Category Archives: Cooking

Grilled Fish with Indian spice rub, cream and mustard

Depending on the definition you adhere to, you may or may not consider a fish dish to be appropriate for Meatless Monday. In my definition, fish is not meat. It’s just fish. 🙂 Originally I had planned this blog post for a Monday. I didn’t finish it yesterday anyway, so maybe that is just as well for you guys that use a stricter definition of meat that includes fish. No matter … let’s get on and enjoy some more ideas about cooking good food.

Grilled Fish
Grilled Fish

Today  I am going to show you my version of one of the not-so-obvious dishes I stumbled across in Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. This is the cookbook I have been having fun going through this past year while learning some easy ways to prepare Indian-style food. The recipe I will be referring to is on page 68 and is simply called “Grilled Fish Steaks”.

There are no photos of this particular dish in the cookbook, so if you have the book (or might be getting it in the future), maybe my photos will be useful to you. And even if you don’t have the cookbook, you can probably follow my description of the basic ingredients and method to come up with your own ad hoc recipe.

By the name of the recipe alone, one might think this would be a healthy, low calorie dish. I did, at first, until reading further into the list of ingredients which included heavy whipping cream! But I justified that small indulgence by making a healthy choice of the fish I would use in this dish.

The recipe in the book calls for either fish steaks (which usually come with a central bone), or filleted chunks of haddock, salmon, or tuna i.e. fish with firm flesh that is firm enough to hold together like a steak. I didn’t have any of these, but neither is it unusual to let a little thing like that deter me. My local Sam’s store had a nice fillet of steelhead trout (which for all purposes is like wild-caught salmon).

steelhead trout fillet
steelhead trout fillet

Here is the fillet after I have removed the skin from the underside. My Victorinox 12-Inch Granton Edge Slicing Knife made this any easy job. While I was removing the skin, the skin side was down and I just skimmed the knife between the skin and the flesh. You can see how a a slight bit of silver-ish haze remains here and there on the side of the fillet that was next to the skin, but that is not going to hurt anything.

the fillet after skin removed on underside
the fillet after skin removed on underside

The ingredients for the rub mixture are salt (to your taste; I personally go quite light on this), freshly ground black pepper, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and garam masala. The recipe calls for heavy whipping cream, but I think half-and-half works fine (at least that’s only half as bad, lol). I don’t have the type of grainy mustard  called for in the book (Pommery Moutarde de Meaux), so I just used my favorite local Creole Mustard made by Zatarain’s.

ingredients for the rub and sauce
ingredients for the rub and sauce

The steps for assembling and cooking are pretty easy and straight forward. I place the fish on a large tray lined with foil. Dribble a bit of peanut oil over the fish, then pat half of the rub mixture into the flesh.

ready to start broiling the first side
starting to broil the first side

Broil about 4″ from heat source until starting to brown (start watching closely at about 2 minutes). Mix the mustard and cream together and brush half of it onto the fish.

fish brushed with mustard cream sauce
fish brushed with mustard cream sauce

Broil again another couple minutes until turning golden brown.

Flip the fish and repeat the rub and mustard cream sauce steps on the other side. Here is a photo of the completed dish. I’ve broken off a serving size of fish and placed it on a bed of plain brown basmati rice that I had cooked separately. I served with lime wedges, although you could use lemon wedges as called for in the cookbook recipe.

serving up the grilled fish
serving up the grilled fish

Bon appetit!

 

oatmeal cookies

John called and said he’d make oatmeal cookies for me and bring them on Saturday. What a good man. 🙂 I have a favorite recipe and offered to email it to him. Least I could do. lol

Fastest way to get this recipe sent off in an email was to scan the recipe card I had in my old technology recipe box, then save the scan and send as  jpg picture.

Dorothy's oatmeal cookies recipe
Dorothy's oatmeal cookies recipe

Dorothy Young was my son Tommy’s (William Young aka Bill) great aunt. It’s nice to pull out the recipes for family classics like this.

I used to make these quite often when I had people around to help me eat them. But since the household dwindled to just me, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any. I’d been thinking recently of making some for the holidays (there’s always places I could take to share them!). John must have been reading my mind.

Did anyone else keep their recipes on the Current, Inc’s recipe cards like this? I actually still have some blank ones. Definitely old technology, including manual typewritten. If you look closely at the enlarged picture, I think you can even see where I had used a bit of white-out to make a correction, lol.

Old manual typewriter
Old manual typewriter

So many advancements since then. But these tried and true favorite recipes stay long time friends.

What is your favorite cookie recipe?

Rice cakes — an improvisation

I’m back again for Meatless Monday!

Despite common perception :), my cooking does not always turn out well. This was one of those times that challenged me to turn things around into something good.

It all started when looking for something to use the remainder of some fresh mushrooms before they began to degrade. The dish I had in mind was “Rice with Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds” (page 104), again from Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook Quick & Easy Indian Cooking that I have been having fun going through. Up ’til now, I’ve basically been pleased with everything I’ve made from the recipes in this book. Some things more than other things, but overall nothing I would absolutely not make again. Unfortunately, this recipe did not turn out all that well for me.

Follow me as explain what probably happened, and how I then recovered to make some great rice cakes from my cooking flop.

Here are the main ingredients being measured and prepared …

Starting to prepare the ingredients
Starting to prepare the ingredients; the spices are whole cumin seed and black mustard seed

The recipe called for long grain white rice and I got it in my mind to use some white Jasmine rice I had on hand. There was no designation as to what kind of rice to use in the recipe, although I now realize that white basmati was probably assumed. I had too late read past the instructions near the beginning of the recipe to rinse the rice several times and drain, which is something that would be generally done for basmati. But since I already had it in my mind to use Jasmine which does not need rinsing, I just overlooked all that — which I think might have been the reason for the failed recipe — see later …

And the assembled pot … I had started in a smaller pot (the recipe did not give indication other than a saucepan), and realized once I got past the spices and onion, upon dumping in the mushrooms to toss with the seasonings, that I was going to be well past the point of that pot’s capacity.

First stages of cooking
First stages of cooking

So I switched to this larger pot. The recipe called for either chicken broth or water. I used a ratio of about 2 parts broth to water …

The larger pot
The larger pot

The cooked rice … fluffy and I thought it was done. But it had cooked unevenly. Not totally bad, but pretty crunchy/undone in places. Probably not enough liquid? (remember, I had not washed it beforehand to give it the extra moisture the recipe was probably expecting)

Almost-cooked rice (but not quite)
Almost-cooked rice (but not quite)

So I put in a bit more liquid and left it on low heat to cook some more.

OK … better now, but still not there.

Better, but not quite
Better, but not quite

Try again with some more liquid and more cooking time. Now it’s less crunchy in places, but jeesh it’s getting like glue. Oh no … That big pot of rice! It’s edible (sort of), but I think I am going to soon tire of eating a gluey pot of rice.

Glue-ey rice
Oh no! gluey rice

After cooling, I set the pot aside overnight. Figured I’d either have a brainstorm of how to improvise (I hate to throw out food), or it was going to get the best of me and I would just have to admit defeat.

Ah! Ah! — idea. One of the things I love to do with leftover mashed potatoes is to make little pan-seared pancakes. As gluey as this rice stuff is, it certainly seemed like it would hold together for some good rice (pan)cakes. And it did!

Rice (pan)cakes
Rice (pan)cakes

They came out great — the crispy outside was perfect and moistly flavorful inside. Sort of reminded me of the sweet sticky rice in lotus leaf that I like so much when we go out for Sunday dim sum at the Royal China in Metairie. The question is whether I can replicate this to make it again?!

Rough Lemons

This is the time of the year in south Louisiana when the citrus trees blaze their orange and yellow colors as the cooler temperatures hit. Satsumas, Kumquats, Sweet Oranges, and now my newest discovery — Rough Lemons.

Sweet Orange Tree overgrown with Rough Lemon root stock

I see many citrus trees on my walks around the neighborhood. One in particular had drawn my attention over past years. It was loaded with good-looking fruit that never seemed to be picked.

Rough Lemons on tree

The result would then just be fruit rotting on the ground. What a waste.

Long story short, it turns out the owner thought the fruit was “bad”. It took some research and perseverance, but it appears that what had happened is that a sweet orange tree had been overtaken by the “Rough Lemon” root stock to which it had been grafted. Obviously, if the owner was expecting sweet oranges, then lemons would be a surprise! And besides, the tree is loaded with thorns (which is indicative of a true lemon, so that could have also elicited the comment about “bad”). Or maybe it is because they sort of look lopsided and deformed?

Rough Lemons

We agreed I could have all I wanted, and of course I offered some marmalade in return. (hopefully I can post more about making the lemon marmalade later — stay tuned!)

Actually, it is amazing that these lemons are so large. Almost rather like grapefruit — as well as the taste. Since I like grapefruit, that suits me just fine. The only downside, as I see it, are all the seeds. But I can deal with that (and anyway, they make great natural pectin for the marmalade).

Rough Lemon cut in half

Let me know if you have a favorite recipe for lemon marmalade. I’d be glad to compile a list and try out a few myself!

 

 

Hand-mashed potatoes

Does anyone do hand-mashed potatoes anymore?  There is an incredible textural substance and appeal for me in something like this — especially when the potato skins are left on (attributing that to making it a healthier dish for all those carbs I am going to enjoy). Besides, pounding that manual potato masher down into the pot really drives off any frustrations and stress from the day, lol.

There are no photos tonight because I am typing as I eat. Some garam marsale (Indian spice mixture), cayenne, shopped banana pepper (from the garden) along with the usual ground sea salt and black peppercorns make the taste buds perk up, too. Wish you were here to enjoy some with me!