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July 31, 2008

Beth the Singin’ Chef is Ready to Cook – and Sing a bit too

Beth1.jpg Well, all of that pent-up emotion over the last few days has made me hungry.  So, since I am not a cook (unless it’s raisin toast, spaghetti, or a batch of fried chicken), I called upon my friend, Beth, who is not only an extraordinary professional singer – check out her site at Music by Jonevan, but, she is also an exceptional cook.  I’ve known this for some time now – actually, more than that.  I’ve known that she was a good cook since 1983 when I lived in a small apartment in Coral Springs, Florida with my 2 girls and she lived below me.  The problem with this scenario, you see, is that she was always cooking and the aroma of her culinary skills was migrating up the floor boards. 

Beth was a stay-at-home mom at the time and was just starting her music career all over again, and she cooked all day.  Her casseroles are to die for.  Mouth-watering delicacies that make you pray at her doorstep to let you in just to absorb the aroma of whatever she has cookin’ in the kitchen - or invite you to dinner.

I don’t know where she learned to cook so well, but I’ve had her recipes in a binder for over 20 years and I have made them – yes I have cooked – and they are delicious!  I only wish I enjoyed the process of cooking as much as she and Ree (The Pioneer Woman).  I’d probably be a good one - cook that is.  So, I have grabbed her up and tied her to the stove and told her that she is now, officially, the Raisin Toast Chef whether she likes it or not.  And, if she doesn’t oblige, I am going to have to drive to Florida and paint her kitchen purple with pink polka-dots.  Fearing for her stove, her recipes, and her kitchen walls, she agreed. 

Wooo, for a minute there I thought I was going to have to make a trip to Sherwin-Williams for some ugly purple paint.  Not pretty purple paint, but ugly purple paint.  Only the ugly would have done the trick.

Beth2.jpg The only problem we have here is that Beth does not know how to take pictures.  She’s been complaining about it for 2 days now and her pictures are even making Photoshop close down automatically.  Oh well, until we figure out what to do with her pictures, and can make them as wonderful as Ree’s, you’ll have to bear with me here.  Some day soon (like in the next week) I am going to have to drive to Florida and buy her a decent camera, teach her to use it, and then steal her secret recipe box.  She’ll have to chase me all the way up the interstate if she wants it back.  Now that I think about it, that might not be a bad idea.  I’d finally get her butt to Charlotte and she can cook in my kitchen, and sing too!  (Just kidding Beth) – I think.

Alright Already!  Let’s get cookin’ here by golly!

Oh, I can’t pronounce anything in this recipe but “lime” and “nuts” and I had no idea what Panko or Tilapia was until she sent this to me.  If you are the same way, be prepared.  She’s a mighty fancy cook.  And a mighty good one too, so pull out your grocery list and prepare to whip up something special for dinner.



The Players:

Tilapia – three to four filets, up to 1 lb.
1 cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
1 cup of Pistachio Nuts
1 cup of Flour
1 Lime
1 Tablespoon of Butter
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil (Not Olive Oil)
1 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Fresh Tilapia Filets

Rinse and towel dry the filets, place on a plate and squeeze a wedge of fresh lime juice on both sides, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the coating.

Mortar & Pestle and Pistachios

In your food processor, or if you have a fun mortar and pestle like the one in the picture…

Beautifully crushed pistachios

grind the pistachios coarsely so there are still some nice sized pieces mixed in with the more finely crushed nuts.

Heavenly  Grey Goose!

(okay Beth, what the hell is this?) 

Crushed Pistachios and Panko

Panko and Pistachio Mixture

Mix these together with the Panko breadcrumbs in a flat dish and set aside.

Flour with Lemon Pepper Seasoning

On another flat dish, place the flour and stir in the lemon pepper seasoning. (Please note that the strawberries and pretty leaves in the picture are painted on Beth’s plate. For a minute there I thought we forgot to set out the strawberries.  Of course I’m an idiot in the kitchen so I’m sure you are not surprised by that comment - Susan)

One Lone Egg

Break the egg into a bowl and beat lightly.

ReadytoPrepare.jpg ReadytoPrepare2.jpg 
Now you’re ready!

(Beth is so neat and organized, don’t you think?  I love her countertops.  They’re so pretty.)

Panko Mixture into the Pan

In a large fry pan, melt the butter and the oil over a medium heat. I like a vegetable oil when frying this type of fish so that the flavor stays nice and light. Olive oil has a very distinct flavor and can sometimes overpower a delicate fish like Tilapia.

Flour dusting the fish

When this is melted and hot, begin by dusting the fish filet in flour first coating well.

Dipping in egg

Dip this into the beaten egg to coat completely

Coating with panko/pistachio

Place in the Panko mixture and press the breadcrumb/pistachio mixture into the fish. The process is not very attractive, but you want to do it definitely in that order. Repeat the steps with each piece of fish.

Three minutes on one side...

Don’t crowd too much in the pan. This picture shows only two pieces being prepared, but there should be enough coating for three to four medium sized pieces.

Take a sip of your Grey Goose

(We interrupt this broadcast for a sip of Grey Goose)

Flip for another three to four minutes

Fry the fish on medium heat, turning to medium-low if the fish is browning too quickly. Turn carefully after about three minutes and continue frying for another few minutes, just until the fish flakes beautifully with a fork.  Stoves vary, so you be the judge on timing.

The End Result

Set on a plate and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Also, Beth recommends baked sweet potatoes with a little butter for a side to go with this wonderful Tilapia - and Grey Goose.

Yum.  I’m makin’ that grocery list as we speak.  Now, Beth, where do I get this stuff?  Does Sam’s Club carry it? 

Happy Holidays

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