Friday, December 23, 2016

Frog Legs

I remember the first time I tried frog legs at a restaurant.  This was in the early 1980's when salad bars were a big craze.  Just outside of Cincinnati, a restaurant in Mason, Ohio, had an expansive buffet of salads and appetizers that included fried frog legs.  After all these years, I cannot remember much of anything else that was on the colorful salad bar besides some delicious soups, lots of what you would expect to find at a salad bar, and then something you would not expect to find--fried frog legs. I enjoyed them with cocktail sauce.

Now you can sometimes find tempura-battered and fried frog legs at a China Buffet restaurant.Yes, it is true that they taste like chicken!

Since then, I also have tried frog legs prepared in a cajun-style recipe. Chef Emeril Lagasse's recipe available on the Food Network website calls for a simple saute of frog legs and garlic in butter with fresh tomato sauce and a blend of cajun spices.  When I tasted this, it reminded me more of crayfish than chicken. Delicious!

I am interested in trying a recipe of stir-fried frog legs (unbreaded) that is similar to dry-braised shrimp, oriental style. This style of recipe calls for stir-frying the frog legs with garlic, fresh ginger, and spring onions (sliced green tops) and serve with a squeeze of lemon and a side of white rice and sauteed green beans with mushrooms.

Another quick and easy way to prepare frog legs is to grill them a few minutes per side and serve with cocktail sauce.  To give them more flavor and to keep them from sticking to the grill, toss them in an oil and lemon marinade. Italian-style dressing or vinaigrette would work fine as a marinade.

Often you will see recipes that call for soaking the raw frog legs in milk prior to preparing for cooking.  This may be a good idea if you are catching your own frogs in the wild.  Wild-caught frogs may have a more "gamey" or fishy taste that becomes milder after soaking in and discarding the milk.

The frog legs that are available for purchase at Homer Village Market have been farm raised for restaurant use.  They have had all the skin removed, toenails clipped, are flash-frozen, individually wrapped for ease of portioning, and are ready to cook.  They are sold in a 5-pound bag or box.  They have a mild flavor similar to chicken.  Since these are "medium size" (6-8 pair per pound) rather than "large size" (4-6 pair per pound), it is not necessary to split the pair into two individual legs prior to cooking. If you prefer the larger size, these can be special-ordered with a couple of weeks' lead time (less lead time required in the summer months).

Customers planning to fry meat or seafood for dinner often ask for breading mixes similar to "Shake-n-Bake" or some of the seafood and chicken fryer mixes found in many grocery stores.  Since we are a small store, and customer preferences for these mixes are diverse, we generally do not carry the mixes.  You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry to make a flavorful mix, with just the amount of sodium you prefer.  If not, we do have the basic ingredients such as flour, crackers, cornmeal, salt, pepper, spices, milk, eggs, etc.

Here is a typical recipe for fried frog legs. This could be adapted for alligator that will be fried (especially reduce the salt).


These nearby stores have ingredients on sale!
  • 24 frog's legs, skin removed
  • 1 (4 ounce) packet saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup peanut oil for frying

1.  Rinse the frog's legs and pat dry; set aside. In a large resealable bag, combine the saltine cracker crumbs, flour, cornmeal, onion, salt and pepper. Shake to mix. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
2.  Heat the vegetable oil and peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be about 1/2 inch deep.
3.  Dip the frog's legs into the milk and egg, then dip into the cracker mixture until evenly coated. Carefully place them in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side. If the legs start to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Drain on paper towels before serving.

SOURCE:  AllRecipes website (recipe by AnimalWhiz

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Coming to an End

What a nice, long autumn we had in Ohio.  Fall weather stretched into what should have been winter months.  One reprieve after another kept many of us from "winterizing" the farmhouse and barns, and even our vehicles, at the time of year we usually complete those tasks.  Every time I thought Winter was finally here, the following week brought temperatures in the 50's or 60's again. More time to "get ready" for winter.

This week was a cold, snowy, blustery one.  Today started at less than 5 degrees and only got as high as 12 degrees.  Tonight back down to about 2 degrees.  With the wind chill factor, it's feeling like well-below zero.  Several inches of snow is frozen on the ground.

Many are hoping for a "white Christmas," but at this point we may have had the most snow we will see this month.  This weekend it will be in the 50's Saturday, then dropping back into the 20's. Welcome to Ohio!

Winter at the Homer Village Market usually brings the best prices of the year on wine.  This is the time to stock up for the holidays and beyond, because usually the prices go back up in January. While the prices fluctuate up and down throughout the year, this seems to be the most predictable time to find bargains on your favorite wine. Also this is the time we stock the most variety of "wine accessories" such as pretty wine carriers, unique openers, and stoppers as gift items.

If you are doing some shopping for the holidays, and you have a foodie on your list, you might find something at the Homer Village Market to please them.  Besides an interesting variety of pickled fruits and vegetables (relishes), we have low-sodium spice blends, sauces, vinegar, and many varieties of rice and beans.  While gifting perishables is a little bit more difficult (steaks, chops, etc.), that is where a Gift Certificate could come in handy.  We have denominations of $5, $10, $15, $20, and $50. Local honey, maple syrup, and lamb chops make nice gifts. Don't forget the alligator!

Whatever your plans, take time to enjoy the winter season!  Stop by the store to see what's new.