Good morning to you, good morning to you. R.O. is looking for a recipe for homemade almond milk, having heard that the recipe is easy to do.

And we are still hot on the trail of the following: chimichurri salad dressing, homemade flavored vinegars and ways to prepare whole frozen okra.

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Jane Henegar

As in many homes rounding the corner to Easter dinner, here's a second version of the sought-after Almond Apricot Cake, the first printed last week. Today Karen Carper shares the version from Taste of Home, and it would indeed go well for a special occasion.

Almond Apricot Coffee Cake

Note: Strawberry or raspberry preserves may be used as a tasty variation.

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup slivered almonds, divided

1 jar (10 to 12 ounces) apricot preserves, divided

Confectioners sugar, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and extract; mix well. In separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture, and mix well.

Spread half of the batter in a greased and floured 12-cup fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with half of the almonds. Spread half of the preserves to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Cover with remaining batter. Spoon remaining preserves over batter to within 1/2 of edges. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. If desired, dust with confectioners sugar. Makes 12 to 16 servings.



The next two recipes are from Rose Secrest. The first contains helpful shopping information for those who are just beginning to cook vegan. Next there's a fresh soup for springtime — fresh peas and a clipping or two of fresh tarragon, and only three more ingredients.

Vegan Avgolemono

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

3 (vegan) egg yolks (see note)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare the arrowroot powder slurry by mixing it with a little cold water. Place everything in a pot, and whisk until thick. While simmering, whisk in 1 cup cold water until heated and thickened. Serve hot.

Note: Vegan egg yolks are available; they are called Vegg. They are now found in bags, although they began in cans.

Tarragon Pea Soup

2 cups fresh peas

2 leeks, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

About 2 cups water

1/4 cup fresh tarragon, minced

4 radishes, sliced thin

Cook peas, leeks and garlic in water about 10 minutes. Blend with tarragon. Serve with radishes on top.

Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator if desired.

Mr. and Mrs. Sunday continued with two big questions for those who are considering quitting coffee consumption. They said, "The problems with weaning yourself from coffee are: Where do you go from coffee, and how do you make the transition?

"Where do you go? Decaf coffee is mostly terrible and tastes more like burnt butterbeans than coffee. We're fortunate here in Chattanooga to have Chattanooga Coffee Co., which has at least two decaf coffees that are very close in quality to real coffee: Decaf Ethiopian and Decaf House Blend. Unhappily, you lose the caffeine 'kick,' but the flavor is mostly there. Buy at Whole Foods or at the roaster on South Broad.

"Tea is lower on 'kick' than coffee (theobromine instead of caffeine), but the stronger blends can be just as satisfying. Try Irish Breakfast to start. Another good choice is oolong (Chinese restaurant tea). If you're a Scotch drinker, try the smoky goodness of Lapsang Souchon (at one point Mean Mug had a blend that included it Russian Caravan?).

"Herbal teas (technically 'tissanes') have no kick whatsoever and can be an acquired taste (chamomile, which many love, reminds beginners of damp hay, so add honey). Try the fruit flavors first (Orange Spice, Lemon Ginger, Honeybush Mandarin, Peach Mango), but set your expectations for 'subtle' rather than 'knock your socks off.'

"The second question is, 'How to transition?'

"Move to making your coffee from grounds (filter, drip e.g. Mr. Coffee, or French press) and keep two bags: one of a flavorful full-caf and one of decaf. Make a few pots of 3/4 caffeinated coffee to 1/4 decaf, and then slowly change the ratio until you find a range you're happy with.

"You can ease yourself into herbals by trying flavored teas (e.g. Constant Comment, Salted Caramel, Jasmine Tea, etc.)

"Most mornings we go with 1/4 caffeine to 3/4 decaf, but if it's going to be a stressful day we fall back to half-caf. After that we move to tea and/or herbals depending on mood or whim.

"We like our coffee strongly flavored (however much caffeine there is) and use 1/2 cup finely ground coffee per 32 ounces of water (2 big mugs) in a French press. Every Sunday we thank our neighbor who taught us to drink it in the Eastern European/Arabic tradition by adding 2 teaspoons ground cardamom to the grounds. Sometimes we use cinnamon or a blend. One of us routinely adds a healthy dose of chocolate sauce (Hershey's Special Dark) and coconut cream (Chaokoh) to the cup every day."

Thank you, Sundays, for giving us a gracious plenty with which to experiment.



Marilyn Soehl makes the following pasta dish a special-occasion one with the addition of cooked shrimp, "however much I have in the refrigerator or can afford that week."

The wonderful thing about this recipe is this: "You use just enough liquid to cook the pasta, so no colander is needed."

One-Pot Pasta With Spinach and Tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

8 ounces whole-grain spaghetti or linguine (such as Barilla)

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 ounces fresh spinach

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.

Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion starts to brown.

Add tomatoes, stock, oregano and pasta, in that order. Bring to a boil.

Stir to submerge noodles in liquid.

Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 7 minutes or until pasta is almost done.

Uncover; stir in salt.

Add spinach in batches, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Variations: Use fresh grape tomatoes instead, and add fresh herbs. Or swap out spaghetti. Besides shrimp, you can add chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef or ground turkey for a heartier dish.

This recipe is from Cooking Light magazine.

That's all for today, but there will always be Wednesday week ...



* Homemade almond milk

* Chimichurri salad dressing

* Homemade flavored vinegars

* Ways to prepare whole frozen okra



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