We end the month of July with spicy recipes preceded by passionate questions. Shall we start?
Brenda Kenny was visiting Chattanooga and stopped for lunch at Giardino, the Pastaria of Missionary Ridge. She wrote: ‘I had the salmon, which was the best I have ever eaten and was hoping I could get the recipe, please for the Faroese salmon with rosemary cream.’
A certain family in North Carolina, led by an avid cook, is rebooting their recipe file because several family members have a gluten allergy due to celiac disease. The cook wrote: “Instead of buying gluten-free products, I try to use my old recipes with gluten-free flour. I would like to know the best one I can buy. In particular, I want to make bars with lemon. which are gluten free so I hope someone has this recipe. I was told that the best fried chicken can be made with potato starch but I need more details on this idea.
Another main dish from the Roseann Strazinsky collection combines pork, rice and orange juice.
Pork chops over amber rice
6 pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups packaged pre-cooked rice
1 cup orange juice
1 (10 1/2 ounces) condensed chicken rice soup
Brown the pork chops in the oil in a heavy skillet; Season with salt and pepper. Place rice in 12x7x2-inch baking dish; pour the orange juice over the rice. Arrange the browned pork chops over the rice. Pour the chicken soup over everything. Cover and bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.
NEW WAY WITH GUMBO
At this point, I turn the podium – or the wooden spoon – to Tim Threadgill for two well-seasoned recipes.
Creole Chicken, Sausage, Shrimps, Filé Okra Gumbo
This recipe uses traditional okra spices and ingredients, but instead of thickening with roux, it thickens with okra, tomato paste, and filé powder. The result has more tomato flavor, but is still filling and satisfying and is much quicker to prepare. It also cuts some calories by eliminating the flour and fat needed to make the roux. The okra and shrimp should be added at the end of cooking to avoid overcooking them. Any smoked sausage can be used; however, traditionally the spicy andouille sausage is used. Be aware that using a spicy sausage will add heat and potentially salt (depending on how it’s cured) to the okra, so be sure to adjust the other spices accordingly. Most supermarkets sell yarn powder. It can be with the international dishes or in the seafood section.
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika (plain is good)
2 cups chicken/poultry broth
2 cans diced tomatoes (and juice)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
9 or 10 okra pods, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 pound large uncooked shrimp, deveined and peeled, halved
2 or 3 tablespoons of filé powder
Heat the cooking oil in a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside 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 necessary, add a little oil, then add the onions and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sausage and brown/cook for another 5 minutes. Add the spices except salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Add broth, tomatoes (including juice), tomato purée, garlic and cooked chicken, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Taste and add salt or pepper if necessary. Cover and cook for 50 minutes. Add okra, return to simmer, cover. After another 5 minutes, add the prawns and finish cooking for another 5 minutes (total cooking time is 1 hour). Turn off the heat and stir in the filé powder. Serve in a bowl with rice (preferably white or brown) and Cajun hot sauce on the side. If using white rice, consider preparing the rice with chicken broth or another seasoning.
Salty crackers are traditionally served, but a baguette or pan-fried cornbread is perfect with it.
PEAS AND PEA CAKES
Black Eyed Pea Cakes
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/3 cup small red bell peppers, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons clarified butter
1/2 cup seasoned flour
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
With your hands or a potato masher, mash the black-eyed peas, leaving a few peas whole.
Add green onion, red pepper, spices and egg. Mix well.
Add cheese and breadcrumbs and mix well.
Divide the mixture into 6 balls (2 1/2 inches). Flatten the balls to 3 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick.
Highly recommended: Cover the cakes and place them in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to a day in advance. Cakes tend to fall apart when frying if made immediately after assembly.
Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Lightly dust both sides of the cakes with seasoned flour and place them in the pan to brown. Leave enough space between the cakes to be able to turn them. When the cakes are golden brown on both sides, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes or until heated through.
Cakes are wonderful if made from canned peas, but peas are much better if baked at home with a firm texture, not mush. (Recipe follows.) However, any homemade recipe will work as long as the peas are cooked but still firm.
3 cups fresh, frozen, or rehydrated peas (any field pea will do – crowder, purple cockle, cowpea)
3 cups ham or chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence (preferred) or Italian seasoning (without salt)
4 minced garlic cloves
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat for 30 minutes. Mix the peas well and taste 6 peas. They should be cooked but still firm. If needed, cook 5 more minutes, remove from heat and cool peas in broth; they will finish cooking. They can be served as is or you can use them in the pea cake recipe.
Come back, do you hear? You are simply indispensable.
— Giardino salmon starter
— Gluten-free lemon bars and fried chicken (and associated tips)
TO JOIN US
Fare Exchange is a long-standing hangout for people who love to cook and eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include specific instructions for each recipe you submit, and be aware that we cannot test recipes printed here.
Address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750