Friday, October 28, 2011

Red Snapper with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Shallots



Remember me?  I've been crazy, super lazy busy lately.  Yeah, busy.  Seriously.  I swear my absence has had nothing to do with lack of motivation.  Just busy, busy, busy.  Doing really important stuff.  So when I was looking for an easy preparation for some red snapper the other night, I was thrilled when I found this in Jacques Pepin's new book, Essential Pepin.  His description said "quick and easy".and he meant it.  This is a big-reward, little-effort recipe and seriously delicious.



This requires the massive effort of chopping one leek, a red bell pepper, a few shallots and maybe a few mushrooms (if you're like me, you'll buy the already sliced ones!).  Throw all of those into a pan along with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a cup of white wine and cover it up and bring it to a boil.  Let it simmer for a few minutes then add your fish, cover it again and let it simmer until it's cooked through.  That will only take a few minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.

See.....quick and easy!  I served this with roasted potatoes, because I was too lazy busy to make mashed potatoes but that would have been really delicious!

Here's the recipe:

Red Snapper with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Shallots
Essential Pepin, by Jacques Pepin

Ingredients:
1 small leek, trimmed (leaving some green) split, washed, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
3 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and cut into julienne strips (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/3 cup peeled and diced red bell pepper (I was too lazy busy to peel it)
1 cup dry white wine (such as Chablis)   (I used a Sauvignon Blanc because that what I had in my glass)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 skin-on red snapper filets (about 5 ounces each)  halibut and mahi-mahi also work
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:
Put all the ingredients except the fish and butter in a large stainless steel saucepan, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and boil gently for 3 minutes.

Add the fish, cover and cook for about three minutes or until just cooked through.

Arrange the filets on each of four plates.  Add the butter to the liquid in the sauce pan and bring to a strong boil.  Divide the mixture among the plates, spooning both sauce and vegetables on top of the fish and serve.





Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Five.....including Cupcakes!


1.  Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes topped with Peanutty Buttercream.  I was charged with bringing a sweet item to last week's tennis match and these were a huuuge hit.  They are a perfect combination of salty peanuts and peanut butter and on top of a moist sweet banana and chocolate chip cupcake.  I got the recipe out of The Butch Bakery Cookbook which is loaded with fabulous cupcake recipes "for dudes"!!  Their words, not mine.  All I can say is my entirely female tennis team must have "dude" taste buds.

2.  Everyone knows that football season is usually my favorite time of year, but let's face it, both of my teams totally suck it this year.  Did you see that complete CHOKE at Nebraska last week.  Our back-up quarterback was so bad he's the biggest joke on the internet.  And speaking of joke and quarterbacks, how about Tony Romo?  I've been a Cowboys fan for 40 years, but I've officially pulled my "fandom" until they get rid of Tony "Oh No".   Sooooo, football's been a bit of a bummer this season.

3.  But, the good news is, college basketball officially kicks off tonight with Midnight Madness and all of the "experts" are calling for my Buckeyes to be a contender.  Can't wait to see the newly buff, Jared Sullinger in action.  He better still have that booty to back those boys outta the box!  If not, I'm sending him some of those cupcakes.




4.  I've recently discovered the huge time suck that is stumbleupon.com.  You tell them your interests, click on the "stumble" button and it will find website after website that appeal just to you!  There's even a Stumbleupon app for your iPad.  Fabulous!

5.  And finally, unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks you've heard of "Occupy Wall Street".  I have my own opinions about all that which I'm sure you'd be interested in, but the best thing to come out of it has to be when one college football fan decided to join the movement and add his own hilarious twist in the form of  "Occupy Herbstreit".   One of the wittiest things I've found on the internet in ages.  His list of thirteen demands is downright genius!  Follow him on twitter @LostGamedayFan


Here's the recipe for the cupcakes:

Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcake with Peanutty Buttercream
The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick with Janice Kollar
Yield:  12 jumbo or 18 regular cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, broken into a small bowl
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mashed very ripe banana, about 3 medium
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, tossed in 1 teaspoon cake flour

Buttercream Ingredients:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not freshly ground)
1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted through a strainer
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch salt

Topping:  (Optional)
3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Cupcakes:  Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.  Line two 6-cup jumbo-size muffin pans with liners and set aside.

Place a strainer over a medium-size mising bowl and sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In another medium-size mixing bowl, with an electric miser on medium-high speed, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla, beating until combined.  Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk and beat on low speed just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Stir in the mashed banana, combining well and then the chocolate chips.

Fill each prepared muffin cup with a rounded 1/3 cup batter, about 3/4 full.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 24 minutes.  Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.

Buttercream:  In a large-size mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and peanut butter together until creamy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, reduce the speed to medium, and add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, and salt, beating on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until very smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Cupcake Construction:  Top each cupcake with a heaping tablespoon of the frosting and using a butter knife or small offset spatula, smooth the frosting on the top of each cupcake.  Sprinkle the tops with 1 tablespoon of the peanuts, if desired.  Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to  days in an airtight container or frozen for 1 month.

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