Reader in search of Chattanooga’s Jamaican food truck, source of oxtails

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Good morning, fare companions. The ethnic conversation includes a couple of new requests today. C. Best and Mrs. Best are explorers of Chattanooga cuisine. "We have heard there is a Jamaican food truck in the area and want to know about it. Where can you find it, and what do they prepare that is good? I am a big fan of oxtails and would also like a Jamaican recipe and where to find them in a local market."

(READ MORE: Try these ethnic eateries in the Chattanooga area)

At this point in our conversation, Mr. Best talked about the Best of the Best food anywhere in America. "We are going on vacation to Chicago and would like to make reservations at a Michelin star restaurant, if your readers have suggestions."


Last week's submission from a personal collection of amaretto pies was filled with mini marshmallows. This week, from the same anonymous Exchanger, the pie is filled with vanilla or coconut cream pudding, among other good things.

Amaretto Cream Pie


1 stick butter, softened

1 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine butter, flour and pecans, and spread into a 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes; cool.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipped topping, divided

3 to 4 tablespoons amaretto

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 (3-ounce) packages coconut cream flavor or vanilla flavor instant pudding

3 cups cold milk

Toasted almonds for garnish

Combine cream cheese, 1 cup whipped topping, amaretto and confectioners sugar; spread over cooled crust. Mix pudding and milk with electric mixer according to package directions. Spread over cream cheese mixture, and top with remaining whipped topping and toasted almonds.

Note: Flavor the whipped topping with a slight amount of amaretto, if desired.


At this point in Fare Exchange I left town, with no time to wait for your letters, so I drew on the recommended sources we've featured in the past — most particularly here, Bob Bires of Cook With Bob on Instagram and Margaret McNeil of Mr. Bires' recipe is for a fresh tomato sauce.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Campari tomatoes

Olive oil

A few large pieces of onion

Garlic, if desired

Basil, if desired

Salt, pepper and any other seasoning to your taste

Throw some Campari tomatoes in a blender. Simmer in a skillet with a little olive oil and onions. Cook to desired thickness. Remove onion. Season to taste

This may be used for pizza.


Columbia Restaurant's 1905 Salad

The Columbia Restaurant, established in 1905 in Tampa, bills itself as Florida's oldest restaurant and the world's largest Spanish restaurant. Its signature salad is a mix of crisp iceberg lettuce with julienne baked ham, Swiss cheese, tomato, olives and grated Romano cheese that's tossed with a garlic vinaigrette dressing.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8

For salad:

1 head iceberg lettuce torn into bite-size pieces

1 ripe tomato, cut into eighths

1 cup ham, julienned

1 cup Swiss cheese, julienned

8 ounces Spanish olives with pimientos

1/4 cup Romano cheese

For dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoon oregano dried

4 cloves garlic minced

1 lemon juiced

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

For dressing: Mix vinegar, oregano, garlic and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl until smooth. Gradually stream olive oil into the mixture while whisking to form an emulsion. Season with salt, to taste.

For salad: Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese and olives in a large salad bowl.

Before serving, add Romano cheese and dressing. Toss well, and serve immediately. You may also leave dressing on the side to serve individually if desired.


› Columbia uses less white wine vinegar — about 1/8 cup in their recipe. My family loves a little more, so I double it.

› For best flavor, make the dressing the day before serving.

› If you want to serve the salad already tossed with the dressing, add the Romano cheese and desired amount of dressing just before serving.

› I often double the dressing to have extra. Often I serve the dressing on the side for people to top themselves for desired taste.

› The dressing is also a great dip for bread.

› The iconic dressing is now available in a pretty good bottled version from the restaurant's website,

› For a vegetarian version, I crisped mushrooms and dusted them with smoked paprika to replace the ham.

Nutrition information, per serving: 266 calories, 7 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 23 grams fat (6 grams saturated, 16 polyunsaturated), 27 milligrams cholesterol, 486 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar.

— By Nikki Lee; adapted from Columbia Restaurant


(READ MORE: One quick-to-the-table meal and three from the slow cooker)

Slow Cooker Southwestern Breakfast Casserole

Enjoy a new option for breakfast with this flavorful Southwestern breakfast casserole that combines hash browns, sausage, cheese, seasonings and other delicious ingredients for a quick breakfast idea.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 4 hours

Total time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Nonstick cooking spray (or melted butter or coconut oil)

16 ounces mild bulk sausage (no casings)

1 (20-ounce) bag hash browns, shredded

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 medium red pepper, finely chopped

Sea salt, to taste

8 large eggs

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

1 cup Monterey Jack (or other mild white) cheese, finely shredded

Optional garnishes: chopped green onions, red pepper, fresh cilantro and/or additional shredded cheese

Spray a 6-quart or larger slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray (or grease with melted butter or coconut oil).

Cook sausage in a large skillet until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and carefully drain excess grease from the skillet. Set aside.

Spread hash browns in an even layer across the bottom of the slow-cooker crock. Add the browned sausage, and sprinkle the ground cumin and garlic powder on top.

Add the chopped red pepper, and season with salt, to taste.

Whisk the eggs and water together in a large bowl, and pour evenly across the top of the other ingredients before topping with the shredded cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Serve immediately topped with green onion, red pepper, fresh cilantro and/or additional shredded cheese, if desired. Enjoy!


— Where to find Jamaican food truck

— Recipe and source for oxtails

— Dining recommendation in Chicago


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, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

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