Category: Recipes

Beer batter shrimp

Beer batter shrimp

       

You can make these nice, puffy beer-battered shrimp with very little effort. You just need to let the batter sit for 30-45 minutes before you start dipping and frying the shrimp. We found that the best frying temperature for the shrimp was about 350˚ F. They still take only minutes to brown.

If you are using a stand mixer, you might find that it can’t beat a single egg white. We usually put in two so the beaters will catch the whites, and then only use about half of the beaten whites.

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  • ½ cup flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 Tb melted butter
  • ½ cup beer
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • About 3-4 cups canola oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Seafood sauce of your choice

Folding egg whites into batter

Frying the shrimp
  1. Mix the flour and salt and stir in the butter and egg.
  2. Add the beer gradually, stirring only until smooth.
  3. Let the batter stand in a warm place for 30-45 minutes
  4. Preheat the oil to 350˚ F.
  5. Beat the egg white to stiff peaks.
  6. Fold the egg white into the batter.
  7. Dip the shrimp into the batter and drop directly into the hot oil. Cook only 5-6 at a time to keep the oil from cooling.
  8. Serve with French fries, lemon wedges and cocktail sauce.

French fries

Since you have the hot oil, why not make some French fries, too? Cut about 1 or potatoes per person into strips and soak in cold water for an hour, and then drain them.

Turn the oil temperature up to 375˚ F.  Dry the fries, and cook them in a couple of batches. Serve at once.

Shrimp and fries, with corn

Buttermilk brined roast chicken

Buttermilk brined roast chicken

If you like juicy roast chicken, you will love this recipe. It produces the juiciest, tenderest chicken we’ve ever tried. All you have to do is brine the chicken in salted buttermilk overnight or for at least 12 hours. You will love the results! This recipe is based on one in the New York Times, originally by Samin Nosrat, and it is well worth the little extra effort.

You can apply this recipe to smaller chickens (3.4-4.5 lbs), roasting chicken (7 lbs or more) or smaller turkeys (say 16 lbs). The only limiting factor is a plastic bag nig enough to hold the buttermilk without leaking in your fridge.

For the two of us, we often roast a chicken for dinner, eating the legs and saving the chicken breasts for sandwiches.  And what moist sandwiches this recipe makes!

  • One moderate chicken (around 4lbs)
  • Around 2-3 cups buttermilk
  • Kosher salt

To prepare the chicken,

  1. Cut off the wing tips with shears and remove any giblet packages. Run the chicken with kosher salt and let it sit for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Put the chicken in a zip lock plastic bag and add the buttermilk: enough to pretty much cover the chicken.
  3. Stir in 2 Tb kosher salt and mix the liquid a bit.
  4. Then seal the bag and put it in an outer plastic bag to avoid leaks, and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before roasting.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 ˚ F. Scrape excess buttermilk off the chicken and place it on a rack in a cast iron pan. Tie the legs together with twine.
  7. Roast for 20 minutes with the legs pointed toward a rear corner (which is a hot spot), or using the Convection Bake setting at 400˚ F.
  8. After that 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 (or 375 if convection). Rotate the pan to point towards the other back corner. The skin should be starting to brown.
  1. If the skin darkens too much, put a foil tent over the bird.
  2. Continue to roast until a meat thermometer registers about 160˚ F, which will probably take no more than 30 more minutes, but be careful not to overcook it. Remove the chicken and let it rest for 10 minutes, during which the temperature will rise a bit more.
  3. Serve at once. It will be really moist and juicy because of the brining. Enjoy it!

The breast meat from this juicy chicken makes absolutely terrific chicken sandwiches. You  will note that they aren’t dry and don’t shred, but cut easily into slices. These sandwiches are the second payoff for this delicious recipe!

Can you slide eggs around in a non-stick pan?

Can you slide eggs around in a non-stick pan?

There have been a lot of commercials for various cheesy and quality pans that show off how you can slide the eggs around on the non-stick surface. But they never answer the question: why the heck would you do this? We have a good quality Misen nonstick pan, so we decided to try this silly experiment. We got out Misen pan over a year ago and really like it. We use it quite frequently: at least once a week and it has performed well for us. But we never tried to cook an egg without any butter or bacon drippings before!

So, we set our pan over medium-low heat on our gas stove, and broke an egg into a cup and slipped it into the pan. After it started to solidify, we tried to slide it around with wrist motion. That wasn’t enough, but after we briefly slipped a spatula under the egg, we could slide it around promiscuously!

Of course, we had to wait until the white was mostly cooked, but we could then easily pour the egg out of the pan and onto a plate. Of course, this really isn’t the best way to cook an egg: you would normally baste it was bacon drippings or butter, or flip the egg over, but we got it cooked.

Then we melted a little unsalted butter in the pan and cooked another egg. We had to cook it at a slightly lower temperature to avoid burning the butter, so it took a little longer. We had to dislodge it slightly with a spatula, but then it slid around in the bit of butter just as gleefully. And we could slip that egg onto a plate just as easily.

Results

So what are the results?  The egg cooked in the dry pan didn’t have much flavor, since fat carries the flavor. The one cooked in butter tasted a lot better, but both were pretty tough, because they were only cooked on the one side. We actually took two butter fried eggs, put them back in the pan, flipped them and cooked them for maybe 15 seconds. Then we put them between bread and made nice sandwiches. We added a little mayo for moisture, and some onion salt for flavor.

They weren’t bad, but would have been better flipped sooner, or basted in a bit of butter. But the dry-cooked one just wasn’t very good.

Overall, whole thing is silly.

Cheery Ring for Breakfast

Cheery Ring for Breakfast

Here’s a simple and delicious breakfast coffee cake you can delight Mom or anyone else with. It’s great for Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s Day or any other special occasion.

 It’s a yeast dough that rises twice: once the night before and once during the night.  You can also make the rings in the morning in about 2 hours start to finish.

You make it using canned cherries (not cherry pie filling). You can find canned cherries at supermarkets in the aisle with the canned fruits, not with the baking supplies where that horrible canned pie filling is found.

The dough

  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 package yeast (not instant)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 cups flour

The filling

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can red pitted cherries, drained

The icing

  • ½ lb confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 Tb butter
  • Milk about 3-4 Tb
  1. Place the milk, sugar and shortening in a glass pitcher or bowl and microwave for one minute. The shortening does not need to melt completely.
  2. Place the yeast, water and ½ tsp sugar in another pitcher and stir. Let it sit a few minutes until it’s foamy.
  3. Put the warm milk mixture into the bowl of a food processer and add 1 cup of the flour.
  4. Pulse briefly to mix.
  5. Add the egg and mix.
  6. Add the yeast and mix.
  7. Add 2 more cups of flour, and enough more to make a smooth dough.
  8. Let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes
  9. Melt the butter and combine with the brown sugar and flour.
  10. When the dough has risen, remove it from the food processor and divide it in half.
  11. Roll out each half on a floured board to a 6″ by 18″ rectangle.
  1. Sprinkle half the cherries, half the brown sugar mixture and half the nuts on each rectangle.
  2. Roll the dough into a long tube and place the tube on a greased cookie sheet. Connect the ends and pinch them together to make a ring. Since this makes a round dough ring, you can use a pizza pan for the cookie sheet.
  3. Repeat for the second half of the dough.
  4. Make a series of cuts about 3/4 inch apart going from the outside about 3/4 of the way into the tube.
  5. Take each slice and rotate it about 90 degrees, lifting and twisting it with your knife, so the cherry mixture is horizontal.
  6. Cover the pan containing each ring with aluminum foil (sprayed with a little cooking spray) and cover both wrapped rings with a damp towel.
  7. Allow them to rise in a cool place such as a basement or garage overnight. If you allow them to rise in the refrigerator, make sure they are tightly wrapped. In that case you may have to let them rise a bit more outside the refrigerator in the morning.
  8. Before you go to bed, wash out the food processor so you can use it to make the icing in the morning.
  9. In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 F.
  10. Uncover the rings and bake them for about 15 minutes, until brown.

Ice with butter cream icing and serve warm.

Buttercream icing

Place the confectioners sugar and the butter in a clean food processor bowl and pulse until uniform. Add the milk, a little at a time until the icing is a smooth, spreadable mixture.

Easy Eggs Benedict

Easy Eggs Benedict

There’s really not much to making this fabulous breakfast (or lunch or dinner) dish. This video shows how to make Eggs Benedict in about 10 minutes.

Actually, the video is only 9 minutes, because we cut out part of the egg poaching time.

But all you need to make Eggs Benedict is

  • 2 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 4 slices ham, sauteed in butter
  • 4 eggs to poach
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1-2 Tb lemon juice
  • ¼ lb butter melted and still hot

Sauté the ham slices in butter for about a minute.

Toast the split English muffins and top each half with a ham slice.

The important part of making the Hollandaise in a blender is to melt the butter so it is hot and bubbly. In our microwave, this is about 75 seconds (1:15 minutes). Make sure the butter is quite hot, so it cooks the egg yolks a bit when you pour it into the blender with the yolks and lemon juice.

To poach the eggs, we use a 3-quart saucepan with water gently simmering. Add salt and about 2 Tb white vinegar to the water, and quickly slip the 4 eggs into the water. No need to stir or swirl. Set a timer for 3:00 minutes and then lift the eggs out and put them on the toasted English muffins with the hams slice. Pour on some hollandaise and serve right away. Decorate with a bit of parsley if you like.

This makes a festive breakfast in about 15 minutes, including the time to bring the water to a boil. Enjoy it!

Steak béarnaise using a blender

Steak béarnaise using a blender

Steak béarnaise is a simple dish. You cook a steak and pour some sauce béarnaise over it. You can cook the steak over a grill, in a cast iron pan, or even in the oven. Here is a classic description of cooking an (effing) steak.

But how to make béarnaise? It’s really very easy, and here we simplify it even more by using a blender and a microwave.

  • 1/3 to ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tsp tarragon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ lb (1 stick) butter
  • Another 2 tsp tarragon
  • 1 steak (sirloin or ribeye works well)
  1. Put the wine in a small saucepan and add the scallions and tarragon.
  2. Boil the wine down to about 1-2 tablespoons. Do this slowly, so the pan doesn’t suddenly go dry.
  3. Strain the wine reduction into a small dish, pressing the scallions to squeeze out any remaining wine.
  4. Put the 3 egg yolks and the wine reduction in a blender and pulse briefly.
  5. Melt the butter in a microwave for about 1 minute. The butter should be hot and bubbly. If it isn’t, add another 15 seconds or so. You need the butter hot to cook the egg yolks.

  1. Slowly  pour the hot butter into the running blender. Add the remaining tarragon and turn off the  blender. Let it set while you prepare the steak.
  2. Cook the steak to about 120˚ F.  Let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Then cut it into serving strips.
  3. Pour the béarnaise over the steak and  serve it. If by any chance you want the béarnaise thicker, you can heat it briefly over low heat, with constant stirring.

Serve with baked potatoes and a veggie or salad (or both).

We try donuts made with Greek yogurt

We try donuts made with Greek yogurt

Bon Appetit recently published a delicious recipe for cake donuts made with Greek yogurt, which they called “yonuts.” The yogurt gives them just a little tang, and they are quite simple to make. You can probably have warm donuts for breakfast in about half an hour.

So, their recipe is

  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tb melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5-6 cups vegetable oil for frying (peanut or canola)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest from ¼ lemon
  • ¼ cup water (or less)
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl
  2. Mix the egg yolks, yogurt, melted butter together with a whisk
  3. Mix in the granulated sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add the flower mixture and mix with a whisk, or eventually a wooden spoon. The batter will be a bit stiff.
  5. Roll out the batter on a flour board or floured parchment. You may need to flour the top side, too.
  1. Cut out the donuts using a donut cutter, or a circular cookie cutter. In the latter case, we found you could dig out the donut hole with a cookie scoop. Dust off any excess flour before frying.
  2. Heat the oil to 350˚ F (use a thermometer) and cook the donuts 3-4 at a time. BA suggests 2 minutes per side, but we found that a bit too long. We recommend 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side. Turn them when they are brown.
  3. Drain the donuts on a wire rack until cool.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar with water until it is thin enough to dip the donuts in, but don’t overdo it. Mix in some zest from ¼ lemon.

frosting

  1. Dip both sides of each donut in the icing and let them dry briefly.  Eat at once.

We ate them as soon as we could. This recipe makes 9-10 donuts. They are still pretty good the second day. You should probably rewarm them in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.

Meal kits: we try out “Gobble”

Meal kits: we try out “Gobble”

Previously we have written about Freshly, a meal delivery service that provides completely prepared, microwavable meals, and we weren’t all that thrilled. This article is about meal kits, which send you the ingredients and simple preparation instructions.

There are an awful lot of meal services out there trying to get you to subscribe, and one of the better rated ones is strangely named “Gobble.” Their slogan is “Make dinner in 15 minutes,” and this seems to be about right. We ordered three meal kits for two, for $73.93, or $24.64 each. They come delivered iced, but not frozen and so well sealed, they lasted nearly a week in the refrigerator until we’d tried all three. You will probably need a couple of cooking pans, a bowl or two, and perhaps a knife to chop up salad ingredients.

Spring Pot Roast

The first one we tried was “Spring Pot Roast,” with fava beans and asparagus. The meal kits come in several little sealed packages, one for the beef, one for the legumes. The asparagus was loosely packaged, but fresh, and the other envelopes were a red wine demi-glace, a shallot-garlic confit (which seemed to have little flavor), lemon gremolata and fried garlic bits.

Putting this one together was pretty simple. You put the beef cubes, red wine glace and some water in a covered pan and cook for five minutes.  Meanwhile, you cut the asparagus into short “batons.” You saute the beans as asparagus in a little oil and then add the garlic confit.

You put half of the beans-asparagus mixture on each place, divide the beef mixture over them and garnish with the lemon gremolata and fried garlic.

I found it pretty good, although my wife didn’t agree. Each portion was nominally 560 calories, and it left us feeling hungry. Of the three dinners, we liked this one the least.

Fortunately, the overall package came with two cookie dough puck that you could bake into cookies in 14 minutes, and we did.

Miso Glazed Pulled Pork Sandwich

pork plated

Our second meal was the miso glazed pulled pork sandwich with Gochujang aioli. It was really simple to put together. First you toast the brioche bins in a pan for a few minutes and set them aside. You heat the shredded pork, add the miso glaze and heat 2-3 minutes more. You chop up the lettuce, slice the Persian cucumber and mix with the shredded carrots to make a bit of a salad that you dress with Nuoc Cham (fish sauce). This salad was also to contain the cilantro which we decided to omit.

Then you put the supplied mayonnaise in a small bowl and add the gochujang paste, a mild Korean fermented red pepper paste. To assemble, you put half the salad on each plate, the buns on top, spread the mayo over the buns and distribute the pork among them. You can put a little salad on top as well, but there is so much pork it doesn’t all fit.

We thought these sandwiches were outstanding, and at 1120 calories each, were plenty filling.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

chickn plated 2

This pasta dish also came with spinach and broccoli, and that same shallot-garlic confit the first meal also utilized. For this dinner, you brown a couple of small chicken breasts in a pan, and then roast them in the oven along with the broccoli at 450˚ F for six minutes. Then, you take out the chicken, simmer the broccoli with some water while covered, and then plate the broccoli while keeping the chicken warm. Oh, and that pan that was in the oven is going have a really hot handle, and burning your hand when you put the lid on is not improbable. And I’ve been cooking for 50 years! I think it might be better to steam the broccoli in a small saucepan instead.

Then, you boil the fettuccine, drain it and put it in the pan and add the spinach leaves and the alfredo sauce, along with that garlic confit. Finally, you plate the pasta and sauce and add the slice chicken breasts on top. You sprinkle with sone grated cheese, and most important, add the packet of chili flakes to keep the dish from being bland. We thought is was very good, and at 1050 calories it should have been more filling that it turned out.

Probably, my only real criticism with Gobble is that they are a weekly meal kit delivery service, but the deadline to make changes or skip a week is a whole week before. So, I ended up with another set of meals we hadn’t planned on arriving this evening, including one with a diminutive piece of salmon that looked like it wasn’t even enough for one. It says it weighs 10 oz.

Overall, we think Gobble is a very good meal kit service, and we will probably order more in the future.

 

 

 

 

Quick lava cake in the Instant Pot

Quick lava cake in the Instant Pot

This very easy recipe was suggested by another (unsigned) online one. This is a simplified and briefer version. Even if you don’t want to go shopping just now, you probably already have the ingredients for this simple dessert. You just need chocolate chips, eggs, butter and sugar. There is no problem mixing some partial bags of various types of chips you might have around: they’ll all work fine.

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tb flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Put the butter and chocolate chips in s medium mixing bowl and slowly melt them together in the microwave. I suggest 2 minutes at halt power and then may 30 seconds at full power. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add another 30 seconds if needed.
  2. Whisk in the sugar.
  3. Mix in the 3 eggs, one at a time and add the egg yolk,
  4. Add the vanilla
  5. Add the flour and mix until smooth. This whole thing will take about 5 minutes.
  6. Butter 4 ramekins or spray them with non-stick spray.
  7. Add batter to each ramekin using a large cookie scoop. We used two scoops for each one. Leave enough room for them to rise.

  1. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot and set the four ramekins on the trivet.
  2. Close the pot and cook at high pressure for 9 minutes in a 6-quart pan, or 7 minutes in an 8-quart pan.
  3. Release the pressure quickly and let the cakes set for a couple of minutes.
  4. Run a knife around the rim of each ramekin and invert each one onto a plate. They should come right out.
  5. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, with a side of slice strawberries of you have them.

cake uncut

You can make the batter ahead, or serve the cakes on two days, but the lave cakes are best served warm. But even cold, they are still pretty good!

ramekins

Bob’s Bunz: breakfast in the Keys

Bob’s Bunz: breakfast in the Keys

Should you be staying in the Florida Keys, anywhere near Islamorada, around mile 80, you should skip your hotel or resort breakfast and head for Bob’s Bunz. They are both a bakery and a restaurant, and are open from 6 am to 2 pm, every day. They are noted for their fantastic cinnamon buns as well as delicious breakfast items, such as the fried eggs and Eggs Benedict we had this morning. The service is quick and friendly and the food excellent.

eggs

benedict

We’ll go back at least once more just to have the buns!

pastries