Thursday, November 29, 2012

Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

I was taking the long way home from Baton Rouge today and stopped by Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant. It was the first time I'd been back since the flooding following Hurricane Isaac.
They cleaned it up real well!

I started with something cool and refreshing on a recommendation from Chris, the bartender. It was a Southern Fly which was Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka mixed with lemonade and served in a Mason jar. Very good and quite enjoyable after an over 400 mile loop around south Louisiana.
It being Middendorf's, I hardly had to look at the menu. I just ordered their thin fried catfish meal that came with hushpuppies and slaw. Chris asked if I wanted silverware to eat the coleslaw and I told him no. I was there for the catfish and French fries only.
The order came out quite quickly and the four pieces were wonderful - very thin with moist and flaky flesh under a light corn flour crust. 

I finished the meal with some house made pineapple ice cream. All it was missing was some rum!

This place is rarely on the way to anywhere I'm going but it is worth the extra miles to get there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mushroom Risotto

When you have time to spare, making risotto is worth the time it takes to stand around and stir for an hour.

Mushroom Risotto

Olive Oil         
2 cloves garlic, minced          
1 1/2 lbs assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 T butter       
Kosher salt         
2 cups arborio rice          
2 cups white wine           
6-7 cups stock (if serving vegetarians, use mushroom stock, otherwise use chicken) 
1/2 cup Parmigiano, grated 

Coat a large saute pan generously with the butter and add the minced garlic. Bring to a medium-high heat. When the garlic cloves are very aromatic (but not brown), add the assorted fresh mushrooms to the pan and season with salt. Saute the mushrooms until they have released most of their moisture. Turn off the heat and reserve.

Coat a large Dutch oven with olive oil. Add the onions and season generously with salt. Bring the pot to a medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until they are very soft and aromatic and translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook the rice for 5 minutes to toast, stirring frequently. Add wine to cover the surface of the rice and stir constantly until it has completely absorbed. Add the stock in 1 cup increments until the liquid has covered the surface of the rice. Stir frequently until the stock has absorbed into the rice. Repeat this process until the stock is all absorbed.
During the final addition of stock, add the reserved mushrooms. When the stock has absorbed into the rice and the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. The rice should flow and look very creamy but not runny. 

Prior to serving, add 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Apple-Cranberry Cobbler

Cranberries should be for more than just a side dish on Thanksgiving. Here is a cobbler recipe that is pretty well balanced of flavors with the tartness of the apples and cranberries balanced by the rest of the filling. The topping is a little bready. If you like that, cool. Otherwise, I have a cobbler topping cheat from Bisquick that can be used instead.

8 T butter
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt

Topping 1:
3/4 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 pinches salt

Topping 2:
1 ¼ cups Original Bisquick® mix
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place butter in a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or 2.5 quart casserole dish and place in the oven until butter melts. 

In a large bowl, toss together remaining filing ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk topping ingredients. 

Remove casserole dish from oven and gently fill with fruit mixture. Pour topping over fruit filling.

Bake for 1 hour or until juices are bulling and cobbler is golden. If topping is browning too quickly, tent with foil.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pecan Tarts and Pecan Pie Brownies

I'm not a fan of pecan pie. I know, that is near blasphemy for a Southerner to admit but I find them too sweet. For years, I added a bittersweet chocolate ganache to the pie crust before pouring in the filling and that helped a lot but I still could only eat a slim slice.

This is the year I decided to do something different. I bought frozen tart shells and after pouring in the pecan filling, I had enough left over to cover the top of a pan of brownies. 

Recipe for Pecan Pie (from Karo Syrup bottle):

1 cup Karo corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 T butter, melted
1 tsp  vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup pecans

Stir first 5 ingredients thoroughly. Mix in pecans. Pour into pie crust and back on center rack of oven for 60 minutes (45 minutes if using tart shells) at 350 degrees. Pie is done when center surface springs back from a light tap.

Pecan Pie Brownies

2 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pecan pie filling

Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9 x 13 pan.

In a small saucepan melt butter and unsweetened chocolate. When it is melted, mix in cocoa. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat eggs. Mix in sugar and vanilla extract. Mix in the chocolate and combine thoroughly--should look shiny. Then add flour mixtures and combine well.

Pour into pan and distribute evenly. Pour pecan pie filling gently over top of brownies.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. 

Cool completely before slicing.