A Year of Recipes: #22

Fancy 'ol salmon, honey, Sriracha, pepper, cilantro (paste), olive oil, limes, chili powder, minced garlic, asparagus for serving

2 giant filets of salmon, honey, Sriracha, pepper, cilantro (paste), olive oil, limes, chili powder, minced garlic, asparagus for serving, garlic powder

For my second dish last weekend, I decided to end my Sunday night with a challenge. Oh God, what a huge mistake I made. I tackled *drumroll* Sriracha Lime Salmon! I have NEVER in my life cooked fish before so it was trial by almost literal fire.

I realized as I cooked that there were a lot of things I didn’t know about cooking fish that I should have figured out prior to approaching this recipe. It’s all good though, because leaping without looking has been the theme of my cooking adventure.

I didn’t mean for this post to be humorous, but I’m a firm believer that it’s healthy to laugh at yourself regularly, so here goes.  This is an honest representation of what happens when an idiot amateur attempts to cook fish for the first time.

My actual thought process at the store:

  • How big is a “filet” exactly? It says I need 4.
  • Great, Kroger only has 1 pre-wrapped salmon filet.
  • Can I substitute halibut?
  • Woah, they sell swordfish here?
  • Ah ha, I can have the guy get me fish from behind the glass.
  • Ooooh oooo they have salmon.
  • They only have 2
  • But those look really big.
  • Okay I’ll just take those two.
  • HOLY CRAP TWO POUNDS.

My actual thought process post-purchase:

  • OH GROSS THERE IS SKIN ON THE FILETS
  • Well, Google just said fish should really be cooked the day you buy it. That was yesterday. Why didn’t anybody tell me this?
  • Crap I already ate dinner…I can’t cook this tonight. Stupid delicious Ethopian food ruining my plans.
  • This smells awful.  Has it gone bad already?  Or that just how fish is supposed to smell?
  • I guess I should get it marinating now and cook tomorrow?
  • OH GROSS I TOUCHED IT
HELP I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING.

HELP I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

My actual thought process while cooking:

  • I hope my goldfish can’t see what I’m doing right now.
  • OH GOD what do I do with the skin? Do I cut it off first? Can it go in the pan and cook as is?
  • Oh well, here goes.
  • Um let’s flip this bad boy over.
  • THE SKIN CAME RIGHT OFF. WHAT. Oh wait, that solves one problem.
  • Time to flip again.
  • WHY ARE YOU SO FLAKEY QUIT FALLING APART
  • …except flakey fish is good.
IMG_5407

Before it started falling into pieces that salmon was starting to blacken up beautifully.

Despite all my bitching, the meal turned out quite well, believe it or not. The fish fresh out of the pan was pretty tasty just from the marinade alone, and the sauce was good minus the fact I accidentally over-thickened it. Reheated, it wasn’t bad, but this is definitely a dish that is meant to be eaten fresh out of the frying pan.

Sriracha lime sauce, easy to make but also easy to over-thicken.

Sriracha lime sauce, easy to make but also easy to over-thicken.

If I do make again, I’d cook half as much fish, and add quite a bit more lime juice and be careful to keep the sauce thinner. However, I don’t think I’ll be making this dish again for just myself, but it might be a nice one to keep in my back pocket for trying to impress gentlemen in the future.

The present pinnacle of my learning-to-cook experience

The current pinnacle of my experience learning-to-cook.  I stared down disaster and came out victorious

Flavor 2.5/4
Ease
1/4
Guiltless 4/4 – Pretty much nothing to regret here unless served with too much rice
Leftovers 2/4

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A Year of Recipes: 21

Quinoa, optional sesame seeds, Sriracha, oil, cilantro, honey, yellow onion, green onion, and chicken

Quinoa, optional sesame seeds, Sriracha, oil, cilantro, honey, yellow onion, green onion, and chicken

When I was deciding on recipes for the week, I somehow ended up with the idea of “Sriracha lime” on the mind, and I ended up cooking two meals with that as the main flavor. Despite the common flavor theme, they were quite different.

First up was a Sriracha and Chicken Quinoa Bowl. The website where I found the recipe tagged it as “quick” and “easy” which I wholeheartedly agree with. Basically 3 steps/dirty dishes.

Dirty dish #1: Cook your Quinoa. I’m a pro at cooking quinoa by now.

Dirty dish #2: Cut up some green onion and make your sauce.

IMG_5397Dirty dish #3: Saute some onion. Mmmmm smells so good. Saute the chicken in the same pot until browned. Add the sauce from earlier. Cook a little longer.

IMG_5398 Then throw that on your quinoa and you’re done. BAM. (Totally get why Emeril says that, it feels good.)

Okay, so the biggest problem I had with this recipe is that it called for “2-1.5 lbs of pastured chicken breast, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces.” So…that looks like it means TWO 1.5 pound packages of chicken. Not sure if I misinterpreted that or it’s a typo, but that was waaaaaay too much chicken to cook all at once. I ended up doubling my quinoa and sauce and it was a final total of 6 generous servings. It was a little difficult to get the chicken to brown up with that much in my pan, even with the huge one I own. Also, no need to wash chicken before cooking, really.

IMG_5401Flavor 2.5/4 – This was good but nothing mind blowing – I think the sauce could have used more lime.
Ease 3/4 – if I hadn’t overloaded my pan this might have been a 4.
Guiltless 4/4 – Hearty natural ingredients. And honestly, aside from a little olive oil and honey, most of the calories were straight from the chicken and quinoa.
Leftovers 3.5/4 – reheated pretty darn well. Most quinoa bowls do!