Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easier to Make

Kevin is fishing today. I really hope he catches something, because I have a craving for baked fish.

The recipe calls for bread crumbs, to stuff the fish. One thing that just kills me is people who buy bread crumbs. I think it's silly. If you have bread- any bread, you can make bread crumbs. I've heard people say they don't have time to make bread crumbs but that's ridiculous. Yes, you would need time to prepare them, but it doesn't take that long. This is one of those things where the small amount time invested more than pays off in flavor. It goes right along with brewing a pot of coffee (instead of instant) or making homemade french fries (instead of nasty frozen fries) or making icing (instead of paying $5 for a small can that just barely covers the cake).

I set my oven on the lowest setting. This is 170 for me. I put four slices of wheat bread (white will do, or use both) on a cookie sheet. And I don't even know how long it was in there, I checked on the bread a couple of times to see if it was drying out. Essentially you want your slices of bread to be very hard and dry. I flipped my slices once to ensure even drying. Then I rubbed the dry bread over a cheese grater. Presto, instant crumbs. Now was that hard? No. So don't buy anymore bread crumbs from the grocery store. What? You need a lot? No problem, put a few slices in the oven every day until you have plenty. It keeps well.

You can make croutons in basically the same way. Cut up bread, brush with melted butter and garlic flakes, put in oven.

Now I realize this does take a bit of planning, but you should be doing that anyway. If you plan your meals you don't have to rush around at the last minute trying to make dinner. You'll be less likely to hit the drive-thru. It's easier to stick to your diet. You'll spend less at the grocery store. And if you save your menus, after a month or two, you'll have plenty of choices for meals and you won't have to rack your brain wondering what to cook.

My fish recipe comes from one of my grandmother's cookbooks called The Auburn Cookbook by Fariss Prickett and published by Auburn University Extension Service, June 1968. The first time I tried this recipe, I was 14 years old, and I was cooking catfish caught in the family pond.

Baked Fish
Clean fish. Sprinkle inside with salt and pepper. Fill with stuffing (see below). Fasten edges with skewers or round toothpicks, or tie or sew with wrapping thread. Brush outside with salad oil+ or melted butter. Place on a well greased, shallow baking pan. Cut gashes crosswise in upper side of fish. Place strips of bacon in these slits. Bake at 375 twelve to fifteen minutes for each pound.

STUFFING. Combine 2 cups dry beads cubes*, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup melted butter. About 2 cups of stuffing are enough for a 3/4-pound fish or 6 fish fillets.

+Kevin thinks Italian salad dresisng would be good here. If I had any, I'd try it and find out.

*The first time I made this, my mother was reading the recipe to me while I cooked. She said bread CRUMBS (not cubes). The crumbs worked fine. It was years before I figured out I needed cubes and not crumbs.

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