Fry Bake and Fish

It’s New Year’s Day. It’s cold and dreary outside. It’s my first winter outside of the Caribbean in 12 years and I’m missing Trinidad & Tobago. Pondering that while looking at my new deep fryer I bought myself for Christmas (thanks to a husband who believes I can buy better gifts than he can), I thought nothing would help solve that better than making some Fry Bake and Fish. If I can’t be at the beach, might as well enjoy my favorite beach food.

Now I must admit me and fry bake have a sometime’ish relationship. Sometimes they come out beautifully and sometimes they don’t puff up enough to escape my Trini husband’s criticism.  But say what … they always taste good.

Fry Bake Recipe* 
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine (optional)
  • 1 cup water (be prepared to add more if needed)
  • 2 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying the bakes

Instructions:

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Add butter and mix with a fork (or use your fingers) until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
  3. Make a hole in the center of the flour and add 3/4 cup water while mixing and stirring in a circular motion. Dough should begin to resemble really coarse crumbs.
  4. Add 1/4 cup more water and continue mixing gently for about 5 minutes until you form a smooth, soft dough.
  5. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour. If the dough is too dry after adding all the water, add another tablespoon or so of water and mix it until the dough is smooth and soft.
  6. Allow to rest for about 3-5 minutes, then dust with flour and knead to form a smoother dough.
  7. Rub some oil on top of dough and allow the dough to rest for 25 – 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap or a damp paper or kitchen towel.
  8. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces (depending on how large you want the bakes to be).
  9. Roll them into balls and place on a well-floured surface. Allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
  10. Flatten the balls of dough until they are about ¼ inch thick. You can use a rolling pin or your hands.
  11. Slowly add the dough to the heated oil in a deep pan or a deep fryer.
  12. Fry in hot oil until both sides are golden brown, about 30 – 45 seconds per side.
  13. Remove the fried bakes from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  14. Serve it warm with fried fish, salt fish, vegetables or anything you fancy. My kids prefer it sliced with cheese inside. Yum!

I put the bakes in a warm oven until I finished frying the fish.

My father brought back cases of halibut from a recent fishing trip in Alaska and we have been looking for all sorts of ways to prepare it. So I battered up some of that halibut to serve with the fry bake.  I cut the fillets into pieces small enough to fit inside a sliced fry bake and used the batter recipe below.

Fish batter
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Add milk and water slowly, then beat until batter is smooth.
  3. Dip fish or chicken into batter, allow excess to drip off.
  4. Deep fry until golden brown (I used a deep fryer set on the 320F temperature)

We sliced the bakes and placed a fried piece (or two) of fish inside. We added tomato, lettuce, garlic sauce, tamarind sauce (or chutney or whatever we had on hand) and pineapple chow made earlier that day (I said I was all about my favorite beach food today). And of course my Trini husband added pepper sauce.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Sugar Pie Bites

I wasn’t at all saddened today when a package of frozen prepared piecrust fell to the floor and scattered. Oh no … not at all. Now I could make cinnamon sugar pie bites guilt free.

My mother used to make extra pie crust dough when I was young so we could roll it out in small pieces, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and bake them until they were a glorious golden brown flakey treat. I now do that for my kids (ahem … and myself).

Here’s the simple to-do:

Ingredients

Uncooked pie crust dough (homemade or otherwise… no judgements here)

Mixture of cinnamon and white granulated sugar (whatever ratios fit your taste)

Softened butter (or margarine)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick spray.

Roll out or press pie crust into whatever shape you like (you could even shape them into your kid’s name initials). Or break apart a frozen pie crust. I like to make the shapes smallish (1-2 inches) to make them easier to pop in my mouth. But the size and shape is really up to you.

Place the dough shapes on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush on soften butter in the dough bits and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top.

Place in oven for about 10 minutes or golden brown.

If you can’t resist the cool-down wait, I feel you. I have burned my mouth too many times. No shame.

Lemon Cake with Sour Cream Frosting

So yesterday was my birthday. A big birthday with a big number. How can I be 40 years old already? So in the spirit of still feeling spritely, fresh and bright (yes … yes … I know age is just a number) I made myself a lemon cake for the birthday candles to adorn. Holla to all you other moms that … ahem … *get to* make your own birthday treats.

This was the first time I tried this recipe from 5BoysBaker and it is definitely Cotton-Kong household approved. I used a basic sour cream for the frosting recipe but 5BoysBaker suggest a sour cream lemon frosting here.

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CAKE INGREDIENTS


Cake:

  • 1½ cups sifted flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs , separated
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Lemon Syrup:

  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

  1. anPreheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 8×8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. I like the line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit so that the baked cake is easier to remove. Set aside the prepared pan. (NOTE: I like petite cakes so I used two 6″diameter glass Pyrex dishes.)
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light d fluffy. Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, mix until combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter, alternating with buttermilk.
  7. Fold in the egg whites.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in a greased 8×8 inch pan. (NOTE: Since I use the 6″ baking dishes, I divide the batter evenly between the two dishes and usually reserve a little batter to make a few cupcakes, too.)
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until top is golden and cake springs back when touched in center.
  10. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan. Poke holes in cake with a fork or a skewer, making sure not to go all the way through the cake.
  11. For Syrup: Combine all syrup ingredients until sugar dissolves, s
    poon over cake while still warm. Let cool and remove from pan.

SOUR CREAM FROSTING:

  • 2.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1/3 cups sour cream
  • Milk, if needed to get desired consistency

(NOTE: I usually add more or less sour cream and milk depending on the consistency I want.)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Frost cake when completely cooled.

Monster Pancake: A Saturday Morning Favorite 

Most Saturdays when I asked my kids what they want for breakfast they usually respond enthusiastically with “monster pancake!” Even better is after I make it Adelaide usually says “Mom, you’re the best pancake maker ever!”
This recipe is super easy to make, quick to clean up and refrigerates nicely if there are any leftovers.  Win win win.

Thanks to Heidi (one of my roommates in my single-and-fancy-free days) for the recipe!

MONSTER PANCAKE 

Ingredients :

5 eggs

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Melt butter in 9×13 pan. I usually do this in the oven as it preheats but you can melt the butter the microwave and pour it in the pan.

Blend the eggs for 4 minutes in a blender.  Add the flour, milk, sugar, salt and blend again for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan with the melted butter already in it.

Bake the pancake for 15 minutes and watch it grow as it bakes. It will be big when it comes out of the oven and deflates as it cools.

Slice and serve warm with powdered sugar  (my family’s favorite ), fresh fruit or preserves.

Easy Banana Bread

I am sure I am not the only person who has the all-to-often “Gosh the bananas have ripened already?” problem. So … what to do? One common solution is banana bread. Everyone loves it, right? My sister Sarah included this recipe in the 2nd edition of the Borg Family Cookbook (seriously … one of the best ever) and it is exactly as the title claims: EASY. Not only is it quick and simple to put together but it always turns out wonderful. Ummmm … Maybe too much so because I think I ate half the loaf myself last night.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter your loaf pan (or use parchment paper which is my usual way). Bake for 1 hour.

(Note: My family likes the banana bread a little crusty so I usually bake it at 350 degrees until the top is hard.)