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A family cook is in search of a recipe for gluten-free lemon bars. / Photo by Heather Murphy/Slate/File, 2012

We're rounding out July with spicy recipes preceded by eager questions. Shall we begin?

Brenda Kenny was visiting in Chattanooga and stopped for lunch at Giardino, the pastaria on Missionary Ridge. She wrote: "I had the salmon, which was the best I've ever eaten and was hoping to be able to get the recipe, please for Salmon Faroe Island With Rosemary Cream."

A certain North Carolina family, headed by a loving cook, is rebooting their recipe file because several family members have a gluten allergy from celiac disease. The cook wrote, "Instead of purchasing gluten-free things, I am trying to use my old recipes with a gluten-free flour. I would like to know the best one I could buy. In particular, I am wanting to make lemon bars that are gluten-free, so I hope someone has that recipe. I have been told that the best fried chicken can be made with potato starch, but I need more details on that idea."

 

CHOPS WITH RICE

Another main dish in the Roseann Strazinsky collection combines pork, rice and orange juice.

Pork Chops on Amber Rice

6 pork chops, 3/4 inch thick

Oil for browning in skillet

Salt and pepper

1 1/3 cups packaged precooked rice

1 cup orange juice

1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed chicken rice soup

Brown pork chops in oil in a heavy skillet; season with salt and pepper. Place rice in 12- by 7 - by 2-inch baking dish; pour orange juice over rice. Arrange browned pork chops on rice. Pour chicken soup over all. Cover and bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

 

NEW WAY WITH GUMBO

At this point I turn the podium — or the wooden spoon — over to Tim Threadgill for two well-seasoned recipes.

Creole Chicken, Sausage, Shrimp, Okra Filé Gumbo

This recipe uses traditional gumbo spices and ingredients, but instead of thickening with roux, it thickens using the okra, tomato paste and filé powder. The result has more tomato flavor, but is still hearty and satisfying and is much quicker to prepare. It also sheds some calories by eliminating the flour and fat needed to make the roux. The okra and shrimp should be added late in the cooking time to avoid over-cooking them. Any smoked sausage may be used; however, traditionally, spicy andouille sausage is used. Be aware that using a spicy sausage will add to the heat and potentially the salt (depending on how it is cured) in the gumbo, so be sure to adjust the other spices accordingly. Most supermarkets sell filé powder. It may be with the international foods or in the seafood section.

3 tablespoons cooking oil

5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 cups chopped onion

1/2 pound smoked sausage, chopped into bite-size pieces

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper (to taste)

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika (plain is ok)

2 cups chicken/poultry stock

2 cans diced tomatoes (and juice)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

9 or 10 okra pods, sliced into to 1/2-inch rounds

1/2 pound large uncooked shrimp, deveined and shell removed, cut in two

2 or 3 tablespoons filé powder

Heat the cooking oil in a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve for later.

Season (a little salt and pepper) and brown the thigh pieces in the oil, remove to a bowl, cover and keep warm.

If needed, add a bit of oil, then add the onions and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sausage, and brown/cook it through for another 5 minutes. Add the spices except salt and pepper, and cook through for 2 minutes.

Add the stock, tomatoes (juice included), tomato paste, the cooked garlic and chicken, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Taste and add salt or pepper if needed. Cover and cook for 50 minutes. Add the okra, return to simmer, cover. After another 5 minutes, add the shrimp and finish cooking for another 5 minutes (total cooking time is an hour). Turn off the heat, and stir in the filé powder. Serve in a bowl with rice (white or brown, to preference) and Cajun hot sauce on the side. If using white rice, consider making the rice with poultry stock or other seasoning.

Saltine crackers are traditionally served, but either a baguette or skillet cornbread is great with it.

 

PEAS AND PEA CAKES

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

3 cups cooked black-eyed peas

1/2 cup finely sliced green onion

1/3 cup small diced red peppers

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 egg

1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese

1 cup finely ground breadcrumbs

2 to 3 tablespoons clarified butter

1/2 cup seasoned flour

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

With your hands or a potato masher, smash the black-eyed peas, leaving a few peas whole.

Add green onion, red pepper, spices and egg. Mix thoroughly.

Add cheese and breadcrumbs, and mix well.

Divide the mix into 6 (2 1/2-inch) balls. Flatten balls to 3 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick.

Highly recommended: Cover the cakes and place in refrigerator for at least an hour and up to a day ahead. The cakes tend to fall apart when frying if done immediately after assembly.

Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Lightly dust both sides of the cakes with seasoned flour, and place them in the skillet to brown. Leave enough room between cakes to be able to flip them over. When cakes are brown on both sides, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 7 minutes or until heated through.

The cakes are wonderful if made from canned peas, but the peas are much better if they are home-cooked to a firm texture and not to mush. (Recipe follows.) However, any home recipe will work as long as the peas are done but still firm.

Home-Cooked Field Peas

3 cups fresh, frozen or rehydrated peas (any field pea will do — crowder, purple hull, cowpea)

3 cups ham or chicken broth

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (preferred) or Italian seasoning (no salt)

4 cloves minced garlic

Place all ingredients in saucepan, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low boil for 30 minutes. Stir the peas well, and sample 6 peas. They should taste cooked but still be firm. If needed, cook for 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and allow peas to cool in the broth; they will finish cooking. They may be served as is, or you may strain to use in the pea cake recipe.

Come back, you hear? You are merely indispensable.

 

REQUESTS

— Giardino's salmon entree

— Gluten-free lemons bars and fried chicken (and related 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, 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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