Serving up recipes for almond tea and the makings of two desserts – Tricks and Tips

Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for oyster mushroom tacos

Good morning, readers. While tomatoes are still summer-tasty, a request came from Daisy LaNieve for a “a new twist on the salad made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Does anyone have a recipe for roasted Caprese salad?”

And here are some lost-and-not-yet-found requests from a June column. We are still seeking chocolate chip cookies with sea salt topping, special-occasion cabbage served hot and how to make a reduction to serve with meat.



In that same June column, Marge Pasch asked you to “tell me how to judge what to do to change a regular recipe so that it could work with gluten-free flour or some other ingredient.”

Charlotte Faulkner offered Ms. Pasch some solutions this morning in response to last week’s continuing conversation.

“I recently tried the lemon bars recipe posted by internet blogger Mama Knows Gluten, and even the non-celiacs in our family approved. It specifically called for Pillsbury’s gluten-free flour because it contained xanthan.”

(READ MORE: How a gluten intolerance changed the course of this Chattanooga chef’s life)

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars (Dairy-Free Option)

This gluten-free dessert also has a dairy-free option. I used to make these lemon bars when I was a kid using my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook.

Shortbread Crust:

1 cup unsalted butter, melted (for dairy-free, use Smart Balance butter)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum (such as Pillsbury gluten-free)

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9- by 13-inch glass baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper hangs over the side of the pan to help make lifting the bars out of the pan easier.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, pure vanilla extract and salt. Add the gluten-free flour, and stir until completely combined and the dough forms. The dough will be thick. Firmly press the dough into the lined pan evenly to about inch thick, making sure the layer of crust is even. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and set aside.

Lemon Filling:

6 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum

Powdered sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the sugar, and whisk until combined. Add the lemon juice and pure vanilla extract, and whisk until combined. Add the gluten-free flour, and whisk until completely combined.

Assembling the bars:

Pour the lemon filling over the warm crust. Bake the bars for 26 minutes or until the center is just about set and no longer jiggles. Remove bars from the oven, and cool completely at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover the bars with plastic wrap, and place them into the refrigerator for 2 hours, until chilled.

Once the bars are chilled, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides of the pan. Dust the top of the bars with powdered sugar, and cut into squares before serving. For smoother squares, wipe the knife clean between each row that you cut. Cover and store the leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator. These lemon bars are the best when cold.

Freezing instructions: The lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Cut the cooled bars (without the powdered sugar topping) into squares, then place onto a baking sheet. Flash-freeze for 1 hour. Wrap each bar in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and place them into a large freezer bag. Thaw the lemon bars in the refrigerator overnight. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.



— From mamaknowsglutenfree.com:

These gluten-free lemon bars (recipe above) were made with an all-purpose rice flour cup-for-cup blend. A cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend is one that already has the starches and xanthan gum included in the mix.

Most gluten-free all-purpose flour blends on the market now have the starches and the xanthan gum already mixed in them. Xanthan gum is important because it helps to replace the elasticity and texture of gluten.

If your gluten-free flour does not have xanthan gum in it, you should add 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum per 1 cup of flour.

My favorite brand of gluten-free flour is Pillsbury gluten-free flour. Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose.

For gluten-free fried chicken: I have found that the best type of gluten- free flour to make fried chicken is rice flour. I use a cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. My preferred brand is Pillsbury gluten-free, but you can also use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, Better Batter or King Arthur Measure For Measure.

— From Charlotte Faulkner:

Potato starch is also in my gluten-free arsenal because it makes very good fried chicken. Although potato starch does not brown easily, it produces a tender crust, unlike the gluten-free flours. I have had the best results by using boneless chicken, cut in nugget-size pieces.



And now, something to drink. Teri Purvis sent this special tea, a recipe that also answers an earlier request.

Almond Tea

2 tablespoons Lipton’s instant iced tea powder, plain

1 1/2 cups sugar, or less if desired

2 cups warm water

1 large can frozen lemonade, thawed

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 teaspoons almond extract

2 quarts water

Dissolve instant tea and sugar in 2 cups warm water. Add remaining ingredients, and mix well with 2 more quarts of water.

This recipe from Charlotte Robinson makes 1 gallon.

(READ MORE: Craving some sweet tea?)



Linda Johnson found this sweet and sour filling that calls for a gallon of green tomatoes and 3 quarts of tart apples, among other ingredients.

Green Tomato Pie Filling

4 quarts chopped green tomatoes

3 quarts peeled and chopped tart apples

1 pound dark seedless raisins

1 pound white raisins

1/4 cup minced citron, lemon peel or orange peel

2 cups water

2 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup vinegar (5%)

1 cup bottled lemon juice

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

For hot-pack canning: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring often, until tender and slightly thickened (35 to 40 minutes). Fill jars with hot mixture, leaving inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids, and process in a boiling water bath 15 minutes. Makes about 7 quart jars (may also be made in pint jars).

May your summer end with a flourish and a fine meal with fine friends.



— Roasted Caprese salad

— Chocolate chip cookies topped with sea salt

— Special-occasion cabbage

— Meat reduction sauce



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