Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fried Fish Friday

Good fish isn't cheap. My favorite white fish is halibut and I usually only get it in restaurants because it can run as high as $23.99 a pound. I can half a pound of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee for that. The sweetie does not eat tilapia, he finds it personally offensive, no matter what is done to it.

Cod can be good for some dishes--it makes great fish tacos, for example. Lately, though, I've been going for flounder. It doesn't break the bank, has a nice flaky texture and can be cooked in just a few minutes.

I was poking around the network and saw an easy recipe for frying fish--coat with yogurt & herbs, dredge in corn meal and fry. I was going to make the recipe as is, then I thought, chips. If there is fried fish there should be chips.

Last time I made fish, I oven-friend some cut white sweet potatoes, and they came out pretty good, but when it comes to weeknight dinners, I like fast as much as I like inexpensive.

This is when I remembered my friends at Food Should Taste Good. They make crackers and chips in a variety of flavors, one of which being sweet potato. What if, I thought, I coated the fish in this tasty combination of corn & sweet potato crumbs? My list of ingredients was delightfully short:

2 5-7 ounce flounder filets
.25 C canola oil
2 T plain yogurt
freshly ground black peper
chip crumbs. I'm not really sure how much you need. I crushed the whole bag and it was way too much.

First, crush your chips. Put them in a large zippered freezer bag and squeeze out all the air. Attack with rolling pin, visualizing the face of the stupid idiot on their cell phone who cut you off in traffic yesterday. Switch the position of the bag around several times as you roll the pin on it until you have a bag of crumbs. Put the crumbs on a large plate or in a container that will hold your fish when it's flat.

Heat your oil in a pan on medium-high heat.

Unpack your fish and unfold it if necessary. Stir some freshly ground black pepper (I would guess about .25 teaspoon) into the yogurt and stir well. Coat the fish with the yogurt mixture. I used a silicon pastry brush for this and it was the exact tool for the job.

Dredge your fish in the chip crumbs and gently place in the hot oil. Cook for two minutes, turn over, cook for two minutes more. You don't want to turn the fish too many times because it will flake apart. Drain fish on paper towels. A brown paper bag also is good for this kind of draining.

I served the fish on a bed of baby spinach, and spent the rest of Friday evening feeling inordinately pleased with myself. I hope you try this one and enjoy it. 

Another bonus, it's gluten-free.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Variations on a theme of chili

I was joking with my sweetie that if I ever published a cookbook, I might not go with Knives, Fire and Fun, but rather "Kate's Throwing Things in a Pot Again."

Today's chili came about because I have homework again, and it's pretty convenient to make chili on Sunday and not have to worry about cooking for a few days. I decided to go  for something a little different and ended up with:

3/4 cup of whole garlic cloves
8 small tomatillos, chopped
4 can tomatoes & green chiles
1 can whole-kernel corn
2 cans low-sodium black beans 
2 pounds of stew beef, cut to bite-sized pieces
2 pork chops, also in bite-sized pieces
1 dried habenero with seeds, minced
1 baseball-sized red onion, diced
.25 cups Cajun Power garlic sauce
1 T Chinese black bean & garlic paste

2 heaping T of chile powder
2 heaping T of cumin
two heavy shakes of smoked paprika
2 heavy shakes of cinnamon

1 bottle of Guinness

I started with my stew pot on one burner and a skillet on another. A little oil (I used a bit of olive and a bit of canola), and pan-roasted the garlic for about ten minutes. In the stew pot, I started adding the canned items, stirring as I went, then the fresh vegetation. In the skillet went the meat and a little salt, a little bit at a time, until brown. The idea was to infuse the meat with the roasted garlic. 

Eventually, everything got into the stew pot. I added the Guinness last, brought the pot to a very low boil, then turned it down to simmer for about four hours, stirring thoroughly every 20-30 minutes. When I say stir thoroughly, I mean really get in there and move the stuff around, scraping the bottom so nothing sticks

I thought it might have needed more onion, but my sweetie convinced me that it didn't. We served it over spaghetti, with some queso blanco and for me, some sour cream.

The sweetie is currently on his third bowl. I was hoping to get another couple of meals out of this (we fed ourselves and my cousin tonight), but at the rate he's going. . .