published Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Fare Exchange: More tips on red-eye gravy, plus chicken, muffins

Jane Henegar

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.

• Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

• E-mail: chattfare@gmail.com

Welcome to the farest of places … and it’s all thanks to you who read and write. We begin as always with requests: lima bean/peanut butter casserole, and recipes and ideas for Whole 30 and Paleo diets — particularly mayonnaise, chili and quiche.

Glenda Roberts was reminiscing when a particular family favorite recipe came to mind. She wrote, “As a young mother almost 50 years ago, I relied on the Food section (of the newspaper) for creative recipes to hold my four children’s interest. One recipe was a lima bean/peanut butter casserole. The recipe exclaimed that children loved it … and they did. I would love to have the recipe again for my grandchildren if possible.”

Dixie Pearce’s family has just begun the Whole 30 diet, and she knows she is going to need a lot of help as the days continue. “Today I am asking for recipes that are tested, blogs I might follow, ideas about where to shop, and recipes for chili, mayonnaise and any kind of quiche.”

John and Kathryn Echerd were entertaining their grandson Eli on the morning of his 25th birthday, and grandfather prepared “a full North Carolina multi-course breakfast: bacon, country ham, eggs, sourwood honey, biscuits and, of course, red-eye gravy. I picked up the paper and read the request for how to make red-eye gravy.

“I had never given a thought to a method in making this gravy. It was just the result of cooking country ham. So I watched myself make red-eye gravy.”

And here is what he saw. I love this method. He also recommended sourwood honey from Linda’s on Highway 58, “honey put up by a man in Soddy or Sale Creek.”

North Carolina Red-eye Gravy

2 slices center cut country ham (thin sliced like Clifty Farm, cut into biscuit-size pieces)

Water

Put ham in a skillet and cover with water. Cook on medium heat until all water is boiled away. Let it brown. Turn ham over and let it brown on the other side.

Add 2/3 cup water and let it boil. Remove ham on paper towel to drain. You will have about 1/2 cup of the best North Carolina-style red-eye gravy you ever soaked a biscuit in.

At this point, heed Echerd’s caution. “Please don’t add anything to this gravy. No coffee, no anything but the gravy. I grew up on a small farm in North Carolina. We raised chickens, pigs and had cows and a big garden. We cured the ham after ‘hog killing’ with mostly salt. The cooking of the ham with water makes the ham mild and adds the salt from the curing to give the gravy the red-eye.”

In those words, you heard the voice of authority. And with such authority we continue.


Butter chicken is a rich delight, and Barbara Mann supplied it speedily in answer to a request. Look at this: a cup of butter and three cups of heavy cream. And our favorite recipe word: Easy.

Easy Indian Butter Chicken

1 cup butter, divided

1 onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes with juice

3 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into bite sized chunks

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons curry, or to taste

Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium-high heat and sauté chicken until done. Remove from pan. Add remaining butter and add onion and garlic; lightly brown. Add tomato sauce, cream, salt, cayenne, curry and garam marsala. Bring to a simmer, add chicken; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Variations: Mann uses about half the cayenne and curry called for by the recipe because that is more her taste. Serve with rice and top with chopped parsley and/or chives or green onions for color.


Butter chicken finishes — or is topped with — herbs, and Ginny Gaines comes next, logically, responding to a request for preserving herbs. She offers suggestions for freezing and drying.

“If you’re freezing mint or chives, all you have to do is wrap them in foil, store in the freezer, and then, as you need, cut off and chop. Or you can pre-chop the herbs, pack them in a plastic container and spoon out the amount required. Whole basil leaves can be frozen in a container and taken out individually. They probably will turn black in the freezer, but will maintain their good flavor. Of course, right now you can make pesto if you have an abundance of basil. With dill, you can purée the fresh leaves with a little water and freeze the purée in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, drop into freezer bags, and one can be taken out at a time. One cube will equal about 1 tablespoon of fresh herb. Mint, basil and chives do best frozen.

“If you’re drying herbs, which is very simple, pick them after the dew has dried and before they bloom for the most aromatic. If you’re doing bunches, like mints, sages, etc., they can be dried by tying them together and hanging ends together. You can put them in an attic by hanging them on a beam or in a well-ventilated basement. You can also dry them on a drying tray, which you can make by stretching muslin, nylon screening or netting tightly over a simple wooden frame. A shallow basket or even a clean window screen can be used. They can be in a well-ventilated room. Drying time varies from two to 10 days. One thing to remember is that fresh herbs are not as strong as the dried.”

Thank you, you packed a lot of flavor in a very small space.


Mike Gloekler, who works with McKee Foods, responded to a query about half-done pickles.

“If I am thinking right, Tim Guin is looking for a recipe for half-sour pickles. Those are the words he should Google and he will get a ton of recipes. Additionally, just FYI, local Bi-Lo stores have begun carrying Dietz and Watson brand foods in their deli sections, including Dietz and Watson Half-Sour Pickles. They are a favorite in our home. I hope this helps Mr. Guin and your other readers.”

We do, too — and expect so.


Linda Book of Harrison shared a family favorite recipe, crediting it to one of the pastors at Calvary Chapel.

Bran Muffins

3 cups bran flakes cereal, crushed

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, sifted

2 1/2 teaspoons soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup honey

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup raisins, plumped in1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine all ingredients, including the water the raisins are in. Mix thoroughly. Place in paper cups in puffin tins.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes. Makes 3 to 4 dozen. Muffins freeze well.


You were full of good recipes this week, but short on Just a Dash quick ideas and Kitchen Must-Haves for purchase. Please give us your simple, speedy best. And come back next week, no matter what.

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