It is a pleasure to open up the screen on which to write to you and to receive what you have written and pass it on. First, Gigi is hoping for a rediscovery of an overnight oatmeal/blueberry breakfast in a jar. "I have since lost the recipe, but I would like to know if anyone has an idea about what appeared to be a healthy idea for breakfast."
Hungry Husband is looking at a full jar of Benton's bacon grease, after some fine breakfasts. His request, "What are recipes and ways to use bacon grease? How long does it keep?"
You will find in the lines that follow some nominations for readers' favorite go-to cookbooks. And you will also hear about a food blog created by a local resident. So how about a Part Two Go-To: What are you favorite go-to food blogs or sources?
Finally, David Lewis is "looking for the recipe for the delicious Seafood Bake at the now-closed Blue Ribbon Café in Soddy-Daisy."
FLAVORED SIMPLE SYRUP
Pam Greer of Soddy- Daisy writes a blog, sidewalkshoes.com. In answer to your request for preserving herbs, she wrote, "This Mint Lemon Simple Syrup is one of the most versatile simple syrups that you can make. You can use this in any cocktail. It's especially nice in those that already call for mint, lemon juice or simple syrup. However, I've been stirring it into a gin and tonic and love it. It's also wonderful stirred into ice tea. You can make a pitcher of plain unsweetened tea and allow anyone who wants to to stir in a spoon or two of this syrup. It is perfectly sweet with a hint of mint and lemon."
Mint Lemon Simple Syrup
Cook time: 5 minutes
Steeping time: 1 hour
1 1/4 cups mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup water
1 lemon, sliced
Add mint, sugar, water and lemon to a pan. Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let it steep for 1 hour. Strain out the mint and the lemon, and store in a lidded bottle in the fridge. This will keep for about a month in the fridge. Use in cocktails in place of regular simple syrup or to add extra mint and lemon flavor.
Another use for tangy lemon flavors came from Jon McKeachie, whose lemonade pie is baked and contains 6 egg yolks.
Down Home Lemon Pie
6 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small can frozen lemonade, thawed
1 graham cracker pie crust
Separate the eggs (egg whites not needed for this recipe), and put the egg yolks in a bowl. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and lemonade until the mixture is thick. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and pour mixture into pie crust. Place in oven, and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool, and top with whipped cream.
Marilyn Soehl attended an Italian buffet in a faraway state and, even though soup weather is behind us, most loved the healthful soup on the buffet. She asked her hostess, who explained its simple formula. This is not for a brand-new cook, as you will have to have experimented with soup to decide on proportions that suit you.
Kale and Chicken Sausage Soup
Vary the amount of each ingredient according to your taste.
Garlic (be generous here)
Kale, with spines removed and torn into small pieces
Chicken sausage, cooked and crumbled or, if you are using links, chopped into circles
White beans (Great Northern, cannellini or garbanzo), canned, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a pan, and sauté onion for a little bit; then add garlic, and cook both gently until soft. Add chicken broth (soup is best with a pretty thin broth, so you can add more later).
Add kale torn in small enough pieces that it will cook pretty fast. Add chicken sausage. Finally, add drained beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with Parmesan cheese to top the soup.
Variation: For a one-dish meal, add cooked pasta.
JUST A DASH
Linda Morris has a simple remedy that keeps her from baking soggy-bottom pies in her Lookout Mountain kitchen.
"Brush about 2 teaspoons milk on bottom and sides of pastry before baking. Also, to remedy overbrowning the outer crust, cut 1 1/2-inch aluminum foil in strips and fold over tops of pastry; it will come out to match the rest of your pastry."
We will end with three readers' favorite go-to cookbooks. Having visited several kitchens of late, I note that cookbooks are still very important in a digital age. And I can imagine why: The dog-eared, batter-splattered pages and the comforting feel of actual bound paper make a difference for many of us still.
A continuing theme is cookbooks created by readers' loved ones. And that reminds me of why we still need Fare Exchange in a multimedia age. What is printed here is the cooking wisdom of your neighbors, the people you live near and share a similar life with.
Linda Morris began with a superlative. "I want to mention a cookbook of all cookbooks. It is 'Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook.' It was copyrighted in 1955 and billed as 'a cookbook with a heart.' It is so basic with wonderful illustrations, a section on meal planning and recipes as simple as baking a potato to making Baked Alaska. I received mine from the librarian at Tennessee Tech, where I was a student, and married in 1960. I wouldn't take anything for this book as I use it until this day. I hope to pass it along to one of my five granddaughters who have all turned into marvels in the kitchen."
Suzanne Newton added her nomination. "My go-to cookbook is one that is very special to me. A few years back my grandmother published her own cookbook, 'Recipes and Remembering' by Edith Parker Middleton. It includes over 500 recipes that our family has enjoyed over the years as well as her own stories of growing up on a farm in Florida."
Finally, Hallie Westfield has three top cookbooks, and today gives us one. Perhaps another week, she will tell us about the other two. "One of my top three cookbooks is 'Classic American Recipes' from the McIlhenny Co. of Avery Island, Louisiana."
And so we finish, but only for today. Next week? Please.
* Oatmeal/blueberry breakfast in a jar
* Recipes to use up bacon grease
* Go-to food blogs
* Blue Ribbon Cafe's Seafood Bake
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