Yes! You can! I love baking things you know you shouldn't have too much of. These babies are my rework of the traditional chocolate chip cookie. You can get bored with tradition Lester! I think pumpkin cannoli are a bad idea too. Now that I've had a few days to digest the idea. You don't have to skimp on ingredients though. These are regular chocolate chip cookies made with really good Eyetalian chocolate and Eyetalian toblerone morsels. Let's do this!
The first time I had a traditional Caprese salad was the same night I had Penne a'la Vodka with smoked salmon and black caviar. My dining partners were Tom Miller and a one John David Williford. It was at a restaurant called La Locanda in Coral Gables, Florida. Very sheeshee for a young trio of musical nerds out for dinner and a movie.
This particular variation is from the city of Naples on the eastern coast of Italia. I added a little side of boiled and marinated shrimp. Very simple to make.
You basically add breaded and fried slices of eggplant instead of basil leaves. Serve it over arugula with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. With the addition of the shrimp it can be served as a luncheon meal or lite dinner.
1 1/2 lbs lg. shelled, deveined and tail on shrimp from your fish monger
1 medium sized eggplant
1 small package of Buffalo Mozzarella
2 nice sized Roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 package of arugula
Vigo Italian bread crumbs
2 small eggs
lite brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons lite brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
First thing to make is the balsamic vinaigrette. In a blender or Cuisinart. Add your chopped "by hand" garlic. I like to chop it down to a mince and then drop some kosher salt in it and with the flat of the knife. Mash it into a fine paste. Drop it in with your vinegar, salt, pepper & sugar and start a steady mix running. Add your olive oil in a slow, steady stream to the running mixing device. A slow incorporation allows for the dressing to emulsify into a smooth, cafe' latte colored consistency. Once achieved. Shut off your mixer and transfer the dressing to a more suitable mixing container. DON"T refrigerate! There's a reason.
Boiling shrimp is quick and relatively easy . In a small pot. Bring some lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in your shrimp. When they are pink and curled in on themselves. Pull them out and place them in a bowl. While they are still a bit warm. Take a bit of the vinaigrette that you've made and coat them real well. Put them in the fridge to chill. As the shrimp cool and contract. The dressing will be drawn into the flesh. Put your vinaigrette in the fridge now.......
Time for the eggplant. For this recipe as well as eggplant parmigiana. I prefer to keep the skins on my eggplant rounds. It's prettier and it acts as a binder for the flesh of the rounds. One thing people forget to do when frying breaded eggplant. You must always leech out the excess liquid from the cut rounds of eggplant. It's easy. Once you've cut them. You will need a large platter or baking sheet and some paper towels. Lay out your rounds on a layer of paper towels and salt each of them liberally with some kosher salt. Lay another layer of paper towels over the top and lightly press down onto the disks. Allow the eggplant to stand for a 1/2 hour like this. It allows the salt to leech the excess water out of the eggplant and into the towels. Time to fry. Take your 2 eggs and make an egg wash in a small bowl. I like to do an assembly line set up. So, egg, crumbs, frying pan, paper toweled platter to receive the fried eggplant. I like to fry these on medium heat 6 1/2 on the dial. Coat the frying pan bottom liberally with olive oil or vegetable oil. I prefer olive because it's not as heavy and better for you. Fry the rounds until they're golden on both sides and remove. Cut the rounds, cheese and tomato in half for service.
Plating. 1st. Bed of arugula. In a fan out atop the greens. Arugula, mozzarella, tomato. Repeat! Handful of shrimp and a generous drizzle of vinaigrette and you're good to go. Enjoy!
u Forever! I have battled with recipe after recipe for buttermilk pancakes. I finally combined two recipes and discovered the airy, sweet perfection I've sought out for so many years.
So! Gone are the days of frustrating & complicated recipes. I will never buy another instant mix again. It's easy and there are a few ingredients and steps and behaviors. Yes. Behaviors. It's all about milk cultures, gluten and Father time.
The key is a superior buttermilk, a tried and true "all purpose" flour and SHUGAH!
I use "Friendship" brand cultured buttermilk and "White Lily" brand lite baking flour. Let's get started. Oh! Make sure to use real white cane sugar. NONE that are derived from turnips or root veggies. They're too heavy and leave an odd aftertaste.
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Plus! extra butter to grease the pan.
In a medium mixing bowl. Measure out all of your dry ingredients into the bowl. Then dry whisk them together. Next add your beaten egg and the buttermilk. HAND whisk your batter. Don't be a sissy. Plus, electric mixers lend themselves to over working the batter and removing the air you want and they break down the gluten in the flour. Hand whisk until the batter is thick and smooth. Just eyeball it as you go. Then set the batter aside for 20 to 25 minutes to allow it to proof. It's all simple chemistry. Really!
Time to fry these lovelies. Take a tablespoon of butter and put it in smallish saute' pan and bring it to a lite sizzle.
3 1/2 to 4 on your dial. To dole out the batter I use a medium soup ladle and a spoon to move this velvety batter from the ladle into the pan. You don't want to go above 4 1/2 heat. Burnt pancakes suck! Now. The way to tell that it's time to flip your cakes. When you see bubbles start rise to the outside of the cake and form wholes on the surface. You gently flip. Watch the cake. It will begin to elevate. When you see that? It's time to remove it.
Serve these with any topping you like or just plain old Maple Syrup and butter, two eggs scrammed and a couple of sausage patties! Enjoy!
Baked Atlantic Cod over Gouda Grits with pan braised Brussels's Sprouts & Cucumber, Vidalia Onion Slaw
Tonight was a team effort! My partner Charles Edwards has been slow on the mend from a very long bout with intense cancer treatment and post treatment cardiac problems. Two night's ago! He called the menu and I made it. We're both trying to watch what we're eating. Charles because he needs to build his strength and I because I'm on the doorstep of the new 30.........50! I feel great by the way. Save a few hereditary aches and pains.
It was easy! Several steps, but easy.
3/4's of a lb of "fresh" Atlantic Cod from your local fish stand or monger
Dixie brand instant grits
1 small wheel of smoked Gouda cheese
1 package of Brussels's Sprouts
1 small Vidalia onion
1/2 cup flavoured Japanese salad vinegar
salt & pepper
2 small shallow baking ramekins
O.K. 1st you need to prep all of your vegetables. Peel & seed your cucumbers then cut them into thin strips. Peel and grate your carrots. Peel and cut your onion into thin julienne pieces. Next half your Brussels's Sprouts and put them aside for later. Time to prepare your simple slaw dressing. In a coffee mug measure in a 1/3 cup of the vinegar and a table spoon of sugar. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Put your cukes, onion & carrot in a bowl and drizzle your dressing over them. Toss and put it in the fridge till service.
Now it's time for the grits. I use Dixie brand instant. They're quick and get the job done so you can move on to the fish & sprouts. Follow the box directions for the serving quantity you need and grate and whisk some of the Gouda in till completely blended to taste. Set them aside until it's time to bake the fish.
Now the fish. I got really nice 3/4 pound cod fillet at Publix and cut it into 4 small steaks. I like to 1st dredge them in a little flour salt & pepper mixture and quickly pan sear them in a little olive oil before the bake. About a minute and 1/2 each side. Next you want put a nice helping of the grits in the bottom of each of your baking ramekins. Place the seared fillets on top of the grits and put a small dollop of butter on each of the fillets. Salt and pepper and put in a 350 oven for about 15 mins. The last 4 you want to switch the oven to broil. To get the edges of the fish & grits nice & caramelized.
While you're fish is in the oven. Do your sprouts. Little glug of olive oil in a small saute' pan and bring the oil to heat. About 6 & 1/2 on the dial. Throw in your sprouts, a dollop of butter, salt and pepper and toss them periodically until they begin to caramelize. Time to serve.
Top your fish with the Cucumber slaw you made earlier and some lemon zest. Plate everything and eat up!