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Jane Henegar

Good morning, readers, and get ready for today's challenge. We all have our favorite places to eat out, and sometimes we try to duplicate that experience at home. What restaurant meal or dish have you successfully repeated at home? What products have you bought that bridge the gap between your kitchen and a favorite restaurant meal?

Can you make beef and broccoli, say, that tastes almost like your favorite Chinese restaurant? Has the signature dessert at a dining establishment gotten imprinted with your signature at home? Have you wrangled hints from a waitperson about just how your favorite dish comes together?

We need, of course, both ideas and recipes.

And while we're at it, if you have tried and failed to make a reasonable facsimile at home, tell us that too, and there may be someone who has tried and succeeded and will tell you how.

 

GINGER REFRESHER

Here's another recipe from Clifford Burdette's gingery collection. I am assuming that Mr. Burdette's line item "freshly squeezed lemon-lime juice " means both/and. Either/or might work well too.

Spicy Ginger Lemon-Limeade

5 ounces fresh ginger

1 cup sugar (see note)

8 cups water, divided (2 quarts)

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon-lime juice

Mint leaves, lemon or lime slices (optional)

Peel the ginger, and chop into roughly 1/4-inch pieces.

Combine the ginger, sugar and 2 cups of the water in a medium pot over high heat.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the ginger with the back of a spoon.

You should have about 1 1/2 cups of syrup or more.

Cool to room temperature.

Combine the lemon-lime juice and remaining 6 cups water in a large pitcher or pot.

Stir in all of the ginger syrup.

Add more water or ice if too strong.

Chill before serving, or serve over ice.

Note: Feel free to adjust the amount of simple syrup based on your personal taste.

 

KALE, MASSAGED

Carli Snyder found this family favorite on the Beautiful Mess blog.

Lemony Kale Salad

1 bundle of kale, about 4 heaping cups once chopped

1/4 cup mayo, homemade or store-bought

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon (might be slightly less than 1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup sliced almonds

Thoroughly rinse and pat dry the kale. Then remove the leaves from the middle vein. Some larger leaves may have additional tough veins throughout. If so, remove these as well. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-size pieces. Use your hands to press the leaves together as you move them all into a large bowl. This is a quick and easy version of "massaging" the kale. Many kale salad recipes encourage you to do this, as it will help to soften kale's tough leaves.

Stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar and poppy seeds. Add just a little salt and pepper at first. Taste, and add more to your liking. I usually end up adding quite a bit of salt and pepper, plus you may want to sprinkle just a bit more on at the end, right before serving.

In a large bowl toss together the kale, Parmesan cheese, almonds and dressing so that everything gets coated evenly. You can store this salad in a container (in the refrigerator) for a few hours, but it's best served the day it's made.

If you want to make this way ahead, I would recommend making the dressing in advance, but don't toss everything together until you're ready to eat.

 

BANANA SPLIT CAKE

A second recipe from Ms. Snyder is a dessert that she described as "an easy icebox cake that's a twist on the classic banana split."

"Italian" Banana Split Icebox Cake

16 ounces mascarpone cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pinch or 2 of sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream

3 packages (8.8 ounces each) Biscoff cookies (speculoos)

Sliced bananas

Mini chocolate chips

Toasted pecan pieces, cooled to room temperature

Luxardo maraschino cherries

Combine first 5 ingredients in a stand mixer, and beat until stiff peaks form.

Arrange cookies in a single layer in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. (Break cookies into pieces to fill in the gaps.) Spread a fourth of the cream evenly over the top, and then evenly distribute a layer of bananas, chocolate chips and pecans. Continue layering cookies, cream, goodies, cookies, cream, goodies, cookies, cream, finishing with cream on top.

Wrap well and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan before opening. Top cake with gourmet Luxardo cherries just before serving.

 

TASTE TESTS

Coming for dinner to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sunday surely means good food and may also feature some communal taste testing. And then they report their findings to us.

"We're not Nutella addicts," they began, "but we have friends who are, so we all tried the new M&M's Hazelnut Spread flavor. The new M&M's are bigger than standard M&M's and the filling is softer, but we can detect little to no hazelnut flavor. Your mileage may vary."

Their next purchase was a frozen cheese roll at Costco "named Brazi Bites and made of tapioca flour (gluten-free) and cheese. The roll bakes up in 20 minutes. The generic name is cuñapes, pão de queijo, pan de bono, pan de yuca or pan de queso, and variations are made all over South America. We'd seen recipes for them and were about to give them a try when we saw the Costco item. Very tasty and handy to have for last-minute guests."

 

EASY FISH DISH

Here's a salmon recipe from T.R.B., attributed to cookbook author Mary James. It is a worthy entry in the easy fish category.

Salmon With Soy and Onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups coarsely chopped onions

4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skinned

1/2 cup reduced-fat soy sauce

In a 3-quart sauté pan or skillet with lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Place salmon fillets on what would have been the skin side down over onions in skillet. Pour on soy sauce. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until salmon is just opaque in center, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer salmon to platter. Cover to keep warm.

Increase heat and continue cooking onions and soy sauce until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over salmon, and serve.

This may be a stretch, but what if you took all of today's featured dishes and made them into a meal? Before dinner, a little lemon-limeade as you assembled the other food. Then salmon with a side of kale salad; pass the Brazi Bites, please.

Dessert? The Italian version of a banana split, of course — or a footed crystal compote filled with Hazelnut Spread M&M's.

It works for me. And one at a time works just as well.

 

REQUESTS

* Restaurant-to-home recipes

 

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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