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Beer Battered Fish

As my cousin’s van rattled through the English countryside, I debated whether the Pennines should actually be referred to as “mountains”. My contention remains to this day that any “range” topping out at elevations of less than 3,000 ft really shouldn’t hold the same distinction as the glorious caps of the Cascades that dominate the horizon around me. Mount Rainer takes my breath away every single time.

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As my cousin’s Wimbledon accented voices extolled the virtues of rolling hills dotted with ancient churchyards, the van crept to a stop at little more than a shack perched at the edge of a moss laden slope. It was here, standing along the roadside overlooking the softened ridges and dipping valleys of the Pennines, that I began my lifelong love affair with fish and chips.

A newspaper wrapped bundle holding fried seafood and British chips was thrust into my hands. Faint spots of grease spread rapidly into slicks covering the whole paper as I took the first heavenly bite of flaky, perfectly crisped cod, the juice running down my hands, steam wafting in the cool mountain air. It was a perfect food moment.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips - Bakerlady

 

It is against this first experience with fish and chips that all seafood restaurants must compete. Not surprisingly, I find baskets of poorly breaded fish and soggy fries unequal to the memory. I took matters into my own hands recently, and the crispy, grease laden result transformed my American kitchen into an English countryside.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips - Bakerlady

The batter for this fish starts with beer. Obviously that means it’s going to be divine. Because, beer. Add just enough flour and spices to turn it into a batter.  This fish is triple seasoned. Once straight on the fillets, once from flavor in the batter and finally into a seasoned flour dredge. Aside from that, it’s very uncomplicated. Dip, dredge and fry. Boom. Golden perfection.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips - Bakerlady

The outside is crusty golden deliciousness and the inside is perfectly flaky, tender and melt in your mouth gloriousness.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips - Bakerlady

The simplicity of this recipe makes me wonder why my quest for nostalgic crispy fried fish has been previously unsuccessful for decades. Wow, I’m old. Maybe it’s because a great meal experience is so much more than just the sum of its ingredients. Perhaps, just possibly, the bliss of that little English fry shack was about more than just the greasy newspaper wrapped lunch. Imagine that. It’s people who make lasting indelible memories. Gather your family around for a perfect fish fry and make some magical food moments of your own.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips - Bakerlady
Good gracious! I forgot to tell you about the fries. Mmmm. Homemade fries. Coming soon!

Beer Battered Fish and Chips - Bakerlady


Print Recipe for Beer Battered Fish

Beer Battered Fish
adapted from Paula Deen

1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, skinned with bones removed, and fish cut diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips (5 to 6-inches long)
1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer – I used Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon house seasoning (recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
salt and pepper

Batter:

In a large bowl, pour in 1 bottle of beer. Sift 1 1/2 cups flour into the bowl, whisking in gently until just combined, stir in 1 teaspoon House Seasoning and Old Bay Seasoning. Pat fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper and coat the fish in the beer batter. Mix together the other 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 tsp house seasoning. Dredge the pieces of fish in the flour mixture and slide into oil as coated. Fry fish, turning over frequently, until deep golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining fish in batches, returning oil to 375 degrees F between batches.

Serve fish with French fries.

House Seasoning (I scaled this down using teaspoons — I didn’t need a whole cup of it)

1 cup salt (2 teaspoons)

1/4 cup black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 cup garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon)

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

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America’s Test Kitchen Deviled Eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. In fact, the one food weakness he has is deviled eggs. Not just any deviled eggs. These.

Deviled Eggs02

I love my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. Something about the detail and testing that encompasses each recipe appeals to my logical nature. I don’t just want a recipe to be successful, I need to understand WHY it is so.

America's Test Kitchen Deviled Eggs - Bakerlady

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The Best Corned Beef Dinner Ever

Saint Patrick’s Day is coming. Time for too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra-ing about Molly Malone, Danny Boy and my Wild Irish Rose. Time for dancing a jig while not spilling a drop. Time for decking out in shades of forest, emerald, mint and moss. For celebrating my freckles and green eyes while lamenting my lack of red-headedness. And the most glorious of all, time for every grocery store from sea-to-shining sea to suddenly stock up on corned beef. This Saint Patrick’s Day, be the lord of the manor with this absolutely perfect, not a hint of dry meat anywhere, corned beef dinner. Made in a crock pot, this scrumptious classic will fill your home with rich mouth-watering aromas, and keep you laughing, singing and toasting with your friends and family instead of slaving over a hot stove.

The Best Corned Beef Dinner Ever - Bakerlady

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Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon = summer. It’s just a fact of life. There’s nothing better on a sweltering July afternoon than devouring a giant slice of juicy delicious watermelon. Getting all that sticky sweetness running down your chin. Even better when the watermelon is the size of your head. Preferably while walking Main Street in Disneyland, listening to the old timey piano and enjoy the smell of churros.  My sisters are in The Happiest Place on Earth right now. Without me. I’m having serious withdrawls.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

This salsa combines the icy chill of watermelon with the spicy zing of jalapeno in the absolute perfect summer dip for your chips. My grandmother gave me this bowl. It is perfection.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

Just chop up some watermelon, add some peppers, onions, cilantro and a hit of lime and you have a delightfully cool salsa.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

It’s so light, you may find yourself eating the entire bowl as you lounge around in the sunshine.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

If you are wondering how to easily chop up a watermelon into all those tiny pieces, simply cut the ends off the watermelon, then slice off the rind all around until it looks like this. Excuse the poor quality photo — what a difference a cell phone makes.

Quick and Easy Way to Chop Up a Watermelon - Bakerlady

Then cut into slices (they look like giant tomato slices). These are thicker because I was chunking this watermelon. Just make thinner slices for the salsa. Then cut across horizontally and vertically like you are making a tiny squared checker board. Boom. Done.

Quick and Easy Way to Chop Up a Watermelon - Bakerlady

Enjoy!

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa

3 cups chopped watermelon

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, green bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno and garlic salt. Mix well and serve.

Alton Brown’s Baked Eggs

Perfect hard-boiled eggs require very specific boiling time, and the max you can boil at a time (perfectly) is about 12. My hard-boiled eggs recipe has served me well for many years. But there’s a new sheriff in town. Alton Brown. More specifically, his gloriously creamy, perfectly cooked, dozens at a time baked eggs.

Alton Brown's Baked Eggs
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Saint Patrick’s Day Deliciousness

Here’s a round-up of a few of my favorite dishes for Saint Patrick’s Day! Click on the titles to be brought to the details on how to make each deliciously Irish item, or just head to the bottom of this post to print out all the recipes and get cooking!

Bread Pudding with Bailey's Custard [Read more…]

Homemade Egg Noodles

Sometimes recipes happen as a byproduct of life. You have plans for your day that include relaxing in the sunshine, maybe reading a book and then BOOM…you are making noodles from scratch like you are Caroline Ingalls or something. There you stand in your kitchen, covered in flour asking yourself “what just happened?”.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Such are the circumstances of my first foray into making noodles from scratch. I was reading Mr. Putter and Tabby Catch the Cold and when the title character got chicken soup from his neighbor, my kids exclaimed how much they love chicken soup! I decided to make some for lunch before checking the pantry for noodles. Clearly I needed to go grocery shopping (who doesn’t have noodles!?) – but I was watching a couple extra kids and figured  it would be easier to occupy them with a noodle making project than wrangle them all into the car and thru the aisles of a store. What can I say, the choice made sense in my head at the time. I hold women who manage grocery shopping with 4+ kids in VERY high regard! I don’t have a fancy pasta press, cutter, drying rack, or attachment for my Kitchen Aid. Nope. Just my hands, a rolling pin and some adorable little helpers.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

I’ve decided that some things appear overwhelming because they are unknown. Like noodles. They really aren’t difficult to make at all. They just seem scary. Summer is here – I highly recommend this for kiddos lolly-gagging in your house claiming boredom. Pasta making kept two high-energy five year-old boys occupied and engaged for over an hour. And I’m sure there’s a benefit to fine motor skills here too.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

A few simple ingredients in a bowl and the dough comes together lickity-split. Let it rest about 10 minutes, then roll it out nice and thin. This dough was incredibly easy to work with. No sticking, no frustration, just a nice flat canvas for our noodles. I let it air dry a few more minutes before trying a trick I remembered seeing (somewhere – no idea where) about cutting nice even noodles.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Don’t cut yet. Roll your dough. Yup. That’s the trick. Instead of attempting to cut in a straight line thru the vast expanse of a big dough sheet, roll it up. Like so. Kind of like making cinnamon roll cookies.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Then, cut off the end and you have a dough spiral that can just get unrolled into a perfect egg noodle. Now, you can use this dough for other kinds of noodles too. Just change the shape you cut it into and you can make ravioli,  farfalle, lasagna or many other kinds of basic noodle shapes.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

This is where the reinforcements came in very handy. I cut little dough spirals and the munchkins unrolled them and draped them over some bowls. You can see I have two dough rolls on the table. That’s because I cut the dough in half and then rolled it up. I didn’t need noodles that were three feet long.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

In no time at all we had used every big bowl in the house for draping noodles. Let them dry a little while – I let them alone in the fresh air while I finished up some soup details.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Then, just plop them into some boiling water (or in my case, soup broth) and cook until al dente. Which, for me was around 3 minutes.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

I didn’t use all these noodles in my soup. I saved some to see how they tasted just boiled in water with a little cheese on top. Delicious. The chicken noodle soup was perfection and got thumbs up from all my little noodle slurpers.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Check back for the full soup recipe in a week or so. Mmmmmm. It was gooooooood.

Homemade Egg Noodles - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Homemade Egg Noodles

Homemade Egg Noodles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.
2. On a floured surface, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Allow to rest about 10 minutes. Cut into desired lengths and shapes.
3. Allow to air dry 30 minutes before cooking.
4. To cook fresh pasta, in a large pot with boiling salted water cook until al dente (2-4 minutes)

Totally Delicious and Easy Campurritos

I may have stumbled upon the most perfectly transportable, absolutely delicious breakfast food ever. These breakfast burritos are fantastic for your next camping trip because they can be made in advance and just thrown on the fire. Camping + burritos = campurritos. Thanks to Ninth and Bird for the awesome name! What other breakfast food can you eat outside in mismatched jammies, while hanging with horses? They’re also fantastic for busy mornings at home. My kids are 5 & 7 and they’re completely capable of heating these up on their own from frozen. You know, while mommy catches up on her beauty sleep gets in an early morning workout.
This recipe is easily adaptable to your own tastes. You can use sausage, ham, bacon, leftover ground taco filling…whatever you’d like for the meat. I added potatoes, onions, eggs and cheese to a Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage and they were fan-freakin-tastic.

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Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

I’ve heard tell that before there were slow cookers, women actually stood all day long in the kitchen. On their feet. Stirring, stirring, stirring. Checking meat and basting in an eternal loop. What kind of sick twisted world must that have been? I’ll tell you what. My Crock Pot love affair prior to homeschooling looks like a 13-year-old puppy love summer dalliance compared to my over the moon adoration of this kitchen appliance now. Especially when it produces easy meals as gorgeous and delicious as this one.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken - Bakerlady

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Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers

This post is going to upset some people. People like Ron Swanson, who think that a burger should be made of meat…and nothing else. On this one point (and pretty much nothing else…I love you RON!) I disagree. I think that burgers should taste amazing, and be incredibly juicy without serving them mooing on the inside. If it is sacrilegious to mix non-meat items into a burger, I apologize…sort of. I don’t tread lightly on tradition when the result is better tasting food. And these burgers taste ridiculously good. Far surpassing any other I’ve ever had. Ever.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

We start with nice fatty ground beef. 20% fat. Keep your lean meat far away from these. If you want a lean burger, make it out of rice and veggies. We add bread crumbs, seasonings (garlic, onion, chili powder), some Worcestershire, salt n’ pepper, milk and an egg yolk. Just the yolk. The white is basically water. We don’t need no stinkin’ water in our burger.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Mix it all up with your hands, form it into a lump and make like it’s a big old meat pizza. Sliced meat. That could be a thing. Right?

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Take each portion and make burger softballs. Check for uniform size. There’s a joke here somewhere about team sports…but I’m striking out trying to come up with it. (insert eye roll here)

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Then we’re going to use a little secret. A mold. You can use a big peanut butter jar lid, or anything that’s a decent size and reasonably round/flat. I use an empty painter’s tape container. Set some plastic wrap down inside (for easy release) and plop one of your softballs in.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

More plastic on top, then use your favorite rounded measuring cup to smoosh the meat into a flat shape all around the edges.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Burger ball becomes burger patty. Awesome.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Repeat with remaining balls of meat. I make more than I need, then freeze the rest so I can have delicious homemade patties just as fast as someone else can make a pre-made, store-bought, frozen meat puck. See? Nice and flat and even. This way, when they plump as they cook, they don’t end up rolling off your bun.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Hand off the perfectly formed patties to your favorite grill master. Mine goes by the name of Zack. He makes meat look pretty.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Top it with your favorite accoutrements.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Consume with breathless anticipation of the juicy, gorgeous deliciousness. No mooing. Still incredibly tender and full of flavor. I really did intend to take a picture before I’d wolfed down a giant bite. Really I did. But the meat heaven was calling me. I had to answer.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers
a Bakerlady original

Ingredients
2 pounds ground beef (20% fat…yes, this matters)
1 egg yolk, beaten
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 pinches of fresh cracked pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat grill for high heat.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg yolk, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion powder, pepper, salt and garlic using your hands. Form the mixture into 8 hamburger patties by pressing into a mold.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill patties 5 minutes per side, or until well done.

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