Herby Breaded Tilapia

Let me start out by saying that I have not been a fan of tilapia in the past, but that. has all. changed. This pan fried, breaded, seasoned tilapia is tender, flaky, moist, flavorful, delectable, restaurant-grade, and generally amazing. Oh, and it was cooked by El Gastronomo. He is the fish and seafood expert, and knows how to make southern food gourmet style. Pair this moist fish with a few hush puppies, tender, buttered corn on the cob, and apple bran muffins, and you’ll have a knock your socks off meal sure to impress your family and friends. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, El Gastronomo, and Queenbee. Now for a few words on frying safety with El Gastronomo.

The Chef: “El Gastronomo, it has been some time since you have made your presence known on this website, but you sure know how to make a comeback! Anyway, ya got any tips on frying safety” El Gastronomo: “When frying fish it is always prudent to flip it away from you so that you will not be splattered with hot oil. Also, remember to keep all flammable materials away from the gas flame (as he sets an oven mitt on fire). The Chef: “Your oven mitt is on fire.” El Gastronomo: “Yikes! (extinguishes fire under running water). The Chef: “And this, chefs, is why we should always pay attention to food safety tips.” 

We turn to Queenbee for objective criticism.

The Chef: “Queenbee, you being a expert in the southern food category, please tell us what you thought of this dish.” Queenbee: “I thought it was amazingly delicious and extremely flavorful.” The Chef: “Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?”

The Ingredients: 8 tilapia fillets, 2 cups onion flavored hush puppy mix, 1 cup water, 1 egg, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 tsp. italian seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, 1 tsp. garlic powder.

Heat the chicken broth in a small pot with the spices until it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and let sit until the the liquid is still. Add the fish fillets and let them marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, mix together the hush puppy mix, water, and egg. Add 1/4 cup more of water if the mix is too dry. When the tilapia fillets are done marinating, remove them from the marinade, allow to drain, and halve each one. Preheat your skillet to medium high heat, add one to two inches of olive oil. Cook the breaded fillets two at a time when the oil is hot. Fry until deep golden brown, this should take about three minutes on each side. Serves 8 to 10 people.

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Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake

Up here in the mountain country strawberries are ripe for the picking. I tell you what, there is nothing like picking your own berries and turning them into delicious treats. There’s just something about fresh fruit that says ‘summer’, don’t you think? Whether it be peaches, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries. I decided to use this in season deliciousness as an excuse to make a cold dessert that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake is smooth, creamy, and delicious with salty sweet hints of pretzel. And because of the addition of strawberries, it has zero calories and is therefore healthy!;) There is no better way to get your serving of fruits for the day! This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, The Health Inspector, and Friar Tyst.

The Chef: “Mr. Health Inspector, your thoughts on cheesecake?” The Health Inspector: “Well it’s pretty good I guess.” The Chef: “Except for the strawberries, right?” The Health Inspector: “Well you know how it is.”

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, first of all let me thank you for your excellent sous chef assistance. Second of all, what to you think of the flavor combination?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it tasted like cheese!” The Chef: “Granted, anything else?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it tasted like strawberries.” 

The Ingredients: 1 stick butter, 1 to 2 cups crushed pretzels, additional 1/2 cup roughly chopped pretzels,  1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 2 bars plain cream cheese, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 8 oz. tub whipped topping, 2 cups halved strawberries.

Melt the butter at 30 second intervals in your microwave. Using a fork, combine it with the crushed pretzels and graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of a large rectangular pan. Press the crust down firmly and refrigerate for one hour. Using a hand mixer, mix together softened cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, mixing between each addition. Place 1 cup of strawberries atop the crust. Top these with the cheesecake filling. Now add the remaining strawberries and chopped pretzels. Refrigerate for three to four hours, or until you are ready to serve it. Serves 6-8 (if they’re not ‘starving’)

Beautiful food, delicious food……CHEESECAKE GOODNESS!!!!

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

For a baker, the long-standing debate as to the best way to make a chocolate chip cookie is usually solved through personal preferences. Every once in a while a cookie comes along that is enjoyed by many different tastes, and thus we label it THE BEST chocolate chip cookie. However, I prefer to enjoy all types of cookies equally rather than labeling any one as THE BEST one. That being said, today I am sharing with you one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes, they are crispy and chewy on the outside, yet soft and chocolatey on the inside. This is because they are made with special, all natural ingredients.;) Dark Brown sugar is obviously the healthier choice when it comes to sugar options. Not only that, but it gives baked delicacies a dense richness that could never be achieved through using the stereotypical “white sugar”. As for all-natural cane sugar, just know that it provides cookies with intriguing little bursts of crunchy sweetness throughout.

The Ingredients: 1 1/2 to 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup all natural cane sugar, 1 stick butter (salted), 1/4 to 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Soften the butter until partially melted, add the egg and both sugars. Mix well and let sit while you measure out the other ingredients. Alternate adding the flour one cup at a time along with half of the oil, mixing well after each addition. Now add the salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips. Mix well. Grease a large cookie sheet with butter. Use a regular cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to form balls of cookie dough, when all the dough has been used, place these on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you used a cookie scoop you will probably get about sixteen cookies, but if you use an ice cream scoop you will most likely get a perfect dozen. Enjoy them!

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