Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rosie Makes Fried Shrimp.

This is fried shrimp.
That's how light the batter is.

Rosie's Fried Shrimp
½ lb large shrimp
1 egg white
¼ cup cornstarch
1 TB club soda
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Beat egg white until frothy, not stiff peaks.
Stir in cornstarch and club soda.
Season with ¼ tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp pepper.

Heat an inch or so of peanut oil to 375°.
Drop shrimp in egg white mixture, then drop into hot oil, one at a time.
Do not crowd pan.
After about a minute, turn shrimp over.
Continue cooking maybe 30 seconds and remove from oil, draining on rack.
Please, do not overcook your shrimp.

When I fry shrimp, by the time I put the shrimp in one at a time, it's time to turn them over,
starting with the first shrimp you put in and continuing around.
By the time you've turned them over, it's time to start taking them out, starting with the first shrimp again.

The batter is almost a no-batter.
The shrimp flavor comes through without any excess batter getting in the way.

Too many times, I've had fried shrimp that's all batter and not much shrimp.
That ain't the way to do it.
You want the shrimp flavor to shine, not be overwhelmed by the batter.

I like to serve this with a sinus-cleaning cocktail sauce.
Mix your own amounts of:
Lea & Perrins
lemon juice
And I go heavy on the horseradish.

A simple and the perfect accompaniment for fried shrimp is coleslaw.

Rosie's Coleslaw
about 4 cups shredded cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
lots of ground pepper
pinch kosher salt
Mix together all dressing ingredients.  Pour over cabbage and carrot mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate.  Let the flavors develop for at least an hour.  Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rosie Makes Tabbouleh.

Today, I'm making tabbouleh.
But first, enjoy my little hummingbird having a mid-morning snack!

I love grains.
I love salads.
And tabbouleh is the perfect marriage.
Grain is brought to you in the form of the nutty goodness of bulgur wheat.
Salad is brought to you in the form of fresh summer goodness from my garden.

In case you don't know, bulgur wheat is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially cooked.  It's been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisines for centuries and is most well-known as the main ingredient in tabbouleh.

What is tabbouleh, you ask?  Tabbouleh is a traditional Lebanese salad - a staple - originating in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria.  Basically, tabbouleh is a combination of bulgur wheat, tomato, onion, cucumber, parsley, and mint, with an olive oil and lemon dressing.  The amounts of individual ingredients are not etched in stone, so you can tailor this salad to your own tastes.  Depending on who's making the dish, tabbouleh has many variations.  It can be wheatier or mintier and you can add all sorts of "non-traditional" additions.  It's definitely tinkerable, depending on what you have and what your tastes are.  Think:  pomegranates, nuts(walnuts, pecans), fruits (apples), beans (garbanzos), alternative greens (kale), citrus (lime), olive oil (citrus-infused).  So many possibilities!

 Besides being just ultimately delicious, tabbouleh is also healthy.  Just don't let that "healthiness" deter you from trying this dish.

The first thing you do is prepare the bulgur wheat.
Pour a cup of the grain in a heat-proof bowl and pour in boiling water to cover the bulgur.  Cover the bowl and let sit for an hour or two so that the wheat absorbs the water.  Drain off any excess water.  The prepared bulgur wheat is now ready for its accoutrements.

Rosie Note:   I started with a cup of bulgur wheat.  After the grain absorbed the water and expanded and after I added the vegetables and herbs and dressing, I ended up with 6 cups of tabbouleh.

 Rosie's Version Of Tabbouleh
prepared bulgur wheat
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mint, finely chopped
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients.

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Slowly pour the oil into the lemon juice, whisking constantly, until you have a nice emulsion.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over above bulgur mixture, tossing to coat.

Adjust seasonings if you wish.

Rosie Note:  As for the olive oil,  I used Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil, mainly because I didn't want the oil to detract or distract from the other flavors in the tabbouleh.  I wanted a neutral oil.
I would suggest using a milder oil in your tabbouleh before experimenting with more highly flavored oils or citrus-infused olive oils.  I simply am recommending finding a comfortable base point, then branching out.

Combine vegetables and herbs with bulgur wheat, then pour in dressing.

Mix well.  Adjust seasonings if you like.

As for serving tabbouleh, you can always wrap it in a lettuce leaf,
preferably one grown in your own garden.

Or you can just scoop it up with a Tostito.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Rosie Makes A White Pizza!

Whenever the Hawthornes want pizza, it's just a few steps away.
We don't order pizza.
We don't pick up pizza.
We don't go out for pizza.
We make our own.
And it's better than anything else!

Today, we wanted a White Sauce Pizza.
And that's just what I made.

First I started on the dough.

Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
sprinkling of sugar
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp kosher salt

Pour water into a medium size bowl.  Add yeast and sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar over the yeast.  Wait for the yeast to "proof."  That means the yeast must "prove" it's alive.  It'll start eating sugars and releasing carbon dioxide and alcohol.  The mixture gets all poofy and foamy.  It's alive!  When you know the yeast is doing its thang, fork in the bread flour and salt.  Form dough into a ball, then knead it for about 5 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking.  When the dough is in a nice cohesive, elastic ball, place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover, and let rise until doubled.

Turn out dough onto oiled pizza pan and, starting at the middle, press outward, forming into a pie shape.  Press and rest.  Take your time doing this since the dough likes to rest a bit.  Press some more and let it rest.  When you get the size pizza pie you want, let dough rise while you gather the rest of your toppings and make the sauce.

I picked a few peppers from my garden.

sliced mushrooms
drizzle of black truffle oil
sliced sweet onion and red onion
sliced peppers
sliced black olives
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Swiss cheese, grated
Gruyère cheese, grated
torn basil
extra virgin olive oil (I used a Sprinkling of Porto extra virgin olive oil I get from my two favorite chefs down here.   You know who you are...)

Get all the toppings prepared.

Then I remembered the basil growing in the back yard and picked a handful of that.

For the White Sauce:
2 TB unsalted butter
1 TB oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme

1 cup milk (I never have whole milk on hand, so I always substitute with what I do have.  For whole milk, the combination is 1 oz. heavy cream combined with 7 oz. skim milk.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat butter and oil over low heat until butter melts.  Add onion and cook, stirring, about 2-3 minutes.  Add in garlic and thyme, and cook, stirring, about a minute.  Stir in flour and cook 1-2 minutes to get the raw taste out of the flour.  Slowly add skim and cream mixture, or whole milk if you have it, and continue stirring until thickened.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Wait until the end to season the sauce, since the Parm is already salty.

Now the fun begins.
Spread the white sauce evenly over the pizza.

Place the spinach, leaf by leaf, over top.

Artfully arrange the mushrooms slices.

Drizzle just a little bit of the black truffle oil over the mushrooms
Truffle oil is powerful stuff.  A little goes a long way, so use sparingly.
I drop-by-drop dripped maybe a teaspoon total over the shrooms.

Add the rest of the ingredients.
You can add whatever you want.
We used a bell pepper and a slightly hot yellow banana pepper from the garden.
Sweet onion and red onion slices.
Sliced black olives.
And basil.

Then we started on the cheeses.
Mozzarella, Swiss, and Gruyère.

Then a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over top.
And it's ready for the oven.
My oven was heated to 500° and I always use a pizza stone which has been heating at 500° for at least 30 minutes.  The pizza pan went on the stone for 3 minutes.  Then I rotated the pan and baked for another 3 minutes.  Then, I slid the pizza off of the pan and onto the stone and baked until the cheese and crust looked right - about 4 more minutes.  Remove from oven and place on rack.

This was a perfect pizza!


Good pizza!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Waffles For Breakfast. With A Peach Syrup.

Mr. Hawthorne visited one of our local markets and came back with some of the juiciest, sweetest peaches I've had since ... well, since last peach season.
I've already made some delicious peach ice cream, and this morning, I decided to make waffles for breakfast with a peach syrup.

 Just in time to enjoy for your weekend mornings, I give you:

Rosie's Waffles and Peach Syrup

For waffles:
 2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
1/2 stick butter, melted 
2 eggs, separated

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk milk, melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla.
Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold in egg whites.
Cook in waffle maker according to directions.
I always cook a minute or two longer to get a crisper waffle.

For peach syrup:
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 peaches, peeled and chopped

In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients.  Stir over low heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves, and mixture is smooth and heated through.
Pour over waffles.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rosie Makes Potato Hash Brown Cakes.

Rosie has her potato pancakes/hash browns down.
And they are most excellent.
I've been working on hash browns and I thought I had it when I could squish the 9" disk of grated potato in my 10-inch skillet, let it brown on one side, then do "the flip" to the other side.  A bit ostentatious, but necessary.  And if you ever need to flip a pancake, here's the key -  never hesitate.  Once you start the flip, continue the flip.  One must commit to the flip.  And yes, it's all in the wrist too, but the most important part is the commitment.  That said, I can flip a 10-inch potato cake all day long and never have one end up on the stove top.  Perfect flips.  But I wanted something more.  As in more crust.  Crunchy, crisp is always good, and the more crunch and crisp the better.  So I came up with my potato pancake/hash browns.  Little individual hash brown cakes that are perfection.  And you don't have to flip the whole pan.  Just flip 'em with a spatula.

Rosie's Potato Pancake/Hash Browns
1 large potato, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
kosher salt
3 TB flour
2 egg whites, foamy

Grate the unpeeled potato.
Important step:  Place gratings in a towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.  Then squeeze it some more.  You'll be surprised at how much liquid comes out.
Place squeezed potato gratings in a bowl and mix in chopped onion until evenly combined.
Season with about 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, and 3/4 tsp oregano.
Sprinkle in flour and mix thoroughly.
Beat egg whites until nice and foamy and fold into potato mixture.  Combine evenly.

Heat a thin layer of peanut oil in large non-stick skillet until 350° - 375°.  Using hands, scoop up a small handful of potato mixture - a large golf ball size - and press into a flat disk.  Carefully slide potato cake into hot oil.  Continue adding cakes.  I use a 12-inch skillet and fry 5-6 at a time.  You don't want to crowd the pan.  That lowers the temperature of the oil and you'll get greasy, not crisp.
Take a spatula and when you slide each cake in the hot oil, press down and squish to thin the potato cake out.  Brown on one side, then turn the potato cake/hash brown over and brown on the other.  Drain on paper towels and serve.