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.


Fax: 423-668-5092.

Dear April readers longing for warmth after March's cold: Let's cook. There is inspiration below, but first, interrogation. Has anybody found Cracker Barrel's cinnamon streusel French toast? And furthermore, you ask each other for these: vegetable curries, baked goods made with almond paste, sweet eggy yeast breads and how to use coconut oil in pie crusts and cakes.

As to the repeat Cracker Barrel request, an apple streusel French toast has appeared in public, so to speak, but not the cinnamon version. The requests for curries, almond baked goods and sweet yeast breads turned up in a Wednesday night conversation among around-the-table friends. Finally, Jan Antman got us started below with ideas for using coconut oil, and we would love to add to her words below your experienced words about how to use it in pie crusts and cakes.

The call for a vegetable salad made with unflavored gelatin has brought already three answers and a little helpful commentary. Nancie Bailey gulped, so to speak, in sending a tomato soup salad, noting that the name belies the fact that it is truly delicious and prettily salmon-colored. I remember a similar one 40-plus years ago, an appetizer made with tomato soup and shrimp and cream cheese. Another truly delicious one. Bailey has served this recipe many times.

Tomato Soup Salad

1 can cream of tomato soup, undiluted

1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese

2 tablespoons Knox unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped (Multi-colored peppers may be used.)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup mayonnaise

12-15 drops Tabasco

Heat soup and add cream cheese. Stir until smooth. Add all other ingredients. Dissolve gelatin in cold water, pour into mixture and stir. Pour into mold, chill a few hours, turn onto a serving plate and serve with crackers.

Jan Antman weighed in on the coconut oil topic, specifically, using coconut oil for biscuits and cornbread.

"I use coconut oil to bake with, in place of vegetable shortening. It makes terrific biscuits and cornbread. I just use the same amount for biscuits that the recipe calls for. I mix in whatever fat I'm using with my hands. I've never gotten the hang of pastry blenders. It does take a bit longer with the coconut oil to get the pieces small enough so that the flour/fat mixture looks like coarse meal. This makes a very tender biscuit.

"To make cornbread I have to revise my old-timey method of throwing the shortening in the pan and heating it while the oven warms up. Coconut oil will smoke and burn before shortening does. My new method is to spray the pan with a spray like Pam and heat the pan. Melt the desired amount of coconut oil in the microwave and add it to your cornbread batter, pour into the pan and bake as before. There is no issue with the higher heat once the oil is mixed with the batter. I have used coconut oil successfully in cookies, biscuits and cornbread. I have not tried it in pie crusts and cakes."

Charlotte Freeman has high praise for the following recipes, two versions of the same requested dish. This spread is "excellent on bread, crackers, generously stuffed in a tomato or by the spoonful every time you pass the refrigerator." The first recipe uses mayonnaise to bind; the second recipe uses half sour cream, half mayonnaise and adds a colorful grating of carrots.

Vegetable Sandwich Spread

2 tomatoes

1 cup celery

1 small onion

1 bell pepper

1 cucumber

1 envelope plain gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 cup boiling water

1 pint Kraft mayonnaise

1 teaspoon salt

Chop all vegetables very fine and drain well on paper towels. Soften gelatin in cold water and add boiling water. Cool, then fold in mayonnaise and salt. Add vegetables, chill and spread on bread or crackers.

Vegetable Sandwich Mix

1 cup celery

1 medium green pepper

1 medium cucumber

1 medium onion

2 medium tomatoes, peeled

2 carrots, finely grated

1 envelope plain gelatin

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons salt

Chop the vegetables and drain well. Reserve the juices and add enough water to make 1/4 cup. Pour this liquid over gelatin and let dissolve. Add to the gelatin 1/4 cup boiling water. Cool mixture. Add mayonnaise, sour cream and salt. Stir this into the chopped vegetables. Spread on small bread rounds or crackers. Makes about 3 dozen.

A dessert from Sabrina Daniel's recent collection is a chocoholic's dream. This pie really just seems like a chocolate chip cookie in a crust.

Kentucky Derby Pie

1 stick margarine or butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

2 beaten eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup pecans

1 cup chocolate chips

1 (9-inch) frozen deep-dish pie shell

Melt margarine and let cool. Mix together sugar and flour. Stir in eggs, butter and vanilla extract. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

Spoon filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes. Cool before you cut.

And finally, an anonymous correspondent sent these gems in a collection of recipes he or she clipped from Southern Living.

Butter Muffins

2 cups self-rising flour

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl just until blended. Spoon batter into two lightly greased, 12-cup miniature muffin pans, filling completely full. Bake 20 to 28 minutes, watching carefully, or until muffins are golden brown.

Blackberry Cornbread Muffins

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar

5 large eggs

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups frozen blackberries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together cornmeal and sugar in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

Whisk together eggs, sour cream and butter; add to cornmeal, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in blackberries. Spoon batter into two lightly-greased, 12-cup muffin pans, filling half full.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Over such sweet crunchiness and creaminess, such steaming goodness, we will now say thanks ... and we will look for you next week.