What have I been doing for the last month? Looking for catfish. Seems like it’s really tough to get here in New England in the summer. See, I have two recipes to go in Season 3 and I wanted to do the Catfish au Lait before the duck, so we can end the season with a little flair.
Anyway, after striking out on finding catfish locally – which is odd given the large amount of fishmongers here on the coast – I finally bit the bullet and had some shipped overnight to my house, to the tune of about $100. Was not thrilled about that, but, progress must be made!
To tell you the truth, I was not excited about this at all. I’ve eaten catfish before and thought it was kinda blech. But I vowed to keep an open mind, and I went ahead creating the poaching liquid and preparing my fillets. The recipe calls for using an electric skillet, but directly after finishing and serving the onion soup I gave it away. So instead, I brought the liquid to a bare simmer, popped on the cover, and turned off the heat for 9 minutes.
After nine minutes I opened the cover and tested the liquid temperature out of curiosity. It was still in the mid-140’s so not bad. Since I was doing this during lunch (so as not to risk ruining an entire dinner if it went poorly), we just put the fish out on the cutting board and went at it with a couple forks.
The fish was… fine. I mean, not terrible but also not amazing either. I don’t think I would really take the trouble to source catfish and do this again, that’s for sure. But at the same time we don’t regret eating it. Maybe my opinion is a little colored by the hoops I needed to jump through.
My goal of not leaving recipes that I’m not excited for to the end did not quite play out the way I’d hoped. One more to go in the season, though, and I have the duck on order already…
This is a two-for-one recipe, where we make the GE Court Bouillon first, and then use it as an ingredient to make something else. So we start with the court bouillon:
Once it was finished I strained it out to use as my poaching liquid.
I then brought it to a simmer and added a halved one-pound filet of striped bass. Even though the recipe for The Frenchman’s Bass didn’t call for it, I prepped the filets by seasoning them with salt and pepper first.
I brought the liquid back down to a bare simmer, covered the pan, and gave it 7 minutes to do its thing. I have to admit I was skeptical on this one, and so rather than making dinner, I did this up for lunch, alongside a simple Boston lettuce salad prepared by Gemma.
The fish was awesome. It came out really flaky and not dry at all. Poaching cooked it absolutely perfectly. Would definitely do this one again.
I’ve been looking forward to the Silence of the Leg O’ Lamb for a while, but for some reason had felt a little intimidated by it. Turns out that it was super easy and extremely delicious! I first started by making the seasoning paste, spreading it all over the inside of the roast, and trussing it all up into a nice little package:
Now in the show he uses a charcoal grill and makes a big deal about that. I’ve been game for obtaining lots of new gear during this project, but I couldn’t justify a charcoal grill for this one so I used my gas grill. To simulate what he did in this episode, I heated up my three-burner grill, then turned off the middle burner and set the side burners to about half power. This got me some nice indirect heat. To top it off, I wet a few rosemary sprigs, wrapped them in tin foil, poked a couple holes in it, and put the package on a burner towards the back of the grill. This created a nice rosemary smoke, which filled my porch as the lamb grilled.
I used a 2 pound boneless leg from Trader Joe’s. I flipped it after 20 minutes at which point the roast was about 95 degrees internal. After another 13 minutes, it hit 122 and I took it off the heat. Letting it rest for 10 minutes brought the leg up to about 138 – a few degrees past my target of 135, but that’s OK.
We sliced it up and served it simply with some roasted broccoli and rice pilaf. It was a hit! Very tender, juicy, and flavorful. Would definitely do this one again.
This one was a little annoying because I had to make a bunch of other stuff first so I had leftovers to make the hash with. So one evening I roasted up a couple of turkey tenderloins over red potatoes. This got me a few of the leftovers. I also needed to make a batch of cornbread pudding to go along with it.
I was a big fan of the pudding, and I might make it again some day. Once I had all of the leftovers, I could then make the hash this morning for breakfast:
This made a ton of hash, and it was pretty good. I gave the rest of it to my mother in law, and she really enjoyed it too.
As part of making a turkey dinner in order to make leftover hash (see next post), I figured I’d make In a Cranberry Jam to go along with the turkey.
It started by first making Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce:
Once the sauce was done (I saved some off for my turkey dinner), you then add more ginger ale and sugar and keep reducing it. The result is a tasty cranberry jam that was really good on leftover turkey sandwiches.
I had been waiting Pizza Pizzas, but since it takes some planning ahead to get the dough in the fridge about 24 hours before cooking, I’d been putting it off. But on Thursday I borrowed my neighbor’s Kitchenaid mixer complete with dough hook, and went to work. Dough always seems to complicated, and I never know if I’m doing it right, but I think it came together pretty well.
I left it in the fridge for about 24 hours, took it out, split it, rolled both balls again, and left them for an hour or so to come to temperature. I may have even been able to leave them out a little longer, but the dough was easy enough to work with (which is always something that frustrates me about making pizza at home – the dough springing back after you shape it).
I got two approximately 11” x 8” oval shaped pizzas. The first one I did with just cheese and the second one I topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions. I then cooked them on my baking steel rather than a stone like in the show. I don’t think that makes much difference.
I the end, the second one with the toppings was definitely our favorite (sorry AB). If I ever get myself a new mixer with a dough hook, I’ll be using this as my go-to pizza dough recipe from now on.
About a week ago I mixed up some Summer Fruits as my last foray into Season 3 pickling. I actually made it a week and a day ago, and today we cracked it open from the fridge.
Have to say I was skeptical about pickled fruit – but this recipe works. They are a little sweet, and a little tart, and quite tasty. I don’t think we’ll be craving them any time soon (“I really want some of those pickled plums!”) but they were an interesting flavor combo and a cool thing to try.
I started by making the dough for each batch and chilling them all together in the fridge for an hour or so. When it was time to bake, I took all three out of the fridge and cooked two types at once (I have 2 sheet pans), using a #20 scoop.
Cooking all those batches took hours, but I ended up with a ton of delicious cookies and the house smelled amazing.
So who won? Well they are all fantastic, but we definitely enjoyed The Puffy most of all. They are like little cakes. The Thin was second, followed by The Chewy. Not to say the chewy was bad – they are all wonderful cookies – it’s just the other two are that good.
Almost a month since I’ve gotten back to a Season 3 recipe – lots in between then and now, like a 2 week vacation in Florida, and a new puppy.
Started back into it with Home of the Braise, a red cabbage dish. We were not really big fans of this one either (both cabbage recipes from Season 3 have been disappointing). We won’t be making this one again.
I had high hopes for Shred, Head, Butter and Bread, but unfortunately it was a bit underwhelming. We do like cabbage generally, and this was OK (I went back for seconds) but I doubt we’d ever make this again.
I’d had the ingredients for Black Bean Salad for a while and I was running out of time before the parsley and cilantro spoiled. So, I thought I’d whip this up after dinner last night.
It was a pretty easy recipe to make, and while it was cooking I also prepared some Chipotle-style cilantro lime rice to eat along with the beans.
Once the beans were done, I added the oil, cilantro, lime juice, etc. and let them cool for a while before putting them in the fridge. To serve, I heat up some of the rice, then add the beans, then give it another minute or so in the microwave. Top with some sour cream and hot sauce and it’s one great meal!
When I want to have a bunch of black beans around, this is how I’ll prepare them.
I’ve never been a fan of bread and butter pickles, but I have to say, these were really good – probably the best B&B’s we’ve ever had, for what that’s worth. It might have to do with using only 2/3 the amount of sugar called for. I usually find B&B’s way too sweet, and these were just right. I found that they were particularly good on tuna fish sandwiches.
The curry cauliflower on the other hand… were not so good. The curry spices didn’t really come through, and they ended up tasting like vinegary cauliflower. We tried a few of them, and dumped the rest (forgot to get a pic until I was almost done dumping them, whoops!). I’m not sure if it was my error on this, but they were just… blah.
Made some quiche (oops, Refrigerator Pie) for brunch today and it turned out great! I used a gluten-free frozen pie crust, some spinach, shredded cheddar, and some diced up ham steak.
One thing I’ll do differently next time is squeeze out the spinach a lot more. I squeezed it in some paper towels, but probably not enough since it was a little bit watery.
I cooked it for 35 minutes, checked it, and then popped it back in for another 10.
This was so easy, and delicious. I will definitely be experimenting around with different types of quiches in the future.
Over the long weekend I got a few more season three recipes in. On Saturday I whipped up some Turbo Hummus as a snack. It was OK, tastes a bit like store-bought hummus. We gave it a 2 because we’ll eat it but probably won’t make it again.
For a Sunday pre-dinner snack I cooked up some Mojo Moulies, served with some sliced French bread. They were really good – a wonderful way to whip up some quick (and cheap!) shellfish. The sauce was awesome to dip bread into.
Finally (not here yet) I put together the Hurry Curry Cauliflower and got them into the fridge to pickle for a week before trying them.
I like the sours the best – I threw some dill into the jar like the comments on the recipe page suggested – and Gemma liked the firecrackers the best. Both are delicious and I’m looking forward to devouring both jars.
Finishing off the season three tofu recipes, I put together the Moo-Less Chocolate Pie for Friday night dessert.
It was super easy to put together, the texture is great, and it was super chocolatey. But… the inclusion of coffee liqueur (I used Kaluha) kind of ruined it for us. There’s a kind of “burn” from it. Were I to make it again, I’d use coffee or espresso instead, like was used in the chocolate mousse.
Now that we’re rolling off of the New Year’s diet break, it’s time to get back into this Good Eats project for real. We’ve recently taken up a liking for tofu, so we decided to start with a few more the recipes from the Tofuworld episode, beginning with Tall & Tangy Tofu Thangy.
Not a great start. The drink was just… blah. I mean, it wasn’t gross or disgusting, just not good, and besides the fact that it’s certainly a dairy-free frozen drink, we just didn’t see the point. This one went unfinished, even though it pains me to throw food away. Swing and miss, Alton.
For dinner, our main entree was Fillet O’Fu with some veggies on the sde.
Overall it was good, but a little dry and bland. We ended up dipping it in some hoisin sauce, which was delicious. Ultimately though, we like our usual method of frying tofu better: cubed, tossed with salt/pepper/corn starch, then pan fried and eaten over stir-fry.
I actually made this a week ago on Jan 11, but wanted to try it on a few things before giving it a rating. One cool thing about this recipe is that it was the first time I used the old stand mixer my sister gave me years ago. I started out trying to use the hand mixer with the whisk attachment but that failed miserably, so out came the stand mixer and things went swimmingly from there.
I ended up with a lot, so I left some for use now, and some to freeze log-style like in the show (mine didn’t come out as neat and tidy).
This stuff is fantastic. Among other things we’ve tried it on:
A great flavor boost for any of these. Looking forward to being off the low carb thing and trying it on some fresh, warm dinner rolls.
While we’re eating low carb, we might as well get some of the higher-fat recipes out of the way. So tonight I made up some Raymond Beurre Blanc to go along with some steak.
Also making an appearance was The Fungal Saute, a perfect accompaniment for steak, made extra delicious by the butter sauce.
We loved this, and it was really easy to make. It’ll be a go-to when I need a quick sauce. I did think it was a little too lemony/acidic for my taste, but Gemma didn’t. Next time though, I think I’ll try half the amount of lemon juice and see how that goes.
What better use for Poached Egg Tips than to make some Eggs Benedict? The challenge for us is we’re currently in a January low-card diet, but we made it work well!
First I got some poached eggs going.
Going to try and do Season 3’s low carb recipes as we take a bit of a diet in he new year. Last night we put together some salad with the No Guilt Caesar dressing.
I was skeptical of the tofu, but it was really good. The dressing was creamy, smooth, and garlicky. This probably won’t replace our favorite Caesar dressing from America’s Test Kitchen, but it was worth making and we’re going to finish the rest off over the next few days.
Season 3 has a few low-carb-friendly recipes so I’m going to try and get those done this month.
Progress has slowed a bit during the holidays but this week I decided to cook up a BBQ dinner featuring The Once and Future Beans along with some pulled pork sliders with cole slaw (slaw made by special guest chef Chris).
Cooked the beans for about 6 hours total, and added a little more liquid at the five hour mark when the beans were tender but not quite done yet.
Gave these a three only because I think I burned some of the bacon fat as I was rendering it and there are little chunks in the beans that tasted fine but made for a strange consistency.
Had Gemma’s sister, sister’s husband, and nieces over on Friday night and decided to incorporate some season 3 recipes into the weekend. For dessert on Friday I made the Flandango for everyone.
Like most of the desserts so far, it was the first time I’ve attempted it, and was a little nervous, but they were awesome. Used caramel, chocolate, and raspberry-apricot preserves as the toppings. Next time, I’ll cool them in the fridge before serving.
Saturday morning I made up a couple batches of the “Instant” Pancake Mix – one batch used regular AP flour and the other used gluten free AP flour.
Both types of pancakes came out great – we even had a bunch left over to freeze and eat later.
Had a few minutes free so thought I’d whip up some Honey Butter. Rather than use a pound of butter and a stand mixer, I just used a single stick and mixed it in a bowl with a fork.
Tried it on some toast and it’s amazing. Going to try it on some mashed sweet potatoes next, and then some pancakes this weekend. It’s delicious!
I wanted to get into Season Three right after Thanksgiving in order to have the raw materials for Bird to the Last Drop a.k.a. Good Eats turkey soup. I’m so glad I got the timing right, because this soup was so easy to make and so delicious.
Everyone loved it, served with some cut up Italian bread and butter. I just wish the recipe made more – next time will probably try adding another 32oz container of vegetable stock.