published Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Delicious pears to relish and slaws to savor

Good morning, readers. Here are our requests in short form today: pasta with artichoke tapenade and feta cheese, antipasto salad, any recipe for tapenade, poke sallet, sorbet or gelato.

Sometimes you hear about a recipe and get just enough information to make you hungry but not enough information to help you actually do the cooking. So it happened for one of our readers, who ran into a friend at Earth Fare who was "making a dish she found in the paper, a pasta dish that had artichoke tapenade and feta cheese and a few other ingredients. It sounded great."

"I also want a recipe for antipasto salad, and I wouldn't mind knowing how to make different kinds of tapenade."

The poke sallet request came from a different encounter in a different grocery; old-timers are the ones who know about this dish.

The request for sorbets and gelatos has appeared more than once, and several readers would like to be educated about what distinguishes these two frozen desserts.

In answer to a request, Sarah Hess sent this recipe to relish from "Food Preservation in Alabama."

Pear Relish

1 peck pears

5 green peppers

5 red peppers

3 hot peppers

5 large onions

5 cups vinegar

5 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Grind pears through coarse food chopper, and let drain until excess juice is removed. Grind peppers and onions. Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes. Fill into container and seal. Process in a water-bath canner (212 F) for 10 minutes.

For the water-bath canner, use a vessel deep enough to allow water to come 2 inches above top of jars. A rack should be placed at bottom of canner to allow free circulation of water underneath jars.

If you're not a slaw lover, at this point you just may want to jump ship and come back next week, because the rest of our recipes are for slaw, vinegar slaw in particular. Then again, maybe you just ought to start liking slaw. It's good for you, you know.

First came Barbara who got her recipe "from Lynne Tolley of Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding house. And for anyone who has not made the trip, it is well worth the effort." This Tennessee landmark is in Lynchburg, and was a favorite eating place, so they say, for Jack Daniel. I must ask: "If this is clean vinegar slaw, what would be the converse?"

Clean Vinegar Slaw

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

16 ounces slaw mix or shredded cabbage

Combine vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a bowl. Blend well (sugar won't completely dissolve). Pour dressing over cabbage in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly. Serve really cold.

The next recipes came from a first-time contributor who calls himself or herself "The Experimental Cook."

To prove that, the cook says "my recipe goes approximately like this." And isn't that the norm for excellent cooks, that they often don't need to measure? The same cook also sent a precise one, appropriately from a test kitchen, but it calls for lemon juice instead of vinegar. There's a tip in the second recipe that all slaw cooks would do well to note; it recommends draining slaw in a colander for 1 to 4 hours, to drain out liquid so cabbage will stay crisp.

Vinegar Slaw

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup canola or other oil

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

4 cups shredded cabbage

Heat vinegar in microwave, stir in sugar to dissolve, then cool to room temperature. Add oil and celery seed. Mix well, and pour over cabbage. Chill for an hour before serving.

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

(America's Test Kitchen)

1 head red or green cabbage (2 pounds), cored and shredded

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 carrots, peeled and grated

Toss cabbage with sugar and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and allow to sit in a colander for 1 to 4 hours to draw water from the cabbage so it stays crisp.

Whisk oil, lemon juice, poppy seeds and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Add wilted cabbage and carrots, and toss. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finally, here's Anne Hendrix, with a simple version. She reports: "I found this when my husband asked for vinegar slaw for the first time in our 18-year marriage."

Vinegar Slaw

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 package shredded coleslaw mix (found with bagged salad in produce section)

Whisk vinegar, oil and sugar together. Stir in coleslaw mix. Refrigerate one hour before serving. This slaw still will be good on the second day.

That's the dilemma about salads made with lettuce and with cabbage: Which recipes work on the second day ... the third day? Fresh spinach seems sturdier in second-day salad. When you're having company and you have no idea the size of the diners' appetites, this question arises. You want your serving bowls and platters to look generous, but what have you found that keeps you from wasting leftover salads?

Keep sending us what's getting kudos and second helpings at your house.

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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