Sunday, September 16, 2007

"The Menu" Weekend Update

A hodgepodge of activities marked this week. By and large we stayed with "The Menu" though we did have to move things around a bit to accommodate for previously scheduled "events" that I failed to remember...

Let's start by sharing a couple of recipes from The Menu. The Slow Cooker Pinto Beans served with a Cole Slaw side and Corn Bread was basic and good. No complaints from my fellow diners. Made for some great leftovers. The biggest compliment was for the cornbread and I would have to agree. On to the recipes:

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans (CrockPot):

2: Smoked Ham Hocks
1: Small Onion
1: Lb Dry Pinto Beans
1: Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2: Teaspoon Oregano
1/2: Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper To Taste

Put ham hocks on the bottom of your slow cooker. *(I added 4 smoked pork chops to this recipes for the added meat. I would trim the pork from the bone. Remember to put the meat and ham hocks on the bottom of your slow cooker - with the smoked pork chops I could have eliminated the ham hocks.) Lastly, I would go very easy on the salt, if at all, if you are using smoked meat. And you MUST used smoked meat for flavoring :)

Important - Wash your beans! Soak overnight in cold water. Do not soak with the ham hocks. Drain the beans and dump into slow cooker. Add water to cover beans. Stir in chili powder, garlic powder and oregano.

Add 4 to 5 small whole red potatoes and onion cut into quarters to the beans. Salt and pepper to taste. Add enough water to cover everything.

Cover the pot and cook on High for 5 hours. Reduce to a Low setting for an additional 2-3 hours.

Before serving, I take out the ham hock and cut off the meat returning the meat to the beans, discarding everything else.

Southern Cornbread:

2: Cups of Yellow Self-Rising Cornbread
2: Eggs
2: Tablespoons Cooking Oil or Bacon Grease
2: Tablespoons Butter
1 & 1/2: Cup of Milk (I like to use Buttermilk)
1: Tablespoon Plus 1 Teaspoon of Sugar

10" Cast Iron Skillet

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Be careful not to let the butter burn.

In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal and sugar.

In a separate mixing bow, beat the two eggs adding the cooking oil and milk. Mix well.

Add cornmeal/sugar mixture to the eggs, oil and milk. Do Not over-stir. Just stir with a spoon or fork until the lumps are broken up and mixed in.

Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Swirl the butter around to coat the bottom. Slowing pour or spoon the cornbread mixture into the skillet. Some of the butter will come up over the edges. That's cool.

Stick the skillet back into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees (F). This recipe works well for cast iron cornbread sticks as well.

We are always looking for faux fried food recipes. You know the kind I'm talking about. Prepared in the oven and using your best imagination, you convince yourself it's as good as fried.


Still, we try. And this next recipe, Oven Fried Crispy Shrimp was actually quite good. Good enough in fact that we are going to try it again just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. A very pleasant surprise it was. Of course, having the river full of fresh shrimp this time of year doesn't hurt...

Oven Fried Crispy Shrimp

1: Lb Shrimp, Pealed and De-veined.
1 & 1/2: Cups of Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or Plain Breadcrumbs
2: Teaspoons Paprika
2: Large Eggs (I needed 3)
1/2 Cup Flour
Vegetable Oil (I used olive oil)
Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Brush a large baking sheet lightly with oil. Set to the side.

In a medium bowl, combine panko and paprika.

In another medium bowl, whisk eggs together with salt and pepper.

In yet another medium bowl, combine shrimp and flour. Working with 3-4 shrimp at a time, shake off excess flour, coat with the egg mixture and dredge in the panko mixture. Transfer to baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet (covered) in the refrigerator until ready for the oven.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees (F). Remove shrimp from refrigerator. Lightly dab a bit of oil onto the shrimp. Place in oven and bake until golden and crisp, approximately 10-12 minutes.

*I may add a dash or two of hot pepper sauce to the egg mixture and a 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning to the breadcrumb/paprika mixture next time. I thought it could use a little more kick but the oven-fried taste was very good.



amy said...

these are awesome. Im too afraid to attempt cornbread..I just know it will be flat

m said...

yum. The shrimp look good. Do your children know about this recipe? Guess they do now. I think they may have cooked it every other way!

Wendy said...

The shrimp look awesome!!

redmaryjanes said...

That shrimp looks so good!!!

rubyiscoming said...

hmmm....I'm skeptical, cuz I do LOVE ME some good fried shrimp, but I'll have to give this a try! :)

Courtney Mei & her Guinness said...

Okay, shrimp is my absolute favorite food item! My mouth is watering!!