published Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Fare Exchange: Baked spaghetti and a bumper crop of apple recipes

Jane Henegar

Welcome to Fare Exchange, as always. Today, I first want to invite you to share what's cooking at your house. You will find an example below, and hopefully this will encourage you to join in the conversation.

Today's requests are for Brunswick stew, apple-pear butter in a slow cooker, appetizer-style Chicken Cordon Bleu, homemade barbecue sauce and where to buy organic least expensively.

Donna Bell asked for a reprise of a Brunswick stew recipe, and Judy Bacastow wanted a reprinting of crock-pot apple-pear butter. AKH of Knoxville was part of a conversation about a popular dish served at Grandview on Lookout Mountain and wanted to know how to make appetizer-style Chicken Cordon Bleu without over cooking the outside and undercooking the inside. She also wanted a recipe for homemade barbecue sauce. Lou LaNieve just went to a doctor who recommended an all-organic diet, and she just doesn't know where to begin in terms of purchasing organic.

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Kay Fulton highly recommends the baked lemon-dill catfish from a recent Fare Exchange, so much so that she asked whether the cook was a professional cook locally. Alas, she is not; I called her a chef, but that referred to her main venue, at home. And another Exchanger recommended the recent Green Tomato Bake. So keep those commendations coming when you've tried something that was successful in your kitchen.

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We've had lots of interest in a baked spaghetti. Rosie Jackson had this version in her well-used collection and wanted to share it. It works for her husband and three growing children and for the many people she takes meals to.

Baked Spaghetti

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes with liquid (if they are whole tomatoes, cut them up)

1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms, cut up

1 (21/4-ounce) can black olives, drained

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

12 ounces angel-hair pasta, cooked and drained

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Sauté onions and peppers in butter. Add next 4 ingredients, then ground beef, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Place half of spaghetti in a greased 9- by 13-inch pan. Top with half of vegetable mix. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers.

Mix soup with water until smooth and pour over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Makes 12 servings.


What's cooking at your house? We repeated the question, and here is Ginny Gaines' answer.

"This time of year, I'm thinking, eating and cooking with apples. They're very plentiful this year, it seems, and we have many choices of orchards from which to pick and choose. I'm a Jonathan woman, myself. It's not a big apple, perfect for stashing in your pocket on a fall walk and then munching on leisurely. It's also a great cooking apple, tart enough yet a nice sweetness also. To me, it's just the perfect apple. I've been making applesauce for the freezer (a favorite with my grandgirls). But I've also been trying new recipes from a great little cookbook called 'Apple Cookbook' by Olwen Woodier. It not only has wonderful recipes but interesting history of the apple and the many varieties offered in our country. It's a nice little read, as you sip a little hot or cold cider, depending on the weather. Here's one recipe that met with approval."

Tom Carrolan's Apple Crisp

9 to 10 medium apples (Jonathan or another favorite cooking apple works well)

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup apple juice or cider

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon or more cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Heat oven to 350 F, and grease an 8- by 8-inch dish.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Place in the dish, drizzle with honey, and add the apple juice or cider.

Mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for 30 minutes longer.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Mrs. Gaines continued that "old standbys are hard to beat," and her husband gives this one the stamp of approval. She explained that "it is made in a pie plate, so you be the judge: cake or pie? I got this recipe from a neighbor years ago but still love it."

Quickest-Ever Apple Cake

3 tart apples, peeled, cored, thickly sliced (Jonathans work well)

1 to 2 teaspoons bourbon

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 teaspoon cinnamon

11/2 sticks butter, melted

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 350 F. Arrange apples in buttered 9-inch pie plate.

Sprinkle with bourbon, then with 1 tablespoon sugar and the cinnamon.

Pour butter into medium bowl. Add 3/4 cup sugar, flour and egg, and stir until smooth.

Spread batter over apples; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until crusty and pale gold. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or heavy cream.


We'll finish up the delicious contents of Mrs. Gaines' letter with the following: "We love fried apples with almost any meal. Fry sliced cooking apples in a small amount of butter (3 tablespoons), stirring often. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how tart the apple, after they've become somewhat tender. Let them finish, and the sugar gets a nice caramel taste and look." In her grand finale for today, the recipe calls for pear, but she used apple.

Delicious Oatmeal

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup apple juice or cider

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup diced pear (or apple)

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries or cherries

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/4 cup fat-free milk

Bring water and apple juice/cider to a boil in large saucepan. Stir in oats and salt; reduce heat to low and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the fruit and spices just after you reduce heat. Add the nuts and the milk and some butter at the very end. This makes a very good nourishing breakfast.

You may vary this most any way adding fruits of choice, more spices, or less, to taste.


Let's talk about cinnamon for a minute. I was in a conversation with two people who had read of the virtues of cinnamon and honey taken in hot water. We got on the Web to see what the promise was and found this. Not all cinnamon is truly cinnamon but cassia. The only kind that works for this particular potion is Ceylon cinnamon, the real thing. What do you know about cinnamon? Please share that, along with all your organic expertise.


And all of you, whether you have questions or answers, please return next week.

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