Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Dinner

I've been sitting on a couple of recipes that I have been wanting to try. So, no more procrastinating. Today was the day.

Once again I turned to an Ina Garten recipe. This time I made her Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings. The ingredients are ready and waiting. Here I have black pepper, kosher salt, buttermilk, yellow cornmeal, all-purpose flour and a yellow onion.

First the onion was peeled and sliced into thick rounds. The inner rings were set aside for other recipes.

Now here is a nifty trick for you. After separating the onion into rings, place the rings in cold water. The thin membrane that lines the rings will be easy to peel off and discard. Not only will the coating stick better to the onion rings, but when you take a bite, the entire piece of onion will not slip out of the 'shell'. I often do this tedious step while I am watching TV. Today I enjoyed the comedy stylings of Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee while I pulled the membranes off the rings. And if I was crying, it wasn't due to what Miss Lee was doing to innocent food. Really.

The rings were ready for their buttermilk bath.

The rings went into the buttermilk that was seasoned with salt and pepper. I then placed the bowl in the refrigerator to await cooking.

Flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper were mixed together in a plastic container. Then came the messy part. I used tongs to coat the rings in the flour mixture.

The rings went into 350 degree oil and cooked for just a few minutes. I clipped my remote thermometer to the side of the pan so that I could keep track of the temperature.

The cooked rings were then moved to a rack on a baking sheet. Ina's recipe stated that the onion rings could be stashed in the oven until serving time. That worked well for my purposes.

With the onion rings out of the way it was time to move on to the main course. My husband loves to go Red Lobster when we go out to eat together, so I thought that a recipe from there might be nice to make at home (and just a smidge cheaper). The restaurant chain is nice enough to provide some recipes on their web site, but alas, the recipe I sought was not one of them. Not to fear though, as a quick Internet search revealed an article on about the very recipe I wanted. The Senior Executive Chef at Red Lobster gave the reporter the recipe for Peach Bourbon BBQ Shrimp and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.

The BBQ sauce is made from BBQ sauce (whodathunk?!), peaches and bourbon (or whiskey in a pinch).

Shrimp were peeled and skewered while sea scallops were wrapped in fully-cooked bacon before being skewered. My dear daughter was nice enough to take care of the scallops while I handled the shrimp. Olive oil was drizzled and salt and pepper were sprinkled over the seafood.

I heated the stove's electric grill and placed the bacon-wrapped scallops on first. When they were nearly cooked through I added the shrimp to the grill.

The skewered seafood was brushed with some of the BBQ sauce just before they were removed from the heat.

The onion rings came out of the oven and the cooked seafood was placed on the now clean plate.

The food was plated and served alongside light and refreshing Romaine lettuce salads.

The verdict? While the onion rings were good, the battering process was rather messy and cumbersome. I think I will stick with a batter for onion rings in the future. Sorry, Ina, but I won't be making this recipe again. And that is par for the course with the Barefoot Contessa recipes that I have tried. Some work for me and some don't.

However, the Peach Bourbon BBQ Shrimp and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops recipe is a keeper. I think the only change I would make would be to heat the dinner plates so that the food stays warmer longer.


Sara said...

This all looks so delicious! I've never made onion rings at home before. Bacon and scallops are such a classic combination.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

The shrimp and scallops look terrific. And I just use a simple 1/2 beer/ 1/4 seasoned flour/
1/4 semolina flour for batter for onion rings. None of that monkey business of soaking in buttermilk. Works for me.