A recent poll among living-alone friends has revealed a ghastly truth we've suspected all along...single people survive on sandwiches. Sometimes cocktails or Chinese take-out. But it doesn't have to be that way--dinner at home for one can be easy, delicious, warming and fast.
This recipe for fish soup is a weekly staple at the Tomato Estate. It takes about 20 minutes from beginning to end and is cooked in one pot with pretty common ingredients. We swirl a generous spoonful of cilantro pesto (recipe April 1. 2007) on top...but then we swirl a generous spoonful of cilantro pesto on just about everything, from cold salmon to steamed cauliflower.
You can use any white, flakey fish, but we suggest U.S.-farmed tilapia. Ocean's Alive includes them on their Eco-Best list of fish to eat because in the U.S. they are raised in closed tank systems, where the
risk of escape is reduced and water pollution is minimized. This fish is hardy and a fast grower, and can out-compete other species and devastate non-native eco-systems should they flee their little pens, and we don't want that.
Fish Soup Serves One in About 20 Minutes
1 tbsp olive oil 1 small leek, washed well, whites only chopped fine 1 garlic clove, chopped fine 1/2 yellow, orange or red bell pepper, chopped fine 1 small yellow or red tomato, chopped fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1/4 tsp hot or sweet pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) 1 pinch saffron threads 2 tbsp white wine (only if you want) 1 cup fresh water or fish stock 1 filet tilapia (about 1/3 pound) 1 tbsp fresh herbs of any kind (only if you want)
Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the leek, garlic, bell pepper, tomato, salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables over low to medium heat until they are soft and release their fragrance, about 5 minutes.
Add the pimentón and saffron and stir. Add the wine if you are using it and bring to a boil. Add the water or fish stock and bring to a boil, immediately turn the broth down to low. Simmer for 5 minutes and taste for seasoning. It should taste good on its own.
Cut the fish into rough one-inch cubes and add to the simmering broth. Cook about another 5 minutes, until you can cut the pieces with a spoon. Throw in a few herbs and serve.
This is the most read and searched-for piece on Harriett's Tomato in the past year...and yes, we are simply repeating ourselves.
Long before he became a nocturnal vegetable thief, Wallace was cheese-obsessed. He read magazines with titles like Cheese Holidays and Cheese Monthly. In “A Grand Day Out,” he chatters on about Cheddar and Lankeshire, mentions Philadelphia in passing, and builds a rocket to the moon -- “We’ll go somewhere where there’s CHEESE!” -- when he finds the fridge empty.
In his latest adventure, “The Curse of The Were-Rabbit”, he’s brought back from the dead with a whiff of Stinking Bishop, a hard British cheese with a rind washed in pear alcohol. But his favorite and most often mentioned is Wensleydale, a somewhat lesser known English export than the ultra-famous Cheddar or Stilton.
Wensleydale is a verdant area inYorkshire, the North of England, where the use of agricultural chemicals is restricted. Pastures sprout from earth rich in limestone and the cows graze naturally, free and happy. What results from their milk is traditional firm white cheese based on a recipe dating back to 11th century Cistercian monks. Tart, nutty, creamy and crumbly at the same time, it bears some similarity to mild white cheddar. It’s traditionally eaten on top of apple pie, a dessert combination found in the U.K. and reinvented in Canada as Apple Pie & Cheddar.
The cheese is produced by Wensleydale Creamery, who have recently packed it up with a picture of their biggest fan and his wise dog. Wallace & Gromit Wensleydale can be ordered online from www.cheesesupply.com and goes for about $23 a pound. Much cheaper than a trip to the moon.
True, we haven't seen the film yet, but with all the authority of having watched the trailer,
can say the earmarks of a sentimentalized and cliché-ridden exercise
are firmly in place.
No Reservations, the Hollywood version of Mostly Martha, is due to be unleashed on a food-obsessed public this summer, featuring a dewey, perfectly painted and coiffed
Catherine Zeta-Jones as a woman who spends 14 hours a day sweating in a professional kitchen and smelling of chopped onion.
With n'er a burn on her arm, nor a shine on her nose, she concocts a celestial saffron sauce that magnetizes the toothsome Aaron Eckhart to
make magic in her kitchen and various other dark corners, while
simultaneously salvaging the sanity, and diet, of her orphaned niece.
The original is a perfectly charming European film, with human-looking,
passionate actors unraveling the story of navigating heartbreak through the healing powers of something or other...in this case the soothing salve of true love and a dish of spaghetti, and/or sautéed scallops.
Of course you, the buying public, must decide for yourself whether or
not to sit through the newer version - we certainly plan to, if for nothing else than to see more closeups of perfectly handled seafood and Aaron's dimples.
However, we take a moment to point toward the one that got there first--a lovely German-Italian film called Bella Martha , or Mostly Martha, a work with some semblance of authenticity and real emotional undercurrent. Highly rent-worthy.
From Hawthorne Valley Farm: Organic Raw Caraway Sauerkraut. Can't get enough of this little treasure, made at a biodynamic farm in upstate New York. Also comes flavored with jalapeno or curry. Various fermented vegetable products, including kim chee, can be ordered from Sauerkraut Seth at the farm store or picked up at the Union Square Farmer's Market in Manhattan.
Virgin Lands Raw Avocado Oil, from Chile, is dark green, buttery oil full of
goodness, flavor and beauty. Drizzle it on anything...of course we love it on tomatoes. Look for it locally, also available through mail order from Kalustyan's in Manhattan.
Another Chilean product, the fruit carica, sometimes called mountain papaya, has been creeping into gourmet shops for a couple of years and is gaining momentum. In raw form it's hard, like raw winter squash. After it is gently poached in light syrup it tastes a little like papaya, a little like mango. Great for slushy cocktails, fruit desserts, or grilled and served with fish or chicken. Look for it locally or order the Tamaya brand from Bear Creek Fine Foods at 888.912.7335.
That's Martha...Stewart and Alain....Ducasse. And it's actually their food that's in outer space.
A few weeks ago we posted a blip on Ducasse cooking for the space program, but we'd no idea it was the space TOURIST program. But of course!
Stewart's long-time 'friend' , Hungarian-born computer software billionaire Charles Simonyi, 58, at right, needs a decent meal as he orbits around our Big Blue Marble, blogging away for the kiddies.
His hope is the epistles will foster interest in space travel among the young, something apparently on the wane since the advent of celebrity gossip blogging and disturbing video games.
The rocket takes off from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan to the Moon--we wonder how much it costs to keep that trip carbon-neutral...but inquiring minds really want to know what the astro-vacationers will be eating and which offerings from Ducasse, who "created" the menu, are sanctioned by Stewart, who "chose" the menu. Here's a juicy bit from the Associated Press piece, authored by Maria Danilova:
"The menu includes quail roasted in Madiran wine, duck breast confit with capers, shredded chicken parmentier,
apple fondant pieces, rice pudding with candied fruit, and semolina cake with dried apricots. It was to be prepared by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse's consulting and training center, ADF, according to Space Adventures."