Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Food Section

So apparently I've been kicked out of sharing my food exploits from my "food band" because everyone wants to have their own solo projects. I am certainly not the Paul McCartney of the group, (or even the Justin Timberlake...maybe I can be the Joey Fatone of the group. "Fat One" I love that....) but I have been a little more inspired to try some new things lately, courtesy of all the food blogs that I am suddenly subscribed to (thank you Google Reader, you have pretty much monopolized the last remnants of my free time), so I need to share things somewhere. (wow, I just looked back and realized that last sentence was like 89 words. my old English teachers all probably hate my right now) So the 'mine has a food section as well...

There is a general theme to the cooking renaissance . First, it must be relatively cheap. No running out to the store and buying exotic things like saffron , Italian ham, or fancy French goat cheese (or red meat, with the way food prices are going....har har). All of those things are delicious, but just too costly to buy, for possible one time use only. The family is in the midst of trying to be better about finances, so along with living without cable for a while (and Tivo! Nooooo!), we are sacrificing as much eating out as possible. So I am cooking to save money, not for extravagance.

Secondly, it must be relatively fast. The second thing I usually hear when I get home from work is how my kids are starving and about to pass out (they should get honorary Oscars. just take one from the Coen brothers. Do they really need two?). I have probably an hour or so before they walk into the kitchen with forks and look like they are ready to pick out my meaty parts (too many of those parts, if you ask me) for dinner. So I have to be creative sometimes. If I am extra good I can make some preparation the night before, but honestly, when have you known me to be so prepared and un-lazy? (Yes my wife is home and can totally handle dinner, or at least help. But cooking has sneaked its way up to being a genuine hobby with me and I like to try new things, along with the challenge of making things my picky kids will eat. You will just have to live with my wife's baking after you get through my dinners...)

So with that in mind, I decided to go with a classic and made Tilapia with broccoli in parchment paper packets. Not only is it easy, but a cinch to clean up, and the kids truly feel extra special getting their own little packet to open up. It was a last minute decision so I just threw a bunch of stuff together. There is some inspiration from here, but what I ended up with bares little resemblance.

First I cut the broccoli into small florets and place them in a bowl. I tossed with olive oil, soy sauce, and a little salt and pepper. I also wanted lemon juice and realized that I was all out, so I went out to my yard and picked two blood oranges off my tree. We have some decent size fruit this year for the first time, but they are WAY sour, so I thought that would be perfect as a lemon substitute. Besides, the color is cool....

Tilapia with Blood Orange

I place some broccoli on each of the parchment paper sheets, and then placed the tilapia in the bowl and rolled it around in the remaining sauce. I placed it on top of the broccoli, and crimped closed the packets, making sure that there is enough room for the steam that will be doing the cooking.

Tilapia Packets

The packets were placed in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Let the packets rest for about 10 minutes before opening, being careful of the hot steam escaping. Made some cous cous while the fish is cooking as a side. Roasted some brussel sprouts while the fish was cooling, and a meal was completed....

Tilapia Packet with Brussels Sprouts and Cous Cous

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