published Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Fare Exchange: Hidden Valley Ranch dressing and oil flavor cracker snacks

Jane Henegar

Good morning dear readers. You have some interesting challenges today: crackers spiced with oil and Hidden Valley Ranch dressing; roasted vegetable combinations with Brussels sprouts, peppers, sweet potatoes and purple potatoes; and cabbage rolls with ground beef and ground pork.

Linda Morris of Lookout Mountain is “looking for a recipe for a delicious snack that is merely crackers spiced up with oil and a Hidden Valley Ranch dressing dry package, along with various other spices.”

Caroline Casselberry tasted “a fascinating combination of roasted vegetables in olive oil that included Brussels sprouts, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes and purple potatoes. I would love that recipe. Also, does anyone know where to buy Wehani red rice?”

Finally, Reita Hamby had a recipe “many, many years ago for cabbage rolls. All I remember about it is that it contained ground beef and ground pork in the ration of 2:1, and after cooking the cabbage leaves and stuffing them, the rolls were stewed in a tomato-based sauce. This one may have contained rice, but I don’t think so.”

Here too is an update on two recipes printed here and tried by readers. Janie Robbins tried the tortilla soup and recommends using two large cans of chicken. “It was great. I used one Rotel original can and one mild and added no pepper so it wouldn’t be too spicy for our little granddaughter.”

Chocolate chip cookies to the ultimate were on the mind and the menu of Mary B. Lynch, and in the narrative below you will get some other answers as well. Mrs. Lynch wrote to thank “your reader, B. McGee, for sharing the Copykat Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie recipe. This is possibly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve tried yet. I learned that not only did the dough need to be chilled, but the unbaked cookies need to be cold going into the oven. Otherwise, the cookies come out very thin and flat, not plump and chewy like the first batch I made.”

As the days get warmer, an icebox pie just might be welcome. Becky McGee sent her version in the hopes that you all will enjoy it as much as her friends and family have.

ORANGE ICEBOX PIE FILLING

3⁄4 cup milk

1⁄4 cup cornstarch

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs

1⁄2 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate

2 drops red food coloring (optional)

4 drops red food coloring (optional)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon fresh-grated orange rind

Whisk together 3⁄4 cup milk and 1⁄4 cup cornstarch in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, whisking until cornstarch dissolves.

Whisk in sweetened condensed milk and eggs until blended; whisk in orange juice and, if desired, food coloring. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. (Mixture will begin to thicken when orange juice is first added, and then become thin again during first few minutes of cooking. It will thicken quickly as it comes to a boil.)

Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly, or until mixture thickens. Remove mixture from heat, and whisk in butter and orange rind until smooth. Pour filling into a large bowl, and place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Stir regularly until cold (about 10 minutes).

Cook’s note: Here the recipe ends, but the chilled icebox mixture could then be added to a crust of your choice and chilled well before serving. Top with whipped cream or Cool Whip, perhaps?

And here’s more from Mrs. L.: “A reader asked about red curry paste, the Thai curry paste that is delicious and very spicy. It may be used to make a delicious stir-fried rice.”

RED CURRY THAI RICE

Oil for cooking

Chopped shallots and garlic to taste

Red curry paste

Any desired veggies, cooked meat or tofu

Cold, cooked rice (about 1 cup per person)

Generous seasoning of black pepper

Fish sauce

Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in pan; add chopped shallots and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes (don’t brown). Then add curry paste (1 to 2 teaspoons per person), depending on how hot you like it. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes, then add veggies meats or tofu. Finally, add cooked rice. Stir and cook until heated.

Cook’s note: I like to add a generous seasoning of black pepper and fish sauce for real Thai flavor at the end. Cilantro also is a nice garnish.

In response to a recent request, R.J. Johnson wrote: “I, too, am disappointed that I can no longer find Heinz Cured-in-Wood Dills. However, I have learned the product is still available in 46-ounce glass jars labeled as Heinz Premium Genuine Dills (UPC 1300000520). If we provide the UPC information to our supermarket managers, maybe they’ll get it back on the shelf. By the way, you can order them in six-packs on the Internet, but you won’t believe the shipping charges.”

Here’s one more from a collection sent by William Corbin. It’s a pizza made with puff pastry.

VEGETABLE PIZZA WITH PUFF PASTRY

This large rectangular pizza, topped with broccoli, mushrooms, peppers and cheese, is great for last-minute snacks. Since it’s made with a puff-pastry crust, it’s perfect for entertaining too.

1⁄2 (17.3-ounce) package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup sliced mushrooms (about 3 ounces)

1 small green or red pepper, chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)

1 small onion, chopped (about 1⁄4 cup)

3⁄4 cup Prego Traditional Italian Sauce

11⁄2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)

Heat oven to 400 F. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle and place on a baking sheet. Fold over edges, 1⁄2 inch on all sides, pressing firmly to form a rim. Prick the center of the pastry thoroughly with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, pepper and onion and cook until they are tender, stirring occasionally. Spread the sauce on the pastry. Top with the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serves 16 as an appetizer.

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