Saturday, July 28, 2012

Go Fish. No, YOU Go Fish.

It's summer, and the fish are leaping onto fishing boats (right?), and as I try to get the grief-weight off I'm eating a lot of it.

Grief is a weird thing.  It clobbers you over the head and renders you useless for a while, and everyone knows that's going to happen.  Then it eases off, and you're like "I'm so totally tough.  I GOT this."  And that's true - eventually - but being tough doesn't mean being heartless or soulless, and the grief gets sneaky and sticks its foot out in your path when you're walking in the supermarket.  It just happens.  And it throws you into the potato chip or ice cream aisles on general principle.

And thus, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of ten pounds that needs to go elsewhere.  I know, I know, it could be worse, but when you're short it's painfully and fluffily apparent.

Besides the weight issue, grief is exhausting.  DAMN.  Anything exhausting requires energy to get through, and you can't power "getting through" with curly fries (although they're a nice supplement).

Now that I'm trying to move voluntarily (Zumba, swimming, walking) and cut back on the fat/carb combos, fish recipes are some of my best friends.

And this is, kind of, part of a recipe.  I truly don't understand how tomatoes go with soy sauce and lemongrass.  I just don't.  And, having made it anyway, I have confirmed my position.  The next time I make this I'm leaving them out.  I made brown rice and some grilled veggies with this; some portobellos would be wonderful, as would sugar peas or garlic green beans.  [I just decided, when I wrote that, I'm totally making garlic green beans next time.]  As much as I love corn with grilled fish, I don't see it going with this recipe (especially with rice, unless you're going super-carby).

All that said, the flavor on this one is fantastic.  I was tempted to get more brown rice than my allotted 1/2 cup just to soak up the (plentiful) sauce.  I could also be tempted to drain the sauce into a hot skillet, after making the fish, to reduce to a tasty glaze.

We're totally happy with this dinner.  I did it on the grill but you can easily do this in the oven when snow is on the deck.

White Fish en Papillotte (or en Aluminum Foil, as I did it)
The Guilty Kitchen

2 large pieces of firm-fleshed white fish (I used orange roughy, but halibut or snapper would also be excellent)
2 pieces of cooking parchment or double-thickness aluminum foil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 stalk lemongrass, roughly chopped (do get real lemongrass if you can; it's a wonderfully delicate flavoring)
1/4 bunch of cilantro (I used parsley, because that's what I had)
2 TBSP sesame oil (a huge part of this dish's success)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
12 grape tomatoes, halved.  Or just skip them entirely.
2 green onions (scallions), sliced

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, or get the grill going to medium heat with the lid closed.

2.  In a small bowl mix the garlic, lemongrass, cilantro/parsley, oil, fish sauce, and sodium sauce. 

3.  On parchment paper or foil, place fish skin down (if you're using halibut with skin).  Sprinkle green onions (and tomatoes, if using) over fish.  I also added some freshly-cracked black pepper.

4.  Pour sauce equally over both pieces of fish and seal all sides of the packet.

5.  If using the oven, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 12 minutes (longer if you're using halibut, which is a little more dense and takes longer).  If grilling, place packets, seam side up, on the grill and check for done-ness at about 10 minutes.

Brace yourself - opening the packet at the table releases a really delicious-smelling steam and you might need a moment.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I'm putting in a local (Atlanta) plug for the cooking class at DBA Barbecue, via Living Social.  And cooking classes in general, really - delectable nibbles, cocktails, AND recipes.  What's not to plug?

Early in our courtship Sweetie and I took a few cooking classes together at Cook's Warehouse.  Totally fun and we got to try things we never would have otherwise.  Did you know that if you make fava beans, it's imperative to invite a half-dozen friends over to shell/peel the damn things before cooking?  We learned that from an instructor who made sure he had half a dozen students around (paying, no less) to prep the fava beans.  We also learned fancy words like "concasse."  This is very different from the term "concuss", which I use a lot every day career-wise.


This being Sweetie's busy time of year - when he is a blur that streaks into the house and right back out with a freshly-charged camera battery - I went to the DBA class with a friend.  We both loved the idea of BBQ sauce-making and we each raised an eyebrow at the idea of moonshine-tasting.  I will say that the lemonade with blueberry moonshine was FABULOUS, but the rest of them I didn't taste.  Driving and all.  Low tolerance for straight liquor and all.  I have my limits.

My barbecue sauce is a tangy, not-too-sweet tomato-based sauce.  To the best of my recollection I used ketchup, molasses, vinegar, mustard powder, black pepper (quite a lot of it), chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce.  It was formulated using the classic dump-and-taste method.  I named mine "This Little Piggy."  My friend, a straightforward sort, named hers "Honey Mustard."

Note: the big takeaway from class was that liquid smoke must be used VEEEERRRRYYYY sparingly.  Like with an eyedropper.  They didn't even put it out for fear that people might go nutty with a quarter-tablespoon.

A few weeks ago I made an astoundingly pitiful effort at making smoked pork.  I announced to Sweetie this afternoon that I was trying again.  He promptly "remembered" a meeting across town and left.

Well, who's sorry NOW?  My smoked chicken and pork ROCKS.  And he's in the RAIN on the dangerous ROADS (I'm actually pretty uncomfortable with this and contemplating calling my Mom to ask her to speak soothingly to me because I don't want to call and distract him while he's driving...).  I'll post the info & pictures when I do this again and write down info and take pictures.  My tangy, not-sweet sauce ROCKS.  I seriously could not be happier with this deliciousness.

Happy 4th of July and God bless America!