Monday, June 7, 2010

Feel Like Fryin'? Fabulous Fish n Chips!

This is the first installment of Foodie House recipes! My recipe is deliciously nontraditional, by replacing a beer batter coating with panko bread crumbs. I'm using baby red potatoes for my chips, tossed in fresh herbs and topping everything off with a killer tartar sauce!
I don't think I have to remind you that we are a low budget gig, but for where we lack in budget we make up for it with really good food and a delightful host...ehhhmmm. I will say, the next video I will NOT do with the kids up. It's just ridiculous. I apologize ahead of time for the generous soundtrack of teething baby and tumbling 3 year olds in the background. I promise not to do that to you again, but I will say, the fish and chips overrides all the shenanigans my children tossed our way. I was in fish 'n chips heaven as my husband drooled behind the camera. 'Nuff said. Here's the recipe.
Foodie House Fish and Chips
serves 4-6 prep and cook time approx. 1 hour

2 lbs. fresh cod, cut into 1 1/2" strips
1 1/2 c. flour
4 tsp. all purpose seasoning, I like Goya Adobo seasoning
4 eggs
1/2 c. milk
8 oz. panko bread crumbs
1 c. herb bread stuffing, I like Pepperidge Farm
1 48 oz. canola oil

1 lb. baby red potatoes, size C
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Tartar Sauce
1 c. mayo
zest of 1/2 lime
juice of whole lime
1 handful of fresh parsley, minced
1 big handful of fresh dill, minced
1 small green onion, minced
1 tbls. sweet pickle relish
Start heating up your oil in a big, heavy pot. Use a candy thermometer to gauge your temperature. Start with medium heat. This will take you a good half hour to get up to 350 degrees, so make sure this is the first thing you do.
Prepare your fish by cutting into 1 1/2" strips, drying off excess moisture with paper towels and season with all purpose seasoning, about 1 tsp. Start assembling your dipping station by combining flour with 1 tsp. seasoning on one plate (I like to use a paper plate for easy clean up), eggs and milk with 1 tsp. seasoning in the second dish and lastly mix together your panko, bread stuffing and 1 tsp. seasoning in a bowl. That is the order you will have your station set up, flour, egg/milk, then bread crumbs.
Have a sheet pan ready to receive your coated fish. Start the process by dipping first in flour, shake off excess, then into egg and then lastly firmly press into the crumbs. Set onto cooking sheet to dry. Repeat with all the fish. Set aside while you prep your potatoes and make tartar sauce. This will cause the coating to adhere well to the fish and get super crispy when you fry it.
Slice your washed potatoes into 1/2" slices. Set aside and chop up your fresh rosemary and thyme. Place your herbs into a bowl big enough to toss your potatoes in after they are fried.
Next whip up your tartar sauce by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and then refrigerate, so as to marry the flavors.
First you will do a flash fry on your potatoes. Fry for a minute to a minute and a half until they are blond in color and just starting to wrinkle up around the edges. Take them out and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Turn your oven on to a "holding" temperature, around 200 degrees is fine. Place a wire rack on a jelly roll pan and have it ready to place your fried fish on. Start laying your fish into the hot oil, 2 to 3 pieces at a time. Do not over crowd your pot. After about 4 minutes or until the fish is a deep golden brown, place on wire rack and cooking sheet and place in oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of your fish.
After you fish is cooked, put your potatoes back into the hot oil to fry for the second time. Let them get nice and golden. About 3-4 minutes. Drain and toss immediately into the bowl with the fresh rosemary and thyme. Sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and get ready to eat!
Serve with the tartar sauce and watch it disappear.

An Unearthed Past Love

No, this post is not about digging up old flames, not that I have many to dig up, nor is it about cracking open caskets. No, this post is just some background on the birth of this blog.

I found myself entering a cooking contest. Well, let me re-word that, an audition of sorts, really. I saw a commercial for Paula Deen and her collaboration with Philadelphia cream cheese to find the "Real Women of Philadelphia". I was intrigued. I set up an account ASAP and started dreaming up recipes that were under an hour in prep and cooking time and included, of course, the Philly. To enter, you video yourself preparing the recipe and then send it in. It was so much fun. I got really into it. I was creating what I thought were masterpieces, and well, they were. I just wasn't what they were looking for I guess.

Initially I was disappointed when I wasn't asked to be a finalist in Savannah and have the chance to win $25,000 and be featured in 20 web cooking shows. But what I did come away with was an awakened heart. Awakened, reminded, stirred, if you will, of things I loved as a child and that those loves were important to who I am as a person. What I remembered was that around 8 or 9 years old, my passion for cooking was ignited. The spark? PBS cooking shows, actually. I remember watching them with my dad on Saturday mornings and then running to the kitchen to whip up something of my own in the dishwater left behind from my mom's earlier washing. I have very vivid memories of watching this particular BBQ seasoning, my mom had given me to use however I liked, for it was old and void of flavor, floating on the surface of the gray water and swirling with the whim of my trusty wooden spoon in figure 8 motions. It wasn't dishwater and stale BBQ seasoning. No, it was a Martin Yan inspired stir fry or the Frugal Gourmet's quiche recipe forming in the sink of my culinary mind. I would talk to my "camera", which was located directly above the sink. I would stand on my little green stool. I would feel my shirt stick to me from the splashing water. I was in my own world and perfectly happy.

I would tell my parents that what I wanted to be was a chef. They were always supportive. It was in community college that I got a white coat and chef hat. I took the first course in food preparation, or something like that. I had a crazy professor that was always urging us NOT to use black pepper in cream sauces because it looked like rat turds and we would never want to convey the message that our kitchens were in any way filthy. I found that amusing, mainly because he was so emphatic. I learned basic prep, the mother sauces and the best thing ever, how to make chocolate souffle. Really, it's the one thing I remember the most. I remember those perfectly puffed, beautifully chocolate brown souffles wobbling in their delicate state as the teacher proudly walked into the classroom with our masterpieces. Then he did something that I will never forget. He placed a piping hot souffle in front of us, the anticipation was intense as we circled around, took his spoon, tapped the top of it to crack it open and poured in a tablespoon or so of cream. My initial response was that he had ruined it. I took one bite and then adjusted my judgement. The coolness of the cream with the hot, air infused chocolate explosion in my mouth was one of the best things I had ever tasted.

I figured out I wanted to make food, eat food but not be a chef. I was young, kind of a wienie. Nowadays, I think I would have the courage to finish. I was intimidated by the pressure of time and stress of the finals for that class. We had to cook a four course meal in a ridiculous time allotment. Sometimes I regret that I didn't push myself to complete the entire cooking program. I still have my white coat and hat and my passion for food.

So here I am, my dears, challenged by my heart to do what I've always wanted to do...have a cooking show. I wanted it before it was a reality show on the Food Network. I wanted it while Julia Child was still making puff pastry from scratch.
My love for teaching, performing arts (that's a whole 'notha post) and of course food have led me here. Foodie House is going to be an adventure for you and me.

So, in honor of my thirty something enlightenment, I give you an audition that I sent to Paula Deen. You can check out the rest on YouTube.

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