Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Facebook inspiration night

It's been two years since I put anything back out here on the dinner buzz blog. I've just started on weight watchers again, and we have been eating some mighty fine food, so I thought maybe I should get them down 'on paper' so to speak before I lose these ideas. Then, if I get really busy or lame I could just go through these in rotation.

 For the last few months I have used my friends as inspiration on Sunday afternoons. I ask in Facebook for three* random ingredients and then try to make a meal out of it. This week I got cucumber, tamarind, coconut milk, pineapple and basmati rice. (*My friends are not so good at math, but I love them anyways.)

It sounded very thai, very bright, so immediately I thought about how I could combine them into a chilled gazpacho style soup. I simply took the cucumber and peeled it and chopped it up rough. To that I added a third of a giant sweet onion, and about 2 cups of fresh pineapple. I chopped up a single jalapeƱo for a little kick. I put it all in a blender with the juice of a single, and quite pathetic lime. Then I added 1/3 C lite coconut milk (1 WW point). I blended that and opened the top for a taste. It was brilliant and a lovely pale yellow color. Since I had to use the tamarind for the Facebook challenge, I added 2 tablespoons (2 WW points). Maybe the tamarind adds something to it, but mostly it just turns it from a nice pale yellow to a hideous vomit brown color. If you are watching your points, definitely leave it out. This made enough for 4 servings, so you still divide those 3 points by 4. Crazy low for something so tasty. Essentially 'free' if you leave out the tamarind. Or maybe just swirl it in at serving so it doesn't blend and turn the color sickly. If you aren't watching points some chopped macadamias would be brilliant to add a little texture on top.

 To accompany this bright soup, I had bought some frozen albacore tuna at Trader Joes. I had done a big shop and decided to buy one of each of their frozen fish collection to see which ones are ok from frozen. I am very skeptical about frozen fish but at $5 for 2 fillets of tuna I decided it was worth at least a test. I'll work my way through mahimahi and tilapia and salmon and cod. I will say this though - never ever buy the albacore! It was horrible. There was a pound of fish when I started but it was so mealy when it thawed that I had to fillet at least half of it off. Thank goodness Andy bought me that fish skills course back in london so I know what is, and what is not, good fish for eating. I soaked it in another pathetic lime (pathetic because it was a new bag of limes, got home and they were all dried up already - argh). Then i coated the fish in black and white pepper and grilled it on my new caphalon grill pan.

 Let me digress a moment and tell you how wonderful this grill pan is. I always owned a cast iron grill pan which i thought was the best for these sorts of things. I hardly used it because it is real cast iron and the clean up is a bitch. You have to wash it and dry it and then oil it so it doesn't rust. You then leave an oiled paper towel on it in the cupboard which never struck me as all that sanitary. So when we needed a new frying pan (sorry mom, but your engagement present to us died from overuse) I headed to Bed Bath and Beyond. Do you know decent frying pans cost about $200 each? I was shocked. I need a frying pan that I can use on the stove and then shove in the oven - that's generally how i cook the white fishes that have to actually be cooked through. Anyhow, I was walking the aisles not wanting to spend $200 and not wanting to buy a cheapie that wouldn't work for me when I spotted the very reasonably priced $35 caphalon teflon-coated square shaped grill pan. I thought - why not, it might me healthier than a frying pan in any case as the fat drips down into the ridges. It has been used almost every day. So easy to clean. So easy to get lovely grill marks.

 On the fish I placed a dollop of store-bought serrano salsa fresco from trader joes to further mask any fishiness.

 And to fill our carb-loving stomachs I made some sticky cal rose rice with another 1/3 of a cup of the lite coconut milk since the can was open and all. I added a generous teaspoon of ginger powder too since we love ginger.

  In total - 9 points - 4 for the rice, 1 for the coconut milk, 3 for the tuna, 1 for a single serving of the gazpacho.


  1. Hi Beth - Thanks for recommending using a Teflon® nonstick pan in your kitchen. I represent DuPont and it's always a pleasure to see people recommending our products.

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  2. I love my Caphalon nonstick pan, it makes cooking yummy food so easy.

    I am disappointed though; we just bought it in August, and although we baby it (hand wash only, only silicone tools), the DuPont Teflon finish is already scratched. I don't like using pans when the Teflon is scratched, that is just not safe, I'm totally bummed. Hope yours holds up better than mine!