Wednesday, October 24, 2012

...white wine simmering = my favorite smell

I’ve been meaning to cook this meal and blog about it for awhile now, but it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I really should be cooking MORE when I’m busy or down in the dumps, because it absolutely boosts my happiness level, and it’s a great distraction.  Anyway! I finally have made this recipe that I’ve been waiting to make for a long time! Another thing I did recently that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, was invest in a few herb plants. I would recommend doing this if you’re into cooking at all – such a time/money saver (plus it smells great)! I just want to throw out there that this is NOT a low fat meal at all…

Almond Crusted Halibut
It says this serves six people, but you can easily cook 4-5 pieces of fish. I don’t think the minced almonds would cover 6 full pieces (I’ve edited this recipe to the way I will continue to make it, but I got the original one off of allrecipes).

-2/3 cup dry white wine (I used a cheapo sauv blanc)
-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons minced shallots (I always use green onions instead shallots)
-1 sprig fresh thyme
-1 bay leaf
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-10 tablespoons unsalted butter - chilled, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
-3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
-Salt and pepper to taste
-6 (6 ounce) fillets halibut
-1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
-2/3 cup minced blanched almonds (I couldn't find minced, so I just minced them myself in the blender)
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
-1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Make beurre blanc: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine wine, vinegar, shallots, thyme and bay leaf. Boil until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream, and boil until liquid is reduced by half; decrease heat to low. Whisk in the 10 tablespoons of butter. Do not allow sauce to simmer, or it may separate.

2. Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Stir in chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep warm by setting bowl in sink with hot water.

3. Preheat oven on broiler setting. Pat fillets dry, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Heat oil and two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute halibut fillets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned, and just cooked through. Transfer to a baking sheet, and cool 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs, almonds and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Brush tops of fillets with egg, and spread with almond mixture.

5. Broil fillets 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned (watch closely - every broiler has its own personality!). Place fillets on individual plates, and spoon beurre blanc around it.

I served this on brown rice and we had simple little salads with it. And it was absolutely delicious. I definitely should have let the wine and cream cook longer, because the sauce didn't thicken the way I liked it – but I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with white sauce…unless you try to make it lower fat or something. Bump that. If you’re going to try to eat healthy, make something out of a health food magazine. However, in my opinion, when you make meals like this every once in awhile – just go all out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

plague already?

It's only October and I'm already battling a disgusting cold. Whhhhhyyyyy? Probably because I've been pretending that my body doesn't need things like sleep, any type of nutrition (Cheetos are not a food group?), large quantities of water....yeah that's probably why. Work hasn't been too stressful lately, so I can't blame that.

All I want when I'm sick is a heating blanket, a Tim Burton movie, and some Vicks. However, when I live with Joan (my mother) I get platters like the one shown below on a regular basis.

Is that not the gosh darn cutest thing you've ever seen? If I wasn't so drippy and disgusting right now, I'd go mug on that lady. Alas, I'm not in good form to be cuddling up to Joan. (my father has also been pretty doting...he brought me tea yesterday. TEA!)

Anyway, I need to get in tip-top shape for this weekend, because I finally get to stay home and attend to the multiple DIY projects I've been meaning to do over the last few months. Figure yourself out, Immune System! I've got stuff to do!

Alright, back to the Nightmare Before Christmas and a very imperative NyQuil coma.

Monday, October 8, 2012

for laura

I think it's because I've really been missing her lately (I miss her all the time), or perhaps, I've been spending too much time watching old, feel-good movies and soaking up the beautiful fall; I really miss my little sister tonight.

Laura deserves an entire post unto herself (multiple eventually), because she's hands down, flat out my best girl in the whole world. Not in a cheesy way - in an incredibly real, every hour of everyday way. Laura is 22 (two and a half years younger than I am) and she was just married this summer. In many ways, she and I are very different. I'm ultra-sensitive to what people think of me, while Laura is constantly self assured and un-phased by the opinions of people that don't TRULY know her. I'm more of traveler/experimenter and Laura is more of a homebody/settler. Laura is self-reliant, calm, resourceful, and INCREDIBLY humble. Even though I'm her big sister, I find myself constantly watching how she handles tough situations and thinking, "Where did she learn that from?" Not this mad-clown of a sister, who can turn into a puddle of mush over gaining a couple pounds or a boy not thinking I'm the bees knees. No Sir. She's usually the one listening to my wounded phone calls that almost always end with something like "Thanks for listening to me unload all that garbage...I'm sorry I just bawled to you for an hour."

Yep, when it came to the world around us, Laura has always (since toddlerism), been willful, strong, and vocal about almost everything.

I have far too many stories of Laura (many funny and MANY that bring tears), however tonight I'm reminded of a fall evening not very many years ago when I had been out with my friends late once again. I came into my parents house and went straight to my room. Quickly opening my computer to scan blogs and Facebook updates, it wasn't until a good 20 minutes rolled by until my mother came into my room and suggested I go talk with Laura. "She seems a little down tonight." After knocking on her door and pushing her for information for about a half hour, Laura finally broke down and said very matter-of-factly, "It's you. I need more time with you. I know that might seem selfish, and I know you're busy...but sometimes I wish you'd slow down and just be here more."

I wanted to shout, "That's not selfish! I love spending time with you! I had no idea!" Instead, I held her and apologized for not noticing that our quality time had been vastly insufficient. My sister gave me something incredibly important that night. She made me realize that our loved ones don't always know they are important to us, and she vulnerably let me know I was important to her. That's probably one of the toughest things to do sometimes.

Anyway, what I wanted to get to (and the reason I'm posting this somewhere you will find), is that you're pretty super, rockin' Laura Marie. You're my favorite.