published Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Readers respond to raclette

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.

Welcome to Fare Exchange, almost-spring version. Today's requests are three: apple-onion soup, vegetable-egg white ramekins and low-fat recipes for fish and chicken.

Marilyn Wukits is "looking for a recipe for apple-onion soup. Recently I had it at a restaurant in Blue Ridge, Ga."

JGW tasted a frozen individual vegetable-egg white concoction at Costco that is a simple healthful meal and really wants to know how to prepare them at home. Additionally, she is looking for all kinds of low-fat recipes, especially ways to prepare chicken and fish.

From J. H. of Ringgold, Ga., came this version of a brown sugar icing, recommended as "great on yellow and white cakes."



Quick Caramel Frosting

1 stick butter

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place butter and 2 brown sugars in saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add milk; stir and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat, and add powdered sugar and vanilla.

Beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Spread on cake while warm; if it gets too hard, just warm again and add drops of milk.

Today's is no column for the lactose-intolerant. The discussion of a cheese dish made with a raclette grill has brought all kinds of experienced voices. According to Michael Cartwright, a Swissmar grill may be purchased from Mia Cucina on Frazier Avenue. For this grill, one slices thick pieces of raclette and places them in the little broiler pans, which then go under the broiler element of the grill until nice and bubbly. The name comes from the French word for scrape. Supposedly this high-fat cheese is made only in Valais, Switzerland. He writes that "as with most Swiss-produced cheese, the producers are proud of their product, as displayed by the price."

Kara Palm explained the simple version of the dish: Swiss or other cheese, melted and served atop potatoes, baguettes, other vegetables and deli meats. A relish tray with pickles and olives was part of the experience for her parents, who first sampled raclette in Grenoble, France.

Frances Graef actually found raclette cheese at Sam's Warehouse recently, so it's definitely emerging into the mainstream. Now, for the mainstream. Ms. Graef suggested that, instead of investing in "what may become yet another rarely used, special-purpose small appliance, or if one is interested in the dish itself rather than its entertainment value," there are alternatives.

Her source, Susan Lundgren, suggested as alternatives either Gruyere or Comte cheese. Melt and serve with boiled potatoes, dark bread, pickled vegetables and white wine.



Potatoes for raclette

To prepare the potatoes, boil potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Drain and return to the pot to keep warm. The dish from here is adaptable to oven or microwave, as well as an all-in-one version.



Oven Raclette

Cut cheese into 1-inch cubes or 1/4-inch-thick slices. To speed the melting process, cut cubes into smaller pieces.

Place cheese onto individual oven-safe plates. If you don't have oven-safe plates, use a metal or oven-safe glass plate or pan, and scrape the cheese onto individual plates after it has melted.

Place the platter under the broiler in your oven. Broil on low or medium until the cheese is just melted.

Pour or scrape the cheese onto individual plates. Add pickled vegetables and a few potatoes to the plate. Cut potatoes in half if they are large, or leave them whole if they are small.



Microwave Raclette

Cut cheese into 1-inch cubes and place them into a covered, microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave the cheese on medium heat for about 1 minute. Stir the cheese, and microwave again in 1-minute intervals until it is totally melted. Pour the cheese onto individual plates, and add the vegetables and potatoes.



All-in-One Raclette

Slice cooked potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Pat the potato slices dry with a dish towel, and spread them in a roasting pan or casserole dish.

Place the dish in a preheated 350 F oven until the cheese melts. Depending on the amount of cheese used, the melting process will take from seven to 10 minutes.

Serve the raclette in the large dish at the table, and allow everyone to help themselves to pickled vegetables.

Today's final recipe, from Molly B., contains only a grating of Parmesan cheese in the dairy category. This came from an Atlanta Gas Light Co. cookbook and combines broccoli and spaghetti for a vegetarian entrée.



Broccoli Spaghetti

4 quarts water

2 teaspoons salt

1 package (16 ounces) thin spaghetti

1 bunch fresh broccoli or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup butter or margarine

Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Bring water and salt to boil over high flame. Break spaghetti into thirds; add to boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes. Add broccoli pieces; cook for 8 minutes. In a small skillet, lightly brown garlic in butter or margarine. Drain spaghetti mixture; pour into a large serving dish. Pour garlic butter over mixture and sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

It's fun to bring a meal to the table in a kind of parsley-garnished splendor, the kind of presentation that garners "ooos" and "aahs". It's also fun to put out all the ingredients and let the guests do the work. This is true of fondue and of peeling shrimp at the table. Either way, a leisurely dinner by candlelight, away from the noise of a public place, is good for body and spirit.



What meals bring you the most joy? What meals bring you the most satisfaction? Tell us about it, please.



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