Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Halibut- Just for the Hell of It

So, I have been cooking a lot and have nothing to show for it. I mean, I have something to show for it, dish pan hands, a lighter bank account, less time reading, but nothing to show for it on my blog. VERY bad. So, I am back. And I have been cooking. Ok, I already said that. But I have been cooking a lot. The nice part about the change in my life, having another mouth around to feed all the time, is that I am cooking a ton more. When I am alone I eat what I call "single food." This is meals that comprise of any combination of the following:
a piece of toast
and apple
a string cheese
a few bites of salad
an egg
some chips and salsa
a carrot
left over beets
Wheat Thins with cottage cheese
A quesadilla with faux guacamole made of half an avocado and tabasco

Ok- you get it. Basically anything that takes less than five minutes, uses less than 3 dishes. But now that I am cooking for two, I put more effort into it. And I have another person to appreciate the work I am doing. So I have been stirring things up in my kitchen.
For Mother's Day I made Halibut in Papilotte. Now, I had never used this technique before, but I really liked it. I was able to prepare the packages (that is what the name means in french) before dinner so I could relax before I stuck them in the oven for 9 minutes. The fish came out PERFECTLY. Seriously perfect. My mother was very pleased, especially considering halibut is her favorite. Inside the papilotte I also placed some thyme (the herb on hand, I would actually recommend pretty much any herb you have nearby), cherry or grape tomatoes, some orange rind, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, some butter, and a few olives. This was so wonderful. The tomatoes were hot and oozy, the fish was lovely, and the cleanup minimal.
I paired this with a dish that did not match but I like making, so there. Plus it is a vegetable and starch all together, which makes life that much simpler. It is my savory asparagus, gruyere, mushroom bread pudding. I found this recipe on Epicurious but have added my own tweaks to it. Namely, the mushrooms, which really add an amazing new layer of flavor to it, and then I completely ignore all the measurements and do everything to feel. The pudding has gruyere, swiss, and parmesan cheese. As well as thyme, chives, italian parsley, bread, eggs, milk, etc. It is absolutely wonderful, can be prepared in advance, and would a great brunch dish as well.

Above is the bread pudding waiting for it's "bucket o'cheese'n'herbs" as I like to call it.

I mix this all together and let it sit with the egg and milk mixture for at least an hour. I have actually made this the night before and had it sit all night in the fridge to wonderful results. There should be no concerns there on that front.

But I have been cooking and not blogging enough. Pretty soon I'll be blogging a lot and not cooking and writing a personal manifesto on the joys of toast. Actually, that could happen any day now, as, any one who knows me will agree, toast is my favorite food. In the whole world. Yes, I live in San Francisco where I am surrounded by amazing food at every corner. And yes, I have enough of a disposable income where I can buy any ingredient (barring truffles, saffron, really expensive wine...). But I love toast. My favorite would be the St Luis Sourdough Company. AMAZING toast. Sourdough is amongst my favorite. But I also like chewy whole grain.
Wait, this was supposed to be another blog post!
Back to my great dinner. It was great, no more to discuss there. For a good En Papillote recipe go to the Gourmet cookbook. The big honking yellow one which is wonderfully edited by Ruth Reichl.

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