Fare Exchange: Four favorite recipes from Town and Country, plus advice on pork chops, cooking oils

It's glorious March, but for just a little longer. Before you dig into today's tasty treats, please heed these requests from our friend T. Square, whose sentences often begin with question marks — at least the culinary sentences.

He asked, "Can someone share a successful recipe for twice-baked potatoes, spinach casserole and a fruit salad? I planned this meal for some vegetarian friends, but now I need some good recipes for those three dishes."

(READ MORE: The perfect baked potato begins with russets)


Pat Treadwell is up next, in answer to a request for pork chops, and she says this is a good one.

Pork Chops

2 to 4 pork chops, boneless or bone-in, 1/2 to 1 inch thick (I have used bone-in, but usually boneless)


Yellow rice (I usually buy Mahatma)

Lightly brown pork chops in butter. Remove from pan.

Add to the frying pan the yellow rice with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. (There may be a different-size package, so use the amount of rice prescribed on the package.) Lightly stir.

Place pork chops back in frying pan, putting them into the rice, and cook for 20 minutes covered, over medium heat.


Tim Threadgill is master of a chef's general skills, and today he adds another category: oils. Again, this came in answer to your request.

Here's a quick rule of thumb for cooking oils, he begins.

High-heat cooking needs high-smoke-point oil. Seed oils (grapeseed, canola, coconut) and avocado oil have high smoke points and may be used when searing meat or any other recipe where quick cooking and browning are needed.

Other oils, like olive oil, may be used to both cook and add flavor to recipes. For sautéing veggies I use a balanced extra-virgin olive oil, and also for a vinaigrette, because I want an oil that adds taste. EVOO is worth sampling from various areas. Spanish will taste different from Italian, the U.S. or Turkey. It makes a difference with certain dishes, particularly as a finish. Consumer Reports does a nice job of rating olive oils.

Regular olive oil is fine for cooking, and some folks with the kitchen space keep both. (Read the labels to make sure you haven't got a mixture of olive and other oils.)

If you are concerned about using an oil with the lowest anti-inflammatory property and that plays nice with your cholesterol, then avocado oil for high heat and olive oil for everything else covers you. Avoid vegetable oil or corn oil; the linoleic acid in them can cause issues over time. And if you want french fries cooked in duck fat as a once or twice a year treat, I say go for it.

Discussions about which is best nutritionally requires more space than you have. I recently read a Wall Street Journal article that tried to make sense of it all. The author said the issue of cooking oil is less important than what you are cooking. If a little butter for flavor helps you eat more fresh vegetables and healthy protein, then do it.

Unfortunately, what passes for most nutrition science is not very scientific. We aren't very good at doing double-blind cross-over studies in large human populations for the effect of one type of eating over another, so assumptions are made based on small populations of the same type of people and become trendy (including the Mediterranean diet and the one glass of red wine thing or eight glasses of water daily).

(READ MORE: If it's time for an oil change, these are the new blends)


Susan Pierce, in a story earlier this month, discussed now-closed restaurants and their recipes that readers long for. Her article was topped with a photo of Town and Country Restaurant. When they closed in 2005, this restaurant shared a commemorative booklet of recipes; four of those favorites are featured below.

Seafood Salad

1/2 cup crabmeat

1 pound shrimp

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 cup tartar sauce

Mix well. Keep refrigerated.

Tartar Sauce

1 large onion, diced

8 ounces dill pickle chips

1 bunch parsley

1 quart mayonnaise

Chop onions, pickles and parsley together. Mix with mayonnaise. Keep refrigerated. Stir into seafood salad, or serve alongside fish.

Squash Casserole

3 pounds squash, sliced

1 onion, chopped

1/4 cup butter

Sprinkle of flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons white pepper

1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping

Steam squash until tender. Drain until all water is off. Mix in all ingredients. Place squash in casserole dish, and top with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until brown.

Red Snapper

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 pound red snapper

1/2 teaspoon Cavender's Greek seasoning (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon paprika (or to taste)

Melt butter, and pour over fish. Add seasonings to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until done.


There was a small lamb loin roast in our freezer this week, and it came out to the stovetop. "Cook it like pot roast," advised the man of the house, who is anti-toughness. And that is exactly how his mama cooked their Easter lamb — "cooked to death, with lots of sliced onions on top and a little vinegar poured over it." Her leg of lamb never looked celebratory, but the aroma was certainly worth celebrating.

And as I smelled that aroma in our house today, I remembered our cousin Lucy, who took lamb to friends who were recuperating from some upset in the fabric of their everyday life. No casseroles in her arms; she delivered a rack of lamb.

I whisper to myself, "Go and do likewise." Or "Go with special-occasion food instead of the practical variety."


I then remember what tender love goes into casserole preparation and the delivery of every kind of food that helps somebody get through the day, and then the night.

If you have a trademark specialty you set down at somebody else's door, please tell us. The rest of us could use a little inspiration.

Passover and Easter, the observances that often arrive alongside each other, are weeks apart in 2024: Easter this Sunday, and Passover begins before sundown on April 22. Ramadan began on March 10 and ends April 9. There are holy days, and holy weeks and meals around the table that carry their own delicious holiness. Here's to all that is given to us in the spring.


— Twice-baked potatoes

— Spinach casserole

— Fruit salad

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.


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