Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fish Adventure

I can't remember the last time I cooked fish, or if I ever cooked fish at all. Making Chinese fish dish is out of the question because it's always so complicated. And because seafood is rather expensive here, I haven't cooked fish at all since I've been back in the States again.
So, after a long dry spell of cooking, that is, not totally deprived of cooking, but not cooking anything new for a long time, I decided to pick up Julia's book from the fish section.
Since the last part of 2011, I have grown rather creative in my kitchen, such as substituting honey oats cereal for anything that asks for nuts or oats. I also made up a few recipes that didn't even have a name. I didn't write them down, because they were the spur of the moment, and because they came from my own head I knew I could always make them again, since they weren't exactly outstandingly fabulous if I do anything different in the future, it may actually improve the flavor.
Anyway, let me stop rambling and get back to the topic. I bought the cheapest kind of fish fillet from the supermarket and vermouth cooking wine (I don't know why I didn't buy the wine until today because it's so ubiquitous in Julia's book.)
After going through the recipes last night, I had decided to bring forward my creative gene. I prepared the fish as requested in the braising recipe, covered in flour, then egg and coated with bread crumbs, but instead of cooking in a pan of butter I baked it in the oven, with a base of vermouth and browned onion and mushroom spread on top. Then continuing the braised recipe, I made the butter provencal sauce, with much less of butter, ending up the sauce much less thicker.
The fish fresh out of oven

the fish drenched in the sauce and cut up into small pieces (not in the recipes either)

Then I poured everything on top of pasta, because pasta is good with almost anything.
So there you go!

Apple Crisp

I can't remember how long it's been since I last cooked from Julia Child's cookbook. I feel like I never stopped flipping through the book but I just realized I didn't cook anything from it until today. Oh, no, that's not true. I made apple crisp more than once over the winter. For a while I was hooked to my roommate's little everyday baking cookbook and baked a bunch of cookies and cupcakes. Then I decided I wanted to dive more into Chinese cooking. Then I just repeated some of the old recipes I made over and over again. In a word, for a while, my weekly Julia cooking had diminished to a vintage point in my life.
During my baking endeavor, I managed to find one recipe in Julia's book that seemed simple enough for me to start, because we all know, the precision of ingredients that baking requires obviously does not match up to my non-measure cooking style.
Apple crisp has enough space for twists and turns.
This was also when I realized that oats, which I didn't have,  could almost always replaced by honey oats cereal, which I always have in the kitchen. I must admit I never truly liked apples, I still am not particularly fond of them, and only eat them when I feel like I need to be healthier and be on diet. But I have grown rather attached to the sweet taste of baked apples in apple pies or apple crisps. How American I have become!