Chattanooga-area cooks serve up their recipes in pairs

Welcome to fast-fleeing June and some delicious fare, exchanged.

T. Square has been searching Chattanooga for Mrs. Smith's blackberry cobbler. "No luck. There isn't a homemade cobbler better than hers, but I am going to need either a homemade blackberry cobbler recipe or a tip on where to find Mrs. Smith's frozen version."

T. Square continued with one more request, as an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal. "I always read their food stories, but a recent story got me. Spoon bread, according to the writer, is made with as much sugar as the cornmeal and flour mixture. I want a decent recipe for spoon bread, the old-time favorite my mother-in-law used to make. I don't want a corn cake."

Gigi Gross is calling for your help. "I read several weeks ago about a great easy tea. It sounded like a tea that Betsy Anderson always served in the summer. I loved that it had the amounts and not just guesses. It was Lipton instant lemon something, and it sounded so refreshing."

(READ MORE: Dinner at Chattanooga restaurant Giardino prompts requests for recipes)

SAUCE AND FISH

Tim Threadgill was making chimichurri sauce on the day he sent this recipe.

"This tastes close to some my son and I had in Vero Beach at a Cuban restaurant located at a gas station (don't Southern gas stations have the best food?). It makes quite a bit and may be used on any grilled meat or veggie and due to both the oil and citrus/vinegar makes a good salad dressing (if a light touch is used). A tablespoon or two will really dress up a can of peas or black beans."

Cuban Chimichurri Recipe

1 large bunch cilantro leaves

8 cloves garlic

1/4 cup vinegar - white, apple cider or wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lime and 1 orange

1/2 cup onion

Dash or two of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup olive oil

Optional additions:

1/2 cup sweet red peppers, chopped

1/2 cup minced tomato

1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano

Using a knife, cut the leaves off a bundle of cilantro by trimming the stems just below the bulk of the leaves - the few stems left won't make a difference. Using a food processor or blender, pulse all the ingredients except the olive oil until you have a thick mixture (scraping down the sides as needed). Don't overprocess. Remove the ingredients to a bowl to whisk in the olive oil - if you add to the blender or processor, the oil will emulsify and turn the mixture white. You will need to taste and adjust to get the right flavor. Taste with a piece of bread; add salt, pepper, more vinegar or citrus as needed. The flavor should be intense with garlic and cilantro; don't be stingy with the salt either. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for at least two weeks, especially if the peppers or tomato aren't added.

Mr. Threadgill also shared a Grouper Veracruz recipe that may be used with any mild flaky fish. "It is bright, summery and light and may be served over rice." It came from Cooking Light magazine.

Grouper Veracruz

4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets (3/4 inch thick)

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons chopped pitted green olives

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon capers

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place fish in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add cumin and garlic; sauté 1 1/2 minutes. Add water and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Pour tomato mixture over fish.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. This recipe makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 grouper fillet and 1/2 cup sauce).

SALAD AND STEW

Rose Secrest is back in the healthy-food saddle with a stew that could supply a week's nourishment, as well as a salad. One of my favorite things about the many recipes she has sent is their characteristic brevity. How about this after a list of ingredients: "Combine."

You get the picture.

Carrot and Beet Salad

2 carrots, chopped

2 beets cooked, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced

2 tablespoons mint, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped

1/4 cup raisins

Red pepper flakes to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine.

Black Bean Stew

1/2 cup dry black beans, cooked

1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks and cooked

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 red onion, diced

2 tablespoons jalapenos, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup cilantro, minced

Juice of 2 limes

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine. Add salt to taste, and serve.

BROCCOLI AND CHOPS

Roseann Strazinsky sent four treats from her Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, kitchen. The first two, which would make a complete meal when combined, follow.

Broccoli Delight Salad

1 bunch fresh broccoli cut in pieces (4 to 5 cups)

1 cup golden or dark raisins

1/4cup red onion, diced

1 strip bacon, fried and crumbled

1 cup sunflower seeds

Dressing:

3 to 4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup mayonnaise or creamy salad dressing

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Put washed and well-drained broccoli pieces in a large bowl. Add raisins, onion, bacon and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

Mix dressing ingredients, and pour over salad, blending well. Makes 6 servings.

Pork Chops on Amber Rice

6 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick

Oil

Salt and pepper

1 1/3 cups packaged precooked rice

1 cup orange juice

1 (10 -ounce) can condensed chicken and rice soup

Brown pork chops in oil in heavy skillet; season with salt and pepper. Place rice in a 12- by 7 1/2- by 2-inch baking dish; pour orange juice over rice. Arrange browned pork chops on rice. Pour chicken soup over all. Cover; bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 10 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

Our cup runs over, our platters run over, and second helpings are on the way.

photo Jane Henegar