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Habanero Grouper

Approximately two years ago, Dan and I planted a jalapeño plant and a habanero plant.  They grew, and they grew, and then they flowered… but our apartment didn’t get enough light (or heat) for them to bear fruit.  So they sat, for years, just barely hanging on.  Until we moved into this great apartment that has a yard! and full sun! and they got huge and started throwing dark green leaves out and finally, after so much waiting, came the flowers.  And slowly the flowers dropped and left behind tiny little peppers.  We were so excited.  We danced, we counted future peppers, and I started roasting and pickling peppers in my mind.

First the habanero put out a pepper.  More excitement.  More staring at it creepily as it grew.  Some concern about what we were actually going to do with a habanero.  Then came the jalapeño.  I started picturing future salsas.  Oh, the huevos rancheros.  But then something happened.  The jalapeño stopped getting longer.  Instead, it got fatter.  It looked, weirdly, just like the habanero.  Do you know where this is going?  You must.  You’re thinking duh! it’s not a jalapeño, dummies! you planted TWO habaneros!

We did.  Without realizing it, we harbored two habanero plants for years, the whole time dreaming about our wonderful jalapeños.  Because while I can handle a jalepeño, habaneros are the kind of vegetable that make me step back.  Blink.  Wonder what the hell I am going to do with a pepper that makes a grown man cry.  And not just one, but dozens.  You know what plants that haven’t been able to successfully reproduce for two years do?  THEY GO BUCK WILD.  We are swimming in habaneros, and I am having a nervous breakdown.

Thankfully, I have figured out a few things to do with habaneros.  First, I took a bunch down to my father’s house and then left under the cover of darkness.  Secondly, in a method more relevant to this food blog, I used them to create an underlying spice profile within a sauce.  My brilliant husband suggested that I pierce the habanero and let it simmer in a sauce, so that it might lend its flavor (ie heat), but not overwhelm anyone’s senses.  And it was such a hit.  I simmered a habanero in this brown butter brown sugar sauce for about an hour and the result was a dish that had afternotes of spice, and a low, consistent heat.  It was tasty and I was, thankfully, one habanero down.

In other news, this past weekend was the final weekend of performances for the water ballet I mentioned.  The ballet, Jason and the Aquanauts: 20,000 Legs Over the Sea was based on the movie of a slightly different name.  My scene, in which the hero Jason battles a skeleton army, was clearly the best.  I’ve included, as proof, the video of our scene and my makeup for the shows.  Terrifyingly awesome, I know.

Jason & the Aquanauts: Skeleton Scene from elena rosemond-hoerr on Vimeo.

Habanero Grouper

1 habanero

1 stick of butter

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 grouper filet

Salt & pepper

Put a large skillet over medium low heat.  Melt butter.  Stir in brown sugar.  Pierce whole habanero with a fork.  Place the fork in the butter mixture.  Allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Pat your grouper dry.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a broiling pan.  Drizzle with butter mixture.  Broil on high 10 minutes.

Serve over rice, topped with butter sauce.

UPDATE: THEY’RE GETTING BIGGER BY THE MINUTE!

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Bacon Blue Cheese Burgers

Tonight Dan and I returned from a few day trip to Morehead City, North Carolina.  You may be familiar with Morehead from such post as this, this, this, or this.  It was a great weekend filled with diving, eating, family, and friends.  Also, we saw a giant shark and I got stung by a jellyfish in a reenactment of that scene in The Sphere.  I’m pretty exhausted so instead of giving you the full run down and ending with a comment about how delicious burgers are when you mix in bacon and blue cheese, I’m going to give you a photo montage of the recipe, and some highlights from the trip.  It was fun.

On the first day Dan and I spent a lot of time watching low tide, and then we discovered that we could manipulate the movements of the minnows and the hermit crabs and the real crabs with our shadows.  We were wildly entertained.

Our first day of diving was on a boat called the Indra.  We saw a giant shark, got caught in a bait ball, and made a free ascent, which was not exactly what we were going for.  Still, we had fun.  And then we got pizza.

This place is so beautiful, how could you *not* be happy here?

The second day, we went on two dives.  The first was on the Ario, the vessel everyone used to think was the Hutton.  The Hutton is actually what everyone calls the Papoose.  They think.  Did I mention we dive on shipwrecks?  Either way, we saw two more huge sharks (pictured below) that while smaller than the shark we saw on the Indra, were still impressive.

Giant, right?

Check out the teeth!

We also saw some starfish, they were wonderful.  And isn’t Dan dreamy?  This was before I got stung by a jellyfish.  That was on our second dive of the day, which was on a tugboat called the Titan.  That was a great dive because the boat is intact and fun to swim through.  Also, there were juvenile sharks on the bow that were kind of hilarious.

That night we made these burgers, which were delicious, and tried hard not to talk politics.  Later we went to Dairy Queen to get blizzards.  This post is not sponsored by Dairy Queen.

The next day it was super rough so we cancelled the diving portion of the day and instead took a family trip to Shackleford Banks.  There was anchor line volleyball, synchronized swimming, and back flips.  I got sunburnt.

This is what it looks like when a white dog tries to stalk a hamburger.  Unsuccessfully.

That night we made grouper (recipe to come) and went out for ice cream.  Because it is vacation.  Now we’re home, back to real life (sad), and our very comfortable bed (happy).  Thanks for putting up with this photo montage instead of a real post.  I’m off to catch up on Warehouse 13.

Bacon Blue Cheese Burgers

1 lb hamburger meat

1/2 cup blue cheese (crumbled)

6 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)

3 tbsp steak sauce

S&p

Mix together hamburger meat, cheese, (cooked and crumbled) bacon, steak sauce, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Heat your grill.  For handfuls of meat into balls, and then use your hands to squish them into patties.  Cook on the grill 5-7 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 5-7.

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Crispy Marshmallow Bars

I know that this is the third week in a row that I’ve posted a dessert recipe.  There was ice cream, and then there was pie, and now it’s puffed rice cereal coated in marshmallowy goodness.  This pattern could obviously give someone the idea that all I eat are desserts.  Which is not true.  I just seem to have found myself in a rut.  A delicious rut where I use some combination of fresh or roasted vegetables and either pasta, a tortilla, or a pizza crust and call it dinner.  I don’t think (with the exception of cookout food) that we’ve eaten much lately that hasn’t had one of those bases.  I’m not complaining, it’s been delicious.  I just didn’t want you to think I was holding out on you.  Unless, of course, you’ve never eaten huevos rancheros, in which case go! now! drop everything!

Anyway the point is that while I’ve been cooking a rotation of the same style meals over and over again all summer I have been changing it up with the desserts.  I’ve tried new things and recreated old favorites, I even made white sangria for the first time.  It has been a delicious, albeit hot, summer.  And in following that trend this weekend I made these crispy marshmallow bars for the very first time (presumably, I may have participated in their creation as a child).  I’d been thinking, a lot, about the gooeyness, the crunch factor meeting with the chewy stringy melted marshmallow factor.  So I set out to make them.  And I failed miserably.

On Saturday night we had friends and family coming over, so I thought this would be the perfect make ahead treat.  And while the bars turned out well, they were more crispy than marshmallow.  So the next day I tried again, and the second batch more than satisfied my craving for stringy marshmallow goodness.  Through more than doubling the amount of marshmallow (silly me in the first place, I know), I got the perfect result.  A touch of cinnamon and nutmeg added a pinch of something more, with the end dessert being better than my childhood memories of this old favorite.  And the perfect end to a dinner of roasted peppers and eggplant over pasta.

Crispy Marshmallow Bars

1 bag of mini marshmallows

3 cups puffed rice cereal

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp butter

In a large skillet melt butter, sugar, and marshmallows.  Stir frequently until the marshmallows have melted and begun toasting.  Stir in the cinnamon and the cumin.  In a large bowl, combine the marshmallow mixture with the cereal.  Stir so that it is integrated evenly.

Line a medium size baking pan with wax paper.  Scoop the mixture into the pan, pressing it into shape.  Let cool at least 1 hour before serving.

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