Jan 5, 2011

Cooking: Step 1

A friend of mine set me up with a special little goal notebook last week so that I can keep track of my progress on my yearly goals. Sweet huh! :)  Anyway, I wanted to share my journey here as well.  Maybe someone else will grow with me this year.

This weeks objective:  Learn to cook fish properly (ie not dried to a crisp!)

So tonight I am going to tell you about my small step on the Cooking front.  A little back ground is needed here though........Our family does not eat much meat.  Five years ago we decided to eat a vegetarian diet and managed to do that for 2 years.  Dean and I loved it, Ian thrived, and Caitlin was pretty indifferent (but she was 2 so hardly surprising).  I had a rotation of recipes that were fantastic but heavy on the cheese and dairy products.  Not a bad thing really but I am not a fan of commercial dairies and the amount of hormones and chemicals that get pumped into those animals.  I should say here that our choice for a vegetarian lifestyle had nothing to do with the welfare of the animals.  LOL that sounds harsh but at the time our choice was based solely on health reasons.  Later the treatment aspect played into it but only mildly. Dean and I have never eaten a lot of meat during our marriage even before the veggie days. Needless to say I don't have a lot of experience cooking meat other than the simple taco/spaghetti routes. 

Okay moving on.  When I got pregnant with Lauren I craved steak.  I craved steak in my dreams, in the grocery store line, in the bathroom while doing my make-up.  It was all I could think of.  I ate beef jerky by the truck load, we had steak for nearly every meal for almost a month, and when I needed a snack I went to the beef.  To say I was low on iron was an under statement of the century. (Now before you claim that it was because of the veggie diet, it wasn't. It is because of my own body during pregnancy and my monthly cycle)
So since the beef fest of 2008 we have eaten meat but only 2 times a week or so.  Ian still won't touch it, Caitlin only eats chicken, and Lauren would rather sing than concentrate on food.

So....when I went grocery shopping the other day I set the goal to stay away from the meat department and a good portion of the dairy.  I loaded the cart with more fruits and organic vegetables than most families eat in a month and I have to say that felt pretty dang good.  The kids were squealing that they get to have turnips and parsnips.  They were all but opening the bags to get the fruit and Ian picked out Kale as his "must have" veggie.

Then I turned my cart toward the bread isle and there I saw it.  The meat department, but not just any section of the meat department but the seafood section.  It drew me like one of those little bug zappers that turn purple and buzz when they get a juicy but.  I couldn't help myself.  The Salmon called my name. :)
So in the basket went 2 lbs of Salmon and a couple pounds of Mahi Mahi.

Now that long winded diatribe to get to the point.  Fish, I love it as does every single person in this house, but I had no clue how in the world to cook it.  In the past I was always to nervous of it not being cooked properly that I would end up cooking it way to long.  Then it was just dry and rubbery and may as well have been a plastic toy from the dollar store for the appeal it held.

That is no more.  I went to the book that is to be my guide during my cooking year and found the fish section.  Oh this was great!  I actually followed the directions.  I cooked the Salmon for only 6 min on each side (It was about 2 inches thick) and until the juices ran milky.  Yes milky.  Okay that has always creeped me out.  There shouldn't be anything milky about juices in my fish but they were right. 

Milky Juice=Freakin' Awesome Fish!

Dinner 1:
Broiled Salmon (with butter, lemon, thyme, garlic, and salt and pepper) 
Tossed Salad with Feta cheese and Italian Dressing

Family Score:  Enthusiastic 2 thumbs up from everyone!

Dinner 2:
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad  (I used leftover salmon, not smoked.  I also used red pepper instead yellow or orange.  I think yellow or orange would have looked better though.)
Tossed Salad

Family Score: 2 thumbs up in between lots of chewing!


Mr. H. said...

Good job! The food looks delicious. One of the few meats we occasionally eat is fish and salmon is our favorite. I enjoyed reading this post and hearing your thoughts on food. I did not realize that you and your family were vegetarian.

Nicole said...

Yum! We're lucky we live in a big city, so we get organic meats. A little more expensive, but I think it's worth skipping all the hormones.

Savannah McQueen said...

Oh this looks great...thanks for posting!

Kim said...

Mr.H- We love it when we eat vegetarian. We feel incredible! I have been meaning to ask for a you have recipes you follow? I always leave your blog wanting salad! ;)

Nicole- That was the ONLY reason we considered moving to the city. I want organic foods, preferably from CSA's (when I am not growing) and as local as possible. Over the years I have become quiet the food snob. LOL Luckily no one has complained yet.