So my ma always had a motto when it came to cooking: Just eyeball it. I also ate a lot of Hot Pockets growing up.
Tilapia Filet with Crab Fries and Corn of the Cob.
Served with: Summer of Lager, Frozen Pineapple Chunks, and Tastycakes (Courtesy of WaWa).
I do this thing where I create my own recipes. I look something up online- either through Barefoot Contessa or that Yahoo Question feature that pops up when you ask Google a question along the lines of ‘How do you bake a Chicken?’
From there, I take a step back and figure out- Okay, I’ve got this recipe for Baked Chicken- How do I make this the greatest thing ever?
I usually just add a half stick of butter or bacon to the recipe. Or lemon- everybody loves Lemons.
This one time I remember, I was broke as hell at the same time I was looking around Gristede’s for some fashionable dinner. Sometimes I leave my door open so people down the hall can smell whatever I’m making and become as jealous as they are hungry, and this one night- I was in that mood.
So, I rocked some Tilapia for three dollars and worked my way home where I put it on top of a bubbling bath of melted butter.
The recipe I worked with last night was similar- only I mistakenly used olive oil instead of butter, and cornmeal instead of flour- thus became, my first fried meal.
My God it was Good.
So— here’s what we did:
1) Go on over to your local supermarket and fetch some tilapia- it’s astounding how cheap it is, especially considering how quickly it can be done.
2) Cough up the money and don’t look back.
From there, we went on home and chopped up a whole Pineapple for dessert. (For the record: You can tell a pineapple is ripe if the leaves on top easily pop of when you tug at them… just saying…)
We cut it up into tiny little chunks and put it in the freezer along with two Summer of Lager beers I got from Nantucket. The Tastycake my guy had gotten from New Jersey over the weekend was already chilling the freezer.
From there- we made our Crab Fries.
Really Simple: Slice up some potatoes into wedges… set up the oven and line up your pan with aluminum foil. Smear some olive oil all over it.
Boil the potatoes.
Put the potatoes back in that pot you used to boil them and cover them with olive oil, Cajun Spiced seasoning, cayenne, paprika, and some black pepper. Cajun-spiced seasoning is less salty than regular Old Bay spice- so you’re able to salt the fries to your own accord.
Put em’ on the pan and let them bake till they’re tired and ready to squeal, or about 35 minutes.
Corn on the Cob is easy- just break the cobs in half if you’re working with a tiny pot in a tinier Williamsburg apartment and let them boil.
With the Tilapia-
pour Olive OIl into a skillet, a centimeter or so- so long as the entire base of the skillet is covered- you’re working with magic.
Then make your batter for the tilapia.
Now usually, I work with just flour- because I can’t afford anything else.
But because it’s a Sunday night, we’re gonna splurge! Mix the both up- four and cornmeal and from there- reach for whatever spices you wanna add to the mixture to season your filet.
With this- I really have no experience with- so I just go for anything and everything spicy, maybe matched with some thyme. I swear- prepping a batter is like a game of Angry Birds- no matter what you do, no matter how royally you screw up- you’re gonna be proud. If you are, others will be overwhelmingly impressed and doubt their culinary palet considering they never knew how to cook tilapia in the first place. Just look proud of the damned thing and you’re golden.
Like me- I’ve never been more proud of my cornmeal and flour batter with thyme and cayenne and paprika and black pepper and cumin.
You rinse off the filet- pat it down with paper towel, and then cover both sides with the batter.
From there, place it on the skillet, watch out for the splatter, and let each side simmer for about 4 minutes.
Take it out and douse it with lime.
Take out the fries too.
And the corn on the cob.
Place it on a plate. Take out the chilled beer from the freezer:
Just as good as Golden Corral.
Maybe even better because it’s in Williamsburg.
The beer matches this perfectly. The Lager is remarkably light and hits that off-center spot that people sometimes equate to fried food hitting the left side of your coronary. And it’s from Nantucket- so it automatically reminds you of Bureaucratic off-shades of red and seals checking you out from the seaweed beds.
When you’re done with that and romping on the bed for a short while, go back to the freezer and take out the Tastykake and Pineapple and present it like this:
And just look at it for a while.
And then devour. The Tastykake Kandy Kake is loaded with biscuit and peanut butter. Topped with Chocolate. Some might argue it doesn’t match well with the frozen pineapple. They can shut the hell up. It’s as delicious as it is gorgeous to look at.
A walk around West Williamsburg to follow.
Then a stop at Duane Reade for an eco-friendly lightbulb.
This morning, I woke up to some Wawa Colombian Roast and leftover Port Jeff.
Now, I’m back at La Colombre sipping on some bottled iced coffee. It’s seeped for 16 hours in wine tanks and tastes very strongly of cocoa. That’s not a bad thing or anything. Best part- the cup of ice that comes along with it:
For three dollars, you’re able to wake up even more and write your very first recipe blog.
Tomorrow, I go back to work at the garden. For today, I’m hitting up some meetings about some plays of mine, then cat-sitting for my older sister. Riveting would describe my day, but there aren’t enough syllables to make me sound as equally pretentious as I am excited.