Ah, November: Colors fade, but hearth warms. Today's requests begin.
Memories of Fehn's restaurant do not die. Marna White offered a reminder in her request for today. "I am trying to find the recipe for Fehn's shrimp salad. I loved that salad and was so sorry to see Fehn close."
Betty Beckler wrote, "Recently I was given a bag of white curds. I have no clue on how they are used. Any information will be appreciated by me — and perhaps others." What are they, those curds? And please, send recipes for Ms. B and the rest of us. And where does one purchase white curds when they are not a gift? A recent Courters' Kitchen column (Oct. 8 online, Oct. 9 in print) gives us a push in the right direction, with a recipe for poutine that uses curds and a mention of a couple of places to find this dairy product.
Here's a memory and a request from Mary Lynn Wilson. "My late aunt made a delicious version of pork loin with sauerkraut, but I've not been able to replicate it. Her recipe was very simple, did NOT include apples and was roasted off in the oven. I would love any recipe your readers might contribute. " And of her heritage, she said, "My aunt's name was Elizabeth Smith from Rossville. She as well as her three sisters (one of whom is still with us) were all excellent cooks and bakers."
Sometimes I look at the showy photographs in a food magazine and want to try the recipe, but it has so many bells and whistles — in this case, spices and sauces — that I go back to the tried and true. Sounds like this recipe, missed by Ms. Wilson along with missing her aunt, is one of those.
We'll begin with our first two contributions to a new, off-and-on series. This time it's not just "What Is the Best of the Best in Your Kitchen?" Part Two is the "Missing Ingredient in Your Kitchen and Cooking Life." What do you not have that you wish you had? (Christmas is coming, after all.)
* Barbara Mann offered both: She loves a cabinet designed for baking sheets and their tall narrow kin. Her kitchen's missing ingredient: an actual pantry.
"I love that the builder used a tall narrow spot next to my dishwasher and made a cabinet perfect for baking sheets, muffin tins and the like. Another favorite spot is a cabinet with lazy Susan. I keep my spices on that in alphabetical order. It's a large kitchen with plenty of room. One large cabinet is full of canned goods and bottles. Another has flour, sugar and all the various baking products I keep. I would prefer an actual pantry for all the food so that I could spread out all the pans I have. The ones I don't use as often are piled on top of each other and can be a mess. Maybe I just have too many pans "
(And here's my own salute to Ms. Mann's kitchen order. That alphabetizing of ingredients makes short work in the long haul.)
* Emily Carol Edwards loves the wide bank of windows on two sides of her kitchen, but the missing/wishing ingredient is plenty of cabinet storage. "With all the windows, we lost the benefit of counter-to-ceiling cabinets. "I really love being able to look out at the woods around us. Two small corner cabinet built-ins are the only upper cabinets, and I really miss that usable space. It sure does look peaceful and uncluttered, though."
These two kitchens are cases in point. "There are gains and losses in each kitchen design. Ms. Edward echoes Ms. Mann. "But I am blessed to have this beautiful kitchen, and maybe now I will get rid of some extra things I seldom use."
OREOS AND PUMPKIN
Rosemary Palmer, the mastermind of the recently renamed blog My Home and Travels, sent some pumpkin recipes from her site. She described Oreo Pumpkin Trifle Dessert as "perfect for upcoming holiday meals, including Thanksgiving. It is made with an Oreo crust, pumpkin mousse and whipped cream."
And since we have already noted that biscuits matter, I will let you know that a visit to myhomeandtravels.com will reveal a link to a "fast and easy two-ingredient biscuit." You might want to check it out.
Oreo Pumpkin Trifle Dessert
For pumpkin mousse:
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine pumpkin, 1 cup heavy cream, sugar and spices in a medium saucepan. Heat until it comes to a slight bubble, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into a medium mixing bowl to cool.
In a separate medium-size bowl, whip remaining 2 cups of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold approximately 1/3 of the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture. After this is incorporated well, fold in remaining whipped cream, being careful not to overmix.
For Oreo layer:
1 1/4 sticks butter (10 tablespoons), melted
Crush Oreos. Stir in melted butter until well blended.
Reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish on top.
For whipped topping:
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
Whip heavy cream and sugar together to form stiff peaks.
Layer in the following order:
Garnish with crushed Oreos. Refrigerate immediately.
Notes: I usually make the whipped topping with a little less sugar when using on a sweeter dessert like this.
The pumpkin mixture can be made ahead of time (before adding the whipped cream) and refrigerated.
Layer in Mason jars or mini parfait glasses as desired.
This recipe could easily be made in half if doing a smaller amount of jars or parfait glasses.
As always, this column ends in gratitude, for readers and writers and tasters and, yes, even critics. Without the latter, how could we improve?
* Fehn's shrimp salad
* Uses for white curds
* Pork loin with sauerkraut
* Your kitchen's 'missing ingredient'
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.