Category Archives: Food

I should update this.

Am I the only technical writer that doesn’t feel like writing or blogging when they get home? Lately, I feel like that’s the case.

I comfort myself in the fact that I’m making good food.

Summer’s over. I’m not happy about it.

Overall, I think it’s been a mediocre year, musically.

I updated from WordPress 2.9 to 3.01. I backed up my database. It was a click. It was good. The dashboard looks the same; am I missing something?

Android 2.2 Froyo is a nice upgrade. It actually looks like they put sometime into the user experience. Today I noticed a little “You declined this call” message at the top of the screen. Nice.

I have an IPA in secondary, based on the same recipe I’ve used for the past three years, but with Cascade instead of Amarillo hops. I think it’s gonna be good. There’s a porter in primary waiting to be transferred to secondary, as well as the two vanilla beans that have been soaking in scotch the past two weeks.

It’s time for Wii Fit Yoga.

Recipe: Crispy tilapia with blood orange-avocado salsa

It always amazes me when I tweet what I made for dinner, and get comments like “do you cook that every day” or “when should we be over?”. I often don’t have inspiration, which is why we eat at 9:00 at night (that and the 7:00 Simpsons when I get home from work…). Last night’s meal seemed to get some interest, so I thought it’d be a good blog post. If you have decent knife skills, you could have this on the table in 30-45 minutes.

Fish, as I mentioned, is always best cooked simply. It also is quick-cooking, making it an excellent weeknight meal. This recipe uses tilapia fillets, since that’s what we had in the freezer, but probably any fish will work. The key to making the fish crispy is using cornmeal instead of flour.

Stephanie liked the salsa, but I thought it wasn’t very bright, so I think I’d use more lemon juice, and less blood orange juice. However, I have it here as I prepared it last night.

Again, I don’t measure my ingredients, so everything here is “to taste” or “what I have left in the fridge”.

Crispy Tilapia with Blood Orange-Avocado Salsa

(serves 2)
For the Fish:
2 tilapia fillets
Egg wash – one egg mixed with a bit of water (maybe a teaspoon?).
Panko bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

For the Salsa:
One avocado, ripe, split in half and removed using a checkerboard pattern.
12-15 grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper (or to taste; this was fairly mild. also depends on the heat of the pepper)
juice of 1 blood orange
juice of 1/2 a lemon
fresh ginger, minced (to taste)
fresh mint leaves
fresh cilantro

Make the salsa:
In a bowl, mix the chunked avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, and juice. Finely dice or mince the ginger (I probably used an inch-long piece), and add. Chop the herbs (make sure they’re fresh!), and add in (I used far more cilantro than mint, as mint can easily overpower). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Prep the fish:
On a paper plate, measure out some cornmeal to coat the fish; add salt and pepper to the cornmeal and mix. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, water, salt and pepper till the egg is scrambled, like you’d make an omelette. On a second paper plate, measure out the panko to cover the fish, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix. Place all three in the order listed in line on your counter, preferably close to the stove.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip each fillet first into the cornmeal, then the egg wash, and finally the bread crumbs, ensuring the fish is evenly covered with each; however, you should tap or shake off any excess of each ingredient so it doesn’t clump.

Add each fillet to the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.

I serve the salsa on the side, so the crust doesn’t soften. It also makes a nice presentation that way.

Neighborhood Discoveries

Condo de Fast One is close to an Orthodox/Hasidic Jewish enclave in northern New Jersey. On (late) Sunday morning, S. and I decided to take a walk for some bagels.

We first walked to a Jewish bakery I’d seen, which smelled fantastic and warrants a future return, but yielded no bagels. Thankfully, there was a kosher bagel shop on the walk home. S. felt a bit sacreligious with her naked, sleeveless arms, and I even felt like I was out of place. However, they had whole wheat everything bagels, so we will definitely be back, despite the $1.00 per bagel price.

We also needed eggs, so we walked into a local “supermarket”. Turns out it is primarily a Spanish market, complete with Spanish-only signs in the meat department. What a treat! I picked up fresh ingredients for sofrito, including ajicito dulces peppers and tomatilloes. I wouldn’t know about sofrito if it wasn’t for Daisy; it’s a sauce easily made in the food processor, and leftovers freeze really well into individual ice cube trays. It was great mixed with some pinto beans to make refried beans to place into tortillas. We also grabbed queso fresco from the meat/deli counter, since S. is fluent in Spanish.

S. also mentioned she saw an Asian market nearby, so we now have at least three cultural food experiences within a few minutes’ walk of our new home!

Dinner – Eggplant, tofu, and tomato stacks

Ah, the joys of working from home. Getting up later. No worries about commuting, train delays, annoying people, and social interaction. Having a beer with lunch that you made, on your own, quiet deck. One (by which I mean me) could easily get accustomed to that lifestyle, but that’s another show (cue Good Eats theme).

Yesterday is also CSA day, where our CSA farmer delivers the weekly goods to the pick-up location. It was a treat for me to go (after driving by three times till i actually recognized the place) and pick out our items for the week – onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, fennel, sweet corn, haricots verts, and parsley – without having to worry about who’s behind me, or if they weren’t fresh.

with this newfound bounty, and a container of Trader Joe’s extra-firm tofu, i made the following:

  1. took the tofu out of the container, drained off all the water, then wrapped in paper towels and covered with a brick wrapped in aluminum foil to remove most of the liquid.
  2. In a 12″ saute pan, sauteed an onion, then added one of the peppers, cut into rounds (or as round as peppers get).
  3. Added the sliced eggplant to the pan, and cooked until brown on both sides.
  4. Note that each layer gets its own sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper.
  5. while this was happening, i sliced the two tomatoes (small-to-medium sized) into rounds, about 1/2 an inch thick.
  6. I also stuck mini fresh mozzarella balls in the freezer to harden, so they’re easier to slice.
  7. at this point, i placed some balsamic vinaigrette in a non-stick saucier to simmer and reduce to a sauce.
  8. when the onions, eggplant, and tofu were done, i removed them from the pan. i then added some corn oil to the pan, and fried the tofu on both sides.
  9. the tofu became a base for two separate stacks. i placed the biggest slices of tomato on top of the tofu, then stacked in the following order:
  10. basil leaves (from S’s garden), mozzarella, eggplant, pepper. i then repeated until everything was used up. The tomato only yielded eight slices, so there were two stacks on each plate.
  11. i then topped with the remaining tofu, and drizzled the balsamic reduction over it.

a great summer meal, which could easily be made vegan by eliminating the cheese.

for dessert, we had corn on the cob on our deck. 🙂

Lunch, style

So after eating like crap for most of July 4th weekend, i decided on something healthy for dinner last night: Big salad with lettuce S. grew on our deck, trader joe’s soybeans (edamame, unshelled), freshly roasted red pepper, and vine-ripened tomatoes. I made a quick honey-mustard vinaigrette, and with the leftover dressing, made egg salad, using the dressing in place of mayonnaise. I added Penzey’s dried dill (the undisputed king of dried herbs and spices), blanched red onion (because S. doesn’t like raw onion) and garlic scapes (from our CSA farm share), and some more tomato.

Since it’s Tuesday Greenmarket day here in the City, i bought wild arugula, italian flat leaf parsley, and a rosemary focaccia roll from Au Bon Pain. Google led me astray with local bakeries (the closest is now a deli…), so i had to settle for ABP across the street.


Now playing: Rush – Subdivisions
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