Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quick Cheese Bread

This cheese bread is also from Cooks Illustrated, and while we're on the subject, I'll do a little plug for them here. It is a subscription service, but well worth the price of admission. They have very well-tested recipes, videos for particularly difficult processes, and excellent directions and pictures. At the beginning of each recipe they have a "Why this recipe works" comment with very helpful information.

That being said... my daughter would say I committed culinary travesty on this recipe this time because it calls for freshly grated parmesan cheese and I only had the dried powder type <gasp>. This happens sometimes when you're a cruiser and I will never publish any recipe here that can't be adapted well to what you might have on hand, so here we go (sorry Amber).


3 ounces parmesan cheese shredded on large holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
3 C. all purpose flour (15 oz)
1 Tbl baking powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used a 5 pepper fiery blend I had on        hand)
1 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
   (or mild asiago crumbled into 1 C.)
1-1/4 C. whole milk (or 2% but NOT skim)
3 Tbl unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg beaten lightly
3/4 C. sour cream

Heat oven to 350°. Grease 9x5 loaf pan then sprinkle 1/2 cup of the parmesan in the bottom of your pan.

In a large bowl mix the flour, bakng powder, peppers, and salt with a whisk.

Add the cheese and toss it until it's evenly coated with the flour mixture.

In another bowl, mix the milk, butter, egg and sour cream.

Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture and blend it together quickly until all the dry ingredients are mixed in. Do not overmix as this will give you a pretty tough bread.

Spread it into the prepared pan and top it with the remaining parmesan. Bake it at 350° for 45-50 minutes. In my boat oven I need to cover the top loosely with foil the last 10 minutes or so because it rises high and starts to burn. I use an ice pick to test for doneness, but a word of caution - move the tester around a couple of times because if you happen to hit a cube of melted cheese it will look like the bread is not done when it might be.

Cool it on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove it to the rack to cool another 45 minutes. I know, it's not a quick bread in the sense that it's quick till you get to eat it, only quick to mix. If you can't resist the temptation and you cut it too soon, you'll miss the improved texture of the bread after it cools so try to wait if you can.

(I dare you).

Fish Cakes

This is an adapted recipe from Cooks Illustrated, a recipe site that my daughter virtually lives on, and continually passes me recipes from. The original recipe was for Maryland Crab Cakes, but since my husband developed a late-in-life allergy to shellfish, we adapted it to fish. It's a cruiser's delight because you never know what kind of fish or shellfish you're going to catch that day or have sitting in your freezer from previous days.


2 pounds of lump crabmeat, lobster, or any other fish you might have. 
8 medium scallions, green part only, minced (about 1/2 cup) (see "never-ending green onion")
2 Tbl fresh parsley leaves, cilantro, dill or basil finely chopped
3 tsp Old Bay seasoning
4-8 Tbl dry bread crumbs
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 large eggs
1/2 C. white or whole wheat flour
1/2 C. oil

Poach shellfish or fish until just cooked through. Drain and place in large bowl. 

Add scallions, cilantro, Old Bay, 4 tablespoons bread crumbs, mayonnaise, and eggs. Mix just until combined, leaving large chunks of fish. 

If the fish is moist and still won't bind, then add additional bread crumbs 1 tablespoon at a time until they will bind. 

Form into cakes and pat with flour till all sides are coated. 

Fry in oil until golden, turn, and fry other side until golden. 

Serve with either tarter sauce or Creamy Chipotle Chile Sauce, below.

Creamy Chipotle Chili Sauce
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. sour cream
2 tsp canned chili in adobo sauce (minced)
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp lime juice fresh from lime

Blend all ingredients together well and chill to blend flavors.