Monday, August 30, 2010

Weeknight Meal: Rainbow Trout, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Steamed Kale

I think that women get the raw end of the deal in terms of relationship responsibilities.  Not only do we work our long hour jobs, but, we also magically become responsible for all household tasks.  In addition to working 40+ hours at an amazing job, I get to be responsible for putting solid healthy food on the table, cleaning and straightening the apartment, keeping track of our familial obligations and schedules, and doing other major cleaning tasks such as vacuuming and doing laundry.  Now, granted, my husband DOES pitch in when I ask him to, and he does do laundry when he "has time."  This does not mean, however, that I am no longer seen as responsible for these items.  I feel guilty when I don't meet them all!

Is that mostly my fault?  Yes, maybe it is.  I'll admit that!  I thoroughly enjoy cooking.  I love preparing meals, coming up with new things, and putting really tasty and healthy food into my body and the bodies of those I care about.  It is amazing to realize that people are being nourished, mind/body/soul, by your food.

To keep everything in balance and to ensure that I don't burn out, I need quick week night meals.  Quick meals that don't involve pasta every night.  I really do not like boxed dry pasta.  I wish I did.  It makes fast meals much, much easier.  But, I don't.  I would rather do quick baked potatoes, 5 minute cous cous (any type can be done this quickly - boil water, add cous cous, let sit 5 mins with the lid on, fluff with fork - ta da!), bread, or cook rice in advance.

I'm also trying to plan my meals out over the weekend.  This way, I can ensure that I have everything on hand for cooking this week.  It also means I make less trips to the grocery store, which helps stop me from running out to pick something up...and spend more it is a very thrifty endeavor as well!

Tonight's quick meal, brought to you courtesy of 7:30 am - 4:30 pm work shift, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm yoga class, and picking the husband up from law school at 7:15 pm, was fish.

Fish is my go to quick protein.  That, and a can of low sodium black beans or chick peas!  Fish cooks in a matter of minutes and you can use your typical pantry staples to make it taste delicious.  Try any type of vinegar - red wine, cider, or balsamic - a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you're good to go.

Tonight's fish was 2 rainbow trout fillets (on sale, of course), farm fresh from Canada...mashed sweet potatoes...and steamed kale.

I boiled the sliced sweet potatoes before I picked him up.  I cut up the kale and put it in the pot.  I cut up some onion and put it in my cast iron pan.  Once I got home, I simply put the heat on the kale.  The water from washing it made a sort of steamed kale.  I added a bit of s and p and called it good.  While the kale cooked down, I heated up some sesame seed oil in the case iron pan, and then added the two fillets (skin side down).  While these were going, I made a quick blueberry grunt on the stove top!

Blueberry Grunt
Take about 1 cup of blueberries, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon of honey.  While this cooks for 2-5 mins, make standard sweet dumplings.  I made up a recipe:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour (milled and grown in Massachusetts!)
1/8 t salt
1 T sugar
1 T butter
1 t baking powder

Mix the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter in with your fingers until you have small crumbs.  Then, add just enough milk to make it a moist batter (roughly 1/3 cup).  Drop the dumplings onto the top of the blueberry mix.  Cover with the pan's lid and cook on low/warm for 15 mins.  Serve with a bit of vanilla ice cream!

To the fish, I added black pepper and a few splashes of soy sauce.  Once the kale was mostly done, I flipped the fish (about 5 mins each side).  Then I drained the sweet potatoes and mashed them with a bit of sour cream.  And ta da!  Dinner is served, plus, dessert!

The dessert was added because I had delicious farmer's market blueberries.  I wasn't about to turn on the stove in this heat and humidity.  It was delicious.  The buckwheat flour by itself gave it a nutty texture that was fantastic with the smooshed blueberries and the melting ice cream.  Yum.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lansing and Fish Cakes

At the end of July, we moved from Sunderland, Massachusetts to Lansing, Michigan!

My husband is attending law school at Michigan State University.  He started orientation this week.  I am absolutely loving Lansing and East Lansing.  I started taking yoga classes with Hilltop Yoga and have been hunting for a job.

I'm looking for something where I work directly with people on a daily basis.  I enjoy recruiting and human resources functions.  I also like working in education environments.  I've been submitting my application to positions that meet these specifications.

In between application submissions, I'm working to get my "back to Michigan" life straightened out!  There is so much to do when you move from one state to another.  I finally obtained Michigan car insurance last week.  Now, I just need to get my Michigan registration and license plates, and the move will finally be complete.  

I have not had the energy to blog, although, I have been experimenting in the kitchen!  Plan to see blog entries coming soon!  Yesterday, I used left over pan fried lake trout to make baked fish cakes.  They were pretty good for a recipe made from scratch based on approximately 15 recipes I researched online! 

3 lake trout "steaks" - cooked and shredded
1 ear of fresh corn, cut from the cob
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1 T Worcestershire sauce  
2 t stone ground mustard
a dash or three of Tabasco sauce
1 t pepper, 1 t salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 t grated fresh ginger

Coat with 2 cups cornbread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients.  Shape into patties (make a ball, as if for meatballs, and then carefully flatten it).  Dredge in cornbread crumbs.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake 10 - 20 minutes.  Serve with homemade tartar sauce (1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1 T relish)

Not bad for reusing leftovers.  They were actually better than the pan fried fish steaks were.  I plan on baking some loaves of bread on Thursday to take up north this weekend.  Now that we're home in Michigan, it is time to catch some fish and sun by Houghton Lake!