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Your easy recipes could help a husband give his wife a break from cooking

Food talk was in the air when a fivesome of non-cooks brought their sandwiches to the picnic tables at the Blue Goose Hollow trailhead downtown. (If you haven’t been, it’s an ideal spring destination.)

Odell Waddell called out a Fare Exchange request at the end of that conversation. Noting the long days of eating at home in quarantine, he was grateful for his wife, who cooked countless meals with cheer and aplomb. Now it was his turn.

“What are some easy meals that I could cook, to do my part? I don’t want to frighten her with anything too complicated or messy, but I would like to help.”

A companion spoke up. “At our house this week, we wanted to make homemade crackers and thought crackers made with almond meal would be healthy and easy. The recipe we found was too much trouble, too little satisfaction. Is there a better choice, or should we give up and go store-bought?”

 

CHEW-CHEWS

In answer to a request, identical recipes for Chattanooga Chew-Chews arrived, from two sources. Diane Marrs found hers online, and thought it looked appropriately chewy. Mary Ann McInturff opened the pages of her “Dinner on the Diner” cookbook published by the Junior League of Chattanooga in 1983.

Chattanooga Chew-Chews

Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup butter (no substitute), softened

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar and butter. Press into ungreased 9- by 13- inch pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over unbaked crust.

Caramel Topping:

1 cup butter (no substitute)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

For caramel topping, melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour caramel mixture over crust and pecans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until entire surface is bubbly. Remove from oven, and sprinkle chocolate chips over hot surface. Gently swirl melted chocolate chips with spatula to give a marbled effect. Cool at least 5 hours. Cut into squares.

Yield: 32 squares.

 

POT ROAST

Betsy B. Alderman is a longtime veteran of national cooking contests who also did catering and entertaining during her career as a college journalism professor. She gladly shared this answer to a request.

Coffee Marinated Chuck Roast

1/2 cup strong black coffee

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 large onion, chopped

3- to 5-pound chuck roast

Combine the ingredients for the marinade (coffee, soy sauce, Worcestershire, white vinegar and chopped onion) in a large glass container with a lid. Place the chuck roast in the marinade, and turn to coat all sides of the meat. Put the lid on the container, refrigerate and allow to marinate 6 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove the roast and cook on a low temperature (300 degrees) for 4 to 5 hours, or until the meat falls apart.

 

HIDDEN RISKS

DJS sent a commendation of your published ideas about healthy eating and offered proof from her own life that pesticides on produce can cause trouble. “I enjoyed the entire article about which foods are best purchased organic or not. I learned the hard way about strawberries a couple of years ago. My husband called an ambulance thinking I was having a heart attack. Would you believe? The doctors and an infectious-disease specialist determined it was a toxic reaction to eating a bowl of strawberries overly saturated with pesticides. I always loved strawberries, but have not eaten one strawberry since, organic or otherwise.”

 

AVOCADO DRESSING

Valerie Bowers shared an avocado dressing that is robustly green, as per its title. You will find basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, tarragon, scallions and avocado contributing to that greenery. She began, “This recipe comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, titled ‘It’s All Good.’ It’s vegan, and I haven’t had a problem with the avocado turning brown. I’ve sent it verbatim from the cookbook, but you can adjust the types of herbs according to taste and use mayo in place of Vegenaise if you’re not concerned about whether your recipe is vegan. That said, Vegenaise is a nice change from regular mayonnaise in salad dressings and on avocado toast. There are two versions of the basic recipe; one contains soy, and one is soy-free.”

Vegenaise is a vegan, egg-free mayonnaise substitute that is widely available locally and comes in a variety of flavors.

Green Goddess Dressing

10 large basil leaves

3 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves from about 5 sprigs)

1/4 cup Italian parsley (leaves from about 5 sprigs)

Leaves from 1 sprig of tarragon

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped

1/2 ripe avocado

1/4 cup Vegenaise

2 tablespoons raw honey or xylitol

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender, and blitz until completely puréed.

Keeps well in a jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Serve at room temperature.

 

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

E. of Henagar, Alabama, sent some recipes from her home, including this one from an article by Times Free Press food columnist Anne Braly in a regional magazine.

Ham and Egg Casserole

2 medium cooked potatoes, peeled and sliced

4 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped

1 cup diced fully cooked ham

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, ham, salt and pepper. Combine the raw egg and sour cream. Add to potato mixture, and gently toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 11- by 7-inch baking dish.

Toss bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cooked through.

 

JUST A DASH

Anne Hendrix did the testing for the rest of us to find “a good sugar substitute for baked goods and other recipes. I have found that Lakanto brand of monkfruit sweetener or Swerve brand of erythritol are good substitutes.”

Thank you for coming, good company.

 

REQUESTS

* Easy meals for novice cooks

* Homemade crackers

 

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

Email: [email protected]


Jane Henegar