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Monday, July 12, 2010

Twofer

My, this has been an eventful week. Two engagements were announced, I saw an old friend after 6 or 7 years apart, we're shopping and packing and getting ready for our trip to San Diego/kids' trip to camp, and I tried to sit through New Moon. This coming week (we leave next Monday) is shaping up to be pretty busy as well! I am going to try my best to get a couple posts in, hopefully I will cook more than just quesadillas and cereal.

I've got two quick ideas for you today. First, and I cannot believe I've never done this before, I made Tea-Poached Tilapia. It was so easy, and so delicious. Time it right and the fish comes out flaky and tender. You could always marinate, Tilapia takes well to marinade, but I was literally digging around in my freezer and found the fish last minute and had no time to do so. I had only planned on making a veggie stir fry and rice that evening.




Tea Poached Tilapia

4 herbal or green tea bags (I used Twinings lemon ginger)
2 c boiling water
2 T chopped garlic
1 T minced or grated fresh ginger
1 standard bunch scallions, thinly sliced
4 tilapia fillets


Steep tea bags in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. You want a strong brew. Set aside. Saute' the garlic and ginger in approximately 2T oil until garlic is softened. Remove tea bags from water, add brewed tea to the garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a strong simmer. Add the fish fillets to the simmering tea, add the scallions. Cover, simmer for about 3-5 minutes until fish is cooked through. Salt to taste.


Now that you have it, how you serve it is up to you! I pulled the fish out of the poaching liquid (which you can save and freeze and use for soup, or to steam shellfish) and served it on top of jasmine brown rice with stir fried vegetables. I set out an assortment of Asian condiments: like chili sauce, tamari, plum sauce, hoisen, and let everyone dress their own dinner. A fruit salsa would be lovely. You can also turn this into a soup with soba noodles or ramen, and some bean sprouts and snow peas.

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Cameron and I love pickles. Pickled anything. Cam is a fan of anything sour (Salt & Vinegar chips, sour candy), and if it's also spicy she is so down. I have a feeling that she will be the one that I eventually travel to China with, they appreciate sour way more than the West.

I want this to be the year that I can, or "put up" preserves but it has just been too frigging hot to boil mason jars. I'm also disappointed in the low yield of my farm share this year, not sure whether that's just how the season is moving along, or if they're just spread too thin, share wise - but I haven't been really getting enough of any one thing to justify such a large scale project.

Anyway, I'm messing around with refrigerator pickles. I prefer a fresh pickle over cooked, and I guess that this is technically a brine, but I'm really happy with the result. I've tried three, so far. Two of which are great, the other one I just put together yesterday so I can't taste it until the weekend.

Like a vinaigrette, once you have a base you can create your own flavor combo from there. You can use any kind or vinegar, though with balsamic you may want to mess with the sugar proportion since balsamic is so sweet.

Basic Pickling Brine (for one jar)

2 c vinegar
1 1/2 - 2 c raw sugar
1/4 c salt


"Jeebus, that's a lot of sugar!" you say, and you are right - but you need it to counteract the vinegar, especially if you are using white. You could maybe use less if you are pickling fruit (my next experiment), as the fruit has a higher sugar content than cucumbers (duh).

Cucumber, Garlic, Chives, Dill, White Vinegar, Lemon Zest


Cucumber, Coriander, Lemon, Ginger, White Vinegar

Radish, Red Onion, Rice Vinegar, Ginger




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