published Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Fare Exchange: On the trail of watermelon pickles

Good morning, august August readers. We are hot on the trail today of leather britches, smoothies of any kind, watermelon pickles and pear relish, whole-wheat biscuits made in a food processor, and fresh peach ice cream.

Our first request came from Ann S., who wants to prepare green beans according to the “leather breeches, or leather britches, method, where you string them up to dry.”

Barbara Booth asked for the smoothies, pickles and relish.

The next requests were part of a neighborhood conversation. We’ve got a neighborhood picnic coming up soon, so your answers just might ramp up the quality of the food served.

William Corbin of Crossville responded to the request for peach brandy with a personal overview and then directions from the web. He wrote: “Personally, I would put my peaches in a blender or food processor and liquefy them before mixing them into the sugar/water syrup. I would recommend the use of one of the wine-making kits available at some of the hobby shops. Then follow the procedure, doing it ‘by the numbers.’ It will be time-consuming and relentless, but the end result could be a blessing.” Next week we’ll give you the detailed web directions.

As I reported, there has been a lot of talk about food in our neighborhood. A most generous neighbor shared her recipe for a dip she was serving to a houseguest last week.



Five Things Hot Mexican Dip

16 ounces sour cream

11⁄2 ounces Knorr dry vegetable soup mix

10 ounces Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

4 ounces diced green chilies

21⁄2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (Mexican-style cheese or cheese blend)

Heat oven to 350 F.

In a mixing bowl, first combine sour cream and vegetable soup mix. Then drain excess liquid off the Rotel and green chilies, and stir both cans in with the sour-cream mixture. Add 2 cups cheese, and stir well.

Pour mixture in a baking dish; top with additional 1⁄2 cup cheese (or more, to taste).

Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly. Cool for at least 20 minutes, and serve with chips.

An anonymous reader found this answer to the veggie-burger request. It came from Better Homes and Gardens.



Black Bean Cakes With Salsa

11⁄2 cups prepared salsa

1 jalapeno pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (8.5-ounce) package corn muffin mix

21⁄2 teaspoons chili powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1⁄2 cup sour cream

1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder

In a colander, drain 1⁄2 cup of the salsa. Seed and finely chop half the jalapeno; thinly slice remaining half. In a large bowl, mash beans with vegetable masher or fork. Stir in muffin mix, drained salsa, 21⁄2 teaspoons chili powder and chopped jalapeno.

In a 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add 4 (1⁄2-cup) mounds bean mixture to skillet. Flatten mounds with spatula to 31⁄2-inch round cakes. Cook 3 minutes a side until browned. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining oil and bean mixture.

In a bowl combine sour cream and 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder. Top cakes with remaining salsa, sliced jalapeno and seasoned sour cream. Makes 4 (2-cake) servings, 519 calories each, 79 grams carbohydrate.

The next two recipes were part of a full envelope from former Marylander Diane Haidari.



Spice-Rubbed Salmon

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon packed brown sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

4 (5-ounce) skinless salmon filets

1 small cabbage, cut in 6 wedges

2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 large carrot

Orange wedges

In a small bowl, mix chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Rub spice mixture on salmon. Brush cabbage wedges with 1 tablespoon of the oil.

On charcoal grill, place salmon and cabbage on greased rack of uncovered grill, directly over medium coals. Grill salmon 4 to 7 minutes for each half-inch of thickness or until it flakes when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through cooking time. Grill cabbage 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, peel carrot and cut in wide strips. Remove fish and cabbage from grill. Coarsely cut cabbage, combine with carrot and 1 to 2 tablespoons remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with oranges. Makes 4 servings.



Pan-Fried Garlic Steak and Potatoes

12 cloves garlic

1 pound tiny new potatoes, scrubbed

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 (6-ounce) boneless beef rib eye or beef strip steaks

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

Fresh oregano (optional)

Using the side of a large chef knife, smash garlic; discard skins. Halve any large potatoes. Place potatoes in microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap; microwave on high 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cover; cook 5 minutes more or until tender, stirring once. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook steaks, half at a time, 8 minutes for ribeye or 4 minutes for strip (145 F for medium-rare or 160 F for medium), turning once. Keep steaks warm while cooking remaining steaks.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add potatoes, garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tomatoes begin to wilt, stirring occasionally. Serve potato mixture with steak. Top with fresh oregano. Makes 4 servings.

These last two recipes are one-dish meals, most welcome on an August day, or any day. Please keep sending us the efficient and delicious fruits of your labors.

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.

  • E-mail: janehenegar@gmail.com.

  • Fax: 423-668-5092.

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