published Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Fare Exchange: Serving spicy couscous, seeking lighter chicken and dumplings

By Jane Henegar
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.

Address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Email: janehenegar@gmail.com

Fax: 423-668-5092

Good morning, most welcome readers. Today you will find the beginning of a dumpling discussion and these requests: chocolate mousse made without eggs, chocolate chip coffee cake, a light version of chicken and dumplings and a favorite Asian dipping sauce.

Holly Harrigan was listening to a radio show on which women were discussing their favorite chocolate foods. "One said she was searching for, but has not found, a chocolate mousse that does not contain raw eggs. Another said her favorite was a chocolate chip coffee cake. They both sounded dreamy."

And Brainerd Reader commented, as she entered the chicken and dumpling discussion, that "I know chicken soup is really good for you, and I wonder if there is a chicken and dumpling recipe that has been modified to make it more nourishing."

You will see the request for Asian dipping sauce near the end of this column, connected to the recipe for scallion pancakes.


Margie Haines of Benton is a transplant from Cleveland to Cleveland, from the Ohio version and now the Cleveland, Tenn., area. As you can imagine, it takes some time to find locally the variety of cooking and baking ingredients one was accustomed to in a large city, including ethnic ingredients and one particular item: frozen bread dough or sweet dough packaged in loaves of four. If you have discovered good local sources for ethnic or hard-to-find ingredients, please pass them on. And Ms. Haines reminded me to ask you to include how many portions your recipes make.

In her letter were several recipes from a Cleveland, Ohio newspaper, and we will include just one of those. Note that it clearly gives sizes of cans and number of servings. Please, when you can, do this.

Spicy Couscous, Chicken and Dried Fruit Salad

Serves 2

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 thick slice (about 1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled

1 can (14 to 15 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

8 ounces (1 cup) couscous

3/4 cup chopped mixed dried fruit such raisins, apricot and dates

1/2 cup minced red onion

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/3 cup slivered almonds

Bottled honey or lemon vinaigrette salad dressing to taste

Rinse the chicken. Place enough water to cover the chicken in a medium-sized pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the chicken and the ginger and simmer uncovered 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken, discard the piece of ginger and empty the water.

Combine the chicken broth, water, ground ginger, turmeric and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for five minutes and then fluff.

Cube the chicken and combine with the dried fruit, onion, carrots, almonds and couscous. Toss with dressing and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Makes 2 servings.


Janet Irvin wrote that "I put this recipe together for a friend a few years ago."

Chicken and Dumplings

1 chicken (whole or in pieces-doesn't matter)

1 stick of celery, sliced roughly

1 carrot, cut in pieces

2 slices of onion

1 teaspoon of salt and about a half teaspoon of black pepper

6-8 cups of water

Stew all ingredients together a day ahead of preparing dumplings, so you can skim the fat from the top of the broth. Cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken from broth and, when cool enough, remove meat from bones.

Strain vegetables out of broth, discarding vegetables and bones. Either proceed to make dumplings or refrigerate the chicken in one bowl and broth in another one until the next day.

When you are ready to make dumplings, skim all the fat off the top of the broth and discard. Put the broth in a pan and start to heat it while you make dumplings. If desired, add a cube or two of chicken bouillon at this stage for additional flavor, but this is not necessary.

Dumplings

Enough for about 6 cups broth

3 cups plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 to 3 tablespoons shortening or oil

Enough milk to make slightly stiff dough (should be a sticky ball)

Mix dumplings as for biscuits. Turn out onto a floured board or cloth (This could take 2 separate batches). Roll out to about 1/8-inch thickness and cut into strips (a pizza cutter works well). Then cross-cup strips into about 2-inch sections.

Drop into boiling broth a few pieces at a time. With spoon, move pieces of dough in broth aside so that each piece is dropped into boiling broth, not on top of another piece of dough. When all dough has been added and broth is back to a boil, add a little more salt and pepper and as much of the chicken as you would like. Reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.


Our generous last-nameless correspondent Barbara was making this recipe the night before she sent it "to have with lettuce wraps. It goes well with various Asian dishes."

Scallion Pancakes

2 eggs

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1/2 cup bean sprouts, fresh or canned, well drained

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Mix eggs, water, flour and salt in a bowl until smooth; stir in scallions and sprouts. Heat oil in a 10-inch pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add egg mixture and cook until brown on the bottom, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Flip and brown on other side. Cut into wedges. Serve with your favorite Asian dipping sauce.


All right readers, what is your favorite Asian dipping sauce? Always good to end with a challenge, and you rise to these challenges on a weekly basis.

A small note: This week I had lunch at the home of a most hospitable friend. She served a simple chef salad that she credited to her Auntie Jo. The secret was simple: a minimal bed of Romaine lettuce topped with a maximum assortment of other ingredients, chopped small: tomatoes, onion, cucumber, celery and the like, and a generous half avocado per person on top. I was so busy with all those healthful crunchy ingredients that I could scarcely find the lettuce. And there you have it: Hospitable entertaining thrives in generous hands.

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