Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Very Berry French Toast Dessert

My crew likes dessert.  What can I say, it's just expected.  So, like all cooks, sometimes I come up with stuff just using what I have on hand.    This is one of those, and it's so good I make it fairly regularly.  The only thing special that you need is a bag of frozen berries, and I always have those around.  You could easily make this using half the egg yolks and Splenda if you're watching calories. 
I had a half a loaf of whole-wheat French Bread, left over from spaghetti the other night.  You can use any bread you happen to have around, as long as it's not garlic or some other flavored bread.  Lightly butter or spray a shallow pan and lay the bread it it, cut in slices about 1 inch wide.  
You can gauge the number of eggs by the slices of bread, in this case, I used 5 very large eggs.  (Sincere thanks to Mildred, Gertrude and Harriet.)   Mix the eggs with milk or a combination of milk and cream, about a 1/8 cup for each egg.  Mix well, and add sugar, about a heaping teaspoon per egg.  Add vanilla and some nutmeg, if you like.  Also a pinch of salt.  Then put your egg mixture over the bread and turn the bread over to get it all wet and covered.  Let that sit for about 30 minutes until the bread soaks up the egg mixture.  Then top it all generously with frozen berries and a light sprinkle of sugar over the berries.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  The eggs will get puffy and golden and the berries soft and glistening.  I like to shake powdered sugar over the berries before serving, usually with a dollop of cream.  Not as sweet as many desserts, but a winner nonetheless.  Don't you think?
P.S.  The leftovers make a pretty wonderful breakfast...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Chicken Spa

You might think this looks like 3 dead chickens.
But, no, this is a picture of 3 chickens in ecstacy.  Pure bliss.
They have a bucket of sand in their coop for bathing, but I'm sure that sand is cold.  And I rarely let them get up in the "dog" area, but today I did.  And they made a bee chicken line to the sand in Shady's Digging Spot.  They flopped and rubbed  and dug and flipped the sand up over their backs, and you could almost
 hear them moaning!  They carried on this way for about an hour, until Josephine just couldn't take any more, and so she put a stop to all their nonsense.  "Get back to your own part of the yard!" she said, "and go do your Chicken Thing."  And they did.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Robalo Zarandeado

Meet Mr. Snook. In spanish, Robalo.  He's a very unhappy looking fellow, isn't he?  Actually, maybe he's a she, or was.  They can change sexes at will.  Or, rather, as needed. ... Wow. 
Well, as I was about to say, snook are very, very fine eating.     
Now, as a New Mexican west Texas land-lubber, I don't know jack about fish, but I do know where to get the best Robalo ZarandeadoCuchupeta's in Villa Union, a pueblo 12km south of Mazatlan is famous for it's "Mariscos," or seafood.  Mario, the fish-monger in the town market of Villa Union, was happy to fill me in on how to prepare it "a las Cuchupetas".  This is a perfect Mexican beach meal, and you can prepare it on a grill or broil it.  Note: If you grill it you must cover with foil and flip it, cooking both sides.
So, what you need to do is find your way down to Mexico and get yourself a snook.  However, if you just can't get to Mazatlan,  you could make this dish with any whole edible fish.  The fish only needs to be gutted and butterflied.  Also, you will need a tomato, a bell pepper, a serrano chile, an onion, a lime, mayonaise and mustard.
Mario scaled, gutted and butterflied a snook for me, then he cut slices across the meat, skin side down.
First put the fish on a broiler pan or other large pan covered with aluminum foil.

 Sprinkle the fish with salt and soy sauce.

Then mix a cup of mayonaise with a teaspoon of mustard and the juice of a lime.

Paint the mayo mixture liberally over the fish flesh, and put it on the fins and tail because it makes it pretty when cooked.
Cut the vegetables in thin slices, and pile them on the fish.

Put all the remaining mayo in a big glop on the vegetables.
Slide it under the broiler for about 30 minutes.  When you take it out of the oven, check for done-ness.

Serve with hot corn tortillas, salsa and lime, and watch for bones!
Then, enjoy the spectacular sunset over the Pacific.