Bizarre Foods Monday: Crawfish Beignets

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Ingredients

1 egg, beaten

1 lb cooked crawfish tail meat

4 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/3 cup flour

oil for frying

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 teaspoon horseradish (optional)

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the egg, crawfish, onions, butter, salt and cayenne. Stir in flour until blended.
  2. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter, a few at a time, into hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish if desired and pepper sauce. Serve with beignets. Yield: about 2 dozen (3/4 cup sauce).

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Bizarre Foods Monday: Crawfish Beignets

Bizarre Foods Monday Breakfast Edition: Pansy Syrup

I know it’s the 365 DINNER project, but this week I’m mixing it up a bit. If you are going to make this syrup ****IMPORTANT**** Remove as much green stem and leaf as you can before steeping. Mine came out a little herbal tasting because of the greens. You also want to strain your pansy water BEFORE boiling with the sugar. I left mine in and it muddied the syrup and contributed to the herbal flavor.

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What a beautiful color though! The color of the pansies you put in will effect the color of the finished syrup. I had a mix of purples and yellow and got an indigo blue. You’ll need about 2 cups of pansies.  Put them in a bowl.

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Boil 2 cups of water and pour into the bowl of pansies while hot. Let steep 2-24 hours. Strain off flowers and put pansy water into a pan with 1/2 cup sugar. You can add 1/4 cup fruit of your choice if desired here. Cook for 4 minutes until reduced to a light syrup. You can store this in the fridge for up to a month. I served mine with crepes, but it’d be lovely on pancakes, ice cream, as a garnish, whatever you want!

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As with any food foraging; don’t pick from roadways, get permission to pick and make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides, dog and/or human pee and other contaminants.

Bizarre Foods Monday Breakfast Edition: Pansy Syrup

Bizarre Foods Monday: Lahmacun

This week it’s not the ingredients that are bizarre, but the dish as a whole. I’ve never heard of it before, but what the heck, let’s give it a shot! Turns out to be delicious, hubby was dubious when I added ground cloves to the lamb but ended up eating his whole pizza.This thin, crisp Turkish flatbread is typically rolled into a cone before eating.

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Servings: 4

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ serrano chile, seeded, chopped
  • 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup canned piquillo peppers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Meat

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ¼ pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout (recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/ras-el-hanout-moroccan-spice-mix-262189)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Assembly

  • ½ pound pizza dough, room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Bizarre Foods Monday: Lahmacun

Bizarre Foods Monday: Truffle and Artichoke Alfredo

I’ve never tried truffles before, so I got this artichoke/truffle mix from Ta Lin in Albuquerque for around $10. I like them well enough that I want to get a whole fresh truffle to shave on top of a dish to taste it more clearly. This canned stuff tastes a lot of the artichoke, which is great but there’s an undertone of something else that I’d like to investigate more. You can buy this and other flavors online at amazon or urbani.com

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I made a basic alfredo with penne and about half of this can of truffle/artichoke stuff.

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Ingredients:

8 oz dried penne pasta (or fettuccine)

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup whipping cream (I usually use heavy whipping cream)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

A dash (or 2) Cayenne pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to box directions for Al Dente pasta, usually 8-10 minutes.

2. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cream, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil and reduce, boil gently, uncovered for 3-5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in cheese.

3. Drain pasta and toss with the hot alfredo sauce and serve immediately.

Bizarre Foods Monday: Truffle and Artichoke Alfredo

Bizzare Foods Monday: Wild Asparagus Pizza

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Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Makes 1 thin crust 12-inch pizza

1 recipe Really Simple Pizza Dough or your favorite pizza dough
1/2 pound asparagus
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes, or about 500 in most cases. If you use a pizza stone, have it in there.

Prepare asparagus: No need to snap off ends; they can be your “handles” as you peel the asparagus. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best here, but I only had a standard, old and pretty dull peeler and it still worked; a mandolin would also work, in theory, but I found it more difficult to do it that way), create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don’t fret some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the end of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give a great character to the pizza. Discard tough ends. Toss peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and be sure to try one — I bet you can hardly believe how good raw asparagus can taste.

Assemble and bake pizza: Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Either transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (if using a pizza stone in the oven) or to a floured or cornmeal-dusted tray to bake it on. Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella. Pile asparagus on top. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with scallions, then slice and eat.

More ways to tweak this: Pinch of red pepper flakes (toss with asparagus), squeeze of lemon juice (over the asparagus, after you remove it from the oven), sprinkle of truffle salt or few drops of truffle oil (if you’ve got it; also at end) or up to 3 eggs (bake pizza for 8 minutes, break eggs on top, then finish cooking pizza and eggs together)

Finally, if you’ve got a grill going, this pizza seems almost destined for it. When I grill pizza, I throw the whole dough down on an oiled grill and let it cook for a few minutes on the underside. I pull it off with tongs, flip it out onto a plate and pile the toppings on the grilled side, before sliding the raw side back onto the grill. Grill the pizza with the lid down for a few minutes, or until everything is bubbly and brown.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/05/shaved-asparagus-pizza/

Bizzare Foods Monday: Wild Asparagus Pizza

Bizarre Foods Monday: Dandelion Fritters

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I expected these to be bitter and even plain bad, but they surprised me. They were kind of vegetal and tender. With dipping sauce, they could pass for zucchini or squash blossom. I didn’t have any milk, so I made up a Tempura batter (from a mix….gasp!).

you will need:

2-3 cups of dandelion flowers
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flower
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

1.  Collect your dandelions from a nice clean pasture (not one where your dog or boyfriend pee). Soak them in water for 15 minutes to wash and remove any bugs. Drain on rack or in strainer.
3. Mix up your batter including all the ingredients save the oil and the flowers.
4. Put your oil in pan and heat. You want about an inch of oil.
5. When the oil is hot dip the flowers into the batter.
6. Cook until golden brown. Let drain on paper towels or racks. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Bizarre Foods Monday: Dandelion Fritters

Bizarre Foods Monday: Rocky Mountain Oysters

These are SO much better than I imagined. My hubby kind of closed his eyes and shoved it in his mouth, but he ended up eating his fair share. These were served with horseradish dip, but I’d recommend something with a vinegar bite to balance the richness of the meat. Gravy was also very good.

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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Split the tough skin-like muscle that surrounds each “oyster” (use a sharp knife). You can also remove the skin easily if the meat is frozen and then peeled while thawing.
  2. Soak in a pan of salt water one hour; drain.
  3. Transfer to a large pot and add enough water to float the meat.
  4. Add the vinegar to the pot.
  5. Parboil, drain and rinse.
  6. Let cool and slice each oyster into 1/4 inch thick ovals.
  7. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of sliced oyster to taste.
  8. Combine flour, cornmeal and some garlic powder to taste.
  9. Roll each slice into flour mixture.
  10. Dip into milk.
  11. Roll again into flour mixture.
  12. Dip into wine.
  13. (repeat the procedure for a thicker crust).
  14. Fry in hot oil or fat seasoned with the bottled hot sauce to taste (be careful, it will sizzle when you add the hot sauce); fry until golden brown.
  15. Drain on paper towels.
  16. Serve with cocktail sauce if desired.
Bizarre Foods Monday: Rocky Mountain Oysters