Friday, January 30, 2009

Monkfish For Dinner.

Mr. Hawthorne and I went to Harris Teeter Thursday afternoon, since we hadn't been there in ... oh ... 2 days. They had a lovely monkfish there, also known as "poor man's lobster." The only edible parts of the monkfish are its tail and its liver. The tail meat is delicious - very dense, sweet, and similar to lobster tail in both flavor and texture. I guess monkfish used to be cheap, since it's called "poor man's lobster." But this monkfish was $10.99/pound and I used to pay $8.99/pound for whole lobsters at our beloved SeaMark grocery store, a locally owned wonderful store which Harris Teeter bought out. I miss my SeaMark. Anyways, we went ahead and bought a small fillet of monkfish for supper. Mr. Hawthorne is all up my grill about how I'm going to prepare this seafood. "Well," he says, "You know how I would do it ..." "No," I says, "I don't. Since you ain't gonna be doin' it." So then he just shut up for a while. You know, if you're going to be telling me how to do something that I'm OK about doing, then JUST DO IT YOURSELF. Then, he starts up again: "Well, are you going to bake it?" "NO. I'm poaching it." "Hmmm... that just might work." "So glad I have your approval."
Before starting on the monkfish, I prepared a topping for it. My ingredients: olive oil red and orange sweet peppers onion garlic
my homemade shrimp stock whole almonds salt and pepper
I chopped my garlic, onion, and peppers.
Sauteed in oil, then added some salt and pepper.
I added about 1/4 cup of my shrimp stock.
Then the almonds went in to cook for a few minutes.
Taste and see if you require more seasonings.
Next, I poured it all into my mini-processor. Processed away. And if you need a bit more olive oil to get it nice and smooth, go ahead.
And here's my pepper/onion/almond puree topping for my seafood.
Now, that little hamster on the wheel in my brain is getting quite a work out tonight. I'm thinking tastes, flavors, textures, and appearance for toppings on the fish, so I came up with this. From top left: sliced green onions almond puree topping sliced black olives chopped tomatoes chopped parsley
Here's my salted and peppered monkfish. With slices of lemon and lime, bay leaves, and sitting in the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime.
And for my poaching liquid, I'm going with Sherry, more shrimp stock, and water.
I sauteed the fish in a little bit of butter first, just because I like butter. Then I added the shrimp stock.
The sherry went in.
And water to cover.
The lime and lemon juices went in.
And the lime and lemon slices and the bay leaves.
Do not boil. Cover and just barely simmer until the meat is opaque. Can't give you times on this. It depends on the thickness of the meat. Meanwhile ...
I'm preparing the veggies. Just onion, broccoli, and carrot.
I added a little bit of extra light olive oil and a tad of sesame oil to the pan, heated it up, then added the veggies. Just toss and turn for a minute . Then add in some sesame seeds.
While the pan is nice and hot, I added a little water to steam the veggies.
Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
Here's my plated monkfish. I had made a few slices in the meat during the cooking to see if it was ready. I put pats of butter in those cuts along with the slices of limes and lemons. Then I topped with the almond puree, the sliced black olives, the sliced green onions, and the chopped tomatoes. I think this dish is extremely visually appealing.
Here's my plate with the veggies. I loved it. I loved the toppings. I loved the fish. I loved the sesame-flavored veggies.
Mr. Hawthorne: "This doesn't taste like lobster." <WHINE> Rosie: "That's because it's NOT lobster." Mr. H.: "But it's supposed to taste like lobster." Rosie: "Suck it up and eat it. It's damn good." Mr. H: WHINE

Rosie Makes A Nutty Snack.

Hairball, of Hairballs on the Carpet of Life, wrote a comment on a recent post of mine:
"We are like rabid squirrels around here, so there must always be some nuts in the freezer for snacking." Well, Hairball, I, too, always have nuts in the freezer, and especially at this time of year (post-Christmas baking), I have every nut imaginable. So I give to you, one of my and Daughter Hawthorne's favorite snacks - pecans, raisins, and cheese.
My mise: Pecans Raisins Cheddar cheese What? I already told you it was a snack of pecans, raisins, and cheese. Were you expecting more?
I grated the cheddar and just mixed it in with the pecans and raisins in whatever proportions you want.
I don't know what it is about this flavor and texture combination, but it's perfect. The sweet, squishyness of the raisins, the smooth, rich, sharpness of the cheddar, the crunchy, nutty, almost meaty goodness of the pecans. All components complement each other perfectly.
You just have to try it because I can't describe it. Oh. And it's best at room temperature.
I decorated my Norfolk Island Pine cocktail tree with a miniature Vodka bottle today. Whoot!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Beautiful Birds Of Paradise.

Edited to add: I just received a comment on my birthday flowers post a ways back from the owners of Seabreeze Florist: "The flower in question in your basket is called STOCK.It is very fragrant and comes in a variety of colors. For those of us that love the therapy of a garden it can grow locally on the obx. Thank you for letting us know just how much you are enjoying your flowers.Check out our web site at Tori & Brandi SeaBreeze Florist"
Thank you, Tori and Brandi. This is embarrassing for me since I have a yard full of stock. It grows like a weed for me. It self seeds in the fall, along with my larkspur. Both manage quite nicely during the winter, even under snow, and they're the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Both come in all different colors and they are lovely. Tori and Brandi, Your arrangements are beautiful. I've gotten so many compliments on them and people have emailed to ask who did them. Thanks again.
Here's my stock just starting to bloom. (It's not blooming now. Old photo.)
Different colored stock.
More stock.
My larkspur. Now - back to my regularly scheduled post.
I wanted to share with everyone my beautiful birthday flowers Daughter Hawthorne and Nancey sent me Please enjoy.
Daughter Dearest,
the lovely Birds of Paradise are opening up.
Nancey, this is one of the lilies from your arrangement.
A purple tulip.
Bird of Paradise.
Now, Marilyn, can you tell me what this is? It's hyacinth-looking but not a hyacinth. It smells wonderful. I'm about 6 feet away and I can smell it. Nancey, it's in your arrangement.
Inside a tulip.
This is the flower I want to know what it is.
It smells divine. Please enjoy my pictures of the lovely flowers in my birthday arrangements.
Good day today. I worked out in the yard for a while. Youngest Hawthorne had given me the next three bags of 140 bulbs for Christmas, so I planted them all.
And fifteen purple prince tulips. I'm just waiting for spring now.