some text Jane Henegar

It's good to get together this morning in strawberry season, so expect a few berries in the recipes discussed today.

Around a certain Signal Mountain dinner table, a teenage son asked his mother if the family could do the Whole30 diet. "Sure," the wise mother said, but then she turned to us for more. "I don't have any recipes or ideas of what works well. Please help."

Around the table on the deck on another mountain home, an anonymous grandfather opened his Big Green Egg and wondered how to smoke tasty, tender, juicy pork chops on the BGE. Again, please help.

Here's a repeat request for a simple recipe for homemade coconut milk yogurt, and that request brought forth another from the man who is manning his Big Green Egg: a recipe for homemade almond milk, "to have the purest form of that delicious drink."



Barbara Mann today began what we hope will be a conversation thread of simple recipes. Both recipes she sent today call for strawberries. (Grapes may be substituted for the strawberries topped with sour cream and brown sugar, according to another reader.)


Strawberry Dessert With Balsamic Vinegar

Sliced, sugared strawberries or other berries

1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Mix the berries and balsamic vinegar; the latter ingredient develops the flavor, and if the berries are not quite ripe enough, the vinegar helps.


Strawberries and Sour Cream

2 pints fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or to taste)

Chill berries. Just before serving, combine cream and brown sugar. Serve on top.



Carli Snyder shared these recipes from her family's home in Spain; they are home this summer in preparation to begin their next adventure, in Wales. Again, berries abound.

Rosemary Scones With Strawberry Butter

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, very finely chopped

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and rosemary. Add cold butter, cover mixer with a towel (so it won't explode everywhere), and mix on low/medium speed just until it is crumbly. Then add sour cream and milk, and mix just until dough comes together.

Spoon onto 2 sprayed baking sheets (6 scones per sheet, each a little bit larger than a golf ball). At this point, you can bake immediately or freeze until ready to bake. Bake for 27-28 minutes, or until lightly golden. Serve immediately with strawberry butter.


Strawberry Butter

6 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup strawberries (can be fresh or frozen, but make sure they're also room temperature)

2 tablespoons good-quality strawberry jam

Make sure everything is at room temperature. Mix together and serve. (If you use unsalted butter, you may need to add a pinch of salt.)


Orange Vanilla Macerated Berries

A bunch of your favorite berries, rinsed

A sprinkle of sugar

Juice of an orange

Splash of vanilla extract

Scrapings from a vanilla bean and orange zest (optional)

These macerated berries are so delicious (and, unlike other fruit salads, this recipe requires zero peeling or chopping). All you do is dump rinsed berries into a bowl, sprinkle with a bit of sugar to taste, squeeze the juice of an orange over them and add a splash of vanilla extract. (You can scrape a vanilla bean in there and throw in some orange zest, but if that's too much effort, forget about it.) You can also make this the night before and it will be perfect in the morning.


Spinach and Cheese Strata

This recipe Ms. Snyder adapted from one by Jennifer Segal in Gourmet Magazine.

1 pound bag chopped frozen spinach, thawed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

3 garlic cloves, minced

12 ounces (3/4 pound) Italian sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 11 slices or 8 cups)

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) coarsely grated Gruyere

2 ounces (2/3 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

9 large eggs

2 3/4 cups half-and-half

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and drained spinach, and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside.

Butter a 3-quart (or 9- by 13-inch) baking dish. Spread a third of the bread cubes in the dish, and top evenly with a third of spinach mixture. (Try to break it up as much as possible so there are no huge clumps of spinach.) Sprinkle with a third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice, ending with cheeses.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and whisk until well combined. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata. Cover the strata with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed, set and golden brown all over top, 70 to 75 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Note: The cook time is based on the strata going immediately from the fridge to the oven. If it sits out at room temperature before baking, the cook time will be 10 to 15 minutes less. Makes 8 to 10 servings.



The kale conversation continues. From Ooltewah, Michele Brown weighed in. "I disagree that cooked kale can't taste great. Try Puleo's [Grille] right off the Ooltewah exit on I-75. They have a side of cooked kale that is perfectly seasoned. I'm a real Southern girl, and I love all cooked greens. These you can't beat except mine."

So now, of course, Ms. B, we need your recipe.

Thank you for your bright ideas, your simple solutions and your love of food that is both good and good for you, food that you want to share. Let's meet here again next week.



* Whole30 diet ideas

* Big Green Egg pork chops

* Homemade coconut, almond milks


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