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
Good morning and good December to you all. Two requests came from Longtime Reader, who wonders if anyone has a source for "old-fashioned covered metal turkey roasters. The tops were flat and therefore much easier to store. Also they were easy to clean." And from the same source, this request: a simple Italian cake made with olive oil and oranges.
Don't forget, also, that we want your best holiday recipes and your best holiday giving recipes.
TRIFLES FOR GIVING
Ginny Gaines offers two ideas to enjoy on your own table or to pass along as gifts.
Her first is a gift idea that, in my mind's eye, just looks like Christmas. She explained, "A lovely red velvet trifle in a beautiful stemmed bowl or just a clear tall bowl is certainly an easy gift. You can find clear bowls at many places, and you don't have to pay huge amounts of money for them. You could give the trifle bowl, the jars of red currant jam and the box of red velvet cake mix with the recipe. It would be a lovely gift and not a very complicated recipe and beautiful. If it was a special gift, a pretty red apron in the bowl would be a festive flair."
Red Velvet Trifle
1 box red velvet cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
2 (12-ounce) jars red currant jam
6 tablespoons water
4 cups fresh sliced strawberries (frozen would work too, but be sure to thaw and drain well)
3 cups fresh raspberries
3 (12-ounce) containers frozen whipped topping thawed
Fresh strawberries for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13- by 9-inch pan with baking spray.
Combine cake mix, eggs, oil and 1 1/4 cups of water. Beat at medium speed until incorporated, then on high for about 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool completely.
Crumble cake, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine jam and 6 tablespoons of water, whisking to spreading consistency.
In a trifle bowl, layer one third of cake crumbles, approximately 1 cup of jam, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup raspberries and 1 1/4 cups whipped topping. Repeat layers twice. Spread top layer with remaining 1 cup sliced strawberries, and spoon remaining 3/4 cup whipped topping in center. Garnish with strawberries.
Ms. Gaines also sent a winter squash recipe, maybe not as showy but no less substantial. She notes that it can go straight from oven to table.
Cider Roasted Winter Squash
1/4 cup unfiltered apple juice or fresh apple cider
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
› Vintage turkey roasters
› Italian cake made with olive oil and oranges
› Giftable edibles
4 small acorn squash or about 3 pounds, halved seeded and cut into wedges
1 small butternut squash or about 1 1/2 pounds, halved, seeded and cut into wedges
4 sprigs fresh sage, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Add squashes, and toss to coat. Place vegetables in a single layer on a shallow baking pan, sprinkle herbs over them, salt and pepper (being light on the salt), and roast for 55 to 60 minutes, turning at least once during cooking.
And here's a follow-up from Ms. Gaines for giving either the ingredients or finished product. "You could use a rustic large basket (a basket that peaches or other large fruits come in would be great). You could do as little or as much as you'd like. Suggestions: a jug of apple cider, a pretty bottle of balsamic vinegar, a pot of each of the herbs, a pretty package of sea salt, even the squashes would be festive. You could also include an apron to be the liner for the basket, or cute kitchen towels, and of course the recipe. This one has many possibilities, as few or as many as you want."
As promised, here is a variety of opinions on the best way to use garlic.
Big Bad John wrote, "Marguerite McCammon's garlic dilemma really hit home with me. I've been using Gourmet Garden Garlic Stir-In Paste for years and love it. It comes in a 4-ounce tube and is made with 23 cloves of organically grown garlic. Because it's a refrigerated product, it always tastes fresh and delicious. While I prefer their original paste, there is also a chunky version. I've bought it in the produce departments at Wal-Mart on Signal Mountain Road and Publix on North Market."
From Ooltewah, Lauren Pieniaszek added her two cloves' worth. "I had the same garlic dilemma. Peeling and mincing garlic was so messy and smelly, in my opinion. I started buying the minced garlic in a jar, and I absolutely love it. You just have to keep it in the refrigerator once it's open, and it's ready whenever you need it. A half-teaspoon equals a clove of garlic. I would highly recommend it."
Betty Domal of Moore County does what Ms. Pieniaszek does. "I always keep minced garlic in a jar in my refrigerator and use in all recipes calling for garlic."
Finally, Mr. and Mrs. Sunday note, "Bags or bottles of peeled whole garlic cloves work well as long as you can use the whole container before spoilage sets in. There are also some technique tricks that can help with peeling."
"If you have strong hands, twist the clove, which loosens the skin, or place the clove on the cutting board, lay the side of the knife on the clove and strike sharply with the heel of your hand. This cracks the clove, loosening the skin. Because both the above can break open the clove, they're not suitable if you need the cloves absolutely whole.
"Garlic peeling devices are essentially 6 inches long by 1-inch diameter rubber tubes. The idea is to put the cloves in the tube and roll between the palms, loosening the skin. They're something of a pain to clean."
Then this: "If you need a LOT of cloves, put them in a medium-size stainless-steel bowl, hold another same-size bowl rim-to-rim with the first one and shake violently for a few minutes. It's a fine workout and DOES work, but buying a bag is easier."
The Sundays caution, "Most preminced garlic products have had time for the reactions to run their course and the fresh-cut taste to dissipate. They work OK in a dish that you intend to cook for a while.
"Dried garlic powder goes even further in that direction; the flavor will be muted. We use granulated garlic when we want that flavor profile. It's distinctive, and many cooks can pick up on it when used in a dish; some get snobby but forget that the processed taste can be useful when all you want is a hint of garlic."
Finally, "Garlic salt is just dried garlic plus salt; we usually prefer to control each separately."
From Sandra Oliver's collection of long-ago food columns in The Chattanooga Times, here's an oatmeal cookie with crunch credited to Lucile and Sue Vaughn. The crunchiness is courtesy of crushed cornflakes.
Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup cornflakes, crushed
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs. Add salt, soda and flour sifted together. Stir in oatmeal, cornflakes, raisins and nuts, and mix together.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes in oven.
There you have it for today. But next Wednesday's coming, so stay tuned.