Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stuffed Trout a la Branch 27

I love when a restaurant really nails a dish.  With local and in-season ingredients and simple yet thoughtful preparation, it is hard to pass up something like the trout from Branch 27 (corner of Noble and Chicago, just off the Blue Line).  This was so good, in fact, that I broke my rule of not turning the oven on in the summer months.  (Just choose a cool day.)

The best local pub
I thought I didn't like trout
This sure convinced me!

  • 1 rainbow trout, deboned
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 small apples (gala, or the like)
  • 2 handfulls pecans, crumbled
  • butter
  • red peppercorns
  • olive oil
  • corn from three ears
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • fresh thyme
  • red pepper flakes
  • cooking twine
  1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Saute most of the shallot in butter.  Chop and add the cabbage.  Cube and add the apple.  Crumble and add the pecan.  Toss/stir over medium-high heat until the combination is softened, aromatic, and browned in parts.
  2. Rinse fish in water and a little bit of cream.  Place two pieces of cooking twine across a baking dish.  Place fish, open, in the dish and fill with the cabbage mixture (extra mixture can be tucked around the fish).  Close the fish around the mixture and tie.
  3. Brush the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with red peppercorns.  Loosely cover and bake 20 minutes.
  4. While the fish is baking, saute the rest of the shallot in a little more butter and add the corn.  Throw in a nice sprig of thyme.  Cook until the corn is golden and the thyme is a vibrant green.  Add cream and cook to reduce.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the covering from the fish and cook 5 minutes longer or until fish is flaky.  
  6. Remove the fish from the oven and let it sit a minute while you dish up corn to plates.  Portion fish to plates and enjoy!
This dish is especially lovely followed by a dessert of blue cheese, sherry and walnuts.

Pictures taken by April Faith-Slaker

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fish Sandwich a la McDonalds

But WHY?!? - you might ask.  YOU know why.  There is something about smelling McDonalds when you're already hungry that goes straight to your amygdala and makes you WANT it.  You know.  Like crack.

But then, if you try one, you realize that it is only chemicals you're tasting and you're both stuffed and unsatisfied at the same time.  Fear no more!  Below is a tested and approved version of the "filet-o-fish" sandwich that can be made with all organic ingredients.

Bargain-basement food
McDonald's filet-o-fish
Like mom used to buy!

  • Cod filets (1 should be enough for two sandwiches)
  • American cheese (2 slices)
  • Pancake mix (1 cup, plus a little more)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz sprite
  • mayonnaise (approx 1/4 cup)
  • dill relish (approx 3 Tbsp)
  • onion, finely chopped (approx 1 Tbsp)
  • butter
  • buns
  1.  Cut the cod filet into sandwich-sized pieces.  Coat in a little bit of pancake batter and chill 20 minutes.
  2. Mix the tartar sauce and set aside (mayonnaise, dill relish and onion).
  3. Mix the batter (pancake mix, egg, sprite).
  4. Heat butter in a frying pan.
  5. Dip fish into batter to cover and fry over medium-high heat for 5 - 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, turning to cook both sides (poke fish with a fork and rotate to make sure it is done - it should flake).
  6. While fish is cooking, heat butter in another frying pan and put buns, face down in the butter, to fry for a bit.
  7. When the fish is finished, put each battered filet on a plate, top with the cheese and microwave on medium for 30 seconds.  
  8. Put one tablespoon of tartar sauce on each side of the bun, and put the fish on the sandwich.  Close/cover, and eat!
 This has the same consistency, tartness, sweetness and greasiness of the McDonald's fish sandwich.  We couldn't replicate the sponginess of the bun though - the way it makes noise when you touch it and the way it sticks to your teeth.  The panel all agreed though that it was probably preferable that we didn't replicate that.


(If you're looking for a bottle of wine to pair with your McDonald's, I recommend the Laurent Miquel Pere et Fils Syrah Grenache 2010, at only $10 a bottle, it is a perfect match with the bargain meal!)
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