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Today began with a November wish from Hungry Husband, and it involves cornmeal: "I love cornmeal. Still haven't mastered the best crunchy but moist cornbread."

We are issuing a reminder about that three-layer chocolate malted ball cake popularized by Betty Hubbs in the Baylor School dormitory at the end of the 20th century.

Finally, check the comments from Mr. and Mrs. Sunday later in this column, where they mention different Asian cuisines and blogs for those cuisines. If you've got comments or advice about a particular cuisine, please join in.

 

ONION STORAGE

J.T. sent a definitive guide for the storage of onions. It's a clever one, and the only two real challenges are finding panty hose and finding onions in your garden.

To store onions: "Drop 1 onion into the toe of old panty hose, and gently knot just above the onion. Repeat with other onions until all secure and knotted.

"Store in a cool, dark, dry spot. Cut first onion from bottom when ready to use.

"This works well when gathering onions from your garden. They keep well and will last longer than storing together in containers."

 

FIVE-INGREDIENT CHICKEN

Dan Cobb recommended this favorite five-ingredient recipe from his Soddy-Daisy kitchen.

Lipton Skillet Chicken

1 (16-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1 package Lipton onion soup mix

1/3 cup water

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken thighs, skinned

2 tablespoons oil

Drain tomatoes, reserving liquid. Add soup mix and water to tomato liquid, and mix.

In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil over medium-high heat.

Pour soup mix over chicken.

Add tomatoes.

Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until tender.

 

SCALLOPS FOR TWO

Carolyn Fox's scallop storehouse includes this one that serves two.

Scallops With Spaghetti, Lemon and Basil

Spaghetti:

3 ounces spaghetti

Salt to taste in cooking water

Bring water to boil, add pasta and salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Drain and return to pot.

Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces grated Parmesan

While spaghetti is cooking, whisk oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt together in a small bowl, then stir in Parmesan until sauce is thick and creamy.

Scallops:

2 tablespoons butter

12 to 14 small bay scallops or 6 large sea scallops (I used the frozen sea scallops from Aldi)

Melt butter over medium heat. Pat scallops dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Add scallops in single layer, and cook until firm, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and cover.

Finishing:

Lemon sauce

1/4 cup shredded fresh basil

6 to 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

Scallops, cooked

Stir in the lemon sauce, basil and tomatoes, and toss to combine. Add reserved cooking water as needed. Serve as soon as scallops are ready, adding scallops to finished dishes.

 

SAFFRON DISH

The quest for saffron recipes brought this one from chef John McKeachie.

Saffron Aioli

6 egg yolks

1 lemon (just the juice)

12 threads of saffron

2 cups vegetable or safflower oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Separate the egg yolks from the eggs, and place yolks in a bowl.

In another mixing bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemon, and add saffron threads to blend color and flavor.

Into the egg yolks, slowly drizzle the oil, and whisk. While whisking the yolks, add garlic and the lemon juice saffron mixture. Keep whisking and drizzling the oil until thick — a mayonnaise texture. Mix in salt and pepper to taste.

 

COOKING SOURCES

It's always good to climb onto the cooking clipboard of Mr. and Mrs. Sunday, who offer commentary, sources and recipes. They explained recently, "We don't generally go looking for recipes but rather approaches, techniques and flavor combinations. When we DO look for recipes we often go to:

* Alton Brown of the America's Test Kitchen (ATK) empire (including Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country) who test the bejabbers out of everything.

* SeriousEats.com, especially ATK alumnus Kenji Lopez-Alt and Stella Parks (aka Bravetart) on desserts.

* A number of specific Asian food blogs for particular cuisines. Need a cuisine? Ask."

You invited us to ask, Mr. and Mrs. S. So we will. "Give us your favorite Asian cuisine and one recipe from one of your favorite blogs."

And if the rest of you have an Asian food request, add that one to the list. We are confident the Sundays can provide, and will.

 

BRINING MEAT

We have been considering juicy pork chops, as opposed to "dry and choky," as someone once said. The Sundays suggested brining.

"Don't forget that you can brine your meat to make it juicier, no matter what recipe you're using.

"One quarter cup of salt (without additives if you can — we use Diamond Crystal Kosher) dissolved in 1 quart of water is about 5% by weight. One cup per gallon is the same if you need more.

"Let the meat soak in that solution for 20 minutes to 3 hours depending on how thick it is and how much time you have. Overnight is OK, but you won't see much benefit beyond 3 hours and diminishing benefit after one hour. We soak in zip-top bags in the refrigerator.

"Rinse off the surface salt, pat dry and proceed as if the meat was fresh from the butcher.

"Yes, you get a similar effect with salt in your marinade if you're using one."

 

Last week I walked up our country road. There, at our neighbor's, was a profusion of fresh basil, with bags for the taking, and a sign, "Free basil plants." (How did they know our basil stash was all gone?) We took a bunch, plopped it in an abandoned cucumber bed and in the rain of a recent morning I saw revived leaves of this indispensable ingredient in pesto and tomato pie. Good neighbors, contactless delivery: Some blessings still thrive in worrisome weather.

I expect newspaper blessings to arrive next Wednesday, too ... thanks to all of you.

 

REQUESTS

* Crunchy, moist cornbread

* Chocolate malted ball cake

* Favorite Asian 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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Jane Henegar
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