Monday, July 30, 2018

Rosie Loves Her Coconut Fried Shrimp.

I love coconut fried shrimp.
 I've worked and worked on a recipe
and I finally have it down.
And now you do too.
You're welcome.

Peel and de-tract the shrimp, leaving the tails on.  I don't say devein, because that line running down the shrimp is not a vein.  It's the digestive tract and I don't want to eat it. 

Prepare a two-stage bath.
The first is a beer batter.
The second is an equal combination coconut and panko breadcrumbs.

Beer Batter 
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 tsp dried ground mustard
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
3/4 cup beer
Mix dry ingredients, then whisk in beer until smooth.

For frying, I always use peanut oil.  Heat about two inches of oil in a deep fryer to 350°.

Run the shrimp through the beer batter, then pick each up by the tail, give it a quick shake, and dredge through the coconut/panko mixture.
Shake off the excess breading, then drop shrimp, one at a time, into hot 350° peanut oil.
You want to ease the shrimp into the hot oil so you don't lower the temperature.
Maintaining hot oil is the key to a crisp fry.  Fry shrimp for about 60-90 seconds (depending on size of shrimp), until golden brown, then remove and drain on a rack.

Serve with my pineapple/orange marmalade dipping sauce.
And some coleslaw.

For the coleslaw:  I make a basic dressing for my coleslaw.  You can pour in as much or as little as you like.  For the coleslaw, I shred some green cabbage, about two cups worth.  You can always add in a little purple cabbage for the pop of color.  Then I shred in some carrot and some green, yellow, orange, and red peppers for more color. 
For the dressing, start with 1/3 cup mayonnaise, a tablespoon of cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of buttermilk. Mix until smooth.  Add a pinch of salt and give it a few good grinds of pepper.  Pour over coleslaw mix and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate to let all the flavors have a meet-'n'-greet.

For the pineapple/orange marmalade dip:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (You could use canned, but I had fresh and there's nothing better than fresh.)
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 TB brown sugar
1 TB rice vinegar
1 TB horseradish
juice of one lime
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB Gray Poupon Dijon mustard
1 TB Thai Chili sauce
Combine all in a small saucepan.  Bring to boil, then simmer a few minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Stir in 2 TB chopped red onion.

Crisp and crunchy on the outside.
Sweet, succulent shrimp on the inside.
Amazingly good!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Breakfast At The Hawthornes. It's A Blueberry Waffle Morning!

Just in time for your Sunday brunch!

Nothing to start your morning off better
than some delicious blueberry waffles
and I've got just the ticket for you.
I made the first batch one morning
and they were so good,
I doubled the recipe
(and substituted buttermilk for the half and half)
and made them again a few days later.
As for the syrup to pour over top,
use your imagination.
The first time,
I used blackberries and strawberries.
The second time, I used blueberries and peaches.
Just grab whatever fruit is freshest.

Rosie's Blueberry Waffles #1
Makes 8.
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TB sugar
3/4 cup half and half
1 egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla
3 TB unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup blueberries

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Stir in half and half, egg yolk, and melted butter,
mixing until just combined.
Beat egg white until soft peaks form,
then fold into batter.
Stir in blueberries.

Ladle onto waffle maker,
being careful not to overload.
I use butter on the first batch of waffles.
None on the rest.
When the light goes off on the waffle maker,
 keep the waffles in for an extra minute or two.
I like the extra crunch.
And they're even better as leftovers,
heated up all nice and toasty in the toaster oven.

On the way to a lovely breakfast.
Look how nice, light, and fluffy that batter is.

Waffle Sauce #1
2 TB unsalted butter
1 TB brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 each blackberries and strawberries
Melt butter and brown sugar with maple syrup.
Add berries and heat through.
Serve over waffles.

It never hurts to put some butter on those waffles.
Let it melt down into the crooks and nannies.

Now, onto the second batch of waffles.

Rosie's Blueberry Waffles #2
Makes 16.
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
2-3 tsp vanilla
6 TB unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup blueberries

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Stir in buttermilk, yolks, vanilla, and butter.
Lightly fold in whipped egg whites.
Stir in blueberries.

Ladle into waffle maker,
using butter for the first batch.
Cook a minute or two longer than indicated.
Serve with peach and blueberry syrup.

I put the leftover waffles in a zip lock bag
and refrigerate to use throughout the week.
Simply pop into the toaster oven
and heat through.

Peach Syrup
2 TB unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 peach, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup blueberries
Melt butter with brown sugar, stirring.
Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, and peach.
Heat through.
Pour in blueberries.

Now that's a breakfast!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rosie Loves Her Corn Bread.

You know how Rosie loves her cornbread.
I'm always trying to find the "ultimate" cornbread, and I've come quite close several times.  One recipe I have that was probably the best so far I can't share with you, because I was sworn to secrecy.
(Looking at you, Debbie!)

So I've gone on my merry little way, experimenting...

Mr. Hawthorne and Good Neighbor Zippy drove up to Currituck the other day and came back with some mighty fine Currituck Corn.  Sweet as can be!  And it makes some mighty fine cornbread.

 I was getting ready to shoot the first picture of the cornbread and suddenly, there was this hand, reaching into the picture.
Someone couldn't wait.

I searched for cornbread recipes and found this one from America's Test Kitchen.
Mr. Hawthorne and I usually watch America's Test Kitchen every afternoon on PBS and find it to be the best food show.  Period.  Food Network basically sucks.  It's a poor attempt at "entertainment," which is the only thing that can explain some of the crap that airs on that network.  Food Network is basically worthless.  America's Test Kitchen is informative and the book compendium of their shows is a terrific source of information.  They explain to you the whys and wherefores of what they do.  What worked and what didn't.  That said, here's ATK's recipe for corn bread.

America's Test Kitchen Cornbread
1 1/3 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 TB sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 ears corn, kernels cut off
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk

Heat oven to 400°.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.

Process corn kernels in blender until very smooth, scraping down sides, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer purée to medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until very thick and deep yellow, about 10 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Add 5 TB butter and whisk until melted and incorporated.  Add buttermilk and whisk until incorporated.  Add eggs and yolk and whisk until incorporated.  Transfer corn mixture to bowl with cornmeal mixture and, using rubber spatula, fold together until just combined.  Melt remaining tablespoon butter in 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Scrape batter into skillet and spread into even layer.  Bake until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 23-28 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove cornbread from skillet and let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.


 Now, once you have your basic cornbread,
what else can you do with it?
 You can make a cornbread salad.

 Just cube the remaining cornbread...
   Add a bunch of other stuff...
Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, beans...

 And pour in some ranch dressing.
I made my own, but Hidden Valley ranch packets
will do in a pinch.

Rosie's Cornbread Salad
2 cups cubed cornbread
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced green, yellow, orange, and red pepper
(I like all the colors.)
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, juiced, and diced
2 scallions, sliced
1 cup kidney beans
Combine all ingredients and toss with 1/2 cup ranch dressing,
or more to taste.

Rosie Note: I always use dried beans and simmer until tender.
Then rinse and drain.
It's really not necessary to soak overnight.
I rarely do.  Don't have the time.

And I don't like canned beans.
You can use them if you must.
Le sigh...
Just rinse the slime off first.

 Rosie's Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp sugar
2 TB cider vingear
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Mix all together until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using
to let all the flavors get acquainted.

Toss cornbread salad ingredients with Ranch Dressing
and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Rosie Makes Cheesecake.

I love a good cheesecake.
And one is never farther away than my refrigerator.
I had cream cheese.
I had ricotta cheese.
I had cottage cheese.
I had cherries for topping.

I got a cherry-topped cheesecake!

And I'm making it up as I go along.
That's the best part.

I didn't want a great big cheesecake.
I wanted a small one to fit my 6 1/2" spring form pan.
And that's exactly what I got.
For the cheesecake crust:    
 10 gingersnaps
4 honey graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
Place all ingredients in processor and... well, process.  Until nicely crumbled.
Press evenly into bottom and sides of 6 1/2" spring form pan - about 1/4" thick.
 For the filling:
 1 stick cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
1 TB vanilla
2 eggs
2 TB cornstarch

Process all ingredients until smooth.
Pour into spring form pan.
Wrap pan in heavy duty foil and place in bain Marie.
That means put it in a baking dish with water half-way up the sides.
 A bain Marie is simply a hot water bath.  It's controlled, even cooking and is used for melting chocolate and making custards and cheesecakes.

Bake in a 325° oven for 55-60 minutes.  
The very center should be slightly jiggly.
I rotated my pan halfway through.  And you might want to cover with foil to keep from darkening too much.
Remove from oven and let cool before topping.


 I had a bunch of cherries which Mr. Hawthorne was kind enough to pit for me.

Cherry Topping
2 cups pitted cherries
1/4 cup sugar
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients in small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, smashing cherries.

Make a slurry of 1 TB cornstarch and 2 TB water.
Add to cherry mixture, reduce to simmer, and stir until thickened.
 Slurry into cherries.

 Stir until thickened.
Just a couple of minutes.

 After the cheesecake has cooled,
remove from pan.

 Pour cherry topping over cheesecake.
 Let the cherries drool down the sides.

 Ta daaaaaa!

 And we have cherry cheesecake.
 Lovely, smooth texture.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rosie's Go-To Dish - Corn/Bean Tortilla Pie.

 Everybody that cooks has a go-to dish.
It's that dish you rely on - the old stand-by.
It's the one where, if you're going to a picnic, a potluck,
 a block party, or whatever,
the other people there expect you to bring.
It's the one where, if it's not in your hands when you get there,
you will be turned away and told not to bother,
even if you're hosting the party.

I'm giving you that dish.

It's simple.
It's easy.
It's quick.
It's versatile.
It's inexpensive. 
It's basic.
And, bottom line, it's just plain good.
It has all the qualities of a go-to dish.

Drum roll, please...
It's Rosie's corn/bean tortilla pie!


There is no "recipe."
Just build it and they will come.

Here are the building blocks:
1 package flour tortillas (large or small, depends on you)
black beans
assorted cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack), grated
2-3 TB unsalted butter, melted
red pepper flakes or cayenne

And that's it.

Now, as I said, it's versatile.
You can add ingredients if you like.
Possible additions:
sliced olives 
chopped onions
chopped peppers (Go for the colors!)
sliced jalapeños
sliced tomatoes (peeled, seeded, juiced)
I'm sure you can think of more, but I'm just giving you enough to get started.

 Now, about the beans and corn.  I don't like canned beans, but I won't stop you from making this with canned beans.  Just be sure to wash the slime off and drain them well.  Hmmmm...  What?  Don't care for canned beans now?

For the black beans, you may or may not soak them overnight.  I rarely soak and they come out just fine.  I simply bring to a boil, then simmer them until just tender, refreshing the water once.  Then drain and let drip dry.  And I like my beans al dente - just tender, not mushy, but that's me.
As for the corn, you may use canned corn, but fresh kernels sliced right off the cob and sautéed in a little butter with a bare sprinkle of sugar (for caramelization) and some salt would be just fine with me.

That said, here's what you do:

1)  Get you a stack of tortillas. (Depending on the thickness of the filling, count on 7-10 tortillas.)
2)  In a medium bowl, combine a can of drained corn and an equal amount of cooked black beans.
If you want to add in any extras here, go right ahead.  Sliced black olives, chopped multicolored peppers, minced jalapeños, and chopped onions work for me.
3)  Grate a bunch of cheeses.  I use cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack.  About 2 loose cups each, but you can never have too much cheese.
4)  Start layering - tortilla, cheese, corn/bean mixture, more cheese, repeat.  Continue layering until you use up all ingredients, saving a little mixture and cheeses for the top.  See *Rosie Tip to follow.
5)  Brush the outside edges of each tortilla with melted unsalted butter and dust edges with cumin and pepper flakes.
6)  Brush top tortilla with butter and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of the corn/bean mixture and some cheeses.  Give it a sprinkling of the cumin and pepper flakes (or cayenne).
7)  Bake in a 325° oven for about 40 - 45 minutes, until heated through and top and edges are lightly browned.  Tent with foil to prevent over-browning, if necessary.  Remove from oven, let sit about 7 minutes, then slice into wedges.  Serve with sour cream, salsa, and cilantro, if desired.

*Rosie Construction Tip:  On each tortilla layer, I spread out the cheese first, then the corn/bean mixture, then some more cheese for the glue.  It works better if you build up the cheese a bit around the edges.  If you spread it evenly, then the entire stack will end up like a dome when it bakes.  Building up around the edges gives you a more even, straighter stack.

Oh my!

Now, if you have a go-to dish, I'd love to hear about it.
E-me at
And thanks!