Fare Exchange: Mixin' up a mess of salad fixin's

Fare Exchange: Mixin' up a mess of salad fixin's

May 15th, 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: janehenegar@gmail.com

Fax: 423-668-5092

Good morning, dear readers. Today's requests came from Gabi and Hannah, recent college graduates who are setting up their own kitchens. They want the following recipes: Creamy enchiladas, any easy Thai dishes, recipes using lentils and split peas, and homemade salad dressings.

A recent request for a chocolate mousse made without eggs brought this response from Anonymous of LaFayette, Ga.

Eggless Chocolate Mousse

2 cups milk chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons rum or any fruit juice or water

1 cup fresh whipping cream

Any garnish

Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and rum together in a double boiler until you get a smooth mixture; don't overcook. Cool slightly. While the mousse mixture is cooling, begin whipping the cream until you get soft peaks.

Fold the cream gently into the chocolate mixture. Once you get a uniform, even mousse mixture, pour the mousse into a bowl or small glasses. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until the mousse is set.

Decorate the eggless chocolate mousse with your favorite garnishes.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Valerie Bowers prepared what you are about to read for a friend. The purpose: To help this friend with a new eating plan. Bowers calls this a salad sheet, complete with simple dressings. This is a list with enough specific information to guide the less-experienced cook, and with enough room for creativity to challenge the more-experienced one.

Salad Combinations as Complete Meals

Orient Express: Chicken, romaine lettuce, shredded cabbage or bok choy, slivered almonds or cashews, shredded carrot, onion, red pepper, celery and snow peas topped with green onion and sesame seeds with an oriental dressing.

California Dreamin: Chicken, baby greens, red onion rings, avocado slices, orange sections, nuts of your choice and low-fat white cheese, if you wish. A citrus dressing is good on this one or just lemon or lime juice and olive oil.

Popeye Special: Baby spinach, sliced mushrooms, boiled diced egg with a vinaigrette dressing.

Ocean Harvest: Tuna (fresh grilled or canned), tomatoes, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli florets with a citrus dressing or lemon juice and olive oil drizzled over it.

Middle East Feast: Hummus with red pepper, snap peas, broccoli, squash, mushroom, cauliflower dippers. If you like parsley, chop up a handful, add chopped tomatoes and green onion and dress with lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve on the side with the hummus.

Farmer's Wife: White pork cubes, romaine lettuce, apple chunks, low fat cheese of your choice, carrot shreds, celery. This is good with a vinaigrette dressing made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Good Seasons dressing mix.

Tex Mex: Cold slices of steak, low-fat cheese, black beans (canned, rinsed and drained), tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, chopped fresh cilantro on a bed of romaine lettuce with Southwestern dressing (see below).

Italian Peasant: Romaine lettuce, chopped onion, red bell pepper, rinsed and drained cannellini beans, tomatoes and shaved Parmesan cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Crab: Bibb lettuce, avocado, artichoke hearts (drained from a can or jar, not seasoned), tomatoes. Keep ingredients separate in a large flat bowl and use citrus vinaigrette over all or lemon juice and a drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil.

As for dressings, vinaigrette/citrus based dressings are best. Use Good Seasons Italian (dry) Salad Dressing Mix as a base as follows for easy dressings.

Italian dressing: Alessi White Balsamic Vinegar with extra virgin or extra light olive oil, measured and mixed with the dressing mix as directed on the package.

Southwestern dressing: 4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup oil and dressing mix

Oriental dressing: 1/4 cup apple cider or rice wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey or agave, 1/4 cup good sesame oil, 1/3 cup peanut oil, toasted sesame seeds to taste. Mix well.

Add 1/2 to 1 packet of Good Seasons Italian to this one, or just use as is.

W. Niceley remembered reading long, long ago a request for recipes using tri-tip steak. It was not until today that he found one, and he passes it on to you. "I have a smoker on the deck and this works well, plus it doesn't mess up the kitchen."

Smoked Tri-Tip in an Electric Smoker

1 beef tri-tip, about 2 pounds

3 tablespoons coffee and spice rub

Sea salt to taste

Chipotle guacamole for serving (any guacamole will do)

Green rice or other rice

Rub tri-tip on all sides with coffee and spice rub. Place in a sealable plastic bag, seal bag and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat electric smoker to 225 degrees. Smoke the tri-tip according to manufacturer's instructions until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 130 degrees for medium rare. It should take 2 to 3 hours, until done to taste.

Transfer meat to carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 20 minutes. Thinly slice meat across grain; arrange on warmed platter. Sprinkle meat with sea salt. Serve warm with guacamole and rice. Makes 6 servings.

Just a Dash ...

Remember that we are hoping to get your contributions to our new Just a Dash ending. What ideas and hints and easy menus and how-to's are making your kitchen life tastier and easier?

Hearken to this advice from Ginny Gaines:

"I find that one of the fruits my kitchen cannot be without is the plain old lemon. I always have lemons in my refrigerator. They make everything seem fresher and lighter. They're great for vinaigrettes, which I make a lot these spring days. Grating them in sauces or desserts really lets that lemon flavor come alive. They're wonderful to give a little zing to pasta, asparagus or apples waiting to be put into a pie. What would guacamole be without lemon juice squirted on the avocado?

"There are all kinds of green mixtures for cleaning that have lemon juice added. And a cold glass of fresh lemonade is just the answer to an end of the day rest on the porch. And after I'm finished chopping and mincing garlic and onion, I stick my fingers into a lemon slice and squeeze the juice and no more garlic smell. I can't think of a more useful and delicious tool in my kitchen."

That's it for today. I will be hoping for a dash, or a dollop, or a paragraph of wisdom from you, along with the usual most welcome recipes.