Good morning, good company, as we look over each other's shoulders into each other's kitchens. Today the requests include one repeated and two new ones, and they were all spoken around a dining table in conversation. We are still searching for a source for tomatoes in glass jars, as our requester has read last week of the dangers inherent in canned tomatoes.
The next topic is grits. What, the diners discussed, is the best possible version of grits? One cook tried the crockpot, having been promised a creamier version of quick grits, "but instead I got a gelatinous result that seemed more like cooked cereal." Another family got grits as a Christmas present from the esteemed Anson Mills. "These pencil cob grits have detailed directions, including the use of a Windsor saucepan and overnight soaking." What is the best version, if not the most complicated, of this Southern staple?
And finally, in one silver chest there is a long spoon that was designated to gouge out cheese from a big, round waxed ball. Was it Gouda or another specialty cheese? If so, where might such cheese be found?
Mary Zelle, longtime reader, offered her longtime experience of making broth from scraps of chicken or beef. "I always simmered them down. Then I strained the broth, defatted it and put it in the freezer to use later. My daughter taught me to do it with ham also. That makes a great starter for split pea or bean soup or just the cooking liquid for dried beans of any kind."
Ms. Zelle continued. "I'm getting ready to make a Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole from Fare Exchange dated April 16, 2008. When we have a family event I am always requested to bring it. It has beef broth rather than a 'cream of' soup. I am making this one for a potluck tomorrow. The recipe was from Donna Baugh that she sent from a friend, describing it as 'very much like the Cracker Barrel Casserole.' I haven't made potato casserole with soup since I got this recipe." And of course, Ms. Z, we will now ask you to pass it on.
Betty Domal of Moore County raised a spiced cider toast to the winter of 2018.
"Here is a recipe for apple cider tea that I made recently and think is really good.
I just had a list of the ingredients with no instructions, so just mixed all together. I was making it the day before, so I put it in a plastic jug and refrigerated overnight. The next morning I put it in a large pot and heated just until it was boiling. I then put it in my crock pot on Keep Warm setting so we could sip throughout the day. I put the spices in a cheesecloth bag and removed the bag after heating and putting in the crock pot. This will keep well in the refrigerator for at least a week."
Apple Cider Tea
1 gallon apple cider
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Variation: You may use 4 cups of pineapple-orange juice.
Mix, heat and serve.
From Flintstone, Ga., Nadine Carden answered Odell Waddell's request for Brunswick Stew.
1 container Lloyd's or Curly's Barbecue Beef*
1 container Lloyd's or Curly's Barbecue Pork*
1 (10-ounce) can chicken
1 can cream-style corn
1 can whole-kernel corn
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 small can lima beans, drained (optional)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Mix all, and slow-cook for a couple of hours. Stir frequently.
* Barbecue beef and pork can be found in the meat department of Food City and Wal-Mart.
› Tomatoes in glass jars
› Best grits
› Cheese for the silver spoon
The cranberry challenge was met by Elizabeth Clossin, who wrote, "A few years ago I had an abundance of them left over and found this recipe. It was very good."
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar for topping (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In medium bowl, combine butter, egg and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and whisk to combine. Fold in cranberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes. Invert, and let cool completely.
BUNDLES OF BEANS
Margaret McNeil shared her Easter cranberries from her Margaret's Morsels blog, along with a cleverly bundled arrangement of beans. This recipe is suitable, of course, for every day between Christmas and Easter, and between Easter and Christmas.
Green Bean Bundles
4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans whole green beans, drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Gather green beans into bundles. Wrap 1 slice bacon around each bundle; lay seam side down in baking dish. Slice butter on top of bundles. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over bundles. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until beans are hot and the bacon is cooked.
On a slow January day, I washed all the white cloth napkins we save for special occasions. I dried them on the dining room table in stacks, ironed them in the winter sunshine, folded them carefully in the Jackson press and thought about the special occasion that will come long about springtime and the special people who will unfold them in their laps, then raise a fork and a toast around the oval table.
This was good work. It might have just had a tinge of the holy in it.
Come back next week, you hear?
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.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750