It's good to think of you on the other side of this page, reading and planning the next meal.
Today we have requests from an Atlantan, Daisy LaNieve, who sampled chicken teriyaki on a visit to Los Angeles. "I loved it along with broccoli and came home to Atlanta to try the same dish. I got instead something breaded, swimming in a thick sweet sauce. Please find, if you can, a well-seasoned teriyaki chicken without the sweet sauce and breading, something simpler and healthier."
And while she was writing, Ms. LaNieve asked what to do with frozen whole okra. "I bought a big bag and then realized whole frozen okra cannot be fried. Or can it?" And here are two more okra questions. Where can tender fresh okra be purchased? How do you keep sliced okra from getting slimy in a soup or stew?"
We will begin with last week's recommendation of mirepoix as a bed of flavor for short ribs — or, as it turns out, for many soups and stews. Mirepoix is a French word describing "finely chopped vegetables, such as onions and carrots, sometimes with meat, often used as a bed for meat that is to be braised."
First came Beverly Rice of Dalton, explaining, "Mirepoix is onion, carrots and celery; two parts onion, one part each of carrots and celery. Chop them in small or large dice, according to cooking time. The shorter the cooking time, the smaller the pieces. This combo infuses what you are cooking with lots of flavor. It is not to be confused with the trinity, which uses bell pepper instead of carrots."
The trinity, you ask? Indeed yes. "The holy trinity, Cajun holy trinity or holy trinity of Cajun cooking consists of onions, bell peppers and celery, the base for much of the cooking in the regional cuisines of Louisiana. Variants use garlic, parsley or shallots in addition to the three trinity ingredients."
Lisa Gaye Miller makes large quantities of mirepoix in her kitchen. "I use a food processor to make a big batch of mirepoix for soups and stews." And here is her shortcut. "When in a hurry, which is often, I use the frozen version found at Kroger, Walmart or Ingles."
Martha Stewart's Mirepoix
Vegetables – typically 2 parts onion to 1 part carrot and 1 part celery
Butter for sautéing
Rinse, trim and peel vegetables, and then chop them into uniform pieces. The shorter the cooking time, the smaller the pieces should be, so that they effectively infuse the foods with flavor.
"You can use it to make a recipe such as the succotash below, our family favorite. It is so easy and delicious served with pork chops and burgers."
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1-pound bag frozen mirepoix or onions
1-pound bag frozen baby lima beans
1-pound bag frozen corn
1 can Swanson's chicken broth
1 fresh red bell pepper, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
Sauté the mirepoix mix or onions in 2 tablespoons butter until soft in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. I use a 6-quart Le Creuset or a 6-quart All-Clad saute pan.
Add the lima beans and corn and broth.
Simmer, partially covered, until soft, about 30 minutes. Add chopped bell pepper, and cook until most of the broth has evaporated.
Add the 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté and stir until the vegetables start to brown slightly. Color is flavor.
Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and cayenne or pepper flakes to taste. Use both for a great kick.
Cooking the vegetables in the broth infuses them with flavor. Adding fresh red bell pepper gives it a very nice sweetness, and browning slightly produces even more flavor.
› Unbreaded chicken teriyaki
› Okra advice
Nancy Ford cannot supply information on instant mashed potatoes, cooked and frozen, because she has never used them. No need; she freezes a casserole made with real potatoes. "I make creamed potatoes with sour cream, butter and cream cheese and freeze the dish. This works beautifully for a crowd or for Christmas."
A certain young mother, after a long day enjoying her little one, has found that "this ginger mojito drink gives me a little kick even without the rum. You can make it either way. The recipe says, 'This delicious twist on the classic drink includes the kick of fresh ginger and a sparkling probiotic drink for great taste and nutrition. For a virgin mojito, just omit the rum.'" Prep time is five minutes.
Juice of 1 lime
8 to 10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 dash Virgin Sprinkles or to taste (This is an all-natural sweetener that adds a sweetness without harmful effects on blood sugar, but I omit it.)
8 ounces sparking probiotic water (I get the Mojito flavor.)
2 ounces white rum (optional)
Mash the lime juice, mint leaves, ginger and Virgin Sprinkles with a mortar and pestle or the back of a fork to release the essential oils in the mint leaves.
Add to glass, and pour over sparkling probiotic water (and rum if using).
Stir, add ice cubes and serve. Makes 1 serving.
FLAVORFUL FLANK STEAK
Here's another recipe from J.G.W. from her massive Paleo cookbook, "Practical Paleo." It's a quick one, as long as you have a grill, and has a mirepoix-style variation beneath the meat.
Grilled Garlic Flank Steak with Peppers and Onions
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon bacon fat, butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into 1/2-inch dice
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Massage the garlic into the steak, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Grill for about 5 minutes per side, turning the steak a quarter turn halfway through cooking to achieve crosshatch grill marks. Set the cooked steak aside to rest.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the bacon fat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and sauté until soft and slightly browned on the edges.
Slice the steak on a slight angle against the grain. Serve over the onion and pepper, garnished with cilantro, if desired.
Variations: Serve this steak over any grilled or sautéed vegetables. Use leftover steak to top a salad or to pair with eggs for breakfast the next morning.
Thank you, indispensable recipe sharers, for today, for last week and for next Wednesday.
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