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
Today a request for cornbread meets an answer of cornbread, though they are two very different variations on the theme. How about the cranberry cornbread at the Appalachian Grill in Cartersville, Ga.? And any recipes for using raw cranberries? And how about a recipe for apricot chutney with jalapenos, printed on these pages a decade or so ago?
The first request came from Joy Frerichs of Chatsworth, Ga. "I have never been a big fan of cornbread but I love the cranberry version at the Appalachian Grill in Cartersville. Does someone have a similar recipe?"
The next two requests came in a conversation with other, unnamed Exchangers over the first request.
Margaret McNeil has taken the challenge for creative uses for leftover ham and sends her favorite ways with such ham. Her first offering is a Broccoli Ham Ring.
"It consists of a filling made with ham, broccoli, onion, cheese and lemon juice that is baked inside crescent roll dough. The dish is so good that you don't even realize you are eating leftover ham. I usually serve a salad, green or congealed, with broccoli ham ring. Green bean bundles and cranberry orange relish were Christmas Day sides so they will be good with the ham ring as well."
If you want to see how this dish is done, check the photographs on Margaret's blog: margaretsmorsels.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-life-for-leftover-ham.html.
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; mix well.
To assemble the ring, unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 15-inch round baking stone with wide ends of triangles overlapping in the center and points toward the outside (there should be a 5-inch diameter opening in center of stone). Scoop ham mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle. Bring points of triangle up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. Filling will not be completely covered.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut into 8 servings.
McNeil's second offering is a ham and potato casserole, "a layered dish that reminds me of homemade scalloped potatoes. You may use any type of ham, including canned thin-sliced deli ham or even packaged luncheon ham."
3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Ham, cooked and diced (no amount is given, so use what you have on hand.)
1 (8-ounce) package cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup half and half
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
In a greased 2-quart casserole dish, alternate layers of potatoes, ham and cheese three times. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cheese. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. If the top gets too brown, cover the pan with foil.
Chauncey Willis is one of those who has experimented endlessly with cornbread, with little success until now. The version she tried last week, with her own variation of heavy cream instead of sour cream, seemed to be just right.
Bacon grease, a tablespoon if you have it, or oil
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
2 large eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (8 1/2-ounce) cream-style corn
8 ounces heavy whipping cream
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put a tablespoon or more of bacon grease or oil in a 9-inch iron skillet and heat the pan while you mix the remaining ingredients with a wire whisk. Beat batter well, remove hot pan from oven and pour mixture into pan. Return to oven and bake, watching carefully, for 15 to 20 minutes. Cornbread should be crisp and moist.
We'll end with some lively words from Carren Bersch, who spent the Christmas holiday with her massive recipe collection. She spread the vast batch of recipes "on my sofa, my chairs, my living room floor, my bed. While I still have a long way to go, I've managed to pitch out several plastic bags full of things that I really don't think I'll manage to experiment with in this lifetime. Do you know how many ways there are to cook salmon? How about the myriad ways to prepare meatloaf - and have you ever heard of the Billionaire's meatloaf? How about luscious pot pies (chicken, beef, turkey, mushroom)? What about my very favorite food, Brussels sprouts? I've probably got at least 25 ways (so far) to make them interesting."
After much reading, Bersch made "an executive-chef decision. I'm now only going to save the salmon, meatloaf, pot pie, Brussels sprouts and bread pudding recipes of all delicious types. The rest of this collection must go into the recycle bin because, if my math skills serve me, it would take me until something like 2098 to prepare one or two items per day from this mass of delectable goodies."
She's a good example for the rest of us. Save what you love best, with instructions on how to do each creatively and well, and dispose of the rest. With an overload of recipes, a simple sentence works: "If you can't find it, you might as well not have it."
Since many December and January days are spent in the kitchen, I started thinking about the indispensables for me. I came up with two. First, wooden spoons, the plainest kinds. I always prefer them; they just work. No burned hands or melted handles.
And I am grateful for the dependability of the no-frills Paul Revere cookware that was a staple of bridal gift lists 45 years ago. My stainless-steel saucepans and double boiler look and work exactly as they did when they were brand new. That is impressive.
We had no dash in the mail this week, and that should be a call to action for you, that we might never go Dash-less again.
We will watch for your shortcut ideas and your long and marvelous ones, too, as always, next Wednesday.