I have already begun this metamorphosis by preparing 2 meals for my very patient boyfriend. Meal one went off without a hitch, Seasoned Shrimp tacos with chipotle sauce and Sangria, but mostly because I have some background with Mexican food.. plus anything tastes amazing when avocado and cheese are involved.
Meal two, Baked Fish with Paprika-Lemon Butter With roasted potato wedges was not quite so successful.
I just moved into an adorable studio apartment complete with organic paint on the walls and a resident mouse. (well there was a mouse, I think he moved out per my request) Directly below me is an organic food store, across the street is a super market and around the corner is the liquor store. I can literally see the items I want to buy before I leave my kitchen. I tackle these food projects with the mindset that I am going to be able to find whatever I need within a one block radius, which is a good thing because I haven’t had any time to venture any further into my new neighborhood.
My first roadblock was literally the first step in the shopping mission. The market, which has a pretty decent fresh seafood selection, has neither types of fish this recipe called for. Maybe someone else would have automatically known what type of fish would have been okay to substitute, but not this girl. So the next 10 minutes of shopping time were me trying to find a similar recipe on my blackberry.. while everyone else is pushing me every which way while I blocked the tiny aisle trying to figure this out. We decided on fish for dinner mostly because of the terrible oil spill that is happening (Thanks BP.) I love seafood, so I am trying to eat as much of it as possible before the ocean is completely contaminated and sushi becomes nothing more than a fond memory. So I finally find some recipes that look similar but use salmon. Okay, salmon—go.
Now I am faced with a decision between salmon fillets salmon steaks salmon patties…
back to the blackberry.
Alright, now I am armed with a giant hunk of scaly salmon, somewhere between steak and fillet.
Next on the list, paprika. I know what that is! And, woohoo, I know exactly where to find. Luck is on my side now. Ahem. No paprika. No labeled space for paprika, nothing. What supermarket doesn’t have paprika? This is common right? Am I crazy? How would I know about it if it weren’t a staple? F#$%%^!
Okay, so now my baked paprika-lemon butter snapper is lemon butter salmon hunk. Hm, carry-on.
Lemon, and parsley are easy to find ( I know what lemons and potatoes look like and parsley was labeled) and I pretty much had the rest at home from my first dinner attempt. So I headed home, still with high spirits.
On a side note, I am a bit of a dish collector. I Love love love fun colored and patterned china. I might not have a sofa, but I have beautifully coordinated plates and enough baking dishes to prepare a meal for an elementary school. I just never use them.
As I prepare my work station (1 square foot of counter and 3 square feet of table) It dawned upon me that If I was already taking liberties with this meal, I should go all out.. I have heard of marinating fish before cooking it.. why don’t I do that!? I’m not THAT brave though don’t be fooled, I called my mom first. I call her any time I cook something, she always at least knows where to lookup the answers to my questions if she can’t answer them herself.. this one required her to go on a search for a seafood cookbook, which shenever found, but she still had some advice about marinades for me, which spared the fish from getting soaked in lemon juice, soy sauce, AND white wine. (apparently that one wouldn't have worked out so well)
Time to prepare the potatoes. Sliced them up, added lots of butter salt & pepper and parsley and popped them into my oven.. Potatoes aren’t hard to cook! One hour passes, the butter has not melted on my potatoes.. something is up.
Since I didn’t end up using the wine in the marinade, I had to find another purpose for it… so I may or may not have been a bit tipsy at this point. Maybe that is what affected my judgment of the potato situation. Either way, I let them continue ‘cooking’ (In my defense, the oven looked hot & fiery!)
Now to descale that fish.. Several diagrams online show how simple and effortless this is. I am confidant! Cut down center… all the way to scales.. further, okay yes there. Slice off one side (not in hunks!) slice off other side. Somehow I did manage to get this done and still only have two pieces of fish, some parts looking more ragged than others I will admit. Meanwhile, I am eating the raw salmon a little at a time, well I mean to be eating it a little at a time, 1/4th of my fish is gone now... i devoured it.
Fish is marinating, potatoes are ‘cooking’, I am drinking & eating sashimi, lemon-butter (sans paprika) is prepared and ready to rub on those fish, things are going well.
Boyfriend arrives! I am the picture of domestic bliss!
Okay, boyfriend definitely knows what to do with the potatoes. Oven is broken (shocking! It is older than I am.) His first idea is to microwave them, maybe not the finest suggestion but he redeemed himself and the roasted parsley potatoes became a yummy fried version.
Time to cook the fish, stove top. I seem to remember something about making sure to dry the fish off before putting them in the pan… I only just remembered this now. I just plopped one olive oil lemon butter water covered fillet into the pan.. explosion! Who knew that water and oil cause hot popping drops to fly everywhere!? Boyfriend did. Oops.. apparently that drying part was important.
Fish cooks up nicely, lemony and delicious (thank god) potatoes turned out wonderfully (if not quite as healthy as planned) and all in all I think it was a success. Plus he brought me some gluten free pecan cookies for dessert! They were excellent indeed.
I am embarrassed to say that the dishes sat unwashed in the sink for the following 3 days.
But all in all, dinner success #2!
Tomorrow I am planning something quick and easy, but still something a bit challenging (for me at least.)
Fingers crossed please.