Faux Fried Fish

March 20, 2010

This weekend I’ve been faced with a dilemma. We’re at my in-laws, and my in-laws are not on a diet like I am. They have tried really hard to make sure there are things in the house that I can eat, but tonight it all came down to me. What do I want for supper. Sometimes it’s really not that simple. I eat what I CAN, not what I WANT anymore. So I decided that instead of having them make food for them, and fix something different for me (which makes me feel really bad and singled out), I offered to cook. My father-in-law took me to the fish market this evening where the nice lady showed me some Perch that is cleaned, boned, and was living this morning. The thing I liked the most about it is that it didn’t smell like gnarly underpants. I’m REALLY cravin’ the fried goodness of Fish’n’Chips in the bad way, so I have devised a plan to cook the beautiful piece of fish in the oven to make them crunchy and awesome like Fried Fish without all of the oil. Excellent. Now if only there were potatoes in the house…

For Faux-Fried Fish (in this case: Perch) you need:

1 ½ Cups of Flour
2 Eggs
1 Cup of Milk
2 Cups of Obliterated Saltine Crackers or Bread Crumbs
A smidgen of Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, and Sage
Deboned, skinned Fish for 4 people (about 2lbs of Fish in pieces)

First set up your workstation. This is important because it minimizes the mess by a BUNCH. Your workstation should go in this order, from left to right: Flour Mixture (Flour, herbs and spices, salt and pepper), Egg and Milk Mixture (Egg and Milk mixed together), Crushed Cracker Mixture (just crushed crackers or breadcrumbs),Aluminum Baking Pan.

Take a piece of Fish and place it on top of your Flour mixture. Move it around to make sure every little bit of the fish is covered with flour but NOT caked with it.

Dip the Floured Fish in the Egg and Milk, but DON’T let it sit. You just want to get it wet and get that sucker into the crackers.

Move the Fish into the crackers and make sure the Fish is covered and NOT caked, like I said before. This is going to make sure that the Fish is crispy, not hard.

Get the fish into your Aluminum Baking Pan. Repeat with all of the Fish pieces. Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 25 minutes, until you see the lovely pieces of Fish turning golden brown.

Serve next to a hefty-sized pile of roasted potatoes or my infamous Honey Mustard Roasted Veggies.

Love, Peace, and Favorable Seas, Friends! Visualize Whirled Peas!
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Sun-Dried-Tomato-Pesto-Pasta-Salad + Fail.

March 18, 2010

I wanted to apologize for being a few days late on a new post. Not only have I recently committed a culinary failure, but it was a pretty epic one. Lets say that my kitchen has suffered a little bit as a result and its taken a few days to recover from the aftermath. I tried to stuff some Squid heads with rice. I bought fresh Squids, gutted them (I now know what Squid Sperm looks like…), cleaned them, went through the whole process… only to have them explode. My oven no longer looks at me the same way. Not only were they OBLITERATED in the cooking process, but they were absolutely disgusting. One of the worst meals I’ve ever attempted to consume. I felt terrible. I cried a little. Its always an emotional moment when someone who loves food like a family member has to drop it into the garbage can and clean up the massacre at the crime scene. I didn’t even want to LOOK at my kitchen the day after. Guilt… Remorse… A bad taste left in my mouth… I still don’t want to turn on my oven for fear it will make my house smell like death and Squid. So tonight I made Pasta Salad. Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Peas, Peppers, Mozzarella, and Pesto. Something to celebrate Springtime which has FINALLY arrived! Lets hope this will help recuperate my dropped Food-Karma levels…

For Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad, you wanna have:

A bowlful of cooked, drained, non-spaghetti-like pasta
1 small Bell Pepper (or piece of a large one)
1 single serving of REAL Mozzarella
1 small can of Peas
1 handful of Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 small Shallot or Onion
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of ready-to-eat Pesto (with or without Garlic)
Garlic (to add to the Pesto if it is Garlic-less Pesto

First, cook your pasta, drain it, put it in a bowl, toss with a little olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together, and set aside to cool.

Get your veggies ready by slicing the onion/shallot VERY thinly, cutting up the sun-dried tomatoes into little bits, and slicing the bell pepper into long strips.

Dump all of the veggies on top of the pasta, peas included, to make room on your cutting board.

This is a REAL Mozzarella. It doesn’t come semi-arid, shredded, in a ziplock baggie. It comes packed in its own water, and in lump form like THIS:

Cut up the Mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and dump them on top of the veggies on top of the pasta on a bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea… er… yeah.

My Pesto came in a resealable container, so I was able to use it a little bit at a time instead of all at once. Unfortunately, it came to a point where there was enough pesto leftover for one bowl of pasta, and not two, so I added an equal amount of Olive Oil and a little Garlic to stretch it. Plus, straight Pesto has a REALLY strong flavor. Adding more Oil softened it a little bit and makes it a little less OH MY GOD THERE IS PESTO EVERYWHEEERRREEE!!!!

Pour your Pesto over the bowlful of ‘stuff’ and give it a good tossing. Cover the bowl loosely with aluminum foil and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve alone, or with some Chicken on the side (or even tossed into the pasta salad!).

Love, Peace, and (saddly not so much) Bacon Grease, Friends! Visualize Whirled Peas!

Pinzone allo Scalogno (Italian Table Bread with Shallots)

March 15, 2010

Italian Bread doesn’t always have to be the big wood-oven baked loaves you see on TV. A lot of Italians prefer bread that is made from the same basic ingredients as Pizza Dough. Pinzone is, basically, the love-child of Focaccia and Gnocco. Gnocco is heavy, spongy, oily, and kind of flavorless. Focaccia is like thick, chewy, Pizza Crust. A lot of times you will find both Gnocco and Focaccia with things like Onion on top, or Rosemary, or Cherry Tomatoes. Pinzone is no different, but I prefer it with Shallot or Onion. When you’re using it as table bread (meaning on the side of a meal) you don’t want huge, overwhelming flavors and mushy tomato spit all over everything. A little onion or shallot or even fresh, thinly sliced, garlic adds just enough chuzpah without standing apart from the flavors already on your plate.

For Pinzone allo Scalogno, you need this stuff:

1 1/2 cups of Flour
3/4 cup of Water
1 heaping teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 lacking teaspoon of Salt
Olive Oil
1 small Onion or large Shallot or 3 cloves of Garlic sliced thinly
A big pinch of large grain Seasalt

First, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Put all of your dry ingredients into a big bowl (Baking Powder, regular Salt, Baking Powder, Flour).

Add the water and use your hands to mix it all together until it forms a ball. If you feel like your dough is too tough and isn’t picking up all of the flour, add a little more water about a tablespoon at a time until its smooth and not TOO sticky. It should be sticky, but not to the point you could find yourself in the bad position of your hands getting stuck together.

Plop your dough into a 9×9 inch baking pan, or one that is big enough to mush out the dough to about 3/4 of an inch thick.

Slice your Shallot (or whatever) nice and thin.

Spread the Shallot (or whatever) out evenly over the top of the dough. Use your fingers to lightly press the pieces into the dough just enough to where they don’t move around. Drizzle on some Olive Oil and use your fingers again to spread it out evenly, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle on your big grain Seasalt.

Huck it in the oven for 20 minutes in a spot in the oven far away from the top burners. They will burn the Shallot (or whatever) you put on top. When its golden on top, pull it out and let it cool so you can handle it.

Cut it up into squares and NOM AWAY!

Love, Peace, and (little to no) Bacon Grease, Friends! Visualize Whirled Peas!
Wanna e-mail me? PLEASE DO! Btchinfixins@gmail.com