The discussion of cucumber sandwiches brought forth a request for old-fashioned cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese: "the hearty kind, not those little tea sandwiches with crusts cut off." A.E. is the requester.
And here is a repeat request for soft tacos in many varieties, and for any pick-up cocktail foods – no fork needed. The requester is partial to foods with a Mexican theme, but also open to some new variety.
When it comes to pound cakes, there are the experts. And we know experts are made so by practice. Enter Anne Hendrix. "Here is a pound cake recipe from the "Southern Living Cookbook" (1987 edition). I have been making this cake for 30 years. It never fails and is delicious. This cake is the most requested dessert from my husband."
Million Dollar Pound Cake
1 pound butter
3 cups sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix after each addition. Mix in flavorings on low speed.
Pour batter into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes; remove to wire rack. Cool before slicing.
R.H.G. spoke of buying corn relish as a hostess gift, and A.E. sent this one from Cook's Illustrated magazine. Evidently this salad may be served warm or cold.
Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)
3 tablespoons lime juice, plus extra for seasoning (about 2 limes)
3 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 to 2 serrano or jalapeno chilies, stemmed and cut into 1/8-inch rings (adjust amount to taste)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
6 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob (about 6 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, sliced thin
Combine lime juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, chilies and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add half of corn, and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, without stirring, until corn touching skillet is charred, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and let stand, covered, for 15 seconds, until any popping subsides. Transfer corn to bowl with sour cream mixture. Reheat with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining corn.
* Hearty cucumber sandwiches
* Soft tacos
* Pickup cocktail foods
Return now-empty skillet to medium heat, and add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, garlic and chili powder. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer garlic mixture to bowl with corn mixture, and toss to combine. Let cook for at least 15 minutes.
Add Cotija, cilantro and scallions, and toss to combine. Season salad with salt and up to 1 tablespoon extra lime juice to taste. Serve.
(NOT) FRIED CORN
Here is a simpler way with corn, first shared with this column from the Clay Pot's "Recipes of the Week" cookbook. This recipe is traditionally known as fried corn and is, as you would suspect, not fried.
Fresh corn on the cob
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter or margarine
Cut corn off cob, and put in a skillet. Add a little water, milk, a little sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Add butter or margarine. Simmer until done, about 15 minutes.
Linda Leake's easy pie recipe is summer-lemon-light.
Lemon Ice Box Pie
2 large cans Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped
Crush vanilla wafers, and line a 10-inch pie pan with crumbs. In a bowl, grate rinds from lemons, and squeeze juice. Mix rinds, juice and sweetened condensed milk. Pour half on top of crumbs, or spoon carefully on top so that crumbs stay in place. Top with a layer of whipping cream, and refrigerate.
Makes about 8 servings.
A more complicated lemon version, also from Ms. Leake, contains unflavored gelatin.
Lemon Chiffon Pie
1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar, divided into 1/2 cups
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 baked 9-inch pastry pie shell
Combine gelatin, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in saucepan. In a bowl, beat together egg yolks, lemon juice and water; add to gelatin mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to come to a boil, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon peel. Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. (To hasten mounding, mixture can be chilled in a bowl over ice water if stirred constantly.)
Beat egg whites until foamy; add cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in gelatin mixture. Pour into cooled baked pastry shell, swirling top of filling. Chill until firm.
JUST A DASH
I am currently peering over the shoulder of the expert cook in whose home I am visiting. The aim is to give you her favorite Just-a-Dash dessert. (It was she, by the way, who coined the name of this small corner of Fare Exchange.) Buy lemon sorbet or your favorite lemony frozen dessert. Slice strawberries in a bowl; sprinkle with sugar, and let sit until there is a little sweet syrup around the strawberries. Add chopped fresh mint. Just before serving, put a generous scoop or two of lemon sorbet in each bowl, and spoon strawberries and mint over it.
Now that's a sweet and simple ending on what is surely a summer-hot day for you, the reader. All simple things are welcomed — as well as the complicated ones for cooks who love to rise to a challenge. Thanks to you all, and please come back.
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