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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zucchini Fries with Lemon Aioli

Sometimes in order for the world to be set straight you need a little fried food in your life. Of course I couldn't help myself from trying to create some element of health into this equation, end result: delicious fried zucchini spears with a  lemon aioli for dipping. Fried foods I seem to be getting the hang of, the aioli however was a first for me and I was honestly surprised that it turned out as well as it did! If I can do it so can you, so jump on in, let's fry some stuff! 

 Fried Zucchini: (enough for 4 to share)
3 smallish zucchinis, ends discarded and cut into 1/2" spears
1/2 c. flour + 1/4c. for dusting
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. COLD Crispin Browns Lane Cider 
(any other seasonings you want to add flavor/spice-I tossed in a little cayenne)
Oil for frying-I like canola

Lemon Aioli: (makes about a half cupish)
Juice & zest from half a large lemon
1/2 tsp. smooth dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt and Pepper to taste
(or other seasonings to taste!)

1) Start with preheating your oil. Oil should be in a heavy duty pan, pour oil up to about
    5"in depth. I love using my trusty thermometer for making sure I have the right temp, 375.
    Let it heat a little slower on medium-high.
2) Aioli time! In a food processor or a blender if you have a good one; add lemon juice and zest along
    with the garlic and process until garlic is well minced. Add in mustard and egg yolk and pulse until
    smooth and incorporated. SLOWLY! add in the oil with the motor running. You should aim to
    achieve a really even and thin stream of oil. You'll be able to see the change in texture when the
    oil is almost completely added. It will seem a little thin, cover and refrigerate until needed, it will
    thicken a bit it the fridge.
3) Zucchies! Combine 1/2c. flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl, set aside. In a shallow pan pour
    the remaining 1/4 c. flour and dredge each zucchini spear lightly in the flour and set aside. Now
    make sure your oil is at a steady 375 and then pour the cider into the flour mixture. Whisk and
    dip each spear in to coat well. Gently dip them into the oil 4-5 at a time and wait till they are nice
    and golden brown before carefully transferring them to a paper towel lined plate to drain. You
    might need to let the oil get back to temp for a second, but do move fast if you can, they are best
    hot and crispy! Serve with your delicious aioli!

Slow and steady wins the race! 

Ommm nom nom! What a great after work snack! And there's plenty of left over cider too, it surely didn't hurt the cause :) 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Paella! Pah-ye-ya!

Oh hiiiii! Nice to see you again, I was just sitting here drooling whilst I reminisced over how delicious this paella was. What's that? You want me to share my recipe with you?! Well, alright, twist my arm...

I dreamed up this paella for my mother's recent visit, she only had a few days and wanted to see everyone she could while she was in town. It went without question that she would want some friends over to visit, I had to come up with something not too difficult that I could feed a bunch of people with. Paella seemed a clear choice. It's great for summer and I love anything that I can serve family style. 
 Lucky for me I also really enjoy entertaining and her friend's company! She's kept good friends for most of her life so they've watched me grow up, almost like aunties.

Ok, so quit yapping and get to the paella making right? Right. 

Chicken, Chorizo & Shrimp Paella: (enough for a small army of say 6-8 people)

4 Tbsp. olive oil

6 oz. chorizo sausage
3 small chicken breasts

1 onion, chopped (see onion chopping tutorial below)
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped

3/4 c. Crispin Brut Cider
3 1/2-5c. chicken stock
12 oz. Arborio rice
1 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp. turmeric
small pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp. spanish smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 c. thawed frozen green peas
12 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
Lemon wedges

1) Ok, I know you're looking at that thinking it's complicated but it's really easy if you do your
    prep work right. So there's about 4 steps to great paella, just have everything ready to toss in
    and it's as easy as stirring for awhile.
2) In a 16" paella pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken on all sides, 3-5 min.
    Add in the chorizo and cook another couple minutes. [If you don't have a paella pan that big,
    just cook the chicken & chorizo until it is done and set aside to mix in later.] Add in the onions,
    scallions, garlic and pepper and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes.
3) Add in the rice and toast 2-3 minutes before adding in 3 1/2 c. stock, the cider, hot sauce, and
    all herbs and spices (thyme, bay, turmeric, etc.) Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer 15
    minutes, stirring occasionally.  
4) Continue to check the doneness of the rice every 5 minutes thereafter, adding stock if it seems
    to be getting too dry before the rice is done. Also a good time to adjust spice levels and salt to your
    taste. (I used all my stock and added a little more cider too-for good measure of course!)
5) When the rice seems to be just about done, toss in your shrimp and peas. Add a little lemon if you
     please, and cook until the rice and the shrimp are done. (If you are using two pans you could go
     ahead and cook the shrimp up with the meats to get them hot again and stir them in before
6) Garnish with some parsley and serve with extra lemon wedges on the side.
When I first learned how to properly cut an onion it changed my life. I used to sit there hacking away at it like a maniac until I could  finally coerce it into haphazard pieces with a face full of tears. Don't be afraid. The onion is your friend. As long as you get it out of your face quickly and don't breath...
1) Cut your onion in half lengthwise.
2) Leaving the root nub intact, carefully cut down the length of the onion, making sure to leave it partially intact by the root.
3) Holding onto the nub end, make your next cuts horizontally until you reach the end. Now you're a pro, easy right? 

"The Claw"-safe chopping habits people! 

I'll miss this dining room so much! We're moving on up-no more renting for this missy, I'll soon be a proud homeowner! 
This was good eating! All the guests said it was great, I chose to believe them. I know this might seem a little intimidating, but as long as you set yourself up well by prepping your ingredients I swear it's really a simple dish. Feel free to get ahold of me if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!
Follow me on Twitter @CrispinKatie so you don't miss any posts or sign up for emails when I add something new! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cider & Rosewater Bellinis

Oh you breezy summer days, slowly trying to creep past me unnoticed and slip away, off into the distance... Well not today, today I claim you and take you and keep you for my own. Today I will bask in your glory and sip lightly on my delicious cocktail creation because this day was mine to take. And take I did. And so can you. Step 1: make this drink. Step 2: stop doing things, sit, bask. 

Cider & Rosewater Bellini: 
Bubbly-I chose a more fruity variety, Sofia Blanc de Blancs 
3 Peaches, nice and ripe
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 oz. Rosewater 

1) Peel and remove the pits from the peaches. Toss into a blender or a food processor with the 
    lemon juice and Rosewater. Puree for 30 seconds or so, or until the mixture seems smooth. 
    Add more lemon if needed so that it's pourable. 
2) Add a 1/4 oz-1/2 oz of peach puree to the bottom of a champagne flute. Fill halfway with cider
    and finish off with sparkling wine. To cut corners, just fill a pitcher with half cider and sparkling 
    wine, pour slow! 

Millions of peaches, peaches for me...

If and only if you happen to have food grade roses laying around, you can use the petals to garnish your drinks; but say you're a normal person and don't, I think they are beautiful as-is. Or a little twist of lemon would look lovely as well.
I love this drink because: it makes an awesome accompaniment to brunch, it's really easy, if you have leftover puree you can use it later, and it tastes like a nice dream.