Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Dinners in One

I have been remiss in writing for the past few days, due to intense busyness on all fronts: work, family, life in general. The good news is, our kitchen backsplash has been tiled, and therefore I am quickly running out of excuses not to post photos of the finished renovation. Coming soon! As soon as the grout is completed! Promise.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a dinner menu that offers the added bonus that you can toss leftovers all together in one pot, add some chicken broth, and have amazing soup the next day. This has many layer of kid-friendliness as well, since the fish is baked separately from the sauce. Fussy kids (if they eat fish) can have plain fish and rice, while everyone else can ladle on the sauce.

Ling Cod with Tomato and Coconut Curry

4 ling cod fillets (about 200g each)
1/2 c. canola oil
12 kaffir lime leaves (I buy a bag of fresh kaffir lime leaves at Eastern Market and then keep them in the freezer)
1/2 t. fenugreek seeds (I just had fenugreek powder)
2 T. minced garlic
1 finely chopped onion
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. ground coriander
1/2 t. turmeric
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (I went easy on the cayenne to make it more kid-friendly)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 t. cloves
1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
1 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in medium sized pot for 1 minute. Add kaffir lime leaves and fenugreek seeds and allow them to sizzle for 30 seconds. Leaves should shrivel a bit. Add garlic and sautee 3 to 4 minutes (if you use fenugreek powder like I did, hold off on adding it until you add the garlic. I also found the garlic browned pretty fast, so didn't cook for the full 3 minutes.) Add onions and saute until light brown, about 10 minutes. 

Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, cayenne, cinnamon stick and cloves. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or unti lthe tomatoes have reduced a bit. Add the coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Place cod on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or until it is starting to flake. Serve fish with sauce over top, garnish with cilantro.

To round off this meal, I made basmati rice (just white this time, for the sake of time, since dinner preparations got started late) with about 10 cardamom seeds tossed in, as well as a pat of butter.

For vegetables, I had one last little eggplant left over from an impulse buy at Costco (we never buy eggplant, but I couldn't resist, because they were so cute), so I found this eggplant and cabbage salad recipe. I also found an excellent web resource, Ashbury's Aubergines, for what to do with eggplant. Over 3000 recipes!

While the curry has a lot of ingredients, it would have been fast to put together, had I lined up my tomatoes ahead of time. Instead, I went on a wild goose chase/comedy of errors kind of adventure trying to find my husband and the boys who were sent to get tomatoes from my neighbour, except then they disappeared, and there were no tomatoes to be seen. So after that 20 minute delay I had located the tomatoes and could finish the dish. Dinner was quite late that night. The boys quite enjoyed the meal (and we loved it!), with baby G being open even to the cabbage and eggplant.

Curried Fish Soup

We ended up with a few fish fillets left over from our large package of ling cod (a generous gift from a friend who had great luck on a west coast fishing trip this summer), as well as 2 cups of curry sauce, rice and some of the vegetables. On Sunday, I played volleyball from 3-6, so tasked my husband with throwing all the leftovers (fish, sauce, rice and cabbage/eggplant) in a pot, adding some chicken stock from the freezer, seasoning it and calling it soup. The results were amazing. And again, Baby G gobbled it up. It reminded me a bit of seafood laksa, and would have been perfect over vermicelli noodles. Instead, we just enjoyed it with the rice added to the soup, and I spiced it up a bit with Sambal Oelek. Afterwards, I thanked my husband for dinner, and he scoffed. "It's not like I did anything. I just tossed a bunch of stuff in a pot and added fish sauce." There's a bit leftover still today, and I'm looking forward to lunch time! When you start with good ingredients, it doesn't take much to make excellent food.

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