I had a nice conversation on the phone with No. 1 who is back to juggling—she was very good at it in high school. Quick tangent: we went to Cleveland for an Indians game one evening, and as we were finding our seats and scoping out the food options, we passed a professional juggler who was doing simple tricks. Katie offered to show him a trick she had learned, and it was new to him, so she demonstrated with great skill.
|Some of The Keepers|
Well, back to dinner time. I have a large collection of cookbooks distributed on two floors of the house, “The Keepers,” I call them, because I purged the less-than-ideal books for a charity drive last year. But I wasn't motivated to rifle through The Keepers for an idea, so I decided to start pulling things from the fridge and the pantry shelves and see what I could create using my own wits and shopping foresight.
I placed these things on the countertop—tilapia filets, butter, cream, green beans, mushrooms, a lemon, a block of Parmesan, a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, a jar of roasted red peppers and olive oil. All of these things seemed to coordinate in flavor and style.
And this is how it all came together to create a really great meal that looked good, tasted good, was relatively economical and low carb. It hit all the marks—the beans went into a pot of salted water and boiled just long enough to be crisp but tender. The olive oil and butter went into a large sauté pan on pretty high heat.
When the butter began to sizzle, I sautéed the filets about two minutes on each side and transferred them to a paper towel to drain. I tossed in the mushrooms and drained peppers and artichokes and let them sizzle and soak up the oil. Then I added a cup of cream—shut up because even the great Julia Child once said, "If you're afraid of butter, use cream"—and squeezed in the juice of about half a lemon (or a little less), plus salt and pepper. As this simmered, I put the fish back in and nestled them in among the other stuff until the sauce began to thicken.
On the plate, I placed the fish beside the beans, and I heaped the sauce and all its friends onto the fish and topped it off with freshly grated Parmesan. Yum. I mean, YUM.
To my cookbooks, The Keepers, I say don’t fret my dear ones. You are not left on the shelf untouched because you offer no treasures. You just didn’t fit the mood of the day. Maybe tomorrow I’ll flip through your dog-earred pages hunting for my favorite recipes for what sits in the kitchen waiting to be cooked—I think it’s a pot roast—and I’ll be reminded why you didn’t end up in the donation box.