Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blackened Fish Fillets, Salmon

Blackened Salmon, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Blackened Salmon
Serving fish once or twice a week is the norm for me, so I stock up on fish fillets when I see a sale, especially on salmon.  


Living in Oregon I'm not only lucky to have family and friends who salmon fish and share, but also in season, grocery stores often feature sales.




Blackened Fish Fillets, Salmon
1 pound skinless fish fillets up to 1/2 inch thick
6 Tabs. melted butter
4 tsps. of Cajun type blackened seasoning such as Old Bay, Emeril's "Bam" or -

Blackened Salmon, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppHomemade as follows:
1/2 tsp. each of: onion powder, garlic powder, ground: white pepper, red pepper, black pepper; oregano, salt and paprika.  (I make a big batch of this and put in a shaker)

Heat 12-inch skillet on high for 10 minutes. Brush fillets on each side with half of melted butter. Then coat fillets on both sides with seasoning by pressing into seasoning sprinkled into shallow dish, or shaking in a bag. Fry fish on high, drizzling a little more butter over each fillet.

Cook uncovered about 2 minutes or until blackened. Turn and drizzle with remaining butter. Cook for 1/2 to 2 more minutes, depending on thickness, until second side is blackened and fish flakes easily. It's important to fry at high heat in a heavy skillet. Watch closely as there will be lots of heat and smoke.  Excellent for red snapper, salmon, perch, tilapia and tuna. Serves 4.  Serve with lemon wedges, lemon sauce dressing, or sour cream-horseradish sauce.

Cost estimate per serving: $ 1.50 or less

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Easy Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppNo knead breads seems popular lately so I'm "into them."  I discovered and posted about Ciabatta bread a few months ago, then a quicker and easier Cuban loaf, and just this week on a foodie message board, discovered this method which begins like Ciabatta but is cooked in a covered dutch oven.  

Intrigued by the method I had to try it, and am delighted with the result. One would pay $5 or $6 or more for such a loaf at the grocery store, and this can be had for about .50 cents or less! My local farmer's market sells them for $4 or $5.


We were posting about bread machines and recipes for them, when a poster mentioned she wanted a "crusty airy" bread.  We all agreed that type of crust and texture, an artisan type bread, is hard to achieve in a machine.  


Then a poster offered a recipe titled "Almost to Easy Crusty Bread." 
I sleuthed the Internet and found several variations, but it seems to have originally come from a New York Times article, and I found the video from 2007.   The chef used a 500 degree oven, I used 475, and his amounts of salt and yeast were slightly different.  The recipe here is a combination of the poster's recipe and method of what I saw in the video.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
After 12 hours

I didn't have a cast iron dutch oven, but did have a smaller oval shaped, enamel chicken roasting pan with a lid. Several sites said Pyrex, cast iron or enamel would work, and all needed lids.

Note: some sites suggested adding herbs, or cheese, or onions if you are up for experimenting!  I see them in grocery stores and the farmer's market like that.  And wouldn't these be great for a bake sale fundraiser, or booth at a farmer's market!


Easy Crusty Dutch Oven Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp. active/instant yeast
1-1/2 cups water
corn meal for dusting

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Formed Ball on Towel
Folded Side Down
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix by hand or with a wooden spoon, until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great. Dough will double or triple in size and be very bubbly and moist.

Pour dough onto a heavily floured surface pat down and fold dough over on itself  2 or 3 times, shaping into a ball and place on middle of towel sprinkled with corn meal, seam side down.  Sprinkle more corn meal on top, then bring ends of towel over top of dough.  


Let rest, 1 - 2 hours until double in size.  

Dutch Oven Crusty Bread, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Finished 475 Degrees
About 20 minutes before baking, place pan with lid in oven and heat oven to 475.   Carefully remove hot pot from the oven. Slide your hand under towel and flip dough and drop into pan, folded side up. Shake pan a bit to distribute dough, but don't worry if it's not even, it will even out and form while baking. 
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Finished 450 Degrees

Put on lid and return pot to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place bread on a rack to cool. 

Note: can be bake at 450, at same times for lighter color.



Estimated cost: 50 cents or less.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bacon Quiche

Sliced and served with a salad
Quiches are easy, fast and economical to make.  There's endless possibilities for being creative once learning the basics.  Quiches are basically eggs, cheese and milk combined with a cup or two of added cooked veggies or meat.  

Some are crustless, while others call for a pastry shell. Baked at 375 - 400 for 35-45 minutes until set.  (170 degrees in middle, if testing with a thermometer)

As a rule of thumb use: 1/2 cup of dairy (milk or cream), 1/4 cup of grated cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for each egg.  To make a crustless quiche, grease or spray a pie plate, and combine a 1/2 to one cup of Bisquick into dairy mixture which helps it set up firm for slicing.



Bacon Quiche
Golden Brown Ready to Serve
1  pound of chopped, cooked bacon
1 cup of shredded cheese of choice
1/2 cup of cooked chopped onion
2 cups milk
1 cup Bisquick
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
(Optional): sprinkle top with parsley or dry herbs, such as Italian blends, paprika, chives.

Heat oven to 400.
Combine all ingredients in bowl, mix well.
Pour into greased 9-inch pie plate
Bake 35 - 40 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Let set a few minutes to cool and set. Serves 6-8

To save on the cost of bacon, buy bulk bacon ends and pieces. Ends and pieces are handy for soups, chowders, quiches, and garnishes.

* Good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Extra servings can be frozen and ready anytime by reheating.

Estimated cost: $5.00 or less; .83 cents a serving or less.