Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our First "I Have Time To Cook" Dinner

Everyone who knows me knows I'm not a dumb girl, but if you *really* know me, you know I am technology stupid. I just missed the technology generation in both directions.

The kids just a little bit younger than me have no recollection of life before computers. We got our first computer when I was a sophomore in high school. Any time I needed to type anything in middle school, I did it at my dad's office. As a freshmen, I hand wrote my assignment and then my mom typed it. As a sophomore, though, the assignments got longer and the procrastination got fiercer, and my mom was no longer willing to type my assignments. So she bought a computer. I remember it was close to $1500, but it included Windows 95, which was brand spankin' new at the time. I could muddle my way through typing and spell checking an essay, but that was the extent of my abilities. If anything went wrong, I had to call in reinforcements.

The "kids" a little bit older than me managed to get through college and find jobs before computers infiltrated every aspect of life, so when computers were foisted on them, everyone learned together.

Me, though, I am in that generation where it is assumed that at some point I learned all about technology. The truth of the matter is, though, I still have a Walkman (one of those personal listening devices that requires 2 AA batteries and plays TAPES), my television has a tube in it, I have a collection of VHS movies I am not willing to part with but am too cheap to replace on DVD, and whenever anything electronic stops working properly, I unplug it, do a dance to the technology gods, plug it back in and hope for the best.

I mention all of this because it just took me 20 solid minutes to find the picture of tonight's dinner that I just uploaded onto my computer. (I bet you can't guess how many hours it took me how to figure out how to transfer pictures from my digital camera to my computer...)

One of the few aspects of summer that I love is that we eat well. I have time to plan, shop for, and prepare delicious meals that involve more prep work, cooking time or dishes than I am willing to dedicate during the school year.

Tonight, we had macadamia nut encrusted Mahi Mahi with a tropical fruit sauce over coconut rice. I was going to make sesame stir fried asparagus, as well, but it turns out my asparagus crossed the line from edible to gelatinous about 3 days ago. Instead, we had frozen green beans. It turned out okay, as the green beans were microwavable, which means they were cooked in a dishwasher safe dish, as opposed to the asparagus, which would have dirtied three additional dishes, plus measuring spoons.

Macadamia Nut Encrusted Mahi Mahi
1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 mahi mahi fillets

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shallots, diced
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup pineapple, cubed
1/2 cup papaya, cubed
1/2 cup mango, cubed
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon corn starch in 1/4 cup fruit juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix bread crumbs and macadamia nuts. (I crushed my mac nuts in the food processor)

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.

Dip fish in egg and then in macadamia nut mixture (coat both sides) and saute in a skillet until brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove fish from skillet and place in baking dish. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

Add shallots to skillet and cook until translucent. (It took me about 20 seconds. No kidding.)

Stir in chicken broth, fruit, coconut and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. At this point, put the fish in the oven for 15 minutes.

Fresh papaya is not something easily obtained in Lincoln County, MO, so I used fresh mango, but for the pineapple and papaya I used a jar of tropical fruit. I measured out 1 cup total of the tropical fruit (I think what I used had pineapple, papaya and passion fruit), as well as 1 mango. I used the juice from the canned fruit as my liquid for the cornstarch. It also adds a little sweetness to the sauce.

Mix the cornstarch into the liquid of your choice (fruit juice or water), and reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer until fish is cooked through. (Test with a fork if unsure... it should all be the same shade of white.)

Place fish on a bed of rice and spoon fruit sauce on top.

Coconut Rice
2 cups water
2 cups white rice (Jasmine if you can get it - see aforementioned note about Lincoln County)
1 tablespoon butter
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Bring water, rice, and butter to a boil over medium high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until liquid is absorbed into rice, about 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and sugar. Continue to cook until coconut milk is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

*Note* The sauce never quite tasted right to me in the pan. I kept thinking it needed something. It did need something. The fish. The fish WITH the sauce was divine.

Enjoy! We certainly did.

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