Thursday, March 21, 2019

Coconut Fried Shrimp.



Just gimme some fried shrimp and I'm a happy camper.
In particular, gimme some coconut fried shrimp and we're talkin' died and gone-to-heaven happy.

So here's yet another recipe for beer-battered coconut fried shrimp.
Please enjoy!
















For the shrimp, use extra large to jumbo.  The bigger the better.  The shrimp need to stand up to the batter, so no wimpy shrimp here.

Peel and de-tract shrimp, leaving tails on for easier handling.  Yes, I say de-tract, not de-vein.  That black line running down the back of the shrimp is the digestive tract, not a vein.

For the wet batter:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp togarashi seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup beer or thereabouts (Enough to make it the consistency of pancake batter.)
Whisk dry ingredients first, then stir in egg and beer.

As for the togarashi seasoning, it's a spice blend which I order from Amazon.  Ingredients are:  red chili powder, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, nori (seaweed), poppy seed, orange zest, and lemon zest.  You can substitute accordingly.

Any beer will do, but I happened to have Boone Creek Blonde Ale from Appalachian Mountain Brewery brewed with honey and orange zest.

Holding shrimp by tail, dip in batter and let excess drip off.

For the coating:
Equal parts coconut and panko
Simply dredge the battered shrimp through the mixture or place all in a container and shakeshakeshake to coat.  Shake off any excess coconut.

Heat about 3 inches peanut oil to 350°-375° in heavy deep pot.
Place shrimp in one at a time being careful not to crowd the pot.  Too many shrimp will lower the temp of the oil and you'll get greasy, not crisp, shrimp.
I usually fry 4-6 at a time.  Fry about 1 minute and remove to rack to drain.


There are lots of different sauces you could serve these shrimp with.
Usually I go with an orange/honey/soy dipping sauce, but today I decided to go with Rosie's Pig Shack Sauce.  It's my version of the commercially available Boar and Castle Sauce and it's quite good.  OK.  It's better than the B&C sauce.

Here's the recipe:  Rosie's Pig Shack Sauce   (Say that five times fast!)

Also, I had another dipping sauce leftover from some potstickers/shrimp-stuffed wontons from the other day.  It's Asian-inspired with soy, ginger, and Asian chili sauce and complements the shrimp quite nicely.


Dipping Sauce:
2 TB soy sauce
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
chopped scallions

Take the chunk of ginger, slice it into smaller pieces, then run it through a garlic press to extract the juice.  Scrape off some of the pulp to use too.  Combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Sprinkle some fresh cilantro over top. 

Fried oysters, courtesy of Mr. Hawthorne.

























Quite yummy!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fried Oysters.


The Hawthornes love oysters and during the season, we go through 6 or so bushels.  
Steamed oysters.
Smoked oysters.
Oysters on the halfshell.
Broiled oysters with any number of toppings.
And fried oysters.


Lately, Mr. H. has been in charge of the oyster-frying.
And he's been experimenting with the coatings.

Coating Mix #1 For Fried Oysters
1 cup flour
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp paprika
Mix all ingredients until well combined.

Shuck oysters and drain a bit.

Place oysters in breading mix and shakeshakeshake to evenly coat.
(We use a tupperware container for everything.)

Heat peanut oil to 370° and deep-fry 4-6 oysters at a time for about 1 minute.  Golden.
Drain on a rack.

Rosie Tips:
  •  When you're frying anything, never crowd the pan.  Crowding the pan lowers the temperature of the oil and you'll end up with oily/greasy, not crisp.
  • Don't skimp on the oil.  I use at least 3 inches of oil in an 8-inch diameter heavy duty deep pan.
  •  I always use peanut oil for frying.  It has a higher smoke point than other oils and it has a neutral taste.  (Oils begin to decompose at their smoke points, creating unpleasant smelling compounds.)
  • Keep your oil temperature high (370° - 375°) and consistent.  High temperatures cook the outside quickly.  Low temperatures allow the oil to seep into the food, making it greasy.
  • For crying out loud, buy an instant read laser thermometer and take the worry out of frying.  It's worth every penny.
Serve with your favorite cocktail sauce or, for a special treat, try Rosie's Pig Shack Sauce.
It's my version of Boar and Castle Sauce and it's different and delightful.
Here's the recipe:  Rosie's Pig Shack Sauce.

 
 We served the next batch of fried oysters on a Caesar Salad.
And here's Rosie's recipe for her Caesar dressing and homemade croutons.

Coating Mix #2 For Fried Oysters
 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 TB Old Bay seasoning
Mix ingredients well and toss oysters to coat evenly.
Fry as above.
 Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Rosie Makes The Best Corned Beef. Seriously.



For those of you who like a nice, traditional St. Patrick's Day meal, I have just the ticket for you.
I'm making a corned beef brisket, along with a potato dish.  And I have two potato dishes from which you can choose:  either colcannon, which is potatoes and cabbage, or cheddar scalloped potatoes. 

As for the corned beef, this preparation is the best I've ever had.  You're going to love it.
By the way, if you can find a better corned beef than this, I want the recipe.  Please!


















I’ll be making a special spicy rub for the meat and a glaze to finish it off.  The meat will be taking a three-hour sauna, during which time, I’ll change the liquid twice.  Changing the liquid during braising allows you to keep the flavor pumping back into the meat and lose some of the saltiness.

First, a little information about the brisket and the cooking method:
The brisket is the chest muscle of the cow and, since it gets a good workout from walking around and standing, is a tough but flavorful cut.  Lazier muscles, say a sirloin or tenderloin, are much more tender.  

 A tough cut needs to be cooked differently from a tender cut.  The method of cooking I’m using is called braising and it involves moist heat.  Tough cuts of meat, coming from areas of the animal that are continually exercised, have greater amounts of collagen than tender cuts.  Collagen is a connective tissue which holds the muscle fibers together and braising helps break down the tough collagen.  In braising, the meat is cooked in a liquid and covered.  This allows the collagen to dissolve into gelatin, allowing the meat fibers to separate easier, thus producing a tender piece of meat.
When meat cooks, the fibers shrink as water evaporates and fat melts out.  You’re losing both moisture and flavor, but the heat is dissolving the tough connective tissue.  With a tough cut of meat like brisket, one must find a cooking balance – long enough to break down the fibers and collagen, but not so long that the meat dries out.  This is done with a method like braising, a technique in which tough cuts are gently simmered in a deep pan with a little liquid.  The pan is covered, creating a steam bath.  Moisture surrounds the meat, but it’s much gentler than boiling.  Boiling occurs at 212°.  In braising, the temperature is lower, about 185°. This allows you to braise the meat longer because it doesn’t cook as quickly, giving it more time to tenderize.  Originally, corned beef was boiled to leech out some of the saltiness.  But the salt along with some flavor ended up in the water.  With braising, saltiness is released into the liquid, but the fibers are relaxed enough to reabsorb the liquid and reabsorb flavor.  As I said, I change the water twice.  By doing this, flavor is retained but I lose some of the saltiness

Now that you know how to cook a brisket, what cut do you buy?
The butcher receives the whole brisket from meat processors and trims the briskets into point cuts and flat cuts.  The point cut is thicker and smaller.  It’s marbled with more fat and connective tissue than the flat cut.  There’s a lot of flavor here, but not as much meat since there’s a big slab of fat going through the middle. The flat cut is long and thin with a layer of fat on the bottom where you can’t see it.  Look for the flat cut, not the point cut.

Corned Beef Brisket
I usually get a 6-7 pound piece of meat. Remember, it will shrink quite a bit during the cooking process.  Remove the layer of fat off a flat cut brisket and trim off any other fat pieces.  Rinse the meat under cold water to wash off any curing salts.  Pat dry with paper towels.  

For the baking dish, you can use a clay pot, a Dutch oven, or simply a glass baking dish with foil wrapped over top to get a tight seal.

Now for the rub:

Ingredients for the rub:
4 TB brown sugar
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together.

Sprinkle the spice mixture/rub over the meat and massage it in.  
All over.  Top, bottom, sides.
Place spice-rubbed brisket into your baking dish and pour 2 cups cold water down the side of the pan, being careful not to wash off any of the rub.  Cover tightly and bake at 350° for 1 hour. 


After one hour, remove from oven, and pour out braising liquid.  Pour another 2 cups of cold water down the side of the pan. (If you’re using a glass baking dish, let it cool a bit before you pour the cold water in it.)  Cover and bake another hour.

After the second hour, remove from oven, pour out liquid, and add two more cups of water down the side of the pan.  Return to oven for the final (third) hour of baking.  Notice:  The brisket will have noticeably shrunk.  This is normal.
 
 After the third hour, remove from oven, pour off liquid, and increase oven temperature to 450°.
Notice how much shrinkage there is.

Now, prepare the glaze:

½ cup brown sugar, packed
4 TB soy sauce
2 TB Dijon mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
Mix all ingredients and brush the sweet-hot glaze over the corned beef.

Evenly combine glaze ingredients.

Spoon glaze over brisket.

Return to 450° oven and bake for 15 more minutes.

Let meat rest 10 minutes before slicing.

The caramelized coating is a perfect foil against the spice and salt.

Try not to pick!
Wait for the taters.

I'm giving you a choice:  you can go with colcannon or cheesy scalloped potatoes.
First, the colcannon.

Colcannon
½ small cabbage, shredded
2 medium potatoes, diced
½ large onion, chopped
2 TB unsalted butter, melted
½ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 pieces bacon, fried and crumbled
Fresh parsley
Sliced scallions
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
 
Shred cabbage.  Drop into boiling salted water.  Reduce to simmer.  Cover and cook until tender.  About 10 minutes.  Drain cabbage, cover, and keep warm.  Reserve the cooking liquid for the potatoes.
 Peel potatoes if desired. I don’t bother since I like the peel. Dice the potatoes and cook until tender. 
While the potatoes are cooking, combine the chopped onions with the heavy cream.  Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
When potatoes are tender, drain, then mash.  Add the cream and onion mixture to the potatoes, mashing, and then stir in the cabbage.  Season to taste.
When plating the colcannon, make a small well in the center and pour in some melted butter.  Add the bacon crumbles and sprinkle scallions and parsley over top.  You can also add a few shamrock leaves.  They’re edible and have a delicate citrus flavor.

Now, for the scalloped potatoes:
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
2-3 potatoes, sliced about 1/4" thick
 vegetable broth
 heavy cream
 kosher salt
 freshly ground pepper
cheddar cheese, grated

Combine potatoes and equal amounts broth and cream to cover in medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cover, reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are very tender.  Remove from heat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in 1/2 cup or more grated cheddar.  Transfer potato mixture to a baking dish and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with more cheddar cheese (1/2 cup or more).  Bake at 375° until bubbling and top is golden brown.





And there ya go!



Enjoy!

For corned beef leftovers, there's nothing quite like corned beef on rye.
I made my own rye loaves which were pretty good, but I think I can do better, so I didn't offer up the recipe.  So, go get a decent rye loaf from the bakery.
Butter and toast the rye slices.
Then I put a slice of Swiss on one of the rye slices and ran that under the broiler.
Add some thinly sliced corned beef.

Give it a schmear of coarse grained mustard.
Add some onion slices and some pepperoncini.
And some chips.
And you got yourself a sammich!
 
If you'd like to copy and paste directions for the corned beef, here they are:
Corned Beef Brisket
I usually get a 6-7 pound piece of meat. It will shrink quite a bit during the cooking process.  Remove the layer of fat off a flat cut brisket and trim off any other fat pieces.  Rinse the meat under cold water to wash off any curing salts.  Pat dry with paper towels.
Ingredients for the rub:
4 TB brown sugar
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together.
Sprinkle the spice mixture/rub over the meat and massage it in. 
Heat oven to 350°.
 You could use a Dutch oven, clay pot, or any baking dish that you can cover and get a tight seal.
Place spice-rubbed brisket into your baking dish and pour 2 cups cold water down the side of the pan, being careful not to wash off any of the rub.  Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.
After one hour, remove from oven, and pour out braising liquid.  Pour another 2 cups of cold water down the side of the pan. (If you’re using a glass baking dish, let it cool a bit before you pour the cold water in it.)  Cover and bake another hour.
After the second hour, remove from oven, pour out liquid, and add two more cups of water down the side of the pan.  Return to oven for the final (third) hour of baking.  Notice:  The brisket will have noticeably shrunk.  This is normal.
After the third hour, remove from oven, pour off liquid, and increase oven temperature to 450°.
Prepare the glaze:
½ cup brown sugar, packed
4 TB soy sauce
2 TB Dijon mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
Mix all ingredients and brush the sweet-hot glaze over the corned beef.  Return to 450° oven and bake for 15 more minutes.  You end up with a lovely caramelized coating that’s a perfect foil against the spice and salt.
Let meat rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Mr. Hawthorne Makes Onion Rings.

 
 Mr. Hawthorne has been working on his fried onion rings for a while now and I have to say,
he's got it down.  Rosie has had the enviable position of being the taste-tester and I can tell you these onion rings rank right up there with the best of 'em.

 Serve with Rosie's Pig Shack sauce/Boar and Castle sauce and you're good to go.

There are three steps before the rings go into the hot peanut oil.
First, there's a buttermilk bath.
Second, there's a flour shakeshakeshake.
Third, there's a wet batter made with the buttermilk left over from the bath.

Here are the step-by-steps:
Slice an onion into 1/4" - 3/8" rings and cover with buttermilk.  This will take at least a cup of buttermilk.
Let soak for about thirty minutes.

For the wet batter on the right:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp togarashi seasoning (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together until well-combined.
The togarashi seasoning is optional.  It's a spice blend of red chile, black and white sesame seeds, nori (seaweed), poppyseed, and orange and lemon zest.  I get mine from Amazon.

1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese into the dry mixture.  Mr. Hawthorne uses the Kraft stuff in the green can.

1 cup + buttermilk from the onion bath
Stir in enough buttermilk until you have a pancake-like batter.  Start with a cup of the buttermilk.  You'll probably need a few tablespoons more.

      





Drain onion rings and coat in flour.


Shake off excess flour.



Place flour-coated rings into wet batter.  Let excess batter drain off.

Here's my fry station with rings in the back, then flour, then batter, then oil:



In a heavy-duty deep pan, heat 3 or so inches of peanut oil to 350° - 360°.
Drop batter-coated onion rings into hot oil, one at a time, without crowding the pan.

 
Fry 3-4 rings at a time.  Any more lowers the temperature of the oil and you'll get greasy rings, not crisp. 
And here's a tip from Mr. Hawthorne:  As you continue dipping the floured rings into the batter, you might need to thin the batter out with a bit more buttermilk.  You don't want the wet batter to get too thick.


Turn rings when golden brown.
 
Total fry time is 4-5 minutes.

 
Drain on rack.

Serve with Rosie's Pig Shack sauce.

Crunchy, crusty exterior. 
Oniony interior.





Enjoy!