Lent=Fish n’ Chips

Lent is well upon us and I hope I’m not the first one to break the news to you! Lent is a time when girls give up junk food as an excuse for a diet and your parents tell you to be a better person.   I’m really challenging myself this year and decided to give up one of the loves of my life…cheese!!! I didn’t think it would be too hard but it is amazing how much cheese is in everything!!! I just found out that Noodles and Co.  has a truffle mac n cheese; they are becoming so sophisticated!  That will be my first stop after Easter for sure (look for a future blog)!  With Lent comes fish Fridays, and fish Fridays make me think of my favorite London meal, fish and chips.  With a dish that is such a classic, I decided I could not make something that is a spin off of it but instead the real deal!  So cast your lines and catch this recipe because it is affordable and just down right delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of the frozen white fish (I used Pollock)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • ½ tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 egg
  • Oil for frying (I used canola oil, but vegetable will work fine as well)

Directions for Fish

Defrost fish thoroughly and pat dry if damp.  Sprinkle each side with salt.  Cut into 2 in by 2 in squares.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper.  Whisk in ½ cup of water and then the egg.

Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large (12-inch) frying pan and heat the oil on medium heat.  Test the oil by placing a drop of batter into the oil.  When the batter immediately rises to the top it is ready.

Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl.  Place it very carefully into the hot oil.  Don’t crowd the pieces about 3 at a time.  Cook the fish for 2 to 3 minuets on each side till lightly browned.  Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately!

Directions for Chips

  • 2 large potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp minced fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and then cut each half in thirds lengthwise.  You’ll have about 6 long wedges for each potato.  Place the potatoes on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.  Toss all together making sure potatoes are completely covered.

Bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside.  Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Serves 2 (but 3 ate it easily)

Guest Blog Post-A Spartan Reunion in Denver

Hi Spartans, I am writing as a guest blogger for my sister Kelsey. My name is Kara and I am a former Spartan, missing my days in East Lansing but loving my new life in Dallas. This past weekend I went to Denver for a much needed reunion with some of my best friends from MSU.

It was a great weekend that started off with a St. Patty’s Day celebration with our MSU t-shirts and lots of green beer. This weekend was filled with some fabulous meals but I’m going to describe my favorite meal of the weekend.

It was actually a long happy hour at Jax Fish House in downtown Denver. This place had amazing seafood at great prices. Oysters were $1 each, $5 for a bowl of mussels and $5 for calamari. The calamari was awesome, there were six of us and we started off with one order and then ordered three more. It was lightly breaded with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce and clearly we couldn’t get enough. The mussels were so fresh and the tomato sauce it was cooked in was light and not overwhelming.

My favorite seafood we ordered was oysters. I was very impressed with the freshness, they were shucked right in front of us- I felt a little bad when we ordered three dozen. I’m not an oyster expert and it’s hard to describe the taste but if you haven’t tried one you should! I know they look gross but that is deceiving. I like mine with just some lemon squeezed on it but they are served with horseradish and cocktail sauce for dipping. Kelsey and our friends liked the sauce on them. Either way, you should try them. And all of this wonderful food went perfectly with the house cabernet sauvignon I ordered.

All in all this was the perfect afternoon with my friends and some of my favorite food.

Top O’ The Morning To Ya

Hopefully you are all recovering from waking up early to start the celebration of wonderful St. Patty’s Day!  I also hope you all ate a lot of corned beef and cabbage, but wait, you might want to put that fork down and read this before you continue eating.  Believe it or not corned beef was not the original food the Irish ate as their yearly tradition!

Corned beef gets its name from the way they cook it and its salty flavor.  The term corned comes from “corns” of salt added to the beef while it’s cooked slowly.  In Ireland meats and salt were expensive in those days and this meal was considered more of a costly delicacy.  So the meat that was actually used was bacon or more like a ham cut.  It is believed that it changed when Irish immigrants came to America and Canada, where salt was cheaper.  We at least got the cabbage right, which never changed over the years as the meats did. So there you have it, the truth behind corned beef and cabbage!

I decided to change it up even more for my St. Patty’s Day meal…corned beef hash!  It ‘s more a breakfast food, but I made it for dinner.  It’s a one-dish wonder composed of potatoes, onions, red pepper, and an egg on top! So dig in and cheers to good o’ St. Patrick!

Serves 4 (Easy to divide for 2)

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 baking potatoes, (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 3 cups)

1 onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped

2 tbs prepared horseradish

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces ¼ inch wide strips, cut into cubs

¼ cup heavy cream

4 eggs (1 egg per person)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large (make sure its big all of the ingredients go into just this pan) nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes; cook, turning often, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add onion; season with 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Cook stirring often, until potatoes and onions are browned, 5 minutes
  3. Add bell pepper, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in corned beef and cream until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Fry egg, yolk still runny, and place on top of hash. Serve immediately

Leapin Lizards

Welcome back my fellow Spartans!

I hope you are all dealing with your post spring break depression okay.  I’m handling it; well I guess you could say that, now it’s more of a reality that graduation is right around the corner…YIKES.  Now back to more fun talk. For spring break I went on a cruise and one of the ports we stopped at was Isle de Roatan, Honduras.  This was the port I was most excited to visit, but when we docked it looked like we were at Carnival Cruise Land.  Carnival had created a shopping center and beach area so it was easy for the passengers to get off the ship and find their way around.   I of course could not stay there and had to find what else- but of course the local cuisine! We found a very nice local to give us directions to a restaurant called Ms. Jenny’s Lusty Lizards.  When in our cab I recall turning to my friends and saying “don’t worry guys there is no way this place is in the middle of nowhere”… I was wrong.  But that made it all the better!

Ms. Jenny was the bartender, hostess and server and she was simply delightful.  We ordered the fried conch, and grilled grouper and to this day I am still dreaming about that meal.  I am not normally a huge fan of fried food but this batter was so light and airy it didn’t take away from the conch (which had the consistency of calamari).  My favorite part of the appetizer though was the dipping sauce.  It was composed of pickles, horseradish, cucumbers and I had to restrain from licking up the last drop.  The grouper was next to perfect, melt in your mouth fish.  If I could go there every day I would!

So if you’re ever in Isle de Roatan, stop in at Ms Jenny’s and tell her “Hi” for me (and of course bring me a doggy bag)!

Eating Like A Peasants Never Tasted So Good!

The Food Network is my favorite channel hands down. I always have it turned on either to watch one of my favorite shows like Barefoot Contessa or as background noise. So when it came around to my birthday this January I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received cookbooks as gifts (thank you Kyle and Allegra). One that I received was Barefoot Contessas’s How Easy is That cookbook, and let me tell you it’s “fabulous” as Ina would say. The book is full of appetizers, vegetable dishes, main dishes and desserts. I could look through this book over and over again and never get bored. The layout of the book is designed so well and put together with gorgeous pictures of the food, shots from her house, and table settings.

I’ve been dying to make one of the dishes and decided I would start with one I thought my fellow Spartans would enjoy…lentils. The lentils called for in this recipe were French green Le Puy lentils. They are known as humble peasant food, aka a poor man’s caviar. These lentils are interesting, they are grown without watering or fertilizing, and it is the rich volcanic soil in Southern France that gives them so much flavor and nutritional value. With that being said, I went to Meijer to get my ingredients for this and couldn’t find them so I simply bought Meijer brand lentils. I thought it was so delish but by the sounds of the Le Puy lentils it could have been better. My suggestion if you want to make it with those is to go to Foods for Living.

Making the lentils was easy (duh, that’s the title of the book) and there wasn’t much to it. Just boil them with onion and turnips and combine all the other ingredients! Ina suggests in the winter serving with sausage so that is exactly what I did. I sautéd up some turkey sausage with garlic (make sure to put in the garlic at the last minute otherwise they will burn) and served on top!

Ingredients

2 tbs plus ¼ cup olive oil

1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced ¼ inch thick

2 carrots, scrubbed and ½-inch-diced

1 tsp minced garlic 1 cup French green Le Puy lentils (or Meijer brand lentils)

1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half

1 white turnip, cut in half

1 tsp unsalted butter

4 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1 tbs kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.

 

Meanwhile, place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the onion, and the turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add the leek and carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils place them in a medium bowl and add the butter. Meanwhile, whisk together the ¼ cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with slat and pepper and serve. The longet the lentils sit, the more slat and pepper you’ll want to add.