Yummy Latkes

Since it’s Chanukah, I made latkes for supper – they are *so* easy and yummy!

My guide is that one potato will serve two people – so this recipe is based on four people/servings:

Ingredients:
2 regular-size baking potatoes (I leave the skin on when grating)
1 medium yellow onion
2 eggs
4 tbsp. flour
salt and pepper
olive oil for pan

First, I grate the potatoes in my Cuisinart, then grate the onion:

In a large mixing bowl, I add to the potato/onion mixture the two eggs and flour. I stir that up really well, then add olive oil to a skillet to get that started (when I do this for a party, I use two skillets plus an electric skillet, then set the ones that are done on a paper-towel-covered cookie sheet in a 225* oven to keep them warm until all the latkes are cooked). The skillet should be put on a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot – it must be hot – I just lift out of the bowl a large spoonful-size amount and gently add to the skillet.

One of the secrets to really great latkes is to make a nice mound in the middle of each latke (so they are nice and potato-y when you bite into the center), but to also have potato strings on the edges (so they have that great crispy bite).

I salt and pepper both sides pretty generously. After just two or three minutes when they have a nice golden color on the bottom – I peek underneath them with a spatula first – I flip them, then let them cook until they’re a nice color on the other side:

Have a paper towel-lined plate ready for them.
Yum! Happy Chanukah!

Pompano Meuniere Amandine

Tonight for supper, I made Pompano Meuniere Amandine. The recipe is in my Galatoire’s Cookbook, and it’s one of Galatoire’s best-known dishes. It turned out great!

I halved the recipe in the book to make two servings, and used the pompano we got at Joe Patti’s in Pensacola. The only way I made this different from the book was that I used olive oil rather than vegetable oil, and was a little more generous with the almonds since Av likes them so much.

Ingredients for two servings:
1/2 cup Meuniere Sauce, at most (ingredients: butter, red wine vinegar, lemon juice – recipe below). Even though 1/2 cup doesn’t sound like much, I used a fraction of that…
2 pompano fillets
a little olive oil, for brushing onto the fish
paprika
white pepper
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
parsley for the plate
lemon for the plate

Directions:
First I made the meuniere sauce. There are several different variations on meuniere, but the one for this dish is very, very simple. It takes one stick of butter, melted, stirring constantly, on a medium-low setting. Next was a splash of the red wine vinegar and same amount lemon juice whisked together, then added to the butter once the butter was browned. This makes the butter bubble, so you have to make sure to keep stirring well. When it was well incorporated and stopped foaming/bubbling, I strained the sauce through a sieve and set aside. Keep it warm.

Next, I started the almonds to toast. The oven was preheated to 350* and a baking pan was covered with parchment paper, then the almonds. After 15 minutes in the oven, they were a nice golden brown color.

For the fish, I preheated the oven on a low broil. Here are the pompano fillets on the foil-covered broiler pan:

…brushed them with olive oil, then sprinkled white pepper and paprika on each.

After 12 minutes under the broiler, they were cooked perfectly:

I put one fillet on each plate and covered with the toasted almonds and some meuniere sauce. The lemon and parsley were added also.

Av orders trout amandine pretty often when we go to certain restaurants for supper, and he loved the pompano done this way. It really was great!

Chicken Clemenceau

I really like to pull cookbooks down off the shelf in our kitchen and make menus for the week from the recipes I find. There are so many times during the week that we go out with family or friends, or are traveling, that I hardly ever make every single supper on my list – but that really only makes things more interesting!

This week, I found a recipe for ‘Chicken Clemenceau’ in my Brennan’s cookbook. My version is just a little bit different, but the same idea – and Av *loves* it.

Ingredients (this makes enough for 2-3 servings):
olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms (I used common mushrooms but you could do shiitake or…)
1 tsp. minced garlic
new potatoes (as many as you like for roasting)
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
flour for lightly dusting the chicken
1 cup small green peas
chopped parsley

Directions:
I began by making the roasted potatoes, since they take almost an hour to cook. Preheat the oven to 400*, then wash the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces.

Put them in a Ziploc bag along with a couple of splashes of olive oil, salt, and pepper – close and shake well. Next, I emptied the potatoes on a baking sheet and set them in the 400* oven:

The potatoes were done in about one hour.

When the potatoes had about twenty minutes left before they were done, I very lightly dusted the chicken with flour, and sauteed them in olive oil. When the chicken was cooked through, I added the mushrooms and garlic:

When the mushrooms were cooked well, I added the roasted potatoes, peas, and parsley. Once this was cooked through, it was ready:

Nice!

Boiled Peanut Butter Cookies

I was looking at my ‘The Gift of Southern Cooking’ cookbook by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock when I saw this recipe for boiled peanut butter cookies. I used to make these in high school! They were one of my favorites, but for some reason, I don’t think I’ve made them since. Av loves chocolate and peanut butter, so I figured he’d like these too.

Recipe:
1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter (although I’ve used creamy before and I think I like it that way even better)
3 c. quick-cooking oatmeal (I used Quaker brand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter
1/2 cup sweet milk
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
Also: wax paper laid out to spoon the cookies onto

Instructions:
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(above:) Here are all the ingredients. In one bowl, mix together the peanut butter, oatmeal, and vanilla. In another, mix together the sugar, salt, and cocoa until there aren’t any lumps.

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First, heat the butter and milk in a saucepan until the butter is melted.
Next, add the sugar/salt/cocoa to the pan, and bring it to a boil. Stir with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t burn.

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Let the mixture boil for 90 seconds.

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Once 90 seconds has gone by, add the peanut butter/butter/oatmeal mixture and cook all that together for another 60 seconds. Be sure to keep stirring!

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Now, just spoon the cookies onto the wax paper. This recipe made about 30 or so cookies. They should be set in less than an hour, but if it’s a cloudy or rainy day, just let them rest and try not to worry about them…they will come together!

These were *delicious* and Av loved them just like I thought he might. Yay!

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Originally, I meant to cook some nice Gulf snapper for supper last night, but the place where I buy fish was out (I think there’s something going on right now with the snapper market) and it was suggested that I try my recipe with Hawaiian Sunfish, which I think is a nice way of saying ’tilapia’. I love snapper and for some reason I have this idea that tilapia is a boring fish, but it tasted really nice anyway, and supper turned out great.

Baked Grits
Ingredients:
1 c. dry grits
5 c. water
2 tbsp butter
salt, pepper

Also for this recipe:ramekin dishes (butter them)

First, I started the grits (the ones I got from the Kymulga mill) – one cup of dry grits takes a little over an hour to cook. For every one cup of grits, add them to five cups of boiling water and a couple of tablespoons of butter. Add salt and pepper.

Bring it all to a boil, then put the heat down to medium-low and let cook for as long as it takes (generally about an hour or so), stirring pretty often.

Here they are, almost done:

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Once they’re ready, butter some ramekins (we only needed two, but 1 cup of grits makes enough for six or eight ramekins), fill with grits to about 3/4 full, and set the filled ramekins in an ovenproof dish with water to reach half of the way up.

Preheat the oven to 375* and bake 20 minutes covered with foil, then another 25 or so minutes with the foil removed. This will give the top of the grits (which will be the bottom once it’s served) a nice crust.

In the meantime, I just sauteed my green beans, added some teriyaki sauce to them, and put the heat down to medium-low. This let the beans soak up the teriyaki flavor while I started the fish.

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish/Tilapia (or Snapper)
This recipe is based on, but isn’t exactly, the recipe in the Prejean’s cookbook.

Ingredients:
2 c. pecan meal (I get mine from Priester’s Pecans in Fort Deposit, but it’s just as easy to make it yourself by processing pecan halves in a food processor)
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cumin
salt, black pepper
3 tsp. cayenne
1/3 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp each: dried thyme, oregano, basil
few dashes (as much or as little as you like) of Rex Blackened Seasoning
2 fish filets (tilapia or snapper)
butter for sauteeing the fish
a little warm, clarified butter to dip each of the filets in for breading

Directions:
Mix together all the dry ingredients. Dip each of the filets in warm, clarified butter, then dredge in the breading to coat both sides well.

Melt butter in large pan for sauteeing.

Add the fish and cook on medium-high, depending on thickness of the filets, about 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes on each side.

Once the baked grits were ready, I took a knife and went around the inside of each of the ramekins to loosen the grits. I inverted one ramekin on each of the plates, and the grits came out with no problem!

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Then, I placed each filet over the baked grits, and surrounded that with my green beans.

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Yum!

Green Curry Chicken

Tonight I made a really yummy green curry chicken. One of my favorite Thai restaurants does an *amazing* green curry chicken that I always order and I wanted to see if I could get it to be similar cooking it at home.

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small strips
Just a little olive oil for cooking the chicken
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. green curry paste (Epicurious suggests 2 tsp, but Av and I like it *really* spicy – so it can go anywhere between these two amounts)
2/3 c. chicken broth
1 c. coconut milk
1 c. cooked basmati rice (although if I had this recipe to do over, I think I would have made it 1-1/2 c. rice. All the other quantities would remain the same, even with the increased rice.)

Directions:
Cook basmati rice – get this started early, because this kind of rice takes 45 – 60 minutes to be ready.

Heat the olive oil in a wok, and add the chicken. Cook until just almost done (because it’s going to finish cooking at the end).
Green Curry Chicken
Put the chicken on a plate for later.

To the wok, add the curry paste and green onions. let that cook/stir together for a couple of minutes at medium-high heat:
Green Curry Chicken

Add chicken broth and coconut milk to the wok, and let this get up to temperature before going any further:
Green Curry Chicken

Add the cooked basmati rice, and let that cook at medium-high for three or four minutes so that the rice absorbs the flavors:
Green Curry Chicken

Now add the chicken, and let the whole thing cook for another 4-5 minutes so that the chicken gets nice and hot and completely cooked:
Green Curry Chicken

Serve:
Green Curry Chicken
This turned out *really* nice – we both enjoyed it a lot. Yay!

Pi Day

Once a week or so, I’ll go to Wikipedia and put in today’s date and click over to the dates of the upcoming week, just to see what holidays are being celebrated around the world. Today is Pi Day. Why? Because today is March 14th (3.14). Um, yeah. I know…

Ordinarily I’m not sure I would do anything for Pi Day, but then I remembered that when Av was in elementary school, he for some reason memorized the first fifty or sixty or so (I’m not sure, but a *bunch*) digits of pi. He *still* remembers them. Then a while back, his mom saw a ‘pi plate’ (in a pic below) – and no kidding, she bought it and gave it to us. Well, this was the *perfect* opportunity to use it.

Av had a board meeting to attend tonight, so I decided to surprise him with one of his favorite pies – Pawleys Island Pie, which I change up just a little bit from the original. He had no idea about Pi Day, but sure did like coming home to a house that smelled like a giant pie, even over in the garage!

Ingredients:
pie crust, baked and ready for filling (I use a deep dish pie crust)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (I use White Lily)
1 c. white sugar
2 large eggs
8 tbsp. butter at room temperature (you can melt it in the microwave & cool it if you like)
a little salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips
1 c. pecan pieces

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325*
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pecans.
In your Kitchenaid, mix together the butter and eggs, then add the vanilla. Slowly (and with the beater going at its slowest speed) add the dry mixture of the flour/sugar/chips/pecans/etc.

Take a spoon and put your mixture into the pie crust (be sure to put the pie crust on a baking sheet lined with foil – this pie is sometimes bad to run over if you get it the teensiest bit overfilled).

Bake it at 325* for about an hour (I used a deep-dish pie crust. If you use a shallow pie crust, your time will likely be more like 45-50 minutes).

All set – I had a teeny slice and it was sooo yummy.

(This is so geeky, but…..) Happy Pi Day!!

Pawleys Island Pie for Pi Day!

Cheese Straws

I made cheese straws this week – they turned out *so* unbelievably yummy.

This recipe makes about 80 mini cheese straws, so there’s plenty to give out to friends, too.

Ingredients:
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I just grated the cheese in my Cuisinart)
1-1/2 c. flour (all-purpose, I like White Lily)
8 tbsp butter, softened
2 egg yolks, beaten
salt
hot sauce (use as much or as little as you like…I like them a little hot)

Directions:Preheat the oven to 400*. Take two baking sheets, and cover each with parchment paper.

Grate cheese in Cuisinart:
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Add flour, then butter. Once that’s mixed in well, add the egg yolks, hot sauce, and salt. Keep mixing for another minute, just until it’s incorporated.
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At this point, either put the mixture into a pastry bag with a star or other pretty tip, or use a ziploc bag and cut a small/medium-size hole out of one of the bottom corners:
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Squeeze the mixture out onto your prepared baking sheet. You can make long cheese straws – I like these little mini ones:
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Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes:
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Plate them and serve immediately – they’re *so good* when they’re hot:
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Oh yum!

Galette des Rois

Since it’s Mardi Gras (happy Mardi Gras!!), I figured I would take this opportunity (the last one this year) to make a Galette des Rois, which is French for ‘King Cake’ (they’re served as part of tradition for people who celebrate the Feast of Epiphany, which is on January 6th each year).

Here are the ingredients:

1/8 cup almond paste
1/8 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
dash of salt
splash of vanilla extract
splash of almond extract
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp flour
1 package puff pastry sheets, defrosted in the refrigerator at least 2 or 3 hours
A bean, if you like (see note below)

Directions:
**Note: if you like, you can put a dried bean in the galette, as is custom. You don’t have to, but if you want to, it’s a nice touch. Let anyone that enjoys it know that the bean is *somewhere* inside, and that whoever finds it is king!

Preheat the oven to 450*. Get out a bowl or small plate to use as a template, and also fix a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Mix together the almond paste, sugar, butter, and salt until it’s completely smooth – then add half the beaten egg and both extracts.

Keep mixing until it’s all very smooth and worked through.

Add the flour and mix until incorporated, but not much longer than that.

Take the puff pastry out and unfold onto a floured surface. Take a regular-size bowl or small plate and trace around it with a sharp knife:

Galette des Rois

…do that twice, so you have two circles of puff pastry the same size:

Galette des Rois

Put the first circle on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper and put in the refrigerator while you work on the other circle. Take a sharp knife and make a pretty design in the pastry. You’ll also want to make some slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape. I made this sunburst design, but you can really do whatever you like:

Galette des Rois

Brush the top of this circle with some of the beaten egg that’s left:

Galette des Rois

Take the bottom circle back out of the refrigerator, and with a spoon or brush, put plenty of beaten egg around the outside rim. Leave plenty of room for the filling:

Galette des Rois

Now, mound the almond filling mixture right in the middle of that bottom circle (if you’re adding a bean, now’s the time to put it into the filling):

Galette des Rois

Put the top circle atop the bottom one, and sort-of pinch and press together the outside of both circles so they join well:

Galette des Rois

Next, place it in the oven (450*) for about 12-15 minutes. Because of the egg wash, it will turn a really nice shade of brown. Just be careful that it not get too brown too quickly:

Galette des Rois

It really turned out nice! Yum!

Galette des Rois