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Jun 09, 2023

This morning, we head together into the cooking month of June.

Corn cakes mark the beginning of our Help Wanted section. Philip Marion remembered his grandmother's corn cakes, "thin and fried to crunchy perfection in a cast-iron skillet. I recently read about arepas, a different kind of corn cake prepared in a skillet, but thick, near the size of English muffins. I request a recipe for both."

The next to speak is one we will call M.O. (those initials standing for "Missing Oaxaca," which our correspondent definitely does). He has started a container garden and the most prolific herb is epazote. "I have no idea how to use this herb. I have read a little on the internet, but I would like to have some specific recipes. I hope someone can tell me what foods combine well with the taste of epazote."

He added, "I am also interested in recipes using mango. I learned from an article in Mexican News Daily that it is a versatile and popular ingredient, and I would like to try a variety."


In the above-mentioned article, M.O. found one mango recipe that he passes on to you, though, he says, "the habanero pepper scares me a little." Perhaps something mango-filled and milder, with or without a Mexican flavor, from some of you?

Mango Habanero Hot Sauce

3/4 pound ripe Manila mangos, peeled and chopped

5 habanero peppers, with stems and seeds removed (see variation)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup raw honey

Salt to taste

Water (as needed for desired consistency)

In a blender or food processor, combine the chopped mangos, habanero peppers, apple cider vinegar, honey and salt. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water gradually until you reach the desired consistency. Be cautious not to dilute the flavors too much. Pour the mixture into a saucepan, and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the mixture cool down. Once cooled, transfer the sauce to sterilized bottles or jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Variation: For a milder sauce, add two to three peppers instead of five.


In the corporate memory of this city, amaretto pie will always have a place. And as happened last week, a reader sent a recipe that may or may not imitate the late Mount Vernon Restaurant's specialty. "I found it in my recipe file in a faded newspaper clipping," wrote Edna C. "It seems very rich, and I think I will cut down the sugar by half in the filling, but I haven't tried that yet."

Amaretto Pudding Pie


1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 1/4 sticks butter

Mix together flour, pecans and butter. Press into a 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.


2 cups sugar

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipped cream

Mix together until well blended. Spread over cooled crust.


2 (3-ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur

Mix together. Spread over filling.


12 ounces whipped cream

3 ounces sliced almonds, toasted

Spread whipped cream over topping, and garnish with almonds.


Ms. C's letter continued. "Stuck to the amaretto recipe in my recipe file was this one that I am definitely going to try. It seems like a healthy dessert or breakfast dish. The recipe says, "Even people who think they don't like yogurt like this."

Elegant Yogurt Compote

2 1/2 cups plain unsweetened yogurt (I prefer Greek)

1/3 cup honey

1 cup unsweetened coconut

2 cups sliced fresh apricots (see note)

1 cup finely chopped apples, tossed in a little lemon or orange juice to prevent from darkening

3 or more drops almond extract

1 cup toasted almonds or pecans or walnuts, your choice

Stir all ingredients together in order given. Chill several hours before serving. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Note: You may also use dried apricots that you have soaked to soften in advance and chopped, or canned apricots. If you use canned, make sure you drain thoroughly.


These paragraphs began with a reminiscence of corn cakes, and that led me back to the vast landscape of remembered foodie pleasures. In the Texas city of my childhood, Park Place Bakery served up almond bread with a dense marbling of almond streusel that I can still see and taste. And then there was the old-fashioned grocery with a butcher who cut your meat to order and wrapped it in brown paper.

The latter pleasure continues locally in some places today, including Main Street Meats. When shopping for a special April occasion (the return of our grown children), I stopped in to be taught and then to purchase a piece of beef called teres major. "Sear it on all sides in a cast-iron skillet, then bake very briefly in a 400-degree F oven in the same pan." That was the first butcher's instruction, but for a second special occasion this week I heard, "Just sear it on all sides. That will do it for rare or medium rare."

In both cases, the meat and the experience were seasoned by the neighborly guidance of the butcher. (Such conversations sometimes make one consider asking the butcher to come over and share the meal.) The meat tasted to us like beef tenderloin, two feasting on $15 worth in the comfort of home.


Today there will be leftovers, as we begin our 56th year of marriage. And there are lessons: Recall the blessings of your growing up, the simple pleasures of taste and sight. Return when you can to the places not of prepackaging but of special attention to your particular needs. Ask for advice from experts, noting that two experts will have differing views of making a celebration, or a life, memorable.

Share the feasts you have been served.

Save a little to savor on the ordinary days ahead, and always give thanks.


— Corn cakes and the thicker arepas

— Recipes using the herb epazote

— Recipes using mango


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

Email: [email protected]

MANGO STARTER Mango Habanero Hot Sauce PIE CONTENDER Amaretto Pudding Pie Crust: Filling: Topping: Garnish: YOGURT COMPOTE Elegant Yogurt Compote OBLIGING BUTCHERS TO FINISH REQUESTS TO REACH US Mailing address: Email: