TerraMae meal benefits Siskin Children's Institute

TerraMae meal benefits Siskin Children's Institute

January 29th, 2014 by Anne Braly in Life Entertainment

TerraMae Appalachian Bistro will celebrate its first year in business Thursday evening with an event to benefit Siskin Children's Institute. The evening will be a representation of the talents of chefs from the surrounding Appalachian region led by TerraMae executive chef Shelley Cooper.

The guest chefs are Bruce Lafone and John Campbell of Asheville, N.C.; and Kyle Woodruff and Emily Clary Woodruff of Williamsburg, Va. Rebecca Barron from right down the street at St. John's Restaurant will also lend her expertise in the evening.

Each chef will have a table with food and drinks for guests to sample, and the food will be accompanied by musical performers who represent the personality of each chef's region.

The dinner starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $115 each, $50 of which, along with proceeds from a silent auction, go to Siskin. For reservations, log onto terramaechattanooga.com or call 710-2925. TerraMae is located at 120 E. 10th St. inside StoneFort Inn.

Cold winter temperatures make many of us bring out our crock pots and slow cook all day, creating warm, cozy comfort foods we crave when the temperatures plunge. It's those foods that say something to our souls.

Here's what a few cooks in our area had to say about their favorite slow-cooked dishes:

• Amanda Varnell loves to make stews and pot roasts in her slow cooker.

• Rick Goins can't choose between slow-cooked sweet-and-sour meatballs and pulled pork shoulder. "They're tied," he says.

• Dianne Cosper says on a cold winter day there's nothing better than red beans and rice spiked with andouille sausage, onions and peppers and served over rice.

• Lynn Chapman loves her husband's crock pot black-eyed peas.

• Bill Cromer uses his year round and says Asian short ribs are the best.

• Kelly McCoy uses hers year round, as well, making the best pork and beans. It's her current addiction, she admits.

• Judy Baird Cunningham uses hers for chili.

• Kelley Close says her grandmother makes the best rump roast with carrots, onions and potatoes in her slow cooker.

• Becki Patterson makes mac and cheese for pot luck dinners.

• Emily Ahlquist O'Donnell gives her slow-cooked favorite meal a Tex-Mex twist by adding a jar of salsa on top of a whole chicken and letting it cook on low for hours. It's the easiest thing ever, she says.

• Carol Woodward King makes her roasts in the slow cooker, too. "It's easy," she says. She takes an envelope of dry onion soup mix and sprinkles it on the bottom of the crock pot, then places a 2- to 3-pound rump roast on top and spreads a can of cream of mushroom soup over it. Then she pours a half soup can of water over all. Cook it on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. "Yum," she adds.

• Karen Tredway Fogo Soups says there's nothing better than opening the front door, coming inside and smelling the warmth of a good meal. Her favorite crock pot dishes are chili, pot roast, barbecue pork roast and spaghetti.

• Ferris Robinson slow cooks a pork tenderloin along with black beans, onions and a few splashes of red wine vinegar. When done, she serves it over rice with sour cream and avocado.

Now, here's a new favorite of mine. It's one from Southern Living that I tweaked and made a little better. The gravy is phenomenal. Serve the chicken over rice and spoon additional gravy over top.

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 (10.75-ounce) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup

1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup dry white wine (see note)

1 (0.7-ounce) envelope dry Italian dressing mix

1 (8-ounce) package fresh sliced mushrooms

Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt. Cook chicken, in batches if need be, in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 2-3 minutes on each side or just until browned. Transfer chicken to a five-quart slow cooker, reserving drippings in skillet. Add soup, cream cheese, wine and Italian dressing mix to hot drippings in skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Arrange mushrooms over chicken in slow cooker. Spoon soup mixture over mushrooms. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir well before serving.

Note: I had no dry white wine, so I substituted 1/2 cup cooking sherry and added 1/4 cup dry red wine. Delicious.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.