Fare Exchange: Zucchini fries, Frito pie and blackberry cobbler on the menu

Fare Exchange / Getty Images

Welcome to September as we get ready to set an autumnal table. Today's first request came from B.C. "I just got back from the doctor who told me I need to eat healthier. If any other readers have gotten advice like that, which I expect you have, can you give me some ideas?" Specifics, specifics, please.


Pat Treadwell asked the next question. "Have you ever tried zucchini fries?

"They are really good. I especially like them with fish." And that brings us to the next question. "How do you cook the fish to serve with your french fries?"

Ms. Treadwell's zucchini solution follows.

Zucchini Fries

Zucchini, sliced like french fries

Corn muffin mix

Oil for frying if you are not using an air fryer

Shake zucchini slices in a bag with corn muffin mix, then either air-fry or deep-fry them.

For the extras, I lay them individually on a tray lined with freezer paper, freeze them then put them in a freezer bag and get some out whenever I am ready to cook them. They do not have to be thawed.

Variations: I have also done this with yellow squash, and that is good too. We usually deep-fat-fry our fish, so I cook them that way. My husband likes regular french fries so, after he takes my zucchini fries out, he puts his regular french fries in to cook.


Dan Cobb delivered the following recipe lightheartedly with his opening and concluding sentences. "I hope this meets the criteria. Most kids love it, and especially dads who think they are kids."

(READ MORE: Frito-Lay plans $100 million Tennessee expansion with 100 new jobs)

Frito Pie

1 bag Original Fritos

2 cans chili of your choice

2/3 cup water

1 pound ground chuck, browned, crumbled and drained

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Cover the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with Fritos.

In a large bowl, combine the chili, water, ground chuck and cheese.

Pour over Fritos.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Depending on what size bag of Fritos you get, you may not need the whole bag. So just eat the rest while this is baking.


T Square is a fan of Tillamook ice cream, "and I somehow got this recipe from Tillamook that might answer your request for blackberry cobbler. I have not tried the recipe, though."

Tillamook Blackberry Cobbler


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter to the mixture using a fork. Add milk all at once, and stir until the flour is just moistened. Handle as little as possible. Set aside.


4 cups blackberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 tablespoon allspice, ground

1/3 cup water

In a cast-iron pan, add berries, lemon juice and zest, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and water. Heat until boiling; stir a little so the berries are well coated with the sauce. Once the berry mixture is boiling, tear off spoonful chunks from the dough ball, and drop them into the fruit around the edges of the pot. You should have enough for approximately 6 biscuit dumplings. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 25 minutes till the dough is set. Place dumplings in serving bowls, and top with berries. Serve with Tillamook Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream.


"What is pho?" one of you asked, upon receipt of some bowls touted as "good for pho." Gary Lander answered, "It's Vietnamese noodle soup, simply put. We had it at Chopstix on Lee Highway. It's definitely a winter entree."

Tim Threadgill picked up this conversation thread:

"Regarding pho. It is one of our favorite dishes, particularly when the weather starts to turn cool or if one is in need of soup due to a cold.

"The quickest definition is Vietnamese noodle soup, but does it injustice. Vietnam was a French colony prior to U.S. involvement there, so their cuisine can often be a fusion of French and Asian flavors. To me, pho is an illustration of it. Broth is the most important part of the soup. It is slow-simmered, using varying techniques, and is highly personal to Vietnamese families and cooks.

"My answer to, 'Is it something I can make?' is a highly qualified maybe. It takes hours, and if you don't know what it is supposed to taste like, I wouldn't recommend it.

"Noodles & Pho in Hixson has some of the better pho in town, and I would suggest trying it there to make sure you like it before trying to make it at home. Unless you regularly cook Asian or Indian food, you will likely need to buy lots of ingredients.

"A tip on ordering it the first time: Get the beef version unless you are vegetarian, and choose the beef cut you are most familiar with. The soup will be served with quite a few add-ins like basil, sprouts and vegetables, and a spoon with chopsticks. The spoon is for the broth, the chopsticks for the noodles and other elements.

"Unlike Chinese or Indian food, pho broth is subtle and complex. It will not assault you with overwhelming garlic and spice. Savor the aroma and broth. Slurping is encouraged and complimentary to the cook. Some people will load the broth with hot sauce or other condiments, but I encourage leaving the broth alone. There will usually be little bowls to add the condiments and you can use the chopsticks (or a fork) to dip the beef or other things in the sauce as you eat it.

"It is usually served in a very large bowl; the noodles are quick-cooking rice noodles. You can take the leftovers home, but I recommend eating them soon. Rice noodles tend to come apart easily.

"Enjoy, and if you fall in love with it like we have, then you might try your hand at making it."

We'd be interested to know whether any of you decide to pick up the challenge on this soup. Would you let us know?

And would you come back next week, please, no matter what?


— Healthful eating tips


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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com