Well, I haven't been posting a lot to the journal part, but I have been doing work on the recipe section.
Friday, I made salad, fish, and potatoes for dinner. The salad wasn't great, but both the fish and the potatoes turned out amazing.
For the salad, I used green leaf lettuce and a dressing of sesame seed oil, salt, pepper, and lime juice. This ended up being too tangy and bitter, so I added some agave syrup. That made it okay, but it still needs some work.
I did the fish and potatoes both at 350°F. The potatoes I cut into wedges and tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then baked for 50 minutes. They came out great, tender and flavorful.
The fish was snapper from Uwajimaya, about 1/2 pound. I cut it into large chunks, maybe 3/4 inch by 1-1/2 inches by 3 inches, and tossed it in a generous mix of tamari sauce, sesame seed oil, salt, pepper, a little bit of sriracha sauce, and the juice from one wedge of lime. Then I spread out the chunks in a baking dish and poured the remainder of the marinade on top, and baked for 15 minutes.
The fish was incredible. The surface had an intense flavor from the marinade, but you could still taste the mild flavor of the snapper on the interior.
All in all, a good dinner, and quick and easy to make.
Last Saturday, Joy and I finally did deep-fry day. It went... okay.
I'd purchased a deep-fry appliance awhile ago. We used it once, it worked great but it wasn't worth using that much oil for two people. Joy was also interested in a deep-fry party, so we planned to do one last October, sometime between our birthdays.
Well, we didn't, so this year we decided that we must do it, so we set a date, with the plan to do it no matter how much prep we did or didn't do.
When the time came to start the deep-fryer, the (I thought) large bottle of oil wasn't enough, so Sarah took me to the store to pick up more. By the time we got back with the oil, the apartment was full of hungry people.
We started the deep-fryer, let it heat, and then got to frying. We turned out a couple of mushrooms, and then the next batch didn't seem to be frying very fast. I discovered the oil was cooling down. Oh no! The fryer had tripped.
After unsuccessfully trying to get it going, I left it to cool and got out the small, trusty cast-iron skillet I'd used in the past to fry stuff.
I fried and fried, and meanwhile other people tried to get the main deep-fryer going. Their consensus was that the reset button had broken off, and the fryer was dead.
I turned off the stove and went to rest for a bit, and before I could get up again Carol had taken over the frying. She kept frying until people pretended they were full.
So, it was frustrating at the start, but in the end I had a good time. And the next day Carol made another batch of hush puppies, which was a great way to start watching the game.
Homemade pizza is a delight. This is a simple and easy recipe, that can be quickly complicated by using more and more involved toppings.
A simple cheese pizza needs only pizza dough, tomato sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Pull off a piece of the dough, and set it on a plate to rest. Start the oven pre-heating to 450°F. Take a cookie sheet, and lightly dust it with flour. Spread the dough out as thin as you can without pulling it apart. Cover with a thin layer of sauce, and then cover the sauce with shredded cheese.
Put the pizza in the oven and bake until it is done to your taste. Twenty minutes in my oven gives the top a nice toastiness, and gives the dough a good doneness.
Careful pulling the pizza out, it's baked a little hotter than most things. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before cutting into pieces. And be careful of the first couple of bites, too.
You should never leave your house or apartment when something is cooking in the oven, but this is even more important when you're cooking at 450 degrees! Don't let yourself get distracted into having an oven fire.
Pour the crushed tomatoes into a large stockpot on medium-low heat. Add the other ingredients. If the herbs are fresh, tear them up, and if they're dried, crumble them.
Bring the sauce to a low simmer, stirring regularly. Simmer for one hour, continuing to stir regularly.
Remove from heat and use.
This is a very easy tomato sauce, and it keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks and freezes well. I came up with it for pizza, but I've also used it for pasta, to add to beans, or to add to soups, stews, chilies, and curries.
For the herbs, I use whatever I have. I prefer basil and oregano, but I've also used thyme, cilantro, and rosemary. It still turns out fine without herbs, as well, it's just better with.
Sometimes, I fry garlic in a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the stockpot first, and then add the tomatoes over that.
You can use chopped fresh tomatoes, but you need to simmer it much longer to drive the water out. Also, S&W canned tomatoes taste much better than cheap fresh tomatoes, and good fresh tomatoes are prohibitively expensive (around here, 30 or 40 dollars for enough to make a large batch). But if you grow your own tomatoes, and are willing to simmer it for hours -- I think I once did it for six hours -- the flavor is amazing.
Crushed tomatoes make a really nice consistency, but diced is nice if you want your sauce a little chunky.