Saturday, February 27, 2016

SOUTHERN BREAKFAST POPOVERS

Popovers are an American version of the English Yorkshire pudding. The differences are, popovers are larger and contain butter in the batter. Yorkshire puddings, usually served with prime rib, do not contain butter, but a teaspoon of the beef drippings is added to each cup before pouring the batter in. They are both traditional and delicious! Savory popovers are made with black pepper and cheese added to the batter. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
Do not oven the oven door, not even to peek, during the cooking time.


2 cups whole milk
2 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Pour milk into an 8-cup heatproof measuring pitcher or bowl.
Add the butter and microwave for 2 minutes to melt the butter and heat the milk.
Alternatively you can heat the milk and butter in a saucepan to just barely a simmer.
Let cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs into the milk, one at a time, alternating with the flour and salt.
Whisk until mostly smooth.

Place popover pan on a baking sheet and heat in oven for 2 minutes, exactly.
Remove popover pan from oven and generously spray with cooking oil. 
(I use grape seed oil in a oil mister/sprayer).

Pour batter evenly into popover pan, making sure you fill each cup to the top.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes. 

Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake another 30 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes.
Release, using a table knife, if needed.

To Serve
Puncture sides with a sharp knife to let steam escape and fill with a small pat of butter and strawberry jam.

Makes 6

CAJUN BLACKENED FISH

Paul Prudhomme made Cajun Blackened Fish popular and now everyone has their own variation of that recipe. I use a smoked paprika for Cajun cuisine and a sweet paprika for Creole. I also added a little lemon pepper to complement the fish. Use any firm fish that you prefer, such as cod, halibut, or catfish. I also prefer to cook this in my cast-iron skillet outside on a barbecue grill. If you cook the fish in your kitchen, use your exhaust fan so you don't set off your smoke alarm.



Cajun Seasoning
2 t smoked paprika
1 t sea salt
1 t ground black pepper
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ t lemon pepper
½ t dried oregano
½ t dried thyme
¼ t cayenne pepper

2 (6 oz to 8 oz) fish fillets 
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Lemon wedges, for serving
Chopped scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired

In a small bowl, mix together the Cajun Seasoning ingredients and set aside.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over hot coals for 3 to 4 minutes. Do not add oil to your skillet.

Drizzle fish with half of the melted butter and half of the Cajun Seasoning.

Place fish in the hot skillet, seasoned side down. 
Drizzle the tops with the rest of the butter and Cajun Seasoning. 
Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Carefully remove with a large spatula to a platter and shut down your grill.
I would suggest leaving your skillet in the closed grill overnight or until the grill and skillet cool down.

Place the fish on two plates with a side of your favorite coleslaw or dirty rice and cornbread.

Serves 2


Friday, February 19, 2016

CLASSIC APPLE PIE

My favorite apple for baking and eating is the Honey Crisp, but it is only available in the autumn. McIntosh, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, and Granny Smith are much easier to find year round and are also great baking apples. Use a combination of two or three of the above baking apples for a more complex and interesting apple pie.



Double 9-Inch Crust
¼ cups cake & pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 T granulated sugar                           
1 t salt
12 T (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut up and placed in freezer for 10 minutes
1 t apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
½ cup ice-cold water                          

Pulse flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until combined.
Add butter and pulse until butter pieces are the size of peas.
Pour vinegar or lemon juice into water and through shoot, slowly add it and process briefly until mixture comes together.
Alternatively, you can do this in a bowl with a pastry cutter.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. 
Divide dough in half (one slightly larger than the other) and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, trying not to touch dough with your hands, by gathering up in the plastic wrap.  
Press each piece into a disc and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out. 

Apple Filling
9 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
½ cup granulated sugar  
¼ cup brown sugar
3 T all-purpose flour                                                 
1 t ground cinnamon                                                              
¼ t ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground allspice                                                                     
½ t salt
3 T unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg mixed with 2 T water

In a large bowl toss apples with zest and lemon juice.
Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt and toss with a large spoon  to combine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into 2 circles of 12 and 13 inches.    
Rotate dough not rolling pin and loosen from work surface with an offset spatula.
Place one into a 9-inch pie plate and place one layer of filling on bottom of crust making sure to fill all areas. 
Spoon the rest of the filling into shell, pushing down lightly with a spoon to fill in any holes.
Dot with butter.  
Roll top dough carefully over apples, tuck edges under bottom dough to seal.
Crimp edges or make marks with a fork.
Using a paring knife, cut several vents in top of dough to allow steam to escape.
Brush surface with eggs wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Place pie on a baking sheet or pizza pan.

Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake another 40 minutes.

Let cool 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream or a piece of cheddar cheese.