Well, a number of things went on over the weekend. I am still contemplating some stuff I’d like to write more about, but I just don’t have the energy right now. Perhaps you’ll understand in a moment.
Friday I had the day off, so I went and picked up enough lumber to build a 12’ x 12’ deck and a new shiny stainless range hood and thermostat. Got the thermostat installed, started on the range hood. The old range hood was very precisely fitted into place. The range hood is also the only support for the vent duct. The lack of support complicated matters. I didn’t get that finished before I had dinner guests for a fish fry, it being Good Friday. So I gave up and went out back to fry hushpuppies, French fries, orange roughy, and shrimp. All and sundry were pleased with everything but the shrimp. I fried the shrimp a bit too long, so they were a tad chewy. The hushpuppies, while good, were lacking something. I need to try them again, perhaps with some chives added or some dill. Something, anyway. I used the recipe from one Paula Deen’s cookbooks and I can replicate it from memory, as modified by me.
1-1/2 cups cornmeal
½ cup all puprpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 onion, chopped
1 cup buttermilk
J doesn’t like the texture of onion, so we grind them in the food processor until they’re basically a liquid. This makes the batter a bit runnier than it would be otherwise, but who cares. Mix the dry in a bowl. Mix the wet in another bowl. Pour wet into dry and stir until you have complete mixing. Drop one tablespoon-ish (I think I used a #60 scoop) at a time into 350 degree oil and fry until they’re nice and brown. You’ll have to flip them to get ‘em brown on all sides, so a skimmer or something is essential.
The fish recipe is even simpler. Dredge fillets in flour, then egg, then coat with panko breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown, flipping as necessary. The panko breadcrumbs are key. The crust comes out absolutely fabulous, or so my tasters tell me. I don’t eat fish, so I need the feedback. Good thing I was feeding people who aren’t afraid to say things like “well, this tastes like ass” if, in their opinion, it does. Good feedback is essential to cooking. If everybody smiles and tells you how great it is, you’ll never improve. I am lucky to have tasters who will provide honest feedback and constructive suggestions. Of course, “throw it out and start over” doesn’t seem too constructive, but sometimes it’s what you need to hear.
Oh, yeah, I also beer battered some Portobello slices and fried them, mainly because they were lingering in the fridge almost too long. Use the beer batter recipe from The Joy of Cooking
and make sure you use good beer.
So Saturday we got up nice and early and went to NASA. We got a private behind–the-scenes tour from a friend of ours who is a Flight Controller for the ISS. More about that later, I think. Then we went to a birthday party for a 3-year old girl. Little girls squeal incessantly, by the way, but you probably knew that. We delivered the birthday gift (a pink bicycle) and I stayed home to throw up while J went off to Mass.
Sunday was sleeping late and the obligatory holiday meal with the extended family. I finished the day off by continuing my futile attempt to install the range hood. I’m within a quarter inch of where I need to be, after liberal use of duct tape in the attic and taking my handy Sears roto-tool to the cabinets. I had hoped to be done by last night, but alas. My weekend tasks and illness have crept over into the week. If I can muster up the energy, I will press on tonight. Deep ruminations on the events of the day will have to wait until I can summon up enough energy to cogitate effectively.