Monday, July 12, 2010

Friendship and Fish

I find myself alone for two whole days. It has been a while since I have had the whole house to myself without a real agenda. Just my own agenda. It is quiet. Me, my one kitty circus, Frankie, my manuscript, and the water. It is peaceful and I feel like I can finally pony up to do some editing.

After finishing my manuscript over a month ago, I have toyed with the idea of editing. Done some reading, taken notes, scratched out pages, and wrestled with my manuscript at arms length. I kissed my parents good-bye as they set off on their camping trip and decided to dive in head first. There is no 'waiting' for the right moment or 'hoping' that the genius will come to me. Nope. I have to have the courage to begin and continue. And I do. I opened up the manuscript on the dock yesterday with Frankie nestled in the shade of  my lawn chair and began the process. I can do it, and in I went. To the kitchen that is.

I know that is yet another distraction, but I think detours, as I have said before, sometimes reveal everything. Taking a deep breath, looking around, and smelling the flowers sometimes is exactly what the doctor ordered. I used to call these 'mental health' days when I punched the corporate clock.

And thinking about punching the clock, I am thinking about one of my dear friends and the fun we had in Baltimore at a conference eating tons and tons of crab cakes. We spent time doing exactly what we should have been doing.. eating crab cakes like it was going out of style. So while thinking of her and listening to my idol, Michael Jackson, with my sun-kissed skin in my favorite summer dress from Italy, I am making these friendship, Flathead lake inspired Fish Cakes

What I found out during this 'kitchen detour' was that I was going about it all wrong. That what I was doing wasn't really me, and during those these two days of quiet, my solution came to me. A successful memoir author, Laura Munson, who lives close by has inspired me and through reading her outstanding memoir, This isn't the Story you think it is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness (a MUST read) I was able to move passed my blockage. Now I am successfully doing the re-writing and back in my hum.

Today is a good day. And after biting into a bite of our Rosemary Lemon Eclairs looking at the sun shine on the mountains.. I change my mind.. Today is a great day. And I've decided tomorrow will be even better.

Fish Cakes

3 cups fresh fish; baked (recipe below) and shredded with your fingers
1 tsp. minced dried onion
1/2 tsp. dried dill (fresh is great if you have it!)
1/2 tsp. seafood rub
1 egg
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. corn meal
1 tbsp. lemon grass minced
1 tsp. minced capers
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked peppers

~Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl using your hands. Form into 7 even sized medium patties.

~Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place each cake in the pan and cook each side for 3-4 minutes.

~Serve on a bed of lettuce and on top of a garlic crustini! Top with Yogurt Dill sauce (recipe below) and devour.

To bake the fish:

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~Place the fish fillet on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place 4 lemon slices along the top of the fish. Sprinkle with dill if you like. Wrap the fish in the foil closing the foil to seal in the moisture.

~Bake for 15-20 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool before flaking to make the fish cakes.

Yogurt Dill Sauce

1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper each

~Mix together all ingredients together with a whisk and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Rosemary Lemon Eclairs 

For the pastries:

Servings: 6 pastry shells

1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup baking splenda
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs

~Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

~Combine the water, butter, and salt in a large sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil.

~Remove from heat and add the flour and sugar whisking vigorously until the ingredients are combined. The dough will be thick but glossy. It will want to stick together-- this is a good sign!

~Add the eggs one at a time; whisking the ingredients together. The dough will be glossy and smooth and thickened and should resemble a thick pancake batter.

~Pour into a plastic zip lock bag or a pastry bag and pipe onto a greased cookie sheet. Give each eclair enough room to spread out and grow. They will puff up in the oven. Use two cookie sheets if yours isn't large enough to accommodate and give them room to swell and grow.

~Place them in the middle rack of your oven for 20 minutes. The eclairs will puff up as they cook. Make sure to monitor. If they start getting brown in the first 10 minutes, reduce the heat in your oven to 350 and continue cooking.

~Once done, remove from the oven and move them to a cooling rack to cool immediately.

For lemon rosemary filling:

2 packages Lemon Mouse Sugar Free mix (or sugar free lemon pudding mix will work)
1 tbsp. dried minced rosemary
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup fat free half and half (regular milk will do too)
Juice of half a lemon

~Mix the sugar free mouse mix, with the rosemary, yogurt, milk, and lemon juice. Stir with a whisk until smooth and silky.

~Pour into a large plastic zip lock bag and snip the corner off.

~Slice the eclair pastries in half and pipe the pudding into the middle of each pastry shell.

~Top with Rosemary Vanilla sauce (recipe below)

Rosemary Vanilla Sauce
1 cup vanilla chips or white chocolate chips
1 tsp. smart balance butter
1/2 tsp. dried minced rosemary

~Combine the vanilla chips, butter, and rosemary. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Microwave for 20 more seconds if need be. Then splatter the vanilla over the eclairs for a delicious topping. The flavors on this merry perfectly! You won't regret eating these for a second!

Mental Health Tip: Like I have said before, detours are what we live when we are trying to do other things that don't really work out the way we planned. Follow me into this bliss-filled space and give yourself a little pat on the back and allow yourself a breath with me. We are alive, let's not miss a minute of this trying too hard. Life is too short... let's breathe... together...

Deep breaths from me to you.. one on one!

~One Hot Mess in solitude


Cris said...

Thanks for your call yesterday! I miss you like crazy. If it is within my powers I will make it to MT. Perhaps my super-powered Miranda will fly me there? Solitude is good for the soul, but a good friend, wife, and foodie is nourishment that I NEED! Love you!

Anonymous said...

You are more beautiful than ever. Is that possible? Friendship goes with fish like men go with bicycles. sometimes its sexy, sometimes the crack is showing and mostly its just delicious