Noah recently bought a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe. It’s really cool – they test out all the factors that go into making each dish and share with you their process and results. For example when making chocolate chip cookies, they test how brown sugar vs white sugar affected the taste and texture, along with different ratios of ingredients, what type of baking sheets work best, etc. They even sometimes test out various brands of butter or some other ingredient.
Anyway, we’ve used a few of their recipes since, and last Friday Noah fried up some wonderfully crisp and light catfish using our new cookbook. It was really good, but we did think it was a bit wasteful. You end up using a lot of oil and flour, but maybe it was worth it?
The weekend before we had invited some friends over for a clambake (also using the cookbook, but we thought the recipe was just ok), and I used the leftover juices to make a soup.
Pan Fried Catfish
To minimize splatters and maximize safety, use a Dutch oven with sides at least 5 inches high (instead of a regular skillet) when frying the fish.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
- 2 catfish fillets (about 12 oz each), skin and dark fatty flesh just below the skin removed, fillets cut in half lengthwise
- lemon wedges
1. Place 1/2 cup of the flour in a wide, shallow dish. In another wide, shallow dish, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and the cayenne. In a third shallow dish, whisk the eggs with 1 tbsp of the oil until combined.
2. Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper to taste. Drop the fish into the flour and shake the dish to coat. Shake the excess flour from each piece, then, using tongs, dip the fillets into the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the fillets with the cornmeal mixture, shake off the excess and set aside.
3. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 400 degrees. (The oil should not smoke, but it will come close.) Place 2 catfish fillets in the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 mins. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil between 385-390 degrees. Remove the fillets from the oil with a slotted spoon and lay them on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels; blot to remove any excess oil. Set aside. Bring the oil back to 400 degrees and repeat the cooking process with the remaining fillets.
4. Serve the fried fish immediately with either lemon wedges or dipping sauce.
Ok, so this isn’t really a recipe, but it was my first time making soup from leftover broth. Basically, add whatever you want, but make sure there’s enough liquid to boil everything.
I had about a cup of clam broth leftover, so I added 1 cup of chicken broth and boiled some diced potatoes and leftover shredded carrots. Before serving, I topped it with sliced scallions. It was super good!
There was a sale on ground turkey ($2.99/lb @ Wholefoods!) and Noah said I should buy a bunch for the freezer. So, I bought all that they had on the shelf and brought it home (don’t worry, they only had 5 lbs out). 4 packages went in the freezer and I decided to use one right away. The only problem was finding a way to cook ground turkey that didn’t involve pasta or bread crumbs (I’m making a second attempt at this low-carb diet). While searching and searching I came across a few recipes, and decided to try this one – New Mexican Stew with Ground Turkey and Green Chiles. I was intrigued, yet also apprehensive, about the butternut squash and lime-cilantro combination, that I thought it was worth a shot – despite the fact that the recipe has potatoes, which… is still a carb. oh well, maybe next time. 🙂
This was actually an excellent dish, the lime in the stew was reminiscent of tom yum soup, but not too much to be weird. A nice change from the norm. I also adapted the recipe for what we had on hand and what’s easier to find in a NYC grocery store.
Lime Cilantro Turkey Stew with Butternut Squash
1 lb. fresh ground turkey (or chicken or pork)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 butternut squash, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
1 chile pepper
1 quart chicken broth
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
juice of 2 limes
1/2 bunch fresh chopped cilantro
Brown the ground turkey in a skillet and pour off the fat, if any.
Add the turkey to the slow cooker and add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, squash, potatoes, carrots, chiles, broth, salt and pepper (everything except the last 2 ingredients). Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Just before serving, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste the stew and add a dab of sugar, if needed, to balance the spice. If you need a tad more liquid, add more broth. Heat through.
I’ve always been terrible at making soup (unless it comes from a packet laden with MSG). The few times I have attempted a soup from scratch, it always ends up tasting like water with boiled vegetables. I had given up hope, but my friend Maggie (who I’ve mentioned before) brought over some delicious mushroom soup for us after we had our baby and I was inspired to try again.
I came across this recipe after searching for ways I could use our leftover dill and random grape tomatoes. Looking at the ingredients, I had no idea what the soup would taste like, but the reviews were so amazing, I decided it must be delectable! And the recipe seemed to have enough flavorful aspects to produce a tasty result. And thus, I achieved a yummy homemade soup – Hungarian Mushroom Soup!
This soup is actually amazingly good, super satisfying – even for a cool fall night.
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 bunch chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 ripe tomato (diced) or 1 can diced tomatoes
1 Hungarian wax or regular hot pepper
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup light sour cream, creme fraiche or Greek yogurt
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions in the butter until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir the dill, paprika, soy sauce, and chicken broth into the mushroom mixture; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
Whisk the milk and flour together in a small bowl. Stir the mixture into the soup. Add the tomato and the pepper. Return cover to the pot and simmer another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the sour cream/creme fraiche/yogurt into the soup and continue cooking and stirring until the soup has thickened, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove the pepper and discard before serving the soup.