published Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Visit to North Carolina yields a wealth of recipes

Jane Henegar

Welcome to Fare Exchange, dear readers.

We've got some time-sensitive requests today, so please read and then remit.

Our fellow readers need recipes for:

• Pesto.

• Cracker Barrel's corn muffins.

• All kinds of salsas and guacamole for a salsa bar party.

• Praline icebox pies and other icebox pies printed not too long ago in Southern Living.

• Sourdough bread like The Bread Basket's.

It's always interesting to hear from a recipe tester among you, and this week Rose Secrest wrote to say her pesto experiment had failed. So why not seek the wisdom of the experts, others among you who have tested your pesto recipes well? I know I'll be watching your answers, as there is a plethora of basil outside our door.

Judy Rorex was a guest in the North Carolina mountain home of friends and liked everything about their laid-back way of entertaining. She reported on two things: the spirit of the place and the delicious recipes her hostess shared. And this report will occupy most of today's space.

As to entertaining, Ms. Rorex loved that the hostess had everything prepared in advance and could relax and enjoy her guests. "Not unimportantly, everything was delicious. When I asked for recipes, she said her favorite source is " 'Pon Top Edisto," from Trinity Episcopal Church in Edisto Island, S.C. (available from online book retailers). She noted that some recipes in this cookbook were attributed to former Chattanoogan Josita Montgomery, and that certainly added to the recommendation.

And since we were out of pocket on vacation, we're grateful that Ms. Rorex filled in this column with food worth copying.

"Here were two menus for the weekend. Saturday night was shrimp and potato salad, tomato pie, fruit and individual ice cream bars. Sunday lunch was homemade barbecue on buns with slaw, sliced homegrown tomatoes, cantaloupe and honeydew and again, individual ice cream bars, a different kind. This dessert idea is one I am sure to adopt."

And now, the recipes.

Crock Pot Beef Barbecue

1 (21/2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat

2 medium onions, chopped

3/4 cup Coca-Cola

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons butter or margarine

6 hamburger buns

Place roast and onions in a 4-quart slow cooker. Combine Coke and next 7 ingredients; reserve 1/2 cup of mixture and place in refrigerator. Pour remaining mixture into slow cooker.

Cover and cook on High for 6 hours or until roast is very tender. Drain and chop roast. Keep warm.

Combine reserved Coke mixture, ketchup and butter in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until thoroughly heated. Pour over chopped roast and stir gently.

Yield: 6 servings.

•••

Although one could add shrimp to any potato salad recipe, this is the one Ms. Rorex was served. "The cook said that capers are the most important part of the recipe."

Grandmother Belser's Shrimp and Potato Salad

3 pounds large shrimp, cooked and peeled

4 to 5 large potatoes, cooked and cubed

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 small onion, finely chopped

Mayonnaise, to bind together

Salt and pepper, to taste (salt liberally)

Capers, to taste (very important)

Combine shrimp, potatoes, eggs, celery and onion. Add mayonnaise and seasonings. Chill and serve.

Yield: 12 servings

Edisto Tomato Pie

1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell, baked at 375 F for 10 minutes

5 large tomatoes, peeled and thickly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Generous clippings of fresh basil leaves (several tablespoons, at least)

Garlic powder, to taste

3/4 cup mayonnaise

11/4 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Put sliced tomatoes between two sheets of paper towels to drain well; this could take 30 minutes.

Layer tomatoes in baked pie shell. Mix together salt, pepper, basil and garlic powder, and sprinkle each layer with this mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings. Also good cold.


And speaking of tomatoes, Yeast of the Ridge saw this recipe in a recent Bon Appétit and thought it had to be the ultimate August dish.

Tomato-Basil Sauce With Polenta

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 (16- to 18-ounce) packaged cooked polenta log, cut into 1/2-inch rounds

2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 6 cups)

7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

8 large sprigs basil

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; heat to 425 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, and brush with 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange polenta rounds on oiled sheet.

Very coarsely chop (do not puree) half the tomatoes in a food processor. Cut remaining tomatoes in half (quarter if large). Combine tomatoes in a bowl with 4 tablespoons oil and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

Stack 3 (24- by 12-inch) sheets of parchment paper on another baking sheet. (Don't use foil. The tomato acid will react with aluminum.) Spoon tomato mixture onto side of stacked parchment. Fold parchment layers over mixture, and crimp edges tightly to form a sealed packet.

Place baking sheet with tomato packet on upper rack and sheet with polenta on lower rack. Bake, turning polenta rounds once, until polenta is light golden and tomatoes are saucy. (Carefully open the packet to check; steam will escape.) This will take 25 to 30 minutes. You also can cook polenta in a grill pan or on a charcoal or gas grill.

Spoon tomato sauce over polenta.

Nutrition information: 320 calories, 18 grams fat, 4 grams fiber.


At this moment I am aware that there are few, and small, tomatoes in our kitchen, and nary a peach. Time is running out, so let's get shopping or harvesting, and then let's get cooking. Please do come back next week.

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