Good morning, readers.
* This week awakens local memory of restaurants gone by, and this time it's 212 Market. Debbie Pataky opined that she would love a cookbook of their favorites.
"Would you by any chance have a contact with the folks who ran the old 212 Market restaurant?" she asked you. And then:
"They had a grilled pork chop with grilled peaches and a sauce on the chop that (if not for knowing that I would embarrass my husband) I wanted to pick up my plate and lick it clean. Could you ask if someone knows the recipe?"
Once again, here's hoping.
* And we remind you that a reader is looking for varieties of homemade pesto, "not just the kind made with basil and pine nuts." I am envisioning a recipe with a number of variations, not a sprig of basil or a crunch of pine nuts. We could additionally use some more salads not made with lettuce, as well as salads made with butter lettuce.
* One of the many tasks in closing up a home is going through the kitchen. Yes the pots and pans and silver and dishes; yes the pantry. And what does one do with battered, spattered cookbooks?
So it has been with Rebecca Hale, who is going through the belongings of her late mother. She says she has uncovered a treasure trove of old recipes and cookbooks (including old church cookbooks) and wonders if anyone would be interested in having the collection. Email this column if you want to know more.
This is a gracious offer and one that will surely spark some conversation among us.
Betsy McCord, in a missive this week, noted that she really has no original recipes. That is true of almost all of us. But in response to a request for a recipe she uses at home, she sent this relative original, "gotten from my aunt when I was a teenager. She did not like to cook so of course it is easy. My family likes it with mashed potatoes and slaw. It never had a name so we call it Meat and Bean Stuff."
Meat and Bean Stuff
1 pound ground beef
1 can pork and beans (at least 15 to 16 ounces, larger if feeding more)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Onion and/or garlic powder (optional)
Brown ground beef and drain. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to a low boil, and simmer. It should be ready to serve or will simmer until you are ready to serve.
This recipe feeds at least 5 to 6 people. It is good the next day too.
Betsy Alderman read the request for egg rolls and remembered two important things: a tested recipe — including homemade egg roll skins — and the lesson her mother taught her as they made the egg rolls together.
"When I saw the request for an egg roll recipe like the ones at Formosa, it called to mind these egg rolls my mother (Charlotte) MADE me help her prepare when I was only about 10 years old. It is a somewhat involved process, especially if you make your own skins. And they are tricky to make because if you break the skins while turning, you can't use them. But back in the 1960s and '70s, when egg roll wrappers or skins were not widely available, my mother did indeed make her own skins. I suggest just buying premade skins. It saves time and headaches.
"I think one of the reasons my mother made me help her with this recipe was that there are steps to this and one must learn patience in the kitchen, something I was short on as a child. I can still remember her telling me to dice the pork or shrimp up more finely."
Charlotte's Egg Rolls
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped cabbage
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup diced cooked pork (I fry boneless pork chops)
1/2 cup diced cooked shrimp
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 package egg roll skins (or make your own; recipe follows)
Put celery and cabbage in cup water. Bring to a boil. Drain. Heat oil in skillet; add cooked shrimp and pork. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients, and fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Place 4 tablespoons of filling on center of each egg roll skin, fold 2 sides over edges of filling and roll up the skin. Seal with a paste made of flour and 2 tablespoons water.
Fry in oil until golden brown. This recipe makes a dozen.
Homemade Egg Roll Skins
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1 pinch sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
Sift flour and cornstarch into a bowl. Beat in eggs and a pinch of sugar. Add 1 cups of water slowly, beating constantly, until batter is smooth. To make each skin, grease a hot 6-inch skillet with about 1 teaspoon oil. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into skillet, tipping skillet to spread batter over bottom. Fry over medium heat until batter shrinks from the sides of the pan. Turn CAREFULLY, and fry for one minute on the other side. (If you break the skin while turning, it will be unusable because the filling will come out while frying the egg roll.)
JUST A DASH
I was in a friend's home recently. And let's just stop here: What a gift it is to be able to make such visits again. She happens to be a young home-schooling mother who is also an artist.
Two lively little boys were sitting down to lunch at their boy-sized table on the screened porch. Before them she set a kid-friendly charcuterie board. She filled the board with artistic flair, and there were orange slices, carrots, Goldfish crackers, rolls of deli ham, strawberries, cheese, trail mix, apples and animal crackers.
It wasn't just an outlet for artistic expression for a mother with many unimaginative tasks. It actually worked. I saw the before and the after (think orange peels and empty spaces). This mama's creativity is an inspiration.
You're pretty inspiring yourselves, you readers. Please keep on.
* 212 Market favorites
* Homemade pesto (with variations)
* Cookbook collection seekers
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