Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween 2012: A tale of the Toxic Chef & her Glowing Ooze Pie.

Apparently I’m just addicted to costumes that glow.  A couple years ago it was my not-so-toxic oozy-boozy drink.  This year, after floundering for weeks trying to conjure up a costume idea, I decided upon a marriage of my real job, and my bloggy-job. And thus, the “Toxic Chef” was born.

I found a chef hat at Party City for $3, and an apron for $2 at a thrift store.  But the piece de resistance for this costume would be a glowing ooze pie.

A “toxic torte”, if you will. *ba dum CHING!* (Yes, yes, I am a HUUUUUUUGE dork.)

But first…we accessorize our hat & apron, lest someone think I was just a “normal” chef.  So I created this:

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And then used adhesive fabric printer sheets to print & attach it to my hat and apron.

Then…the apron needed some “oomph”.  It just looked too NEW.  This was remedied with a spray bottle and some water tinted with green food dye, to show green “oozy” splotches all over.

Originally, there were also plans to create a liquid latex chemical burn for my arm as well…but I just ran out of time.

And now…the pie.

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Ingredients: (NOTE: This pie is 100% INEDIBLE.)

Aluminum pie tin

Aluminum foil

4 glow sticks (preferably green)

Slime (4 oz clear glue, 1.5 c water, 1 tsp borax, food coloring)

Salt dough pie crust (1 C flour, 1/2 c salt, 1/2 c water)

Cinnamon or bronzer (to “paint” the crust)

Gloss clear spray paint (optional)

Hot glue/glue gun

 

Directions:

1. Make your slime.  Mix the Borax with 1 c of the water & stir until dissolved.  Then in a separate bowl (glass is best, so you won’t stain your bowl), mix the glue, 1/2 cup of water, and food coloring together until uniform.

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Pour in the Borax mixture, and you will see globules start to form immediately.  Stir with the spoon for about 30 seconds to combine, and pretty soon, you’ll have this:

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Hooray polymer science!!! (If doing this activity with kids, here’s a great explanation of why this works.)

Collect all the bits of slime, then drain the bowl of the excess liquids.  You can set this aside in an airtight container until you’re ready to compile the rest of your pie.

 

2. Crust:  Preheat the oven to 250F.  Combine the flour, salt, and water & knead until thoroughly combined.  On a floured cookie sheet, roll out to the size of your pie pan, place the pie pan on top as a template, and cut around.  THEN, remove the pie plate and cut a circle about 1 inch in—you’re making the “lip” of the crust that will sit on top of the pie pan.  Remove the interior dough & re-roll out.  Cut into strips with a pizza cutter, and then place on the circle of dough to create a lattice top (weaving the strips over & under).  Once you’re done weaving, press the edges into the outer crust well.

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Place this in the oven for about 2 hours.  You’re not “baking” it, just drying the dough out so that it will harden.  Once the crust is dried out, remove from the oven and dust with either cinnamon or bronzer makeup to give it a golden appearance.  Use a large spatula to gently remove the crust from the pan & transfer to a sheet of wax paper.  If you like, you can then spray the crust with a clear gloss sealant to give it a light shine (it will also keep the cinnamon or bronzer from rubbing off).

 

Now it’s time to assemble your pie.  Wad up aluminum foil inside the pan, about 3-4 layers should do it, because your slime will only fill about the top 1/2 inch of the pan.  Snap your glow sticks and place them on top of the foil.  Then stretch out your slime and lay it over the top (NOTE: Slime is very forgiving.  If you need, you can break it off into pieces, and then lay across the top.  As long as they’re touching, the pieces will meld together as it sits.)

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Heat up your glue gun, and then attach the crust to the edge of the pie shell in a couple places so it doesn’t shift.

hallow12 018 Pie: Pre-Glow

And again, once the glow sticks had been activated:

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Now—head off to your party!!!

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The Toxic Chef & her ostrich-ridin’ husband.

We had a great time with our friends, munching on delicious goodies and laughing at each other’s costumes (watching a guy in an inflatable sumo costume try to get up from the couch never gets old, FYI).  We had “Troll 2” playing in the background…and then afterward watched the DOCUMENTARY about Troll 2 called “Best Worst Movie” (because we’re nerds like that).

Later we held a “Potions” contest where we concocted elixirs from various decoctions, and then named our potions and described what they would do. 

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The winners were “Martin Luther Kanine” which could allegedly cure racism in dogs (did I mention we had our dogs at this party?  We collectively own 5 small dogs.  And apparently, shih tzus and pomapoos don’t like pugs.  Or Boston Terriers.  And Boston terriers don’t like ANYBODY)…

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…and the “Copulatus Concoctus” which causes the drinker to make sexual innuendos out of EVERYTHING.  The “Nilbog Juice” touted the ability to cure E.D. and AIDS…too bad it tastes too awful to drink.

 

Hope everyone has a fantastic & safe Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: The Accidental Pumpkin Cupcake.

Originally, this was supposed to be the “Pumpkin Pie”.  Because apparently, pumpkin beer + whipped cream vodka = striking & delicious similarity to a slice of pumpkin pie.  Thus spaketh a friend on the Almighty Facebook (amen).  I got excited, because at this time of year we ALWAYS have pumpkin beer in the house, and I had just picked up a handful of random flavored mini bottles at the store the other day (because I’m too cheap to buy a full bottle of anything), and I could have SWORN there was a whipped cream vodka in there.

There wasn’t.  But there WAS a Cupcake brand Vanilla Frosting flavored one.  Which, in my mind, seemed close enough.

Because people TOTALLY put frosting on their pumpkin pie…right?  Right? RIGHT???? 

Yeah… anyway.  The end result did NOT taste like pumpkin pie.  However, it DID taste like a pumpkin muffin with cream cheese icing which is still totally delicious in its own right.

Ingredients:

1 bottle of your favorite pumpkin beer (we have two favorites in our household, but I’m saving the other one for next week’s Thirsty Thursday)

1 mini bottle Frosting flavored vodka (the Cupcake brand was really smooth)

Your favorite pint glass

 

Directions:

Pour vodka into glass. Pour beer over top.  Sip languishingly while you watch your favorite team get demolished by the Giants. :( 

But hey—at least your drink won’t let you down!

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HAPPY THURSDAY!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Make your own: Pumpkin Pie Spice!

Pumpkin pie spice blend is, with the exception of garlic, the most used seasoning in my house this time of year.  Heck—MOST times of the year.  I sprinkle it in my coffee, on my pancakes, in my oatmeal, muffins, candied pecans… pretty well anything that would be improved by a sweet-savory flavor.

Which also means: I run out often.  And I don’t want to rush off to the store to pay $2-4 for another one ounce jar of it.  Seriously…ONE OUNCE!  Highway robbery, I tell ya.

And yet…my standard-issue turntable spice rack has all the COMPONENTS for pumpkin pie spice on it.  RIGHT THERE.  In my KITCHEN.  Sometimes I wonder why they even still sell pumpkin spice blends.  McCormick must think none of us know how to Google.

Because he’s my kitchen science guru, I use a slightly modified version of Alton Brown’s spice blend.  Other blends tend to rely too heavily on cinnamon & don’t have enough nutmeg & cloves to get that really distinctive “pumpkin pie” flavor.

IMG_2022(I recommending mixing over a cutting board, so you don’t get spices all over your counters.)

 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1.5 tsp nutmeg

1.5 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

 

Directions:

Combine all spices in a small bowl & mix well.  Ta-DA!  You’re done.  Now go make some pumpkin pancakes with it. :D

IMG_2031Punkin’ pie in a pancakey vessel.  Right down to the custardy center.  NOMMMM…

Monday, October 22, 2012

Caramel Pumpkin Pecan Cake!

Know what I love about this time of year?  Pumpkin EVERYTHING.  Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins…bring it on.  I will devour every. last. morsel.  However…while pumpkin itself is quite good for you (Vitamins A, C, B, & E, antioxidants, dietary fiber)…what we tend to make with it is typically rich, fatty, and sugar-laden.

I offer you a DELICIOUS alternative.

This recipe comes from my amazing friend/coworker Suzan.  Why is Suzan so amazing, you ask?  Well, aside from her decadently sarcastic & witty demeanor, and being one of the most experienced scientists in our company, she’s also lost over 100 pounds in the last year.  Yes, you read that right… OVER. ONE. HUNDRED. POUNDS.  No gastric bypass, no crazy diets, just the tried & true common sense “eat less, move more” methodology.   Or, what I call the “get off the couch & back away from the Krispy Kremes” method…which I could stand to implement a bit more in my own life.  (I currently have a Chefville addiction… *sigh*)

Anyway…Suzan has started her own wonderful blog which you can read HERE, and you should, because she cracks my schtuff up. For realz.  Go there.  (Then come back here…we have CAKE to discuss.)

…you’re back?  Great.  Now, in case you missed it…this recipe came from my awesome friend who just lost 100 lbs.  And she ate this cake while on this plan.  I won’t go so far as to say, “this cake will make you lose weight”…but you CAN eat it while implementing your own personal “eat less, move more” lifestyle change.  It originally comes from this Weight Watchers recipe*, but I modified it a LEEETLE bit to taste & based off Suzan’s recommendations.

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Dear Reader: Please meet 217 calories of HEAVEN.

Ingredients: (makes 16 servings)

15 ounces canned pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
12 ounces fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute (or 2 egg whites)
1/2 cup Splenda or other sugar substitute
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 box unprepared white cake mix - (18.25 oz; Check labels & pick the lowest calorie option, as there’s a lot of variety between mixes.  Best Choice ended up being the lowest at my store.)
1 cup pecan halves, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-calorie margarine – melted (if you have spray butter substitute, like the
Smart Balance spray, use this.  It makes it a lot easier to fully coat the top of the cake.)
2 tablespoons
Sugar-Free Caramel Topping


Sugar Free Whipped Cream (optional garnish)

More sugar-free caramel topping (optional garnish)

 

Directions:

Heat your oven to 350F, and then lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Mix the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and pie spice together in a large bowl, then pour into your cake pan.

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Spread the dry boxed cake mix over the top of the pumpkin batter.  Use a spatula to press the cake mix down into the batter until the mix starts to become moist. (Note: If you leave any dry mix, it will still be dry after baking.  Just FYI.)

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Next, sprinkle your chopped pecans on top, and then drizzle the margarine over as well.  Try to cover as much of the cake as possible with the margarine to get good buttery coverage. :D

IMG_2141 (In retrospect, I should have totally used Suzan’s suggestion about the spray bottle.  I ended up with a lot of dry cake batter on the top of mine.)

 

Now: this is where I deviate from the original recipe.  I have sugar-free caramel topping in the fridge.  And pumpkin & pecans just scream “GIMME CARAMEL!”, so I drizzled 2 tablespoons over the top.  I used a fork to get a really fine drizzle & good  coverage.

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Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes, let cool, then slice into 16 pieces (you’ll end up with pieces that measure about 2” x 3”).  The pecans, butter, caramel & dry cake mix combine to make a nice crispy, streusel-y topping.

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Serve garnished with an extra sprinkle of pumpkin pie seasoning, a dollop of sugar-free whipped cream (if desired), and a wee drizzle of additional caramel sauce (about 1 tsp). 

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NOTE: Whipped cream & extra drizzle of caramel sauce adds 25 calories to each serving.

 

*NOTE: try as hard as I might, I could NOT get my NutriFacts to match up with “86 calories” shown on the original recipe page, even after accounting for the slight recipe changes.  I double- and triple-checked all my ingredient stats, so my best guess is that they have a typo & their page should read “186 calories”.  The white cake mix alone is 127 calories/serving.

NutriFacts: (Weight Watchers Points per serving = 5)

Calories 192.8 (217 calories with whipped cream & addt’l caramel drizzle garnish)

  Total Fat 7.9 g

  Saturated Fat 1.3 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g

  Cholesterol 1.0 mg

  Sodium 243.8 mg

  Potassium 119.0 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 28.3 g

  Dietary Fiber 1.9 g

  Sugars 14.6 g

  Protein 4.5 g

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oven “Fried” Pickles & Okra!

I LOOOOOOOVE pickles.  I’m told my mom gave me cold dill pickles and raw potato pieces to teeth on when I was young.  When we went camping, I would use a hot dog bun to make myself pickle & potato chip sandwiches, since it was the only thing I could “cook” for myself.  Apparently it’s a genetic thing, since my entire mom’s side of our family also loves pickles.  My grandma would buy Vlasic jars by the case.  No joke.

And because this is AMERICA, we also love FRIED FOOD.  Ergo, I love fried pickles.

Ooh, you know what else is good fried?  Okra. It’s a staple side dish in Louisiana!  Just give me some fried okra & a bottle of ketchup, and I’m a happy camper.

But anymore, my stomach really can’t handle all that grease.  Nor can my waistline.  Not to worry, though.  With a crunchy, kicked up breading, we can make some out of this world “FeauxFried” (aka oven-fried) pickle chips & okra.  How does a big pile of crispy okra & pickles sound?  Sound even better at only NINETY-FIVE CALORIES a serving?  Yeah, I thought so.  The nice thing about pickles & okra is that they’re already low calorie.  So you get some calories from the breading, but once you knock out all that frying oil, you’re golden!

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Golden brown & delicious, that is.

Ingredients: (makes two servings, but you can easily upscale this recipe for more servings)

About 20 Dill pickle chips (we had a bunch of large kosher dills & just sliced them up ourselves)

1 cup sliced okra, fresh or thawed

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup Louisiana-style fish fry cornmeal

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 large egg

olive oil spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F.  Lightly spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray.

Allow your pickle chips & okra to sit for a while on a paper towel to help absorb some of the excess moisture.

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Then mix together the bread crumbs, fish fry, paprika, and parsley in a container with a lid.

Mix the egg & the chili powder together in a separate bowl and beat well.  Drop the pickle chips & okra into the egg wash & coat completely.  Use a fork to lift out of the egg mixture and let the excess drop off.  Then drop into the breading mixture & toss (with lid on) to coat.  Press additional breading on if they don’t get fully coated.

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Place the breaded pickles & okra on the cookie sheet. 

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Lightly spritz them with olive oil (this will help them brown nicely and get even crunchier) and place in the oven for 10 minutes, then flip them over, lightly spritz with olive oil again and then place back in the oven for another five minutes.

Serve with light ranch dressing and chow down!

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NutriFacts: (makes two servings of 10 pickle chips & 1/2 cup of okra each)

  Calories 95.8

  Total Fat 2.4 g

  Saturated Fat 0.6 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g

  Cholesterol 68.5 mg

  Sodium 1,019.7 mg

  Potassium 264.2 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 15.1 g

  Dietary Fiber 3.8 g

  Sugars 4.3 g

  Protein 5.1 g

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eating in the Great Outdoors: Pork Steaks & Butter Potatoes

The weather’s turned cold here within the last week; a little early for this region, but appropriate, given that the consumer market starts churning out All Things Pumpkin around this time.

So I guess it’s a little late for a post about camping…

…but in the words of Ruby Rhod: “BUT WHO CARES!!!”

A few weekends ago (when it was NOT too cold), the Hubs & I went camping with my parents near Truman Lake here in Missouri.  Truman is normally one of my favorite spots for camping fishing because the fish are always biting…but apparently with the drought, all of the fish have gone elsewhere.  We didn’t catch a single keeper all weekend.

IMG_20120903_101534 My Hubs, & the biggest fish of the day.  Mouth included for scale.

When the Hubs & I go “camping”, it involves a tent, an air mattress, and a magnetic fan precariously clipped to the top of the tent, so that I can spend the night praying doesn’t come loose & maim our faces.

“Camping” with my parents involves an RV, air conditioning, and antenna TV. Really, the only thing you can complain about is whether or not the pillows are too firm. It’s ROUGH I tell ya. :)

Our pup prefers the RV as well, particularly since the one time we left him in his crate outside our tent and some coyotes wandered into the area.  Hearing a coyote howl nearby as your poor pug whimpers just outside your tent? *shivers*  We threw open the tent flap and dragged the crate inside our tent, and then prayed the coyotes wouldn’t take that as an invitation to sniff around any closer.

ANYWAY.  Another benefit of camping with the ‘rents: awesome food. 

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BBQ pork steak = DRROOOOOOOOOOL.

My dad doesn’t cook much, but he is the Grill Master when it comes to camping, while Mom handles the sides.

And while it sounds ridiculously simple, my favorite side dish from my mom is buttered potatoes.

Peeled potatoes, boiled ‘til tender, then tossed with probably way too much melted butter, salt & pepper.  Nothing else.  Simple and DELICIOUS.

For the ultimate in outdoor culinary elegance, must be served on a plastic tablecloth with Corelle place settings:

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And only the most opulent of outdoor lighting schemes will suffice:

IMG_20120902_202124 Helllooooo citronella bucket.

These are some of my favorite meals, y’all.  I have so many wonderful memories wrapped up in the taste buds of my brain.  As a kid, we camped a LOT.  Probably at least once or twice a month when I was a kiddo.  So the smell of a fire or citronella, or the sight of a set of Corelle plates always takes my brain back to those times. 

 

So much so that the week after we got back, we tried to replicate the exact same meal at home: pork steak & butter potatoes.

delete 701 Unfortunately, my butter potatoes ended up more like “smashed potatoes” because I used red potatoes instead of regular ol’ russets.  But they still tasted delicious.

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Butter Potatoes: (makes four servings)

4-5 russet potatoes, peeled & quartered

1/2-1 stick of light butter (to taste)

salt & pepper (to taste)

 

Directions:

Boil potatoes + 1 tsp salt for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain water, then add butter to pan and mix lightly to coat.  The exterior of the potatoes should be creamy, but don’t mash the pieces.  They’ll probably break up some as you stir—that’s okay.  Then add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve as a side with your favorite grilled foods.

 

NutriFacts:

Calories 330.0

  Total Fat 7.8 g

  Saturated Fat 2.4 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 3.9 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g

  Cholesterol 0.0 mg

  Sodium731.2 mg

  Potassium 1,560.2 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 64.8 g

  Dietary Fiber 8.3 g

  Sugars 2.9 g

  Protein 7.5 g

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feaux’s Kitchen Christmas Wish List.

Not that I really NEEEEEEED any more stuff in my kitchen.  It’s a small kitchen, with a lotta stuff.  We spent some time a couple weekends ago organizing and sorting and paring down to make space and help the whole area just make more sense.  And we acheived that.  So why do I want more stuff?

Umm…because?  Am I allowed to use that as a reason?  Probably not.  As a kid, I grew up pretty po’.  Like, so po’ we couldn’t afford the ‘or’ at the end of the word.  So, any time I started squealing in Wal-Mart about how I “NEEDED” something, my mom would ask me to tell her THREE REASONS I actually “needed” it.  Otherwise it was just a “want”, and I couldn’t have it.  That little trick has helped me many times since then.

So…we’ll attempt to find the “needs” in all these things.

1. A Pressure Cooker:

a. My coworker Suzan tells me they’re just the greatest kitchen tool ever, and that no kitchen should be without one.

b. They’re essentially the opposite of a Crockpot.  Instead of making a stew in eight hours, I could make it in 45 minutes.  And for the gal who works 45 hours a week & doesn’t get home until 6-6:30pm, that’s pretty appealing.

c. No combination of any of the items I already own could replicate the cooking time that this item would be capable of.

 

2.  A Petit Four/Square Brownie Pan:

a. Removable bottom!  You can place the bottom in the squares if you’re using a batter, or, if you’re using a crust, leave it out and then just press from the bottom to pop each item out.  SUPER CLEVER!

b. Easy way to make pre-portioned cake/brownie/etc. whatever and have each piece be consistently the same size, which is better for calorie control.

c. I could finally make those cookie dough-Reese’s-brownies from Pinterest. :)

 

3. A Kitchen Torch.

Actually, this isn’t really a “wish list” item, so much as a “I will be buying within the next few weeks” item.  I decided to ix-nay the “professional style kitchen torch” since I saw these butane “pencil torches” at Harbor Freight for three bucks.  $27 vs. $3?  Uh, yeah.  Buying the pencil torch.  Blackberry creme brulee, here we come!!!

4. A nice Glass Pitcher.

a. It’s a beautiful pattern, and the center ice “sleeve” would prevent watering down of beverages.

b. Beautiful photo op for making beverages on my blog!  I can’t showcase a pitcher of anything right now, unless readers are impressed by things like “wow, your Rubbermaid pitcher is SO huge!  What is that, 4 quarts???”  Can’t you just see this, with some lovely refreshing lemon slices floating in it, or a gorgeous sangria?

c. It has a lid.  SO many glass pitchers out there do NOT have lids, for some reason.

 

5. This tea kettle.

Okay, this could be tough.  Because I already own a tea kettle…and it doesn’t get used.  It’s in our camping gear for when we need to heat water.  But…I mean…just LOOK AT IT!!!!  So…I’ll try.

a.  It’s blue.  A beautiful, gorgeous, “Caribbean” blue that just SCREAMS “Cozy Cajun Kitchen”.

b. Ummm…it’s still blue?   Sorry.  I guess this is a “want”.  But can you blame me?

 

6. An 8-12 Quart Stock Pot.

a. Crawfish.

b. Shrimp.

c. Massive quantities of gumbo.  (Seriously.  This is a Cajun Kitchen with no gi-normous stock pot for boiling stuff?  Or brining a turkey?  I think this should be remedied.)

 

7. A Sushi Knife.

a. We have everything to make sushi now, but none of my knives are good at slicing it into pieces.  And I don’t want to eat my sushi like a burrito.

b. Reviewers say it “cuts through everything!”  So it’s multi-purpose.  Not just for sushi.

c. It comes with a free peeler.  Not sure that’s necessary, but hey:  Free is Free.

 

8. Fleur de Lis dish set:

Again…this is tough, because we HAVE dishes.  In fact, for a while right after we got married, we had TWO sets of dishes.  I gave my set up for a garage sale.  Our dishes are functional, but they’re pretty plain. Some of them are also getting a bit rough around the edges since my Hubs has had them for a while.  You’ve seen them in many a photo here:

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(White middle, green border.)

So again…let’s try to justify this “want”.

a. They’re gorgeous, and classic.  Won’t go out of fashion.  Louis XIV could have eaten of dishes just like these.

b. What if the senator…nay…governor…nay…PRESIDENT comes over for dinner sometime??? i.e. We need some fancy China.  You know…just in case.

c.  They fit with the “Cajun Kitchen” theme so well, without getting hokey.

 

9. This 3 Quart Lodge Cast Iron Pot.

Lodge Green Apple Enamel 3-quart Cast Iron Cookware | Overstock.com

a. I don’t own a cast iron dish.

b. It could double as a cookie jar.

c. Seriously… LOOK AT IT!!!  HOW FLIPPIN’ KEWT IS THAT?????

 

10. A new kitchen remodel, to hold all my new stuff. :D

New Orleans Style Kitchen Project 2012

Pot rack!  Backsplash! Cherry wood!  Island!  StorageStorageSTORAGE!!!  TWO FAUCETS!!! GAS Range!!!

(The photo is clickable & you can see the rest of the kitchen.  The builder described it as a “New Orleans Style Kitchen”.  I’m a little iffy about the exact brick that was used for the bar area, but I love the overall layout.)

 

Tell me—what’s on your kitchen wish list?  Or what’s the one kitchen item you can’t live without???

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Boudin Balls: Baked or Fried, with Homemade New Orleans-Style Remoulade

Wal-Mart never ceases to surprise me.  And not in the “OMG People of Wal-Mart” kind of way (at least, not ALWAYS).  But it does regularly amaze me the things I can find in Wally World.  Last week, it was nori wraps for sushi at $2.50/pack (regularly $5 at the local specialty store).  This week, it was boudin.

Or, boudAIN, as the package calls it.

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Sorta like Anthony Bourdain…but tastier & less cannibalistic.

At only $2.27, I had to try it.  Typically I’m skeptical of “Cajun” labeled products that aren’t from Louisiana…but Zummo’s is made in Beaumont, Texas, which is in “Cajun Texan country”, near the TEX-LA state border.  In the early 19th century, many Louisiana Cajuns began migrating across the Sabine (the river that serves as the TEX-LA border) to work the rice fields in southeastern Texas and for the promise of jobs with the new Southern Pacific railroads in this area.  This is yet just another reason that Texas is awesome: depending on where you are, you can get delicious authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Cajun food.

What IS Boudin, you ask?  Ummm…well, it’s kinda all there in the picture.  It’s heavily seasoned cooked rice, ground pork, and pork liver, combined and then stuffed into a sausage casing.  I know, I know…pork liver’s gross.  Organs are gross.  But boudin is DELICIOUS.  So just act like it isn’t there.  You won’t notice it, I promise.

What to make with boudin?  Well, it can be oven roasted (like my blog-friend Genet did here) or it can be smoked, boiled, and then sliced up as a nice finger food.

OR…you can roll it in breadcrumbs & fry it.  Because we. like. fried. everything.  Boudin balls are common commodity in the average Louisiana gas station.  Greasy & delicious, like most fried foods they make you super happy while you’re eating them, and then instantly regret it afterward.

Typically, when making boudin balls, you would make the boudin fresh, roll it into a ball, then batter & fry it.  But alas…I don’t have the time (or stomach) to make fresh boudin.  So…we’ll be rolling with the premade stuff. 

Oh…and we’re oven-frying.  To save ourselves from that “After I just ate fried food” feeling.

Trust me…it’s a totally acceptable alternative.

But, since we’re slacking off a bit on making our own boudin, I figured I should probably step it up and make our own dipping sauce, right?  That’s why I’ll also be sharing my NOLA remoulade recipe with you.  Remoulade is AMAZING.  HUGE flavor with not a ton of calories when made right (49 calories in 2 tbsp).  Run out of boudin to serve it with?  Put it on your next sandwich and have a Hallelujah moment.  For realz.  It is also AMAZING with cocktail shrimp.  Or fried shrimp. Dip your french fries in it.  Drizzle over grilled fish.  The sky is the limit!!!

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Ingredients:

  • For remoulade: [will make (8) 2 tbsp servings]
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
  • 3 tbsp cocktail sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp Creole mustard (if you can’t find Creole mustard, you can double up on the yellow, but the Creole gives it a much more rounded flavor)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • (For the best flavor, make this sauce the night before so the flavors can fully combine.)

 

For boudin balls: [will make (6) 3 piece servings]

  • 1 package (14oz) boudin (boudain) links, casing removed and cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup Louisiana fish fry (or, 1/3 cup cornmeal + 1 tsp Cajun seasoning)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1/2 tsp paprika

 

Directions:

To make your remoulade:  Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl & whisk thoroughly.  Let set for 3 hrs or overnight for maximum flavorosity potential.

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For the boudin balls:

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Mix the bread crumbs & fish fry together (FYI—if you use the Louisiana fish fry, it’s already seasoned, so don’t add any extra salt.)

Roll the boudin pieces in the paprika egg wash until coated.  Then drop (one at a time) into the bread crumb mixture & toss to coat thoroughly.

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Place all the boudin pieces on a lightly spritzed cookie sheet, then lightly spritz the boudin balls with oil (using a Misto or Pam).  This will help them get a nice golden brown.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then turn them over, spritz again with oil, and bake for another 8 minutes.  Then turn your broiler on for 2-3 minutes to finish.  Remove when nicely golden.

 

FRIED OPTION: Since my husband had never had regular boudin balls, I decided to make these two ways.  I oven-fried the majority, but I also pan-fried four of them in oil, so he could have a comparison.  If you decide to pan-fry some, cover the bottom of a small pan with olive oil & heat over medium until the oil starts to smoke.  Then carefully place 1-2 balls in the pan & watch for them to brown, and turn every 10-seconds or so until browned on all sides.  Let rest on a paper towel, and then place in the oven for 10 minutes at 425 to ensure that they’re cooked through.  The results will look like this (darker than the oven-friend versions:

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Serve 3 balls with 2 tbsp of the remoulade & garnish with green onions.

IMG_2491 (Okay, okay, I admit they look a little like toasted coconut marshmallows, but I promise—they’re DIVINE.

Suggested accompaniment: salad and a good beer (we went with Baraboo Woodpecker Wheat)

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NutriFacts:

Calories 265 for boudin balls/ 49 for remoulade

  Total Fat 12.0 g / 3.8 g 

  Saturated Fat 2.6 g / 0.5 g 

  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g / 1.4 g 

  Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g / 1.8 g

  Cholesterol 79.3 mg / 2.5 g 

  Sodium 863.8 mg / 170 mg 

  Potassium 30.3 mg / 16 mg 

  Total Carbohydrate 36.5 g / 3.5 g 

  Dietary Fiber 2.0 g /0.2 g

  Sugars 2.1 g / 2.0 g

  Protein 11.7 g /0.3 g