maradydd: (Default)
Alcohols I have cooked with, or will cook with, within the last week as of tomorrow:
  • Orange armagnac (pousse-rapière)
  • Ouzo
  • Ginger mead
  • Port
This doesn't count things that were at one point in their existence alcoholic, such as balsamic, or a vinegar-mint infusion.

I still need to figure out something interesting to do with some of the weirder spirits we've picked up, such as the rose liqueur, or the Black Balzams (aka "tincture of various things that Latvians find in the woods").
maradydd: (Default)
Tonight I killed off the last of the pousse-rapière from our trip to France a few months ago, by using it as the deglazing liquid in a chicken Marsala in place of Marsala wine, which we did not have. Although the act of deglazing set off the smoke alarm, the chicken itself turned out beautifully tender, with just enough orange tang from the Armagnac, and I'll be happy to share the recipe if anyone cares.
maradydd: (Default)
Although I occasionally like to cook tremendously complicated things that take copious amounts of prep time, my time is at a premium these days. However, since the thing that has my time at a premium is the spring paper season, I'm being more budget-conscious, which means cooking rather than ordering takeout. I'm rather pleased with how tonight's endeavour turned out, and so I share with you:

Breaded Whitefish The Way Meredith and Her Mom Make It


filets of any kind of white fish. In Texas it would be catfish; I used whiting.
cornmeal (a handful or two; you can also use flour, but I think cornmeal tastes better)
1 egg per 2 filets
herbs/spices to taste (you cannot go wrong with Lawry's seasoned salt)
cooking oil, butter, margarine, lard, whatever (I used the herbed olive oil that [ profile] hukuma left over here, and it was awesome)

Beat the egg(s) in a bowl or glass and set aside. Combine cornmeal and seasonings on a plate or tray suitable for dredging the fish through. (Protip: the styrofoam tray you probably bought the fish in works great and you don't have to dirty a plate. If you buy your fish wrapped in heavy paper, that works too.) For each filet, brush one side with egg, dredge that side through the cornmeal, then repeat for the other side. Do this as many times as you want. Once makes for a fairly thin breading; twice is what most recipes say to do; three times makes a nice thick breading; four is probably too much unless you really like breading.

If your cooking fat is solid, melt it in your frying pan; if not, just pour some in. You want just a bit less than will cover the bottom of your pan. The oil is hot enough when it pops when you flick in a drop of water; if it's steaming, it's too hot. Fry the filets for about a minute on each side until the breading is a nice golden brown, then turn up the heat and give it another 30 seconds on each side.

That's it. Serve and eat, sprinkled with lemon juice if you like that kind of thing.

Prep time, about ten minutes; cooking time, about seven minutes. Total cost: €4, since whiting was on special at the supermarket today and I already had cornmeal and cooking oil. If you don't keep a bag of cornmeal in your pantry, do yourself a favour and drop a buck on a bag of it -- it's the best all-purpose breading out there, and you'll already have it around when the need arises.

Tomorrow I get to figure out what to do with the kilo of bone-in chicken thighs I also picked up on special, apart from throwing the bones in the stockpot and boiling them down for chicken broth. Next week [ profile] chocolatecoffee will be here, and I'm sure we'll figure out something clever to do with that.
maradydd: (Default)
Sometimes when I'm hungry but don't feel like making anything complicated, I'll whip up a batch of fry bread. It's one of the simplest things I know how to make, consisting of a 16:2:1 ratio by volume of flour, shortening (or other non-dairy hard fat, e.g. lard or coconut oil) and baking powder, with a dash of salt for every tablespoon of baking powder. (Blend dry ingredients well, work in shortening, knead in some water until dough sticks together, knead till smooth, make into fist-sized balls, squish balls flat, fry in oil till golden brown on both sides, drain and serve.) As it's such a simple recipe, it lends itself well to being a carrier for other flavours; you can add shredded cheese, herbs, crumbled bacon, or pretty much anything savoury and not too wet to the dough, or you can serve the plain breads with jam, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, or just about anything sweet. Also they keep for days and you can warm them in the oven or, if you've just woken up and are too bleary to work the oven, on the radiator.

Today's experiment was a simple one: while frying, add a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the hot oil. I was frying in a blend of olive and coconut oil (ran out of olive oil -- I know, I know, inexcusable), and did not expect the Worcestershire sauce to cause the oil to foam, which was a little startling. However, it did not foam over, and I am pleased to report that the sauce adds a very pleasant tamarind-and-anchovy tang to the crust which goes very well with the ginger tea I am drinking right now. Next time I find a ridiculously sharp Cheddar, I'm going to try grating it extremely fine, adding it to the dough with some rosemary, and doing the Worcestershire trick again.


Aug. 11th, 2009 02:44 am
maradydd: (Default)
Lobster bisque, amaretto and attribute grammars on a rainy night.
maradydd: (Default)
From the Department of Things I Had In My Kitchen, I offer up the following recipe.

Unsalted butter (about a stick)
1 clove garlic
Prawns (peeled and deveined if you like, though I used whole ones with the head still on)
Raw salted bacon, chopped (thick cut is best)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Mince garlic and set aside.

In a skillet with high sides, melt butter on medium heat. Add garlic while the butter is melting, it'll take a little while. When butter has completely melted and just started to turn brown, reduce heat enough that the butter doesn't brown anymore and add prawns, then add chopped bacon. Sautee prawns, turning as needed; test for doneness by poking with the tip of a butter knife. (Prawns will get firmer as they cook, first turning orange, then you'll be able to see the whiteness of the cooked flesh through the shell, then the shell will turn a darker orange as all that tasty brown butter cooks in.) The prawns should be done by the time the bacon finishes cooking, provided you're using good thick bacon.

Remove from heat. Drain butter. Arrange prawns on plate, garnish with bacon, and serve.


Apr. 8th, 2009 12:09 am
maradydd: (Default)

Why, yes, that is a Rice Krispie treat the size of my head.
maradydd: (Default)
So, there I was, hacking away in my living room, when I noticed that I was hungry. True to form, when I'm living and working alone, I forget to do things like eating. I remembered fixing a frozen pizza around 10pm last night, but I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten before then, so I decided this situation had to be remedied. I could have eaten the other half of the pizza, but it didn't look nearly as appetizing for lunch as it might otherwise have for breakfast. I didn't really want to go out, though, so that meant cooking -- preferably something that didn't take a lot of time to fix. A quick survey of the ingredients in my cabinet suggested chicken soup, and it cooked up so quickly (maybe fifteen minutes, all told) and turned out so well that I decided to share the recipe.

I'm not going to indicate quantities here, because (1) I didn't measure anything, and (2) I don't know how many people you're cooking for. I probably made somewhere between two and three cups of broth, and used two small chicken-tenderloin strips that I had in my freezer; my technique for adding spices involves adding more and more until it looks and smells right. (Except for celery seed, on which more later.) This left me with enough food for two people, three if they don't like big lunches.

So, on with the recipe! )

Also, note to self: the next time you think, "Gosh, that's hot. I wish someone made kitchen pliers," it should not take you five minutes to remember that "kitchen pliers" are actually called "tongs", and you do not own any. However, you are not allowed to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond by yourself ever again, so you should get someone responsible to go with you.

And seriously, trust me on the celery seed.


maradydd: (Default)

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