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some text Jane Henegar

Today it seems we should begin like a letter, addressing you as Dear Readers. For that is what you are. So here goes.

We have two requesters today, one remembering the late 212 Market restaurant downtown, the second just returned from San Francisco and a Mediterranean restaurant there.

First, Debbie Pataky of Lookout Mountain wrote "to ask if anyone has the recipe for the pork chops with grilled peaches that the 212 Market served. Maybe the owners would share now since they are no longer a restaurant.

"I've tried several recipes that I found online, and none compare. I wanted to lick the sauce from the plate when I had them there. It was so good. So please ask them to share with us their delicious recipe."

An experience at a Mediterranean restaurant in California brought this request from Kathleen Rice. "The restaurant was called Insalata's, and their food made me want to learn to cook the Mediterranean way. Of the recipes our table sampled, the favorites were fattoush salad, eggplant fries and, best of all, something called moutabal that contained smoky eggplant, labneh and preserved lemon. I would like any recipes for these dishes."

So, then, please teach the rest of us to cook Mediterranean if you can, and while you are at it, heed this final request from V.T. for "a raspberry syrup to add to iced tea to make raspberry tea."

 

SUMMER SALAD

Ms. Rice also sent a favorite new salad recipe, but that salad is topped with a question mark in the dressing category. "A colleague served an amazing watermelon and feta salad with orange bitters in the dressing. When researching, I learned that bitters are a good addition to a salad dressing but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. So here is the recipe for the salad with a simpler dressing, and I wonder whether anyone has a salad dressing with orange bitters."

Watermelon Salad With Feta and Mint

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tabasco

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 (8-pound) seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)

1 1/4 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)

1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (I omitted this)

1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion, and toss gently. Garnish with the mint, and serve.

This recipe came from Jacques Pepin.

 

SPANISH CHICKEN

And here is the next-to-last recipe from the envelope sent by Carli Snyder, a recipe that came fresh from their years of residence in Spain.

Smoky Spanish Chicken With Saffron Rice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 chicken breasts, cut into 6 to 8 pieces

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 Spanish onion, finely diced

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 to 4 cups diced tomatoes

3/4 cup basmati rice

2 good pinches saffron (maybe about a teaspoon)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 cup fresh green beans (broken into 1-inch pieces)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Accompaniments:

Fresh lemon wedges

Fresh parsley

A dusting of a bit more smoked paprika

Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until very hot. Add chicken pieces to oil, and sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, and set aside on a plate. Add chicken stock to pan to deglaze; scrape brown bits off bottom of pan, let reduce just a minute or so and then pour off into a bowl and set aside. Put another tablespoon of oil in pan, and add onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes translucent.

Add green pepper, and continue cooking another 5 minutes or so.

Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Add tomatoes, rice, saffron, paprika, green beans, salt, pepper and the reserved chicken stock. Stir to combine, then return chicken to pan, nesting down into liquid so that it is mostly submerged. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Salt more, to taste, if necessary. You may also add a bit more saffron or paprika if necessary.

Serve with lemon wedges, and top each serving with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and some fresh parsley.

 

CLASSIC CASSEROLE

An all-time favorite Southern dish is poppy seed chicken, and here is an easy version from The Clay Pot's "Recipes of the Week" cookbook, compiled by Joe Jumper.

Poppy Seed Chicken

2 or more cups cooked, diced chicken

2 cans condensed cream of chicken or celery soup

8 ounces sour cream

1 small diced onion

About 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 stack crushed Ritz crackers

1 stick melted butter

A generous sprinkling of poppy seed (optional)

Mix chicken, both cans of soup, sour cream, diced onion and lemon juice. Place mixture in a 13- by 9-inch pan.

Mix crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle on chicken mixture, and add poppy seed if desired.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.

 

TIME-SAVER CHICKEN

Here's a comment on the virtues of rotisserie chicken. The last time I cooked chicken for salad, it wasn't nearly as tasty or juicy as the most recent generous bird purchased at Costco. So for a recent making of Chinese chicken salad, their rotisserie meat was just right, an easy substitute that saved time and cleanup and added very little to the cost.

As usual, this comment is a lead-in to a request that you share your time-saver secrets from this summer, with rotisserie chicken or any other ingredients. After all, time must be saved to enjoy the people for whom one cooks. First things first.

 

REQUESTS

» 212 Market's pork chops with grilled peaches

» Mediterranean specialties, including fattoush salad, eggplant fries and moutabal

 

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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

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