Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eating in . . .

We've been cooking at home a lot more recently. In addition to learning how to cook together and saving money, I’ve discovered another benefit of eating at home. The service is better.

I focus too much on service when we eat out. Not just the service we’re receiving, but on the service other patrons are receiving as well. Having waitressed for five years, it's something that I can’t turn off. When we eat at home, if I need a spoon, I get up and get it. If I want more water, I get up and get it. And the best part is, when we’re done, we don’t have to wait 45 minutes to get our check. It’s a much more relaxing experience.

To help us along, we bought a few cookbooks. One is Fish & Fish by Delphine de Montalier. Last night, we used it to make oeufs de saumon au wasabi for the entrée and cabillaud en papillote à la vanille for the plat principal.


Oeufs de Saumon au Wasabi

The receipe calls for medium sized rattes (fingerling) potatoes of equal size. Boil the potatoes until soft, cool, and cut in half along the longest side. Clean out the potatoes with a grapefruit spoon or the tip of a potato peeler. Mash with creme fraiche and wasabi paste to texture and taste, add salt and pepper, and refill the empty potato skins with the mixture. Scoop salmon eggs on each potato and serve. We did it differently this time by not using the skins. We formed the mixture into a nest, which we then filled with the eggs. We had a lot of potatoes left so we crumbled them in a ring around the nest, but next time I would toss some mâche in olive oil and make a wreath around the nest for color. Or, just serve in the skins as suggested in the recipe, which we've done before and is also good.


Cabillaud en Papillote à la Vanille

The original recipe called for lieu jaune (pollock), but the poissonnier was out and suggested cabillaud (cod) instead. First we mixed softened salted butter with the seeds of half a vanilla stick (cut half a stick in half and scrape out the seeds).

We placed a filet (one for each person) on a sheet of aluminum foil and spread the fish with the butter and vanilla seed mixture.

Then we greased a piece of aluminum foil with olive oil and placed it on top of the filet and folded the sides of the aluminum to create an envelope. Cook the fish in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees celcius/390 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes.

While the fish is cooking, drop the halves of the vanilla stick into some liquid creme fraiche and bring to a boil, then lower the heat while the liquid absorbs the vanilla. Boil (instant) basmati rice.

Open the envelope and pour the vanilla infused creme fraiche over the filet and serve. I made a fork hole in the side of the aluminum so the liquid could run out and flavor the rice. (Fred took his fish out of the foil, placing the fish on the plate without the butter and spooned the creme fraiche over his filet.)

The meal was good, but the rice was too bland. The recipe suggests that the rice be cooked with cardamom and olive oil. I didn't know what it was and didn't have the energy to find out, but next time it might be worth the effort.


"Little Chef" was on hand to answer questions.

We served it with this white burgundy. Yet another advantage of eating at home, drinking good wine without the mark-up!

The downside, of course, is having to do the dishes . . .

14 comments:

Marine Wife said...

The conversation is usually better, too. At least you can hear each other! Stretch has difficulty filtering out background noise so conversations in restaurants with him is challenging.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Impressive! As for the rice..you should have called/emailed me..I am the master of rice cooking :-) It is really simple..especially basmati.. and I never use instant lol. I'll send you an email recipe..takes 20 minutes to cook. -Gil

The Late Bloomer said...

Mmmm, that cabillaud dish sounds delicious & different! I usually fix cabillaud filets in the oven just with some salt, pepper and crème fraiche, and then I serve it with some basmati rice with chives. It's simple but really delicious, as long as there's enough cream to flavor the rice & fish of course! But now that they're saying that cabillaud is one of the fish to avoid because of resource reasons, I always feel guilty when I buy it... It's SO darn good, though! Especially when bought fresh chez le poissonnier...

Fned said...

Ooh!! I like it when hubby and I pick out a recipe, then go out and shop for the ingredients, the right wine, the perfect cheese for dessert... getting home and cooking the meal while enjoying a little apéro just before...

I totally agree, cooking in can be way better than going out (if you've got the imagination to pick out tasty and interesting meals and got the knack for cooking).... which is hubby's job.

Me? I do the dishes. =)
Fned.

P.S. Nice blog, I relate to A LOT of what you went through during your fist year here. Looking forward to reading more.

Our Juicy Life said...

I agree with you about restaurants. It's nice to go out once and while, but I love to cook and know what's going into my food. There are times we go out and come home saying "we could have had a better meal at home" and that's after paying 75.00 for the meal. Recipe sounds good.

kyh said...

Hmmm... that looks yum! U guys are good cooks, no doubt!

Cooking is fun. And I think everyone hates washing dishes after such a fabulous meal!

R said...

Gorgeous page layout, fantastic writing and article.

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Jan said...

Hey, where did you run off to? Am missing your blog and adventures in France..

avec amy said...

Hi Jan, Thank you for your comment! It's nice to know I've been missed, and that people really did/do read my blog : ) I've been really lazy lately. Plus, I started working again and taking French classes so I haven't had much time. I would like to start writing again however - one of these days. It's like working out, once you stop, it's hard to start again (at least for me)!

dp said...

Why did it take me years to figure out that you have a blog? I am sold on anything with wasabi.

Touring in Brittany said...

Where did you buy your cat...

A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy75 said...

We adopted him from the SPA in San Francisco - he flew from SF to Paris with us :)