OT: Deviled Seafood Casserole

I’m a huge fan of hot dishes, or pretty much anything that can be mostly done ahead of time, and finished up in the oven or on a grill.  This is a variation of a recipe from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook.  Like anything from Paula Deen, the original recipe called for a boatload of butter, but I cut out half a stick of it by steaming the seafood first, rather than sautéing it.

It’s a hot dish, folks, so it’s sort of supposed to look like slop.  But what a yummy bowl of slop it is!  Note that I’m not a fan of scallops, nor haddock, but I did have some black sea bass that was caught in the Delaware Bay recently, and some canned crab meat on hand.  It took me significantly longer than half an hour to prep everything, but bear in mind that I started with a frozen whole bass we were given (head, fins, and all), not some fillet I’d bought at a grocery store.

Yield:  8 servings

Time:  30 minutes prep; 30 minutes in oven at 400F

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of shrimp, peeled, cleaned, and deveined (originally 1.5 lbs)
  • 1 lb. of crab meat, picked through to remove any bits of cartilage (originally 1 lb. of sea scallops)
  • 1 lb. of sea bass fillet (originally 1 lb. of haddock)
  • 1/4 lb. (1 stick) of butter (originally a stick and a half)
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs. of flour
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 1 c. beef broth (or consommé)
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs. horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard (I use Colman’s, but you could probably get away with using dijon out of a jar, if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. ketchup (more won’t hurt)
  • 1/2 c. sherry

Method:

  1. steam the shrimp and fish fillet until just done, and let cool before cutting into chunks
  2. melt the butter into a large saucepan
  3. whisk in the flour and evaporated milk
  4. stir in the beef broth
  5. cook over medium heat until thick, stirring occasionally
  6. mix the cornstarch into the milk, and add to the pot
  7. add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except for the sherry, and stir together
  8. stir in the seafood and sherry
  9. pour it into a casserole (no need to grease it first), and bake at 400F for half an hour

Food Pr0n

I decided on spice cake for the birthday cake, with caramel frosting.  I pretty much suck at cake decorating, but sprinkling chopped walnuts on top, and piping out little blobs of cream cheese icing for decoration covers a multitude of sins.  The frosting recipe was straight out of the Betty Crocker cookbook, but I improvised the actual cake batter, based on reading several others that sounded pretty good.  I’ll probably get around to posting the recipe on Sock Monkey later.

There were some funky reflections coming off that pewter plate; the icing isn’t really quite that lumpy looking.  😉

I don’t have a cake plate and lid, so I’ll have to plop an inverted pasta pot over it, which doesn’t exactly make for an elegant presentation, but if that’s what I have to do, so be it.

spice-cake-4

Darn Tomatoes

We’ve got six plants of full-sized tomatoes.  They have thus far escaped the tomato blight epidemic that’s been plaguing commercial growers in the NE.  Two of ours are bush varieties, which stay compact, but the other four need more support than stakes can provide.  I’ll have to get cages for them next year.

What irks me, a little, is that within the past two days, I’ve had to chuck out five decent sized tomatoes that I’d left to vine ripen.  They got basal rot, where they sat on the ground.  My solution is to pick them 2-3 days before they really are ripe, and let them bench ripen.  Rot is not an issue if I do that.

Despite the ones I had to toss, we’ll have to start canning them pretty soon.  There are only so many grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches we can eat, or so much chicken ciacciatore before we get sick of them.

Garden Harvest

This time of year, harvesting the fruits and veggies is a daily task.  I went out at 8 am, to do harvest duty.  I got a few peppers (yellow banana, and cayenne), two eggplants, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and another handful of Kentucky Wonder green beans.  Many more peppers can be picked any time I need them for dinner, but leaving them on the plants for another few days won’t do any harm.

Next, I dove into the wood margin, wearing long pants and a long sleeved mock turtleneck t-shirt to pick raspberries.  It’s sort of my hazmat suit, given all the poison ivy that’s in there.  I couldn’t care less about all the virginia creeper.  I only got a little over half a pint of raspberries today, but add them to the ones I snagged since Thursday, and we’re going to have a heck of a cheesecake, a few smoothies, or make jam or syrup.

Blueberry syrup is my favorite, but raspberry comes in a really close second.  Raspberry syrup on light, fluffy pancakes is divine!  A dollop of whipped cream is optional.

BTW, we have two quarts of blueberries.  They have so many possibilities.  I think a blueberry buckle is in our future.

Gas

I come from one of the only two states in the nation in which it’s illegal to pump your own gas.  I didn’t know about the little switch on the gas pump handle that makes it hold there to a faster or slower pump rate.

Pre-paying for gas was a foreign concept to me.  It is no longer.  I feel enlightened.  Why gas costs half a dollar more per gallon when you have to pump your own, rather than pull into a station at which a gas attendant does it for you, is beyond me.

“Pump number 3, $40 dollars worth.”

I was running on reserve, warning light on, and all, so I had to get gas pronto.

The good news is that on our errand run, we got a new log splitter maul that was better than the one that broke, and a couple of bags of groceries that we needed.

I swore I was going to drag S through Wegman’s one day, and I did so.  He was as awed about the place as I was.  It’s the place to go for fresh fish, and other animal flesh.  I’m a little less awed about their selection of fresh produce — they were totally out of cilantro.

Next time, maybe they will have it.  I should have grown it in my garden.

Kiss My Food

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my food blog.  I did so today, complete with pictures.  For anyone who’s interested, my latest food blog entry can be found here.  It deals with my basic food philosophy, which is “unless you’re entertaining company, keep it simple, stupid,” but contains no recipies.

I could probably give the recipe for the lemon bread, but not the other two — not to exact proportions, anyway.  “Half a stick of butter (1/4 cup, or 1/8 of a pound)” is alright, but “a handful or two” doesn’t really do much for a home cook who religiously follows recipes for something like soup or salad.

I Got It!

The wild sockeye, that is . . . a whole fileted side of fish for $20.  Advertised in the circular for $15 or so a pound, I thought it was a pretty good deal.  When I got there, the per pound price was around $12, and there wasn’t much of it left.  There were a few slices from what used to be a fillet, and one whole fillet.

Hell’s bells — for that price, I bought half a fish.

The store had some soft-shell crabs, which are also in season.  I had a little fun with the lady in line in front of me, when I pointed to one of the crabs, and said “Don’t you love the way the eyes on that crab keep looking around?”  To her credit, she didn’t freak, or smack me.  She merely replied  “I refuse to look.”

We are having sockeye for dinner.  My favorite food in the entire world is wild sockeye.  It trumps maple walnut ice cream.

YES!  This is going to be a really good dinner.