Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Real Men Cook! - Beer Battered Fried Fish

I'm a lucky girl!  My husband cooks!

Tonight he made Beer Battered Fried Fish with homemade Tartar Sauce, a Baked Potato, and a sliced Campari Tomato & Basil Salad
My husband has always been the daily "cook" in our family.  I cook for the holidays. I bake the turkeys, hams, roasts, etc., but when it comes to the daily grind ... the everyday meals...it's the cowboy who takes over in the kitchen.

He calls it survival.  I call it de-lish!  He jokes that he hides my Christmas presents in the oven because that's the last place that I would ever go!  (Don't tell him I said this - but he's probably right!)

He refuses to take any credit for his creations as they are all taken right from cookbooks, magazines, or his memories of his mother's recipes.  Sometimes he tweaks for his personal preferences, for example, he doesn't like garlic or onions (is he crazy?) so he'll adjust and use only a little for flavor.

I thought I'd occasionally share some of his favorite finds!  We'll call this segment the Cowboy Cooking Corner!  Real men do cook!

Here's tonight's beer battered fish offering from the July 2012 Southern Living (p. 110).  He reads my Southern Living magazine and I read his Sports Illustrated.  Go figure.

  Vegetable Oil
  2 lbs. flaky white fish (he purchased 1.63 lbs of Cod)
  1 tsp. salt
  1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  1-1/2 cups all-purpose flower
  1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  1 tsp. salt
  1 (12 oz.) bottled beer (he used Budweiser)
  1 tsp. hot sauce
  2 tsps. Miss Sylvia's Fish Fry*  (*not part of the original Southern Living Recipe)
Pour oil to a depth of 3" in a large Dutch oven.  Heat to approx. 360 degrees.

Sprinkle fish with salt, pepper, and Miss Sylvia's Fish Fry

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk in beer and hot sauce.  
(How could you go wrong with these two ingredients!?!)

 Dip fish in batter, allowing excess batter to drip off.

Gently lower fish into hot oil using tongs to prevent fish from sticking to the pan.  
Fry fish in batches about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Here's his own recipe for Homemade Tartar Sauce

  1/4 cup mayonnaise
  1 tbsp. relish  (we used CrackerBarrel Chow Chow Relish)
  1 tsp. lemon juice (we used the plastic lemon - but fresh is always best!)
  1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)

mix well & serve on the side.

Serve with a baked potato and some sliced Campari tomatoes with basil.  

Do you have any favorite magazines that always feature great recipes and ideas?  Please share!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Connecticut Irish Festival

It's a great day for the Connecticut Irish! - In fact, all weekend!  

2017 Saturday and Sunday, June 24th and 25th at the North Haven Fairgrounds.

Note this review was from 2012:
(2012) Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd and 24th at the North Haven Fairgrounds!

Today was a beautiful day to take a ride up I-91 to North Haven to attend the 50th Annual Connecticut Irish Festival being held on the North Haven fairgrounds.   The festival began as a "Field Day" back in 1963 and featured Irish music, a hurling match, a football game, tug of war, and field races.  The event is based on the old hurley/hurling (football) games that began between Irish factory workers in Connecticut in the late 1800s and moved into its more traditional venue to include Irish music and dancing and become a cultural event to bring the Connecticut Irish together to socialize.  Now, the Connecticut Irish Festival includes all the traditional events of yesteryear, along with a feis, a term used for a Gaelic arts and cultural festival, but now more commonly used to describe an Irish dance competition.

We arrived shortly after 11am and were greeted by long-time friend Annie Hinds who is an active volunteer in many Connecticut Irish organizations.  This year Annie was helping out with parking, whose $2.00 donation goes towards all the Irish athletic events.

Give a little extra to the parking attendants this year if you are able to - as this group benefits so many fine youth organizations which is always a great donation.

After paying the $12.00 admission fee (per person, children under 16 are FREE!  - making for a great family day!) we entered the field and field grounds in time to see the race participants.  Many of the participants are sponsoring worthwhile charities, here's a picture of the team for DMS - Project Purple!

When many of the exhibitions were still setting up, we visited with some of the organizations that were represented, talking about genealogy, the history of the fair, and members of the Ancient Order of the Hibernian Society.

There were even two Alpacas from Hunter Hill Farms and a live demonstration of spinning Alpaca wool!  Amazing!  The little Alpacas were beyond cute!

There's plenty of Irish merchandise!

 Look at the picture below of all the adorable offerings from Faith and Begorra, out of New Jersey, who, by the way, have the BEST BUSINESS CARDS, as they offer a recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream Pie on the back.  So clever! (It's also available on their website, select tea recipe and you can find it!

We stopped to see a little of the soccer game

There's plenty of food to be had, burgers and hot dogs, and OF COURSE the Corned Beef Sandwich!  We had stopped for breakfast so didn't have room for any.  (sad face!) 

BUT we did stop for some ice cream from the Carvel truck!

There's so much more, with all the traditional fair food and my all-time favorite fried dough pizza!  We actually saw one and it was the biggest we've ever seen!  HUGE!

Moonbounce for the little ones...

We were able to hear some great music!  Under the Main Tent was Kitchen Party, also out of Canada featuring traditional Irish music.
and here's a short video:  

and under the Cieli Tent were the Narrowbacks out of New York. 
and another short video

Sunday features the traditional feis and my wonderful sister-in-law Kathy was there to cheer on her granddaughter Eilee Rose, who took three first places!  Eilee competes representing the O'Keefe School of Irish Dance out of Hamden, CT.  That's Eilee in the bright pink.  

Whenever I spend time with Eilee and her brothers and sisters I am amazed at the confidence, good manners,  and poise they all have.  Must be that good Irish heritage!

Thank you to Kathy for sharing her pictures with me!

We had a great time at the Connecticut Irish Festival and can't wait to go back next year!  A great big thank you to all the volunteers, vendors, musicians, and dancers who make this great event possible!

Visit the Irish Festival and tell them Home Place sent you!

Where do you go to hear some great Irish music?
Have you been to the Connecticut Irish Festival?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Branford Festival 2012

Today the cowboy and I attended the 28th Annual Branford Festival in our little town of Branford.

Father's Day weekend just isn't complete unless we've supported some of our local commerce and visited with friends here at the Branford Festival.  Here's a picture of our town hall with some banners from all the supporting merchants and advertisers that make this wonderful event possible every year!  The best way to thank them is to support them with your business!

We always run into some old friends and relatives while we were there and this year was no different! We had the pleasure of meeting up with the cowboy's cousin, the beautiful Linda D., who was kind enough to compliment us on our blog and our recent restaurant series.  (Thank you Linda!).  So great to live in a small town where we are lucky to know (and be related to!) so many people.  The cowboy comes from a family of 12 (!!) with its origins in Short Beach - so we are probably related to half of the townspeople!

If you haven't been to the Branford Festival - I highly recommend it!  There are some great food vendors there as well as great shopping.  We started with the food vendors which, in addition to having many local businesses participate, also have some of the civic clubs and non-profits as operators of food service.  Come out and support them and have some great food!

 My gyro!  YUMMM!
The Greek would say καλός (so good!)

The cowboy's hot dog! HUMMEL's, of course!

The good people from St. Theresa's church 
(Stop by tonight at Holy Cannoli and say hello to my friend Gayle!)

Branford Festival's fine volunteers! 
Thank you for all that you do each year to make this event possible!
And don't forget to pick up a Branford Festival Souvenir!

Vauiso Farms

The East Haven Short Beach Trolley line!

Local merchant Tricia Bohan Photography

Branford Recreation - one of Branford's finest organizations!

Cosgrove Animal Shelter

And all day entertainment
This little lady belted out the Star Spangled Banner like a pro!
(...and SHE knew all the words!)

Colorful Adirondack chairs and outdoor accessories.

lots of crafts!
Beautiful furniture

Of course we moved on to the shopping experience and I purchased a beautiful shell necklace and earrings from The Beadtress for only $25.00! Here I am later with my necklace on

I also picked up some hand dyed scarfs from Mango Bay Design in the most beautiful shades of purple and turquoise!
See me doing my best Vanna White imitation! - Two for $20.00!

...and there's even wonderful give-a-ways to be found!  
Here's a little something from our local Allstate Agent, Stephanie Lupoli.  
Stop and see her and her dad Peter on Montowese Street in Branford.

The Main Street merchants participate in their own ways with some great sidewalk fare!

Darbar Indian Restaurant
Sound Runner

Branford Building Supplies is offering Adirondack style chairs that are only $29.00.  Made of durable resin and never need painting!  Aqua, pale yellow, and bubble gum pink!  I want them all.  The cowboy said no.  (sad face)

Common Ground Coffee Shop - a little cafe au lait al fresco.
...and the cowboy lugs home my hanging baskets! 
Every year he warns me he won't carry them!  Every year he does!

Visit the Branford Festival and tell them Home Place sent you!

Did you visit the Branford Festival this weekend?  How do you spend your Father's Day weekend?

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