Tag Archives: cooking

Iridescent Shark for Dinner

Last week I mentioned that I picked up swai fillets (see post here), which could also be called iridescent shark fillets. I’ve tried several different methods of frying and baking these fillets with good results. Tonight I repeated one of my favorites.

I started out by making a base. I cooked long grain white rice in a chicken broth and water mixture. While this was happening I briefly fried peas and chopped carrots in olive oil, then added the rice when it was ready and threw in a bit of soy sauce.

As a vegetable side I chopped up a chayote squash and fried it in butter with some salt and pepper. Then I turned up the heat and added in some pureed ginger. Wonderful. The squash was left over from a horticultural systematic lab last week, so hooray for edible lab materials once again.

Chayote squash after chopping.

Chayote squash after frying and ginger-izing.

The main course was the aforementioned iridescent shark.

An iridescent shark fillet before chopping.

Moments later.

I fried the fish in a dash of olive oil. When it was cooked through I added some hoisin sauce left it sizzle for a few minutes.

The iridescent shark coated in hoisin sauce.

So the finished product looked like this (I’m afraid the quality of this picture does not hold up when it is enlarged. I think I was less than steady when I took the picture with my phone):

Dinner is served.

I like this entrée. In fact, I like it enough that I made it for the first time on Saturday and then remade it again tonight. I am now prepared to say–with no reservation or coercion–I like fish.

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Whiting with Tamarind

Today we studied the Fabaceae (the bean family) in horticultural systematics. After the lab was finished I had some plant samples left over, which I decided to incorporate into dinner. Hooray for edible lab materials.

First up, I decided to create a sauce from the tamarind. Time for a plant nerd rabbit trail. Tamarind is the common name for Tamarindus indica, a tree found in tropical areas. The fruit of tamarind is an indehiscent legume [1], which is referred to as tamarind and is used for culinary purposes. So the name tamarind can refer to a tree or the fruit of the tree. End of plant nerd rabbit trail.

Tamarind prior to preparation.

I broke open the tamarind and removed the shell, leaving the seeds and pulp behind. I put the seeds and pulp in a bowl, then submerged them in water heated to 175° F.

Tamarind seeds and pulp prior to soaking.

After fifteen minutes of soaking I used my fingers break down the pulp and create a tamarind slurry. Then I poured the concoction through a strainer to remove the seeds, fibers, and miscellaneous plant debris. The end result was a whiskey glass with tamarind juice in it.

The tamarind juice.

While this preparation was going on I put a couple of whiting fillets in the oven to bake. I gave them a light coating of salt and pepper. After fifteen minutes of baking I poured the tamarind juice over the fillets and added a bit of pepper. After five more minutes of baking I deemed them done.

I also had snap peas, the fruit of Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon, from the Fabaceae lab today.

The peas have been chopped.

I chopped the ends off the pods, put a dash of olive oil in a fry pan, then covered the peas with glass for a few minutes. Then I squeezed half a lime over them and added salt, pepper, and honey. I raised the heat for a few minutes and let them sizzle.

The peas post-sizzle.

While this was going on I also prepared some fried tomatoes. I used Kumato tomatoes. I coated a fry pan with a little olive oil, salt, papper, and dried oregano, then placed cross sections of the berry on it.

Fried tomatoes.

And so the final result was this:

Dinner is served.

The whiting was very good. Tamarind has a slightly sour taste, which got along well with the pepper. Adding the tomato, which was slightly sweet, created a great pairing. In the future I will use fried tomato as a topping for tamarind-ized fish. The combination of lime-honey-pepper is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, so the peas tasted just like I expected them to: a wonderful mixture of sweetness, spiciness, and sourness.

I like plants.

[1] Indehiscent legumes are a bit controversial in botanical circles. By some definitions a legume must be dehiscent. In this case an indehiscent legume would be called an indehiscent pod (or an iPod, if you will) . Personally I have no problem with allowing legumes the option of being either dehiscent or indehiscent.

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Rolled Chicken Take Two

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about an experiment I did with rolled chicken (An Improv Dinner). Today I made another  rolled chicken entree.

Like last time I started with sliced boneless chicken breast. I put on a sprinkling of pepper, thyme, and oregano.


Sliced and seasoned.

Next I added strips of bacon covered with shredded monterey jack, cheddar, and asadero cheese. I coated a glass pie plate with bacon grease, put in the rolled up chicken, and placed it in the oven. 


Ready for the oven.

While I waited for the chicken to bake I boiled a few ears of sweet corn. After the chicken had cooked thoroughly I added a healthy dollop of Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet ‘n Spicy barbecue sauce on top and sprinkled on a bit more cheese. A couple more minutes in the oven and it was ready.


And there it is.

I was happy with it. This was the first time I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet ‘n Spicy barbecue sauce, and I really liked it.


Chicken, bacon, and cheese. Good things.

Rolling chicken is addictive. There are many more variations I would like to try. . .

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An Improv Dinner

I enjoy cooking and baking things using what I have on hand. This is even more fun when no recipe is involved. Some of my favorite meals have occurred under these circumstances (and to be fair some of the worst).

Today I had leftover marinara sauce that I had to use up, so I decided to make something with that thought in mind.

I happened to have boneless chicken breast, and I recalled an entree my sister made over Easter weekend that involved rolled up chicken breast. I decided to slice the chicken breast in half to make it nice and thin, and I searched in my refrigerator for stuff to put in it. I had some deli sliced ham and shredded mozzarella cheese remaining from making strombolis (that’s why I had the marinara sauce too), so I decided to use that. I put a layer of mozzarella on the chicken, added a mix of spices (pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley), a couple of pieces of sliced ham, and then a bit more cheese. I then rolled the entire thing up like a scroll and put it in the oven.


A chicken scroll before (left) and after (Right) baking.

When the chicken emerged from the oven I put some marinara sauce on it and sprinkled a bit more mozzarella on top of that, then put it back in the over for a few more minutes.

I made a batch of rice and boiled a few carrots to accompany the chicken. So the finished product looked like this:


A chicken scroll that has been marinaranated.

I also had some lettuce and a cucumber in my refrigerator, so I added crumbled smoked cheddar cheese, croutons, and pecans to that for a salad (topped with Tangy Tomato Bacon dressing of course).


You don't win friends with salad.

Throw in a Killian’s Irish Red and a glass of water and dinner is served.


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