Sunday, December 9, 2007

Guinness Battered Basa with Oven Roasted Rosemary Chips and Escarole Apple Salad

I was in the mood for Fish and Chips today. This is a variation that suited my mood. Instead of ale, I used Guinness for a deeper, earthier flavor, and instead of frying the chips, I baked them in the oven with rosemary. Any substantial white fish will do here, but I am partial to basa, which is similar to catfish but with a much cleaner flavor. Sweet enterprise apples accompanied the fish and chips very well!


Guinness Battered Basa
Serves 4

2 cups flour
12 oz bottle Guinness
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges

The fish is very simple. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot.

In a bowl, sift 1 1/2 cups flour and whisk in beer. Let sit for 15 minutes to relax the gluten in the flour.

Rinse and pat dry the basa and cut into 2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish pieces in 1/2 cup of the flour and set aside on a dish. Do not dredge in the batter until you are ready to fry the fish.

When ready to fry fish, dredge the pieces in the beer batter and slide the pieces into the skillet. Fry for about 5 minutes, flipping, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate with paper towels until ready to serve. Serve warm with lemon wedges.


Oven Roasted Rosemary Chips
Serves 2 (Double to serve 4)

2 baking potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch fries, lengthwise. Place in a non-stick baking dish with enough olive oil to coat and salt and pepper. Place in oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the potatoes and sprinkle desired amount of rosemary. The potatoes may seem to be sticking to the pan at this point. This is ok. After the chips are done cooking and when the pan cools, the bits on the pan will come off easily. Place the potatoes back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Apple and Escarole Salad
Serves 2
6 leaves curly escarole
1 enterprise apple
Muscat orange vinegar

Wash escarole leaves and chop by hand. Evenly distribute on plates. Cut apple in quarters and remove cores with a paring knife. Chop into small pieces and distribute over escarole. Top with a drizzle of the vinegar.

This Week's Menu

I'm starting to fall in love with my new slow cooker, and I made sure to plan a menu where almost every meal has a slow-cooked piece. For example, the refried beans for the burritos, the marinara sauce, and the beef stew will all be done in the slow cooker.

Slow-cooked oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

Refried Black Bean Burritos, with Roasted Vegetables, Rice, Salsa, and Guacamole

Guinness-Battered Basa with Oven-Roasted Rosemary Chips and Apple Escarole Salad
Gnocchi or Portabello-Shiitake Ravioli in Homemade Marinara and with Sauteed Spinach
Crepe Manicotti
Cranberry Beef Stew (made with organic and grass-fed beef) with Steamed Broccoli
Pizza with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pancetta

Sunday, December 2, 2007

This Week's Menu

It's getting quite cold here in the Bay Area, colder than I remember it getting here, down to the 40's at night. Because of this, I'm in the mood for warm, comforting foods. We also ordered a Cuisinart Slow Cooker with a gift certificate, and it should be arriving this week, so we'll have to try it out! Here's our planned menu for the week:


Apricot and Cherry Granola with yogurt

Lunch (for my lunch group)
Italian Pasta and Bean Stew

Seared Orange Scallops with sauteed peppers
Frittata with Tuscan Kale (got this from Lucullian Delights and it looks wonderful!)
French Beans with Smoked Sausage
Fresh Vegetable Penne

Pasta and Bean Stew

My grandmother made this dish for us, and I find it yummy to have a bean gravy with your pasta. This version is a vegetarian version derived from “Food and Memories of Abruzzo, Italy’s Pastoral Land,” by Anna Teresa Callen.

1 pound cranberry beans, picked over and washed
1 celery rib with leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 sprigs fresh parsely
2 bay leaves
1 piece of Parmesan rind (a large hunk of the hard rind left from a Parmesan wheel)
1 medium onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
1 sprig fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 16 oz. can pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 cup short pasta, such as tubetti or lumachine

Soak beans and drain and rinse. Place beans, celery, garlic, parsley, and bay leaves in a large soup pot. Add 2½ quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil. Add the Parmesan rind to the beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

To prepare the sauce, place the veggies, including the parsley, in a food processor to chop finely. In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste, stir, add pepper and the red pepper flakes. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat at a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the celery, garlic, and parsley that was cooked with the beans. Place these in a food processor with 1 cup of the beans. Puree and return to the pot. Add the sauce, bring the soup back to a boil, reduce heat to low, and summer 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta to the beans and bring the soup back to a boil and cook until the pasta is done, 5 to 8 minutes. Let the soup rest 5 minutes before serving.
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