Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crispy Fried Fish with Homemade Tartar Sauce

This is for three servings. For more, or fewer, adjust ingredients.

3 6-oz. fillets - 3/4 to 1 inch thick (I used cod, but any white fish will do)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup panko
1 Tablespoon creole season salt
1 egg
3 Tablespoon water
Vegetable Oil - to fill bottom of 10 inch skillet 1/2 inch deep

Dredge fish fillets in unbleached flour. Place on cooling rack for 20 minutes.

While fish is resting, in shallow bowl combine panko and creole season salt. Into another shallow bowl, crack egg. Add 3 Tbsp water and stir vigorously with a fork until well combined.

Heat vegetable oil in 10 inch skillet on medium high until bread cube dropped in oil begins to fry immediately. (Alternately, you may use an electric skillet set to 375 degrees.)

One by one, place fish fillets in egg mixture, turning once to coat.

From egg mixture, put each fillet in panko mixture, turning and pressing mixture onto fillet to coat evenly.

Place fillets into hot oil, being careful not to splash. Once fillets are in oil, cover the cooling rack with paper towels. Fry for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from skillet and place on paper-towel covered cooling rack.

Eat asap.

Homemade Tartar Sauce (for 3 servings)

6 Tablespoons mayonnaise
8-10 hamburger dill pickle chips
1/2 tsp capers

Finely chop pickle chips
Coarsely chop capers
Stir into mayonnaise

It's also very tasty to squeeze some fresh lemon juice into this, but as Scott is allergic to citrus, I omit it with fine results. (To be really, REALLY good, you should make your own mayo, but any brand will do fine.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pantry Items - Part One

extra virgin olive oil
grapeseed oil
sesame oil
unsalted butter
bacon fat
vegetable oil
bread flour
all-purpose flour
whole wheat flour
rye flour
brown sugar
rice wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
cider vinegar
red wine vinegar
thyme vinegar (white vinegar infused with fresh lemon-thyme from the garden)
soy sauce
sea salt
Tibetan Pink Crystal Salt
celtic fleur de sel
black peppercorns
red pepper flakes
red lentils
brown lentils
yellow dal
sesame seeds - unhulled
black sesame seeds
brown short grain rice
white short grain rice
white medium grain rice
wild rice/red rice mix
rolled oats
steel cut oats


This makes the absolute best bread ever for panini, to mop up savory sauces, to make great bruscetta, or to just eat. The spray bottle is absolutely required for making good crust at home. Once you learn this trick, you'll find yourself using it any time you want a thick, crispy, and chewy crust.

1 1/3 cup water
3/4 teaspoon granulated dry yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 pinch sugar
1 splash milk
2 cups warm water
3/4 teaspoon granulated dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 to 8 cups unbleached bread flour

To make starter, in large bowl combine 1 1/3 cup water, 3/4 tsp. yeast, sugar, and milk. Stir thoroughly. Cover with shower cap and leave for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Add 2 cups warm water, 3/4 tsp. yeast, salt and olive oil to starter in bowl. Add 2 cups bread flour, stir. Repeat. Repeat again. This dough is very soft and will never be kneaded. However, if, after 6 cups of flour it just seems too wet, keep adding additional flour in 1/2 cup increments. Cover bowl with shower cap and leave for 4 to 6 hours. Dough will usually be considerably more than doubled in size.

Place oven racks so that they divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle cornmeal on two cookie sheets and set aside. Fill spray bottle with tap water.

Generously flour large area on counter. Scrape out dough onto surface. It will be very soft and will seem very wet in comparison to most bread doughs. Cut dough into two pieces. By firmly patting, shape each half into the long slipper shape for which ciabotta is named. Lay each loaf onto one of the prepared cookie sheets.

Place cookie sheets into the oven and spray the loaves and oven sides generously with water. Close oven door. After 3, 6, and 9 minutes, respray oven sides with water. Don't worry of some water gets on the loaves, but don't deliberately soak them. At twelve minutes, switch the loaves on the racks to ensure even browning. The loaf that started on the bottom rack may not have risen quite as much as the one on top, but it will be fine anyway. Spray again before closing the oven.

In three minutes, spray oven sides for the last time. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Loaves should be getting well browned, you may remove them from the oven when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, or when browned to your satisfaction.

This recipe may be halved, but it always goes over so well that I wouldn't bother. Just freeze the second loaf if you feel certain that you can't eat it fast enough. Also, you may cut this into four loaves, or into roll size pieces; shorten cooking times to accommodate smaller loaves.

Multigrain Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons granulated dry yeast
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 cup unbleached bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup millet
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3 Tablespoons golden flax seeds
1 cup high gluten flour
1 cup rye flour
1 cup corn flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached bread flour (more or less, as needed)

In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, honey, salt, 1 cup bread flour, and 1 cup whole wheat flour. Stir thoroughly.

In heatproof bowl combine oats, quinoa, and millet. Pour in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Stir; let stand 5 minutes. (Alternately, put grains and 1 1/2 cup tap water in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave, stir, and let stand 5 minutes.) Add two ice cubes and stir until melted.

Add grain mixture, sunflower and flax seeds to mixture in large bowl; stir thoroughly. Add high gluten flour, then rye flour, then corn flour, stirring after each addition. Add whole wheat flour; stir. Dough likely will still be quite sticky. Begin to knead in bread flour in half cup increments, using as much of the remaining two cups as necessary. Dough should be fairly soft, but not too sticky. If it still seems too sticky, knead in more flour, either bread or whole wheat, as preferred.

Cover bowl with shower cap. (I'm not kidding - shower caps really work much better than anything else. I collect them from hotels when I travel, but you can pick up a six-pack of them in the Dollar store as well.)

Let dough rise until it doubles in size. Punch down. Turn out onto very lightly flour surface and cut in two. Form each loaf by pressing dough into rough rectangle and rolling lengthwise. Use sides of hands to seal ends, turning ends under loaf. Place each loaf in a 5 12 x 9 inch loaf pan. Place pans side by side and cover again with the shower cap. Let rise until double.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. When fully baked, remove from pans and let cool on racks, approximately one hour. Slice on loaf for sandwiches, place in airtight container and store in refrigerator. Slice second loaf, place in big freezer-safe container (I use a two-gallon zip=lock bag) and freeze for later use.

Timing for risings depends on ambient temperature, freshness of yeast, etc. I usually make the dough sometime in the late morning and leave it for the rest of the day. Sometime in the evening I'll punch down the dough and make the loaves, and leave them overnight to rise again. Then I'll bake them in the morning.