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Jane Henegar

Good morning in this Holy Week, the beginning of Passover and the culmination of Easter. (And isn't there a certain kind of holiness to every week we have with those we love, every table we set for them? That's cause for celebration.)

A visit to the Cookie Jar Café in Dunlap was a tasty treat for "Health Nut," who thought the food was fresh and healthful, especially the grilled meatloaf. "I would like a recipe for grilled meatloaf in the style of the Cookie Jar Café."

Health Nut passed on a request from a neighbor, Hungry Husband. "I read an article in Wall Street Journal that said, 'Beans are the new kale.'" He explained, "Beans suit me lots more than kale, so I am asking for recipes using beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas."

 

ROTISSERIE CHICKEN

Let's continue the discussion about alternatives to store-bought rotisserie chickens. One of you contributed a no-rotisserie chicken that is prepared in a slow cooker. Kevin Wohl gave it the taste test and offered this report. "I've prepared and bought many a rotisserie chicken, but this crockpot idea intrigued me. The aroma when we came home was amazing. It was fall-off-the-bone tender, and the little bite I had after removing most of the skin was yummy. The broth will make a delicious soup too."

 

FREEZER FRIED OKRA

Okra from the freezer can indeed be used for fried okra, and Michele Brown explained how.

Fried Frozen Okra

Frozen whole okra

Good cornmeal

A hint of flour, salt and pepper

Oil

Totally thaw the okra; this is a must. Let it come to somewhat room temperature, and drain of thawed water. It should still have its coating of sugar residue called exopolysacharrides and protein called glycoproteins, or as it's sometimes called, "slime." This is a good thing. If it doesn't still have it, toss it. It is not fit to eat period, even in soup as a thickener.

To fry, toss in good cornmeal, with just a hint of flour, salt and pepper to your taste. Fry in an iron skillet in oil. Drain on paper toweling and serve.

Tip: I don't deep-fat-fry because it fries too fast and still has a raw taste. Cover the skillet with a lid at first, to steam cook for a few minutes. Then take off the lid and turn the okra, gently, and continue to cook until brown and lightly crisp, just like my Momma always did. Any local farmers market should have fresh okra around July, or it can come in from the lower South earlier. Pods should be no more than 4 inches in length, or you risk getting home and find them somewhat hard.

 

BEETS, TWINKIES

We are dishing out generous portions of a batch of recipes sent from Roseann Strazinsky of Fairfield Glade. There is one more to come, but that will be next week. Pineapple and tiramisu are on the menu for today.

Company Beets With Pineapple

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (9-ounce) can (1 cup) pineapple tidbits

Requests

Grilled meat loaf

Recipes for beans, peas, etc.

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 (1-pound) can (2 cups) sliced beets, drained

Combine brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Stir in pineapple (with syrup). Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Add butter, lemon juice and beets. Heat through, about 5 minutes. Can be served warm or cold. The taste is sweet and slightly tart. Makes 4 servings.

Twinkie Tiramisu

3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 cup boiling water

8 ounces whipped cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

10 vanilla cream-filled snack cakes, such as Twinkies, halved lengthwise

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Place espresso powder and 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water into bowl, and whisk to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature.

Combine cream cheese, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl, and beat with electric mixture until smooth.

In another large bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream.

One at a time, dip 10 Twinkie halves into coffee mixture just to moisten. Place them alongside each other in bottom of a shallow 11- by 7-inch baking dish. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over Twinkies, then sprinkle with 2 ounces chopped chocolate. Repeat with remaining Twinkies, cream cheese mixture and chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Makes 8 servings.

 

CRUNCHY SALAD

Here's a quick and simple salad from Barbara Smith's Rutledge collection.

Corn Chip Salad

2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 tomato, diced

1 cup red pepper, diced

1 cup green pepper, diced

1 cup yellow pepper diced

16-ounce bottle Catalina dressing

10-ounce package corn chips

Mix all ingredients together; stir well and serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

 

COOKING COMPANY

Last week we had two teenage guests whose common trait is industriousness (a most commendable trait in teenagers — and their elders). One had moved out of her spot as a barista at Starbucks to an Atlanta health-food restaurant called Upbeet, where she is learning what to mix in a bowl — things like Upbeet's Curry Up (a mixture of quinoa, kale, cilantro, roasted carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, spicy roasted chickpeas, toasted coconut, lime squeeze and house-made coconut curry dressing with grilled chicken).

Our other guest sticks with her trademark cookies, a batch of which she stirred up in our kitchen. They thus became the working definition of a good guest. They were good company, full of bright ideas in conversation and in cooking, ready to help in the kitchen ... and committed to cleanup. I say to myself now, "Go and do likewise."

Come back next week, will you? We'll be watching for you.

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

E-mail: chattfare@gmail.com

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