published Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Fare Exchange: Warm pimento cheese dip, old-fashioned pea soup

Jane Henegar


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:

• Fax: 423-668-5092

Good morning, farewell-to-2013 readers. There is a year and a culinary world ahead of us, and soon we will begin to explore it together. Your last challenge is the brining of meat, and the requester is anonymous. “What do I brine, how to I brine it, and what are the benefits?”

It didn’t take Barbara Wilkey of Dayton, Tenn., long to send double copies of a warm pimento cheese dip. She wrote: “I have made this dip many times; never any leftovers.” This recipe varies in flavor from last week’s version.

Warm Pimento Cheese Dip

1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and pepper

1 (6.5-ounce) jar pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped

6 ounces sharp orange Cheddar

6 ounces Pepper Jack cheese

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Potato chips, pita chips and celery sticks for serving

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fold in the pimentos, cheddar, Pepper Jack and scallions.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow 2-cup baking dish and bake until bubbling and light golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve with chips and celery, if desired.

Yeast of the Ridge found the following requested recipes. This is not Fehn’s Russian dressing, but it’s a good one.

Russian Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) chili sauce, cocktail sauce or ketchup (see note below)

1 tablespoon drained horseradish

1 teaspoon minced onion

In a glass bowl, combine the mayonnaise and other ingredients. Chill.

Store unused portion in the refrigerator, where it should keep for a day or two, or longer if you used store-bought mayonnaise.

Makes about 1 cup of Russian dressing.

Note: The ingredients listed above call for 1/4 cup of either chili sauce, cocktail sauce or ketchup. Chili sauce and cocktail sauce are just variations on ketchup, and Heinz makes the definitive versions of each one. I prefer to use chili sauce for my Russian dressing, because I like it to have a little kick.

Y.O.T.R. found the half-done pickles not exactly as prepared at Shapiro’s Delicatessen here, but from the files of another delicatessen.

Half-Done Pickles

3 cups distilled or filtered water

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

5 fresh, crisp pickling cucumbers

2 pressed garlic cloves

1 crushed bay leaf

2 black peppercorns

2 coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon dill seed

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

Combine water and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and let cool.

Wash cucumbers; cut flower end and, if desired, cut into spears or slices.

Wash jar and lid. Pack jar tight with cucumbers.

Add garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, dill and mustard seed.

Fill packed jar with cooled brine, filling to within 1/4-inch of top. Make sure lid and lip of jar are dry. Cover with lid and tighten. Refrigerate. Pickles are ready after approximately 5 days.

We have had an overflow from two generous 2013 sources, so here are two to end the year with. This one is from Bright School’s “Fork, Knife, Spoon” and attributed to Susan Pesterfield. Note the adjustments for a less spicy version.

Shrimp with Cheddar Grits Triangles and Andouille Cream Sauce

Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound Andouille sausage, diced (less if you prefer not-so spicy)

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup heavy or whipping cream

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon thyme

1 cup Parmesan cheese


12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 red bell pepper, julienned

2 teaspoons butter

Cheddar Grits Triangles

2 cups grits (slow-cook or instant)

Chicken stock or cream (replaces water in grits preparation)

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

3 dashes Tabasco

1 teaspoon garlic powder


Egg wash

Plain bread crumbs

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add sausage and sauté 3 or 4 minutes. Add flour and blend with a whisk. Then add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Add the cream and rest of the ingredients. Whisk together, stirring out all lumps. Cook until thickened.

For the Cheddar Grits Triangles, use your favorite quick cook grits or slow-cooking grist to make 2 cups of prepared grits Instead of using water to cook them, use chicken stock and cream to equal the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, and add cheddar cheese, Tabasco and garlic powder. Pour finished grits into a small baking dish or loaf pan. Let bake until firm. Cut into equal parts (triangular shapes). Roll triangles in flour, egg wash and plain bread crumbs. Pan sauté until golden brown and crispy. Serve hot with shrimp and Andouille Cream Sauce.

Sauté 12 large shrimp and red bell pepper in butter until almost cooked. Add sauce and bring to a simmer. Divide shrimp equally onto 4 plates and serve with Cheddar Grits Triangles. (If sauce is too thick, thin out with a little chicken stock or cream.)

And for the grand finale, a fine thick soup for winter days, here’s one made with split peas from the Linda Leake collection. You will see that this is a variable recipe; that is, you’ve got some decisions to make that reflect your own taste and, not incidentally, what is in your current kitchen supply.

Old-Fashioned Pea Soup

3 cups yellow split peas

Cold water

3 strips bacon

1 medium onion

4 teaspoons finely-chopped mixture of leek greens, celery and celery leaves, chives, parsley, garlic, etc., preserved with coarse salt

1 cup diced carrots

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Rinse and boil peas or soak overnight. Drain. Cook bacon at low heat. Add onions. Add water, peas, herbs and carrots. Season to taste and simmer for 3 hours.

Just a Dash ...

This one’s a repeat, but it bears repeating. The originator is K.W. Dilute a can of tomato soup with milk, cream, broth or orange juice. Add a little basil if you are so inclined. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches using any cheese, any cheese or combinations thereof.

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