Poogan's Porch, one of the city's oldest restaurants, has been serving Charleston diners since 1976. The story of its unusual name has been oft repeated, but just in case, Poogan was the neighborhood ambassador of dog-will. In turn, his adventuresome palate for table scraps was duly rewarded.

Poogan is said to have greeted the restaurant's first customers from the porch of the house. Alas, he died in 1979.

The name and location haven't changed but the restaurant hasn't stood still all these years. A large wine cellar was added in 2005 and interior improvements have been made. The menu is expansive with updated versions of Southern classics.

Recently, a West Ashley reader ate dinner there and was wowed by the mac and cheese appetizer. Poogan's General Manager Travis McMaster and chef Daniel Doyle took time to provide the recipe, in spite of the busy spring season.

Country Ham, Smoked Gouda Mac

8 ounces thinly sliced country ham

1 quart heavy cream

1 pound shredded smoked Gouda cheese

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

20 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente

Render (cook until the fat is released) the country ham over low heat in a pot, then add the heavy cream. Let the mixture simmer until reduced by one-third to one-half. Do not bring to a rapid boil or the cream will burn.

Slowly add the Gouda and whisk it in. Add seasonings and allow to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the elbow macaroni and take off heat. Garnish with fresh green onions or chives before serving.

Encore for lentils

Alysia Lucas of Goose Creek passes along one more recipe for lentils that didn't arrive in time for last Sunday's column. It's for a salad, which she says is delicious and keeps well.

"The only caveat is that the lentils take more like 45 minutes to cook and may require a little extra water. Taste every few minutes until they reach your desired 'doneness.' "

The recipe originated with the Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis.

Lentil and Rice Salad

4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 cups dried green lentils

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus 2 cups

1 bay leaf

1 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Add 2 1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer gently until the lentils are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining 2 cups broth and bay leaf to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the rice and return the broth to a simmer.

Cover and simmer gently over low heat until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes (do not stir the rice as it cooks).

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Fluff the rice with a large fork. Transfer to the bowl with the lentils. Add the olives, parsley, thyme, and lemon peel. Toss the rice mixture with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to coat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

A Spring picnic

Last week was kind of slow for recipes and requests. Everybody must be woozy from the spring weather.

So I'll take the opportunity to share two healthy, seasonal recipes from the American Institute for Cancer Research, which suggests them for a picnic. I just picked up some purple and green asparagus from Boone Hall Market, and was looking for new things to do with it.

The AICR reminds us of the health benefits of asparagus -- folate, vitamin C and fiber -- and says that foods high in folate may offer protection against pancreatic cancer.

To keep asparagus looking good, refrigerate and store upright in a tall glass with an inch of water and loosely covered with a plastic bag. Before cooking, trim the spears by breaking off the woody, inedible parts and rinse the tips well.

Asparagus Salad With Lemon-Soy Sauce

Makes 4 servings

1 1/4 pounds thin asparagus stalks, cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch lengths

8 whole scallions, trimmed to include a little green

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

5 scallions, trimmed to include a little green, minced and divided in 2 batches

1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste

Steam asparagus and whole scallions in a steam basket over boiling water (or in microwave, with small amount of water) until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under running cold water to stop cooking and set color. Drain and cool.

To make dressing, heat oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and stir until it begins to color. Add half the minced scallions and cook a few seconds. Add broth, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Set aside.

Just before serving, place remaining minced scallions in large bowl. Add steamed asparagus and scallions. Bring dressing to a boil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in pepper and lemon juice, tasting, to achieve an appealing tart and peppery flavor. Toss vegetables with dressing.

Per serving: 97 calories, 4g total fat (less than 1g saturated fat), 12g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 5g dietary fiber, 134mg sodium.

Quick Buttermilk Herb Bread

Makes 12 slices

Canola oil spray

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, to sprinkle over loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray interior of 8x4-inch loaf pan with oil spray.

In large bowl, combine dry ingredients and rosemary.

In separate bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, honey and oil. Stir into flour mixture just until blended. Spoon batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool slightly on a rack. Turn out the bread and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store wrapped in plastic wrap or foil.

Per slice: 129 calories, 3g total fat (1g saturated fat), 21g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 2g dietary fiber, 250mg sodium.

Who's got the recipe?

--S. Salmon of Summerville writes, "I know it's hard to get recipes from businesses still in operation, but I sure would love to have the recipe for a Jalapeno-Cheddar Cream Cheese Spread from Bagel Nation in Mount Pleasant. Has anybody been able to duplicate it?"

--A Goose Creek reader loves anything lemon, and asked for readers' favorite lemon cake recipes.

Looking for a recipe or have one to share? Reach Teresa Taylor at 937-4886, food@postandcourier.com.