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Welcome to our metaphorical kitchen table; sit a spell and add to the conversation.

Daisy LaNieve begins with a question about using up the bounty of a community-supported agriculture subscription. "For the first time we have subscribed to a CSA basket of fresh garden fruits, vegetables and herbs. We pick up our basket every week. I am overwhelmed with things I've never bought: radishes, turnips, Swiss chard. I know we are at the end of winter vegetables, but I want recipes and also guidance about how to make the most of a CSA basket. The best part, of course, is that we are purchasing seasonal local produce and helping our farmer neighbors as well."

Ms. LaNieve also mused, "Perhaps this is the time to learn to create bowls like the ones we buy at Panera."

The next request is about the esteemed Southern custom of taking a meal to families in seasons of sorrow and also joy. So the joyful arrival of a baby calls for a meal for sure, but so do times of sickness and bereavement. Many houses of worship and neighborhoods practice this custom, and there have been plenty of reasons to share a meal in this pandemic year.

One church is looking for ideas and encouragement in this take-them-a-meal tradition, when so many members need a mealtime hand. "Recipes? Teamwork and organization? Increasing the base of cooks who want to help?"

Please, you who do this well, tell us how.

 

CHICKEN

Dan Cobb of Soddy-Daisy wrote about this recipe, "I'm not sure one could get much easier than this. Preparation takes literally minutes, but the wait while it bakes may be a little tedious."

Chicken Reuben

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs, skinned (8 to 9 pieces)

Salt and pepper

1 (16-ounce) can shredded sauerkraut, drained well

Sliced Swiss cheese, enough to cover a 9- by 12-inch area

1 1/2 cups Thousand Island dressing (light or low-fat is OK, but do not use fat free)

Wipe oil onto bottom and sides of a 9- by 12-inch baking dish with fingers or paper towel.

Arrange chicken pieces in dish; salt and pepper to taste.

Evenly cover chicken with sauerkraut, then cover sauerkraut with cheese.

Pour dressing on top, and spread evenly.

Cover dish tightly with foil; bake at 325 degrees for 1 hours.

 

HAM

Rosemary Palmer, who dispenses recipes and so much more on her blog, myhomeandtravels.com, recommended this ham prepared in a crockpot for Easter. Check her blog for photos.

Crockpot Ham

For the glaze:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon ground cloves

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Add cloves and mix until well-combined.

Let cool to touch.

For the ham:

8- to 10-pound spiral-sliced ham

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices, drained (reserve juice)

Spray inside of crockpot with a nonstick cooking spray.

Place ham, cut side down, into crockpot. Cover ham with brown sugar glaze mixture, gently packing mixture into ham.

Add pineapple slices on top of ham, securing with toothpicks.

Sprinkle reserved pineapple juice over ham, if desired. Don't oversaturate or brown sugar will run off.

Add lid to crockpot, and if not a tight fit, cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or internal temperature 145 degrees.

Baste with juice, and let set for 10 minutes before cutting. Remove toothpicks.

For a crispy top, remove from crockpot and place on baking sheet. Broil on high for 4 to 5 minutes. Place on platter and serve immediately. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in airtight container.

This will keep in the refrigerator 5 to 7 days if stored properly and up to 2 months in the freezer.

 

VEGGIES

If you have two crockpots, or another day to use this recipe, here is another of Ms. Palmer's Easter dinner possibilities.

Slow Cooker Potatoes and Green Beans

1 pound small potatoes, any variety, halved

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

Seasoning meat (ham, salt pork, bacon, etc.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Water, or broth if desired (broth recommended)

Place halved potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Layer green beans on top of potatoes.

Add seasoning meat on top of green beans. Pour in just enough water or broth to almost cover the potatoes.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until beans and potatoes are tender.

 

APPLE TART

Viking Cruises shared some international recipes in a recent email to former cruisers, one of whom was Odell Waddell. He is thinking about trying this French favorite.

Tarte Fine Aux Pommes (French Apple Tart)

This is easy to make, looks beautiful and is quite light. My secret is to use ready-rolled dough (which I keep in the freezer). I use any apples, but experts say that cooking apples will break apart and become too floury, so dessert apples with a little acidity such as Braeburn or Pink Lady are best. Serve with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

All-purpose (plain) flour, for dusting

11 1/4 ounces all-butter puff pastry

4 to 6 apples

1 lemon

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons superfine (caster) sugar, divided

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry as thinly as you can (3-5 millimeters is ideal; for reference, 5 millimeters is 3/16ths of an inch) and cut out a 22-centimeter circle (a little more than 8 1/2 inches) using an upturned cake tin or plate as a template. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, and chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the tart.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. To prevent them going brown, place the slices into a bowl of cold water to which a squeeze of lemon has been added.

Arrange the apple slices in overlapping, concentric circles around the pastry base, leaving a small border. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and 3 tablespoons sugar together, and brush generously all over the apples and pastry border.

Bake for 20 minutes, then brush again with the butter and sugar mixture and dust with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until golden on top.

 

FOLLOW-UPS

* Question: A reader was poised with fork in hand to make the coffee-marinated chuck roast from last week and had a question for the sender. Betsy Alderman replied, "The original recipe calls for a chuck, so if you roast it dry, slowly, at 300 degrees for 4 hours or so, it should stay moist. As you know, chucks take longer to cook. I suppose you could put some beef broth in the bottom of the pan you are roasting it in and cover it lightly with foil to bake it."

* Credit: And about last week once more, thank you Ginny Gray for sending the Chattanooga Chew Chews recipe.

All these ideas are golden and your recipes always welcome. We will watch for you on the last day of March.

 

REQUESTS

* Uses for a bounty of seasonal produce

* Comfort food gifts

 

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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