Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fritos Crusted Pollock

IMG_4926e It’s month ten of the Improv Cooking Challenge and I’m still participating and loving the challenge.  The Improv Cooking Challenge is hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  This month the participating bloggers were asked to make any recipe of their choosing using the two given ingredients of corn & butter.  As always I looked forward to participating and finding or coming up with a great recipe which included the two theme ingredients but for some reason I just had trouble this month thinking beyond a gorgeous ear of grilled corn slathered in butter.  It’s not like I was limited to just those two ingredients but I don’t know why, I just seemed uninspired.  Then it came time for dinner and I needed something that was healthy, delicious and fast as my family was hungry and then it struck me what to make, a simple, five ingredient Fritos Crusted Pollock.  I figured that Fritos are corn chips so it met the corn part of the challenge and though I didn’t use actual butter because of Maisie’s dairy allergy, I was allowed to substitute dairy free margarine, which I did but butter would work just as well.

IMG_4898e This fish was beyond simple as I crushed the Fritos in the food processor with the butter and some garlic powder,  I then topped the fish filets with the mixture, added a sprinkle of paprika and a quick few minutes under the broiler and dinner was served. 

IMG_4905e Maisie especially loved this fish and ate an entire filet herself.  I loved that from start to table this meal was being eaten in less than 20 minutes. 

IMG_4927e For Eammon I made a wrap with Romaine lettuce and fresh from our garden veggies, cucumber, bell pepper & tomato.  I added a little spicy sauce and wrapped it all up in a tomato basil tortilla and all was good.  Even though I was struggling and a bit uninspired, in the end we enjoyed a delicious dinner with a twist on corn and butter.

My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

June 2012  Cherries & Almonds:  Dried Cherry Almond Tart 
May 2012  Strawberries & Cream:  Strawberry Soup 
April 2012  Peanut butter & Jelly:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars 
March 2012  Potato & Cheese:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
February 2012  Ginger & Carrots:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing 
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream:  Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart 
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries:  Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter 
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese:  Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake 
October 2011 Caramel & Apples:  Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

IMG_4928eFritos Crusted Pollock

  • 2 Pollock filets, skinless (or white flaky fish of your choice)
  • 1 cup Fritos
  • 1 TBS. Earth Balance Buttery Spread or butter
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
  • smoked sweet paprika
    • Place oven rack up close to the broiler and preheat to high.  Add the Fritos, butter and garlic powder to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a nice crumbly mix.  Lay the fish filets on a foil lined baking sheet which has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Coat the top of each filet with the Fritos mix and then sprinkle lightly with paprika.  Cook the filets under the broiler for approx. 7 minutes or until the Fritos mixture starts to turn golden and the fish is cooked through.

      Enjoy!

      Sunday, July 15, 2012

      Cauliflower Crust Pizza

      IMG_4700e1I have been trying to cut out white…you know white stuff like flour and sugar.  So when I saw a recipe on Megan’s blog Detoxinista for her Detoxinista’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust, well I just had to give it a try.  I of course made a few adjustments to her recipe but WOW, this pizza is fantastic and if I never eat a real pizza crust again, I won’t even miss it.  This cauliflower crust is firm, with great flavor, you can cut it like a regular pizza and pick up the slices and eat them with your hands.  This recipe is just downright fabulous and everyone, kids and adults,  who have tried a slice have loved it and couldn’t figure out the secret of the crust.  The only down side of this crust is that this version isn’t Maisie “safe” as it contains both eggs and cheese but I’m going to experiment with it and hopefully come up with a version just as wonderful which she’ll be able to eat.

      IMG_4766eStart with a full head of cauliflower and make a batch of my Cauli-Rice.

      IMG_4769ePlace the cooked Cauli-Rice on a tea towel and roll it up then squeeze out as much of the water as possible…and I mean really, really squeeze as you want it as dry as possible. 

      IMG_4771eAfter you squeeze out all the water there will seem to be a lot less Cauli-Rice but for the crust to bake up nice, firm and chewy you need to have the Cauli-Rice as dry as possible.

      IMG_4773eAdd the egg, cheese and spices.

      IMG_4684e Spread the cauli crust onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

      IMG_4696eBake until the crust is firm and turning golden.

      IMG_4699eAdd a layer of sauce and shredded cheese and after a few minutes under the broiler it’s pizza time!

      IMG_4704eCauliflower Crust Pizza (adapted from here)

      Toppings of your choice, tomato, pesto or Alfredo sauce, cheese, precooked meats* & precooked veggies*

      Preheat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with either a Silpat or parchment paper.

      Place the cooked Cauli-Rice into a tea towel and squeeze all the water out of the Cauli-Rice.  It is important to get the rice as dry as possible so that there won’t be extra moisture in the crust which will prevent it from crisping up properly.

      In a medium bowl combine the dry Cauli-Rice, egg, 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper and mix to combine well.  Press the cauliflower mixture into an even thickness on the prepared pan, either into a round or rectangular shaped pizza.  I kept the crust pretty thin, about 1/4-inch thick.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is firm and golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven and turn off the oven and turn on the broiler and move the rack to up close to the broiler. Top the cooked crust with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.  Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and melted

      Enjoy!

      * Meats and veggies need to be cooked before placing them on the pizza as after the crust is baked, the pizza is only under the broiler to melt the cheese, not long enough to properly cook meats and veggies.

      Saturday, July 14, 2012

      Cauli-Rice

      A few years ago I was trying to cut down on carbs and I saw numerous recipes for Cauli-Rice so I decided to give it a try.  So that Eammon wouldn’t turn his nose up immediately at the idea I decided to pair it with my Hearty Beef Curry figuring that the bold flavors and the sauce would cover up the cauliflower taste and he would think he was just eating rice.  My plan worked wonderfully as it was a few years before Eammon learned about my little ruse and by then he was so used to eating Cauli-Rice with not only the Hearty Beef Curry but also with almost every curry or stew that I made, he just didn’t care as he enjoyed it.  Maisie too enjoys the Cauli-Rice both with a sauce and even with just some Maisie “safe” butter.  I love that this Cauli-Rice is so tasty and a great way to add a veggie to a meal where my family doesn’t rebel and actually eats it willingly.  I don’t know why I never posted this recipe before…well maybe because it really isn’t a recipe being just cauliflower but as I’ve started using it in new and different ways (recipes to come) I decided to post this so that this basic recipe is available to reference.

        IMG_4766eCauli-Rice

      • 1 head fresh Cauliflower

      Remove the leaves and hard center core of the cauliflower.  Cut into florets.  Wash and then allow the cauliflower to dry completely.  (You want the cauliflower completely dry and you will NOT be adding any water when cooking, this helps to cut down on the boiled cauliflower taste and smell.)  Once dry, fill the bowl of a food processor about half full and using the chopping blade and the pulse action, process the cauliflower until it looks like the size of grains of rice.  Add the processed cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.  Once all the Cauliflower has been processed and added to the microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid.  Microwave on high for 7 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and fluff up the Cauli-Rice with a fork and if desired add a pat of butter, salt & pepper.

      Enjoy!

      Monday, July 9, 2012

      Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

      IMG_4738eI love this time of month as it’s Secret Recipe Club time, woohoo!!  This month my assigned blog was Holly’s Phemomenon which is a blog that I just adore so I was super excited to dig through the multitude of recipes she has to find the “one” that I wanted to make and feature.  Finding that one recipe wasn’t easy because Holly not only cooks for her family but she also cooks and does television demonstrations and participates in numerous online cooking challenges so her blog is just chockablock with fabu recipes and tempting pictures.  Just as a funny aside, last month for our Secret Recipe Club posts Holly and I both, from two different blog assignments, each decided to make versions of candied popcorn.  I guess great minds think alike  ;-)

      In the end I chose a recipe which Holly made for one of her online cooking groups, French Fridays with Dorie and the Michael Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.  I have been trying to avoid white…you know flour & sugar and this recipe was perfect as it didn’t contain flour and I could easily substitute the sugar and as I needed a dessert for a dinner I was making, well it was just a perfect pick.

      IMG_4715eI read that Michael Rostang is Michelin-starred chef in Paris and that this recipe is considered a classic at his restaurants, so off the top I figured it was going to be good.  I was also intrigued by the recipe as it uses only six ingredients and you make only one chocolate mousse and then bake some of it and then pile the rest of the mousse on top and either chill it or bake it again so you can enjoy it either warm or cold, but in the end it’s six ingredients, one batter, two layers, two textures, “my” diet friendly…and it’s chocolate….need I say more?

      IMG_4717eLet me start by saying, I took a LOT of liberties with this recipe.  First, because I didn’t have the correct sized pan for the recipe (I used a 10-inch springform pan) I doubled the original recipe so that my cake would have some depth and didn’t turn out pancake thin. Then to also mess around with what is probably chocolate perfection, I mean the originator IS a Michelin-starred chef, I used sugar-free chocolate chips instead of good high quality bittersweet chocolate and I also substituted Whey Low Gold for the sugar AND cut the amount of sweetener. 

      IMG_4734eEven with all my messing about this cake was absolutely amazing and I love the two layers, so I can’t even begin to image how delicious and wonderful the original recipe would be.  Either way you choose to make this, my lower-carb no-added sugar version or the original, this is a simple and winning recipe.

      IMG_4736eDouble Chocolate Mousse Cake

      Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.  Using the base of a 10-inch springform pan as a guide, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the pan.  Re-assemble the springform pan and generously butter the sides and bottom.  Add the cut sheet of parchment paper to the bottom of the springform pan and smooth it down.

      In a large microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate along with 4 Tablespoons of the butter.  Do not over heat the mixture, once the butter is all melted and hot stir to finish melting the chocolate until it's smooth.  Whisk in the espresso and then whisk in the remaining 10 Tablespoons of butter one tablespoon at a time. Gently whisk in the Whey Low Gold and one pinch of salt.  Then add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until you have a lovely, velvety mixture.

      Using an stand mixer and a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites and the remaining salt until they are firm but still glossy. Very gingerly whisk about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the remainder of the egg whites.

      Scrape a generous third of the mixture into the buttered springform pan and place on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate the remaining mousse.

      Bake the mousse in the springform pan for 15 minutes, at which point it will be puffed. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack  and let the cake cool to room temperature. There will be a dip in the center of it. Place the cake, still in the springform pan, in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

      Now you have a choice:

      TO SERVE BAKED AND CHILLED (recommended and how I proceeded): Chill the base of the cake for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Scrape the remaining unused chilled mousse onto the chilled baked base and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is puffed and dry. It will crack and a knife inserted inside a crack will come out almost dry.

      Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan. (Run a blunt knife around the edges or warm the pan with a hairdryer.) Carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate, and dust with Whey Low Powdered.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.  

      TO SERVE BAKED AND WARM: Bake as for "baked and chilled" (above). After you have transferred the baking sheet with the cake on it to a cooling rack, wait five minutes and then run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. The cake will sink, so just let it settle for another five minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and dust with Whey Low Powdered. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

      TO SERVE CHILLED: Let the base of the cake chill thoroughly. Scrape the remaining mousse over the base. Cover and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight.  Transfer the springform pan to a serving plate and remove the ring. (Run a knife around the edges or warm the pan with a hairdryer.) Dust with Whey Low Powdered. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

      Enjoy!

      My previous Secret Recipe Club Recipe Posts:

      Candied Popcorn
      Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad 
      Broiled Sushi 
      Health(ier) Peanut Brittle 
      Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites 
      Texas Chicken with Lime Butter 
      Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens 
      Thin Mint Irish Coffee 
      Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies 
      Welsh Cakes 
      Nutella Crêpes 
      Cilantro Lime Chicken 
      Holy Guacamole 
      and
      Home Style Chicken Curry

      Secret Recipe Club

      Saturday, July 7, 2012

      Copycat “KFC” Original Recipe Fried Chicken

      IMG_4849eUpdated:  Thank you everyone for clicking on my link (#5) in the list below and making this Copycat “KFC” Original Recipe Fried Chicken the ultimate winning recipe for this Crazy Cooking Challenge.  I have been participating in the Crazy Cooking Challenge since its inception eleven months ago and this is my first win so thank you, thank you, thank you!! 

      Photobucket

      For this month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge the participating bloggers were challenged by our hostess Tina, of Moms Crazy Cooking to find the ultimate fried chicken recipe.  The way that the Crazy Cooking Challenge works is that each month there is a dish that our hostess Tina challenges the participating bloggers to make.  We all go out searching for what we think is the ultimate recipe for that dish and once we find it, we make it and then all on the same day we do our post featuring the recipe.  Here in the Cook Lisa Cook home Eammon is the big fried chicken lover and when he craves it, it’s KFC original recipe that he wants as to him that is the ultimate fried chicken.  Eammon is really good about only having fried chicken as a once in a while treat but now that I can make it at home thanks to a copycat recipe I found on CopyKat.com he may, just may request it a bit more often.  This chicken is really spot on to the original and if you serve it along with my Copycat “KFC” coleslaw, you’ll think that Colonel Sanders himself made dinner in your kitchen.

      IMG_4846eCopycat “KFC” Original Recipe Fried Chicken (very slightly adapted from here)

      In a large bowl mix the water and salt together.  Add the chicken so that it’s completely covered by the salt water and chill for least 1 hour. 

      Combine the salt, Ac’cent, onion powder, instant chicken bouillon, seasoned salt, fines herbs and black pepper in a spice grinder or blender and mix well. Place the herb mixture in a bowl and add the flour.  Mix the flour and seasonings well.

      Remove chicken from water shake off the water but don’t dry the chicken.  Dip the chicken pieces into the flour mixture and coat well. Place the coated pieces of chicken on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes.

      In a large cast iron skillet melt enough Crisco to allow for a 1 inch depth of oil. Heat to 375F. Fry the chicken pieces turning every 5 minutes.  Be sure to cook the chicken until cooked through and then lift the chicken out of the hot oil and drain on paper towel lined wire cooling racks placed over a baking sheet. You can keep the chicken warm by placing the baking sheet/cooling rack with the chicken on it, into a 250F oven and then serve when all pieces are finished cooking.

      Enjoy!

      My previous Crazy Cooking Challenge entries:

      Smoothie Challenge:  Mango Melon Banana & Chia Smoothie 
      Grilled Cheese Sandwich Challenge: Totally Outrageous Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich 
      Blueberry Muffins Challenge:  Skinny Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins 
      Spaghetti with Red Sauce Challenge:  Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter 
      Chocolate Cake Challenge:  Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake 
      Chicken Noodle Soup Challenge: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup 
      Fudge Challenge: Biscoff Fudge 
      Mashed Potato Challenge: Aloo Tikki 
      Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge: Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps 
      Mac & Cheese Challenge: Velvety Mac & Cheese

       

      Photobucket

       

      Thursday, July 5, 2012

      Curried Grilled Thai Chicken Salad

      IMG_4790eI know that it seems like I’ll never stop posting about the meal I made when friends Lisa, Doug & Briana came to visit, eat and play almost two weeks ago.  I’m telling you the food was delicious, Grilled Thai Chicken and it’s perfect complement, Thai Cucumber Salad with cukes fresh picked from the garden.  Then to satisfy my rib cravings, Chili Maple Mustard Ribs and my still un-posted chocolate dessert recipe which will post on Monday, July 9 as my Secret Recipe Club entry, well the meal all around was just delicious.  I did have quite the leftovers though and I easily froze the ribs but with the Grilled Thai Chicken I decided to make it into a curried chicken salad using flavors to compliment the marinade already grilled onto the chicken while using ingredients I had already in my pantry.  I made the recipe up as I went along but I’m so pleased that I had the sense to write it down as I went along as this chicken was absolutely wonderful and a huge hit with both Eammon and I.  I know that I’ll be making this salad again even using plain grilled chicken breasts if I don’t have leftover Grilled Thai Chicken breasts because this salad was the bomb!

      I would have had this recipe posted sooner but between Maisie’s always busy schedule and the fact that I have been suffering with a major sinus infection and a wicked ~going on five days already~ migraine, well just staying up and out of bed with my eyes open is a huge accomplishment for the day when I can do it…but trust me, this recipe was worth the wait and I hope that you’ll give it a try.

      IMG_4795eCurried Grilled Thai Chicken Salad 

      In a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, chutney & curry powder.  Add the diced chicken, diced apple, raisins & cilantro.  Using a large spoon, mix everything together until well blended.  Top the chicken salad with the toasted almonds and Coconut.  For myself, I served the chicken salad on full leaves of romaine lettuce so that the whole thing could be rolled into a little wrap.  For Eammon I took the entire serving above, lettuce and all and put it onto some toasted multi-grain bread and he enjoyed it as a sandwich.  So many options and all delicious.

      Enjoy!

      Sunday, July 1, 2012

      Chili Maple Mustard Ribs

      When Lisa, Doug & Briana joined us last Saturday for an afternoon of play and food, you’d think by my previous posts about the meal that it was all Thai inspired food between the Thai Cucumber Salad and Grilled Thai Chicken but it wasn’t as I was craving ribs, so I made them too.  The ribs weren’t Thai inspired but they were moist, meaty, juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender delicious and they sure hit the spot for me.  The final item that I made for last weekend’s dinner was chocolate deliciousness but as that recipe is my July Secret Recipe Club entry you’ll just have to come back to Cook Lisa Cook on posting day, Monday July 9th to see who’s blog I cooked from and what I actually made…and trust me when I say that it was gorgeous and loved by all.

      Back to these ribs though.  I went with regular pork ribs instead of baby backs as I wanted the nice thick layer of meat…plus they were on a great sale at less than a quarter of the cost of baby backs so a great deal all around.  I did all the cooking in the oven but when I’ve cooked ribs like this in the past I’ve often finished them on the grill for the last 15-20 minutes just to give that grilled smoky flavor but it really isn’t necessary.  In addition the ribs stay a lot moister when not put on the grill.  After our meal last weekend I cut the leftover racks into pieces of 4-5 ribs and placed each section into FoodSaver bags and vacuum sealed the ribs.  Tonight Eammon wanted ribs so I quickly pulled out a package from the freezer, defrosted it (still sealed in the FoodSaver bag) in a bowl of water and then was able to quickly reheat the ribs in the microwave…just as moist and wonderful as the first day they were made.  This oven method is my preferred way to make ribs and I have used many different rubs and glazes, all with great results so if you’re craving delicious ribs, give this method of cooking them and this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed.

      IMG_4726eChili Maple Mustard Ribs 

      • 2 full racks pork ribs, approx. 10 lbs total

      Dry rub:

      Glaze:

      In a small bowl mix together the 2 TBS. dark chili powder, 1 TBS. dry mustard, 1 TBS. sea salt and 1 TBS. ground pepper. Wash and dry the ribs and place each rack on a foil lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle the dry rub all over the ribs, top and bottom.  Place the ribs meat side up on the pans and cover tightly with foil and refrigerated for 24-48 hours.

      Preheat oven to 325F.  Place the pans of ribs, still tightly covered with foil, into the oven and bake for 90 minutes.

      While the ribs are baking, heat a pan and add the oil.  Sautee the onions until they are translucent and tender.  Add the remaining glaze ingredients and cook, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick, approx. 2 minutes. 

      Once the ribs have cooked for 90 minutes, remove the foil and spread the glaze mixture evenly over the tops of the ribs.  Increase the oven temperature to 400F and continue baking the ribs for 45 minutes. 

      Remove from the oven and using poultry shears cut the ribs into individual servings of one to three ribs depending on the size desired.

      Enjoy!

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