Fare Exchange: Cakes of corn and supreme chicken breasts

Fare Exchange: Cakes of corn and supreme chicken breasts

April 10th, 2013 by Jane Henegar in Life Entertainment


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.

Email: janehenegar@gmail.com

Fax: 423-668-5092

Good morning, generous readers. Your help is always welcome and this morning I have four requests that haven't turned up thus far: a chocolate meringue pie with a chocolate custard that stays firm, never runny; cheddar cheese scones; where to purchase and how to cook fresh local trout; and potatoes scalloped in heavy cream.

Crystal Rymer of Cleveland, Tenn., offered some general, then specific, ideas for making cornbread pancakes. First, to generalize: "Basically you can take any cornbread batter and cook it on a griddle or in a fry pan as if it were pancake batter. Sometimes you just don't have the 45 minutes to make a proper pone of cornbread, so corn cakes do nicely then. The following recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law." And here come the specifics.

Cornbread or Corn Cakes

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 cup Martha White Cornmeal Mix

2 tablespoons bacon grease, melted

Mix the buttermilk and egg well in a bowl or 4-cup measuring cup. Add cornmeal mix and stir until just combined. Lightly stir in the melted bacon grease.

At this point, the paths diverge. You may pour the batter into your preheated, pre-greased cornbread skillet and bake it 30 minutes for delicious pone of cornbread.

If you want corn cakes, preheat a skillet or griddle until a drop of water sizzles on it. Ladle the batter onto the greased skillet. Wait until it forms bubbles and is set underneath. Flip it and cook it until it is done.

As with any recipe for pancakes, adding a little more or less liquid will make them thinner or thicker, depending on how you want them.

S. Diener read the request for cornmeal pancakes and back came the memories.

Hoecakes: (some general instructions) "When I was a kid my mom would make hoecakes instead of heating up the oven in summer. I still make them today using cornmeal mix (I like White Lily) just like I would be making cornbread. Instead of putting mix in a big pan, I dollop them by 1/4 cup onto a hot griddle. Cook one side until edges are crisp and flip and cook until done. I can't give more specifics on time but it is so much like making a pancake that you could use the same directions.

"The nice thing about cornbread pancakes is that you can include a variety of ingredients in your wet mix: onions, jalapenos, sausage, bacon, whatever. And they are delicious.

"The story goes that they are called hoecakes because years ago field workers used to cook them on a hot garden hoe while they were working. Don't know if this is true."

Here's a second installment from the recent recipe gifts of Sabrina Daniel.

Chicken Breasts Supreme

1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

6 whole chicken breasts, halved and skinned

1/4 cup real butter

1/3 cup water

4 teaspoons cornstarch

3 cups half and half cream, divided

1/2 cup cooking sherry

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup grated Swiss cheese

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Combine flour, salt and paprika on waxed paper and coat chicken breasts. In a large skillet, measure butter and lightly brown chicken. Add water and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is almost tender. Arrange breasts in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup cream and stir into drippings in skillet. Stir over low heat; gradually adding remaining cream until thickened.

Add sherry, lemon rind and lemon juice. Pour sauce over chicken and bake, covered, in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle grated cheese and parsley over top, and continue to bake until cheese bubbles. May be frozen after sauce is added if boneless chicken breasts are used.

Serve hot with rice and green vegetables.

Makes 6 generous portions, with some for seconds, or 12 skimpy servings.

- "Southern Sideboards" of the Junior League of Jackson, Miss.

An anonymous correspondent sent this recipe in an envelope full of clippings. I suppose we all have such envelopes full of recipes we've clipped but have not yet decorated with the splatters of evidence that we have tested them. The recipe below calls for three fresh herbs, chopped, and that reminds me of the sight of fresh herbs in pots for sale as spring comes, a welcome addition to the kitchen window.

Tomato-Herb Mini Frittatas

12 large eggs

1 cup half and half

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Italian three-cheese blend

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Process first four ingredients in a blender until blended. Stir together chives, parsley and oregano in a small bowl.

Place 9 lightly greased 4-inch (6-ounce) ramekins on two baking sheets; layer tomatoes, 1 cup cheese-and-chive mixture in ramekins. Pour egg mixture over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Place one baking sheet on middle oven rack and other on the low rack. Bake for 7 minutes. Switch baking sheets and bake 7 to 8 more minutes or until lightly browned. Transferring the bottom baking sheet to the middle rack during the last few minutes of cooking time allows the top to brown slightly.

For the Tomato-Herb Frittata, prepare recipe as directed, substituting a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish for ramekins and increasing bake time to 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Mixture will rise about 1 inch above rim of baking dish.

To give the tarts a restaurant finish, top them before baking with mixed baby greens tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

It would seem that Fare Exchange, so dependent for 40-plus years on local sleuthing for missing recipes, would no longer be needed. After all, we have the Internet. And yet, you are as helpful as you have always been, and Fare Exchange is just as needed.

We don't want just any old recipes; we want them as made in Chattanooga and Cleveland and Dayton and Dalton and the mountains and the valleys. We want to know how local eateries work their magic, more than the franchise and the faraway (but we wouldn't mind a few of their secrets as well ... ) It must be clear: There are no cooks like our cooks. So keep reading and writing.