It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day. I am very pleased to announce that I was assigned Manu’s Menu. Here’s something you probably don’t know, I’ve been a Foodbuzz friend of Manuela’s blog for sometime. You can imagine my delight when I saw who’s blog I was assigned. Considering how many blogs I read and the zillions of bookmarked recipes I have, I rarely make a recipe from a fellow blogger. It’s difficult when you are so busy sharing your own recipes to take the time to make someone else’s recipes. But that’s the great thing about SRC, it gives you the opportunity to finally make a dish that you’ve wanted to try. Besides, Manuela has impeccable taste, evidently we both have the same Villeroy & Boch Switch 3 patterned dishes.
Manuela is a naturalized Australian, but she grew up in Milan, Italy and she was raised by Sicilian parents. Naturally her blog features a lot of Italian food. Manuela has been posting regional Italian recipes which you can find by index. For me, I loved that feature. As an American I have a tendency to classify Italian food simply as “Italian” which is not incorrect, just too generic. Just like here in America, different regions have different specialties or a different version of the same dish. For example, no one would call fried chicken, grits and greens a Northern or Western dish and if you read my Clam Chowder post you’ll see regional differences for the same dish.
Manuela did not specifically list the Frittatine allla Parmigiana to a specific region, rather she shares with us that it’s a traditional Italian dish, a recipe handed down from her Great Grandmother (Sicilian perhaps?). It’s one of the oldest recipes she has. Any recipe handed down from a grande nonna is certainly a recipe worth making. Manuela mentioned that she is amazed at the distortion of Italian dishes, and that she posts the real thing.
Bloggers inherently have to “lift their leg” and make their own mark on recipes and this one was no different. I wanted to stay true to the recipe and not distort it but I had a basket full of garlic that I needed to use. My basket was full of beautiful full heads of garlic, then it broke and garlic went every where. Most of my perfect heads of garlic split and spread their cloves and skins all over my dining room/kitchen. What a mess. One of the best and fastest way to use up garlic is roasting it. So that’s my mark…Roasted Garlic Frittatine alla Parmigiana.
Whenever I cook, I keep my handy notebook by my side and make notes. As I read Manuela’s grande nonna’s recipe, I realized it is like many recipes handed down. Sometimes ingredients are listed without measurement and sometimes the measurements are a bit ambiguous, such as “1/2 glass milk”. Since I was unsure of what size of glass it called for I assumed it was a standard drinking glass which is 12 ounces and a half glass is 6 ounce (3/4 cup). I was spot on in this case.
Also, I could not find a 13.5 ounce can of tomato puree, only a 29 ounce can. I doubled the sauce (which is a good thing as you’ll see later), knowing that extra sauce is always a good thing. I mixed my frittatine batter in a food processor versus a blender, why? Because I just bought a brand new food processor and this was the FIRST time using it! It was a huge expense for me, this grander dame of food processors, but I’ve broken two cheaper versions in the last 3 years. It was on sale and I’m hoping that it will last a loooong time.
If you decide to use roasted garlic (which was sublimely delicious in the sauce), add the salt to the chopped up roasted garlic cloves and mash them together with the edge of a knife. The garlic paste will melt into the sauce, adding flavor without anyone biting into a chunk of roasted garlic (not that it would bother me).
The frittatine was a definite challenge for me. I’ve never made crepes or any thing similar so I had no experience regarding the cooking technique. I was also unsure of the size of pan and what heat setting to use. My first one came out a bit broken. I tried to flip it with a turner but it broke. I determined that I did not have enough butter in my pan to make it nice and slippery.
However, the thickness was perfect and I was able to piece it together and hide it under the sauce so no one would know.
My next attempt, I added more butter and got my layer to slide around nicely, so nicely in fact that I decided to go all chef-y and flip it. Yeah, not such a good idea (see below). I use an electric stove top, and I discovered, as my pan really started to heat up, that medium high was too hot. Note to self: Use medium heat and don’t get all chef-y.
My dogs were quite happy with the little disaster!
I added butter to my pan and I made my third second layer, cooked over medium heat and used a turner to flip it. Ahh perfection. Only now I was nearly out of batter, I only got four (3 usable) frittatine layers. I checked Manuela’s pictures and counted the layers, there 8 and I technically only got 4. I went ahead and made another batch of batter and while it rested for 30 minutes I gave it some thought.
I knew that my layers were the right thickness but I only got half, that meant the only reason I did not get enough from my batter would be that my pan was too large. I was using a 10” non-stick pan, the size selected solely on the fact that it “looked right”. Since I already started with the 10”, and my layering, I needed to continue but I wanted a lovely layered frittatine. I decided to make thinner bigger layers. In order to make sure I could get the maximum layers, I measured out the batter for each layer. I used 1/4 cup for each one, they were thinner but I think if I used an 8” pan the thickness would have been perfect. I also got exactly 8 layers. I’m happy to say that I succeeded.
My frittantine looks like a beautifully layered cake. I’m glad I made extra sauce because I ended up with 10 layers. I over sauced the first few layers, even doing that, I still had sauce left over.
Is this not one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen? The flavors were incredible, very simple ingredients allowed each one to shine. The tomato flavor explodes in your mouth, followed by some tangy cheesiness and then you are left with a nice roasted garlic and onion flavor to enjoy until your next bite. The frittatine would be a perfect Sunday brunch dish or for entertaining since it can be enjoyed at room temperature.
Grazie Manuela per avermi fatto conoscere un’antica ricetta di famiglia, spero che ho fatto tua nonna grande orgoglio!
The recipe below has my instructions with the halved sauce ingredients (since I had excess), you can see the original here.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided into 8 slices
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can (13.5 ounces) tomato puree (no salt added)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 1/2 cups parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
1/2 head roasted garlic (optional), peeled and chopped
Batter: Place eggs, flour, milk and salt into a blender or food processor. Blend until homogenous. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Sauce: Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato puree. If using the roasted garlic, add salt to garlic and press against a hard surface like a cutting board to create a paste. Add the salt/garlic paste to the puree. It not using the garlic add only the salt to the puree. Bring to a low boil then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes. Set sauce aside and let cool.
Frittatine: Heat an 8” non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon of butter to pan. When melted, tilt the pan to coat the entire bottom with butter. Add 1/4 cup of the batter to the pan, swirl the pan to spread the batter evenly. Cook until the edges become dry and the surface dries up, then flip. Repeat for each layer making sure to add a little butter in between each one.
To assemble: On a large plate or platter, put a little sauce on the bottom, place one layer on top, add more sauce then sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano, repeat until all layers are used. Top it off with a generous amount of parmigiano reggiano and garnish with parsley or fresh basil.
Growing up I thought cranberry sauce came from a can. I believed that the only way to eat cranberry sauce was in the jellied form. Open the top of the can, partially open the bottom to break the seal and slide out a perfectly tube of jellied cranberry sauce.
It was actually kind of a wonder. You could see all the ridges of the can, the sauce was molded perfectly to the can. Only a true cranberry artist was capable of opening the can and having the sauce come out in one big glop while maintaining the fascinating can shape. A perfect challenge for a child.
It was a sight to see, unfortunately it would soon lose it’s fantastic shape as it was sliced and served. A perfect red circle would end up adorning the Thanksgiving plate.
Eventually I learned that cranberries don’t grow in the shape of a can. They are actually berries, you can buy them fresh, canned whole or jellied. Imagine that!
Now a days I prefer to purchase fresh berries (scads of them so I can freeze them for later in the year) and make my own sauce. It’s so incredibly easy plus it gives you the ability to change it up a bit, like adding orange.
Citrus is naturally a nice compliment to the tart cranberry, it adds depth of flavor and balances the addition of the sugar. The toughest part of making this cranberry sauce is zesting the orange, which is probably easier than perfectly dispensing a can of jellied cranberry sauce.
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and gently boil for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool prior to serving. Sauce can be made up to one week in advance.
Note: reserve juiced orange halves for the turkey brine (recipe coming soon).
You know, sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking and sometimes you don’t feel like going out either. Like after a long and very hot day of looking at Hay and snapping pictures. It happens to some more than others, even me. I adore cooking and I adore grilling but I adore an easy night off more than anything.
Here’s where I got lucky. I received a free sample of baby back ribs and BBQ sauce from the Pig of the Month club. Oh yes I did, and how timely it was! Never heard of Pig of the Month, you say? Well there are wine clubs, and cheese clubs and pig clubs. Seriously you can some tasty oinker delivered to your house every month and sauce too!
Yes, that’s a bee.
I have to confess, I was a bit skeptical. I’ve lived in the south and in the St. Louis area, I know a good rack when I taste them. I can also cook ‘em up good but who has a whole day to babysit smoking pork ribs? I have *once* purchased pre-packaged already cooked ribs from the grocery store. Let’s just say they were a huge disappointment. I should have just ordered a McRib, it would have been cheaper and tasted about the same.
So, with excitement and some trepidation I opened my package. Included: 1 rack of ribs, 1 jar of sauce, 1 bib, instructions and a whole mess of moist towelettes. Does 1 bib = 1 eater ?
So good, even the bees can’t stay away. Shoo bee, get out of here, it’s mine!
The reheating instructions are for the oven and for the microwave, but if you want to impress your neighbors you can do like I did, reheat them on the grill. Trust me, my neighbor’s noses were poking over the fence and they were drooling (their mouths not their noses). It was like 92F, too hot for the oven! I reheated them over indirect heat on the frill and the last couple of minutes put them on direct heat and sauced them for that “I just grilled” these ribs taste and look. Ooh I’m so devious.
My poor Baby boy, he is a rib lover of great proportion. Why, he would do anything to get his hands on some ribs. Even indulge his mom by wearing a bib and let me photo graph him ‘getting messy’. While he was devouring the ribs, he says:
“I’m not gonna lie, these are good ribs”
There you have it, you need no other comment. Ha! but when do I ever stop rambling? For my part I liked the dry rub on the ribs, heavy on the paprika, giving them a nice Memphis flavor. The ribs were firm enough that you could sink your teeth into the meat with out it falling apart and tender enough that a quick gnaw and the meat was right off the bone. They were smoked just the way I like, not too heavy, good subtle undertones of smoky goodness.
The Cattle Kind Brisket and BBQ Sauce is a zippy red sauce, it’s like steak sauce and good old red BBQ sauce collided into a sexy and tasty marriage. I warn you, the stuff is addicting, some people may find themselves hitting the sauce straight from the bottle. Some people, but not me, I would neeeveer eeeeveer do anything like thaaat.
Please drop by their site, not only do they have some great ribs and great sauce but they have a food blog where you can BBQ tips and drink and food recipes.
At last I have found you, my love…kissy, kissy.
Don’t tell him I posted that, he’d kill me if he knew…Never mind, please tease and embarrass him, I’m his mom and I can do what I want, so there. Besides it’s my job to embarrass him, isn’t it?
Disclaimer: I received the samples for free from Pig of the Month, I was not paid or compensated to review the product other than receiving the product itself. I am a paid guest blogger at Pig of the Month…stop on by.
This weekend we went up to the cabin, like we do most of the Summer time. This time McGyver suggested we go for a stroll through the woods. A stroll through the nice shady woods on a hot summer day, who could resist. We loaded up in the Rhino and Becca was coming along (Summer dog is deathly afraid of our 4 wheeler) and we headed to where the state land begins.
We snaked through some barbed wire fence and went on a freaking 500 mile hike, okay maybe 50 miles, would you believe 5 miles? Right, it was only about two miles round trip. And let me tell you this, when you are going up a mountain, it no longer becomes a stroll it becomes a, gulp, hike. For all my huffing, puffing, wheezing and complaining, it probably felt like 555 miles to McGyver!
My calves were screaming and my lungs were crying…suddenly I became weirdly fascinated with moss. “Hey honey, look how the sun is making the moss look. It’s such a vibrant green, I really should take some photos of it!” I’m so sneaky, a person can’t take pictures and stroll hike at the same time, can they?
Turns out there was an ulterior motive to our little stroll, deer hunting starts in less than a week and McGyver was merely stalking out a place to put his tree stand. I made it to our destination without dying, but I was in no mood to go inspect every tree in the area.
That is when I decided to become the world’s foremost leader in thistle photography. Count yourself lucky that I am only showing a miniscule amount of what I shot. (I’ve been reading books on digital photography and I think I’m becoming obsessed, shhh, don’t tell McGyver, he knows that means $$$$ and time….)
Then I began channeling Georgia O’Keefe and that’s when McGyver noticed the crazy budding photographer look in my eyes and insisted we head back.
By now it was after noon and blazing hot (here in Montana that is anything over 80°F). I wasn’t the only fat ol’ gal who was panting and heaving. Poor old Becca dog was so thirsty (we are bad parents and did NOT bring water for our…well, we were just going for a stroll…). That poor dog drank out of the nastiest water I could imagine…so I had to take a picture…someone help me….
My old Becca dog was so tired, I don’t think we had walked 20 yards past her ‘drinking hole’ before she just decided to flop down and take 5. If I wasn’t so prissy, I might have done the same thing!
I am not used to exercise, so let me tell you, I was hungry when we got back. I needed protein and Gatorade quick! It’s tough to maintain this athletic body of mine…riiiiight. Fortunately I had done a little planning and had made up some Greek Style Chicken Salad ahead of time.
I need to share with you that this did not start out as a chicken salad sandwich. I originally shredded some cold rotisserie chicken, put in a pita half, slapped some spinach leaves in it, added tzatziki sauce, feta cheese and olives on it. Problem was, I was getting dry bites of just chicken in places and not enough feta cheese in every bite. My solution was to turn it into a chicken salad, Greek style, sandwich. It was brilliant, I choose not to mix in the kalamata olives because I enjoyed the occasional surprise of a nice briny kalamata olive.
Some recipes call for the yogurt to be drained for a couple of hours so that it becomes super thick and isn’t affected by the cucumbers breaking down. I prefer to leave my Greek yogurt as is, and salt the cucumbers and let them drain on a rack for 30 minutes to rid them of the excess moisture. This ensures a super creamy tzatziki! I also used mint instead of dill, it gave it a real pop! I heart tzatziki so much that I even piled extra sauce onto my sandwich…slap my hand…bad girl!
Budget hint: Did you know that a lot of grocery stores have cold rotisserie chicken in their deli section for up to 50% off? When the hot birds go over their time limit, they get put into cold storage and get reduced by 50%. The draw back? The breasts tend to be a little dry, reserve them for things like soup or creamy chicken salad!
Greek Style Chicken Salad Sandwiches
2 cups Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1 medium cucumber
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 tbsp. chopped mint (or dill)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pita bread, halved
1 1/2 cups diced cook chicken
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
baby spinach (if desired)
kalamata olives (if desired)
diced red onion (if desired)
Tzatziki sauce: Peel cucumber, slice cucumber in half length wise. using a small spoon, scoop out seeds so that the cucumber looks like a canoe. Lightly sprinkle the cucumber with the salt and invert on a rack for approximately 30 minutes to remove excess moisture. Dice cucumbers into small pieces. In a medium bowl mix in the diced cucumbers, yogurt, minced garlic, mint and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix well.
In a medium bowl add the chicken and the feta cheese. Add approximately 1 cup of the sauce to the chicken and mix, if it isn’t creamy enough add more sauce in a small portions and add until you get the desired consistency. (I like mine super creamy, if you have left over tzatziki, it’s perfect for pita chips.)
Place the Greek styled chicken salad in a spinach lined, split pita. Top with Kalamata olives and diced red onion if desired.
The stroll hike wasn’t the only thing we did this weekend. McGyver made us a compost bin. I rocked the idea from Young House Love. Of course McGyver did the work.
McGyver decided to teach himself bow hunting so he got this cool bow.
He also spent a good amount of time ‘arrow hunting’.
We’re heading back up there for Labor Day weekend…I’m going to challenge myself with some outdoor cooking…stay tuned.
It’s no secret that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, my sense of time means that I always think I have more time than I do and I have an unrealistic view of how much fresh food we can consume in a week. I have this tendency to overbuy and then I find myself in the situation of: make something, freeze it or throw it away.
Not everything freezes well and I hate throwing food away. Once again, I found myself in a very typical situation, I had some strawberries and some cherries that weren’t looking exactly their best. I had pushed some strawberries and cherries to the back of the fruit and veg drawer where they were briefly forgotten. By the time it dawned on me that they were still there, it was too late to do much with them, but I certainly wasn’t going to throw them away.
Huckleberry BBQ sauce is very popular in Montana, which gave me thought towards a fruit based sauce. When fruit is a bit on the sorry side but still tasty, cooking will disguise a less than stellar appearance and you still get the benefit of the flavor.
Enter a strawberry and cherry barbeque sauce. I was afraid that infusing sweet fruits into a BBQ sauce would cause it to be too sweet so I added some chipotle chili powder for a smoky goodness. Genius! I found a perfect marriage between my not so great fruit and a beautifully perfect BBQ sauce!
What to pair it with? Chicken seemed the perfect match, a mild meat that happily sets the palate for a sweet and smoky sauce. Add bacon and cheese, well, it just couldn’t be better. Although not necessary, a food processor makes quick work of this sauce.
Berry Cherry Chipotle BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Berry Cherry Chipotle BBQ sauce
2 cups cherries, pitted
1 cup strawberries, hulled
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
6 Hoagie/sub sandwich rolls
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
12 slice bacon, cooked
6 slices cheddar cheese
In a food processor puree the cherries, strawberries, onion and garlic. Scrap down side of processor as necessary. Place pureed ingredients in a medium sauce pan, add ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, black pepper, liquid smoke and chipotle chili powder.
Bring to a bowl then turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Pour sauce throw a fine mesh strainer or food mill. Let cool.
To build the sandwich, toast the sandwich rolls. On bottom half of the roll, top with sliced grilled chicken, bacon and a slice of cheddar cheese. Place under a broiler until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Smother in BBQ sauce and place other half of roll on top.
Can you believe, me the ultimate beef lover, has never ever tasted or cooked a flat iron steak before? I know, I know, everyone else has. Where have I been, out in the pasture with cows? It was high time that I put an end to this situation. When my grocer had them on special I knew it was time.
I used to say that I grill year round, no matter what the weather. That all changed when I moved to Montana. Something about having a negative sign before a number deters even the staunches of grillers. My plan was to fry up the steaks in a cast iron pan, the next best thing to grilling. Unbelievably, the weather had just warmed up enough that I could go out and grill, in what I consider comfort.
McGyver and I have been trying hard to lose some weight and get into shape, motivated by our big summer vacation, which meant I needed to keep the fat and calories down to a minimum. I did my usual internet search, like I always do when I’m trying something new. I ran across this recipe from Giada over at the Food Network site. I fell in love with recipe immediately.
I made some changes to reduce the fat and calorie content. I cut the butter in half, completely omitted the olive oil and reduced the amount of wine and substituted beef broth for some of the wine. Surprisingly it was a winner, you would never even know that this recipe was made healthier. I also swapped out the dried oregano for fresh rosemary, it’s what I had on hand and it needed to be used. Steak and rosemary go well together and even better when red wine is involved.
Prepare the grill or barbecue (medium-high heat). Spray steaks with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add the garlic and rosemary and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the wine and the broth. Simmer until the sauce reduces by half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids in the strainer and return the sauce to the saucepan and bring back to a slow simmer. Cut the remaining 4 2 tablespoons of butter into small 1/2-inch chunks and whisk in the sauce a little at a time. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Thinly slice the steaks across the grain. Divide the steak slices among 6 plates. Drizzle the sauce over the steak.
Every now and then you whip up something with out giving it a lot of thought. It always surprises me when it comes out better than expected. I had scored this 4 lb pork sirloin roast (bone in) for $4.08 (hurray for catching good deals). It’ been in my freezer for awhile just waiting for me to have enough time to cook it. I had no particular plan but I did have some parsley from my garden that I needed to use before it starts freezing here. I just hate to waste (as noted by my waist). A chimichurri sauce seemed like an excellent way to use it and I haven’t made it in forever! Chimichurri originates from Argentina and is traditionally served over steak. To help my pork carry the garlicky, vinegary and slightly spicy sauce, I made a mild chili rub which paired perfectly with the sauce. I served it with Pepper Jack Mashed Potatoes (recipe for next post), a marriage made in heaven.
To understand how good this roast turned out, I will quote the Baby boy “Mom, next time I have friends over, you have to make this”. I thought I would get at least 3 meals from my roast, no dice. It was so good that my boys couldn’t stop picking at, even after my insistence that they would get it again the next night if they left it alone. Evidently resistance was futile and we didn’t have much leftover. McGyver squeaked out a pork sandwich the next day and left us with so little that I had to incorporate the roast into something else to stretch it.
The real reason why the roast was such a hit was the cooking method. Cooking Pork sirloin roast with the bone in is not as simple as sticking a roast in the oven and forgetting about it. In order to get it between 155° and 165° degrees the pork just dries out. Dried pork is not tasty. Something had to be done. Since I am not cleaver enough to figure it out myself, I used the cooking method from Cook’s Illustrated, and let me tell you, it made a $4 pork roast into a spectacular moist and tasty roast!
Let’s start with the rub:
Smokey Chili Rub
2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. Chili powder
1/2 to 1 tsps. smoked paprika
Mix the dry ingredients. Rub all over pork roast. Marinate up to 24 hours. If you are me, you don’t plan that far ahead and marinate it as long as it takes the oven to get up to temp.
1 4-5 lb bone-in pork sirloin roast with rub
Preheat oven to 475°. Place roast in a shallow roasting pan with a rack or on a cookie sheet with a cooling rack. Place on middle rack in oven and cook for 35 minutes. Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for 35 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Return the roast to the oven and cook an additional 60 to 90 minutes, the temperature should be at least 145°. Remove and rest for another 20 minutes, the temperature should reach at least 155°. I like my pork a little on the pink side, if you prefer yours more done, please adjust times and temps as needed.
Note: Place the thermometer in the thickest midway part of the meat without touching a bone for the most accurate reading.
1/2 c chopped parsley (approximately a big handful)
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves or 2 tsp dried
3/4 tsps. salt
1/2 tsps. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until nicely blended. If you aren’t using a food processor or blender, finely chop the parsley and garlic. Add the spices and mix well, then slowly whisk in the olive oil.
P.S. It is the dark time of the year so many of my posts will not have the step by step instructions. If you have any questions please feel free to leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday Fish Day! Fish Friday! Fish Fry Friday! I don’t know if it’s all the Fs or if fish on Friday is a religious hold over, but fish on Fridays always sounds good to me. Of course fish on any day sounds good to me. Fresh fish in Montana is especially good, since it is such a treat. So here I was, cruising the grocery store and what to my wandering eyes should appear? Fresh catfish, no really….not previously frozen. It was farm raised and not wild, but it was catfish and I love me some catfish.
When McGyver and I lived near the (M-i-crooked lettered-crooked letter-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i-hump back-hump back-i) Mississippi (sorry I always have to do that to make sure I spell it right) River, we used to ride our Harley’s down the River Road. The Great River Road was developed in 1938 by the 10 governor’s of the states that bordered the Mississippi. We would drive through Alton, IL (yes, Alton Brown did one of his Feasting on Asphalt trips through there, and pointed out that they are spelled the same but pronounced differently…consider me schooled), Grafton and then stop in Hardin. There was this little mom and pop restaurant right along the river that served the best catfish ever! Obviously they had excellent access.
The owner would go around with a platter of whatever food he was interested in sharing (pulled pork, pie, pork chops, etc.) and let everyone sample a bite. He knew his food was good and we’d come back for more. We always said to ourselves next time we are getting the whatever, but we always ended up getting the catfish and sweet potato chips with the maple butter. Guess since we only visited a few times a year, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to get anything else.
Seeing that little package of catfish just brought back all the great memories. To top that off, I’ve had some bizarre craving for remoulade. Certainly remoulade is no stranger to catfish, it was a match meant to be.
Personally I like my catfish fried in cornmeal. I think it’s the way it should be. Maybe it’s because the first time I ever had it, the catfish had this wonderful crunchy cornmeal crust. Or maybe I’m just an old dog and I don’t want to learn a new trick.
I mixed up my cornmeal with some spice after soaking the catfish in buttermilk. Fried it up nice and crispy. As you can see in the photo, my oil was just a wee bit hot when I put that first side down and it got a little dark. Still yummy though.
Before I made the catfish I prepared my remoulade so it would have a little time to sit and let all the flavors blend.
Coarsely chop up some onion, green onion, garlic, celery and parsley. Put it all into a food processor or blender.
Add to the blender, salt, pepper, cayenne, ketchup, prepared horseradish, yellow and Dijon mustard. Also add but not pictured, lemon juice and vegetable oil.
Blend it up. Put it in a container and chill for 15 minutes or more.
Once that catfish is nice and crispy and golden (not black, or dark golden or dark brown), serve it with the best remoulade sauce you’ve ever had.
Memories and food, they always seem to go hand in hand with me.
1/4 c coarsly chopped onion
1/4 c green onion, chopped
1/8 c chopped celery
2 T lemon juice
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs prepared horseradish
2 tbs dijon mustard
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
fresh ground pepper
Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Mix until completed blended. Wait at least 15 minutes before serving.
1 lb catfish fillets
1 c buttermilk
1 c cornmeal
1 1/2 tbs Johnny’s seasoning salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
Vegetable oil for frying.
In a medium bowl, soak catfish fillets in buttermilk for 15 minutes. Heat enough vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet to go up 1/4″ of the fillet. The oil should get to about 350°, trust me, you’ll want to check or else. Inn another dish, mix the cornmeal, seasoning salt and cayenne. Remove the catfish from the buttermilk, one fillet out of time and coat with the cornmeal mixture. Fry the fillet for about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
Note: If you have a very thick fillet you may want to turn the oil down and cook for longer or finish it in the oven.
It’s 4:oo am and I smell a camp fire, but then I hear sirens….close sirens……….really close sirens……… I drag myself out of be and look out my bedroom window and I see smoke billowing out from behind our garage. I grab my hoody, my camera, leave the dog inside and putter out to see, with fingers crossed, what was going on.
It wasn’t a camp fire but it was a camper fire, oh ho ho, I am so funny. Okay, maybe not time for my spectacular wit. I stayed and watched, took photos till the camera wouldn’t take anymore (later on found out it was a dead battery…couldn’t figure that out so early). I counted firemen, there were up to twelve at one time, actually I was checking them out under the ruse that I was counting them.
I spoke to the neighbors a bit, first time ever actually. Nothing like a tragedy to bring you together. They’ve been refurbishing this camper for months! Nothing was plugged in, so who knows the cause? My hearts go out to them, it’s gotta to be tough to watch something of yours literally go up in flames.
A fire in the back of the house seems like good motivation to have a BBQ, I know, I know, not funny! Seriously it’s a coincidence I’ve been planning to post this recipe today for awhile now. This was one of those recipes that just popped into my head. Part of the inspiration came from my daughter who is always posting pictures of her favorite pizza, jalapeno and pineapple. The other part came from my doc at work who said I should come up with a good beef recipe for the state fair competition. Those two thoughts came together and this is what popped out. Not sure if it’s competition worthy but it is delicious. Besides, I was hankering to grill!
As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I scored some Meyer Lemons. They are the juicest of all lemons. I wish you could cradle one in your hand and feel the sheer squishiness of it. Just a little squeeze and you instantly know that this lemon promises you lots of juice. I was afraid if I squeezed to hard it would burst and all that lemon juice would spring from it like Old Faithful. So with a delicate but firm hand, I made some Lemon Curd.