Welcome to Fare Exchange.
Bob Connelly of McDonald, Tennessee, has a memory of hickory grilled — not smoked — ribs. "I used to get my ribs from Masterblaster on Central Avenue. Then I followed them to Third Street. Now they are gone. I loved the fact that their ribs were grilled over hickory and not smoked to death like everyone does now. Dreamland in Alabama also grills their ribs. Do you know anyone who cooks ribs like this now?"
Mr. Connelly's question raises more questions. Who cooks ribs like this and always, does the barbecue master at your house cook ribs like this? If so, tell us how.
Last week we asked you to share in Fare Exchange the best feature, the best appliance, the best memory, the best recipe: the Best of the Best in any category in your kitchen. We will begin printing the first answers next week, and if you haven't already, please send yours.
The quest for the best protein bar got Yeast of the Ridge thinking about homemade protein bars. After some fruitless research, our correspondent decided only Fare Exchange could produce the right homemade version, "around 20 grams of protein per bar, please, and light on the sugar."
Finally, Karalee Edwards wonders if anyone has "a good recipe for homemade cold brew coffee."
Debbie Pataky gave us a tip: "Sandra Oliver has a fine frozen corn recipe." Sure enough, here it is. And Ms. Oliver added a second favorite corn dish that is made in a crock- pot and is "easy and delicious."
3 packages white shoe peg corn in butter sauce (Green Giant)
1/2 pint whipping cream (do not whip)
3 tablespoons flour
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Mix thawed corn together with other ingredients, and bake in greased casserole at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
If you double this recipe, allow a little extra baking time.
Crock-Pot Cream Corn
20 to 30 ounces frozen corn
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients, and put into crock pot. Cook on high 2 to 4 hours or on low 4 to 6 hours. Stir after about an hour.
This may be reheated, and is a good one to take to church dinners.
To parse the Swedish Meatballs and Sour Cream Gravy that were perfected at Halsa Restaurant at Serenbe in Chattahoochee, Georgia, you may want to begin with the chef's own restaurant-size recipe printed in this column on Aug. 7. Your next stop would be today's family-size reduction of the meatball recipe, from our local experts Mr. and Mrs. Sunday. Then you will need a little patience, as the trimmed-for-home recipe for sour cream gravy will be printed in next week's column.
For today's recipe, a food scale is recommended for its precise measurements.
Halsa Swedish Meatballs
(This is the restaurant version reduced 5 to 1.)
2 eggs (Chef Billiot didn't specify but most likely USDA large)
5 teaspoons whole milk
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon breadcrumbs
1 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Scant 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
5 teaspoons chopped parsley
Scant 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 pound ground beef (probably around 25% fat, not ground round or ground sirloin, because fat is flavor)
1 pound ground chicken (usually 10 to 15% fat) to lighten the beef (which can taste liverish otherwise, and yes, adding chicken lessens the overall fat percentage)
13 grams salt (see a helpful paragraph of notes on salt below)
Sour Cream Gravy (recipe to come )
Mix eggs, milk, bread crumbs, nutmeg, pepper, salt, parsley and garlic together in a large bowl; let sit for 10 minutes. Mix ground beef and ground chicken in a separate bowl. Combine both mixes, and mix thoroughly. Form into 2-ounce balls and place in oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Let cool, then place in zipper-lock bag. Label, date and refrigerate until needed.
(You may of course eat those meatballs right away.)
In this recipe you need 2 teaspoons table salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons Morton's Kosher Salt or a scant 3 1/2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt to make up 13 grams. This is one reason chefs tend to use Diamond Crystal; it gives them more control over how much salt they add. Why did chef Billiot specify kosher salt? Probably because most standard table salt contains iodine, a necessary nutrient, which some people perceive as bitter. Apart from that, 65 grams of iodized table salt is the same as 65 grams of fancy Maldon Flake salt once dissolved in water. Undissolved, Maldon can be magic sprinkled on foods' surfaces.
Explanation of benefits: The actual goal is to let the bread/water mixture (called a panade) interfere with the natural tendency of the meat proteins to bind with each other and create a dense, tough glob of protein. Chef Billiot lets the non-meat mixture rest together for 10 minutes to help the panade hydrate well before mixing into the meat. The meats are mixed separately so that you can be sure they're well integrated; you don't want large hunks of chicken and large hunks of beef but rather a homogeneous combination.
Chef Billiot calls for forming the meatballs into 2-ounce units, another great use for the scale. Creating consistent servings is important for a restaurant (to make sure the customer experience is the same every time) and even more for people who need to carefully control their dietary intake. This recipe should make 16-20 (2-ounce) meatballs.
Baking is especially dependent on measuring by weight; baking recipes usually require more precision than savory ones, and flour is notoriously hard to measure by volume. "One cup" of flour can weigh anywhere from 3 1/2 ounces to 5 1/2 ounces.
JUST A DASH
We will say farewell with a quick riff on stir-fry from H. Berry of Athens, Tennessee, who explained, "Stir-frying is too much trouble. Instead, I toss small chunks of uncooked chicken, zucchini, carrots, onions or whatever vegetables I have with sesame oil and soy sauce. I bake this mixture at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until chicken is done and everything is getting brown, and serve over white rice."
* Hickory-grilled ribs
* Best kitchen features
* Homemade protein bars
* Cold brew coffee
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