Phun with Phusion

In Recipies on May 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

The photo that almost wasn't.

I was starving last Friday night when I set my Shabbat meal down.  I barely made it through chanting “Welcome!” to my favorite day of the week.  So, when the final Blessing was said, I grabbed my fork and dug in.  “STOP!”, cried Mrs. Phyne Dyner.  “Are you going to take a picture for your blog friends?”  I glanced at my plate, a nice dent had been made in the rice.  Some of the vegetables lay strewn across the plate, as though tossed there by a fork-sized tornado.  The cod lay in two pieces.  It had been only a few seconds since I had said “Amein”.  “Oh-oh”, I offered sheepishly.  I glanced across the table at her plate, yet untouched.

One of the challenges facing Phyne Dyners is the mind-freeze that comes just before suppertime.  The malady typically strikes me about two hours before Shabbat begins, on the rare occasion when I have not pre-planned our best supper of the week.

There are many contributors to the mind-freeze.

While we eat a relaxed form of kosher, even our level of kashrut comes with a number of prohibitions.  The adventurer in me would love to experiment with scallops, shrimp, and rolled slabs of pork.  Unfortunately, that stuff is not allowed to even cross the threshold of our happy home.

We also try to eat fairly healthy.

Vegetables highlight over meats and “meat” is often well-trimmed chicken or lean fish.  Highlight items are rotated every week so we do not burn out on chicken, salmon, cod, or the rarely encountered bit of beef.  It can be challenging.

Last Friday, mind-freeze set in at 70-below.

We “had” chicken the week prior and I ground up some nice steaks to make meatballs for an absolutely amazing batch of spaghetti the week before that.

I do not grind my own hamburger from “kosher” cuts of meat.  I grind it because much of the “ground beef” the public buys consists of highly processed bits of cow gentiles would shy away from eating.

Much of that highly processed “beef” contains spinal cord and other central nervous system tissues.  Do some reading about “prions”, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and bovine spongiform encephalitis and get back to me about being willing to eat stuff today that may make you mad as a hatter twenty-some years later.

No thanks!  I murdered enough brain cells in my Popeye the Sailorman days.  Some days, only two cells function and, without a third, there is no way to cross-check the system.

It explains a lot…maybe even mind-freeze.

Last Friday, I settled on Caribbean-jerked (style) cod and Southeast Asian-style vegetables over basmati rice.  It seemed like a wonderful fusion of two distant cuisines.

I have nearly omitted regular, long-grain rice from our pantry in favor of buying basmati rice.  The latter has flavor.  If you are going to take the time to prepare something, make sure it has flavor.

Regular white, long-grained rice is simply “belly-wadding”.

Now, normally, jerked-styled something needs to marinate a bit…hopefully overnight or for at least several hours.  I thawed the cod a bare hour before service.

But, by putting the cod and the jerk marinade into a special marinating bowl that came with my food vacuum packager, I was able to marinate the cod in under an hour!

With time running out, I grabbed the bag of Asian stir-fry vegetables out of the freezer and thawed out two cups of them.  At the same time, I rinsed and began cooking the rice.

Tempus fugit.

Here is the Caribbean-jerk marinade for the cod:

1 5-8oz cod loin per person

1 tsp dried, minced onion

1 tsp dried, crushed red pepper or ½ tsp cayenne

½ tsp ground ginger

½ to 1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp dried thyme,

½ tsp (each) black pepper and salt (salt is optional)

¼ C olive oil or vegetable oil

¼ C lime juice (lemon juice works well too)

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a non-reactive bowl, add cod loins and allow to marinate overnight, or at least 4 hours.  Pre-heat oven to 400F.  Bake cod for 5-7 minutes on one side, turn, and bake 3-5 more minutes…or until fish is firm, opaque, and flakes easily with a toothpick or fork.

For the Southeast Asian vegetables

1 C per person frozen Asian stir-fry vegetables

1-2 tsp Vietnamese-style chili paste or sauce

2 tsp nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce) OR ¼ tsp anchovy paste in 2 tsp water

½ tsp sugar

Cook the vegetables according to package instructions.  Mix all of the other ingredients together and toss with the vegetables just prior to service.

Lay down a generous bed of basmati rice, place a dollop of vegetables on top of the rice, and gently lay the cod on top.  Serve with a medley of fruits.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: