Fare Exchange: In search of Chattanooga cooks’ favorite recipes that have memories attached

Good morning, friends, on this last January day. This week I heard a young friend remembering the unique contributions of a certain person in her life. This person was not her actual family — more accurately, her kin (as in kindred spirit).

So today I am asking you if there is a recipe in your mind that is attached to a certain unique person in your life: one who chose to be your kindred, if not legally your family. (I am thinking of a meal to be served at our house tomorrow, a treasure from my late sister's recipe box. She gave this recipe to our family, and that adds dramatically to the taste that will be dished up in her little sister's kitchen a half-century later.)

(READ MORE: Readers remember their favorite recipes that Mom used to make)

But I want to know about YOU. Send us a recipe, or perhaps a memory that calls the rest of us to hunt up a recipe for you, so you can taste that memory once again.


Now, shall we begin by serving breakfast? Linda Graydon wrote, "I thought I'd do my part and send this breakfast recipe from a magazine years ago; can't remember which one. I've made it countless times, and it is always a hit."

(READ MORE: Save some eggnog for breakfast; it works in French toast, too)

French Toast Strata With Cider Syrup

Assemble several hours ahead or the night before so it has time to chill and set up.


1 pound loaf unsliced French bread, cubed (or sourdough or raisin bread) about 12 cups

8 ounces cream cheese, cubed

8 eggs

2 1/2 cups milk, light cream or half-and-half

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Place half of the bread cubes in the dish. Top with cream cheese cubes and remaining bread cubes.

Combine eggs, milk, melted butter and maple syrup in a blender container or mixing bowl. Process or beat with a rotary beater till well combined. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread and cheese cubes. Using a spatula, slightly press layers down to moisten. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

Remove plastic wrap from baking dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 325-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center appears set and the edges are lightly golden. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with Cider Syrup (recipe follows). Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cider Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

Combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir in apple cider and lemon juice.

Cook and stir the mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in butter until melted.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups.


Mary Ann McInturff shares a lifetime of kitchen expertise, today with a favorite soup as per request.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 cup chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves (or use dry minced garlic)

3 cups chicken broth

1 (12- to 16-ounce) package cut broccoli

2 1/2 cups milk

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed

In large nonstick saucepan, sauté onion until tender. Add garlic, chicken broth and broccoli. Cook over medium heat until broccoli is tender. Combine milk and flour, whisking until well blended. Add to broccoli mixture, and cook until slightly thickened. Add pepper and cheese, stirring until cheese has melted.


The following is Valerie Bowers' go-to recipe for gluten-free sausage balls. She explained, "You could just substitute any GF flour in any sausage ball recipe, but this one uses almond flour which makes it keto as well ... and so much healthier."

Quality of ingredients matters in the Bowers kitchen, and for that she relies regularly on the Thursday presence of Ooltewah Farmers Market at Ooltewah Nursery, which you can investigate at OFM@ooltewahnursery.com. Ms. Bowers reported that they are open every Thursday from 3 to 5 through March, and from 3 to 6 after that. "You can preorder online to pick up at market, or just take your chances. We had their sweet Italian sausage in our spaghetti sauce tonight. It was very good as well. I also buy their ground beef."

Gluten-Free Keto Sausage Balls

Adapted from ketosizeme.com.

8 ounces coarsely grated Cheddar cheese (I use Kerrygold)

1 tablespoon softened butter (I use Kerrygold)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup almond flour (I use King Arthur)

1 large egg, beaten (organic, pastured chicken eggs)

1 pound breakfast sausage (I buy from Cove Creek Farms; pastured pork is best)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss cheese, butter, baking powder and almond flour together in a large bowl.

Add egg, and combine. Break up sausage with fingers, and drop into mixture, incorporating it gently until well mixed. (A light touch produces a better, less heavy texture).

Scoop out balls with a cookie scoop, and roll gently in your hand. You should get around 20 balls (see note).

Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment, and bake until they are browned to your taste, about 20 minutes.

Note: Unbaked sausage balls freeze well. Freeze on a covered cookie sheet, and then store in a freezer baggie or FoodSaver bag. You can then bake only the amount you need. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.


Roseann Strazinsky's vote for cheesecake is this one, credited originally to the actress Dinah Shore.

Dinah Shore's Cheesecake


1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crumbs

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

Mix ingredients together. Reserve 3 tablespoons for top. Press remainder into bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.


3 eggs

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups sour cream (24 ounces)

Into the mixing bowl, combine eggs, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in sour cream. Pour into the crust. Top with reserved crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees for an hour.

Note: place a baking sheet under the cake pan, if needed for any dripping.

After the cheesecake is baked and cooled off, you can carefully remove it from the sides of the springform pan. Chill for 4 to 5 hours before serving. Fruit pie filling may be added to each slice. Refrigerate the rest, covering lightly with foil.

Makes something like 10 to 12 servings.

There's today's sweet ending, and thank you all for coming.


— Recipes attached to memories

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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com.

photo Jane Henegar

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