Good morning, good company. Here is One Wandering Reader's list of requests from the road beyond us. "First, how do you make pupusas or empanadas?" And then there was a stop at the Biscuit Head Restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, where the wanderer reported, "My only mistake was to order a gluten-free cathead biscuit." (A cathead biscuit is one of ample size, dropped on the baking sheet in a kind of free form.) "There are many flavors added to the base biscuit, and of their selection I would like to know how to make sweet potato coconut gravy, amaretto jam and these butters: chocolate mint butter, spicy pesto butter and bacon butter."

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Jane Henegar


Before we get to recipes, a number of you got the mixing bowl ready last week to make Chocolate Heaven and found missing the chocolate necessary for the icing. That 4 tablespoons cocoa powder had gotten lost on the mailroom floor, so to speak. So April 17's Chocolate Heaven icing needs four tablespoons cocoa powder added. Debbie Martin has made many a heavenly version of this cake of hers, and she likes to use dark chocolate cocoa powder.



Thank you, Barbara Mann, for sending this fish dish that has your husband's approval.

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia With Tomato Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup cream

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1 cup panko crumbs

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

4 tilapia fillets

2 beaten eggs

Small handful basil leaves, chiffonade

Heat half of the oil in small skillet. Add tomatoes, cook 2 minutes, then add minced garlic for 1 minute. Reduce heat, and add cream. Simmer 2 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste.

In another skillet, heat remaining oil. Combine Parmesan, panko and granulated garlic. Dip fillets in egg, then press into panko mixture. Fry 3 to 4 minutes until golden; flip. Fish will flake easily when done. Stir basil into sauce, and spoon over fish.

Addendum: Here's the way this dish happens in the accomplished kitchen at the Mann home. "I go ahead and fry the fish, take it out of the pan, do the gravy in the same pan and combine. No real need for two pans. Also, if you coat the fish with a dusting of flour before the egg, the panko sticks better. It seems to not be in my DNA to completely follow a recipe I can make easier. My husband really loves this, and it is something different. I thought it fit in the easy fish category."

You are right on all counts, Ms. Mann.



A good many months back we were discussing interesting and easy sandwich ideas, and some of those came from "Helpful Hints and Recipes for Sandwiches and Desserts" from First Presbyterian Church women. We never got past the sandwiches to the desserts at the end, so now here's one of those from Nancy Klein.

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

2 sticks margarine

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup Coca-Cola

1 1/2 cups small marshmallows

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together and set aside the sugar, salt and flour.

Boil together the margarine, cocoa, Coca-Cola and marshmallows. Set aside to cool, then add to sugar, salt and flour mixture.

In a small bowl, put buttermilk and soda, and stir to dissolve soda. Add to batter along with eggs and vanilla extract, and beat well.

Pour batter into an 8- by 13-inch or 10- by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Frost immediately with the following.


1 stick margarine, melted

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon Coca-Cola

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

Pour melted margarine over cocoa, Coke and vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix well, and add powdered sugar; beat and pour over cake while still warm.

(If needed, you may add a few more tablespoons of Coke.)



We will finalize today's varied fare with kale, vegetable of many fans and a few detractors. Here's where I mention the familiarity among us corresponding cooks; we had put our heads together this very morning over the Chocolate Heaven question. And there was a recent day when I asked writer Rose Secrest's opinion on something and she responded, "I don't know. Ask Mr. And Mrs. Sunday."

Then she simply decided to channel her Fare Exchange cohorts. "I am going to try to write a letter here, in the manner of Mr. and Mrs. Sunday.

"Many recipes think they are going to get people to eat raw kale if they tell them to massage the greens. If you do that, your hands will get dirty, vinegary or oily, depending on what's on the salad. Disgusting.

"Here's what you can do instead. You can strip out the main vein and chiffonade, removing clusters of veins that are hard. You can marinate the kale in an acidic marinade. Try orange juice. You can buy lacinato or dinosaur kale, which is softer. Finally, you can just give up on raw kale and make kale chips."

Her recipe follows.

Kale Chips

Lacinato kale, with middle vein removed

Place it in the oven in a single layer on a baking sheet at 250 degrees for 15 minutes or until crisp. If using a Pyrex dish, leave it in 30 minutes. Either way, season as desired. Use 2 (or more) pans as you can, since this doesn't make much. Switch the top and bottom pans halfway through cooking.

Just to keep things moving, I end with a question, imagining you all peering over the backyard fence conversing as you plant or harvest your gardens. So there are different kinds of kale; will you tell the rest of us about them?

Next week let's meet.



» Pupusa and empanada techniques

» Sweet potato coconut gravy

» Amaretto jam

» Flavored butters



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