This Method of Making Sweet Iced Tea Might Be Even Sweeter — May 10, 2021

This Method of Making Sweet Iced Tea Might Be Even Sweeter

Cold brew tea doesn’t only taste great, cold brewing also has many more benefits…such as ensuring that you end up with perfectly smooth every single time.

Cold brewing also is much easier because you don’t have to worry about your tea becoming too bitter because you have used the wrong water temperature or let the tea steep for too long….which is especially great when you are making black tea.

Tea often turns bitter when the tea has released too many of tannins…(discussed in the first post of this series about Making the Perfect Iced Tea.

Cold brewing brings out the flavors of the tea more gently and causes the tea to release fewer of the tannins…making the tea less bitter.

Also you will probably need less sweetener with the cold brew method of brewing tea as opposed to the hot brew method because. the tea will maintain more of its natural sweetness.

However, cold brewing does require more time and planning ahead.

So let’s talk about HOW to make the best cold brew iced tea before we start adding sugar and spice and everything nice…to make the tea actually interesting.

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The “Recipe”

The “cold brew method” is the easiest and simplest method of making tea and there probably doesn’t even need to be a “recipe” per se for making cold brew iced tea of coffee.

Simply put three tea bags or one teaspoon of loose tea for every one cup of water into a container, such as a large Mason jar…add your water…shake or stir until all the leaves are saturated with water…close the lid…and finally stick in your fridge for as long as you’d like.

You can steep the tea leaves for as few as four hours, but letting it steep overnight will yield the best results.

Once you are ready to drink or serve your tea, simply strain the leaves, add ice and whatever “other stuff” you’d like…(more on this later)…

Making the Perfect Chowder — November 23, 2020

Making the Perfect Chowder

Don’t Be a Dumbo About Making Gumbo —

Don’t Be a Dumbo About Making Gumbo

If I were to talk about both choosing the perfect ingredients for your gumbo and using the perfect method, this would be an extremely long post.

Instead we’re gonna talk about the perfect ingredientsw…and talk about method in the next.

Making the perfect gumbo is about like decorating a Christmas tree. There are an umpteen thousand different ways to do it, and every one has their own opinion of what your finished project should look/taste like.

But regardless your personal preference, there are some tips about choosing ingredients that remain the same regardless what type of gumbo you may be making.

 

 

 

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Mear

A few things to keep in mind as far as the meat are…

1. If you are making chicken gumbo, use the legs becacuse they will give the best flavor.

2. Buy bone-in chicken, and then cook your chicken on the bone, but take off the skin if there’s any on it.. This will add extra richness to your gumbo. Just make sure that you carefully remove all bones from your gumbo before serving…especially if you are serving it to your Cajun grandmother.

3. Brown your meat over high heat before sticking in into the pot. This will add more flavor to your gumbo.

4. If using a sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, wait and add them at the end of your cooking time…otherwise they get get rubbery.

 

 

Now for a few recipes as to which meat can be used and some recipes to try…

 

 

 

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Vegetables

In a  previous post we learned that The Cajun Holy Trinity consists of onions, celery, and bell peppers—not carrots, as in the classic French mirepoix which consists  of onions, celery, and carrots,

As in most cooking, it is always best to use fresh ingredients instead of the frozen stuff…even though the frozen stuff is so much more convenient…

Tomatoes…Tomatoes are typically found in Creole gumbo recipes,..not Cajun…(so not going to get into the specifics of this, just trust me on this one)…versions of the dish

Okra…Okra is often used as a thickener. Okra is often used as a thickener and While there are many gumbo recipes that do not call for okra…and many people do not like adding the okra because they claim that it makes their gumbo slimy…,the word “gumbo” is actually derived from the West African word for okra.

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Liquid

You can use either water or stock/broth to create the base of your gumbo., but using water will mean that your gumbo will end up having much less flavor…so I wouldn’t recommend it.

And of course you can buy stock/broth from the grocery store, but it’s also easy to make your own…and perhaps cheaper.

So how you make your own stock?

The stock or broth that you use depends on the type of gumbo you are making, but here are three basic recipes…

Making the Perfect Fried Apples — July 29, 2020

Making the Perfect Fried Apples

Making the Perfect Apple Cookies — July 19, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Cookies

Making the Perfect Apple Cobbler — July 17, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Cobbler

The perfect apple cobbler with a juicy and sweet filling similar to the filling of an apple pie…made with the perfect amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg, giving it a perfect flavor…a super fluffy and buttery cake-like biscuit topping…served warm with Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream on top,,,and best of all perhaps, it is so very easy to make.

 

 

It’s a five step process…1.  slice the apples…2. toss them with spices…3. layer them in a casserole dish…4. top them with a biscuit crust…5. bake.

 

 

So let’s talk about how to make an old-fashioned apple cobber that would make your grandma proud…one that will soon become a tried and true family favorite.

 

 

 

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Crisps vs Cobblers

But before we get started, let’s talk about the difference between a cobbler and a crisp.

 

 

Crisps usually typically have a crispy streusel-like topping—such as rolled oats, diced nuts, butter, and flour. Crisps are usually topped with a streusel like topping….whereas cobblers are topped with more of a cake-like or biscuit-like batter.

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The Apples

Other great options include Gala, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady.
Combinations…Using a combination of different apple varieties—such as gala apples together with honeycrisps—will add some depth to your cobbler. 

 

You will need three pounds of apples…which translates to about five or six.

 

 

 

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Making the Topping

Making the Perfect Stuffed Bell Peppers — May 17, 2020

Making the Perfect Stuffed Bell Peppers

Making the Perfect Fried Catfish — January 24, 2020

Making the Perfect Fried Catfish

 

So trust me, fried catfish was a frequent meal at our house…(as well as all sorts of “critters” that you can’t find in your local grocery store)

If we weren’t eating fried fish, we were instead munching down on some good Southern fried chicken and drinking sweet tea.

Although there is much debate as to how catfish should be prepared–such as using a batter, breading with cornmeal, or simply dipping it in flour….I have found that the best way to prepare perfect catfish is to fry it in a cornmeal crush.

So let’s learn the basics of making the perfect fried catfish.

 

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Ingredients

 

1-2# catfish—about.4-6 filets

1C milk or buttermilk

1C cornmeal…Use fine, white cornmeal if you can find it….if you can’t find it fin the store, use regular cornmeal with a little flourk added to it so that the crust doesn’t taste gritty.

1/2C flour

Seasoning…you can use whatever makes you smile and keeps you wanting more and more fish—such as Lawry’s to Zatarain’s, Old Bay or lemon pepper— but a good mixture would be…

  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1Tbsp salt
    1tsp pepper
  • Cooking oil, preferably peanut oil

 

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Getting Ready 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Lay a wire rack sitting on a cookie sheet inside the oven.

Heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 350 degrees F.  Make sure that your oil is hot enough…if not you will end up with soggy, greasy catfish.

 

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Preparing the Catfish

Rinse the catfish fillets under cold water.

Dry thoroughly with paper towels.  

Soak catfish in milk or buttermilk for about an hour. This will wash away the muddy flavor.

 

 

 

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Breading the Cztfish

Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Dredge each filet in the breading until it is coat evenly.

Place on a large platter to dry for about five minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Cooking the Catfish

Now add the breaded catfish to the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the fryer…otherwise the the oil temperature will drop too much. The oil is ready whenever you drop a little of the dry breading mix into the oi, and if it sizzles at once.

Make sure that there is enough peanut oil to completely cover catfish fillets while frying.

Cook 7min per side…until golden brown.

Watch the temperature of the oil as you continue frying the filets. If the temperature gets too hot, you may need to lower the heat on the burner.

Keep cooked fillets warm in oven while you finish cooking the rest of the fish. This will help keep it crispy.

Place the cooked filets on paper towels to drain.

 

Dark Chocolate…The What — December 29, 2019

Dark Chocolate…The What

In our quest to add more antioxidants to our diet, we havec talked about alfalfa sprouts… blackberries…broccoli…and corn…

…all of which may not seem very appoealing…

But there is one source of antioxidants that we can probably all warm up to…

Chocolate…

Specifically dark chocolate…

People have been enjoying chocolate for about four thousand years…starting in Central America by the Mayan population who enjoyed the chocolate as a fermented beverage that was mixed with spices or wine and had a bitter taste. These people used the chocolate beverage for ceremonial and medicinal purposes.

Chocolate was brought back to Europe from these groups of people in the early 1500s by Spanish explorers…and the Europeans soon started adding honey and cane sugar to to make the bitter chocolate sweeter.

.But where does chocolate come from?

Actually chocolate is deived from the the seeds of a cacao pod….which are fermented, dried, and roasted. After this process the shells of the beans are separated from the inside of the cocoa bean and then ground into a liquid called chocolate liquor…which is then processed further to produce cocoa solids.

There are basically three different types of chocolate…

  • Milk Chocolate
  • White Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate

All chocolate contains the chocolate liquor mentioned above…as well as perhaps additional cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and flavoring…what makes them different is the milk content.

Milk chocolate contains 10-50% cocoa solids,

White chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids at all and simply consists of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk.

Dark chocolate usually refers to chocolate that doesn’t contain milk.

For decades most people ate only milk chocolate…but as dark chocolate has been noted as having health benefits. this decadent and delicious treat has become more mainstream.

Speaking of the health benefits of dark chocolate, let’s take a closer look…

Making the Perfect Corn on the Cob — December 13, 2019

Making the Perfect Corn on the Cob

Choosing Fresh Corn