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Good morning, January companions. Today's column inches will be filled with the leftovers of 2021 — and I happen to love leftovers.

We are still on the trail of cornbread salad from Home Folks Restaurant in Soddy-Daisy — or your favorite version of this dish. And there's this: more ways to turn couscous into a salad, please.

A former Free Press staffer carefully checked every recipe in this section last week, and here's her current quest. "I've been looking for good casseroles to fill my niece's freezer before she gives birth." Can you help her with that?

Hungry Husband received a New Year's meal from a restaurant, Carrabba's Italian Grill, "and our favorite thing was the olive oil for dipping bread, with a small cup of seasoning for that olive oil. Does anyone have Carrabba's recipe, or a favorite seasoning blend for olive oil served with Italian bread?"

 

CHICKEN & HAM

The discussion about rolled chicken breasts in a crock pot brought this contribution from an anonymous Exchanger who pulled it from Fare Exchange many years ago. While the traditional Company Chicken recipes usually contain paper-thin slices of dried beef, this one substitutes the more familiar baked ham.

This recipe came from the late Maddin McCallie, one of Chattanooga's most generous cooks.

Rolled Chicken Breasts

6 individual chicken breasts

6 slices Swiss cheese

6 slices baked ham

2 cups seasoned bread stuffing like Pepperidge Farm

2 eggs, beaten

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

The chicken breasts should be individual portion size, not the huge kind often available in the grocery store. Roll each breast, then wrap the slice of cheese around it, then the ham around the whole thing. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat with each breast.

Using a rolling pen, with stuffing in a plastic bag, roll the stuffing into fine breadcrumbs. This may be done early in the day.

In a small bowl, beat eggs until light. Dip each roll of chicken, cheese and ham in the egg batter, then into the crumbs.

Melt butter in a shallow baking dish. Lay each piece in the butter, and bake 45 minutes. During the baking, turn once and baste.

 

SAVORY RICE

Here are two more recipes from the deep well that is a wire mail basket on Fare Exchange's desk. Their senders are at this point cloaked in anonymity.

Chinese Style Rice

1 cup long grain white rice

1 large white onion

2 ribs celery

1 can water chestnuts

4 tablespoons butter

Soy sauce to taste, perhaps 4 to 6 tablespoons or more

Salt and pepper to taste

Green onion tops

Bell pepper

This recipe does not take long to prepare and is good with duck or game.

Wash and cook rice in salted water. Drain.

In a saucepan, sauté chopped onion, finely chopped celery and diced water chestnuts in butter.

Stir in rice, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm in a double boiler.

Serve in a bowl garnished with lots of finely chopped green onion tops and thin-sliced bell pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

Notes: To get a great flavor use a lot of soy sauce — as directed, 4 to 6 tablespoons or more.

 

SPLENDA MUFFINS

The topic of baked goods sweetened with Splenda resurfaced recently, and this muffin recipe fits well, again from an anonymous sender.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

2 1/4 cups cake flour

3/4 cup Splenda no-calorie sweetener, granulated

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 18-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

Place cake flour, Splenda, sugar and softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until the butter is mixed into the flour mixture, with only very small pieces of butter visible.

Add nonfat dry milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until blended.

Mix buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon peel, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir well. Add 2/3 of the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed, mixing until the liquids are just blended into the flour mixture. Stop the mixer, and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Mix on medium-high speed 45 to 60 seconds, until the batter starts to get lighter in appearance. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add remaining liquids. Mix on medium speed until blended. Stop mixer, and scrape bottom and sides of bowl again. Add poppy seeds. Mix on medium-high speed an additional 30 seconds.

Pour muffin batter into prepared pans. Bake muffins in a preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Nutritional info: 180 calories (80 from fat), 4 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium, 6 grams sugar.

 

VEGAN OPTIONS

A conversation with Rose Secrest reminded me that some recipes are meant for novice cooks, and some suit more experienced ones. The next recipes might fit the latter category, answering a request for an easy French onion soup, and the vegan version of Hollandaise sauce.

Easy Vegan French Onion Soup

Sliced quartered onions, red or yellow, 1 per portion

Portobello mushrooms (1 per person) or 1 teaspoon porcini powder per person

Pepper to taste

Dump it in a saucepan, and boil until the onions are translucent.

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

3/4 cup plant milk (I prefer soy, but use your favorite)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Pinch saffron

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chives, minced

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon white miso

Mix the plant milk and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer 5 minutes. This should make a pourable sauce, but thicken more if you want.

 

JUST A DASH

To store onions, says Rose Secrest, "I use Anchor Hocking glass containers with heavy plastic lids."

 

FINALLY

I wonder if there are any readers who suffer from Busy Brain, a common malady that keeps a person thinking through the night (not necessarily about bad things, just the idling motor kind of brain activity). Last night for me it was imagining this huge bag of onions in our kitchen, being divested of their lovely yellow skin, sliced in the food processor, then slowly caramelized in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. Imagining, however, is not doing. There will be tears in the slicing, and mess on the countertop ... and something ambrosial as a result of that labor. So may it be, onions, or no onions, in your kitchen this week. And always.

 

REQUESTS

— Home Folks' cornbread salad (or similar)

— Couscous salads

— Freezable casseroles

— Carrabba's olive oil seasoning (or similar)

 

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, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

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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