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
Good morning, friends. At the moment of this writing, I sit in someone else's kitchen far away. In the absence of the cook, I have time and space to look around for fare to share, and perhaps some of the spirit behind the fare to share. But first, as usual, some requests. Read below, cake lovers, for some challenges. And this: Johnnie Dial has a bumper crop of okra and wants to know what to do with fresh okra besides frying.
In the neighborhood of our visiting resides a woman who is as fond of shortcuts as any of the rest of us. Said Kathy, "I make brownies from a mix and buy day-old angel food cakes at Walmart and top with Cool Whip or ready-made frosting. But I would like to try some good old-fashioned cakes like I used to make decades ago. My requests are for strawberry cake made with frozen strawberries, Lane Cake, Italian Cream Cake and yellow cake in very thin layers with chocolate frosting. I believe you use sewing thread or fishing line to split the layers horizontally."
On the counter is a copy of a recipe with this comment: "Haven't tried these but the picture looks yummy and they are bound to be good for snacks."
3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, or you may use sweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas with a fork or potato masher, then add remaining ingredients and stir and let sit for 20 minutes. Then drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.
Makes about 30.
In this kitchen also is a well-worn recipe for banana bread. No over-ripe bananas sit unused in the fruit bowl here because the recipe is easy and may be done with two bowls and one each of wire whisk and spoon.
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 cups over-ripe bananas, mashed (3 to 4 bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Beat eggs with a wire whisk and add water, oil, bananas and vanilla.
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon; do not beat.
Pour batter into 2 greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over batter and stir very gently to get them just under top of batter. Otherwise they all sink to the bottom.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until bread springs back when pressed lightly in center. Remove from oven and let rest briefly on a wire rack, then turn loaf out and cool.
From the recipe box in this prolific kitchen, here is an easy rich recipe, also chocolate.
2/3 cup Hershey's chocolate syrup
2/3 cup Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (8-ounce) cartons whipping cream, whipped
Chopped or slivered almonds lightly toasted
Mix together syrup, Eagle Brand and vanilla and chill. Fold in whipped whipping cream. Pour into small sherbet dishes or demi-tasse cups and top with almonds. Chill or freeze to serve.
Makes 8 small servings.
Next, an easy version of the complicated Mexican dish, chiles rellenos.
1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (approximately) Monterey jack cheese cut into chunks
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
Beat in a bowl or blend in a blender the eggs, Bisquick, milk and salt.
Grease or Pam the bottom of an 8-inch shallow casserole. Sprinkle cheese and green chilies on pan.
Pour egg mixture over top. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven; watch carefully.
Variations: Add bits of ham to bottom of pan. Recipe may be doubled.
And here is one more brownie variation, originally attributed to the York Peppermint Pattie people.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
24 small (1 1/2-inch) York peppermint patties, unwrapped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.
In large bowl with spoon or wire whisk, stir together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs; stir until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Reserve 2 cups batter; set aside. Spread remaining batter in prepared pan.
Arrange peppermint patties in a single layer over batter, about 1/2-inch apart. Spread reserved cup of batter over patties. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, watching carefully, or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut into squares. Makes about 36 brownies.
These chocolate delights remind me of the favorite dessert at our house, especially in summertime. It's ice cream, usually whatever is buy-one-get-one-free that week, though a certain resident of our house is suspicious of anything that is not Mayfield's. Lately he has ramped it up for company with a splash of liqueur: a choice of raspberry, Creme de Cacao, Amaretto, and toasted almonds. That works.
The occupant of this visited kitchen bakes all her cookies and biscuits either on a pizza stone or pizza stone cookie sheet. She says a stone surface works because it doesn't buckle and things don't get stuck on it.
I mentioned at the first that, here in this kitchen, some clues might remain of the spirit of the cook. So they do, though she is out of town. All is shiny, sunny and clean, but I see no culinary bells and whistles - an old toaster oven and microwave, no mixer or suchlike. There is a second refrigerator in the garage, though, because food is constantly moving from her hands to somebody in need. (And yes, that is where the fishing supplies go, too.) In the peaceful, soft aqua walls, the simple utensils, the open door and the full hands, I discover the cook. So may each of us who cooks tell a story in our presence and even in our absence, a generous story.
Next week? Let's.