Friday, January 11, 2013

Keep Warm with Fish and Potato Chowder

OK, the winter is upon us and nothing is better than soup in the winter to keep warm, well that and a little shot of "what-not", anyway I made this "chowdah" and it is really tasty and fairly simple. This is great with my Garlic-Cheddar Bay Biscuits all slathered with butter. I will include that recipe too!

You'll find that this soup is similar to a New England Clam Chowder and you could actually use this as a base for that. You can leave the fish out and add more potatoes and have a savory potato soup. Get creative and swap out the fish for lump crab meat, peeled and cleaned crawfish tails, or even oysters. There is no limit to what you can do with this soup. Have fun and keep each other warm.

Fish and Potato Chowder

1 lb fish filets
2 cups red potatoes (small dice)
1 stalk celery (thin sliced)
2 cups onions (small dice)
3 - 4 cloves of garlic (minced fine)
5 green onions (sliced thin)
4 - 5 cups water
1 chicken stock cube
2 cups milk
¼ stick butter
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs olive oil
¼ cup sour cream
½ tsp each black pepper and sea salt
1 tbs Tony Chachere's
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbs minced parsley

In a med size pot, bring the water up to a boil, add the stock cube and the potatoes and cook for about 10 - 15 mins until potatoes are done. Keep warm. In a larger stock pot, melt the butter, add the olive oil, and sauté the onions, garlic, celery and green onions all together. Add the bay leave and all the spices. Cook for about 10 mins or until onions are softened.

Add the flour and stir for about 5 - 6 mins until flour starts to brown a bit. Now bring the potatoes and stock water up to temp again and pour into the other pot with the veggies. Stir well to dissolve the flour roux you've made. Bring up to a boil and add the milk and sour cream, stirring well to dissolve the sour cream. Now add the fish which has been diced into small bite sized pieces, stir well. Turn down to MED, cover, and let cook for about an hour, stirring occaisionally to insure its not scorching and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

I like serving this with some old fashioned saltine crackers and a little hot sauce. In the picture you'll notice I have added a dried red pepper. This added a small amount of heat, but I took it out before storing it in the fridge. This is an amazing soup I'd like for you to try. As for fish to use, you can use catfish, cod, flounder, talapia, or haddock, all very mild and tasty. I buy a mild white fish at WalMart that I really like called Swai, it's a Vietnamese Catfish and is WONDERFUL! Very tasty and mild. Be sure to use about 3 of these filets, about 6 oz. each and individually wrapped and frozen. Thaw them in the sealed wrapper in a sink of warm water. About 5 mins.

Garlic-Cheddar Bay Biscuits Recipe

1 ¼ cup biscuit mix
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup milk
½ stick butter
¼ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp dried parsley flakes

Preheat the oven to 400º Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Combine the biscuit mix and cheese in a bowl. Add the milk and stir just until combined. The dough will be slightly moist. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the biscuits are firm and beginning to brown.

While the biscuits are baking, make the garlic butter. In a small microwave or on the stove, melt the butter, add the garlic salt, and parsley flakes. Mix well. As soon as you bring the biscuits from the oven, brush them with the garlic butter using a pastry brush.

Enjoy these two wonderful recipes on those cold winter nights to ease the chill.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jamaican me Patties Mon!

For all the years I travelled working on the cruise ships I have always loved the different cuisines of the Caribbean Islands. One of my favorite treats that I could always find at the airports were Jamaican Meat Patties. I had found them here in the freezer section of my local grocery, but they were just not the same. So I decided to try and make my own. Now I will warn you this is a bit involved, but it is worth it. The key to the success is the light flaky pastry you make for the crust. This is not only flaky but has a savory flavor with a hint of aromatic spice.

You start with your filling, now there are many variations you can use. I used beef, but you could use chicken, pork, or I even thought this would be wonderful with crabmeat as a filling. One of the favorites is lamb. If you can find ground lamb your on your way to Tastyville. (Tastyville is 6 miles west of Guy Fieri's Flavor Town) Any meat you can have ground would work. I supposed deer or turkey would be fine although I have never been a fan of ground turkey. You can also go the indian route and stir up some lumpy mashed potatoes with some nice spices and curry powder and use that as well.

If you follw the simple directions for making the filling you can use about any meat, you do not need to cook the crab as much as the others. Even fish filets can be minced up in your pan as you are sautéing the onions and garlic. The bread crumbs help bind whatever it is you are using for the meat in these patties.

Pastry Crust
2 cups plain flour
½ stick of butter (very cold)
⅔ cup of shortening
1 tbs curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt (I use yellow popcorn salt)
⅓ cup of ice water

Pattie Filling
1 lb ground beef (or any meat)
1 small onion (diced small)
4 green onions (sliced very thin)
3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tbs oil
2 tbs Curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt & pepper (each)
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tbs flour
½ cup of water
1 egg + 1 tbs water for egg glaze

In a mixing bowl sift together all the dry ingredients for the crust, one combined thoroughly, add your shortening and butter. I dice the butter in small cubes to help mix it easier. Using your pastry blender, have a go at the until it looks like coarse wet sand. Add the ice cold water and work it in. Dump pastry onto sheet of plastic wrap, roll it into a loaf-like shape and seal well with plastic. Put in the fridge for about and hour.

Saute the onions, green onions, and garlic in a pan in the 2 tbs of oil. When wilted, add the meat and stir and mash until me is broken up. Add spices and cook until meat is done. Add breadcrumbs and sprinkle the 2 tbs of flour over the meat and stir it in. Now add ½ cup of warm water to help the binders thicken the meat. Let this cool and take out your Pastry dough.

Divide the pastry into 8 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then onto the board it goes. I use clear wrap on the top and bottom of the rolling process. Roll the dough out to approx. a 6 in. circle. Brush the inside with an egg glaze, then add about a ¼ - ⅓ cup of the filling meat. Fold the pastry over and crimp the edges with a fork. Place these onto a sprayed cookie sheet, brush the tops with the egg glaze, and into a 350º oven for between 15 - 20 mins. Let these cool before eating them.

Give these a try, take your time and you will be pleased with the tasty results. Enjoy!


Friday, January 4, 2013

We're making Potato Cakes!

Growing up, one of my favorite things my Mom would fix were potato cakes. I knew when she made mashed potatoes with a meal and made A LOT OF THEM, we were having potato cakes the next day. You can make them from scratch mashed potatoes or instant. The key is to let them rest for a day or so in the fridge and let them set up. These things are WONDERFUL.

These potato cakes are different from latke in that these are made from mashed potatoes whereas latke are made with grated potato. I do not put onion in mine, but you can. I would suggest sautéing it first to take the bite out. When making your mashed potatoes do not put butter or cream in them as they will be hard to handle. If you are using leftovers with butter and cream already in them, just add a bit more flour.

Potato Cakes
5 - 6 cups of mashed potatoes
1 cup of plain flour
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs (beaten)
Cooking oil
Extra flour for dusting

Mix all this together in a bowl. The flour should bind it all together. If it feels to loose, just add a bit more flour. Roll these out into balls (about the size of a tennis ball) and dust them with flour. In a cast iron skillet (preferably) heat about a ¼ inch of oil on MED/HI. WHen the oil is hot gently place them into the oil and give them a little pat to flatten them out a bit. Not too thin or they are hard to turn. Let them fry until the underside is brown and flip them carefully. Let them brown on the other side and you're done. Serve with sour cream and minced green onions if you'd like.

I hope you enjoy these tasty potato concoctions, I love them. I work in a dinner theater that serves GREAT mashed potatoes, I get some from Chef at times and take them home to make these. I am trying to do more on my blog here lately. I have a new iPhone with a really nice camera, better than the old one, and I am enjoying posting these recipes for you.



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bake them Biscuits Brown!

I LOVE BISCUITS!!! Now I have posted other biscuit recipes of mine and people have loved them. I normally eschew mixes of any type unless a recipe specifically calls for one. My 89 yr. old mother gave me a bag of this stuff that was recommended by a friend of hers. Its called "Redi-Mix Formula L Biscuit Mix" and I think it makes about the best tasting biscuits I have ever eaten. Someone told me the other day they made biscuits all the time. I said "Oh really", she then said "well from a can". I use a can too but I use it to cut the biscuits out and lay them on the pan.

This fine biscuit mix is produced by Midstate Mills in Newton North Carolina, but you can find it in some stores, I wrote the company and they gave me some places to look. I buy mine at Food Country USA, here in Tennessee, (they have other locations in Southwest Virginia) but I am sire you can find Midstate Mills products all over. You can also mail-order the products from the Mill's website. You really want to try this stuff if you are a biscuit lover. Your friends and family will swear you got these pretty biscuits from a chain store or a "biscuit oriented" fast food joint. Either way, they are awesome. What makes them so good are the dehydrated chips of butter and shortening mixed into the flour. You see little specs of butter in the finished biscuit.

Now, do yourself a favor and get you one of these pastry blenders. I know your Mama never had nor needed one but it makes this all that much easier. I got mine at the huge discount store whose name begins with WalMart. I take 3 cups of Formula-L, one cup of Whole Buttermilk, and mix them together thoroughly. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, knead it about ten times, roll it out with a rolling pin, cut out biscuits, lay them on a cookie sheet (sprayed with Pam), throw them in a 400º oven for about 12 minutes. That's it, they are ready and delicious. Slather them with butter, honey, or jelly.