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IDEA ALLEY: Shrimp, Polpette, cornbread, oh my

by Kelly Brant | July 7, 2021 at 1:46 a.m.
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The big skillet cornbread recipe that appeared in this column inspired an anonymous reader to share her favorite way to do cornbread for cooks needing just a few servings.

"We like to have cornbread occasionally, but I usually don't think about it until just before we're about to sit down at the table," she writes.

"[This] takes no time at all, and it works for us. We each have our own personal cornbread cake."

Take a cup of cornmeal mix (not plain cornmeal), an egg and some buttermilk (¾ cup or so), and 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix all together. Heat a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil and drop ¼ cupfuls of batter into the skillet and cook as you would a pancake.

Virginia Raum shares this recipe that originally appeared in Arkansas Magazine in November 1984 according to its headnote.

Idea Alley is not suggesting this recipe will taste anything like the current Oyster Bar's Shrimp Creole, but it does sound easy and tasty.

Oyster Bar's Shrimp Creole

  • 1 bunch celery, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ pound butter or margarine
  • 2 (29-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • ½ pound cooked medium shrimp
  • Cooked rice, for serving

Saute the celery, bell peppers and onion in the butter for 30 minutes and then add the tomato sauce. Season to taste with parmesan, black pepper and garlic salt. Add the shrimp and continue cooking until heated through.

Serve over rice.

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"I used to make this as a teenager for all the church dinners," Jacque Armstrong writes. "Always a hit and simple to make."

Armstrong recommends serving this with a green salad.

Polpette (Meatballs and White Beans)

  • 1 pound ground beef seasoned any way you like
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • Italian seasoning to taste

Shape the seasoned ground beef into meatballs and brown in a skillet. Remove meatballs from pan and drain the grease. Return the meatballs to the pan and add the beans, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through.

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