The Newbie Cook
- 19,323 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
This started because of Jersey sweet white corn. Yep, the trout was just an afterthought. It’s the first batch of corn this year in our area and Chris was really excited to make me try one of Jersey’s famous veggies. I’ve been trying to eat healthy lately (I feel like I’m 4 tons overweight!) so I figured that seared fresh fish is the way to go.
C husked the corn outdoors because he didn’t want to make a mess in the kitchen. Speaking of outdoors, our garden has been really useful. We now have a wealth of flowers — seriously, these things are fighting each other for space — including 4-inch wide roses like this yellow sunsprite I used as a centerpiece:
The herb garden made sure that I will never use dried herbs again. If you’re ever in the southwest New Jersey area, I recommend visiting Michael William Florist and Greenhouse. Their wide range of herbs and vegetables sell for 95 cents each and their lovely flowers are inexpensive, too.
Before I start rambling on about how much I enjoyed gardening for the first time, I better show you the recipe. 😀
Last night, C suggested seafood. “Let’s do something with the cod.” I’ve eaten cod a few times but I’ve never tried cooking it. I tried looking for an appropriate recipe in The Filipino Cookbook and I found one in minutes.
Technically, a whole lapu-lapu — red grouper fish — should be used for authentic escabeche. But according to Ms. Garcia, alternatives like red snapper, cod, carp and bass could be used. Talking about the dish eventually led to this discussion:
Me: Lapu-lapu is also the name of one of our heros. He killed Magellan.
C: Ferdinand Magellan? Do you know how famous that guy is?!
Me: Um… yeah. (doh!) Everybody does.
C: I didn’t know he died in the Philippines.
Me: He did. They refused to bow to Spain and pay tribute so LL killed Magellan with a bolo and pestle.
Chris thinks it happened a lot like this: (see 1:40 onwards)
I could just imagine Magellan arriving all cocky and rudely interrupting Lapu-lapu who’s making dinner. Next thing you know someone yells “Pay tribute to WHO!? F*** YOU!” just before Ferdie gets brained with a pestle. Hero or not, I bet Lapu-lapu’s wife made him buy a new one.
Of course, that’s what not really happened but I like my version more than the official one.
Back to food. It’s the first time for me to make sweet and sour fish so I was worried that it would fail big time. Making Chris eat Filipino food is an experience. He’s still traumatized about that time when I made him eat dinuguan (pork blood stew) and now he thinks I’m going to feed him random innards when I say “Pinoy food.”
Cod is a very light, creamy fish that easily absorbs flavor. But it could just as easily fall apart if overcooked. Luckily, my escabeche was not bad at all.
Note: Red text means I changed or used a substitute for an ingredient.
Yes, I’m back. Again. So what happened? Relocating, wedding, honeymoons (yes that’s more than one), and adjusting to married life. We’re still working on the last one and I have a feeling we will continue to do so for the next 100 years.
Thankfully, living with Dad got me used to cooking for two people. Some cook for an army and are often stuck with copious amounts of leftovers. In my (not so humble) opinion, leftovers are okay only for one additional meal. No one wants to eat the same leftovers three or four times in a row.
This is a simple meal that is rich in both protein and vegetables so one can have a healthy serving of each plus a touch of dairy and good carbs.
My dear husband thinks that the eggs and veggies in the pan look like a face or titties. I agreed with the first and violently reacted to the second. Seriously. Titties. Men.
First of all, I want to congratulate my very good friend, Tricia, for taking the same difficult step I took six months ago: learning how to cook. I didn’t find it easy, especially in the beginning. I found it tedious, tiring, and frustrating especially when it bombs even if I follow the recipe to the letter (or when I think I did). There are little successes and almost-successes. I still eat my failures to teach myself to fail much less often in the future.
When we were in college, the only cooking Tricia and I could manage was to fry a can of Spam and to pour water into a cup of instant Yakisoba. Any “proper” food would have to be eaten from restaurants. And we could only afford so much on a college student’s budget.
Now, Trish has a food blog, Whipped, where she chronicles her adventures in cooking and as she eats her way through the finest places in Manila. And to celebrate Tricia’s recent cream dory with mango salsa project (yum yum, I can just taste it!), here’s another cream dory recipe from me.
I’ve seen recipes where they used dill. And I’ve seen dill itself in the supermarket whenever we would do our weekly grocery shopping. It has always been a mysterious herb to me. I’m not sure what it tastes like, exactly, since we don’t usually use dill in Filipino cooking. And I grew up on native homecooked meals.
So I thought dinner time would be a good time to experiment. *evil grin* I have been craving for fish and I suspect that I would sprout wings if I eat another chicken dish.
I kept it relatively simple and broke the rule of using only white wine for white meat.
My fish pictures look awful. But have you ever seen wonderful pictures of raw fish chunks? I doubt it. If Steamy Kitchen — who is a much better food photographer and food stylist than I can ever dream to be — cannot make raw fish look amazing, then me and my Canon EOS1000 probably can’t.
And the end result was… it was surprisingly edible. Okay, okay, it was quite yummy. 😀 I ate it with a half-cup of steam white rice and the spinach dish I was so excited about earlier. Now, please excuse me. I need to think of more things to do with dill.
Friday night’s dinner had to be simple and quick. But “quick” and “simple” doesn’t have to mean taking the instant ramen out and having to tolerate the MSG overload. Or frying another pack of hotdogs and eating it with rice. So Dad took out the white fish fillet, sliced it, and fried it.
I borrowed the homemade teriyaki sauce recipe from Steamy Kitchen but changed it a little. Teriyaki sauce is supposed to be made of equal amounts of white cooking wine, soy sauce and sugar. I didn’t have the wine, thought it required too much soy sauce and would prefer to have less sugar.
The best part is the avocado dessert. Luckily, the avocados I bought last weekend had ripened and were just right for eating. Yum yum! Recipe for those in a hurry after the jump.