Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rosie Makes Coconut Fried Shrimp And Fried Pickles.

There's just something about fried shrimp.
Frying makes shrimp taste ... shrimpier.
Don't know why, but it does.
And one of my favorite fried shrimp recipes
is coconut fried shrimp.
Here's my latest recipe.

Prepare the shrimp.
Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact, for dipping.  Remove black tract down the back.
It's not a vein.  It's the digestive tract.  So you're de-tracting, not de-veining.  

If you want to butterfly the shrimp here, take a paring knife and, starting at the intact tail, slice down the center of the shrimp's underside.  Open up the shrimp.  Butterflying just gives you more surface area for the batter to stick to, so more crisp, crunch frying. That's always a plus.

Batter for shrimp
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp minced jalapeño
1/2 cup white wine
Combine all the dry ingredients with the jalapeño pieces.
Stir in the white wine.

You could use beer instead of the wine.
Didn't have beer today,
but I did have wine, so I used that.

Dip the shrimp in the batter,
letting the excess drip off.

Dredge the shrimp through a mixture of:
1 part coconut to 1 part panko breadcrumbs

You can just mix the coconut flakes and breadcrumbs
with the shrimp in a container and shakeshakeshake.

Have a heavy deep pot for frying.
Pour in about 2-3 inches of peanut oil
and heat to 350°-375°.
Fry in small batches so as not to 
lower the temperature of the oil.
 Low oil temperature = greasy fried food.
Proper oil temperature = crisp fried food.

Fry about 1 minute - until golden.

Drain shrimp on wire racks.

What's that fried delicacy in the back?
Why, I believe that would be fried pickles!

Fried Pickles
You can use spears or slices.
We prefer dill slices.
Pat pickles dry with paper towels.
Using the same batter as for the shrimp,
dip the slices, and fry until golden brown.
Drain on wire racks.

I have two sauces for the shrimp and pickles.

Pineapple Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup crushed pineapple
2 TB Dijon mustard
2 TB horseradish
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB cider vinegar
1 TB brown sugar
juice of one lime
1 tsp minced jalapeños 
Combine all in small sauce pan and heat through.

Dipping Sauce
2 TB mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 TB sriracha sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix well.


Monday, October 8, 2018

Rosie Puts A Spin On Her Pizza.

The Hawthornes love their pizzas.  And we make at least one pizza a week.
Depending on our moods, our pizzas are different each time.  
We've got that crust down, so only the toppings change.

Let's take a look at some of our pizzas.
 Here's a white sauce on the left side and traditional on the right.  The best of both worlds.
See HERE for the recipes.

I've also been known, when my figs are in season, to showcase them on my figcaccia.

Here's the recipe for my fig pizza.

Some time ago, I wrote about pizzas for a tail-gating article.   
I showcased traditional pepperoni pizza, Greek pizza with spinach and feta, and Hawaiian pizza with ham, pineapple, and cherries.

Traditional pizza.

Greek pizza.

Hawaiian pizza.

 So, what else is there, you ask?
Well, there's a fusion pizza.
Today, I'm combining Hawaiian and BBQ.
Don't knock it until you've tried it.

I guess pineapple makes a pizza Hawaiian. Then there are some maraschino cherries thrown in.
And don't forget the Canadian bacon/ham slices which fuses our northern neighbor in there.  And also I doctored up my basic tomato sauce with a hint of southern smoky barbecue for more fusion.

And it was good.  Just the right amount of sweet and savory.
Let's start with the crust.
If you make pizza on a regular basis, get yourself a pizza stone.  That's the secret to a super crust.  The stone conducts and holds heat evenly, keeping your temperature at an even keel despite hot spots and fluctuations in the oven itself, and the stone helps to bake the pizza evenly.  In addition, the porous stone surface draws water out of your dough, dispersing this moisture as steam, puffing up the dough.  Preheating the stone gives you a surge of initial heat when you place the pizza on it, which also serves to puff up the dough.  Using a stone will give you a definitive, golden, and crisp bottom which is what we all want.

Besides using a stone, you need a hot, hot oven.  500°.  And ideally, you need to let that stone heat up for an hour to get best results.

Now, back to the crust.

Pizza Crust
3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water
 1 tsp kosher salt
 2 cups bread flour, thereabouts

Pour 3/4 cup warm water in a medium bowl.  Add in the yeast and sprinkle the sugar over top. I don't even bother to stir.   Let it proof.  This means the yeast "proves" it's alive by eating the sugar and producing carbon dioxide and other by-products.  In other words, it gets bubbly and foamy.

When the yeast has proofed, add in the rest of the water,  then gradually fork in the bread flour and salt until it all comes together in a sticky mess.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes a soft, pliable ball.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat, then cover and let rise.

Now, you can let it rise, doubling, and then start on the crust immediately, OR you can let the dough wait it out in the fridge for a day or two.  This overnight wait gives the dough deeper, better flavor.  A long fermentation also allows the gluten to develop, producing a strong, elastic network. 

Before working with refrigerated dough, let it come to room temperature.  Liberally oil a pizza pan, place the ball of dough in the center, and, working from the center of the ball, press the dough out.  Let it relax a bit, then press out some more.  Take your time doing this.  Keep pressing outwards until your dough is evenly stretched but has a thicker lip around the edges.

Rosie Note:  This dough is enough to cover a 15-inch diameter pan.  If you want to make more dough, a general rule of thumb is 1 part liquid to 2 parts flour. Adjust salt accordingly.  Don't worry about adding more yeast or sugar. 

This is what "proofed" yeast looks like.
Now it's ready for you to mix in the flour.

Simply fork in the flour.
Then turn the shaggy mess out onto a lightly floured board.

Work it.
Knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise.

Let it rise until doubled.  You can start on the pizza now or you can cover and refrigerate overnight.  I've left mine in the fridge for up to 3 days.  You don't need to be pressured to make the pizza immediately.  You can take your time.
Now it's time for the sauces.  
I'm making two sauces - a basic tomato sauce and a barbecue sauce -  and blending them.

Basic Pizza Sauce (Above left)
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt
Scrape out the tomato paste into a small saucepan.  Add a little water to the can, swirling, and wash out any remaining paste into the pan.  Fill can twice with water and pour into pan.  Stir in seasonings and heat over low heat until simmering.  Reduce heat and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rosie's BBQ Sauce (Above right)
1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Stubb's hickory liquid smoke
Combine all ingredients and heat through over low.

For my Fusion Sauce:
I used two parts pizza sauce to one part BBQ sauce.
Taste test, and if you'd like a stronger barbecue flavor, add more sauce.
You be the judge.

You'll have leftovers for both sauces.  Just refrigerate or freeze until later.

Now, build the pizza!
Press the dough out onto a well-oiled pizza pan, then ladle on the sauce, smoothing it out.
I like a light hand with the sauce, but you might like more.

Next, I added slices of Canadian bacon/ham and topped them with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.  Then I added some onion slices and chopped bell peppers, along with some jarred peperoncini slices.

Top the pizza with as much cheese as you like. Can you have too much cheese?  I think not.
 I used a combination of whole milk mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Oven should be at 500° with a pizza stone heating up for at least an hour.

Place pizza (on pan) in oven for 3 minutes, then rotate and cook for another 3 minutes.
Slide pizza off pan and onto stone and cook for 7 more minutes.
Place pizza on rack to cool slightly, then place on cutting board to slice.

Ta daaaaa!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Rosie Makes Crab Meat Boules.

 Take a pound of crab meat.
And go in two different directions.

 First, make a batch of crab cakes:

Then, make my crab meat boules:

 In my opinion, the best way to eat crab meat is straight out of the crab, dipped in butter, with a squeeze of lemon juice.
However, if you want something different and are willing to put forth a little effort, I would recommend my crab meat boule.
Basically, it's a hollowed-out round of bread with a crab meat filling that's baked until the bread is toasty and the crab mixture is bubbly. 

It's great as an appetizer for a party.  You can buy one of those big boules in the bread department and fill that with the crab meat, using the torn bread pieces to dip with.  Or you could buy those miniature phyllo cups in the frozen section and fill them for individual appetizers.  Or you can make your own boules from scratch, which is what I'm showing you how to do.


My bread recipe makes enough for 5 boules and 1 loaf.
 I used 1-cup ramekins for the boules and a 4 x 8-inch pan for the loaf.

Rosie's Bread 
1 cup water
1 pkg. yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 egg, beaten with 1 TB water

Pour water into a medium bowl and sprinkle yeast over top, then sugar.
Let proof.  That means wait for the bubbles and foam so you know that the yeast is alive and working.  When the mixture is foamy, stir in the flour and salt.  Using the dough hook of a mixer, process until dough comes together in a ball, then turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding more flour, if needed.  Dough should be elastic and pliable.  Of course, you don't need a machine for this.  You can be the machine and use your hands to knead the dough.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise.  When dough has doubled, punch down and let rise again, until doubled.  You can place the dough in your ramekins and loaf pan now, or you can place covered dough in refrigerator and let it spend the night.  This is what I did - set it in the fridge.  Letting the dough chill overnight allows the gluten to develop along with more flavor.

Remove dough from fridge and let come to room temperature.
Divide dough into 6 balls - 5 small and equal sized and 1 larger.
Place the smaller balls into oiled 1-cup ramekins.
Form the larger ball into a loaf shape and place in an oiled 4 x 8-inch loaf pan.
Let rise until doubled.

Gently brush tops of bread with beaten egg wash.

Bake at 350° for 7 minutes, then rotate and bake another 7 minutes.
Cover with foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes.
Let cool on racks.

 For the step-by-steps:

Water, yeast, and sugar.  I don't even bother to stir it.

Let it get bubbly and foamy.  This is called "proofing" the yeast.  The yeast has to "prove" it's alive - by eating sugar and producing carbon dioxide and other byproducts.

Add in the flour and salt.

And process, with the dough hook, to bring it all together.

You want the dough to pull away from the sides, but still remain slightly attached at the bottom of the bowl.

Then put the sticky mass onto a lightly floured work surface.

Knead it by hand.  It should be soft and elastic.

Form into a ball.

And place in an oiled bowl.

Let rise until doubled.
Punch down and let rise again.
You can refrigerate it now, overnight, if you like, or you can form into the boules and loaf.

I refrigerated mine.  Time was not of the essence for me.

Form it into a ball again.

Then form into individual boules and a loaf and place in oiled ramekins and a loaf pan.
The ramekins are 1-cup; the loaf pan is 4 x 8-inch.

Let bread rise, then brush lightly with egg wash.

And bake.
Let cool.

Here's what we're aiming for:

 The prize!

Now for the crab meat mixture.

Rosie's Crab Filling
1/2 pound crab meat, preferably lump
4 TB unsalted butter
2 oz. Brie
2 oz. cream cheese
1 TB minced shallot
1 TB red finely chopped red pepper
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB sherry

In a small sauce pan, melt butter, with Brie and cream cheese.  Gently fold in crab meat, being careful not to break up crab meat.  Add in shallot, red pepper, and lemon juice.  Heat through.  Stir in sherry.  I never thoroughly incorporate the sherry.  I like to have "pockets of flavor." 

Slice tops off each boule.  Carefully hollow out the boules, leaving the base intact.  Tear the pulled-off bread pieces into bite-sized dunking pieces.  Place boules on oven-proof platter and spoon crab mixture into each.  Sprinkle tops with a shake of paprika.  Arrange torn bread pieces around boules.  Bake in 325° oven until bread is toasty. 10-15 minutes.

For the how-tos:
Melt butter with Brie and cream cheeses.

Fold in crab meat and lemon juice.

Here are the boules, ready for scooping out.
Mound the crab meat mixture into hollowed-out boules...
Sprinkle tops with paprika.

And bake until everything is nice and toasty.