You are in good company this morning; this is a conversation, not a monologue.
J.S. wrote from Maryville, Tennessee: "Can your readers provide a recipe or information on a salad from the 1970s or 1980s, when the Vine Street Market was on Vine Street? It had chicken, rice and maybe almonds and I think was called Atchafalaya rice salad. Any help will be appreciated."
Overheard in a hair salon: "The soup she served was so delicious: black beans, pineapple, tomatoes... " The unnamed listener hopes you can produce the recipe.
We begin this morning with a piece of family advice from Eleanor Cooper, whose late mother, Queenie McCallie, is present in spirit whenever her best recipes are served.
Ms. Cooper offered a preservation plan for favorite family recipes. "After Grandmother died, her granddaughter Kari McCallie took the 3-by-5 cards of our favorite recipes. She printed a cookbook of those recipes. On one side of the page, she reproduced a copy of the card. On the other side of the page, she typed the recipe. It makes a great collection both with Grandmother's handwriting and a clearly typed recipe."
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK, NO. 1
Bubble and squeak was discussed in last week's column, and now it has appeared in full.
Helen Barrett began, "Although I never met my English grandfather, who died before I was born, we ate many standard English meals. I cherish them still. And bubble and squeak, a leg of lamb, sauteed kidneys and eggs, steak and kidney pie, kippers, finnan haddie (smoked haddock poached in milk) and such are among my favorites.
"Bubble and squeak is a marvelously flexible dish to prepare. The base is leftover mashed potatoes -- you can't make it without them. (Perhaps turnips, but that makes me shudder.) In an iron skillet, add some fat (another flexible item). From the old days, it could be bacon grease or butter or even perhaps Wesson oil. Best of all might be some pan juices from the meat prepared the day before for the main meal.
"Heat that up, add some finely chopped onions, the mashed potatoes, leftover Brussels sprouts (my favorite) or cabbage or I suppose even kale. There should be close to equal amounts of the vegetable and the mash. I'm a bit of a purist, so although I add carrots to just about anything, I wouldn't for this. Sauté in the pan until the underside browns nicely. Flip it over with a spatula, and brown the underside. Quick and easy. I think that bubble and squeak lends itself to the individual dish, dependent on echoes from the meal that preceded it, the inspiration of the cook and the available leftovers."
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK, NO. 2
Mary Lee Crabtree followed Ms. Barrett from her home in Red Bank.
"As a faithful reader of your column, I was excited to see a request for something I have a recipe for. I've made it, and my husband likes it.
"It can be adjusted for what you have left over or what you like. I believe it is a British dish."
Bubble and Squeak
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup shredded cooked Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup shredded cooked cabbage (optional)
1/2 cup grated carrots (may be cooked or raw)
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Fried eggs, to serve (optional)
Gently heat the butter and oil in a wide, shallow skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
Turn up the heat to medium high, and add the shredded Brussels sprouts, cabbage (if using) and carrots. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to color.
Add the mashed potatoes to the skillet, and stir briskly, until the vegetables and potatoes are well combined. Season again to taste.
Press down on the skillet, and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned and crisp. Drizzle a little oil around the edges if the mixture looks like it's drying out. The potato mixture should start making squeaking sounds at this point.
Using the lid of the skillet, invert the bubble and squeak into the lid, then slide back into the skillet to cook the other side. Cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Serve cut into wedges and topped with fried eggs, if desired.
You can use almost any leftover vegetables: parsnips, peas, sweet potato mash -- all make excellent substitutes.
You can also add bacon to this dish. Cook the bacon in the skillet first, then remove, drain and chop. Add a tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat in the skillet and continue as described, stirring in the chopped bacon with the potatoes.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
BEEF AND BEER STEW
Carla Sanderlin stores her recipe file in a ring binder, and therefore when she read the request for stews, she knew just where to go. "Your request was timely as I just made a large pot Sunday, and it was the perfect comfort meal for a cold, rainy evening.
"I used Stella Artois beer because that is what I typically have on hand, and it works well in this recipe. I hope your readers find it useful and delicious."
Beef and Porter Stew
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck stew (Costco's stew meat is the best, already trimmed and so tender; might need to cut into 1-inch cubes, but quality is good)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, cut into quarters and coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 bottles of American Porter, rich dark ale or any beer (such as Michelob amber bock dark lager)
2 to 3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon or more fresh thyme
3 cups low-sodium beef broth, divided (2 cups added to beef in pot, 1 cup warmed and added to tomato paste)
1 small can tomato paste
Trim beef, and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Heat oil and butter over medium to high heat in a Dutch oven. Add beef to pot in a single layer, and brown on all sides (you may have to do in batches), about 8 minutes total. Transfer beef to plate.
To the pot add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle onion with the flour, and stir to combine well.
Return beef to pot, add ale or beer, bay leaves, thyme and 2 cups of the beef stock. Dilute tomato paste in 1 cup warm broth. Bring ingredients in pot to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer 1 hour and 45 minutes.
3 large carrots, peeled and cubed
3 large parsnips, peeled and cubed (usually come 4 to a bag, so I use all)
2 stalks celery (optional but a nice addition)
4 to 6 medium Red Bliss potatoes, washed and cut into medium-size cubes, with skin on
Frozen peas (optional)
Add vegetables: carrots, parsnips, celery and potatoes. Add peas toward end of cooking time, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Return to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes before serving.
Serve with crusty bread or cornbread. If serving with crusty bread, have garlic butter for dipping.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Until next week ...
-- Vine Street Market's chicken and rice salad
-- Soup with black beans, pineapple, tomatoes
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, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.
• Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750
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