Monday, August 29, 2005

Grandma Clarke's Fish 'n Chips

Much as I love beer batter fish, this is still my favorite!

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder (not soda!)
1/2 tsp salt
enough water to make a batter about the consistency of thin pancake batter (probably just a little more than 1 cup)

Dip your fish (or your potato slices--see Mark's recipe) in batter. Deep fry until just golden. Drain on paper towels. Blanch your french fries in the oil and drain them on paper towels, as well. Then fry everything again until nicely browned--frying twice makes your fish 'n chips nice and crisp--never soggy!

Side note: I know this sounds really gross--and I've never tried eating them--but a college roommate of mine loved deep fried dill pickles (said in Ohio, they actually had fast food chains that served them); I fried some pickles in this batter (whole pickles, not sliced) and she loved them.


Sunday, August 28, 2005


This recipe comes originally from an Ojibwa guide in Minnesota. I got it from a book published by the people who make Rapala and Normark filet knives titled HOW TO CLEAN A MESS OF FISH WITHOUT MAKING A MESS OF THE FISH. It is wonderfully simple!


2 cps Aunt Jemima's Original pancake mix (do NOT use any of the just add water variety)
1/2 tsp Salt
flat beer
about 1 cup flat beer (perhaps a bit more)

enough flour or pancake mix to dredge fillets in

dredge fillets in flour/mix and place on a wire rack to dry for about an hour

Mix pancake mix and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in enough beer to make a thin batter. Batter should be just thick enough to cling to fish fillets.

In deep fryer, dutch oven or deep skillet, heat peanut oil to 360 degrees (if using skillet, you need at least 2" of oil). Dip fillets in batter then plunge into the oil, a few pieces at a time. When edges start to brown, turn the filets and cook a couple of mins more, until entire filet is nice and golden brown.

This recipe works particularly well with Haddock, Sole, Cod, White Perch, Yellow Perch and Smelt. It may over power Walleye a bit (I prefer my Walleye dredged in Martha Whites Self Rising White Cornmeal (with salt and pepper) and panfried.

This is also a marvelous Onion Ring batter. And try making " Specials", potato slices (about 1/4") dipped in batter and deep fried. My very English grandmother explained the name this way. Potatoes deep fried are just chips, but potatoes battered and deep fried are "special"

My sister has my grandmother Clarke's FISH AND CHIPS recipe. Perhaps she could be coaxed into publishing it!

posted by Mark

Thursday, August 25, 2005


With Labor Day weekend coming up soon, I thought a few more recipes for the grill might be in order.

Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breast - A few years ago, I had a LTR with a woman with four children ranging from early teen to young adult. Of all the things we did on the grill, this was her kids favorite. For Karen and Daniel:

INGREDIENTS (for each serving you need)
a boneless Chicken Breast fillet (half of a whole boneless breast)
1 slice Muenster Cheese, folded in thirds
1 pc thickly sliced Bacon (or, in the case of WC, SME, and Mr. A, Back Bacon)
a fruity BBQ GLAZE, like Teriyaki, Hawaiian, or Cherry

With a tenderizing mallet, pound breast thin and flat. Place the folded Muenster Cheese in center. Wrap like you would a burrito, ends first, and secure with toothpicks. Secure one end of Bacon slice to end of Chicken with a toothpick, and wrap around to other end securing with toothpick. Place seam side down, directly over coals. Cook about 10 min, or until bacon crisps a bit (you may want to keep spray bottle of water handy to control flare ups). Turn seam side up, spread with glaze, cover grill, and cook about 10 min more, or till bacon crisps.

Alternative recipe - prepare coals as for Pulled Pork BBQ. Flatten Chicken Breast with mallet. In center, place one slice Canadian Bacon (or for SME, WC, and Mr. A, Bacon) and folded Muenster Cheese. Wrap like you would a burrito, securing with toothpicks. When coals and chips are ready, place seam side up over drip pan, cover grill, and cook about 50 min. Pour on glaze, cover grill, and cook about 10 mins, or till sauce starts to carmelize.

Fabulous Country Ribs
I much prefer Country Ribs to their much less meaty cousins, Spare Ribs!

Prepare grill as described for Pulled Pork. Rub down ribs with KC Masterpiece Rub or Lowery's Seasoned Salt. Add a kettle of boiling water to the drip pan, and arrange ribs on grill over pan. Cover grill and cook until easily pierced with a fork, about 75 mins. Remove to plate.

Remove grill and empty the water from the drip pan. Return pan and grill and arrange ribs over pan. Liberally spread ribs with your favorite BBQ Sauce. Cover grill and cook until sauce starts to carmelize, 10-15 min.

Perfect Roasted Corn On the Cob
Soak unshucked ears in bucket of water for at least a half an hour. Place ears on grill directly over coals. Grill, turning frequently till outside leaves are thoroughly charred. Pull leaves off ear (the silk will amazingly come right off with the leaves). Serve with butter, salt and Parmesan Cheese.

Serve with Skillet Beans, Barb's Mexican Salad, and Mom's Strawberry Refrigerator Cake, and you'll have a Labor Day to really celebrate!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ice Cream Topping

The original recipe for this came from the Detroit Free Press and is supposed to be an imitation of Sanders' Hot Fudge. It is very rich and absolutely delicious--here is my version:

Bring to boil in 2 quart saucepan:

2 sticks butter
1 cup simple syrup (fill a jar a little more than 3/4's full with sugar and then fill to within about an inch of the top with warm water. Shake well and let sit until sugar is dissolved.)
12 oz. Nestle's milk chocolate chips (actually I think they now come in 11 oz bags--still works)

Add one can sweetened condensed milk and return just to boil.

Done! Serve warm:)

Variations: try using semi-sweet chocolate chips (my favorite), Butterscotch chips (best to use Nestle's--they melt the smoothest), or Reese's Peanut Butter chips. Ummm...they're all good!

Makes about 5 cups.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Mexican Salad

This is a do-it-yourself, layered salad. It's Katie's favorite--she always requests it for her birthday dinner (and so, usually, does Krista)!

Salad Ingredients:
Green Pepper
Ranch Dressing

Meat Mixture:
1 lb ground beef
(1) 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 package taco seasoning mix (I usually use Ortega)

Brown ground beef and add remaining ingredients. Simmer until mixture cooks down and thickens. Serve warm.

Okay, so here's the plan: On your plate layer Fritoes, then lettuce, then meat, then cheese. Top with desired veggies and Ranch dressing. Enjoy!


Saturday, August 06, 2005

GRAHAM CRACKER/BANANA CAKE, and easy Snack Cookies

When I was a kid, this was absolutely my favorite desert! It still ranks pretty high on my list. I'm not sure where my mom got this recipe, but I suspect it might be the Womens Home Companion Cookbook (circa 1941).

This is a terrifically easy no bake recipe that you can expand infinitely depending on the size of the crowd. Each cake serves about 6.

1 stack Graham Crackers (1/4 box)
bananas, sliced 1/4" thick

Buttercream Frosting
1 lb Powdered Sugar
1 stick Butter (softened)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cp milk

place a graham cracker on a plate. Cover with a layer of banana slices. Repeat until you've used up the crackers (ending with a cracker on top).

In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, milk and vanilla till smooth and fluffy. Frost cake.

Let this cake sit a few hours before serving so the crackers soften. Mom always sliced this cake. I prefer to cut it in quarters so everyone gets big pieces and plenty of frosting!

What to do with left over frosting?
mix in some peanut butter and/or cocoa. apply to a graham cracker in a thick layer. top with another graham cracker. duplicate this process until you've run out of frosting. call the kids. serve with milk.