Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

Lake Erie Walleye Cakes

My husband used to go out on Lake Erie and furnish us with lots of walleye every year, but he got tired of that type of fishing (trolling) and mostly of cleaning fish. Luckily, we still have a friend who gives us a few each year, and I’m ready for them with a collection of good walleye recipes. Another thing about my husband is that he doesn’t like the taste of fish, although walleye are very mild, so I found a number of recipes that distract him from the main ingredient. Of them all, he likes fish cakes the best.

This recipe is a version of Martha Stewart’s Codfish Cakes, but I use walleye and parsley instead of cod and tarragon, and my hot sauce is Huy Fong© Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce. Stewart’s recipe is online, but I found it first in the paperback What To Have For Dinner (1995), a useful book that organizes meals by season. The Codfish Cakes are in the spring section.

Lake Erie Walleye Cakes

  • Servings: 6-8 patties
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Although I made 4 inch patties, they would be great in a smaller appetizer size—just more browning time.

Preheat oven to 200°; it’s a good idea to keep the finished cakes warm while browning the rest.

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs walleye, cut into chunks then pulsed to a small dice
  • 1 onion, minced, cooked in olive oil until translucent
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Huy Fong© Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for sweating onions and browning cakes
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs—I used Progresso™ Garlic Herb Bread Crumbs
  1. Saute the minced onion in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until translucent, but not browned. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cut skinned and boned fish into large chunks, then pulse in a food processor to a small dice, without turning into a paste. Note: we cut out any red muscle in fish, which has an unpleasantly strong taste.
  3. Mix fish with remaining ingredients, except bread crumbs—do not use bread crumbs as a binder, just for coating. Mixture will be soft and moist.
  4. Form fish mixture into 4 inch patties no more than 1/2 inch thick. Wetting your hands will make the mixture a little easier to work with. Coat each cake with breadcrumbs and set aside until all are made. The cakes will still be soft and will not stand up to a lot of handling, so just plan to be careful. They will hold together on cooking.
  5. Heat 2-4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat until hot. Lift cakes with a spatula and place in skillet, about 3-4 depending on the size of your pan.
  6. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to ovenproof plate in warm oven.
  7. Add more oil, if necessary, and brown the rest of the cakes.

These would be great with a colorful vegetable slaw, but we had macaroni salad and peas.

Chocolate Babka, Once

Update: my husband said it was tasty, and I’ll take that as success.

I’ve never seen nor tasted a chocolate babka or any other kind of babka, but when I looked it up recently and saw the photos, I was intrigued. Now, this may turn out to be like the puff pastry I made only once, or it may inspire some variations—like without chocolate, which readers know is not my favorite flavor. The eggy, buttery dough, basically a brioche dough, appealed to me, even with the chocolate, so I didn’t think I would be disappointed.

I made it exactly like this recipe for “Better Chocolate Babka” from Smitten Kitchen, although I may not have rolled it as tightly as needed, since it seemed a little loose and wanting to fall apart after trying to cut it after baking, but rolling filled dough, as in for cinnamon rolls, can be fraught with problems. It looked pretty good in the pan after my attempt at twisting it and better after rising and baking—you be the judge from the photos—so I think I did it right. If I made it again, I think I would try the traditional method in Martha Stewart’s offering, where you just roll it up and twist the heck out of it without cutting it to open the layers. Still the open layers did make for an interesting look.

But that brings me to whether I will make it again, and I think that’s a No. The chocolate really disappointed me, seeming bitter and dry, and well, just too chocolate. If I make anything like it again, I will make the cinnamon filling or something savory. Can you make a savory babka? I don’t even know the meaning of the word, but I won’t waste a nice brioche dough on chocolate again. I’m not sure what the big appeal is of this bread. My husband, the chocolate lover, looked at it and said “It’s Bread?” leading me to think he won’t be eating much of it. I think he thought it would be a cake.

The dough handled nicely and was easy to roll out thin; the chocolate filling came together as instructed and spread easily. Setting the rolled dough in the freezer for 10 minutes did work well for cutting it before twisting, and eliminating the nuts, as the recipe notes suggested, probably kept the layers from falling apart in the twisting. Maybe it came out as it should have, but that chocolate just did not hit the spot for me. I didn’t take many photos in the making, but the finished loaves look pretty good:

Comfort Foods in the Winter

I’m just back from a short spring break vacation where there were ice storms to home where there are still feet of snow covering everything and the roofs are trying to hang on. We have two leaks, so far, and are waiting for the thaw to see how bad it will really be. One bathroom pipe has tried to freeze up twice, but then came back each time without busting. While visiting the granddaughter, et al., I only cooked twice, both times with a similar theme—meat, gravy, vegetables. Yesterday, out of a lack of innovation or gumption or just because I’m tired from the cold I picked up there, I repeated one of the meals just for us and added a chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday.

I made the ubiquitous chicken and biscuits casserole. You can find variations of this casserole that are all dump-in, usually using canned cream soup and refrigerated biscuit dough, and a few from scratch, like Ina Garten’s that uses homemade biscuits. I did a little of both.

And then I made Martha Stewart’s “Flourless Chocolate Cake,” which is really simple, as long as you follow the directions in the handy video at the top of the directions. I won’t repeat the recipe here, as I didn’t add anything to the original.

Chicken, Vegetables, and Biscuits Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375°

Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

3 cups diced poached chicken from 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 cups sliced, cooked carrots (4-6)

1 bag frozen baby peas

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups chicken stock (from chicken poaching liquid)

2 cups half and half

8 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 package Pillsbury Grands!® biscuits

  1. I used my recipe for Poached Chicken Breasts, except poaching them in chicken stock instead of water.
  2. While the chicken is cooling, simmer the carrots in the stock for about 5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon, then stir in the frozen peas just to thaw them and take off the chill. You don’t want to dump frozen peas into your hot gravy or it will take much longer to heat in the oven.
  3. Cube the chicken, or pull into shreds if you prefer that texture, and add to the baking dish with the carrots and peas.
  4. Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper, stirring until smooth. Add 2 cups of the poaching stock and 2 cups of half and half, stirring until thickened. You can add 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg if you like that in a white sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and bake for 15-25 minutes, until bubbling hot. A hot casserole will help bake the undersides of the biscuits.
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven and arrange the refrigerated biscuit dough on the casserole—two rows of four worked in my dish. I prefer the results when the biscuits are not touching each other.
  7. Return to oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are browned on top and seem done through to the bottom.

I serve the biscuits turned upside down on a plate with the chicken-vegetable-gravy spooned over. It won’t make the snow melt, but it’s a comforting warm meal on a cold night.

Banana Muffins: Martha Stewart

First, I should state that bananas are my favorite fruit. I think that makes me biased toward foods that retain an actual banana flavor without other ingredients overpowering it. It doesn’t mean that I would leave nuts or cinnamon out of banana bread, but sometimes I find simple to be best. Here’s a case in point. These Banana Muffins from Martha Stewart—and you can find a wide variety of banana muffins attributed to her—might have the most authentic banana flavor I have ever had in a muffin, and that’s even with the additions of whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and sour cream. They have a moist cake-like texture, instead of that drier crumbly texture of typical muffins which I love, but they are just so darned good, that as far as bananas go, this is going to be my go-to recipe for muffins. I fought the urge to tinker with the original recipe by adding nuts or cinnamon right up to the end, and then decided to make it a test of the recipe, and it was a good decision.

Martha Stewart Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12+ muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Find the original recipe here and below: http://www.marthastewart.com/345534/banana-muffins

Preheat oven to 350°; line muffin tin with paper liners.

4 ripe bananas, plus 1 for garnish

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)

  1. Peel four bananas, and place them in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until mashed, about 1 minute.
  2. Add brown sugar, oil, and egg; beat until smooth.
  3. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat until smooth.
  4. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until combined.
  5. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Slice remaining banana into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; place a slice on each muffin.
  6. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes for regular muffins and 20 for mini, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store, covered, at room temperature.

I filled my muffin cups 3/4 full and had enough batter left over to pour into a buttered mini loaf pan. 25 minutes worked exactly for my muffins. I had been concerned that the banana slices would sink into the batter, but they came out just as described.