Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BAREFOOT BLOGGERS and CEiMB - Outrageous Brownies and Crispy Fish Fingers

Due to time restraints, I will have to once again combine Barefoot Bloggers and CEiMB.
Let's start with CEiMB this week. Crispy Fish Fingers was hosted by Anne of Rainforest Recipes. When I read Anne's profile, I was so inspired by her story and her courage. Reading about her life brought back memories of my own, though my brief experience cannot possibly compare to her life. When I was 37 years old, I felt restless and I wanted my life to somehow make a difference. So when my friend Wanda suggested we go to Guyana on a medical mission trip, I immediately said yes. Having led a pretty sheltered life up until that point, it was a huge decision for me to leave my husband and my two teenage boys and just take off with a group of doctors and pharmacists I barely knew to a place I knew nothing about. Of course we all remember the Jim Jones tragedy and because of that incident, the people of Guyana were not very trusting of anyone from the states. It doesn't take more than a day or two in a third world country to realize how blessed we are here in the states. If you gave a piece of gum to a child, you better have ten more pieces handy real quick because you would be surrounded by children in a flash. I treasure my time in Guyana and all the interesting people I met. I returned a different person, a better one I hope. That was a long time ago and I hope living conditions have improved since my time there.

Crispy fish fingers. They were crispy and they looked like fingers, but I have to be honest and say they were bland. I had too much fish to work with so I took the remainder and panfried it with some greek seasoning and blackened it a bit, and it was much tastier than the fish sticks. I will probably not make these fish sticks again. I served them with a green salad and a baked sweet potato loaded with butter and brown sugar. The recipe for the fish fingers can be found here if you want to try them for yourself. I'm interested to see how the other cooks in our group rated these.

Eva of I’m Boring chose Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies for this week's challenge. Eva there was nothing boring about these brownies. When I checked out the recipe initially, it said the level was "difficult." I have to say the only difficult part of making these brownies to me was hauling the ONE POUND of butter from the refrigerator to the counter! Not to mention the POUND of chocolate in these. They are absolutely fabulous however. One bite and I could almost feel the butter and chocolate running straight to the hips and thighs.
But did that stop me from indulging in these? Heck no! I ate two big slices at the first sitting. Not telling how many more I ate as I passed by them in the kitchen. Ssssssh. You really need to try these. If you are a person that loves chocolate and you are in need of a fix, I can't think of anything better than these to satisfy your cravings. The only substitution I made was that I used pecans instead of walnuts, just because that is what I had on hand.

Outrageous Brownies - Ina Garten

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

The movie I would like to plug for this week is The Reader with Kate Winslett and Ralph Fiennes. Trust me when I say this movie is not for children. The first twenty minutes you see all of Kate. I do mean all. But the story is fascinating, though the subject matter is difficult to watch at times. It is definitely a dramatic piece with dark and sad places. While Ralph is no sex symbol, he is such a fabulous actor. I especially liked him in the Constant Gardner.


What's for Supper? said...

I haven't finished my post yet for the fish sticks but I won't be making them again. They weren't bad....just lacking in flavor.! I prefer mine fried with tartar sauce I guess.

Leslie said...

I totally agree on both counts. I think I'm more likely to make the brownies agin, but probably not the fish fingers. Your brownies and fish fingers look great. Of course, if given a choice I'd pick the brownies 11 out of 10 times.

Debinhawaii said...

Both the brownies and fish look good. I had to do a half batch of the brownis and am trying to get rid of them. They are good though!

Anonymous said...

Too bad on the fish fingers. It didn't thrill us because it was flounder. Adding Old Bay to the crumbs may make a big difference.

As for "The Reader", we watched that a while ago. If I remember, it was one I stayed awake for all the way thru - so it must have been an interesting story.

Jessica said...

I'm sorry that the fish sticks weren't worth the effort but your blackened fish sounds delicious. I didn't have time to try this week's pick but I think that now I know that this isn't a recipe to rewind.
The brownies look and sound like Ina's best with all of that butter and chocolate!

Anonymous said...

I liked The Reader. It was a good movie.

Those brownies are truly outrageous. All that butter and 6 eggs! Sounds delicious.

chocolatechic said... dear, I sure hope you realize that there was almost 3 pounds of chocolate in these brownies.

Craving Ellie in My Belly said...

Sorry you didn't like them this week. I also added Old Bay to mine, and they were pretty good. I am not sure why Ellie wrote this recipe without at least suggesting to add some spices to the breading.

Craving Ellie in My Belly said...

Those brownies look AND sound outrageous.

"The first twenty minutes you see all of Kate."

How long after I read that you do think it took me to search for "Kate naked the reader"? OK j/k I didn't... alright I did. :)

Sorry you didn't love the fish, ours came out quite tasty with some added seasoning. Other people on the Food network site agreed that they were a little bland.

-- Nick

Aggie said...

I want to rent that movie...

I was afraid of the fish being bland too, but I added some garlic powder and lemon zest to the flour and made sure to season up the breading too. For being bland they still loo good! :)

I wish I got a chance to make those brownies! They look awesome!

Suzie said...

Fantastic brownies weren't they? I shared them with some friends and everyone keeps talking to me about how incredible they were!

spike. said...

pecans sound like a good sub. nice work on both recipes

Audrey said...

oh, I don't's his eyes! And let' see, there was some food?
I'm disappointed that everyone down-rated the fish because it looks wonderful! And I've had those brownies, so I know they are!

Pamela said...

Peggy, the brownies look AMAZING!!

Me! said...

Too bad about your fish fingers but that's why Barefoot Bloggers are better :). Glad you liked my pick. They are incredibly insanely rich I brought them in to work in 4 installments because I knew they'd never get finished in a day, even when they've eaten 8 dozen cookies in about an hour.