You don't need to be told, surely, that this is the week before Thanksgiving. At our house, the Thanksgiving table is set at least the week before: it's a delicious anticipation.
Although legendary meals get remembered and reproduced, many of us like to be innovative. An anonymous reader, perusing Chatter magazine, hopes you will help him or her create "a tapas menu, such as may be found at a restaurant. Recipes too, please. Or, as I also read in Chatter, I would like a menu of what the magazine called 'shareables.'"
Today's request echoes the recent interest in appetizers, and by the way, please keep sending your favorite hors d'oeuvre.
The news you are about to read will surely be met with a thankful chorus. Jonathan Wright noted last week's request for Fehn's potato soup, and answered. "My grandfather was Bob Fehn and I just so happen to have a copy of the recipe, scaled down to home size rather than the larger batches they would make in the restaurant. Feel free to share with the reader that inquired (or any other readers). Happy to know that while our family is no longer in the restaurant business that they are still remembered fondly."
You can imagine that I asked Mr. Wright for more. Coincidentally, the recipe for Fehn's popular macaroon pie ran last week on these pages.
Fehn's Restaurant Potato Soup
4 cups Idaho potatoes, sliced thin
5 cups strong chicken or beef stock
Salt for boiling
2 cups Spanish onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, sliced thin
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups heated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Start the sliced potatoes in cool stock, and add salt. While they are coming to a boil, sauté onions and celery in butter. When onions and celery are cooked clear, add flour and continue cooking slowly several minutes, keeping well stirred.
As soon as the stock in the pot boils, add part of it to the onion and butter mixture. Let it begin to simmer and continue until tender. When the potato slices are tender, break in small pieces with either a whip or by running through a ricer.
Add the pot of simmering vegetables back to the potato mixture, and simmer together a couple of minutes.
Add the heated milk at the very last, and turn off the heat so it won't form a skim. Finally put in the dashes of white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg, and sprinkle with minced parsley.
Suzann Helber sent this autumnal cake for this best reason: "It is a longtime family favorite."
She continued, "I know there are many variations of this recipe. Most of them seem to use brown sugar, whereas this uses granulated. This is a nice dessert for the fall and winter months and a tasty addition to holiday meals."
1 (1-pound) can pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Combine first 4 ingredients, and beat until well blended.
Gradually add the flour, then add remaining ingredients and beat well.
Pour into lightly greased 9- by 13-inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting with the following frosting.
3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar
Beat together cream cheese, softened butter, vanilla extract and salt. Gradually add confectioners sugar, and mix until creamy. Frost pumpkin cake.
Here's a little more from Roseann Strazinsky's latest gracious plenty.
Small cucumbers, cleaned well and dried with paper towel
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons (approximately) salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
Slice small cucumbers with skins, to make 2 quarts. You could measure them into a 2-quart Mason jar or into a large bowl — not plastic.
Add the onion and salt, blending well together thoroughly. Cover with foil, and let stand for 2 hours.
Drain, BUT DO NOT rinse. Return to the bowl, and add the sugar, blending well. Then add the vinegar carefully, making sure the sugar and vinegar are well blended with the cucumbers.
Put into containers to freeze. Use glass containers or Ziploc bags for the freezer — no plastic containers.
The freezer pickles can be eaten as soon as they are made, unless you want them chilled a little. They can freeze indefinitely. But they won't last that long. Pack them in freezer containers to suit your family's portions.
When you are ready to eat them, they will be a little frosty-icy and frozen together. It's better to thaw them out to serve.
The recipe that follows, from Adelaide Evanston, is "an old family recipe that all of a sudden seems just right for today. I prefer to make it with shrimp, but chicken is also nice too."
Shrimp or Chicken Curry
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup apple, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
3 pounds cooked shrimp, cleaned, or 3 pounds boneless chicken breast, cooked and cut in chunks
2 tablespoons curry powder, more to taste
1 pint half-and-half
Melt butter in frying pan. Add onion, apple and celery. Simmer until mixture begins to soften. Then add water, and simmer until apple and celery are tender and most of the liquid has cooked away. Stir in curry powder. Add half-and-half and cooked shrimp or chicken. Cook gently until the mixture is desired sauce consistency.
Serve with jasmine, basmati or other rice and bowls of condiments (choose 4 to 7 from this list):
Toasted unsweetened coconut
Toasted almond slices or slivers, or roasted peanuts
Crystallized ginger, chopped
Lemon zest or lemon slices
Dried apricots, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Bacon, cooked and chopped
Fresh green peas (adding this green vegetable would mean no other veggies are needed)
Thank you, one and all, for writing and for reading. And now, off to the kitchen.
— Restaurant-style tapas menu
— Favorite hors d'oeuvres
TO REACH US
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.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750