Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Little Tilapi' with by Pappy

I should have warned all of you from the start, I am a big old dork. A dork whose free time is spent in a hot kitchen, who thinks it is fun to surf food blogs and keeps a journal with recipes to try or variations on classics, and who knows that her future will be a happy one if she gets to use her chef's knife everyday. Yep, that's a pretty accurate description of me actually. But I have no shame in by obsession (let's call it what it is here) with food. It makes me happy, is usually delicious, and brings people together in a most wonderfully unique and genuine way. Ever notice how you can bond with someone at a restaurant you don't know from Adam by asking what they ordered and whether they like it. Never done it before? That's a shame, try next time you out. Or chat up the vendors that the next farmer's market you visit. Most often than not you will walk away with at least three ways to prepare whatever you just bought, the history of it starting when it was just a thought in someone's head, and with a smile on your face to boot.

It is in my blood to get just as excited about trying a new food as I do waiting for Christmas to come. So whilst I was home this past weekend I commandeered the use of my familiar family kitchen and set out on a quest to demystify cooking fish as home. I love fish, it is one of my favorite treats. It is always what I ask for for my birthday dinner, and I am not picky either. Raw, seared, blackened, grilled, poached, Asian style, salmon, monkfish, shellfish, sandwiches, salads, you name it. But I, like so many other home cooks I know, was scared to death to try my hand at home. It's too expensive. There is no way I can keep it from sticking. What in the world would I serve it with? I don't have time. Oh I was so very wrong...

I might have mentioned before that I cook a lot with my dad when I am home. We share the same bottomless stomach and curious nature which makes brainstorming, tasting, adjusting, and daydreaming about what we will have for dinner one of our favorite past times. And he too, does a fair amount of cooking on his own and has yet to crack the "fish at home" fear either. So we embarked on the journey together, and thus produced a most wonderful plate of food.

Pretty right? It just screams summer. We attempted talapia, a mild, inexpensive, (yes you read correctly) and "blank canvas" fish. Grilled with fresh thyme, parsley, and lemon slices, then topped with a summery salsa of blueberry, strawberry, diced parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar made for a deliciously different protein. Paired with our favorite grilled veggie (asparagus) and a rice pilaf (minced parsley, arugula, thyme, grape tomatoes, olive oil and tarragon vinegar) and we were in business.

I am here to tell you you no longer have to avoid your wanting eyes when you walk past the seafood department at your local grocer. Instead, take a deep breath, march your little self up there, and ask the fish monger what he can recommend. Yet another way to connect with a complete stranger about food!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Have a Challenge for You All!

I am trying really hard to learn to like avocados. I mean really REALLY hard. I know they are good for me. They have tons of vitamins and minerals, not to mention all the good for your fat that makes your skin glow and your hair shiny. I like healthy skin as much as the next girl, but I just can't stomach an avocado. I don't even like guacamole. Maybe it isn't the fruit but the methods by with I have tried to desperately to digest this conundrum. It isn't bad on sandwiches simply because usually you can't taste anything other than the creaminess it add to the bite. I am way too much of a salsa person to be into guac. I don't like fried food so fried avocado doesn't even sound appealing (and I have heard such wonderful things about it too.) But I am a determined person.

I have tried salads.

But the bell pepper, salt, and pepper didn't hide the avocado enough. I am quickly realizing I am a texture person and my dislike of mayo, sour cream, or any other similar fatty, coat-your-mouth foods just turn me off in the worst way. Avocado falls into that category.

I have tried little bites.

This was somewhat better. First of all, texture was restored by the baked tortilla chip and I added salsa, which masked the bland avocado blugh taste. Which allows me to maintain faith that one day, hopefully in the near future, I will find an avocado recipe that I like enough to get some of those wonderful health benefits I am dying for.

Which leads me to my challenge: have any wonderful avocado recipes out there that will make me change my mind for good about this much dreaded green goo? I would to replace my current five year old "icky" face with a more adult appreciative, thoughtful face when discussion turns to avocado, but I am going to need your help. Post whatever you'd like, and I will be sure to try them and hopefully be able to write soon about my wonderful frolics down avocado lane...

Until then... I'm going to ignore the avocado that's in my fridge right now. Frozen yogurt anyone?