Fare Exchange: Spicy Thai dressing and farro salads

Fare Exchange: Spicy Thai dressing and farro salads

May 29th, 2013 by Jane Henegar in Life Entertainment


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, readers. It's almost full-blown summertime with its many salad days. Today's requests are simple salad ones: poppy seed dressing, green bean salad and frozen fruit salad.

Brainerd Anonymous, who's looking for the three above requests, described her method of saving recipes as "harem-scarem" and so she cannot find three recipes she hopes you can find.

Phyllis Burzese, a longtime Fare Exchange friend, found the Read House cheesecake for requester Pete Palmer, clipped from a long-ago newspaper.

Read House Bavarian Cheese Pie

2 envelopes clear gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

2 beaten egg yolks

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup sweet milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (8-ounce) carton cottage cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

1/2 pint whipping cream

Soften gelatin in cold water. Combine egg yolks, lemon rind, sugar, lemon juice, milk and salt and cook in double boiler until slightly thickened. Add gelatin.

Chill until thick, but not set. Add cottage cheese that has been sieved smooth and flavored.

Lastly, fold in vanilla and egg whites which have been sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar, and cream which has been whipped. Pour into tender-cooked pastry shell.

Sprinkle buttered graham cracker crumbs on top for garnish.

Diane Marrs sent a Thai recipe that would be tasty work for college students -- or for any of the rest of us.

Spicy Thai Noodles

11/2 cups chunky peanut butter

1 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 2 shakes Tabasco sauce)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 pound wheat whole-grain spaghetti noodles

8 cups steamed vegetables, cut bite-sized (See below)

1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained

To make the sauce, in a medium bowl, stir peanut butter and water together to make a paste. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, stirring well. Let stand for at least 2 hours at room temperature.

Cut some of your favorite vegetables into bite-sized pieces -- mushrooms, broccoli, red and yellow peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, etc. -- enough to measure 8 cups. Steam vegetables, leaving them slightly crisp.

Cook and drain spaghetti and place in very large serving bowl. Pour drained steamed veggies and water chestnuts over spaghetti, pour peanut sauce over vegetables; toss gently.

Makes 6 servings.

A whole new grain topic came up recently, and Kay Boettger of Athens, Tenn., replied with enthusiasm.

"Farro is my favorite grain ... I love the chewiness of this grain. Previously, I had been unable to find it in Chattanooga and relied on a friend who frequents Dallas, Texas, to visit Central Market (a foodie's heaven, featured on the Travel Channel) to send me farro from their bulk section. I have since found it at Earth Fare on Gunbarrel (Road) for a quarter of the cost. ... Farro is not only ultra-healthy; it's just plain good, especially if you're into textures."

On the strength of Boettger's recommendation, I bought farro from the bulk grains section at Whole Foods. She sent several recipes, and today we will begin with two.

Farro Vegetable Salad

1/2 large tomato (three thick slices), diced

1 1/2 cups cooked farro (recipe follows)

1/4 cup chopped arugula, or more to taste

About 2 small pickling cucumbers, diced

Mint Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

To cook farro, bring 1 1/2 cups salted water to a boil and add uncooked farro. Return to boil and remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for an hour. Drain.

Next, bring 1 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Add drained farro, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until farro is still a bit firm to the bite.

Mint Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon minced fresh mint

2 teaspoons honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together. Mix farro, tomato, arugula and cucumbers. Toss with vinaigrette.

The next recipe suggests a slightly different farro cooking method.

Farro Salad with Asparagus and Parmesan

1 cup raw farro

1/4 to 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, thick bottoms snapped off

1/2 cup red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup or more dried cranberries

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette, or to taste

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan, divided

Soak farro in a large bowl of water for at least 12 hours. Drain.

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the drained farro and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, then cook farro uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue simmering until tender, about 30 more minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook uncovered until tender, about 2-3 minutes, depending on the diameter of the stalks. Drain in a colander, then immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes until cold to stop the cooking process. Once the asparagus is cold, drain well and chop. Set aside.

Place farro, asparagus, tomatoes, walnuts, cranberries, parsley and chives in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup or more Parmesan cheese, then toss.

Top with the remaining Parmesan. Serve at room temperature.

Just a dash

This week's correspondent R.H.L., who makes a meal of roasted vegetables and fresh, raw goat cheese. She prepares evenly sized chunks of zucchini, onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli -- anything but eggplant -- and tosses them gently in canola oil. Then she puts them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, salts with sea salt and roasts them at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. As they come out of the oven, she tops the vegetables with raw goat cheese, which melts in the heat of the vegetables. Then she drizzles it with balsamic vinegar and serves immediately.

Do remember that we are hoping to get Just a Dash contributions from many of you. What ideas and hints and easy menus and how-to's are making your kitchen life tastier and easier?

Thank you for broadening the culinary horizon of Chattanooga, and at our own house, for these many years ... and don't stop now.