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Archive for July, 2010

From Dish Rachelle:

I knew I loved fried green tomatoes even before I ever tried them. It isn’t JUST because of the chick flick – though, truth be told, I’ve seen it a million times and as a Yankee girl, it was probably the first time I’d really heard of them – but also because tomatoes are my favorite food, and most things taste good with a little fry crust. I finally got to try fried green tomatoes a few years ago and my suspicions were confirmed: crispy, salty and tangy, they’re delicious, and a terrific way to usher in tomato season when you just don’t think you can wait any longer, and you’re planning trips to Jersey in case they’re riper sooner in your home state.

This was my first time frying green tomatoes at home. Although the traditional preparation requires cornmeal, we used tempura batter – with a healthy sprinkling of Old Bay – and they came out light and fresh. We plated them with arugula and strawberry salad, which balanced the oiliness perfectly.

Ingredients:
3 green tomatoes
Flour or cornmeal
Seltzer or water
Old Bay seasoning
S&P

Slice tomatoes.

Whisk together equal parts flour and seltzer, until the mix is thick but still liquidy. Season with Old Bay, S&P.

Coat tomatoes in batter.

Using a candy thermometer, heat frying oil to 350 degrees, and drop in tomatoes. (Frying tips from the Boy: “you can be a little flexible [when it comes to temperature], but shoot for 350. Over 375 will burn, below 325 will be soggy.”)

Fry until the outside is golden brown, and fish them out with thongs. Let tomatoes cool on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

This is a joyful, Southern dish, intended to make use of a fruit before it’s fully ripened. At any point, feel free to play with your food.

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From Dish Erin:

This weekend I had the pleasure to accompany Dish Rachelle down to our favorite oasis: The Jersey Shore. Boys in tow, we headed down to Point Pleasant for some sun, fun, and margaritas. But what to eat? Our fearless group of accomplished cooks took on a truly bold task: Whole lobsters. Most of us had cooked a lobster tail or two in our lives–but a whole lobster dinner for four was a new undertaking. Never ones to turn down a good challenge, we headed to Spike’s fish market and purchased 3 giant LIVE lobsters.

It was time to make a badass summer feast. On the menu: Lobster, corn on the cob, homemade cole slaw, and plenty of crusty bread.

Warning to all our delicate dishes out there: This is a roll-up-your-sleeves, down-and-dirty dish. Lobsters are not for the faint of heart. They require some serious elbow grease, and a high tolerance for the gunk that they yield while you’re on the search for delicious meat. You’re gonna get dirty. Why else do you think they serve them with bibs? The upshot is that lobster is not a labor intensive dish. If you can make pasta, you can prepare lobster. Waiting for the giant pot of water to boil is really the most painstaking part.

Make the cole slaw first because the flavors need to marry and the cabbage needs to soften for a bit.

For the cole slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thin
2 carrots thinly peeled into ‘ribbons’
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
A few dashes of cayenne pepper
A sprinkle (or two) of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil, sliced thin into a chiffonade

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. We made up this cole slaw as we went along, based off the availability of ingredients in the house. Season to taste and top with basil. Let it sit while you make the lobster.

Now on the the main event:

3 Live lobsters, purchased from your local fish market. They usually recommend 1 lb per person (that’s roughly about 1 lobster per person). We served it with lots of fixins so Dish Rachelle and I thought it was wise to split a lobster. And it totally was.
Salt
1 cup butter
Chopped fresh dill

Boil a giant pot of water. (2 if you want to make the corn, it’ll take about the same time to cook).

Make sure to leave room at the top for the crustaceans. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add a heavy hand of salt, then toss the lobsters in.

Cover and cook for 12 minutes. The lobsters will be a bright red color when they’re done. Remove with thongs and place on a large platter to cool a bit so you can handle them.

Melt the butter and then stir in the dill.

Separate the tail from the head. It’s wise to use a dish towel that you don’t care about getting [real] dirty. Remove the claws, the knuckles, and the legs. And if you have that bib (or perhaps a poncho?), you might want to use it.

You definitely want lobster crackers, too. We didn’t have them on hand but the resourceful bunch we are, found that a pair of kitchen scissors work fine in a pinch (pun intended). Just be ready for an intense bicep workout and be alert of flying claws/knuckles/lobster heads when the person directly across from you has the scissors.

Serve with butter sauce for dipping, cole slaw, corn on the cob, a loaf of bread and a cold Chardonnay. This is one classy Jersey shore dish, no spray tan required.

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From Dish Jodi:

Summer in LA has meant a hot house from the sun beating down, too hot to bake anything. But my oven was getting lonely…

Banana Bread is one of those things that always feels good. My mom made it all the time and there’s something about that warm creamy but crusty taste that makes me happy.

I tweaked my mom’s low fat recipe to use a good olive oil – it made it all a little more savory, and a lot healthier than the usual butter-packed bread. Also did it in muffin form. Cause they are cuter.

Ingredients:

3 over-ripe Bananas (I take about-to-die bananas and toss them in the freezer until there’s a banana bread emergency–thus the gross brown bananas)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 eggs
3/4 cups white sugar
2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 c chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
Whisk together first four ingredients in a large bowl until combined.
Sift together flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
Whisk dry ingredients into wet and stir until just combined. Add pecans and mix.

Divide evenly into a lightly greased muffin tin.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is toasted and a toothpick comes out clean.

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