Monday, June 12, 2006

TRH - The Test Kitchen

In the hopes of avoiding the "what are we doing for dinner fight", I've been trying to build our daily repertoire of recipes with "new" and "exciting" dishes. For the most part, I'm passable in the kitchen. My mother, who had a real talent with and for food, didn't pass all the good cooking genes down to me. But I do enjoy cooking, which is good, right?

I've started making meal plans for us during the week (shot to hell because my RRHB was out on tour a couple nights this week and now he's working nights, sigh) and have bought everything I need beforehand. We've got a good library of cookbooks, but I've mainly been going through Simple Suppers, the latest Moosewood Restaurant tome. So far, I've made Asian Braised Fish with Greens (verdict: good, but the sauce was too sweet for the RRHB). The recipe called to serve it on rice, but I used potatoes instead, and used tilapia as the fish. One thing I'm not sure of though, are scallions green onions or something different entirely?

And last night, I made Pine Nut-Crusted Fish. Now, I went to a nice grocery store, not too, too expensive, but definitely more pricey than going to Kensington Market, where we do a lot of shopping. I walked up to the fish counter (only recently starting to cook fish on a regular basis with both of us starting up again after many years being almost complete veggies [the RRHB especially]) and asked the nice fellow (butcher? fisher?) for tuna. He showed me a couple of steaks, one quite large and one much smaller—perfect for the both of us. And when he hands them back, I'm shocked to find the cost of said tuna is $19.23! Wha? We might as well go out at those prices.

Hence the Pine-Nut Encrusted Fish recipe coming to life last night. It calls for bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, and lemon peel (whizzed in the blender) along with the pine nuts. Then you fry the fish. And holy crap, if it's not the yummiest thing I've ever cooked. In fact, with the exception of one pasta recipe, all of the thing we've tried from the Moosewood cookbook have been exceptional.

I also tried to make a spinach dish with raisins and the rest of the pine nuts. It didn't turn out as well, mainly because I mistakenly dumped all of the water I had already drained from the veggies out into the pan and had to start all over again...but the fish was good!


scarbie doll said...

Fishmonger, actually. Anyway tuna is expensive, but it's so damn good. It's not the kind of fresh fish (not talking about the crap in the can) you can have often -- due largely to the price, but it rocks. I also recommend searing it on both sides, leaving the middle pink (this requires a really good grade of tuna) and serving with Asian greens, sticky rice, soya and wasabe if you're down. It's a spin on sushi, without all the rolling.

Jenn said...

I, too, once had the 'what's for dinner problem'. After fruitlessly pacing between the pantry/fridge and freezer, I also decided to expand my recipe options. My favourite, totally easy dish to come out of this phase: refried beans wrapped up in a tortilla with fried onions, salsa and cheese which are then baked in the oven with more cheese and salsa on top for 20 mins at 350. So, so quick and delicious, and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand. Give it a try!

hip_ragdoll said...

Thanks for the tips ladies! Jenn, we do a version of that too -- a vegetarian burrito, but yours sound super-fast and yum! It's on the list.

I had no idea that tuna was so expensive. But it's so good, which is probably why.

And yes, fishmonger, of COURSE.