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calendar   Thursday - March 12, 2015

Taken With A Grain Of Salt

I was going to make a grumpy post about how so many of the recipes you find online are pure BS, untested, with fake comments and ratings. I swear they are, because I have found my share of duds.

Yesterday I wanted something baked. Like cinnamon rolls, or a coffee cake. Hey, I’ve got some Bisquick, what can I do with it? So I find this recipe at bisquick.com (aka bettycrocker.com) for a double streussel coffee cake, and made it. And it bombed. I should have known from the comments, which were all “this was great, but didn’t the original version have 2 Tbs oil in it? I added oil and it was better” “I had to add another 1/2 cup of milk to get the batter thin enough to spread. And no way is it enough for 2 layers in a 9” cake pan.” But no. So I boldly went ahead, listening to the sage advice of the obvious more experienced commenters. A little oil, a little more milk, toss in some frozen blueberries ... ta da. And I even used an 8” pan. And it looked fine. Making the streussel was hard for me, even though it’s just brown sugar flour and butter. Instead of little grains of sand, I got chunks. Well, no matter. Put the topping on ... gee, there’s rather a lot of it ... and into the oven for the prescribed ... 24 minutes. Ding. Done! Not even close. The cake was still liquid. WTF? A nearly identical recipe on the bettycrocker end of that site used flour and baking soda instead of Bisquick, and it said to bake the thing for 45 minutes. Ah, must be a typo. Back in the oven.

Ding. And it’s done. And it cools off, and comes out of the pan nice and easy. Yay Pam spray! And when it was cool, I cut myself a slice ... and found a leathery cake that hadn’t risen AT ALL, topped by a block of streussel that would pass for Level II armor in most video adventure games. So I ate it anyway. And it was good, although I had to soak the slices in coffee to soften up the battle armor. I mean streussel. The internet. It sucks.



Today was Fish Day. Yay fish day!! I loves me some fried fish. Damn shame it’s so insanely expensive. But I splurged, and got a bag of individually wrapped wild caught cod fillets. Time to make some Fission Chips, or at least the Fish’n part thereof.
But how? Ok, cross my fingers hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, I go back online. And I find this, two similar recipes on the same page. One seemed much bigger, so I made the little one, with some borrowed flair from the big one:

3⁄4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon corn flour (aka masa)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon large grain kosher salt)

3⁄4 cup water

Ok, the very first thing you do is thaw the frozen fish in the fridge. Yesterday. And then you get the fish out to warm up, a good hour or more before you start mucking about with flour and stuff.

And then ...

To the dry ingredients, add a shake of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, tarragon, black pepper, and Adobo. Mix well. In a measuring cup, add 2 tsp of cider vinegar and 1 or 2 tbs of lemon juice, fill up to the 3/4 cup line with cold water. Mix in to the dry ingredients. Decide it looks a bit thin, so add a heaping tablespoon of flour. Mix it again, making sure you get all the batter down off the sides of the bowl.

Drain and rinse the thawed fish, and pat dry. Pat dry again. Dredge each piece in some plain flour, let sit. Heat a small pan with 1/2 vegetable oil, 1/2 Vegetable shortening. Heat it to 360°F. Dip one piece of fish at a time in the wet batter, rolling it around to coat both sides. Lift it up with a fork and let it drip, then esae it into the pan. Sure, use your deep fryer if you have one. I don’t. But I used a small pan, so the hot oil came at least halfway up the fillet. Cook it for 3 of 4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. You want a nice golden brown, not a dark heavy brown. Remove when done, drain on paper towels, then serve with whatever sauce you use for fried fish.

It’s freakin awesome. I hadn’t planned to use the other frozen fillets until next week, but this is so good I immediately got them out to thaw for tomorrow. I never even made it to the table; I stood there at the stove eating one fillet while the other cooked. Wished I had some tartar sauce, but a splat of mayo with a squeeze of lemon was good enough.

I loves me dat fish.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/12/2015 at 09:33 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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