Friday, May 13, 2022

Butter-Basted Fish Fillets with Garlic and Thyme

Delicate. Buttery. Delicious!

I have now made this several times and I am hooked (pun intended)!

It is more of a method than a recipe. The key will depend on the freshness of your fish. Avoid frozen, since they tend to be mushy when thawed.

2, 6-ounce fresh cod fillets, skinned, at least one-inch thick, 
    patted dry 
Salt and Pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, but not minced or cut
3 tablespoons firm butter
2 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 non-stick skillet

Add vegetable oil to skillet. When hot, add fillets, skin side down. Lower heat to medium. Cook 4-5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook other side for one minute. Add butter and begin to baste by tilting pan and basting for 15 seconds then leaving flat on stove for 30 seconds. 

When temperature reaches 130 degrees, add garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. (I simply add the garlic and thyme sprigs when I add the butter). Continue cooking until fish registers 136-140. 

Carefully remove from pan. Spoon over the butter sauce. Serve with a wedge of lemon. For sides, I like plain white rice with spinach and a bit of parmesan mixed in. It goes nice with the butter sauce.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

McDonald's Original Fries

Most mornings I spend several hours scouring the Internet for new recipes to keep me mo-tivated. As you can imagine, I have a file that is overflowing. Several, in fact. Will I make all these recipes? It is impossible.

Be that as it may, I've decided to post and share those I find interesting, even though I have not prepared them. 

I begin with fries.

Not any fries, but McDonald's fries which, if you are as old as me, you remember fondly opposed to the limp ones served today. Often cold.

But first, let's talk lard and fat. Lard is from pigs. Tallow is from beef. People often use the terms interchangeably. That is not correct.

I love lard and use it often, along with bacon grease. Here are some facts to consider: The newer lards are much healthier then they used to be.  I use it in biscuits, pie crusts, and to grease bread pans and casserole dishes.

 One tablespoon of lard has 10 mg of cholesterol. By contrast, one tablespoon of butter has 30mg of cholesterol. What about fat content? Well, one tablespoon of lard has 13% fat, of which six is saturated fat. By contrast, one tablespoon of butter has 11% fat, of which seven is from saturated fat. One tablespoon of margarine has 11% percent fat of which 2.1% is saturated but contains no cholesterol. One tablespoon of Crisco all-vegetable shortening is 12g of total fat of which 3 is saturated fat but contains no cholesterol.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Chicken Thighs with Butter Beans

I needed to use up a couple of chicken thighs and some aging veggies hiding out in the crisper drawer. So, I made this. It did not disappoint. It's more of a "method" than an exact recipe and the way I prefer to cook. 

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Chicken seasoning of your choice (I use Bell's)
  • Bacon fat
  • Butter
  • 1 leek, sliced, white part only
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced.
  • 1 rib of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled, thinly sliced
  • Dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chicken stock (about 1/3 cup)
  • Dry white wine (about 1/3 cup
  • 1 can seasoned butter beans, rinsed and drained (I use Margaret Holmes brand)

Preheat your oven to 350-375 F.

Pat dry your chicken thighs. Sprinkle the underside with your choice of chicken seasoning, salt and pepper.

Add about 1 tablespoon each bacon fat and butter to a medium, heavy pan. When melted and hot, place thighs skin-side down. Lower heat to medium. Do not fiddle with them. When browned, carefully flip and brown other side. Remember, these will cook in the oven, so they do not need to be cooked through.

Remove thighs from pan. Add a bit more fat to the pan. Gently sautee your vegetables. Add chicken stock and wine, scraping up the brown bits. Allow to reduce a bit over medium low heat--until you no longer smell the alcohol in the wine. 

In the same pan or a casserole dish, layer the butter beans. Top with the vegetable mixture. Add a bit of salt, pepper, dried thyme. Tuck in the browned thighs. 

Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover. Bake another 10 minutes. If the tops are not as browned as you like, place under broiler. If you use the broiler, do not walk away and keep an eye on it the entire time.

Allow to cool a bit. Serve.

  1. Notes: I buy my bacon fat. I used to get it over Amazon, but now one of my supermarkets carries it. The brand is called "Bacon Up" and I love it. It is triple filtered but retains the bacon taste.
  2. Leeks bring a dish a lot of flavor. One could substitute shallots, even onions in a pinch.
  3. To the wine/stock mixture, one could also add a bit of Half-and-Half or cream. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Mayonnaise Muffins (Three-Ingredient Muffins)

Who knew? A simple muffin transformed into a bagel. Yes, you can do it, too!
Don't be a bagel snob.

I've seen versions of this recipe floating the Internet for awhile now, so I thought it time to give it a try. I'm always on the prowl for an easy "bread" that is table-presentable even for company.

This did not disappoint. It's a keeper. But I do suggest you give it a trial run, first.

Is it celebatory fireworks worthy? Not really. But it is simple. It's good. And it fills a need.

This most common of these recipes goes by the title "Three-Ingredient Muffins." But I have also seen people roll them like a "biscuit"! (I don't know why, since that defeats the ease of the recipe and easy clean up.)

After reading many reviews with so many changes, I settled on the one below. I baked mine in a "mini" muffin tin that fit into my counter-top oven at a lower temperature but for around the same time if they had been regularly sized. I also added a bit of sugar. And I took one reviewer's advice and added just a few pinches of yeast.*  It's important to let these sit for about 15 minutes before baking, a good rule for any muffin to give them a head start to rise.**

For half, I sprinkled with "everything bagel" toppings. I enjoyed them very much split open, smeared with a bit of cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon. For a "dinner" roll, the savory route of planting seeds in a pillowy and fertile loam of dough is the the way to go. One could just as easily use caraway or sesame or any favored dried herb, such as dill to match the occasion and taste of the main dish. Even seasoned pepper--such as my favorite, Aleppo.

(Please note: not all bagel seed toppings are the same. I prefer brands that include some type of salt. If yours does not, I suggest you add to it a bit of sea salt, pink salt or Kosher salt.) 

Because I live in the South, I am spoiled and used White Lily self-rising flour. If you do, too, adjust amounts as recommended on package. If you do not have self rising flour on hand, simply add, for each cup of all-purpose flour: 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder and ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt.

If you want these for a breakfast or morning muffins, measure dry ingredients into a bowl the night before. In the morning, sleepy-eyed and groggy, it's easy to add wet ingredients and pop into the oven while prepping your coffee or breakfast. I even grease the tins and measure the milk in a mug the night before. Really, what could be easier?

Don't be put off the mayo. It contains oil and egg. That's it. If you have never had a mayonnaise cake, you don't know what you are missing! Very moist and tender.

For the future, it would be interesting to add a cinnamon streusal in the center and/or top. Lots of variations one could use for these ... Add cheese, pieces of sausage/bacon. Some pieces of fresh fruit. It's a great and easy base for creative cookery. And it's cheaper than a loaf of good bread or a slice of cheap bread.

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1.5-1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons full-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • Bagel seed topping (optional)

Place dry ingredients into bowl. Mix. Add mayonnaise and incorporate. Add half of the milk. Stir. 

Continue to add milk until you get a thick, pancake-like batter.

Spoon into greased muffin tins. Allow to rest 10-15 minutes. Bake in a 375-400 degree oven 13-15 minutes.

Remove from oven. Allow to cool a few minutes. Tumble onto a rack to cool.

This little  puppy outdid everyone in the pan!
(Did it rise/raise/rose?)

Notes: The muffin tin I used is visually attractive. My mom had several. But the muffins picked up the "tinny" taste. 

*These really do have a nice texture. Sadly, the yeast added no taste.

**RISE ROSE RISEN are verbs. They simply discuss "action." Just think of Jesus. He has "risen." He "rose" He will "rise" again. In other words, a person or thing MOVES UP! Words like am, is are, was, were, being, been and has, had, will ... are clues or helping verbs that you want one of these words.

But "raise" must always have an attachment or "object" telling you what is actually "raised." They "raised" the rent. "Raise" your hand. The committee "raised" a number questions? That's it ... just two words ... raise and raised unlike RISE which has three conjugations but a ton of helping verbs.  

If you would like a week-long lesson on this, let me know!