Hush Puppies

Now that summer is here seafood season is in full swing here on the Eastern Shore. We had our first taste of crabs Memorial Day weekend. People have been catching black drum, rockfish, and flounder right and left. And, thanks to new breeding practices our salty Chincoteague oysters are available all year round now.

Naturally, there’s nothing that we love more than a good old-fashioned seafood boil or fish fry. And, no seafood feast is complete without a good hush puppies. The little seafood spot (Ray’s Shanty if you’re curious – great food too!) where I go to buy my seafood makes the best in the world. They have a ton of flavor with the addition of onion, yet are dense and light at the same time. I always end up eating too many of those, and then never any room for my meal…

This was my first attempt at making them at home, and they turned out great. I used a recipe from Saveur that looked promising. They were super easy to make, and quickly fried up to perfection once the “rise” was complete. It’s almost a proofing process – you mix up the batter, then let it sit for an hour to leaven. This made a light and airy hush puppies that had a wonderful texture on the inside, and a perfectly golden crunchy exterior.

It makes a lot of hush puppies though – like around thirty. I think next time I’ll probably cut the recipe in half for our family.

Hush Puppies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 large yellow onion, grated
Canola oil, for frying
Tartar sauce, for serving

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir together buttermilk, eggs, and grated onion with their juice in a medium bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Set aside to rest for 1 hour.

Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Using a tablespoon, drop small rounds of batter into the oil, making sure to not crowd the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through, until golden on the outside and crisp, about 3–4 minutes.

Remove hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce on the side for dipping.

Source: Saveur

Coconut Cream Pie

It’s been a long road finding the right recipe for the perfect coconut cream pie – but I think I’ve finally found it! I’d tried a couple recipes and none of them seemed to work out exactly as I’d liked. It was always one thing or another…my inability to work with pie crusts, the filling wasn’t firm enough, or there wasn’t enough REAL coconut flavor.

The flavor of this pie is out of this world thanks to the clever use of coconut milk in the custard portion of the pie. Then with the addition of a bit of coconut and vanilla extract, it really puts it over the top. The pie is then topped with a layer of lightly sweetened whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut for another dose of coconut.

It set up and cut beautifully, something that always makes me a little bit nervous when it comes to pies. This is one I’ll be coming to again and again, as it’s such a classic. Now I can move onto tackling the next thing on my hit list – lemon meringue. Have a good weekend everyone!

Source: adapted from Fav Family Recipes

Chicken Paillard with Tomato-Olive Salad

I don’t know about where you guys call home, but it’s definitely starting to warm up around here. I try to keep the A/C off as long as I can, have the windows open – we live in an old home that gets great cross-breezes. On those evenings a really light dinner is a welcome change, not to mention one that can be cooked outside on the grill, to not add any more unwanted heat to the house.

This is another recipe that I came across and tried in the second edition of the Sopranos cookbook. I can just envision Carm, Rosalie, and Adriana sitting around gabbing over something at Vesuvios eating something similar to this. It’s doesn’t really get simpler – basically, a grilled seasoned chicken breast that’s served with a quick salad tossed with a vinaigrette on top.

Figure-friendly, yet still tons of flavor and delicious. Fills you up without bogging you down. And, is super quick. All of those things are welcome in the summer months around here!

Chicken Paillards with Tomato-Olive Salad

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme or basil, chopped

For the salad:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 cups salad greens
2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup black olives(such as Gaeta or Kalamata), pitted and coarsely chopped

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Place a chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound the chicken until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken. Place the pieces in a bowl and toss them with the oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the salad greens, tomatoes, and olives to the bowl on top of the dressing – but do not toss until ready to serve.

Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about 7-9 minutes on each side, depending on their size. You want an internal temperature of 165 and the juices should be clear. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes. You could also certainly cook the chicken breasts on a grill pan or skillet inside.

Arrange the chicken on plates. Toss the greens, tomatoes, and olives with the dressing. Place the salad on top of the chicken and serve immediately.

Source: barely adapted from Entertaining with the Sopranos

Black Forest Cheesecake Cupcakes

You can’t go wrong with cheesecake. Especially cheesecake in cupcake form. These little individual servings are perfect to take to a potluck or cookout. If you manage to get them out of your house before you consume them all!

The base is made from a basic Oreo crust, then filled with a luscious chocolate cheesecake filling. Then they’re baked, cooled, and topped with cherry pie filling and homemade whipped cream. Some chocolate shavings would also do nice for garnish sakes, but I was feeling especially lazy the evening I made these and just enjoyed them without. I didn’t miss them.

I think I might try a spin on this using fresh raspberries when I find them on sale this summer. Or, I bet strawberries would be great too. Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: adapted from Cooking Classy