Good morning to all of you, here at what used to be the end of summer. Remember when school always started after Labor Day? And tell me again, why did that have to change? One might ask the same "why?" question about daylight-saving time.
We've got three new requests: for chocolate cobbler, chocolate mayonnaise cake and for sugar snap peas with pecorino cheese and garlic. And here's a reminder that we are still seeking honey hot sauce.
Virginia Akins of Dalton, Georgia, wrote, "Years ago, my mother made a chocolate cobbler in a 9- by 13-inch pan. As with most cobblers, she melted butter in the pan first. I remember mixing the sugar and cocoa together." She's hoping someone will have the recipe, along with a recipe for chocolate mayonnaise cake.
Emily P. visited Travelers Rest, South Carolina, where "my husband and I had sugar snap peas with pecorino cheese and garlic at Monkey Wrench Smokehouse. The recipe is worth getting."
Sugar snap peas just happen to be my recent favorite snack, consumed straight from the package purchased in the produce department. Cooking them sounds like a bright idea as well.
Here's a floury flurry of questions that has arisen — literally, one might say — from your baking recipes and questions. Does it really matter to you what flour you use? Is bread flour a must for yeast breads? Do brands really matter and, if so, what is the right brand? How about self-rising flours as opposed to mixing on your own the flour, leavening and salt? How about white whole-wheat vs. regular whole-wheat? Do any of you mill your own flour or buy flour that is not prepackaged by the pound? Does it make a difference, and what can you tell us about how and why?
Today I have a hearty apology; I typed one wrong word in last week's recipe for Four-Ingredient Biscuits, reprinted correctly below. You are to mix the biscuit dough 15 TIMES (not minutes). As all good biscuit bakers know, including the reader who caught this, a light hand is needed in the preparing. Here is the recipe, with thanks to Faye Robinson.
1/2 cup (1 stick) frozen salted butter, grated
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Heat oven to 475 F.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir 15 times.
Roll out on a floured surface to the desired thickness (1/2 inch is recommended) and bake 15 minutes in a preheated oven. Brush with melted butter.
Here are some helpful hints:
A straight clean cut will skyrocket a biscuit's rise.
A jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper is the best surface to achieve a crisp and even baking.
White Lily flour and salted butter are recommended.
We had a request for the sauce ingredients for old-fashioned curry. A.E. found it her mother-in-law's collection from the 1960s.
Shrimp or Chicken Curry
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup apple, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
3 pounds cooked shrimp, cleaned, or 2 broiling chickens – cooked and diced or pulled
2 tablespoons curry powder and more if desired
1 pint half-and-half
Put butter in frying pan. Add onion, apple and celery. Sauté a little, then add water. Simmer until apple and celery are tender and most of the liquid has cooked away. Stir in curry powder. Add cream and shrimp or chicken. Cook gently until cream is sauce consistency. Serve with rice and with "boys" — bowls of your choice of toasted coconut, chutney, almonds or peanuts, pickle relish. Makes 6 servings.
LEGACY POUND CAKE
We'll turn over the rest of this column to Janice Hixson. Today we will give you the pound cake that qualifies as Ms. Hixson's favorite. This pound cake is a three-generation favorite, "always a dish that brings people together and gets them talking about family history." Now that is a wonderful byproduct.
She includes a guide to solving common problems and reminds us that pound cakes can also be excellent breakfast foods, so they can do double duty at your house. Fresh fruit sliced over the top completes the picture.
Mama's Butter Pound Cake
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Sift together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat together butter and shortening in a large bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Add half the flour mixture, and beat to mix well; beat in milk. Beat in remaining flour.
Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
POUND OF PREVENTION
A Guide To Solving Pound Cake Dilemmas:
' For best results after baking: Loosen cake around edge of pan and edge of tube with dull side of knife. Press knife side toward pan rather than toward cake. Do this immediately after removing from the oven to prevent sticking. This protects the crust and lets it cool completely in the pan on wire rack.
Other problems and their possible causes:
' Batter overflows: too much batter in pan, or overmixing
' Sticky crust: too much sugar; underbaking
' Damp cake: cooled too long in pan; underbaking
' Tough crust: overmixing
' Sinking in center: underbaking; removed from pan too soon; exposed to draft during baking or cooling; too much liquid, leavening or sugar
' Heavy texture: not enough leavening; old baking powder or soda; overmixing; wrong baking temperature; too much fat, sugar or liquid
' Bottom crust too brown: use of dark baking pan; pan placed too low in oven
' Cake falls: insufficient baking; oven temperature too low (check oven temp with thermometer); removed from pan too soon.
Please come back for breakfast-to-dinner, single-use or multipurpose treats. Next Wednesday, perhaps?
' Chocolate cobbler
' Chocolate mayonnaise cake
' Sugar snap peas with cheese and garlic
' Answer to flour questions
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