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: email@example.com
Today's requests came not on paper but via conversation, stirring up challenges in several categories.
"What do you wish you had a recipe for?" Topics raised in this foodie conversation were mosaic cookies, recipes that feature ricotta or goat cheese and lastly a dish of beans with bacon. The mosaic cookies are for a special event, and another reader has been grazing in food magazines for recipes that have a base of goat cheese or a dense filling of ricotta.
One in this conversation went to an acupuncturist who advised eating "the big limas - Fordhooks - and seasoning them with nitrate-free bacon." She would like shopping information for those limas and that bacon, then cooking instructions.
Short ribs, as per last week's request, surfaced in generous proportion in the mail. Erin Stroud wrote first. "For Mr. W., who enjoyed braised short ribs at Biltmore. Potatoes could probably be substituted for the beans in the recipe that follows, if preferred. I acquired this delicious recipe many years ago; at the time, beef short ribs were uncommon in grocery stores in my area. They also were too pricey for my budget. I substituted beef chuck roast, but since I now see beef short ribs in stores and the price is no longer intimidating to me, I may try this recipe again as written."
1 tablespoon salad oil (canola)
4 pounds beef short ribs
1 (16-ounce) bag carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 (15-19-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
About 3 1/2 hours before serving, in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat in hot salad oil, cook the short ribs, half at a time, until browned on all sides. Remove to a bowl as they brown. In drippings remaining in Dutch oven, cook carrots and onions until lightly browned, stirring vegetables occasionally.
In cup, stir flour with 1 cup water. Return short ribs to Dutch oven; stir in flour mixture, stewed tomatoes and salt. Over high heat, bring to boiling. Cover Dutch oven and bake in 350-degree oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans; bake 30 minutes longer or until short ribs are fork-tender. Makes 6-8 servings.
For Dena von Werssowetz, short ribs are first baked, then enclosed in a sandwich.
2-1/2 pounds beef short ribs
Salt and pepper
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
3 whole carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 whole baguette loaf (or smaller crusty buns)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Salt and pepper the short ribs. In a heavy pot, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Sear the short ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium high. Add onions, carrots and garlic and stir to start cooking. After a minute or two, pour in the wine and broth and stir to combine. Place the short ribs back in the pot, put on the lid, and place in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours, or until short ribs are tender and literally falling off the bone.
If you have time, allow them to cool, then store in the fridge for several hours so the fat will congeal on top. Once it's hard, remove it with a spoon and discard (some of the juice and a few pieces of onion and carrot will come out with the fat, but that's OK.) Reheat on the stovetop, then shred the short ribs.
Toast the baguette until warm, then split down the middle. Spoon the short rib meat down the length of the baguette, then spoon the veggies and some sauce over the top. Place the top of the baguette on top, then slice sandwich into pieces with a sharp serrated knife. Serve immediately.
If you don't have time to refrigerate, you may skim as much fat off as you can, then just shred the short ribs immediately and serve as above.
Variation: Melt brie cheese on top of the sandwich.
In a certain busy kitchen, Heart Healthy Cook plies her trade with generosity. The soup recipe that follows is her discovery for the week, and she takes it every day to work, along with an individual serving package of Wholly Guacamole to go on top. The magazine that printed this recipe noted that "Eating black beans on a regular basis can lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes."
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup salsa
4 teaspoons or more non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook for about 1 minute more.
Add beans, broth and salsa and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Carefully spoon half the soup into a blender and puree briefly, or use an immersion blender with care. Stir bean puree into the pot.
Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.
For variations that add calories, you may add some cooked rice to soup, or serve it over rice. You may also add chopped avocado or guacamole or sprinkle top with grated cheese of your choice.
Now that we have ladled up comfort food filled with beans in generous portions, here's a dessert from Shirley Deems, an addition to the discussion of Amaretto pies. Deems found it in "Gazebo Gala," published by the Junior Auxiliary of McMinnville, Tenn. This one features a chocolate crust, though another crust may be substituted, and a filling of cream cheese.
Makes 2 9-inch pie crusts
1-1/2 cups chocolate wafers, crushed into fine crumbs
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur (plus more for drizzling over top if desired)
1/2 pint whipping cream
3 egg whites
1 cup blanched almonds, crushed into fine pieces
1 small package blanched sliced almonds
For the crust, mix chocolate wafers, the blanched and crushed almonds, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 melted stick of butter; press into pie pan. You may substitute a crust made with flour, butter and pecans, but you would need to bake that one.
For the filling, in a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese with 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks and amaretto.
In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream until stiff and fold into the cheese mixture.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the cheese mixture.
Pour mixture into the crust. Freeze. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the pie with sliced almonds browned in butter. Pour 1 tablespoon amaretto over each slice, if desired.
It's late at night as I finish this column and all the aromas of our dinner have floated away. I'm thinking how good the kitchen would smell again, with short ribs browning and garlic doing what garlic does ... and then with the sweet smell of amaretto as it goes from spoon to pie as it comes from the freezer.
Next week? More flavors on the way; you are the guarantee.