Good morning readers. Today's Exchange has a long-distance postmark, as we left town in the aftermath of the tornadoes that our little community of Hinkle, Ga., suffered.

As the men, and women, wielded the chainsaws to cut fallen trees, others were bringing stacks of pizzas and bottles of water to those who were suffering and those who were ministering.

It made me think of what would be a welcome meal to take to neighbors after such a terrible week. Do you have any ideas? It seems something hearty and healthful would be best, and I would love to get some ideas from you all.

Here's another request, from K.G., for "a simple fondant icing made with marshmallow crème." Additionally, friends in a nearby state have several challenges for you: for green mint tea, a trifle or other similar dessert with layers of cake and custard, and zucchini cakes or other vegetable-based "burgers" or patties to be served on buns or off.

Margaret, the margaretsmorsels blogger, wrote, "Thank you for publishing my Oreo cookie ball techniques and the URL for my blog. Traffic in my blog has increased quite a bit since Wednesday. I try to post once or twice a week; a little something called life keeps me from posting more often."

CJ sent the following spring-special recipe using fresh asparagus.

Fresh Asparagus

1 large red bell pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium shallot, diced

3 to 5 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch asparagus tips (the thinner, the better)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt to taste

Coarse black pepper to taste

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

Prepare the bell pepper by slicing and then cutting slices into medium-size pieces. Place oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced shallot and minced garlic to skillet and lightly brown. Add red pepper and asparagus, and sauté, stirring sparingly, until asparagus is lightly seared on each side. Add vinegar to vegetables, and stir the mixture until the vinegar smells sweet. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper. Stir and, if desired, top with goat cheese crumbled.

To help the mother who wanted to prepare an eggless breakfast casserole for her young son, here's an answer from Adelaide Elwens.

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

1 pound mild bulk sausage

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/2 cups whole milk (not low-fat or non-milk)

1 (1-pound) package frozen shredded hash browns

4 green onions, finely chopped (optional)

11/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350 F. Butter a glass baking dish, 8- by 8-inch. Crumble sausage and cook about 5 minutes in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until brown, breaking into small pieces with the back of a spoon. Mix in flour, then milk. Cook until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Arrange potatoes in baking dish. Top with 1/3 of the green onions if desired, 1 cup cheese, 1/3 of green onions, sausage mixture and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake casserole until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and serve.

M.S.M. sent "not the requested squash recipe from the Epicurean, which I never tasted, but a good one. And I also included a family recipe for Twinkie Cake."

Squash Casserole

10 yellow squash

2 eggs

1 cup mayonnaise

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup green onions (optional)

12 buttery crackers, finely crushed

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper

Shredded mild Cheddar cheese

8 butter crackers, finely crushed

Heat oven to 325 F. Combine squash with enough water to generously cover in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes or until tender and drain. Let stand until cool and slice. Drain sliced squash in a colander, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract any remaining moisture. The cooked squash should measure 5 cups.

Beat eggs in a bowl until blended. Stir in the mayonnaise and salad dressing mix. Fold in the squash, 1 cup cheese, green onions, 12 crushed crackers, garlic salt and pepper. Spoon the squash mixture into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with additional cheese and 8 crushed crackers. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Twinkie Cake

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

6 egg whites, at room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease the edges of two 9-inch or three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with wax paper. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat shortening and 11/3 cups granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla and almond extracts. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl at medium speed with electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and smooth with cake spatula. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen edges and remove racks to cool completely. Fill layers with Twinkie Creme filling.

Twinkie Creme Filling

2 teaspoons very hot water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups marshmallow crème (7-ounce jar)

1/2 cup shortening

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine salt with hot water in a small bowl, and stir until salt is dissolved. Let this mixture cool.

Combine the marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl, and mix well with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add the salt solution to the filling mixture and combine. Makes 11/2 cups creme filling.

On that delicious note, we'll close for the week, hoping to welcome you back next week.

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.

  • Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.
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  • Fax: 423-668-5092.