Good morning, friends. Today we begin with requests spawned by conversations at meals shared around town. At local restaurants you'll find salads and bowls that promise superpowers, and they are tasty as well: not just super greens but things like blueberries and quinoa and other surprises, brought together with unusual homemade salad dressings. How do you make such dishes at home? Please share your superpower dishes. And here is a repeated request: for vegan soups.
OFF THE GRILL
Today's first two recipes are for the charcoal grill — a grilled salad and a smoked brisket.
It's good to get a handwritten and chatty letter from E of Henagar, Alabama. She wrote, "I'm not a natural-born cook. I use recipes — a lot. And I'm always looking for good ways to nourish and bless my crew with good, delicious, soul-satisfying meals."
This cooking mindset — that of the careful recipe follower — yields good meals, says one who favors imagination before carefulness in the kitchen.
It's not melon season, says E in her letter, but all the fruits prescribed here were in our supermarkets this week, so let's consider today's recipe from her as timely. It came from Southern Living in 1995.
Grilled Melon Salad With Orange-Raspberry Vinaigrette
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 honeydew melon, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
1 cup fresh raspberries
Orange-Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add cantaloupe and honeydew, tossing gently. Arrange melon in a grill basket, or thread on skewers.
Cook, covered with grill lid, over hot coals (400 degrees to 500 degrees), 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove melon to a large bowl, cover and chill.
Combine chilled melon, strawberries and raspberries. Drizzle with Orange-Raspberry Vinaigrette; toss gently. Serve in a lettuce-lined bowl. Makes 4 servings.
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons seeded, finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Combine ingredients. Yields 1 cup.
You asked about tender barbecued brisket, and Clifford Burdette answered with authority. He began, "This is so tender you can cut it with a fork."
Fork-Tender Smoked Beef Brisket
1 beef brisket, between 7 and 11 pounds.
1 pot of strong coffee cooled to at least room temperature
Brew a strong pot, bring to room temperature and then marinate the meat in the coffee overnight, at least 8 hours. Remove and pour out the coffee.
2 tablespoons ground pepper
1 tablespoon whole cumin
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons salt (sea, kosher or table)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon coriander
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon New Mexican chili powder (ancho)
6 tablespoons ground coffee
Mix your rub thoroughly. This recipe will season 1 brisket.
Coat the brisket with the dry rub, and let that sit all day in the refrigerator in a zip-top bag or roasting pan covered with plastic wrap or tinfoil.
In the evening, all you need to do is remove brisket from the refrigerator and let sit out for about an hour.
Smoking the brisket:
Wood for hot coals
1 quart apple juice and/or 1 can Dr Pepper
Get the smoker running at 225 to 250 degrees.
Place a few chunks of soaked wood such as hickory oak, apple or mesquite on the hot coals.
Pour apple juice or Dr Pepper, or both, into the water pan, and fill with water.
Place the brisket on your smoker grate, and close it up for the long smoke.
Once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 to 170 degrees, the meat starts to get tender.
Leave the brisket in the smoker for 4 hours, and then wrap brisket in aluminum foil for 3 to 4 hours.
This helps in getting the meat tender, especially for beginners.
The brisket is done when your probe thermometer easily slides into the meat and the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees.
Total cooking time is 8 to 9 hours.
Once the brisket is done, put the brisket in an insulated ice chest lined with aluminum foil, or place in the microwave oven.
Close it for a couple hours or until you are ready to eat.
The meat will hold its heat for hours in the chest or microwave, and the brisket will become even more tender.
Serving the brisket:
Use a sharp knife to slice the brisket against the grain rather than along the grain.
Well-done smoked brisket is delicious with homemade bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and a salad with fresh lettuce out of the garden.
Try a couple slabs of baby back ribs at 225 degrees for about 6 hours.
Adding coffee to a barbecue rub will accentuate the flavors of the meat and, when cooked, the grounds will caramelize, making a sweet and savory crust that seals in the moisture of the meat.
In barbecue terms, we call that crust the bark.
But coffee does so much more than just enhance the flavor of meat. It also acts as a tenderizer.
The reason coffee tenderizes so well is not because of the acid level in coffee. Instead, it's the natural enzymes of the coffee that do the tenderizing work, making a sweet and savory crust that seals in the moisture of the meat.
Off the grill and back into the kitchen, here's a salmon burger that is made into a loaf, suitable for a sandwich. Linda Leake of LaFayette sent it, with credit to Trident Seafood.
Salmon Burger Loaf
3 Trident Seafood frozen salmon burgers, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Tartar sauce or other sauce of your choice
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 5 3/4- by 3- by 2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, flake salmon burgers and place in a medium bowl. Add breadcrumbs, green onions, eggs, milk, olive oil, lemon zest and pepper. Mix well. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Slice and serve with tartar sauce.
Makes 3 servings.
Here's to you, and here's to more fare, exchanged among us, in the days ahead.
* Superfood salads
* Vegan soups
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