Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Fish and Chips!

In honor of the Olympic games, I must talk about Britain's most iconic meal, Fish and Chips! The story goes that fish and chips were first sold by John Lees in 1863. He even hung a sign in the shop window proclaiming, "This is the First Fish and Chip Shop in the world." However, some say the first fish and chip shop was opened in London by Joseph Malin in 1860. In addition, with references in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, referring to "fried fish warehouses," and commented on in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, dates them back even further! Either way, they are delicious and one of my favorite indulgences!

Traditionally, fish and chips are wrapped in newspaper, served with malt vinegar, lemon wedges, and mushy peas. To make mushy peas, just cook a bag of frozen peas in boiling water until very tender, about 5-10 minutes, drain them, then blend them up in a food processor with a tablespoon of butter and enough cream to make them "mushy," season with salt and pepper. If you prefer tartar sauce, check out my previously posted recipe for Homemade Tartar Sauce! It's really good!

Fish and Chips

Serves 4


Vegetable oil, for frying
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries
2 cups rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
14 ounces of beer or soda water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2, 8-ounce cod or haddock fillets, cut in 1/2 on an angle
1/2 cup rice flour, for dredging
Malt vinegar and lemon wedges, for serving

Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep fryer (or heavy skillet) to 325 degrees.

Put the potatoes in a fryer basket (or use a fry strainer) and lower into the oil. Fry the chips for 2 to 3 minutes, they should not be crisp or fully cooked at this point. Remove the chips to paper towels to drain.

Turn the temperature up to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Combine the beer and egg and pour into the flour mixture. Whisk to a smooth batter. Spread the rice flour on a plate. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour, tap off any excess, and then dip them into the batter.

Carefully lower the battered fish into the hot oil. Be careful! Fry the fish for about 4-5 minutes, or until crispy and brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Now add the par-cooked fries to the oil and cook until crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. When the fish and chips are done, season with salt. Serve with lemon wedges and malt vinegar.

This recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence, and was the best out of all I tried, even better than Jamie Oliver's.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What "The Old Fart" Can Teach You!!!

How can it be that since I moved north, the summers are even hotter than South Texas? With temperatures consistently clearing triple digits, I am up to my eyeballs with my favorite hot weather food, i.e., Black Bean-Chicken Tostadas with Salsa and Tangy Romaine, Retro Wedge Salad with 1916 Roquefort Dressing, and Schlotzky's "Original" Sandwich, just to name a few. What I really want, which sounds insane, is a nice bowl of soup! Yes, I said soup, even in triple digits!!!

Luckily, My local grocer just started receiving Colorado corn! I don't know what it is about Colorado corn, but I swear it is the best I've ever tasted! Maybe it's the fresh mountain air, or perhaps nostalgia for the beautiful state of Colorado? Either way, it makes the most delicious "Corn Soup with Coriander!" You may think that this sweet, spicy, and exceedingly fresh tasting soup is from my Texas heritage, but it's not! It's Canadian, specifically, from a relic Canadian magazine called The Old Fart! Lucky for me, Laura Calder included this recipe in her newest cookbook! She recommends serving it as a starter, followed by steak, salad, and summer pudding; however, it's HOT, just give me a bowl and an ice cold cerveza, and I'm perfect!

Corn Soup with Coriander

Serves 8


6 ears of corn
3 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, minced
2 small red peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes, or to taste
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or light cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Leaves from a bunch of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

Shuck the corn, and with a small knife shave the kernels from the cobs. (Click my "Techniques" tab for tips on removing corn from the cob.) Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat, and saute the onions until translucent. Add the corn, red peppers, and chili flakes and saute for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeno, tomatoes, and chicken stock; simmer for 15 minutes. Add the milk and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped coriander, and serve. Pretty easy, eh?

Recipe adapted from Dinner Chez Moi: The Fine Art of Feeding Friends, by Laura Calder.