Monday, December 10, 2007

Poached Salmon, finals and preparing for Christmas

This year, I've been academically happy and very happy with my job, but my lifestyle has suffered a bit. Norfolk lacks public transportation and I lack cash. There's been less hanging out with friends, fewer restaurants, museums and concerts, and fewer evenings of partying and dancing. However, there has been one improvement: my cooking! I've added quite a few dishes to my repertoire. For finals, I decided to cook up some brain food-- poached salmon!

I know that sounds decadent, but frozen salmon was on major sale at Wal-Mart. I found a great recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. The sauce is subtle and lemony. Warning to those who like to cover the flavor of fish: this recipe won't do that. It enhances the flavor of fish. I'm also told it's much, much yummier if the fish is fresh, but my lifestyle does not currently support such purchases. Anyhoo, here's the recipe. If you're a grown-up, it tastes quite nice with a glass of white wine.

Poached Fish with Dill Sauce
1 2 to 2.5 lb fresh or frozen dressed or pan dressed fish
3 lemon slices
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
2 T butter or margarine
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp snipped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp dried dill
dash salt
1 slightly beaten egg yolk

1- Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. In a fish poacher or a large roasting pan that has a wire rack with handles, add enough water to almost reach the rack. Remove and grease rack; set aside. To water in pan add lemon slices, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp salt. Place pan over two burners on range top. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Place fish on rack and lower into pan. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 min. or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish; keep warm while preparing sauce.

2- For dill sauce, strain cooking liquid, reserving 1 cup. In a small saucepan melt butter; stir in flour, sugar, dill, and the dash of salt. Add reserved 1 cup liquid. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of the hot butter mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Pass dill sauce with fish. (According to BHG, approx. 190 cal., 7 grams fat)

Enjoy the yumminess!

Salmon is not the only happy thing that is getting me through the stress of finals:

I made a batch of fudge and learned an important lesson: do not use reduced-fat sweetened condensed milk. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES! It tastes fine. With the fatty sweetened condensed milk, it tastes staggeringly awesome. But I've been noshing on the mediocre fudge nonetheless.

I also decorated my room for the holidays! I did it on the cheap, but the results were still pretty nice. Over the years, people have given me several ornaments and a wreath. I hung the wreath on my wall and arranged the ornaments on my book shelves as though it were a Christmas tree. I got two boxes of twinkle lights for less than five dollars and put them around my windows. Then I cut ten ornate paper snowflakes from white paper and hung them in the windows. Pretty!

This weekend I managed to finish all my grading! Today I cleaned, did two loads of laundry and began packing. I made enough suppers to get me through the week and lunches for the next two days. I have one final down and two to go. NYC and Iowa, here I come! I love you all, miss you all and can't wait to see as many of you as possible.

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