Saturday, March 12, 2011

Swimming upstream with the trout

Yeah yeah.  I know it's not trout that swim upstream, but keep reading.

I went to the grocery store to look at what fish looked good, assuming I would likely purchase some salmon fillets, when I asked the fishmonger, "what's the difference between these two fish?"  "One is trout." "Oh.  It looks a lot like salmon."  (not my finest moment)  But it does!  (And, in my defense, the label was partially cut off.)  Since the fishmonger said that you could prepare it the same way as you do salmon, I figured, let's try it.  I was a little worried as the boyfriend's taste buds tend to be, well, particular, but hey.  I was cooking, so I get to choose.

So, just like I have prepared salmon many times before, I decided to do it en papillotte (in a pocket).  The boyfriend was going to come over after working out, and I figured he was going to be a little hungry, so I figured that I should make a snack for him.  I decided to make kale chips again.  This time, the bunch of kale took up three baking sheets. They were, once again, a hit.

As for the salmon, I didn't want to do the exact same thing as I have done before (lemon, salt, pepper...and...basically, that's it)so this time I put a slice of onion on top and some bell peppers sliced into thin strips beneath.  I did, of course, stick with the salt and pepper, but didn't add acid. 

Once again, fish in a packet turned out...well...swimmingly.  It was flaky and the bell peppers still had some crunchiness left in them.  I probably cooked it at 350 for something like 15 minutes (honestly, I can't remember, as I'm finishing this post many months after the fact). 

Some other thoughts about cooking fish in a packet, if you do include either vegetables that exude a lot of liquid or you put some butter, lemon juice, and/or white wine, you end up with a nice "jus" in the bottom of the packet.  The best thing to do with that is to get a hunk of crusty bread (but not too crusty so as it hurts the roof of your mouth) and sop up that liquid.  Tast-i-licious.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Shameless Commerce Division* of FoodCraft

I've started another blog.  Not that I'm leaving this one...just a different focus.  Crafty Keeping Active:  Basically, it's a blog about how I'm going to add more activity to my life.  

*"Shameless Commerce Division" is from Car Talk.  I love CarTalk. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

the agony of defeat

Shockingly, my experiments in the kitchen don't always turn out as good as I would like.  Tonight was one such experiment. 

First off, at first glance, I thought I had couscous in my pantry.  I wanted to make couscous with dried fruit and almonds.  It's so tasty and almost seems dessert-ish.  Next, I thought, why don't I mix ground turkey with some feta and some spices and make some meatballs. 

None of it worked out.

First I tried to make meatballs.  I had chosen the 97% fat free kind of ground turkey, and let me say, if ever there were a confirmation that fat adds flavor...'cause this stuff was taste-free.  I mixed in some diced onion, feta cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I thought for sure that would help things.  I balled them up into about golf ball sized meatballs and put them on a pam-sprayed baking sheet.  Into the oven they went at 350 for 20 minutes. 

As it turned out, I had quinoa and not couscous.  I still chopped up the dried apricots and mixed them with the slivered almonds and the sultanas (golden raisins) while the quinoa was cooking...just so I could get my head around things.  I also realized...well, if I'm cooking quinoa, I should use broth.  And then I opened the pantry.  Sweet.  Just one cup of stock.  So the quinoa, after being rinsed thoroughly and toasted in the pan with a tiny bit of oil was cooked in one cup of chicken stock and one cup of water.  Not what I would normally do, but this was just the way the night was going.

The meatballs came out and despite being completely cooked, they looked anemic.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  Despite all the things that I put in the mix, they tasted as anemic as they looked.  Again I say...sweet. 

Then I thought, well, I'll just forgo the dried fruit and almonds (they were really for the imaginary couscous), and I'll add black beans into my quinoa.  I'll throw a little "house dressing" on it too.  I get the house dressing out of the fridge.  It's pretty much empty.  So I put what is left in the bowl and then went to make more dressing.  No balsamic.  It's at the boyfriend's house.  Strike85 against this meal. 

The boyfriend decided to add marcona (as he calls somewhat jokingly "maricopa county") almonds to his quinoa, black beans, and cut up meatballs.  He said he liked it a few times and that the almonds really made it. 

I had quinoa, black beans, a tiny bit of house dressing, and cut up meatballs.  A passable meal, but man, it was not what I had planned in my head.  I'll have to go and get some couscous to do my dried fruit/slivered almond meal. 

(As an aside, two nights ago I made leek/broccoli soup and put too much liquid in it.  The tilapia I made was fine, and actually tasted pretty good when piled into a bowl of the soup, but nothing earth-shattering.  Let's assume this was not the beginning of a streak of mediocre meals.)