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Kitchen Confidence Previous Episodes

July 22, 2014 - Kitchen Confidence

“Kitchen Confidence 101”

By Sandra Reames,

Carefree Catering,

 Branson, MO



“Let’s Go Down to the Fishing Hole”


We have talked about Trout, well one more update on Rainbow Trout I tried Trout with Cajun Seasonings and it was quite good.  The spices gave the game fish just what it needed; also a famous restaurant is serving it with salsa that made a terrific difference too!  Try them both.


Around here the fishing hole has at least 100 miles of shoreline and maybe more.  Between Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake.  We have no lack of fishing places.


In this fresh water we have an abundance of good fish for eating.  I know if you listen to the news broadcast there is only 2 or 3 fish in the world that we should be eating and the one leading the advertisements is salmon.


Fish is good for you.  You have never heard of any one being allergic to all fish, as you would beef or chicken or even shellfish.  Fish have a different family makeup toward your health.  Possibly you could be allergic to catfish, but then you could eat other fishes such as bass or sea fish such as Pollack or herring, because they are not in the same family, even though they are all fishes.  Sound confusing, but what it really boils down to is fish is good for you.  Biggest problem is that most people have been told (warned) about fish so much they are not sure what to eat.  Does it contain this or that or the water is not right or whatever.   “Settle down.”  The other reason that we do not eat many of our local fish is we have to clean them and then cook it.  Not many restaurants carry game fish so we are not accustomed to eating it.


There are a bunch of reasons, but I see no reason that the fisherman also couldn’t be the cook or at least clean them and some one else cook them.

Or best yet clean and refrigerate on one day and rest from your trip then cook them the next day. 


Suggestion: Filet the fish especially for kids.  Nowadays kids have been taught to eat chicken without bones, so probably the only way you can get older kids started is with filets or nuggets.  Then they think you bought them from the grocery and they will like it.  We have developed strange eating habits over the last few years.   Drinking water only from a plastic bottle, flavored with fruit and fish fingers, chicken fingers (where ever that came from, chickens nor fish have fingers) nor nuggets.  Bu7t you can find them in any grocery store frozen food section.


Let’s go down to the fishing hole and take your cane pole, worms, stringer and a picnic lunch, find a limb or a tree that has fallen over, fish under a dock and see what gets on the hook.


I fished with a guy that cooked a good bass in the microwave.  He took fillets of a 1-½ pound fish or more and laid it on a paper plate, seasoned with   salt, white pepper and a little dill weed sprinkled over it. Then he would cook the fish for one min. at a time until the fish was done. Remember to cover the fish with a paper towel so the fish won’t spatter in the microwave.  Smaller fish will dry out too much in the microwave.  They need to be pan-fried, lake Perch or Brim or Blue gill.  The bass was delicious.


Speaking of pan-frying, this is time to get out the black iron skillets and give that crispy crunch.  Below is a recipe for fried fish deep fat fried given to me from a sports writer out of Memphis Tennessee?  He and his wife-entertained heads of state all of the time and this is how they cooked crappie.

I fish many a tournament with them down through the tributaries of Mississippi.  In fact right where Tunica, MS, Casinos are is where some of my best fishing holes were at Tunica Cut off just off the Mighty Mississippi River.

Believe me I won more contest fishing there, then when I was gambling and it was a lot more fun.


Recipe from Bobby Smith (deceased) Sports Writer of the Commercial Appeal News Paper, Memphis Tenn.


Fried Crappie or any other type of fresh water fish, he used filets I would recommend that where possible.


This recipe makes a light batter.


½ Cornmeal and ½ Self-rising Flour


Salt and pepper to taste


Lots of Paprika that will help fish looks brown.


I add some cayenne pepper for a little extra flavor, but either way the oil being the right temperature is the real secret.



Batter fish, but let the fish sit 30 minutes before frying to help the batter stay on.  (Very important.)


Put fish into deep oil about 3 inches or more inches deep at 350 to 375 degrees.  Colder grease will cause the fish to be greasy, hotter and the fish will get done on the outside, maybe even burnt and raw on the inside.  This also works the same for fried chicken or any other battered fried food.


2nd most important: Cook fish, but do not over do it; it will be a light brown when done if using vegetable oil and a darker brown if using a peanut oil to cook with.  Over cooking fish makes it tough and dried out.   Check fish by breaking it apart, if it flakes in the middle then it is done, if it is still glossy (watery) it’s not.  Remove and drain well on a wire rack.  Draining on paper may make the fish soggy, but if that is what you have try a brown paper bag for draining.


After cooking the fish you can save your oil by straining it, cover and refrigerate until next time.  Hint:  Use your oil only twice; because it pick up to much of other flavors and if it is not as clear as it should be, it may cause the fish to have a burnt appearance and taste.


Now you know how to cook it, all you have to do is go out and catch it.  “Have a good Summer.”


Listen to Sandra and Scott MC Caulley on the radio every Tuesday Morning on KRZK FM  106.3 @ 9:06.  We hope that you will listen and call in to help others and to share your experiences, good and bad!

Sandra has been a professional cook and caterer for 15 years.

Scott is a radio professional for over 23 years.

Both in the Branson, MO area.

 The articles and show are to help you find confidence in the kitchen where you can provided good tasting and  "better for you" meals to your family and friends even if you are an accomplished cook or a beginner, we all share those moments when we need help!  We both show how we need to laugh at our selves.


Any comments or information can be e-mailed to

 Sandra at

Sandra's  Phone 417-335-5655


To listen to the show on line go to