Friday, August 21, 2015

Downton Abbey's Fish and Chips

Back in the day....not that I even remotely know, but according to a completely unauthorized and unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook I have, Fish and Chips were "one of the most popular meals during WW1." Of course this would be something the middle and lower class would probably enjoy...back in the day, rather than those of a higher echelon. This was not only the first time I'd made battered fish, but my Lord, it was beyond simple and easy and I did it all in a cast iron pan with vegetable oil. I made these quite quickly for my son. 4 russet potatoes cut into thick wedges 2 pieces of firm-fleshed white fleshed fish such as cod (I just so happened to have Mahi Mahi) Batter: 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper, dash cayenne pepper (optional if you'd like it spicy, 1 bottle possibly 1 1/2 bottle(s) of dark beer (I only had Budweiser, so I'm sure if I had dark beer it would have been even more amazing...the batter should be just thicker than pancake batter - I added more beer because the recipe I used made it way too thick) 1 1/2 pounds of fish, corn starch for dredging (which I didn't have so I used flour), malt vinegar for serving. Mix up your batter and put aside. Fill up cast iron pan half way up with vegetable oil and heat up. Once it's hot, dip fish in batter and put into pan. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't get really brown, just golden and flip. One word of advice, make sure the fish isn't really crazy thick like mine was - while it turned out amazing, I had to keep cutting into it to make sure it was cooked. When the batter is gorgeously golden put aside on a paper-towelled plate to drain. Repeat process until all the fish is done and put somewhere warm to keep warm. Then cook up the potatoes in the oil. Make sure you dry potatoes from any excess moisture or water first. Turn them also until beautifully golden and drain on paper towel when done. Serve!!!! So delicious!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Succulent Sun Dried Tomato, Spinach and Pine Nut Stuffed Pork Loin

OK, what I made last night for Sunday's dinner was over the top. I picked up one of those huge 7 lb. Pork Loins from Costco (not to be confused with Pork Tenderloin). I was trying to figure out how best to feed a crowd on a budget. Well, it is quite astonishing that such a huge chunk of meat costed me just $24. Additionally I went on line to see how to keep the pork loin from drying out in the oven, as pork can do, and it came out moist succulent and absolutely delicious. Let's begin! First you are going to make a mirepoix. This is simply sautéed diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic all melded together in a pan. So I used 4 large carrots, 6 celery, 1 large onion and 5 cloves of garlic. Once you dice all of these vegetables put into a frying pan or pot with some butter and olive oil to saute. Once the veggies are soft, layer in a large roasting pan to make a bed for the pork loin. I cut my pork loin in half by the way so it would fit in the pan. Secondly you are going to make the stuffing which is absolutely to die for. I used two large containers of spinach about 16-20 cups, 3 cups of oil packed sundried tomatoes, 1 package of pine nuts or 1 1/2 to 2 cups, 2 packages of Boursin cheese. Sautee the spinach and sundried tomatoes, using the oil from the tomatoes to wilt all of the spinach. Then add the pine nuts and stir in the cheese until melted and put aside. Cut the pork loin in half to fit into your roaster if need be and butter fly the meat. So this means that you cut the meat length wise to put the stuffing in but you DO NOT cut all the way through. Pepper and herb up the inside of your meat, I didn't salt because I didn't want to draw out the juices. Then put the stuffing in pork loin and secure with cooking twine or with unflavoured dental floss. I positioned the meat with the stuffing side up so the stuffing wouldn't fall out during the cooking process. Before you put into the oven add two bottles of beer. To keep the pork loin further moistened I layered the roast with bacon. This in addition to the mirepoix and beer will keep your roast succulent and juicy. I then roasted and basted in a 300 degree oven for approximately 1 1/2 hours. It was beyond my friends. Below I will list the ingredients. 1 7 lb. pork loin from Costco Mirepoix: 4 carrots, 6 celery, 5 garlic cloves, 1 large onion. Chop fine. 2 bottles of beer 8 strips of bacon cut in half to layer over pork loin Stuffing: 2 large containers of spinach (16-20 cups), 3 cups of oil packed sundried tomatoes (I got from Costco), 1 package of pine nuts (1 1/2 - 2 cups), 2 packs of Boursin Cheese (also from Costco). If there is too much stuffing, simply save the rest to put on the pork loin will get eaten!!!! This is the perfect Sunday night feast and delicious for Monday night left overs. Enjoy! XO