Fare Exchange: How to find Cutco knives; slow-cooked French dip

Fare Exchange: How to find Cutco knives; slow-cooked French dip

February 25th, 2014 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

Jane Henegar

Jane Henegar

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Good morning, dear readers. For your problem-solving pleasure, we have a request for one fine fudge pie and then a multiple request for a comprehensive reordering of a teenager's menu to reflect a new way of weigh-reduction living.

Beki Campbell needs "a recipe that I have seen in the newspaper in years past, Anita Patton's Chocolate Fudge Pie. (Fudge may or may not be in title.) I have had this recipe for almost 40 years, having actually gotten it from Miss Anita. Unfortunately, my home burned down in March and I lost many of my old recipes. Your help is greatly appreciated."

Having known Miss Anita, I believe there are some heirs around who could check the family recipe files. Non-kin are also welcome to apply their searching skills.

A mother of a young teenager is trying to maximize the muscle and minimize the fat for her son, so she has chosen a diet that includes no flour, sugar or dairy products. That's severe limitation for a growing boy, and she needs your help. Meat and vegetables - no eggs or cheese or milk - only almond milk and juice to drink. "Boy-friendly menus and recipes, please."

Two responses - one male, one female - offered help in purchasing Cutco knives, mentioned in the Feb. 20 column. First, Anne Hendrix wrote: "If your reader will go to www.cutco.com, click on 'How to Buy,' it will direct you how to find a Vector Marketing representative, which is the only way to buy them. After you have purchased this way, you will receive catalogs in the mail, allowing you to purchase directly, get your knives sharpened, etc."

Our male informant must go unnamed as he researched Cutco knives "in hopes of buying several for my wife." That gift must remain a surprise. His research informed him that "they are guaranteed forever, are handed down through generations, and the factory will sharpen them as necessary - regardless of ownership. Most sales are through independent sales agents who come to your home.

"On the Cutco website, Click on 'Other Ways to Buy,' which takes you to 'Find a Fair or Show,'" he wrote. Under that banner, he noted, if you click on "Tennessee," it says Cutco has a booth at the Tri-State Home Show in Chattanooga, set Friday through Sunday in the Convention Center. Cutco also has a booth at the She Expo, set for July 26-27 at the convention center and presented by the Times Free Press. The knives also are available on both amazon.com and eBay.

Because we live in a world moving quickly from email to messaging as the prime mode of communication, a letter received in the mail is a welcome variation on foodie themes. Today, one such letter arrived from Ooltewah from Tina Callison, bearing answers to two recent requests. She notes that the first recipe is a slight variation on the original concept of banana pudding, "but oh so good."

Banana Pudding Squares

35 vanilla wafers, finely crushed

1/4 cup butter, melted

8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

8 ounces Cool Whip, divided

3 bananas, sliced

2 packages (1 ounce each) Jell-O instant vanilla pudding

3 cups cold milk

1/2 square Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, grated

Mix vanilla wafer crumbs and butter; press into bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan. Refrigerate until ready to use. Beat Neufchâtel cheese and sugar in a medium bowl with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip; spread over crust. Top with bananas. Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk 2 minutes; spread over bananas. Top with remaining Cool Whip and chocolate. Refrigerate 3 hours before serving.

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole

1 bag (32 ounces) tater tots

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

A touch of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

8 ounces tomato sauce

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

8 ounces water

Sour cream and green onions, as desired

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange tater tots in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and bake 20 minutes.

In large skillet, cook and crumble the beef with salt, pepper and onion. Drain. Add Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce and water to the skillet. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired consistency, i.e., like Sloppy Joes. Top the baked tater tots with chili. Sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese melts and casserole is heated thoroughly. Top individual portions with sour cream and green onions as desired.

Margaret McNeil sent a wonderful supply of answers to requests, all culled from her blog, margaretsmorsels.blogspot.com.

Ms. M. has been making French dip sandwiches in the crock pot for 20 years, so she knows her stuff.

"French Dip, as it's usually called, is a hot roast beef sandwich served on French or hoagie rolls with the au jus - the unthickened natural juices from the cooked meat - served in a bowl on the side," she explains. "The recipe I'm sharing takes time to prepare, but there's very little work involved since it's cooked in a Crock-Pot.

"I always cook roast in a Crock-Pot, so I opt for an English roast, which is a tough, but very flavorful, cut of meat. Inexpensive, tougher cuts of meat are wonderful cooked in a crock pot because the long cooking time makes them tender. An English roast needs to be cooked in liquid, so it's ideal for this recipe.

"Although the recipe calls for all visible fat to be removed from the roast, I leave a little bit for flavor. The roast - it doesn't have to be browned or coated with flour - goes in the crock pot. The remaining ingredients are combined and poured over the roast. One ingredient, rosemary, needs to be crushed before being added to allow the flavor to be released. Rosemary is too hard for me to crush with my hands. I don't have a mortar and pestle, so I put the rosemary on a cutting board and crush it with the bottom of a measuring cup. Add water to the crock pot, put on the lid and turn the crock pot to low.

"If you want to use cheese - most restaurants use provolone or mozzarella - put it on the bread first and then add the meat. Heat the sandwiches in a 350-degree oven for about 5 minutes, just until the cheese starts to melt. If you want the sandwiches plain, put the meat on the bread and skip heating them in the oven. Strain the au jus and put in small bowls for dipping.

"Although the recipe is for sandwiches, we love the flavor of the meat so much I often serve this as an entree. I don't thicken the au jus for gravy. I strain the au jus and put it in a gravy boat. That way, we can use the leftover meat and au jus for sandwiches."

Now here's the bare-bones recipe.

French Dip Sandwiches

1 (3- to 4-pound) top chuck roast

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 beef bouillon cube

1 bay leaf

4 whole peppercorns

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups water

French or hoagie rolls

Remove and discard all visible fat from roast. Place roast in a crock pot. Combine soy sauce, bouillon cube and spices; pour over roast. Add water. Cover and cook on low heat 10 to 12 hours or until meat is very tender. Remove meat from broth; shred with forks and keep warm. Discard bay leaf. Strain broth; skim off fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve warm on desired bread.

Variation: If desired, put cheese on the bread before adding the meat. Put sandwiches on a baking pan and heat in a 350-degree oven for about 5 minutes, just until the cheese starts to melt.

We are Just a Dash-less today, and we want to continue the conversation about kitchen must-haves, so please fill in these blanks for future Exchanges. Well be watching for you.