After a Labor Day weekend filled with fabulous food, favorable frolics, and visits from far-flung friends, my posts this week are all responses to direct requests. I will share a few recipes, two links to personal productivity improvements, a review of our Sunday morning date, and, hopefully, a VERY special “Finished Object Friday” update. Enjoy the break from my usual ramblings!
Corrin and I chose to kick off the holiday weekend with a visit to Fairway Market in Harlem with our friend Anna. Anna had just returned from a summer in Europe and desperately needed to restock her larder; Corrin and I wanted to see what the cold room was like — and given what some of our neighbors and colleagues have said, were hoping to shave a few dollars off of our weekly grocery bill. We certainly failed at the last point, because everything in the store was stunningly gorgeous and we couldn’t exercise a shred of willpower to leave the deliciousness behind; all three of us were laden down like pack mules for our (uphill) trudge back home. But we cradled heirloom tomatoes, baby Yukon potatoes, Mediterranean yogurt, and two gorgeous filets of Tilapia like rescued treasures.
The last item became our quick and tasty Saturday night dinner. By quick and tasty, I mean impossibly quick — from fridge to table in 22 minutes for a pair of non-chefs! At Anna’s request, I am sharing the specifics of preparation in long-form — perhaps helpful even if you saw the Twitter version on Sunday — with instructions for absolute non-cookish-people.
Ginger-Orange Tilapia with Steamed Kale and Rice
What you will need:
- Rice (we used white long-grain), 1 cup
- Two cups of water
- Tbsp olive oil
- Dusting of table salt
- Tilapia (we had two filets at 8 ounces each)
- Ginger, either powdered or fresh
- Sea Salt
- Red Pepper flakes
- Orange Juice (a bit less than a quarter of a cup)
- Fresh Kale, about half of one bunch, with stems removed
- Black peppercorns in a grinder
1. Place rice, water, olive oil, and table salt in a small, saucepan; stir once or twice so the rice isn’t clumped together in the pan. Cover and place the pan on a burner over high heat, and set a timer for twenty minutes. When the water reaches a boil, turn the burner temperature to low so that the water simmers until absorbed. When the timer goes off, remove the pan from heat and fluff with a fork or wooden spoon. (Remember to turn off the burner.)
2. ONCE THE RICE IS ON THE STOVE, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the Tilapia filets in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle a liberal palmful of ginger, two pinches of sea salt, and a few red pepper flakes over the fish, then drizzle with the orange juice until a slight pool has collected around the filets. (Check the rice now; chances are the water is starting to boil.) Let rest in the pan until the oven reaches temperature, then place the baking dish on the center rack. Set the timer for ten minutes; when it goes off, remove the dish from the oven. Gently poke at the fish with the tines of a fork to test for flakiness; if the flesh flakes away in small pieces, it’s done. If not, return it to the oven in two-minute increments until flakiness is achieved. (When done, turn off the oven.)
3. ONCE THE FISH IS IN THE OVEN, place a deep frying pan half-full of water on a burner over medium high heat. When the water begins to steam, place a splatter guard over the pan and heap the kale in the center of the guard, over the water. The kale will slowly wilt and brighten as the water reaches a roiling boil; when the volume seems reduced by half, remove the screen and spread the kale on a paper towel to cool and avoid sliminess. (Remember to turn off the burner.)
By the time you have spread the kale on towels, the fish will be ready to come out of the oven for the first flake test, and within a minute or two, the rice will be done. When all elements of the meal are cooked, arrange the rice on a plate, top it with the kale, and place a piece of tilapia alongside. Grind a turn or two of black pepper over the plate, and, as I told Anna, “om nom nom”.