Archive | August, 2011

Beer-Battered Cajun Fries

25 Aug

2011_03_06-CajunFries1.jpg

I made these last night for Jared, SaraJean & I. Jared loves homemade french fries, and despite the fact that the kitchen is always a smoke-filled disaster area when I’ve finished making them and I usually burn myself, get oil stains on my clothes and it always take me longer than I think and then we have to eat them & rush out the door, I make them anyway because I love to cook things that he enjoys =). So I went for these last night & they were SUPER delicious, totally worth the effort, so give ’em a try if you’re feeling like fried food & also feeling ambitious.

Beer-Battered Cajun Fries
Serves 4-6

2 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Cajun spice (I use Tony Chachere’s)
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup lager-style beer, plus additional as needed
Peanut oil (or other high smoke point, neutral flavored oil), for frying

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, then cut slices into 1/4-inch sticks (I leave the potatoes unpeeled). Soak fries in an ice water bath for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours. This removes the starch from the potatoes and makes for a better fry.

Mix flour, spices, and beer to create a thick, pancake-like batter, adding more beer if necessary. Divide batter evenly between 2 large mixing bowls (one batch will be used to dredge the fries before blanching and one batch will be used to dredge the fries for the second cooking). Add potatoes to the batter and toss, making sure to coat each fry completely.

Fill a large cast iron or enamel pot with 3 inches of peanut oil. Heat oil to 325° over medium-high to high heat. In 2 – 3 batches, add fries and blanch until lightly golden and limp, yet cooked through (see third image). This could take anywhere from 4 – 6 minutes. Watch the oil temperature carefully and try to maintain the temperature at 325° (it will lower drastically once the fries are added). You can use tongs to gentlyseparate the fries while they are cooking; they have tendency to want to cling to each other. Remove the fries from the oil with tongs or a spider and allow to cool on a paper towel-lined sheet pan while finishing the remaining batches.

Once all of the fries are blanched, raise the oil temperature to 375°. Dredge the blanched fries in the second bowl of batter, tossing to coat. Still in batches, cook fries until crisp and deep golden brown (see second image), about 1 – 2 minutes, but this could be more or less depending on how much the temperature of the oil fluctuates. Remove to another paper towel-lined sheet pan, taste-test a fry, and season with additional Cajun seasoning or salt as needed. Serve immediately.

Related: Blogging Bon Appétit: All About French Fries

(Images: Nealey Dozier)


Flourless Chocolate Torte

19 Aug

So today is Jared’s Mom’s birthday, and I’m happy to say that I am not in labor–I was hoping our little Wilklet would have a different birthday than hers–for no particular reason just a preference. For her birthday, I am trying my hand at a Flourless Chocolate Torte, why, you ask? Because I didn’t have any flour! But I do have LOTS of chocolate–good chocolate too =).

For the record, I looked up the difference between a torte & a tart, and Wikipedia says:

A Tart is baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. The pastry is usually shortcrust pastry; the filling may be sweet or savoury, though modern tarts are usually fruit-based, sometimes with custard.

A Torte is a rich, usually multilayered, cake that is filled with buttercreams, mousses, jams or fruits.[1] Ordinary, the cooled torte is glazed and garnished . A torte is made with little to no flour, but instead with ground nuts or breadcrumbs, as well as sugar, eggs, and flavorings.[2]

Anyway, turns out it is CRAZY easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch round cake pan, and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter. (Note: Whenever I hear, do this or that over a double boiler, I think, “double boiler double schmoiler that’s not necessary.” I just microwaved them at 50% power for about 3 minutes, and stirred it EVERY 30 seconds–which is crucial, I’ve definitely burned chocolate before by not stirring, stirring is the key.)
    Remove from heat, and stir in sugar,  eggs, and vanilla (I also added 1 tsp. instant coffee–just to enhance the chocolate flavor & because Jared’s Mom loves everything Mocha). Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slices can also be reheated for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.
Here are some before pics:
Closeup of the stick of butter ensconced in chocolate–yum.
So after baking the cake it was like impossible to get out of the cake pan. And I followed the directions exactly! So it came out in multiple pieces (bummer) but because of the texture of it–I was able to mold it back into a circle (shhh!) And I’ve resolved to make whip cream to top it with (and by that I mean hide the ugliness). I will say though that the crumbs taste delicious, like amazingly deliciously chocolaty–so that’s good. I never ended up taking a picture of it–but it was scrumptiously chocolaty and delicious, almost everyone had seconds too! So, to avoid the problem I had, I would recommend heavily buttering the pan–or use a springform pan & voila! you don’t even have to move the cake. So there you go. Enjoy!

Bitsas Cornbread: the Best Cornbread

12 Aug

Don’t even bother trying any other cornbread recipes–seriously. When we first were married & lived in Avalon we babysat for the Bitsas’ fairly often, and we quickly learned that Leslie has the BEST cornbread muffin recipe EVER. Jared will eat these just as snacks, they are that good.

Cornbread Recipe

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients:

a) 1/2 c. butter, 1/3 c. sugar

b) 1/4 c. honey, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt

c) 1&1/2 c. flour, 3/4 c. yellow cornmeal, 1/2 tsp. baking soda

d) 1/2 c milk

e) 1 can corn (or the equivalent of frozen corn)

1. Cream (a)

2. Beat in (b)

3. Mix in (c)

4. Stir in (d) just until moist

5. Fold in (e)

Bake 20-25 min. in 8×8 pan or muffin tin, makes 12 muffins. Yum! Also, Leslie told us she cut the sugar in 1/2 from the original recipe, so if you want them sweeter, use 2/3 c. sugar. Enjoy!