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Jane Henegar

Good morning. There's cinnamon in the air and all kinds of deliciousness. And there are questions as well. Nadine Carden of Flintstone, Georgia, asked for a recipe for gluten-free zucchini cornbread.

Yeast of the Ridge, remembering a childhood hot cereal her family simply called "Ralston," has tried to find it in stores without success. "I purchased steel-cut oats by accident, and they remind me somewhat of Ralston. I bought the oats to make granola, and they surely will not work. Any ideas for using steel-cut oats?"


Ginny Gaines is a gatherer of people, including a large gathering at Thanksgiving. The recipe she is sharing with us today was "a huge hit. I have decided to do it again for Christmas. Chocolate is hard to beat, and I have usually made chocolate cream pies for Christmas, but this seems more festive because it's a chess pie. Cream pies seem more for the warm seasons. For some reason, I think of those heavier kinds of pies — pecan, buttermilk — around the holidays, and this one is a keeper."

(Here is a note for those who aren't familiar with the pie weights Ms. Gaines uses. Pie weights are ceramic or metal beads that keep an empty pie crust from shrinking or blistering when you prebake. You may substitute rice, dried peas or lentils or beans instead. Remove the weights, whatever they are, before the prebaking step is complete, to give a browned crust.)

Browned Butter Chocolate Chess Pie


1 (9-inch) pie crust

Put pie weights in the crust and cook about 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Remove pie crust from oven and remove weights. Proceed with filling.


1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk

4 (1 ounce) bittersweet chocolate squares

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook butter until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add evaporated milk and chocolate squares. Stir until chocolate is melted, and let cool. Add 1 cup sugar, eggs and flour to chocolate mixture; stir vigorously to combine. Pour into pie crust, and bake 30 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool completely.


1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon brandy, optional (see note)

2 tablespoons sugar

In bowl of stand mixer, combine cream, brandy and sugar. Whip until light and fluffy. Dollop on pie slices.

Note: I did not use the brandy before, but certainly would be an interesting addition.


Natalie Huffaker describes her mother, Sandra Woodward, as "the best cook." And many other share that opinion, including friends in Cashiers, North Carolina. A curried sherry "paté" is a regular at family Christmases and most all their family get-togethers.

"Mom put it in the High Hampton cookbook, and it says below the recipe that it received the most votes of any recipe. We all love it, and we are disappointed if for some reason we don't have it at a gathering.

Curried Sherry "Paté"

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons cooking sherry

1 (8-ounce) jar chutney

1/2 bunch green onions, tops and all, chopped

Mix first 5 ingredients, and form into a ball. Cover with chutney and green onions.


Margaret McNeil described the recipe that follows as "the only one whose absence from the holiday table would upset a lot of people. I let a bread machine do most of the work. All I have to do is shape the rolls, let them rise a second time and bake them in the oven.

If you don't have a bread machine, you can still make them by hand in one hour, as the recipe title states. (Using a bread machine takes a little more time, though less effort.)

Ms. McNeil explained, "If you don't have a bread machine or want to make the rolls in less time, I'm also including the directions that came with the recipe."

One Hour Buttermilk Rolls by Hand and With Bread Machine Adaptations

2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast

1/4 cup very warm water (115 to 120 degrees)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (at room temperature)

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use bread flour)

By hand:

In a bowl, stir yeast into warm water until dissolved. Stir in next 5 ingredients until combined (mixture will be lumpy). Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 8 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Shape rolls into the desired shape, and place in greased muffin cups. Cover with a towel, and put in a warm draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden.

By bread machine:

Bread machines have a variety of settings. The only setting I ever use is the dough/pasta setting. It mixes and kneads the roll ingredients and allows them to rise in a draft-free environment. Once the dough is ready, all I have to do is shape the rolls, let them rise again and bake them in the oven. Make sure to follow the directions for your particular model.

Put the ingredients in the pan in the order and temperature listed by the manufacturer. Close the lid and turn the machine on the dough/pasta cycle. When done, let the rolls rise in the machine an additional 30 minutes.

Remove dough and knead a couple of times on an unfloured bread board. Shape rolls into the desired shape, and place in greased muffin cups. Cover with a towel, and put in a warm draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Makes 18 rolls.

Note: When cooking for a crowd, I make two batches. I make some a day or two before, the others on the day of the dinner. You can serve the first batch at room temperature, but they're better reheated. To reheat the rolls, put them on a cookie sheet. Cover the pan with foil — you don't want the tops to get any browner — and put them in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.

For helpful hints and photographs of shaping the dough into cloverleaf rolls, find this recipe at


Ann Hale of Dunlap, Tennessee, sent a holiday recipe with a long family history. "This recipe was passed down from my great-grandmother, Sarah Allen, of Brush Creek, Tennessee, who raised her 11 children prior to 1925. My grandmother, Eunice Barker, made it for the holiday meals and then my mother, Naomi Barker. At least five generations have enjoyed it."

Macaroni and Cheese With Oysters

2 tablespoons margarine

2 tablespoons minced onion

2 tablespoons flour

Dash of salt

2 cups milk

2 cups dry macaroni, cooked and drained

2 cans oysters, drained (reserve liquid)

6 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided roughly in thirds

1 can condensed cream of mushroom or celery soup

To make the white sauce: Heat margarine in saucepan until melted. Add onions, and sauté until opaque. Stir in flour and salt. Add milk. Stir and heat to boiling. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. (If not thick enough, mix a little milk into flour in a small measuring cup.) Pour through a very fine sieve into the pan, stirring as it is added until sauce is thick. Reserve in saucepan.

Into a large, buttered casserole dish, pour half of the cooked and drained macaroni. Layer all of the oysters and 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Add rest of macaroni, and cover with more shredded cheese.

To white sauce in saucepan, stir in mushroom or celery soup and oyster liquid. Stir in remainder of Cheddar cheese. Pour this sauce over the top of casserole. Vertically insert knife into macaroni around the edge and in the middle to help get the sauce to the bottom of the dish.

Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly, slightly set, and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Note: This makes a big dish, so you may wish to half the recipe.

Thank you, kind recipe senders, for letting us know what to do when dividing or multiplying a recipe. Thank you kindly, all of you in this conversation.


» Gluten-free zucchini cornbread

» Ideas for steel-cut oats


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