Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Made "Fish & Chips"

I probably say this more frequently than I realize but this was one of the BEST meals we have EVER eaten.  Maybe I should look back and see if my description fits with anything healthy….I'm sure it does, right?!  The Barefoot Contessa, while preparing for a seafood dinner on a dock in East Hampton, whipped up Fish & Chips and I was destined to attempt it.  Pregnancy has limited my seafood intake and I have definitely met my quota for the week!  Did I mention we are expecting a baby in April?  It's true - and now blog official.  I don't see the effort this meal took happening with an infant around, i.e. 360 degree oil in a frying pan and batter everywhere.  But I know now that I can do it and it is worth every splash of hot oil that ended up on my arms and clothes!

  • 2 large baking potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 recipe Baked "Chips", recipe follows

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in thirds lengthwise. You'll have 6 long wedges from each potato.  Or cut as many pieces as you would like to have extra.  

  • Place the potatoes on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together, making sure the potatoes are covered with oil. Spread the potatoes in a single layer with 1 cut side down.

  • Bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

  • "Fish"
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillets (choose thick ones)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of water and then the egg.

With about 10-15 minutes left on the "chips", begin preparing the oil for your "fish".  Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large (12-inch) frying pan and heat it to about 360 degrees F.

Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place it very carefully into the hot oil. Don't crowd the pieces.  Use tongs to place each piece in the hot oil, to avoid excess oil splattering on your skin.  Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil between 360 and 400 degrees F. 

Cook the fish on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the "chips."
Lay the cod fillets on a cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Cut the fillets in 1 1/2 by 3-inch pieces.

What I would do next time:
Buy a candy thermometer for heating the oil vs. using a meat thermometer 
that only goes up to 180 degrees

We were thinking last night what couple would enjoy this meal…stay tuned for a dinner invite!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Catered a Fall Breakfast & Lunch

I had another opportunity to cater this month for the same group as last month.  I guess they liked the Green Chili Egg Fluff Casserole.  So this time around I went for two of their meals to see if I could handle the load.  It was fun and beside burning one batch of bacon and throwing a breaker everything went off without a hitch.  Thankful for our electrician who was already scheduled to stop by the house that day : )    

Quite a few facebook friends have asked me about these catering "gigs" and if I am doing it full-time.  For now, I am just cooking out of my kitchen for this one small group but open to other opportunities as they might present themselves.  If only I had an industrial size kitchen, a grocery store next door and all the essential catering equipment.  We will see where it goes but in the meantime I love cooking for others!

On the Menu: Hash Brown Potato Brunch Casserole & Homemade Biscuits for breakfast and for lunch, Hawaiian Sandwiches and a beautiful Autumn Salad.

 Breakfast casserole prepping 15 slices of bacon and 20 eggs!!!

 Just looking like plan sandwiches at this point…just wait!

My favorite salad about to take shape.

Again the Hawaiian Sandwiches and Autumn Salad were served at a wedding shower at our home last November and since then every time they have been served are a hit!  Did I mention the Glazed Pecans?!  Amazing!!!

And for the Hash Brown Potato Brunch Casserole - you have to try this!!  A great breakfast item for your Thanksgiving house guests.  

15 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
20 eggs
2 cups milk
1, 32 oz. package frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towels, drain grease, reserving 2 tablespoons.  Crumble or chop bacon and set aside.  In same skillet, saute onion and green pepper in 2 tablespoons leftover grease, until tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  In a large bowl whisk eggs and milk.  Stir in hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, onion mixture and bacon.  Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until firm and liquid is cooked through.  

Until my next "gig"...