 cup chopped butternut squash (baked or microwaved)

1/4 cup dried cherries, Craisins or chopped dried apricots (may be omitted)

1/4 cup toasted pistachios

Combine quinoa and farro in a pot with 2 cups of water and a bouillon cube or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer until water is absorbed (maybe about 1/2 hour).

Meanwhile, sauté onion, kale, garlic and squash. Add cooking grains to onion mixture, then add fruit (if using) and pistachios.

Makes 4 to 6 side servings.

Phyllis Burzese produced a second pie that was once made famous at the Read House; this one is not cheese, but chess.

Chess Pie from the Read House, 1950s

1 stick margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 whole eggs

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon cornmeal

Pinch of salt

Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Cream margarine and sugar by rubbing together with a wooden spoon. Add eggs. Cream just until mixed -- don't overbeat. Add the rest of the ingredients. Don't beat; just blend.

Bake for 45 minutes in an unbaked 9-inch pie crust in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

The next recipes came from Ferris Robinson, who pulled them from her recently republished "Never Trust a Hungry Cook." If you want more, these cookbooks are available at Sophie's, Clay Pot, Wild Hare Books and Fairyland Pharmacy as well as Amazon. The first recipe answered the request for green bean salad.

Vegetable Salad

1 can baby green peas, drained

1 can white shoe peg corn, drained

2 cans French green beans, drained

1 onion, chopped

3/4 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup salad oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Frozen Fruit Salad

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sugar

3 cups whole cranberry sauce

2 cups crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or almonds)

1 cup whipped cream

Soften cream cheese and blend with mayonnaise and sugar. Add remaining ingredients, blending well. Pour into greased mold and chill in fridge.

Poppy Seed Dressing

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup oil

1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Combine first five ingredients in blender and process. Add oil slowly. Stir in seeds and keep in fridge.

Just a Dash ...

Today's bright ideas come from Nancy Seale, who has just finished a year as a kindergarten teacher. We are grateful that she could sit down and pass on these practical and tasty ways.

"I never get caught up, and this year especially my time in the kitchen has diminished due to added requirements at work. I try to cook something that I can get several meals from and not grow weary of the same old thing. Also, I really try to be frugal.

"I often buy a rotisserie chicken from Publix, usually trying to vary the flavor from time to time so as to keep life exciting. The first meal is the usual chicken dinner with a green vegetable and salad.

Over the course of the week, for dinner I make a huge salad with romaine, butter or Bibb lettuce. Add to that dried cranberries, sweet onion slices, cucumbers, red, orange and green peppers and carrots, and top it with chunks of the rotisserie chicken.

"Sometimes I divide the salad ingredients and take half to school for lunch. My kids call it my noisy salad. With all those crunchy veggies, it really is.

"I have enough left to make chicken salad and enjoy the variety of flavors that comes from the different styles of chicken purchased.

"Finally by the weekend, bones are remaining. I stew them, and a wonderful stock is the result.

"The final product is a 'chicken stew' made by adding chunks of carrots and potatoes and chopped onions. I add about a tablespoon of butter for richness. Finally I add about 1/2 cup of rice, covering to cook until the rice and veggies are done.

Share your expertise with our readers by sending ideas to Just a Dash. We're looking for easy menus and how-to's that make kitchen life tastier and easier. Your letters make all the difference.