A quick fix Make Sweet and Sour Fish for dinner tonight
My husband has been around the house since Christmas. His vacation continued through the first week of March. To me this means an abundance of his freshly baked bread and a continuous fire in the wood stove. It also means dinner at home. Again.
By Thursday, I’m done with trying to create a gastronomical delight Martha Stewart would applaud. I’m tired and cranky and would rather make reservations than dinner.
I’m already dreading the dinner invitations I’ve extended for the weekend and know I should begin preparing the masterpieces I’ve deemed fine enough for the intended Saturday evening guests. I want something tasty and quick to prepare. I want someone else to do it for me.
I find myself staring in the refrigerator, aimlessly willing inspiration. I wander over to my hidden chocolate-stash drawer, pull a piece of candy from the box, and contemplate as I chew … do we really need dinner?
Rejuvenated by sugar and fat, I find the motivation to create a simple, yet satisfying, meal of fish and rice. Mother taught me to serve a vegetable at every meal (which I still find daunting at breakfast), and I have found the easiest way to prepare the tastiest vegetables is to roast them. The addition of hearty bread and a crisp, fresh green salad makes even the easiest-to-prepare meal seem like an orchestrated event.
There – the justification for eating dessert first. If I hadn’t, there would be no dinner tonight.
Don’t be fooled by the ease of preparation of these dishes. The sweet and sour fish is fine enough to serve any guest and even those who traditionally turn their nose up at Brussels sprouts will find the earthy, sweet taste of baked garlic drawing them to these roasted brassica.
Sweet and Sour Fish
By Susie Bavo
1 pound fish fillet (use a firm white fish)
1 to 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1Ú4 cup peanut oil
Rub all sides of fish with cornstarch. Heat frying pan, add peanut oil, bring to a smoking point, then lower heat to medium. Add fish, brown on both sides, cooking through.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1Ú4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with one 1Ú4 cup cold water
Freshly prepared rice
Sliced green onions for garnish
Bring water, vinegar, sugars and soy sauce to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture. Stir until smooth. If mixture is too runny add additional cornstarch. Place fish on a bed of rice, pour sauce over fish and garnish with sliced green onions. Serves four.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place Brussels sprouts and garlic slices in ceramic or glass baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Gently stir to coat Brussels sprouts and garlic with oil. Cover. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Cover. Bake an additional 10 to 20 minutes, watching carefully to prevent garlic from scorching.
Cooks Note: Trim, then cut an “X” at the base of each Brussels sprout. This will enable heat to penetrate their center more quickly, allowing them to cook through before their outer leaves are overdone.
Captain Zero’s Rye Bread
By Bill Jordan
Rye bread is more dense and compact than other breads. Thin slices are suggested. Rye bread is also very good toasted. Day old rye is great for croutons – just cut into half-inch squares and toast in the oven until crisp. Croutons may be stored for several days in an airtight container and are especially good atop savory soups.
2 cups unbleached white flour
3Ú4 cup rye flour
1Ú4 cup rolled oats
11Ú2 teaspoon salt
1Ú2 teaspoon crushed fennel
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon molasses
11Ú4 cups warm water (approximately 110 degrees – if water is too hot it will kill the yeast)
In medium size bowl, mix flours, salt, oats and fennel. In small bowl, mix yeast, water, and molasses. Let rest five minutes. Combine liquid and dry ingredients and knead well using more white flour, if necessary, to avoid sticking to hands. Mold into a ball and place in covered bowl for one and one-half to two hours. Punch down.
To create a boule, form into ball again and place on wooden peel sprinkled with cornmeal, or, to create a loaf, place dough in oiled bread pan of glass or ceramic. Dust top with white flour and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven (and baking stone if making boule) to 400 degrees.
For boule, slash top in “X” design. Slide from peel onto pre-heated baking stone in oven. For loaf, place bread pan on center oven rack. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is mahogany in color and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Place on rack to cool. Makes one boule or loaf.
Joey Jordan (who has enjoyed a love/hate relationship with cooking since she was thrown out of her seventh grade Home Economics Class for eating all the M&M’s meant for cookies) lives in Rough & Ready with her husband Bill. You may contact Joey at firstname.lastname@example.org
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