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Welcome to our farewell May discussion; how did it come and go so fast?

This week I ended up across a geranium-and-herb centerpiece, talking food with a dining companion. Her first question was about reductions, made to serve with meat. "I heard a chef say he began with 4 gallons of stock and reduced them to a pint. I would like to know how to do that, and I guess also whether it is worth the trouble."

To her left another guest started wondering about what to serve for dessert to "people don't like, or can't eat, cake — and don't want a lot of calories."

The meal ended with praise for bacon-braised cabbage, and that diner shook her head about how to prepare cabbage— served hot, instead of in the predictable coleslaw. "Is there a way to make special-occasion cabbage, or is it something you simply cook to death and serve with meat?"

Marge Pasch, in her letter recorded below, asked for "someone take me in hand and tell me how to judge what to do to change a regular recipe so that it could work with gluten-free flour or some other ingredient."

And finally, a teenager remembered some chocolate chip cookies topped with sea salt crystals and hopes you will give her directions.

 

EASY DINNER

From those dinner table questions shared we turn to your kitchens and tables, and what you have produced there. This recipe, tried and true with a recent group of friends, is adapted from someone named Jennifer on the web, and the one who shares it with you here is A.E. She sent it in answer to the question for easy dinner menus.

"This recipe is plenty with a small green salad and works alone for breakfast or for lunch or dinner with other ingredients."

Crustless Quiche Lorraine

This Crustless Quiche Lorraine is ultra fluffy, creamy, and full of salty bacon and/or ham, gruyere cheese and eggs.

6 slices bacon

1/2 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

1 (8-ounce) block gruyere, grated (I used smoked Red Apple Cheese)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Chives (optional) for topping

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lay bacon in an 8-inch, oven-safe, cast-iron skillet (see note). Cook over medium heat until crispy (cook 2 pieces at a time). Remove bacon, but keep the grease. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add in diced onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender.

Add in garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Stir in the cheese, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, bacon, onions and garlic.

Grease skillet, and pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the egg mixture has set. You can check this with a toothpick. Or you can see once the egg mixture isn't jiggly. Baking time may vary depending on pan you use. I used the hot skillet.

Top with chives if using. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, that's OK! Just use a regular saute pan for cooking the bacon, onions and garlic, and use an 8-inch round baking pan to bake the quiche.

Nutrition information: 518 calories, 6 grams carbohydrate, 32 grams protein, 40 grams fat (18 grams saturated), 367 milligrams cholesterol, 827 milligrams sodium, 313 milligrams potassium, 3 grams sugar, 676 milligrams calcium, 1.5 milligram iron

 

GLUTEN FREEDOM

Marge Pasch has a wealth of information for the gluten-free among us, from her experience of the last two and a half years, and here it is.

On thriving without gluten:

"I haven't found any good gluten-free breads, although I like Glutino's English muffins. I toast a half of one of those muffins, then put on peanut butter and pear jam or another jam, and that is lunch. I loved artisan breads, and Chattanooga now has some lovely bakeries which produce very good bread. Just a minor tragedy on the world's stage. The thing I miss most about not having good bread is I won't be able to enjoy bruschetta in the summers with good bread and homegrown tomatoes.

"I love Milton's crackers, which I find at Publix and Walmart. They're as good as any cracker on the market, in my humble opinion, and I eat my pimiento cheese on them regularly. I've just found Milton's pizzas at Walmart, and my husband loves them because the thin crust gets really crisp.

"I like Nichole Hunn's blog, Gluten Free on a Shoestring. I've tried several of her recipes with success. Her blog is clearly written, and she doesn't push items or companies that make money for her. Just last week I made her delicious chocolate cake that has quinoa as the 'flour.' The cake was not gritty or gummy, two afflictions that mar many gluten-free flours, and the taste was dark and rich. I also made the ganache frosting that went with that recipe, and while it didn't fluff up for me as hers did when beaten, it was delicious. I used good chocolates and whipping cream so the calories were sky high, but so was the taste! That cake tasted like something from the best bakery, and you didn't need much of a piece to feel totally sated.

"Today I found an online recipe for a vanilla cake using quinoa, but it has a vegan chocolate frosting using, of all things, mashed sweet potatoes, coconut oil and arrowroot starch among other ingredients in the frosting. I may just have to try that one. I've often been drawn to recipes that sound so outré that they might just be good! My husband is obviously game for anything I put on the table, except beets.

"My husband put an app on my phone called the Gluten Free Scanner, which I use when food shopping. It's much easier to scan a bar bode than to have to dig my glasses out and try to read the tiny print of a food's ingredients."

 

REQUESTS

— The point of, and pointers for, sauce reductions

— Cake alternatives

— Special-occasion cabbage

— Gluten-free alterations

— Chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

 

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, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

some text
Jane Henegar
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