We had watched one of Gordon Ramsey’s cooking challenge shows where contestants made fish and chips using his technique/recipe. Aside: If you grow fresh English peas, you don’t need to add butter to your mushy peas. If you are adding butter, get a new variety of peas!
When we made the grocery list yesterday, Anya volunteered us to make fish and chips too. Interesting idea, it didn’t seem too difficult watching him do it 🙂 So we picked up some cod, potatoes, and yams (I love yam chips, especially dusted with a little cinnamon … doesn’t go well with fish, but if I’m boiling a big pot of oil, figured I’d make some of these too).
Ingredients, per Ramsey’s web site:
- 4 175g thick cod fillets
- 120g plain flour
- 100g rice flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 130ml soda water
- 170ml lager
- 1 tsp sugar
- vegetable oil for deep fryer
Dredge the fish in flour, then coat in the batter and fry at about 350 degrees F. I was worried that they wouldn’t be crispy and puffy like they are meant to be, but WOW. The batter was super puffy. Spewed oil all over the place too.
We made the fries using a method from Cooks Illustrated that starts with cold oil. I used carola potatoes. Wash potatoes, dry them, and cut them into batons (nice if they are close to the same size. I got some smaller super crunchy ones, medium sized ones cooked perfectly, and larger ones that didn’t crisp as much). Place in a dutch oven & fill with oil to just cover. Turn burner on high and bring to a boil (~5 mins) and then leave ’em alone for fifteen or twenty minutes to cook. When they start to get browned, scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. When they reach the desired color, net them out with a slotted spoon or scoop. Salt immediately and eat.
We watched people making cannoli on MasterChef tonight, and Anya wants to make some now. I am trying to sort a good recipe.
- 7 oz all-purpose flour
- 1 oz cocoa powder
- 1 oz sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ oz butter
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, melted butter and eggs in a bowl. Then add the Marsala. The dough will start out quite sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, about 15 minutes. Form into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. and let it rest for half an hour.
Roll out the cannoli dough to about the thickness of a penny. Cut it into circles with diameter of about 2.5″ for smaller ~1/2″ diameter forms, 3.5″ diameter circles for larger ~7/8″ diameter forms. Wrap the circles around the metal tubes to shape the cannoli and seal with a little dab of egg white. Heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the dough, still wrapped around the tubes, for about one minute. Use a skewer to remove the form from the hot oil. Let the cannoli cool on paper towels. Once cool, slide out the metal tubes. Fill shells immediately before serving – pipe filling into center and top with chopped pistachios, hazelnuts, or chocolate.
Honey Ricotta Filling:
- 15 ounce whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer to stiff peaks and then set aside in the refrigerator.
Combine the ricotta cheese, honey, powdered sugar, and the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean. Fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Chocolate Mascarpone Filling:
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for decoration
Beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Finally stashing my cornbread recipe somewhere because I can never find it. Scott wanted to make corn dogs this week – which is essentially coating sausage / veggie sausage and then dropping it in hot oil.
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1 cup cornmeal
· 2-3 tablespoons honey
· 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 egg, lightly beaten
· 1 cup sour cream
· 1/3 cup milk
· 1/4 cup butter, melted
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
In case we do get a dog, I wanted to have a few recipes for homemade dog food because I really don’t want to feed a dog fat coated grain nuggets.
Liver Brown Rice
- 2 lbs raw chicken livers (3 containers) – remember, you can also use beef liver
- 2 cup of cooked brown rice, set aside
- 1 cup of chopped carrots
- 1 chopped broccoli,
- 2 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for pan
Chop veggies and liver into bite sized pieces. Saute liver. Add water and simmer until liver is cooked. Add veggies and cook for a few more minutes. Cool and refrigerate/freeze.
Beef Sweet Potato
- 1 pound of beef
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1/2 cup of carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup of green beans, diced
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying
Microwave the sweet potato until mostly cooked and chop into bite sized pieces. Dice beef and saute in olive. Remove meat from pan. Add flour and water to make a gravy. Add in veggies, sweet potato, and meat. Cook over medium-low heat until carrots are cooked (5-10 minutes). Cool and refrigerate/freeze.
Lots of Veggies (my own)
- 3 lbs beef offal
- 1 cups brown rice
- 3 cups spinach, shredded
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup peas
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup meat stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground egg shells
Dice everything into bite sized pieces. Saute meat for a few minutes until mostly cooked. Add in flour, egg, and stock to make a gravy. Stir in veggies and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Cool and refrigerate/freeze.
- 3 lbs turkey/chicken
- 1 cups brown rice
- 2 apple
- 2 cup carrots
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons tapioca powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup meat stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground egg shells
Dice everything into bite sized pieces. Saute meat for a few minutes until mostly cooked. Add in flour, tapioca powder, and stock and heat make a gravy. Stir in fruit/veggies and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Cool and refrigerate/freeze.
I had planned to make a curried egg salad (shredded carrots, diced onions, diced hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and Penzey’s sweet curry powder) so we could use up the Easter eggs. Got the flatbread cooked. Everything was diced up & ready to go in a bowl. Got another bowl for the yogurt (when you use curry POWDER, mixing it into the yogurt first to make sure it’s all smooth & hydrated makes a really nice sauce. For some reason stirring in yogurt and then adding curry powder makes a mess. I think it’s because powder bits cling to the chunks of food & never get hydrated). Grabbed the yogurt container from the fridge … and it’s almost empty. Umm … hungry people, food ready for the curry sauce. So I decided to try making mayo again (that’s what the recipe calls for anyway). I’ve tried a few times, and never gotten anything vaguely useful.
So I searched for a never breaking mayo recipe and got something that actually worked for me:
They add some Dijon mustard to the egg/vinegar mixture & uses the whole egg instead of just the yolk. Which means you don’t end up with spare egg whites that you’ve got to use somewhere (although they do freeze just fine). There’s certainly some flavour from the Dijon (and colour – it’s not a pure white cream), but it’s tasty.
Our salad course for Easter was a sauteed hop salad. We have both cascade and centennial hops, and the ones that are in the ground have grown incredibly in the past week or so. Before the snow, we had little sprouts barely nudging through soil. Now some of our vines are two feet long!
So I missed the really tender early sprouts. I sauteed the thicker stems in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then garnished with fresh hop leaves. It was really good – and I only used about half of the trimmings.
Sometimes when I research the process to replace a manufactured something-or-other with a homemade version, it ends up being a significant effort. Other times, though, the process is shockingly simple. Bitters fall into the later category. To make bitters, you soak stuff in alcohol (vodka or whiskey) for a few weeks. What you soak changes the flavor of the bitters, so there’s a bit of an art to it. But the actual process is simple and straight forward.
I am going to make hop bitters using frozen whole hops that we grew last season. The base will be cascade hops soaked for two weeks in vodka. If that is not sufficiently bittering, I will take some centennial and boil it in water to make a hop tea. Reduce the hop tea by at least 50% and add that to the vodka/hop mixture. I thought it could be stored with some whole hops in the bottle for aesthetics.
We made the Medusa Cream Ale last night, and it seems so wasteful to throw out the steeping grains (a.k.a. ‘spent grains’). I’ve added a cup to a 4c flour pizza dough recipe before – it makes a nice whole grainy crust. Anya has taken the ‘self service’ approach to bananas, but she leaves somewhere between an empty peel and 7/8th of a banana sitting on the kitchen counter. I’ve been collecting her banana bits in the refrigerator … so I wanted to make something with bananas.
Banana Muffins With Spent Beer Grains
5 T butter, melted
1/3 c dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
2 t Penzey’s apple pie spices
2 cups spent beer grains — this batch was from a light cream ale, you’ll get a different taste using grains from a darker beer
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Melt the butter in a large bowl
- Mash the bananas into the butter
- Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved
- Stir in the egg, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and spices
- Add the spent grains and mix well
- Add the flour, half a cup at a time, and stir until no streaks of flour are seen
- Scoop batter into muffin tin (I use a non-stick tin from Williams Sonoma and filled each one about 90%)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out without raw batter (a little moist is OK, uncooked batter not OK)
We’ve started to play around with our maple syrup. I’ve made maple pecan pancakes, maple lemonade, maple apple smoothies with kale and spinach (good for St Patrick’s Day), and now maple whiskey sours!
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice, 1.0 oz grade b maple syrup, 3.0 oz woodford reserve – shake with ice, decant into a glass, sprinkle with lemon zest
I’ve seen a lot of recipes for broccoli tots, but really haven’t been impressed with the end result. I created two of my own recipes that we like a lot more – although neither approach is potato-free. The first ‘recipe’ is to take your favorite latke (potato pancake) recipe and add 8 ounces of shredded broccoli. I make a lot of ‘stuff’ (soups, stir fries) that uses the broccoli crowns, but I’ve never cared for slices of the stem in dishes. Shreds of broccoli stems, however, work wonderfully in cheddar broccoli soup and broccoli tots. Grate the left-over stems and steam them for a few minutes, allow to cool, then use or freeze. I squeeze them out before using – otherwise you get a lot of water.
The second recipe:
1 lb potatoes
8 oz shredded broccoli
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1/4 t cayanne pepper
1 T corn starch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Shred half of the potatoes and set aside. Chop the remaining potatoes into small chunks and cook in boiling water (~10 minutes). Mash the potato chunks.
Sauté the shredded potatoes in oil (butter, olive oil, peanut oil) until they are crispy and golden.
Combine all of the ingredients except for the shredded potatoes. Mix well. Carefully stir in the sautéed shredded potatoes.
Line a half-sheet with a silicon baking mat. Scoop small amounts (1-2 teaspoons) of the mixture into your hand and roll into a ball. Place the balls onto the baking sheet and flatten a little bit.
Bake for ten minutes at 400 degrees. Turn tots over and continue baking for ten more minutes.