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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

vegetable-free zone

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No green veggies anyway. Perhaps chlorophyll-free zone would be an apter title. Or so hubs told me.


I was all set to make a nice wholesome black bean soup tonight (so maybe now I'll make it tomorrow), but hubs was having none of it. I think his soupy wisdom tooth extraction recovery has turned the poor man off all soups. He wanted fish and chips.

So of course, once he mentioned the idea, *I* also wanted fish and chips.

But I don't deep fry.


So I had to get a little creative, and being that it is still 'eating for free' this week, I wanted to venture a little deeper into the cupboards to investigate what could be had.

The result was actually amazing. This was better than going out for pub grub. This was a little exotic, a touch of fusion and all over an extremely tasty meal.

I definitely should have had veggies, but my fridge is emptying out and I didn't really have too many veggies, so I just didn't make any. I guess one of the advantages of being a pseudo-grown-up is that if I don't want to make any veggies, I just don't have to. (Granted, I would have liked veggies, but must confess to getting a bit of a thrill out of forgoing them). Maybe thrill isn't exactly the right word.

At any rate, this was a little bit of experimentation, but both dishes are wonderful. It's a fun combo together, but either would be fabulous paired with other sides.

Fish&Chips - Fusion Style
seared tilapia with oven fries

Chips...aka Cumin-Spiced Potatoes with Curry Dip
1 large sweet potato
5 large regular potatoes
1/4 c. vegetable/olive oil
1 T cumin
1 t ancho chile powder
1 t thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T mrs. dash extra-spicy

1. In a ginormous bowl, combine oil and spices. Add some salt and pepper.

2. Peel the sweet potato and cut into desired fry size. For the regular potatoes, don't peel them (peel has fibre and vitamins and would be a shame to toss it). Just cut 'em up.

3. Toss potatoes in oil/spice mixture. I like to cook my fries on a silpat because it browns them REALLY nicely without making them stick. Otherwise, you could use parchment paper (works well, doesn't brown quite so much) or well-greased foil (but be careful, because the fries ALWAYS stick to the foil and you lose the nice browned bits!!!!!).
oven fries are so good

4. Bake in a 400F oven for 45-50 minutes, stirring/flipping every 15-20 minutes. The longer you bake them, the crispier they will be. The silpat is great for this.

5. Serve with a curry dipping sauce - I like to mix a bit of hot pepper jelly and curry powder into either low-fat sour cream or fat-free plain yogourt. This time, I used sour cream because that's what I had.
curry sour cream sauce

Fish...aka Wasabi-Crusted Tilapia with Honey Garlic Wine Sauce

4 large tilapia fillets
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
1-2 T light soy sauce

1 c. dried plain breadcrumbs
1-2 T wasabi powder
1 T steak spice
1 T mrs. dash extra-spicy

canola oil

1/3 c. madeira or other sweet wine (could use marsala, sherry or even sake....substitute broth and a bit of honey otherwise)
1/3 c. honey garlic sauce (I used v-h could alternatively use teriyaki sauce)
1/4 c. minced coriander (could use green onions, mint or basil)

1. Cut fish into serving-sized portions (my tilapia comes in almost double-fillets, so I like to cut them down the middle).

2. In a pie plate, combine egg, milk and soy sauce.
egg milk and soy sauce for fish

3. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, wasabi powder and spices.
plain breadcrumbs, wasabi powder, spices, salt, pep

4. In a large skillet, heat a generous amount of oil. The more oil you use, the better it will taste ;). You don't have to cover the bottom of the pan at all, but 2-3 T is a good start. Heat over medium-high heat.

5. Pat the fish dry with paper towel. Dip in egg mixture, then cover with bread crumbs. Place in pan and brown about 3 minutes on each side. (You can do about 4 pieces at a time). If you have to do it in batches, place the cooked fish in a pan lined with parchment paper (put it over the warming vent on your stove, if you have one). Repeat with remaining fish as necessary, adding more oil for the second batch.

6. Once the fish is all cooked, place pan in oven and reduce temperature to 250F (don't want it to overcook and dry out while you make the sauce). In the still hot (and not cleaned) pan, add in wine, sauce and coriander. Bring to a boil and reduce a bit. Pour hot sauce into a small bowl for serving.

madeira, honey garlic and coriander

7. Serve fish with the honey garlic wine sauce, and fries with the curry dip.

YUMMMMY. I want more. Is that bad?


tinke said...

Sounds lovely. I like the sound of your "chips". :) Though, any ideas on how to substitute for Mrs Dash? I'm afraid it's not available over here.

Leslie said...

Hi tinke! I would think that any sort of cajun spice mix would work. Mrs. Dash is just a brand of salt-free seasonings here....this one has some spice, garlic, onion, etc. But a cajun seasoning mix would be very comparable. Or you could just up the other spices. :) They were yummy though! I'm looking forward to my lunch leftovers already!

Janet said...

That sounds incredible! In the picture where you are dumping the potatoes onto the baking sheet, it looks like enough to feed an army. Then in the first picture on the plate, there's tiny portoin of fries. I'm thinking either Hubs is a BIG eater, or you're going to be eating oven fries for the next week!

P.S. I told Mario about your eating free experiment, and now he thinks I should do it too...

tinke said...

Ah cheers, Leslie! I didn't even think of cajun spice, though instead of that, I ended up upping the garlic and adding some cayenne pepper and fresh basil. I also tossed in some carrots instead of sweet potato and, nearer to the end of cooking, mushrooms. It came out great, so thanks for the tip! Cumin really is a lovely companion for potato, and the scent coming from my oven was divine.

Emily said...

My husband and I have also embarked on a grocery budget which we sorely needed. Now I know what to do with all the tilapia in my freezer and no trip to the grocery store required!

Kevin said...

The Cumin-Spiced Potatoes with Curry Dip sound amazing. And another tasty sounding Tilapia recipe. I am really going to have to try Tilapia some day soon.

Peabody said...

My husband lives in the no vegetable zone.

Foxy said...

You are killing me. This looks amazing.

Christie said...

Yum, yum, yum. Is ancho chili powder the smokey one? If so, would a different one work okay - I'm not a fan of the smokey chili, whatever it is ....
Oh, another Q - Wasabi powder - found in regular or specialty grocers?

BubblyBunny said...

I tried your chip recipe (without Mrs. Dash) and it was soooo yummy!! I was worried that the cumin might be too strong but it was perfect. This is a great way for me to use up that big bag of cumins I bought. I also made the curry dip and it's fantastic. My hubby loves the chips but he won't eat the sweet potatoes, which is ok b/c I prefer the sweet potato chips. He keeps asking me to make more chips for him. :D

I also want to thank you for posting such wonderful recipes. They are always easy to follow and tastes great. I've tried a few recipes from your blog and now, my hubby has even agreed to try the butternut squash soup after I told him where the chip recipe came from. (He doesn't like any kind of squash; he's a loyal potato fan.) So tomorrow, we are going to buy squash and make soup. And we are going to make that turkey dumpling thing you posted for the Thanksgiving dinner!! :D

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