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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

I'm really missing a crab or shrimp shack in our area. However just because we don't have one in the Central or Northwest Arkansas parts of the state (or any other part, as well) doesn't mean me and #3 go without. In fact, tonight is the night for my favorite Shrimp Boil with Corn, New Potatoes, and Homemade Tartar Sauce. And, of course you know what the final compliment to this meal is...Di's Famous Hushpuppies! An easy way to have this seafood feast in less than and hour is as follows:

Shrimp Boil with Corn, New Potatoes, Homemade Tartar Sauce and Di's Famous Hushpuppies:
Serves: 2-4/Prep Time 10 Minutes/Cook Time 30 Minutes
For Shrimp Boil:
4 qts water
3 Tbs salt
1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbs Zatarain's  Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil
8 new potatoes, whole
3 fresh or frozen ears of corn, cut into halves
16 oz jumbo shrimp, EZ peel kind is great

1. In a 6 qt pot bring the water, salt, Old Bay, and Zatarain's to a boil on high heat. Cover and it boils faster.
2. When it boils add the potatoes and cook for about 8 minutes.
3. Then add the corn and cook all for another 8 minutes.
4. Lastly, add the shrimp and cook all for another 5-7 minutes or until the shrimp are slightly pink.
5. Drain and spread onto some newspaper for easy grabbing.

Homemade Tartar Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dill relish
 Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all together and chill till ready to serve.

Di's Famous Hushpuppies:
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs onion, chopped
3 Tbs jalapeƱo pepper, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
Buttermilk to thicken
Fresh oil for frying, heated to 350 degrees

1. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
2. Add the onion and pepper.
3. Make a well or hole in the middle of ingredients and add the egg and buttermilk to thicken. The batter should be thick enough to drop into the oil without all running away from you.
4. Drop by tablespoonfuls or small ice cream scoopfuls into the prepared oil. Turn and fry till golden brown. Keep oil temp correct for perfect frying and don't take out too early or they will be gooey in the middle!

I never met a hushpuppie I didn't love...Love, Di

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

     I just found this great Corn-meal Fried Onion Rings recipe from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten on Foodnetwork! Of course I have been cooking like this for years...battering up my fried thangs with that great Southern staple...cornmeal. Now, even those darn Yankees are gonna know what a nice crunch cornmeal adds to any fried recipe. I really do admire Ina for daring to bring a little bit of South to the Hamptons! She is my favorite cook...East of the Mississippi, that is.

Sweet cornbread dreams...Di

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

I thought I knew everything there was to know about cooking a great skillet of cornbread until I saw Down Home with The Neely's on Food Network the other day. You know Pat and Gina Neely...that sickening sweet little couple from the Memphis area who cook, grill, chat, and love each other sooo much in the kitchen. I think if #3 was in my kitchen as much as Pat (isn't he suppose to be out grilling or something) is in Gina's, there would be an open door for #4 to come rushing in!

Oh well, the forever loving Neely's taught me something new and I do thank them for that...just add some butter to my basic cornbread recipe (in a couple of ways) and watch that little bit of heaven come out of the oven and onto the table for all the family and friends to gush about how really golden and tasty my cornbread has gotten to be! Hum-mm, nice to know that I am still able to adapt and improve upon something I thought I had been doing perfectly all these years.

How to make Golden Skillet Cornbread Inside and Out:
Servings: 8/Prep Time 5 minutes/Cook Time 25 minutes
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon oil (plus a little extra for coating the 10 1/2 inch iron skillet*)
1 tablespoon melted butter** (plus a little extra for coating the 10 1/2 inch iron skillet)
1 cup buttermilk (or a little extra) if needed to make a pourable batter)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat the little extra oil and butter together in a 10 1/2 inch iron skillet.
2. Stir together the first five (dry) ingredients.
3. In another bowl mix the eggs, 1 tablespoon each of oil and melted butter, and the buttermilk.
4. Make a well or hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture; stir just till blended. Pour into the prepared 10 1/2 inch iron skillet with the oil and butter heating up.
5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Invert (or not); cut into wedges. Serve immediately.

*  Gosh, Dear CB Diary...can you ever ever imagine what cornbread would taste like if it weren't cooked in an iron skillet! I pity the poor fool who doesn't own one.
** This is the secret to golden cornbread inside and out...adding butter to the skillet and the batter!

Until next time...Love, Di