Good morning, companions around the kitchen table. Today A.E. has been out and about, discovering a new restaurant called Giardino, "across the road from Sugar's Ribs. Their food is delicious, and I particularly want a recipe for their shrimp and polenta that contains squash, zucchini, tomato and wine. Also, would Giardino share the rosemary cream on their excellent salmon?"

We've had a Fare Exchange conversation about desserts flavored with both chocolate and chilies. That is thoroughly Mexican. On the Italian menu, as per Giardino restaurant mentioned above, D.C.B. is searching for a tiramisu-flavored dessert, "but simpler and less expensive to prepare."



Summertime seems a strange time for soup recipes, but we've learned from one collegiate cook that preparing a pot of nourishing soup at the first of a week, and eating it all week, is a wise move. This week thanks to you, M.H.W., for sharing another any-weather soup.

"My source," wrote Ms. W., "was Marilyn Geraldson's cookbook, 'The Veggie Lady Shares Tips and Recipes'."

So far, then, we've had a lamb and vegetable soup, gazpacho and now one that begins with ground beef and ends with beans.

Taco Soup

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 package taco seasoning

2 packages dry ranch dressing

2 cans Ro-tel tomatoes

2 cans shoepeg corn

1 can pinto beans

1 can black beans

1 can light red kidney beans

Brown and drain ground beef. Add other ingredients; do not drain anything. Simmer until thoroughly heated.

This soup is good served with a dollop of sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese on top.

Note: Whole-kernel corn may be substituted for shoepeg corn. If 2 cans of Ro-tel tomatoes are too hot, substitute 1 can of diced tomatoes for one can of the Ro-tel. This is great for the crock pot and freezes well.



When she married into a pie-making, pie-loving family, Susan Gary brought her own homemade crust into the family mix.

Pie Crust

1 cup shortening (more for a flakier crust)

1/4 cup butter (more for flavor)

3 cups flour

Pinch salt

Pinch sugar

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

5 tablespoons water

Cut shortening and butter into a mixture of flour, salt and sugar until very fine crumb.

Blend together in a separate bowl the egg, vinegar and water. Add liquid quickly to flour mixture; toss with a spoon quickly until just blended.

With hands, form into 2 balls. Covering one, roll the other out between 2 sheets of floured wax paper, flipping over partway, until dough is larger than pie pan. Remove top sheet of paper, invert pan onto dough, flip over and ease dough into pan. Add the filling you have chosen, repeat with second dough ball and place on top of pie.

Also handwritten on Ms. Gary's pie crust page were the following recipes for making buttermilk and crème fraiche at home. Note that you will need a little buttermilk "starter" to begin your homemade quart.

Homemade Buttermilk

1/4 cup buttermilk

Enough milk to make 1 quart

Seal and set aside in warm place until thickened. Refrigerate.

Crème Fraiche

1 pint whipping cream

1 tablespoon fresh buttermilk

Seal and let rest in warm place until sour cream consistency. Refrigerate. May be sweetened with powdered sugar.



And here's a seasonal use for that crème fraiche, from an anonymous reader as part of the peach season discussion just begun. He or she wrote, "This is a Martha Stewart recipe. I haven't tried it, but it sure looks good."

Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie

The rich texture and slight tartness of creme fraiche is an ideal foil for tender (but not overly soft) peaches in this streusel-topped pie. As it cooks, the cream — spread on the crust and dotted on the fruit — sets like a custard.

Pate Sucree (French sweet pastry crust):

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add egg yolk, and pulse. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube until dough just holds together. Turn out dough onto a work surface; shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 2 days).


1/4 cup confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup cold (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Sift together sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Preparing the crust:

Remove pate sucree from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9 1/2- or 10-inch pie plate (about 1 1/2 inches deep). Trim edge to 1 inch; fold under, and crimp as desired. Pierce bottom of dough all over with a fork. Transfer to freezer for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover edge of crust with foil. Line crust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake, covered, 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment (keep foil on edge). Bake until pale golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly; remove foil; reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.


1 1/2 pounds ripe (4 to 5 medium) yellow peaches, pitted and quartered

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

5 tablespoons crème fraiche

Put peaches into a medium bowl, and sprinkle with sugar and salt; gently toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

Filling the crust:

Spread 2 tablespoons creme fraiche onto bottom of crust; sprinkle with 1/3 of the streusel. Arrange peaches on top; spread or dot with remaining 3 tablespoons creme fraiche. Sprinkle with remaining streusel.

Bake pie until creme fraiche is bubbling and streusel is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cover edge of crust with foil if it's browning too quickly. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

On this sweet note, we close the conversation for today, looking forward to next week.



— Two Giardino specialties

— A simpler tiramisu



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, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750


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