Beer Battered Cod

Fact 1: We rarely eat fried food in our house.
Fact 2: I hate frying food because it always makes the house stinky.
Fact 3: I LOVE fish & chips!

These three things combined forced me to get creative and landed me here with this handy fish recipe. My husband suggested fish tacos a few nights ago and I thought “how hard can it be”. I’m happy to report that the answer to that question is – pretty darn easy! I like using cod because it’s nice and firm and won’t disintegrate when you go to fry it.

You will start by dredging your fish in some flour.

Then the fish gets a quick dip in the beer batter. Mmmm beer!

I suggest frying outside on your grill’s burner, if it has one. That avoids the unfortunate problem of stinking your house up with the smell of fried fish! Also, if you’ve got a thermometer, it’s always good to use one. This is my candy thermometer. If you don’t own one of these, you should think about investing $7 in one. They’re great for candy and frying. Get one with a clip so you can hang it on the side of the pot!

I also recommend a spider strainer to fish out the fried goodness!

We enjoyed the fish in some tortillas with shredded cabbage, avocado slices, and some Zesty Chipotle Sauce. My daughter loved fish nuggets with ketchup ‘dippers’ and I also enjoyed on a salad. You can’t go wrong with this delicious cod!

Beer Battered Cod

1 pound cod filets
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus approx 1/2 cup for dredging
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 cup light beer
1 quart of vegetable oil (for frying)

1) Dry cod with paper towels. It’s your move on what size you make the fish pieces. If you’re making fish & chips, leave the fish in long strips. If you’re making fish tacos, you probably want to cut it into 1″ cubes. You can go for 2″ cubes (which is what I did) and that is perfect for fish nuggets.

2) Place 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in a shallow dish and dredge pieces of fish until they are lightly coated with flour.

3) In a large bowl, combine remaining 1 cup flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and kosher salt. Blend the egg and beer and quickly stir into the flour mixture. Don’t over stir it. A few lumps won’t kill you!

4) Heat oil in a skillet or deep fryer to 375 degrees. Dip the fish into the beer batter and drop (gently!) into the hot oil. Fry until brown and crispy. Remove from oil and place on plates lined with paper towels to cool.

Serves 4 – Adapted from an recipe

Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

Summer is officially here in North Florida and boy did it come in with a bang! We went from a pretty cold winter to a mild spring. It felt like spring lasted all of 2 days and then WHAM, summer. It’s been so hot and muggy here – saunaish outside, really. When it gets hot like that, all I want is fresh fruits and veggies, lots of water, and something good on the grill.

One of our favorite things to do on the grill is veggie kebabs. I had a feel for Hawaii when I came up with this un-recipe (it’s a method, really, but I still wanted to share it!). I absolutely love pineapple on the grill and the combo of onions, peppers, and pineapple truly make my mouth water. Quick, someone pass me a grass skirt and a mai tai!

One of the girls I work with has a neighbor that’s a commercial fisherman and a few times a year, she will announce that he has extra shrimp for sale for CHEAP. I always buy a few pounds to have in my freezer and I am sad to say, this is the last bag of shrimp. You could easily use chicken, pork, or beef to make kebabs, though, but I that shrimp was calling my name!

If you are serving kebabs to guests, you can always put a little bit of everything on one stick for presentation purposes. When we are just preparing dinner for the family, however, I cook each item separately. This allows you to start with the things that will take the longest (like peppers and onions) and put the quick-cook items (like the shrimp) on last! There’s nothing worse than a rubbery shrimp from the grill!

Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

Serves 4

3/4 cup teriyaki sauce, divided
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large red bell pepper
1 large red onion
20-30 chunks of fresh pinapple
skewers for making the kebabs

1) Cut the onion and pepper into fat chunks. Place them, along with the pineapple chunks, into a medium dish with a lid or a ziplock baggie. Add 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce and toss to combine. Let refrigerate 30 minutes.

2) In another medium dish or bag, place the shrimp and 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3) If you are using wooden skewers on for the kebabs, now is a good time to soak them in some water so they don’t spontaneously combust!!

4) Thread vegetables, pineapple, and shrimp onto individual skewers (one for shrimp, one for pineapple, etc) and grill over medium heat until soft and slightly charred. Use remaining 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce to baste as you grill. [Be careful not to cross contaminate between your meat and veggies.]

Quick & Easy Sauteed Shrimp with Peppers

One of the most popular restaurants in downtown St. Augustine is a Cuban/Spanish-style restaurant called The Columbia. Founded by a Cuban immigrant in the early 1900s, The Columbia originated in the Tampa area and is a mini-chain restaurant (there are a handful of them, all in the state of FL).  The food is very unpretentious and down-home. They have some of the best Cuban bread on earth (soft, warm, heaven!) and the sangria?! Don’t even get me started!! I’ve blogged about the sangria before – here’s their red sangria recipe and here’s the white sangria straight from their website. I prefer the white, but they are both great.

Before you think I’m a lush, let me get back to the shrimp!! This recipe is adapted from one in their cookbook (which of course, I own. I need a 12 step program for cookbooks!). All of the recipes in the book start with a good solid half cup of oil (or more! ACK!), so I adjusted that and a few other bits and pieces as I go along. This recipe was originally referred to as “Creole Shrimp”, but it’s not at all spicy. I think calling it Sauteed Shrimp and Peppers is much closer to the truth. If you have everything chopped, peeled, and standing by, this becomes a superfast and easy main meal. It would be great over rice, couscous, or just with a nice hunk of that Cuban bread!

Quick & Easy Sauteed Shrimp with Peppers

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 green pepper, cut into strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
handful of chopped parsley (about 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper)

1) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and pepper until the onion is soft and transparent and the peppers are softened.
2) Stir in the garlic, then add the shrimp. Saute for 1-2 minutes until the shrimp starts to turn pink. Add the paprika, wine, parsley, salt, and pepper, stirring for another minute until the sauce thickens slightly and the shrimp are cooked all the way through.

(67) Balsamic-Dressed Beets

I’ve never been one to like beets. I don’t know why, but they never have made it onto my plate. My mom and dad love them. I have no reason to have never eaten them, but here I am, age 32, a beet virgin!! I wasn’t sure I was going to like them, but I had some in my CSA box 2 weeks in a row and I figured it was a sign from the beet gods (or goddess?).

My mom suggested that I just boil, peel, and slice them and then add butter, salt, and pepper. I also found this recipe for beets in a nice balsamic ‘bath’, which sounded good. I roasted all the beets I had following the method below and then did half my mom’s way and half with the balsamic. I send apologies to my mom, but I liked these balsamic ones better!! I am not 100% sure I’m a beet fan, but they were pretty tasty!

Balsamic-Dressed Beets

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
Source: Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

6 medium beets (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Leave root and 1 inch of stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Wrap beets in foil. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool beets on the counter until they are cool enough for you to handle. Use your hands and slip the skins off. Cut each beet into 8 wedges or 2″ cubes.

While the beets are cooling, combine juice, vinegar, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 10 minutes). Combine beets, vinegar mixture, salt, and pepper; toss well.

(123) Scallops with Browned Butter Vinaigrette

I don’t make scallops very often, but we decided to add a little surf to go with the turf for Christmas Eve dinner! This recipe was VERY easy and so fantastic! This served 4 for us (3 scallops each), but you could make a full meal of it for 2 people! Don’t skimp – use the big scallops!!

Scallops with Browned Butter Vinaigrette

Source: Adapted from an Epicurious recipe
Yield: 2 or 4 servings

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until deep golden brown and most of foam subsides, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Transfer butter to bowl, reserving skillet.

Sprinkle scallops with salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme; add to reserved skillet and cook until just opaque in center, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to plate.

Add shallots, a small amount (~ 1 to 2 tsp, as needed) reserved butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to skillet; saute until shallots are softened. Remove skillet from heat. Add remaining browned butter and vinegar; stir to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

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