Welcome to our weekly column, a mini-cookbook of trusted sources. And our trusted sources do have their trustworthy sources.
The first request, from Nancy S. of Florida, is this one. "I have been looking for years for a copy of the Town and Country Restaurant cookbook since it was mentioned in your column." There's a historically trustworthy provider, the T and C. Can you help?
We've had a request for a fresh lemonade simply made with lemons and sugar. Can you supply? A reader named Marc will thank you.
We will continue to be grateful for salads of any color and with any content, and that completes today's requests.
Edith Parker Middleton's cookbook, "Recipes and Remembering," contains this homage to strawberry season.
Fresh Strawberry Mousse
1 pint strawberries
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry-flavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 strawberry fan for garnish
Mash strawberries; drain and reserve juice. Set pulp aside. Add water to reserved juice to equal 1 1/2 cups liquid. Bring juice mixture to a boil in a saucepan. Add gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Chill until mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.
Combine strawberry pulp and sugar, and stir well. Stir pulp mixture into gelatin mixture. Pour heavy cream into a chilled bowl, and whip until small peaks appear. Fold in strawberry mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 7-cup mold. Chill until set. Serve with a fresh strawberry fanned on top as a garnish.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
ADVICE AND MISCELLANY
Rose Secrest is a longtime Exchanger and cookbook author who pays attention to the natural best in food. And so she did this week.
"I had a lavender white chocolate drink. The restaurant, however, served an instant kind found in a bag. I read the ingredients: eek. All you have to do is melt white chocolate, put it in milk and stir in whole lavender petals, or ground lavender even, if you are courageous."
Ms. Secrest then offered a solution for the photograph a reader had found that had no recipe, a dish she believes to be an Indian chickpea curry. "Ghee is Indian butter to put in Indian recipes. You can try a recipe for chhole with ghee, if you like spicy." And such a recipe is easily found on the internet.
She continued with the requested shopping advice. "I found both black garlic and rhubarb today at Pruett's on Signal Mountain. Black rice is pretty much everywhere. I found a black garlic recipe in a vegan cookbook, but I no longer have the book. All I can tell you is that it provides an umami garlicky taste." (For those of us who have forgotten, or who never knew, what umami means, it is a category of taste described by one source as "an indescribable deliciousness; savory, rich, yum."
From the family cookbook of local foodie Bob Bires came this idea for a salad that does contain lettuce but does retain crispiness. The second recipe, also from Mr. Bires' book, allows for the fact that salads used to be simple. And that's a thread to follow: summer simple.
Most everyone has a version of a layered salad. Here's my mother's. What she figured out that is the key, I think, is that you don't add the bacon until the very end.
1 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed but uncooked
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, cut in half and sliced
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
4 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 teaspoons sugar
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Layer first 6 ingredients in order listed in a suitable pan or dish. Spread mayo over the top to seal. Sprinkle sugar over mayo. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Toss before serving, then add bacon and toss again lightly, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
1. You could use half mayo and half sour cream. Mix in a couple of tablespoons of vinegar. Omit the sugar.
2. You could use Parmesan cheese instead of the Cheddar.
4. No one uses a tomato in a layered salad because of what it would do to the other ingredients while it sat in the refrigerator. However, since you're stirring in the bacon at the end anyway, if you want to add some firm cherry tomatoes cut in half at the very end, I think that would work, too.
Perfectly Simple Salad
I read this article, I think in Gourmet, that was just about salad and how complicated salads had gotten, and though there really weren't any recipes associated with the article, at the end, the writer started dreaming about his or her perfect, simplest salad with perfect ingredients. It went something like this.
1 freshly picked head of leaf lettuce from a farmers market
1 ripe tomato
Several thinly sliced radishes from a fresh bunch
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Assemble lettuce, tomato and radishes. Sprinkle olive oil and lime juice over salad (in a 3-to-1 ratio, oil to lime juice). Season with salt and pepper, toss and serve.
Note: Much as I love limes, I never would have thought of the lime in place of the lemon here. Now, I will.
In a flurry of lemonade pies a few weeks ago, I mentioned Maribeth Johnson's but did not print it. What appeals is the brevity of ingredients and of directions, and that makes it just right as June comes in.
1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade
8 ounces Cool Whip
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 graham cracker pie crust
Mix together lemonade, Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk, and put in the crust. Chill until firm.
We are hoping for more tips for favorite food blogs — from you, perhaps. Valerie Bowers' second nomination for best blog is sallysbakingaddiction.com.
"The latest of her recipes I've used is Favorite Rice Krispies Treats. Try making them with organic rice cereal, Kerrygold butter, Dandies marshmallows and organic vanilla for a healthier version of an old kids' favorite."
Thanks to readers and writers from the tasty past, the necessary present, and the hopeful future.