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We turn over the calendar to an autumnal beginning — in feeling, if not timing quite yet for that Sept. 22 arrival.

* Margaret McNeil opens with a challenge. "Son No. 2 wants to make crepes. The best crepe recipe I had was from the Brabson House. The crepes were filled with a delicious chicken filling and sauce. I believe the crepe recipe was at the bottom of the recipe with the chicken filling. Could you please ask your readers if any of them have this recipe?"

Please, for the sake of Son No, 2, find that recipe.

* Yeast of the Ridge, longtime correspondent, is pondering a name change. "Not so much yeast in my diet, so perhaps, Fish of the Ridge?" Whatever the title, this writer is interested in air fryers. "My foodie cousins in Charlotte, North Carolina, say it has revolutionized their cooking and made it healthier. I do not even know where to begin." So we will pose these questions.

"Which air fryer? Recipes? Cookbooks? Instructions for use?"

* And as you will see at column's end, we are hot on the trail of any and all uses for an onion.

 

CUKES FOR QUERENTS

One may assume we are not all cucumber lovers. I will also conjecture that some of us love cucumbers, but they don't love us. If you are in either of these categories, you will need to go to the end of this column to get anything that does not contain a generous supply of cukes. And there you will find a sauce that goes well with fish, chicken and beef as well as vegetables.

Margaret Angela Thomas ended her missive with a closing word, one that I had never read in all my years. She said of her marinade idea, "I hope this pleases your querent." So I headed for the dictionary, and there it was: "one who seeks." So shall we be querents together? But first, some pleasing ideas.

Marinated Cucumbers

My absolute favorite marinade consists of white vinegar sweetened to taste, with fresh thyme and cilantro blossoms. You can use cilantro greens, but reduce the quantity.

Or use Genovese basil and summer savory.

Red wine vinegar, sweetened or not, goes well with 3/4 Thai basil and 1/4 purple basil.

Finally, one of the best combinations is white vinegar with dill weed, fresh if possible, plenty of fresh sliced garlic and both cucumbers and Vidalia onions.

 

CUCUMBER NOSTALGIA

Next in line, and always cooking up a storm in our neighborhood, is Debbie Pataky. In the years when she has been preparing marinated cucumbers for her husband, John, he has given them a high compliment. "He says they are 'almost like his Mama used to make.'"

Marinated Cucumbers

Peel and slice cucumbers thin.

Peel and slice thin a white onion (I prefer Vidalia)

In a covered refrigerator dish, add sweetener (a packet of Splenda for sugar-free dieters or a tablespoon of sugar added to the dressing works).

When done, pour over the cucumbers and onions Ken's Zesty Italian Dressing, or any dressing you prefer, to cover.

Add salt and pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate. This is delicious for days.

Optional: Add a bit of tomato too.

 

THAI-STYLE CUCUMBERS

Clifford Burdette gives us a taste of Thai in the cucumber department, and then adds a versatile Thai sweet chili sauce recipe.

Thai Cucumber Salad

Assembling the salad:

4 cups sliced cucumbers (about 2 English/seedless cucumbers or 5 to 6 Persian cucumbers)

1 green onion, sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons minced cilantro (or you can substitute 1 tablespoon mint plus 2 tablespoons basil)

Dressing (recipe follows)

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Red chili flakes, to taste

If desired (to prevent watering down your salad), sprinkle cucumbers with 1/4 teaspoon salt and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Drain any excess liquid, then proceed with remaining ingredients. (If you'll be serving this immediately, you can skip this step.)

In a large bowl, combine sliced cucumber, green onion and cilantro.

Pour dressing over, and stir to combine.

Garnish with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.

Dressing:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)

2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce (recipe follows)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing may be mixed up 1 to 2 days ahead of time.

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over cucumber salad.

Notes:

This salad will keep 4 to 5 days in the fridge, and the cucumbers will start to quick-pickle, meaning they'll absorb the briny dressing and soften.

If you plan to make this last longer, you will want to follow the salting step in the directions, as this will help prevent your dressing from being watered down as the salad sits.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons sherry

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried crushed chili (1 tablespoon makes spicy-hot sauce)

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 to 4 tablespoons cool water

Place all ingredients, except the cornstarch-water mixture, in a saucepan or pot.

Bring to a rolling boil.

Reduce heat to medium, and let boil for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.

Reduce heat to low, and add the cornstarch-water mixture.

Stir to incorporate, and continue stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes).

Remove from heat and taste-test.

You should taste sweet first, followed by sour, then spicy and salty notes.

If the sauce isn't sweet enough, add a little more sugar.

If not spicy enough, add more chili. This makes 1/2 cup plus of sauce.

Pour sauce into a small bowl or jar, and serve as a condiment with chicken, fish and seafood, or as a dip with finger foods such as chicken wings, shrimp or spring rolls.

This sauce makes an excellent marinade for grilled chicken, fish or seafood.

 

JUST A DASH

Onions have been quite the conversation piece of late. Two recipes above advised Vidalias, the sweet ones. Not everybody prefers them, and many of you like the bite of the more common ones. But Ann Boomer has a principle an onion lover might follow to good effect. "Add onions to any recipe — unless it has chocolate in it."

Thanks to you all, for principles, agreements and disagreements, questions and answers ... and oh yes, recipes. Come again? Come again.

 

REQUESTS

* Brabson House's chicken crepes

* Advice on air fryers

* Onion surprises

 

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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

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Jane Henegar
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