Fare Exchange: Try easy chicken and almost famous meatballs

Fare Exchange: Try easy chicken and almost famous meatballs

September 26th, 2012 Jane Henegar in Life Entertainment

Good morning, good readers. You will find below a chicken recipe from Ina Garten, but the sender is missing a simpler recipe from the "Barefoot Contessa" that involved stuffing the cavity of a roasting chicken with lemons and roasting it in the oven.

Additionally, a reader is searching for catfish recipes that are not fried and homemade sweet potato fries.

Cynthia H. found this recipe from Ina Garten in her futile search for the one mentioned above. Although it's described in the title as easy, there are a good many ingredients and instructions.

Ina's Easy Chicken

1/4 cup good olive oil

3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

11/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)

1 lemon

Heat oven to 400 F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute, but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt, and pour into a 9- by-12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil, and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Serve hot with the pan juices.

Miz B. from Signal Mountain went all the way to Alaska for her authoritative sourdough starter and bread, "copied directly from 'Lowbush Moose [and Other Alaskan Recipes]' by Gordon R. Nelson. As an Army wife for 30 years, I moved around a good deal and did not want to try and transport the sourdough starter. This great recipe enabled me to discard the starter when we moved and to start a new batch at our next assignment. I first began using these recipes in 1978 while living in the Anchorage area at Fort Richardson, Alaska."

Miz B. kept her starter in the refrigerator in a crock tightly sealed with aluminum foil. The cookbook author used a 1-gallon mayonnaise jar with a screw-on lid.

Sourdough Starter

21/2 cups lukewarm water

1 package active dry yeast

3 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat flour

1-gallon glass jar with secure lid or crock with secure lid

Pour the water into a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and wait 5 minutes. Gradually add the flour, stirring in a little at a time. When all the flour is in, beat the mixture vigorously by hand until it is smooth. Pour the batter into your jar or crock, and cover lightly with aluminum foil. Set in a warm place for 24 hours. If the yeast is active, you'll have a good, bubbling starter. Store it covered in the refrigerator.

When you wish to use the sourdough, take out what you need, but leave at least a cupful of batter in the jar. At this time, add a cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water to the jar and stir. Put the jar back in the refrigerator, where it will keep several weeks. Whenever you wish to use some sourdough, go through this procedure to replenish your starter.

Sourdough Bread

Making sourdough bread requires planning. You have to start it the day before you want to eat it.

Day One:

1 cup sourdough starter from the crock or jar in your refrigerator

2 cups lukewarm water

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

Place the starter in a large bowl, and add the water and flour. Set the bowl, well covered, in a warm place and leave it there for 24 hours.

Second Day:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Butter

Into the bowl of bubbling dough that you prepared the previous day, place all ingredients except the butter. Mix by hand until the batter is smooth and the flour is completely absorbed. By now, you should be able to lift the dough out of the bowl in one piece. If you can't, work in another 1/2 cup of flour until the dough is firm.

Now lift the dough onto a well-floured board and knead the dough for 10 minutes; then shape it into a ball and drop it into a buttered bowl, turn it once, and cover with a towel. Put in a warm place for about 21/2 hours.

Turn the dough out on the board again, punch it down, cut in half, and roll and shape the pieces into two long loaves. Place the loaves on a buttered cookie sheet, drape with a towel and set in a warm place to rise again. In about an hour, the loaves should double in size and be ready to bake.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for an hour. Slide the finished loaves onto a rack to cool, but try to serve while they still are warm.

Mimi Lonas of Hixson sent her problem-solving cornbread muffins, suggesting that Fare Exchangers could be tired of cornbread recipes.

Not so. My friend Cathy, whose mama is a famed cornbread cook on Mowbray Mountain, says the cornbread column was the most important one ever. And she knows The Authority, her own mother.

Ms. Lonas described muffins as a solution to all the crisp cornbread problems. "I make muffins instead of a cornpone -- more crust all around. Notice there is no sugar in this recipe. Definitely Southern cornbread."

Cornbread Muffins

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup grease

1 teaspoon salt

About 2 cups plain cornmeal

Beat eggs. Add soda and baking powder, and mix. Add buttermilk, grease and salt. Add meal to make a medium batter. Heat four medium-size, six-muffin tins in a 450 F oven until smoking. Remove from oven and fill about half full (I use a gravy ladle). Batter will sizzle. Bake until brown. Turn out on sheet of aluminum foil.

Barbara found these Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs on Food Network, tried them, found them deliciously like Ikea's and now passes them on to you. She served them with ligonberry preserves as suggested.

Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs

For the meatballs:

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup minced white onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1/2 pound lean ground pork

1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten

Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the gravy:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/2 cups low-sodium beef broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Ligonberry jam, for serving (optional)

Make the meatballs: Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs, and stir to make a thick paste; let cool. Add the beef, pork, egg and egg white to the bowl, and mix until combined.

Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 400 F. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Make the gravy: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook, whisking, until smooth. Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish; sprinkle with the parsley and serve with ligonberry jam, if desired.