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The Outdoor Living Page

From cooking on the deck to visiting with friends on the dock, life on the lake is all about outdoor living. On this page, we’ll share regular features about how to make outdoor living more fun.

FISH FRY!

It’s that time of the year: you go catch a mess of fresh fish, get them all cleaned up and it’s time for a fish fry. Frying fish can be as simple as cooking up a small batch in a Fry Daddy or Emeril Cooker to a full fledged culinary event with a big fish fry for a bunch of friends with all the trimmings. It’s your choice. The simple way to do it is clean the fish, wash them with cold water and keep them in water in your refrigerator until you are ready to fry them (2-3 days at most). Take them out, dry them well and coat them with your favorite seasoning and fish fry.

Heat up the oil (peanut oil is great, but Canola and other less expensive oils work well, too) to about 350 up to 375 degrees, drop in the fish and cook for 2-3 minutes. Unless it is big pieces of fish, it won’t take longer than that. Catfish tends to need a little bit more time than crappie or bream. When you finish, put them in a platter covered with 3-4 layers of paper towels and keep in the open. Don’t cover your fish with foil or they will get soggy.

Throw in a bag of fries and some hushpuppies and you’ve made an A in Fish Frying 101 !!!!

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ARMADILLO EGGS
You’ve got to try this recipe from the new “Commander’s Kitchen” DVDs and cookbook. I immediately IMG_0390was drawn to the recipe for Armadillo eggs.  No, not real ones.  These consist of a half jalapeno pepper, stuffed with cream cheese, then totally wrapped in breakfast sausage.

Wait, that’s not all. Then you wrap it in a whole piece of bacon. You don’t even have to toothpick it. The bacon sticks to the sausage and it actually cooks together.  It’s best fixed on the grill.  And it’s best eaten before 6 p.m. if you want to sleep that night. Man, it’s good.

A DELICIOUS GRILLED OXYMORON
Giant shrimp.  I love them on the grill.  If you are an English teacher “giant” (big) and “shrimp” (little) may sound like an oxymoron. But no matter what you call it, big shrimp cooked on the grill are delicious.

There are a number of ways to do it quickly and easily. One of my favorites is to marinade them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then put them on a skewer and season them with lemon pepper. Put them on a hot grill and brown them well on both sides (usually 1-2 minutes per side).  Take them off and set them on the cool side of the grill or on the warming rack for 4-5 minutes, then put them on the platter and squeeze fresh lemon juice over them.  You don’t even need any dipping sauce.

Serve them with rice and french bread, or just a big fresh salad.

FRIED WHOLE BREAM

What’s my favorite food in the world?  Quite frankly, there’s a long list. But right up there at the top is fried whole bream.  Back in the day, when we caught fish, we cleaned and ate the whole thing.  My dad thought “filet” was a dirty word. I still love to scrape the scales off a bream, clean it and fry it whole. It’s simple:

Here’s how to do it.   Clean the bream, wash thoroughly and dry them. Salt and pepper both sides. Put in a plastic storage bag with your favorite fish fry. Shake, remove the excess fish fry and carefully put in a pot of cooking oil deep enough to cover the fish completely. Fry at 375 degrees until they turn golden brown.  It should only take 4-5 minutes. Simple, but delicious.

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