Friday, January 29, 2010

Miso-Glazed Catfish and Baby Bok Choy


Found this recipe on Serious Eats, which in turn traces it back to Whole Foods' website. Given that I had a pound of catfish instead of 10 oz. and that I love miso, I increased the amount of glaze (and, after several awkward fork-and-back-of-spoon applications, resolved to buy a brush). This turned out to be rich, tasty but still very healthy; the bok choy was just the right combination of softened but still-crisp stems and tender leaves. John heartily approves, too.
  • 1 lb. catfish
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. white miso
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 baby bok choy, washed and halved
Whisk miso, 1 tbsp. olive oil, sugar and about 2 tbsp. of water together till smooth (add more water, a few drops at a time, if it seems too chunky for you).

Coat catfish fillets with glaze. 

Meanwhile, put 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add catfish and cook till lightly browned but not overdone - about 5-6 minutes. Flip once, halfway through.

Remove catfish from pan and cover with foil.

Cut baby bok choy in half, lengthwise, and coat with remaining glaze. Scrape browned bits in pan, then add bok choy, cut side down, and 2 tbsp. of water. Cover and cook, turning once or twice, till bok choy is tender but still bright green, about 4-6 minutes.

Serve veg and catfish together.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today's Lunch - Fried Rice and Sardines

 Had a full pic of last night's dinner, which was the same thing plus some salad greens, but they didn't pass even my lax standards. This shot, taken from lunch today, fared a bit better.

Basically I followed the Bittman basic fried rice recipe with the dried-out remains of my mushroom broth and stewed garlic rice, not including the egg, adding a diced carrot and increasing the ginger, garlic and scallion proportions. Turned out wonderfully - also went well with a handful of baby spinach and a couple of sardines.
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping tbsp. scallions, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 4 or so cups old rice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • more minced scallions for garnish
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan or wok. When hot, add ginger, garlic and scallions. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add carrots and cook for a few minutes, till they just begin to soften.

Add rice and cook, stirring often, till hot. Add soy sauce, mixing it thoroughly into the rice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with scallions and enjoy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Campari Surprise - The Old Pal

This concoction seems far more suited to summer and ice (neither of which we have at the moment, more's the pity), but it turned out decently nonetheless. There were several variations, some of which I also mean to try and discuss in updates or comments, but this one does a good job of keeping the Campari's assertiveness while deepening it into something more interesting. The double recipe:
  • 3 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1-1/2 oz. Campari
  • 1-1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • lemon twist
Pour the first three ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Stir, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

(FYI, Mass Effect 2 is on the TV, and the recipe for this drink is on the netbook screen.)

Marinated Mushrooms

UPDATE (25 Jan. 2010): Replaced not-so-good shot from the night before with a superior action pic from my desk.

At first I was going to try Bittman's simple, classic take on this dish, but was unsure whether the mushrooms would last a half-day in Mr. Bento without turning brown and sad. So I tried a variation on this version. The result was a sharper, better-tasting flashback to the the marinated mushrooms I used to pick up from many a random deli counter when I craved them. Bonus: a cup or so of light mushroom broth, ready to turn into rice water or a soup base or something equally yummy.
  • 8 oz. white button mushrooms, stemmed and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 thin scallions, sliced
Bring water to a boil. Add mushrooms and simmer for 5-10 minutes, so they're starting to soften but aren't going limp.

Meanwhile, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Add the mushrooms and toss till they're thoroughly coated. Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary.

Refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today's Bento

Cashews and cheese, salad with red wine vinaigrette, rice (pre-soaked in broth) with scallions and some of last night's soup. Am double-posting this to my Flickr set while I figure out a more efficient way of organizing all my food and drink pictures (I would rather not clutter this blog with  stuff John or I didn't cook ourselves).

25 Jan. 2010: Changed link, which now goes to a  newly-created Mr. Bento Flickr set.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken Soup with Baby Bok Choy

Strange to have the first chicken soup of the cold weather come this late - and without leeks, no less. I had originally wanted to do this with the baby bok choy that I'd bought last week, but a combination of circumstances - aging celery and ginger root at home, very reasonably-priced chicken thighs at the store near the school where we volunteered for MLK Day and the need for something that would see me through a few days of work lunches all conspired to create this riff off this recipe.
  • 2.3 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 1/2 head garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 onion, quartered (would have used more, but I only had two; the scallions were added to help make up for this)
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 small carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 in. chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (didn't have any appropriate fresh herbs)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 med. carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 8 baby bok choys, roughly chopped, stems and leafy tops separated
  • salt to taste

Put the first batch of ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low, then simmer and cook for about 1 hour or till chicken is tender.

Remove chicken, shred the meat and set aside.

Strain broth, pressing to get all the lovely liquid out of the vegetables.

Add the carrots, onions, celery and bok choy stems to the broth. Bring to a boil and cook till the vegetables are tender but still slightly crunchy, 7-15 minutes. Season to taste.

Add the bok choy leaves and the reserved chicken. Cover, then remove from heat. Wait five minutes, then serve.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Return of Mr. Bento!

While I did manage to pack lunch once last week, this is the first time Mr. Bento has emerged in 2010. May there be many more.

Clockwise: Cashews and Laughing Cow cheese, rice, sardines in tomato sauce with scallions and mixed veggies. Not the prettiest lunch there ever was, but tasty nonetheless (already had some). The frozen vegetables were more limp than I like, but decently seasoned, with a hint of vinegar - I'll try to make my own from scratch next time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Wonderful Present

Just a quick post to thank John for my birthday dinner: poached salmon with a ginger-soy-garlic-honey sauce, acorn squash and roasted beets (sadly, my camera didn't do justice to their gorgeous deep redness) with Gorgonzola and walnut. A glass of smoky Laphroaig was the perfect finishing touch.

UPDATE (13 Jan.): Found a brighter pic.