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Jane Henegar

Good morning to you, good morning to you. Susie from Kentucky is asking for a warm-weather version or two of chili, as their annual neighborhood chili party had to be postponed to late spring. She would like vegetarian or other chilis that are lighter than the typical beef version, as well as a recipe for leg of lamb that may be prepared in a crock pot, "though I suspect it would need to be browned before it went into the crock pot."

 

BOOK BONUSES

Mignon Ballard's 21 works of fiction (all available on Amazon) include nonfiction, real-life recipes that the author knows and loves. She has made them in her kitchen in Calhoun, Georgia. Today we print a favorite lemon pie and a cake with an unbeatable name: Joyed-It Jam Cake.

Lemon Chess Pie

1 tablespoon plain flour, sifted

1 tablespoon plain cornmeal, sifted

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 deep-dish unbaked pie shell

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss together flour and cornmeal and add sugar. Cream in eggs, milk, butter, lemon juice and grated rind. Pour into pie shell, and bake until set (40 to 45 minutes). Cover crust with foil for part of the baking time to keep it from burning. You can get two pies from this recipe, but I find they are a little shallow. You may also use this filling for tarts.

Makes 6 servings.

Cousin Jo-Nell's Joyed-It Jam Cake

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon each allspice, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg

1 cup seedless blackberry jam

Requests

Warm-weather chili

Crock-pot leg of lamb

1 pinch powdered ginger

Glaze (optional)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan; put wax paper cut to fit in the bottom of the pan.

Cream the butter; add the sugar and the eggs. Add the baking soda to the buttermilk and add to the egg mixture.

Sift the flour and sift again with the spices. Add the flour mixture gradually to the butter mixture. Add the jam and ginger last. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. This is good with a glaze made of the juice and grated rind of 1 orange, mixed with sifted confectioners sugar. You don't want to get it too runny, so measure a little at a time. It's also good just plain, without the glaze.

 

CHRISTMAS SAVES

At this point you will need to open your cold-weather file, perhaps then the Christmas subsection, and preserve these two recipes from Andrea Winkle Pelfrey for next year. In her reminiscence she speaks of a hand-cranked grinder, and I too remember one of those, of shiny silver, clamped onto the kitchen counter for grinding. Perhaps it was for mincemeat?

She wrote, "After I had read Fare Exchange this evening, I was looking through my ragtag collection of heirloom recipes from my mother, newspaper clippings and other favorites of mine from my 63 years of cooking, collecting and copying. I was looking for a cherished childhood memory, my mother's handwritten recipe for Uncooked Fruitcake that I remember helping make at Christmas, using a hand-cranked grinder to process the raisins and the pecans, and a rolling pin to crush the vanilla wafers. The last recipe I came across in the folder for cookies and candy was for Magic Reindeer Food.

We always doubled the Uncooked Fruitcake from my mother."

Ms. Pelfrey sent both recipes. But why wait? The reindeer food could be a year-round treat with M&M's of any color and plain untinted sugar.

Uncooked Fruitcake

1 pound vanilla wafers, crushed

1 1/2 pounds pecans in shell (about 2 1/2 cups), chopped

1 pound white raisins, chopped

1 can Eagle brand condensed milk

Mix well the crushed vanilla wafers, chopped nuts and raisins. Add milk and mix thoroughly. Line a loaf pan or 8- by 8-inch square glass pan with wax paper and pack in firmly. The consistency should be dense, so press until they will not compress any further. Refrigerate for 48 hours, then turn out of the pan. Slice thin. This is a rich cake with an almost candy-like consistency. Keep refrigerated.

— Recipe from Eloise Keister Winkle

Magic Reindeer Food

2 (24-ounce) packages vanilla candy coating

3 cups mini pretzels

1 (12-ounce) can cocktail peanuts

1 (14.25-ounce) package frosted O-shaped cereal

1 (12-ounce) package holiday candy-coated chocolate pieces

Red and green sugars

Place candy coating in a glass container and microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Combine pretzels and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add melted candy coating and toss to coat. Stir in chocolate pieces. Spread mixture onto wax paper and sprinkle with red and green sugars. Let stand 30 minutes. Break into pieces. Makes 25 cups.

 

OKRA ONWARD

The tasty topic of fried okra continues to appear on the newsprint menu, today from Michele Brown. "My recipe for frying frozen okra last issue should have specified frozen cut okra. I've never fried whole okra. Those of us Southern gals, who learned from our Grannies and Mommas, know that you always toss cut okra in a cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper mix. Don't dip in egg before you toss in the meal mixture. The 'slime' helps everything stick. Also, let rest for a few minutes before you fry."

She described other uses for okra in her growing-up family kitchen. "My mother pickled it for my dad as well as cooking it in vegetable soups and in a very old Southern dish — Okra, Tomatoes and Corn. The slime cooks and blends in to the food. It does not stay slimy in any way in anything cooked. I can't wait until fresh comes out."

Having gotten a little impatient for that fresh okra Ms. Brown anticipates, I purchased some recently for my two favorite young men, one 23 and one 19. It is their favorite vegetable, and though they used to prefer it fried, they now prefer grilled. Whole okra, with the base of the pod cut off, works well tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted in a 450-degree oven until it's a little crunchy and a little brown. My husband, however, insists on taking the extra step of cutting the whole pods in half lengthwise before tossing in olive oil and salt. He's right, as this method adds crispness and crunch.

Thanks to you all for sticking with the rest of us until the end — of this column at least.

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

E-mail: chattfare@gmail.com

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