Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Little Things in Life

I've been trying to decompress from the semester. A tall order given the pace of last year. Nonetheless, being a faithful subscriber to the concept of retail therapy, MP1 and I went out shopping on Thursday. I bought some more All-Clad cookware--a gorgeous lidded saute-pan and a fish poacher (used them both last night--they're great kitchen additions. Today, I'm making a fish soup from the strained poaching liquid--a yummy brew of basil, ginger, parsley, carrots, wine, garlic, and leeks. Just need to go to Whole Paycheck to get some shrimp and crab and such to add to the left over salmon). But I digress. I'm still cleaning up the piles of books and debris from the last few weeks of writing, and as much as I love my pricey kitchen gadgets, I also have to say that sometimes it's the little things in life that really get you through. Last month it was these little guys (see below), given to me by a favorite student. They are the coolest. Besides being very petite little flags, each little page of them has an adhesive strip on the back so you can afix the entire strip of about 20 flags to whatever book you're reading, and pronto--there they are when you need them. So--to JP who is hanging out in the wonderful environs of Chaco Canyon--thanks for the baby flags. They are the best!


MP1 said...

Seriously, the best dinner ever!! You're the best =)

Auto Ethnographer said...

Here's what I did to make the soup: The night we had the salmon (after I had removed the fish), I reduced the poaching liquid (by 1/2 to 2/3) by leaving it simmering on the stove with the lid off while we ate. Then I put the left-over salmon (about one adult portion?) and the poaching liquid together in the fridge. I left the minced ginger (it was tied up in a cheesecloth sachet) in there too, and it continued to infuse the broth. The next day I put the fish and broth (about 5 cups worth, I think) in a dutch oven on low-medium heat, added ~16 oz. of chicken broth, 8 oz of clam broth, 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, one tablespoon Thai fish sauce, and about a cup of white of wine. Salt and pepper to taste). While that's simmering (lid-on!), saute in olive oil two chopped onions and add to broth, then saute one red bell pepper and toss that in (chop the onions and pepper fairly roughly so they don't totally break down in the soup). While that's simmering, clean and de-vein the shrimp (I saved one half pound back for the shrimp Vera Cruzana--more on that later). Keep shrimp chilled while you clean the littleneck clams. Immerse those(about 12-18) in a large bowl of cold water. Scrub, scrub, scrub the shells with a vegetable brush. If you find a clam that's not tightly closed--toss it out! Then, dump the sandy water and refill the bowl. Keep filling and dumping water until the water stays clear (then you know you're clams are clean). I repeated that procedure about 10 times--it does eventually clear. About 30 minutes before you want to serve the soup, put the clams in and continue simmering with lid on, then about 15 minutes before, add the shrimp (lid goes back on)to simmer til serving. Then you are done! (If any clams don't open up while cooking--just take toss them out).

For the other half of the shrimp (de-veined but shells on), saute mined garlic, butter, and lots and lots of fresh lime juice (about 2 or 3 limes!) Toss the shrimp in, a few grinds of pepper, pinch of salt and let them cook until pink. You can add white wine if you want, but you should try it without, too, because the flavor is very different. Serve with Dos Equis and it's a meal! (My best friend and I used to cook this everytime we went to her beach house down at Boliver.)