Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frenzied Fish

Welcome to my world, Dollinks. It is busy; it is rushed; it is demanding. Come to think of it, it’s a lot like your world, too. This blog is my little oasis - a chance to catch my breath, put my feet on the coffee table, put my laptop on my lap, and chat with you and with Ron about something that deeply interests me … sex!
Erk! I didn't mean sex! I meant X, as in The X Factor! Truly, X!
Ron??? Fellas??? Where are you going??? What’s wrong with you? Ron seems to have lost interest and wandered away. I guess that leaves us girls. Let’s kvetch! There are times when I absolutely do not want to cook. Hands up, those of you who sometimes have popcorn for dinner! Don’t all raise your hands at once! I can’t count that high! My guilty secret? Sometimes, I’m just too busy and too tired to cook. That's when I have popcorn for dinner, too. But not often.
It’s at such times that I haul out the heavy artillery - my electric steamer and my electric rice cooker. I’ve talked about these gadgets before. They're worth every inch of storage space they use. Take last night, for example. I’d been working flat-out on a project, and I was dog-tired. When I say dog-tired, I mean tongue-lolling dog tired. 

I could barely keep awake, let alone prepare a nutritious dinner. So these small appliances did a big job. Into the rice cooker, I threw a couple of handfuls of well-rinsed brown rice. Over that, I poured some stock - no salt needed - covered the cooker, and flicked it on. This is literally “set it and forget it” stuff. White rice takes 20 minutes in the rice cooker; brown rice takes 45. My choice of brown rice gave me a good half-hour until I needed to stir from the couch, where I was glued to the X Factor on TV (I'm rooting for Melissa! Or maybe Drew. Lakoda Rayne is also great, but the name is too hard to remember).
I had a chunk of white fish - basa, if you must know, but any white fish would have done. It was a pretty big chunk, so I sliced it in half (one for Ron, a little less for me), knowing that a grown adult requires only three ounces of protein each day - a piece of fish, poultry, meat, or a meat alternative roughly the size of a deck of cards. Most of us eat far more, and it shows. Guilty as charged, Dollinks! 
Enter the electric steamer, which I filled with water. Lightly brushing both sides of each piece of fish with a mixture of soy and hoisin sauces, I cut an oval of parchment paper to the approximate size of the bottom steamer tray, placed both pieces of fish on it, slivered a little sweetened ginger over the fish (the kind bottled in sugar syrup), and set the steamer for 12 minutes. The rice and fish more or less finished at the same time, but not before I’d slipped into the kitchen during a commercial break to throw some spinach into a second steamer tray, placing it on top of the bottom tray with the fish. During the next commercial break, I chopped a small head of romaine, added some sliced radish and celery, and tossed it with a couple of tablespoons of homemade dressing left over from one of my blogs. I decorated the fish with a little green onion cut on the diagonal.
We ate dinner in front of the TV. Melissa, Drew, and the talented but badly named Lakoda Rayne made it to the next round of the X Factor. I called this improvised recipe Frenzied Fish. Ron called it delicious.

Slice large fish into two smaller pieces

Brush on soy and hoisin sauces and cover with sweet ginger

Steam fish 12 min., adding spinach a
couple of minutes before fish is done

A quick simple meal, salad on the side, popcorn not included

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