Monday, August 30, 2010

Gluten-Free Beer Battered Fish

With all the focus on gluten-free diets, I thought I'd take a stab at a recipe that you don't normally find G-Free alternatives for. This gluten-free beer battered fish rocks! Honestly, I'd challenge anyone to detect a difference in taste between this batter fish and one made with regular flour!

Gluten-Free Beer Battered Fish
Oil for deep-frying (about 6 cups)
1 1/2 lbs skinless fish fillets like cod, flounder or talapia
3 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste

For Batter
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
1 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp xanthum gum
1 12 oz gluten free beer* or 12 oz club soda
1 large egg
1 tsp kosher salt

Combine the flour, cornstarch, xanthum gum, G-free beer or club soda, egg and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Heat oil to 375 F in a deep Dutch oven or deep fryer.

While the oil is heating, pat fish fillets dry with paper towels. Season with Old Bay Seasoning, salt and pepper. Drop the fillets into the batter and toss to coat evenly.

When the oil is hot, lift the fillets one by one into the batter with tongs. Let excess batter drip off before lowering the fillets into the oil. Tip: Swish the fillets back and forth in the hot oil for a few moments before letting go.  It helps to prevent sticking to the pot or fryer basket. Fry until the fillets are golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges!

*There are a number of Gluten-Free Beers on the market these days.  I've tried the recipe with Bard's The Original Sorghum Malt Beer (formerly Dragon's Gold).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fresh Herb Focus: Parsley

As seen on Edition August 6, 2010

When you think of parsley, do you think garnish? Poor parsley...relegated to the edge of our plates, just a touch of color -- nothing more. (Sigh.) Well, here's bit of trivia for you, just 2 tbsp of parsley gives you 150% of your rda of Vitamin K and almost 17% of the recommended Vitamin C. It's a natural breath freshener and, besides that, according to ancient beliefs a wreath of parsley wards off drunkenness. (Sorry I can't be held responsible for the efficacy of either wives' tale, if you choose to test them.)

There are two kinds fresh parsley available commercially - curly and flat leaf a.k.a. Italian parsley. Flat leaf parsley has a slightly stronger flavor than curly parsley but they are otherwise interchangeable. Both have a slightly peppery flavor with hint of celery. In addition, parsley is nearly the least expensive fresh herb, which is always a bonus.

Now how about a few ways to use it? Toss minced parsley with buttery new potatoes or piping hot french fries for an herbaceous bump. Try a Tabbouleh Salad with minced parsley, couscous, cucumber and tomato. Use parsley stems in your homemade stock to impart flavor without coloring the broth. Make Persillade, a French combination of parsley and garlic, for fresh fish or oysters.

My favorite parsley recipe is an Argentinean sauce called Chimichurri. The Argentines are famous for their barbecuing, and this sauce is the perfect match for a juicy steak or grilled chicken. Since it's barbecue season, I thought I'd share the recipe with you. I suggest you try it with a glass of Argentine Malbec - not enough to warrant a parsley wreath, mind you!


1Tbsp dried oregano leaves
2 Tbsp water
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, remove the thickest stems
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar*

In a small bowl, combine dried oregano leaves and water. Stir and let stand for 15 minutes. In the meantime, wash the parsley by placing it in a bowl of cold water and swishing it around. Dry the parsley by patting it with paper towels or spinning it dry with a salad spinner. After the oregano is moistened, combine it with parsley and garlic in a food processor. Process until the parsley and garlic are finely minced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, transfer the parsley mixture to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

At this point you can refrigerate the chimichurri for up to 3 hours. Allow it to return to room temperature before you serve it. When you are ready to serve, simply stir in the sherry vinegar.

*For me, the sherry vinegar really enhances this dish but if it's not available in your local supermarket you can substitute red wine vinegar.

How many of you buy only dry parsley? Can you think of other ways to use fresh parsley?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Little Love to Share - Hearty Supper Salad

As seen on Edition July 30, 2010

The unbearable heat blanketing much of country has reminded me of my summers growing up in Wisconsin. My mother, ironically, never cared for cooking so we rotated through a consistent menu that I could probably recite even today.

When the sticky Midwestern summers were bogging us down, my mom always made a variety of cold salads gleaned from sixties cookbooks or peeled from food labels to avoid heating up the kitchen. For the next several nights, we'd serve ourselves a salad smorgasbord for dinner. A typical salad sampler would include classics like macaroni salad, potato salad, and tuna salad and we'd occasionally have beet salad or sour kraut salad. But the salad we all loved best was "Hearty Supper Salad."

These days, as soon as the temperature rises I start craving the stuff -- no kidding. Remember the blog I wrote a few months ago about food memories letting me down? Well this one, emphatically, does not. I love this stuff. My husband loves this stuff and, soon enough, I think you'll love this stuff too.

My mother got the recipe while watching a local television morning show in the mid-sixties. I have decided to make it my mission to revive our beloved "Hearty Supper Salad."

This is the original recipe and, frankly, I wouldn't change a thing. So do me a favor? Don't substitute any of the low fat alternatives when you make it the first time. Savor the delicious innocence of a quintessential middle-American-childhood-church social-picnic-salad. You don't get that much sour cream and cheese in a serving anyway, so live a little.

Hearty Supper Salad

1 cup elbow macaroni
2 cups diced ham
1 1/2 cups diced cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp yellow mustard

Cook elbow macaroni as directed stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite. Rinse with cold water and drain well in a colander set in the sink.

Combine macaroni, ham, cheddar cheese, celery, onion and sweet pickle relish in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and yellow mustard. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients, toss until ingredient are completely coated with dressing. Cover and chill for at least one hour prior to serving.

Do you have any salad recipes that have passed down through your family? Please share your recipes!