Chattanooga-area cooks request recipes for chili peppers, meals from Trader Joe’s products

We arrive together at October's first Wednesday, with colorful cuisine ahead.

› A garden full of peppers has sent "Riverview Anonymous" from the garden to the computer for help.

"I'm not sure why we planted peppers, but they have been very productive. I know we have plenty of Fresno, poblano, jalapeño and cayenne. I don't want to pickle them, but I would be interested in stuffing them as appetizers and also in freezing them for later use. Would like some other pepper recipes."

› C.K. of Nashville wants to know readers' "favorite meals from ingredients bought at Trader Joe's." You will see her favorite menu as you keep reading this column.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga's new Trader Joe's converts a skeptic)


A FAMILY STAPLE

Judi Goddard of Fort Oglethorpe shared recipes today from her Connecticut roots. Our recent discussion of quinoa got her thinking.

"The first recipe I am sending is from my grandmother (Grandma Jo), and she called it a Quic-Nic Cake. It's a one-dish cake and really easy — an absolute staple in our kitchen. I usually serve it with vanilla ice cream.

"The second is a quinoa recipe I've been making for years. I love it for breakfast or for a quick lunch. And it's versatile."

About her cooking life as a transplant to the Chattanooga area she wrote, "It's fun to have Southern recipes to look forward to." And that's where you all come in.

Grandma Jo's Quic-Nic Cake

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold water

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons cooking oil

In an ungreased 8-inch baking pan, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, to the cold water add vinegar, vanilla and cooking oil. Add this mixture to dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly with a fork. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Variations: Add chopped nuts to batter. Place halved marshmallows on the baked cake while it is cooling.


QUINOA VARIATIONS

Quinoa — Hot or Cold

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/4 cup fresh thyme (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil

Toss all ingredients together, with salt to taste. Enjoy warm or cold.

Here are some possible flavor combinations to add to a bowl of quinoa instead of this recipe's walnuts, cranberries, raisins, scallions, parsley and thyme: blueberries, pecans, rosemary, golden raisins, pistachios, pineapple or cherries.


Quinoa Breakfast

Warm or cold cooked quinoa, plain or prepared according to the directions above

Large eggs, prepared one by one in the microwave

1/2 avocado (optional)

To microwave the egg, just crack it into a microwave-safe bowl, cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and then microwave for 35 to 36 seconds, depending on how well you like your egg cooked and the size of the egg. Large eggs (which lately have seemed awfully small) take 35 seconds. Extra-large, it's more like 36 to 37. I like my eggs the consistency of sunny side up. To assemble, place quinoa in a bowl and top with eggs and, if you have one, a half avocado.


A TJ'S FAVORITE

C.K. of Nashville is a recent college graduate who issued the challenge for the best meals prepared with all Trader Joe's products. "This is my favorite meal so far," says the cook.

(READ MORE: Hooked on salmon, fried rice and veggies)

Trader Joe's Salmon Supper

Trader Joe's frozen Atlantic salmon with lemon herb butter, skin on and boneless (7 ounces)

Trader Joe's frozen rice medley with brown rice, red rice and black barley

Make a boat with aluminum foil, and place frozen salmon there to cook, so the butter won't run off. Follow package directions to bake.

To prepare salmon in my air fryer, I cook at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Five minutes before it is done, I sprinkle a generous portion of brown sugar on top for browning.

Prepare rice medley according to package directions, and serve with salmon.

(READ MORE: Side Orders: Air fryer earns its place on the counter)


SIMPLE COOKIES

Once, long ago, an older woman came to spend a couple of weeks from out of state. We were in a no-dessert phase at our house, a phase that did not endure, and after one night she pointed a gracious finger in my direction and said, "Always after dinner I need a touch of something sweet."

(READ MORE: The best one-bowl cookie recipe you've probably never heard of)

We've kept her phrase and her suggestion as we've reached the age of our long-ago guest, so this simple recipe from an anonymous Exchanger seems to do the trick for "just a touch of something sweet." And not very sweet at that.

Three-Ingredient Apple Oatmeal Cookies

These apple oatmeal cookies are so soft and chewy. They are easy to make and are healthy enough for breakfast.

1/2 cup (128 grams) sweetened applesauce (see notes)

1/2 cup (128 grams) natural peanut butter (see notes)

3/4 cup (62 grams) rolled oats or quick oats

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Stir applesauce and peanut butter together until fully mixed and uniform in color. Add oats, stirring until they are evenly mixed in. Adding the oats should thicken the mixture. It will look like a thick batter rather than traditional cookie dough. If adding any mix-ins (see notes), add them now.

Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop cookie dough and place onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.

Use the back of a metal spoon to flatten dough until they are thick round disks (a little less than 1/2 inch thick). If your dough is too sticky, wet the spoon lightly and then smooth the surface of the cookies. Smooth and round the edges of the disks if needed. The cookies will not spread much during baking, so shape the cookies how you want the final outcome to be.

Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, watching carefully, or until done. Let cookies cool before removing and eating. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the fridge or freezer for longer.

Notes:

› The cookies are only lightly sweetened. If you prefer sweeter cookies, you can add sweet mix-ins like chocolate chips.

› The cookies have a light apple flavor. For a stronger apple flavor, you can add fresh chopped apples (1/4 cup cut into 1/4-inch cubes) or dried chopped apples (1/4 cup cut into 1/4-inch cubes).

› Make sure to use natural peanut butter with no added oils in the ingredient list.

Thanks to you all, and come back next Wednesday, OK?


REQUESTS

— Recipes for chili peppers

— Meals from Trader Joe's ingredients


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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

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