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Jane Henegar

Here's today's fare for your feasts, readers. We are awaiting answers to the following requests: sour cream coffee cake made with Splenda instead of sugar; salmon burgers similar to the ones made at Publix; and chicken thighs prepared in a crock-pot. Addendum: Please send any recipe you have mastered with the help of your crock-pot or Instapot.



Dan Cobb is up first, from Soddy-Daisy, "responding to your request for a quick and easy recipe for a guy starting out. Here is one of my favorites in that regard. Here is a recipe even the laziest guy could master quickly, and it's a full meal as well. On top of that, what an aroma it makes while cooking. It is so tasty that one could easily consume the entire recipe in a sitting."

By the way, he added, "I don't recommend that."

Fast Texas Hash

2 large onions, sliced (not chopped)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup diced green bell pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup water

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

1 cup minute rice

In a large skillet, brown and crumble meat just until pink is gone. Remove meat and drain, leaving about 2 tablespoons drippings. Very lightly sauté onions and peppers in drippings. Add meat and rest of ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until rice is tender.



How does one "corn" meats, a process that does not involve corn? (Reminds me of the distinctively rosy liquid known as white zinfandel. Labels can be deceiving, in more than one area of life.)

Helen Cooper wrote from Signal Mountain. "I ran across this recipe for how to corn meats in an old cast-iron cookbook by Hester Harris, copyright 1969 and published by Nitty Gritty Productions, Concord, California. I have tried to find another copy but have been unable to do so, and the printing company doesn't appear to have one either. It has some great old recipes, and this one for how to corn meats is interesting."

How To Corn Meats

1/2 cup sugar

1 ounce sodium nitrite (available from druggist)

1/4 ounce sodium nitrate (available from druggist)

1 1/2 pounds salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons pickling spices

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic

Water (enough to make 3 gallons pickling solution)

A good-size brisket or beef round roast

Place meat and pickling solution in a crock or large glass jar, and set in a very cool place or in refrigerator for 15 days. Twice during this period, stir the liquid and turn the meat over.

Ms. Cooper added, "This is the entire recipe and instructions, so I suppose if you are going to corn some meat you would already have some knowledge of what to do when."



Mr. and Mrs. Sunday have a few more lighthearted hints about cooking green things.

"As for cooking kale like collards, a couple of points: 1) at least one of us was raised on collards and has no issue with greens, but 2) if you have to cook them so long and put so much pig fat in them that you can't taste the difference from collards, what's the point?

"In general, if you have an unappetizing ingredient that you need to get into someone, you chop it into fine bits, hide it among other ingredients, cook the bitterness out of it and cover with a very flavorful sauce.

"We've heard that even old inner tubes work that way (and think we had some at a sushi bar once)."



We are back, most appropriately, to the stack of recipes labeled Strawberries in Season. This morning Ginny Gaines' missive from Signal Mountain contains some simple and simply good ideas.

"On the strawberry theme, I have a couple of recipes that I really like. The first is Martha Stewart's mother's recipe for Strawberry Banana Sherbet. It is so easy and requires no equipment to make, which would make for speed with families these days."

And the Strawberry Bellinis that follow are "a drink I'm getting ready to try."

Strawberry Banana Sherbet

4 cups strawberries stemmed and mashed (you may pulse in food processor just a few times)

4 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup orange juice, fresh if available, if not no worries

2 cups of milk (I have used whole, 2% or skim, lots of options even lactose-free perhaps)

Mash strawberries, and set aside.

Place peeled bananas in bowl, and mash with potato masher or fork; add sugar. Bananas should be fairly smooth.

Put strawberries and bananas in large bowl, and mix well. Stir in orange juice and milk, then mix.

Pour into a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish, and place in freezer. Stir every 30 minutes until frozen. This will take about 4 hours. I have stirred sometimes only once, so you can be flexible with that part.

Strawberry Bellinis

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

Chilled prosecco (Italian wine)

Fresh strawberries for garnish

In a saucepan, bring strawberries, 1 cup of water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and let cool completely.

Pour about 2 tablespoons strawberry syrup into each serving glass, then fill with prosecco.

Garnish with a strawberry or two.



Ginny Gaines' final strawberry word is this. "Who can go wrong with just plain strawberry shortcake? Stem, slice, add sugar or not depending on sweetness, and serve with bought pound cake, or homemade cake that you like. It's always good. When Tennessee berries are in season, as they are now, indulge in strawberry everything."

Reading about berries in season reminded me of the old Farmers Market near downtown Chattanooga, and the treasure it was. There were trucks backed up to the docks, and one wandered among them looking for the best fresh produce for the best price. And then, at the end of that era, there was P&P Produce at the corner, where sometimes one could purchase a gallon of blackberries.

Aah, blackberry cobbler. And aah, fresh blackberries on yogurt or simply on the plate with other berries. Is there a local source for such blackberries today? If you know, please tell us, and while you are at it, share your other buying and cooking secrets with the rest of us. We promise that we will tell, if you do.



* Splenda-sweetened sour cream coffee cake

* Publix-style salmon burgers

* Crock-pot chicken thighs

* Crock-pot and Instapot ideas



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