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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

“Famous Restaurant Recipes, Pt. L: Fresh Cajun Catfish with Mixed Greens and Roasted Red Pepper and Cilantro Aioli—a Mouth-watering Way to prepare an Old Favorite” by Chef Elvin C. McCardle


Today, we continue offering albums by STEPPENWOLF!   Their TWENTIETH album—“Born to be Wild: a Retrospective”—was released in 1991 and was another “Best Of” package put out by the record company to keep the band’s memory alive and make some money to boot!  A good collection of their best material from the very beginning, this is as good as it gets so rush to Amazon.com and pick it up NOW!  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.  



COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR…


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 193 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!



STINKBUG 2012



FATHER’S DAY 2012 WEEK!



Chef Elvin C. McCardle

END Commentary 06-13-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,233.



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Wednesday, June 13, 2012 by Chef Elvin C. McCardle

FAMOUS RESTAURANT RECIPES, PT. L

 Famous Restaurant Recipes, Pt. L: Fresh Cajun Catfish with Mixed Greens and Roasted Red Pepper and Cilantro Aioli—a Mouth-watering Way to prepare an Old Favorite” by Chef Elvin C. McCardle



Bakersfield, CA, 06-13-2012 W: Here we are, Wednesday, the day before the dreaded HUMP DAY and four days to Father’s Day Sunday!  Yes, indeed, Father’s Day is a very important day and it’s our desire to make sure that no holiday goes unremarked anymore around here at the Elemental News of the Day aka “the END,” and we feel that it’s one of the more important holidays of the year.  We want you to consider maybe taking some of this week’s recipes and maybe using them for your holiday feast if you find them to be tasty, delicious, and stimulating.  Today’s recipe fits the bill for all of those requirements as it’s a blackened Cajun catfish filet that will blow your mind.  Prepared in a very classic way as far as Southern Cuisine is concerned, it will excite your palates, delight your taste buds, and will give you memories of the day to come for many weeks, if not months but remember: use ONLY fresh catfish if you can obtain it and never frozen.   

Blackened dishes require some time as they’re never rushed or driven to the end.  It is important to use the classical equipment, too, such as a cast-iron Griswold or skillet to get the authentic flavoring and color.  The iron cookware actually imparts some of its elements into the foods prepared within them helping provide both color and flavor.  They also provide a certain amount of dietary iron which is important to the health of virtually every living person and if obtained in a natural way is not harsh or debilitating to the digestive system as are supplements.  No, we all know what iron pills can do to the body so if you have the real deal, so-to-speak, use it and if not—now’s the time to go out and buy a cast-iron skillet and give it baptism through fire!

Catfish is a true favorite of most fish-lovers and is available in almost all places of the nation.  Always look for the freshest fish, smell it or smell the wrapper and note if there’s a great deal of liquid in the package: if there is, don’t buy it.  If you can buy it directly from the fishmonger, be sure to do that as it exactly what you want: the freshest fish and ask him or her to please take it from the middle of the stack.  We certainly don’t want you taking off of the top where all of the oldest fish ends up—always ask the person waiting upon you to give you the best!

(#1624) FRESH CAJUN CATFISH WITH WILD SPRING GREENS


Back in the 1980’s, I was introduced to Cajun cookery by the chef for whom I worked and this was one of the classics we learned and sold like the Dickens.  Catfish is one of the more tasty freshwater fishes and are found in many parts of the country.  This is one of my favorite fish dishes and I love the spiciness, it’s flavorful and hot.  If prepared correctly, it will floor you or your guests.  Always take your time and pay attention to the fish, never overcook it as much like a good steak, once over-done, that’s it!

Yield:  4 servings / Mis-en-place: 30-45 minutes / Cooking time: 4-5 minutes. 




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
4
7-8-ounce
Fresh catfish filets
Rinsed
2
Cups
Blackening Spice (Recipe #236)

1
Cup
Drawn butter

2
Quarts
Fresh Mesclun lettuces

.125
Cup
Sesame oil

.125
Cup
Balsamic vinegar

1-2
Cups
Roasted Red Pepper and Cilantro Aioli (Recipe #407)
4
Each
Lemon crowns

Freshly minced parsley flakes
Rinsed
Spanish paprika

1
Quart
“Dirty” rice

1
Quart
Sautéed green beans with onions and bacon

4
Each
Parsley sprigs
Rinsed
.125
Cup
Freshly minced parsley flakes
Rinsed



Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! First, prepare the Blackening Spice:

(#236) BLACKENING SPICE


With the “discovery” of Cajun cookery thanks to exalted chef, Paul Prudhomme and his writings in the 1980’s, every restaurant in Bakersfield and probably the nation had to have blackened foods on their menus which required their own spice blends.  This one is among my personal mixes and has always done remarkably well for me as an all-purpose blend.  It’s guaranteed to do the same for you, too.

Yield:  2 cups / Mis-en-place: 5 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
.75
Cup
Spanish paprika

.25
Cup
White pepper

.125
Cup
Cayenne pepper

.25
Cup
Garlic powder

.25
Cup
Black pepper

.25
Cup
Granulated onion

.125
Cup
Whole thyme

.125
Cup
Whole oregano

1
Tablespoon
Dried parsley flakes




Method:

2.      Mis-en-place: blend everything together and store in an airtight, sanitized container.

To coat fish with blackening spice, lightly press the filets into the mix in a pan but never save the black­ening spice at the end of the day; always be careful to NEVER cross-contaminate by using this mix for more than one type of protein item whether it be fish, poultry, or meat!

Next, make the Aioli so you can have it on hand and refrigerated:

(#407) ROASTED RED PEPPER AND CILANTRO AIOLI


Yield: 1.25 cups / Mis-en-place: about 20 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1
Cup
Best Foods’ mayonnaise

1-1/3
Tablespoons
Lemon juice

1.5
Teaspoon
Chopped garlic

.25
Teaspoon
Kosher salt

.125
Teaspoon
Black pepper

1
Tablespoon
Olive oil

1.5
Teaspoon
Freshly minced parsley

.75
Cup
Canned roasted red peppers, drained well

.25
Bunch
Fresh cilantro, washed and picked over



Good Stuff!
Method:

3.      Combine everything in your electric mixer using a whip attachment and blend together well. Refrigerate to below 45°F.  This will last for about a week in your refrigerator.

Aiolis have become very fashionable over the past two decades and this is an excellent one to have in your recipe books.

Final Preparation:

4.      Catfish is a delicate fish to some degree so it requires that one keep a close eye upon it and to not overcook it as that will leave one with dried fish.  Blackening any meat, poultry, or seafood item takes a bit of time because it’s done over low heat.  You will need a cast-iron Griswold or skillet so that the fish will be blackened authentically.  If you have neither one, use a griddle or flattop grill.

5.      Place the blackening spice in a baking dish, a pie pan, or a sheet pan.  Rinse the catfish and pat dry and then gently press into the seasoning—firmly but gently—on both sides.  Set aside for a moment.

6.      Place the Griswold or skillet over a low flame and allow it to heat up.  Also, keep the drawn butter WARM.  Note: the butter MUST be drawn when cooking Cajun foods as if it still retains its milk solids, it will break down, scorch, the food will taste nasty, and those in the know will sneer at you.  Always melt the butter slowly over a low flame and then draw off the scum that rises to the surface and then draw off the clear liquid.  Discard the whey and water that remains at the bottom and then keep the clear butter WARM but not overly hot.

7.      Meanwhile, have another skillet over a medium flame.  To this—when it’s time—you’ll add the sesame oil and will wilt the Mesclun lettuces.  Keep it warm as it you prepare the fish.  When the Griswold or the skillet’s HOT—but again, over low flame!—begin adding some of the drawn butter.  Heat it up and when it’s hot, add the blackened spice-pressed catfish filets, TOP-SIDE-DOWN.  The pan will immediately begin to smoke as the spices and herbs are wafted into the atmosphere and it may cause you to cough but keep going.

8.      Cook the fish slowly, adding more butter as necessary, and wait until it begins to feel firm.  Then, turn it over and add more butter.  Again, it will smoke and the air will be acrid with smoke.  Continue cooking—adding butter as needed—until the catfish feels firm to the touch; then, stop cooking and pull the pan off of the burner.  If need be, transfer the fish to a sheet pan and keep warm in a 200°F standard oven.

9.      Raise the heat on the other skillet and add the sesame oil.  Heat it up and when hot, add the Mesclun.  Place a lid or another skillet over the mass of greens to weight it down but don’t force it down.  The lettuces will begin to wilt due to the steam generated by the liquid in the greens and the heat of the oil.  When halfway reduced, add the vinegar and allow it to reduce a bit more—almost like steamed spinach BUT NOT QUITE as reduced!—then stop. 

10. Be sure to have the Dirty Rice and the vegetables ready.  Place the aioli in four ramekins or monkey dishes and have ready.  Have the lemon crowns ready and dust each one with parsley flakes and paprika for color and set aside.  When the greens are ready, divide them between four large serving plates and then top each mound with a blackened catfish filet.  Place the rice at 10 o’clock and the vegetables at 2 o’clock and then the lemon crown in the center of each plate with a ramekin of aioli.  Place a parsley sprig on each plate and then dust the fish with a bit more freshly minced parsley and dribble whatever butter remains over each catfish filet to give it a sheen; then, it’s time to take them out to the diners.

Definitely a classic, this is Southern Cooking at its best.  Everyone loves Cajun cooking except for those with gastrointestinal issues or acid reflux so keep an eye on your guests.  Always undercook fish rather than overcook it as generally, it will finish once it’s pulled off the heat source.  This dish would bring tears to the eyes of the great Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme, it’s so good.
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--------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will hopefully become dedicated followers of the END.  In this day and age of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Day Number Three has now come and gone and guess what: tomorrow is HUMP DAY and you can see I am paying strict respect towards it as I have no wish to do two weeks here at the Elemental News of the Day unless, of course, it was an emergency or someone needed time off.  But I am well aware of Stinkbug has decreed and will follow his wishes to the “t.” Besides, it’s a tradition and we are ones to not miss traditions and also, Father’s Day is this Sunday and it’s important that you all go out there and get Dad a marvelous gift and don’t just give him a tie, cologne, or a shaving kit.  Go to beverlycarrick.com and buy a painting that will enliven Dad’s den’s wall. Find something that would make him happy and pick it up, you can get it there within 7-14 days depending upon your shipping speed.  I have six of her paintings hanging on my walls at home and both my wife and I are dedicated fans.  We have even met the artist and find her to be engagingly sweet, intelligent, skillful, and a delight to be around so please consider the gift of fine art!                                 

Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by STEPPENWOLF and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you!

Elvin C. McCardle

Elvin C. McCardle

American Culinary Federation, Inc., CWC

_____________________________________________________________________
This is a picture of me as a young chef back in the 1970's when I was working as a sous chef at a resort hotel over on the coast around Ventura Beach, California. I began my career working as a busboy in 1963, move to washing pots in 1965, became a chef's apprentice in 1969 and have been a career professional ever since. I am still involved in professional foodservice as a consultant for food and beverage professionals.

Chef Elvin C. McCardle writes from Ventura, CA.

---30---

The END Commentary for Wednesday, June 13, 2012 by Chef Elvin C. McCardle

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef Elvin C. McCardle



Recipe created by Chef Elvin C. McCardle on March 01, 1986 in Ventura Beach, CA.

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This is #877 a 48” x 36" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Wind in the Palms." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!
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The Chef’s Culinary Nightmare: the end is indeed coming soon so beware of BOTH November 06 AND December 21, 2012!

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