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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two food blogs, cod with potatoes, and vodka bread

The Web is alive with food blogs, way too many for any one person to follow. But I follow a couple regularly and have gotten lots of recipes from them. One is Mystery Lovers Kitchen, to which mystery writers Krista Davis, Cleo Coyle, Riley Adams, Mary Jane Maffini, Sheila Connolly, Wendy Lyn Watson, and Ellery Adams each contribute one day a week. They also have guest bloggers, and I've been privileged to post a blog a couple of times. But I've used recipes for a scrumptious if very rich beef/noodle casserole from Riley and also a recipe for what I call chicken bundles--cooked chicken, cream cheese and some seasonings wrapped in crescent rolls and baked. Riley says the recipe serves four or--sigh--one teenager. From Krista I've gotten a wonderful spiced chicken--she rolled legs in seasoning, but I prefer thighs.
Sunday night I cooked one of Krista's recipes for my Austin family. We fixed three portions, thinking my grandsons wouldn't eat fish--wrong! They wolfed it down. Of course, I'll fiddle with it next time I do it, but it's basically oven fried potatoes topped with cod fillets. Krista used russet potatoes--3 large, sliced 1//4 " thick. Next time I'll use small red potatoes, sliced much thinner. But basically you put a generous Tbsp. of olive oil in your 9x13 pan with a lip. Season potato slices with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika--we didn't have paprika, but I should have gone out and picked some fresh rosemary. Toss potatoes to coat thoroughly with seasonings, then toss with enough olive oil to coat all potato slices. Arrange slices in overlapping groups in the pan. Roast the potatoes at 425 for 30 minutes--I think they need a bit more. Place cod fillets (one per person) on the potato cakes or squares, top with a pat of butter and a lemon slice and bake, still at 425, for another 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges--and don't count out a five-year-old and a seven-year-old.
The other blog is called "The meaning of pie" and is maintained by a friend of Megan, my oldest daughter. One recipe that caught my eye was creamed chipped beef which this cook turns into a gourmet dish. I know many people call it SOS (shit on a shingle--a hangover fromWWII days), but I love it. High in calories, however.
But the dish that most amazed me--and I've made it--is alevropita, a flat, crispy, Greek, feta bread. For this one, you have to keep your head about you and your hot pads handy because it involves a 500 degree oven. Assemble all the ingredients, then beat together while you heat your 12-inch iron skillet in that hot oven.

2 Tbsp. olive oil for the batter
2 Tbsp. olive oil for the skillet
2 teaspons vodka - don't leave it out; it makes all the difference
1/2 cup water
Half an egg--scramble it and guess at how much is half
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. kosher salt--a dash
1/8 tsp. baking powder--another dash
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled -do not mix into batter
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, soften

Mix water vodka, olive oil and half egg. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk together. Take the hot pan from the oven--do not grab blindly for the handle without using the hotpad. Pour second 2 Tbsp. olive oil into hot pan and spread with paper towel or spatula. Immediately pour batter into pan and spread to the edges of the pan,as much as possible, using a wooden spoon. Sprinkile feta on top of batter and dot with butter.
Return to oven for 15-20 minutes but watch carefully--you want it browned, but at 500 degrees, things go from browned to burned way too fast.
Take pan out of oven, put it someplace safe for extra hot dish--wooden cutting board, stove top, whatever. Use spatula to remove the bread to a cutting board and cut into pieces.
The meaning of pie says this goes great with a Greek salad. I think you can also use it as an appetizer. Only problem I have with it is I don't usualy keep vodka on hand, but this is worth getting it.
I wish I could find the name of the cook behind this blog, but I can't. Anyway, a tip of the toque to her.

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