Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sauteed Whitefish with Spiced Orzo with mixed vegetables

A few days ago - maybe a week - someone on one of the cooking boards I frequent asked "What is the purpose of your blog."

Well, mine is being embodied right now - turning out fantastic meals using off the cuff cooking.

Right now I'm in a condo in Daytona Beach on vacation. We're having a night in rather than eating out and taking advantage of all of the wonderful fresh seafood. However, I'm cooking in a kitchen with:
  • no real chopping blocks - there is one that's being used for decoration and to chop limes for drinks....
  • no knives
  • no measuring cups or spoons
  • no grill
  • non-stick cookware (not exactly the best for making pan sauces...which would be my pick after the "no grill" situation)
  • a highly limited spice collection (we ADDED basil, garlic, ginger and cumin to make things at least palatable)
The first two would probably be enough to send most cooks to the phone for delivery - no chopping block and no knives? Well screw that! The rest are inconveniences - to be worked around. I managed to find a steak knife in a drawer, so I'm using that to chop for now (I did tell The Spouse, however, that, if he wants mushroom risotto, we're buying a basic chef's knife and chopping block). And I determined that the plastic cups we've been using for wine (since their crystal still has stickers on them....a la "for display only") hold about 7 oz to the top by pouring a small sample bottle of wine into one (small bottle of wine is 187mL, which is 6 1/3 cup and it went to about 1/2 inch from the top).

And yet - and yet - dinner tonight, without any of the accouterments of proper cooking, was delicious. The fish was perfectly done, the orzo flavorful and tender yet not mushy. The Spouse gave it an unofficial rating of "This is delicious, babe."

THAT is what this blog is about - great food under duress.

Sauteed Whitefish with Spiced Orzo with mixed vegetables

1/2 lb whitefish (such as tilapia)
1/2 oz lime juice (or the juice of 1/2 lime)
salt, pepper, cumin

olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
chile powder

olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup orzo
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
dash of red wine
1 pkg "southwestern" mixed vegetables (corn, red and green peppers)
salt, pepper, chile powder, cumin

For Fish: Place fish in a non-reactive container. Sprinkle both sides with lime juice, salt, pepper and cumin. Let marinade 2 hours, turning once. Heat skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray, add 1 tsp olive oil. Add garlic and shallots and cook until soft. Add in fish, sprinkle with chile powder, and cook 3 minutes, flipping halfway thru. Plate and serve immediately.

For Orzo: Heat non-stick skillet. Add olive oil. Sautee garlic until lightly browned. Add orzo and sautee until orzo is lightly browned and fragrant. Add in chicken broth, water and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover; cook until done (about 15-20 minutes). Add in vegetable and spices to taste, stirring until vegetables are warmed thru. Serve with fish.

Wine pairing: We had this with Domaine Laureau Savennieres Cuvee de Genets 2000, a wine we found at a shop down here. It was beautiful with the delicate flavor of the fish and the spices added in.

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