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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to Fare Exchange and consider these challenges as we begin: Mind Your Own Business Cake, one-dish meals and easy stews, and a method of roasting turkey that calls for slicing it raw and roasting it boneless.
The Mind Your Own Business Cake was mentioned at a certain area aerobics class. "All we know is that it contains sweetened condensed milk and Cool Whip, and I would really like to try it," wrote A.D.
Next we heard from Mrs. Harrie D. Cook, a long-ago correspondent. She is experimenting with cold-weather, one-dish meals and, if you keep reading, you will discover her favorite sturdy soup. In exchange (that is only fair), she wants help "making simple stews."
"I had the tortilla soup at Chick-fil-A recently; a pint is $5.99 and it is thick, full of beans and chicken, and much like a stew. I know the meat needs to be browned, or at least I think I know that, but I wonder if there are stews that can be put together easily after the first browning."
The next request is anonymous. "I heard about a local chef who carves a turkey raw and then roasts the boneless meat. I was told that it cooks quickly and is very juicy, but I cannot imagine how this is done and I would really like details."
This is the time of year when adults, perhaps especially cooks, get overcommitted. Children, in the meantime, are simply overjoyed. The first sender of a recipe today is a mere 7 years old, and his contribution came organically from a life lived between the kitchen table and the garden.
Our correspondent is Oliver Rowe, who described himself with proper pleasure as: "yes, a good artist, but also a good cook." Recently when his mama, Chyela, was busy cooking, Oliver got busy creating his own dish. She entrusted a small knife to him, and he made a dipping oil that was so good everybody wanted a record of just what he did. You will see that record on this page.
Basically, said Oliver, "you chop tiny pieces of the herbs in your garden and put them in a bowl with olive oil." If you have ever priced such dipping oils in the store, you know that they are always pricey, and this would make a fabulous gift.
Why cook with children? Mrs. Rowe offers three reasons that work with her four kids: They will never go hungry; they can always find a job; we all get to eat a little quicker when everybody helps get food on the table.
More good reasons: Cooking ties her children to previous generations, to other countries, to the richness of their own history. (And for learning about others, a resource the Rowes love is the cooking website chopchopmag.org.)
1 cup olive oil
2 branches rosemary
2 branches thyme
2 branches sage
3 branches oregano
Several grindings of salt (taste until you are satisfied)
Several grindings of pepper (you will have to taste)
Mix well in a bowl, and serve with homemade bread for dipping.
For Christmas cooks, here's a recipe from the founder of Bright School, Miss Mary Gardner Bright. It came from the Bright School cookbook, "Fork Knife Spoon."
3 1/2 sticks butter
4 heaping tablespoons sugar
1/2 pound ground almonds
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add finely ground almonds. Work in 3 ½ cups flour, or more if needed, until dough can be shaped into small curves (croissant shapes). Bake in a slow oven until light brown. Roll in confectioners sugar while still warm. If the kiftings don't hold their shape while cooking, the dough needs more flour.
Here's Mrs. Cook's favorite wild rice soup. She uses Uncle Ben's white and wild rice mix. "I believe I first got this recipe many years ago in The [Chattanooga] Times."
2 tablespoons butter or more
2 leeks (white tops and about an inch down into the green portion), finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour (add more if you used more butter above)
5 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup wild rice (or Uncle Ben's white and wild rice mix)
3/4 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon chives
1 tablespoon parsley
Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots and celery, and cook until clear. Do not brown.
Add the flour, and stir it in well to make a roux. Cook it gently until it bubbles a little, over low heat.
Add chicken stock gradually, whipping well after each addition to eliminate lumps. Bring it to a simmer.
Add the wild rice and salt. Simmer until rice is done. It will take a long time for the wild rice to cook.
Add cream and heat well. Add more seasoning as needed: a tablespoon or two of soy sauce, or some seasoning salt, or both.
Immediately before serving, add the sherry. Garnish the soup with chives and parsley as you serve it.
You may add cooked chicken after rice is done, but it's not necessary.
There was a week when we were invited to two homes for dinner. Each was a lovely, one-of-a-kind event, focused on the people present. In both homes, guests settled in a circle, not just at the table but before and after dinner, so there was one conversation with all participating. The food was delicious and seemed to be served up effortlessly. So then: The hosts seemed genuinely glad for the presence of the guests, and they had planned carefully in advance so they wouldn't be distracted when guests arrived. Result? Relaxed, satisfied company. Someone once advised, "Treat your family like company and your company like family." Now that's the spirit.
Sue Ison has a clever idea. "I wash and save all flip-top caps. When I open a new bottle or tube without a squirt top, I replace it from my variety. It works great with canola or olive oil containers, salad dressings, honey, and even toothpaste."
While there is still time for the rest of us to use them, please send us your favorite holiday recipes. And we will watch for you next week.