Welcome to the end of April, kitchen companions. (Fun fact: The root of companion is literally "with bread.")
Because none among you had a request this week, I am going to add a couple from our neighborhood: varieties of homemade pesto and how to serve zucchini spirals that are like pasta. Here's a problem to be solved: "How do you bake a pie and have the bottom not be soggy and the outer crust not too brown?
EASY LEMON PIE
Barbara Howard sent an answer to a request for a tangy dessert — "a ridiculously easy recipe for a lemonade pie, which hopefully will satisfy the taste buds of Yeast of the Ridge." She found it in her "go-to cookbook" and I hope you will tell us, when you write, what your go-to cookbook is. We'll inaugurate that category with Ms. Howard's answer at the end of this column.
1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 (8- or 9-ounce) carton Cool Whip, thawed
1 graham cracker crust
Slowly add lemonade concentrate to condensed milk. Mix well after each addition. Fold in Cool Whip, and mix well. Pour into pie shell, and chill several hours or overnight.
This recipe will also work with limeade concentrate.
Before the recipe for shrimp comes the sender's general guidance about cooking shrimp. Thank you, Tim Threadgill, for both.
He began, "Shrimp cook quickly when added to soups or sauces. Since the shrimp are individually frozen, you can thaw a half-pound or so of shrimp and add to the recipe that follows with about five minutes left in the cook time. That will keep them from getting mealy/rubbery when overcooked. Rice dishes like jambalaya or risotto are another way to add the quick-cooking protein.
"I would also suggest boiling a pound to use in salads and garnishes (like in a Bloody Mary).
"Finally, the thawed shrimp can be grilled by threading onto damp wood skewers and brushed with seasoned olive oil or melted butter. A quarter cup of oil or butter seasoned with 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic or onion powder should be enough for a pound. Then grill the shrimp over indirect heat two or three minutes a side until pink and firm."
... AND A RECIPE
Mr. Threadgill's recipe, which he found in Bon Appetit magazine, is good served with "rice and good old-fashioned cast-iron skillet cornbread. It is one of our new favorites, not too spicy, just enough to make it interesting."
Green Curry Lentil Soup
This soup packs in all the ingredients that would make your doctor happy (lentils, sweet potatoes, leafy greens), but is bolstered by fiery Thai green curry paste to keep things interesting. Store-bought Thai curry pastes can vary widely in flavor and intensity from brand to brand (we tested this recipe with Maesri), so there are also lots of aromatics like onion, ginger and garlic to ensure there's plenty of flavor to balance the earthy lentils.
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece peeled ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal or teaspoon Morton kosher salt, plus more
1/4 cup Thai green curry paste (found in the international section at Publix)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cut into -inch cubes
3/4 cup brown or green lentils
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
4 cups (loosely packed) baby spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon (or more) fish sauce
Small handful cilantro leaves with tender stems
Lime wedges (for serving)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add curry paste, and cook, stirring and scraping bottom of pan constantly, until paste is fragrant and slightly darkened and mixture starts to stick to pan, about 3 minutes.
Stir sweet potato and lentils into onion mixture, then add broth and 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal or 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook soup, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are cooked through and lentils are tender but not mushy, 20 to 25 minutes.
Add coconut milk to soup; return to a simmer. Add spinach and fish sauce, and cook just until spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds. Taste soup, and season with more salt and/or fish sauce if needed.
Ladle soup into bowls, and top with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.
Barbara Mann shared a salad with Napa cabbage as its centerpiece.
1 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles (reserve seasoning packet)
1 (6-ounce) package slivered almonds
1 tablespoon oil or butter
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 head Napa cabbage, small
3 green onions, sliced
Crumble noodles, and add with almonds to pan with about 1 tablespoon oil or butter and lightly brown. Cool. Combine the 1/2 cup oil with sugar, vinegar, salt and ramen seasoning packet. Slice cabbage, mix with sliced green onions and dressing, then mix in noodles and almonds. Toss to combine.
As promised last week, Clifford Burdette knows more than one way with broccoli in a salad.
1 head fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 head fresh cauliflower, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red pepper (or 2 small sweet red peppers)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup green olives
1 cup tomatoes, chopped (about 1 medium tomato)
1 cup reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (or 1 cup sharp regular Cheddar)
1 cup reduced-fat ranch dressing (or 1 cup homemade ranch dressing; recipe follows)
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, and toss with ranch dressing.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix (recipe follows)
Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of the homemade ranch dressing seasoning mix. Season with salt, to taste.
Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix ingredients. You can increase amounts and keep in a sealed container for later use.
Let's start our list. Barbara Howard's nomination is "Emerald Treasures," published in 1983 by Brainerd Baptist Church.
Now it's your turn. If you are looking for a trustworthy recipe, which cookbook do you pull from your shelf first?
Next week? Yes.
* Homemade pesto
* Zucchini as pasta
* Pie baking tips
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