Lest you think I've gone into blogging retirement, let me tell you about the good eating we've been doing of late. It's quite wonderful how a quick and light, but well-flavored meal, can put a lovely ending on a hot or not-so-productive day.
Quick and light is my current goal of choice for dining, with the added challenge that it never, or only in cases of absolute craving, be the same thing twice. Inspiration can come from the weekly newspaper, new magazines, old memories or Google cooking, but the important thing is that the source is merely inspiration. It is not necessary to get special ingredients or to follow the steps absolutely; just grab the basic idea and see where it takes you. I seem to like my cooking more now with a little serendipity.
So what has that led me to for such good eating? Well, first I made a somewhat repeat, kind of a cousin once removed, tilapia dish we had weeks ago. Instead of spinach I used callaloo from the farmers' market, and, lacking mangos, replaced the mango butter sauce with a grapefruit sauce from the ruby red ones I had on hand. I thought 'grapefruit sauce' was original to me until Google showed me otherwise, meanwhile reassuring me the combination would likely work. It did, perhaps even better than the original, but I never print out the Google result anymore. I don't even bring my computer into the kitchen, but go back and forth to the office as needed. That way I'm more likely to experiment if I don't remember exact proportions and when it works, I can take the credit. It also ensures that I won't make the same thing twice, since I can't usually find it again.
After skipping a night to eat something else, it was back to what to do with the rest of the tilapia. It seems when you buy the frozen tilapia at Trader Joe's it always comes four filets to the package, meaning we still had two. Now when you pan sear these thin pieces of tilapia, they tend to flake apart, just the way you'd want them to in a fish taco, and my leftover dinner idea was born. I added some lime juice to the baggies of fish and set them back in the fridge to marinate. Then I swung by the market to pick up some red cabbage, realizing that was a necessary counterpoint to the softer fish, even though it went against my 'don't be a slave to the recipe' rule. At supper time, I briefly fried up the fish, sprinkled the cabbage with a little cider vinegar and salt, chunked up a ripe avocado and grabbed some cilantro from the back porch. Then we rolled it all up in whole wheat tortillas and ate while we watched the Red Sox beat the White Sox. You know I don't think we even bothered to put in any salsa.
The other not just good, but great, eating was not an at-home meal. Meg had told us about a clam place in Lynn called Christie's, highly recommended and blogged about at great length, that met our criteria. It was summer, it was hot, it was Friday night and time to get out of the city. The clams were calling. Well now we're spoiled, because I don't think clams anyplace else will ever seem worth it again. The batter - so light, the bellies - so creamy. Even the tartar sauce had just the right zing. It's going to be the only place to go when the clam craving hits, and I can see that happening often, South Beach or not. It will mean extra time on the erg, but the clams are worth it, plus we haven't even tried the scallops yet.