Good morning, readers. There has been a good bit of conversation about butter on these pages, and now we have collected some buttery questions from a conversation. Here's how it went, though we won't name names. (There is more than one voice in the single narrative below.)
"I understand from Fare Exchange that margarine is a non-food, and that butter is always better. But I need to know more. Why is Kerry Gold butter the choice of many? Is it because of a taste advantage, and if so, is that taste perceptible in baked goods?"
And finally, "Does anyone know where you can buy French butter flaked with salt? If not, does anyone have a recipe for making that butter?"
Yeast of the Ridge is looking for varieties of quinoa salad — with vegetables, with fruit and with meat.
Around the corner and up the hill in my neighborhood lives Debbie Pataky, so we like to address each other as simply "Neighbor." As such she sent a comment on cabbage, as you requested. She began, "I love cabbage cooked in a large enough skillet to accommodate what I call cabbage steaks."
Country Cooked Cabbage
1 whole cabbage
Salt and pepper
Optional: crumbled bacon or packaged real bacon bits
Take whole cleaned cabbage, and slice through the entire head, making slices about 1 inches thick.
Melt butter (real butter, of course).
Place cabbage "steaks" in melted butter in skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and braise.
Turn heat down. Turn entire slices over only once. I like mine a little crunchy. You can add crumbled bacon (or just real bacon bits — that is easier).
Cabbage steaks do not take long to cook at all. Just cook to desired texture. If you want it done all the way, you can cover it and steam a bit.
This spring salad is from Rosemary Palmer's blog, myhomeandtravels.com
Pasta Salad With Ham
1 pound small shell pasta
8 ounces ham, cubed
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin, with half of the green portion
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and rinse with cold water until cool. In a large bowl, stir together the ham, cheese and green onions. Add half of the pasta and mayonnaise, and stir until well combined. Stir in the remaining pasta and mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Notes: Don't overcook pasta; follow directions on the pasta box. Vary the ham, either cubed or shredded. You may cut down on the portion of mayo; this is a matter of personal preference.
Additions and substitutions: To add frozen peas, cook package in the microwave before stirring in. Add a squirt of mustard or a few dashes of cayenne pepper for flavor. You may substitute poppy seed salad dressing for a small amount of the mayonnaise, about cup to start. (I also do this with chicken salad). You can also add chopped dill pickles, sweet pickles or bread-and-butter pickles.
Today's final recipes are from Joe Jumper's blog, dirtfromtheclaypot.com.
Mr. Jumper wrote, "Anytime Connie Muldoon has a party, she has this baking in her oven when her guests arrive. The wonderful smell of the Parmesan cheese welcomes her guests."
Savory Parmesan Bites
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven at 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Separate 2 cans of crescent rolls to create 8 squares. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on top of the square. Top with red pepper and parsley. Fold square over to create a rectangle. Cut each rectangle into 4 equal sizes. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Makes 32 servings.
Mr. Jumper credited the following salad dressing recipe to Laura Strang. "She is a fabulous cook and is always creating wonderful meals. I had this dressing on a 'fresh green' salad with fresh blueberries, toasted pecans and sliced Granny Smith apples."
Honey Cinnamon Vinaigrette
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dry mustard (or use 1 tablespoon of regular mustard)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
Whisk first 5 ingredients together, then add oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Or you can put all the ingredients in a jar and shake. If you use dry mustard, dissolve it in the vinegar first or it clumps up.
Pasta and Veggie Stir Fry
12 ounces uncooked fettuccine noodles (I use whole wheat)
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 large carrot, cut into julienne strips
1 yellow summer squash, cut into julienne strips
1 zucchini, cut into julienne strips
3 plum tomatoes, cut into strips
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh snipped basil
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package; drain and return to pot and keep warm. Heat pan with olive oil, and cook pressed garlic until softened. Add other veggies and salt. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp and tender. Add snipped basil, more salt if needed, pepper and more oil if needed to pasta, and toss. Spread pasta on platter and top with veggies and Parmesan cheese to serve.
You may also add grilled or blackened chicken.
JUST A DASH
Preparing to make bread with honey, Euela Laubenheim wondered whether her crystallized honey was safe. She found these comforting words somewhere online and thought there might be some of you who would like to know as well.
"Honey has an amazing shelf life. Scientists found pots of honey in Egyptian tombs that were thousands of years old — and still safe to eat. Its low moisture, strong acids and antibacterial compounds make it almost impossible to spoil as long as it's sealed. Keep it in a tightly closed jar in a dry, cool place like a pantry. If it gets crystals, put it in an open, nonplastic container in a pan of warm water until it's clear again."
Keep on keeping on, senders and readers. You are merely indispensable.
— Advantages of Kerry Gold butter
— French butter
— Quinoa salad options
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