It’s low-carb season at Fare Exchange; there is increasing interest in this topic.
Diane Ownbey, for one, wrote, “I, along with other family members, have recently gone the low carb route. We would love you to see your readers’ suggestions for easy recipes. You can’t live on bacon and eggs forever.”
And when I responded to Ms. Ownbey, telling her of my recent discovery of Carbonaut bread, she replied, “Arnold and Lewis (brands) both have fantastic hot dogs and burger buns, but I’m still looking for a sliced bread that doesn ‘t taste like an Amazon box.” (Though who knows, really, what an Amazon box tastes like?)
Saturday was hamburger night, as usual, at a certain home. A couple of the guests, though, wanted veggie burgers.
One of them spoke up. “I don’t want a veggie burger that tastes like a hamburger. I want a veggie burger that tastes like veggies. I know veggie burgers are made with a variety of binders — things like black beans and quinoa — but I want a recipe that highlights the taste of the vegetables. And if no one can make such a burger, please give us the names of the best veggie burgers that can be bought locally.”
S. Lewis and his bride, also S. Lewis, have used their prolific tomato patch this summer to try many tomato pies. He requested some from you, but all their attempts so far render the filling “still soupy.” Do you have a remedy for that?
Thank you, Roseann Strazinsky, for beginning the answer to the question about agave syrup. “It is a sugar substitute. Can be used in lemonades and cocktails. Product of tequila in Mexico, much sweeter than sugar.”
Now we await more agave information. How is it used in cooking, and does anyone have some good recipes using agave?
ONE FOR ZUCCHINI
In answer to the request for more vegetable recipes, Mary Ann McInturff has a favorite way to use summertime’s zucchini largess.
This recipe may be adjusted for any amount of zucchini.
3 or 4 medium zucchini
salt and pepper
dry minced onion
Butter or margarine
Slice zucchini thin; this is best done on a mandolin.
In medium-size casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray, put half of the sliced zucchini. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dry minced onion. Dot with several small patties of butter or margarine. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Repeat with another layer of zucchini, salt, pepper, onion, butter and cheese. Cover with foil (nonstick works best).
Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes, until zucchini is tender and lightly browned on top.
THREE FOR TOMATOES
On the topic of tomatoes, a reader shared an entire cookbook, “Cooking With Grainger County Tomatoes.” Among many nominations for tomato pie was this recipe for individual tarts.
1 pie crust, unbaked
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
4 Roma or small regular tomatoes, cut in wedges
3/4 loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup JFG mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Cut pie crust with biscuit cutter into 6 large rounds. Press into muffin tins. Press well up to the top of the pan. Do not prick. Partially bake in a 375-degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle over crust 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Meanwhile, drain tomatoes on paper towels. Arrange wedges over melted cheeses in the pie crust.
Combine basil, garlic, mayonnaise, Parmesan and pepper. Spread evenly over tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional basil leaves and serve.
A second tomato pie in this volume calls for bacon, a combination that makes all kinds of sense.
Fresh Tomato Pie
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 to 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
9-inch deep-dish pie crust, baked
6 to 8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese together; set aside. Layer half the tomatoes into the pie crust, then sprinkle with bacon. Add remaining tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Spread mayonnaise mixture on top, spreading to the edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes or until top is lightly golden.
Makes 8 servings.
And a final tomato pie from this cookbook section is the outlier: not a sprig of basil or a sprinkle of Parmesan. In this one, the cheese is fontina and the herb is thyme.
1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry
4 ounces (1 cup) fontina cheese grated (you may substitute Gouda or Gruyere)
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll each sheet of pastry to 11 by 11 inches. Transfer each to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut a 3/4-inch strip from each side.
Whisk egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush on edges of pastry sheets. Line edges with strips, forming a border, trimming any overlapping pieces on the corners. Place baking sheets in refrigerator or freezer, about 15 minutes. Brush border with egg mixture.
Use a fork to prick pastry within the border, about every half inch. Bake until just golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle center of each tart with half the cheese, and arrange half the tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Repeat tomatoes, salt, pepper and thyme. Garnish with a few thyme sprigs, and return to the oven until the cheese is melted and the pastry is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Makes 2 tarts, 12 servings.
ONE FOR CORN
Another gift from “A Floured Hand Up” is this appetizer, useful with fresh summer corn or frozen.
Men Love It Hors d’Oeuvre
3 ears of white corn, blanched and scraped
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 purple onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill 3 to 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.
A good brand of frozen white corn may be substituted for the fresh.
Thank you for your Wednesday morning company. It is merely essential.
— Low-carb recipes
— Veggie burgers that taste like veggies (via recipes or restaurant suggestions)
— Nonsoupy tomato pies
— Agave recipes
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, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750