First Time For Everything

The past week, I have opened up a whole new culinary chapter for my self and dove into the meat. After finally getting a grill located outside the house, I was allowed to cook any meat I wanted, be it seafood or chicken or pork. With this new opportunity, I got to work and began on mastering a different seafood or poultry each day of the week.

Day 1:

With so little experience and lots of excitement, I decided to start with an easy fish, tilapia. I began by creating a simple marinade which consisted of the following: minced garlic, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper all combined and spread on the tilapia. I went with this simple mild marinade because of how delicate tilapia is in flavor and texture. This leads me to my next step, grilling. With the grill pre-heated to medium-high, we put the fish on for two minutes on each side and in four painstaking minutes of waiting, it was done. Grill time might vary but always remember that tilapia should be white on the outside and opaque on the inside. As a side dish, we cooked up some mexican rice, a perfect combination for a delicate fish. Overall, this was a phenomal first dish. Easy to make, quick, delciuos, what else could you ask for.

Day 2:

Today we decided to go a little fancy with a buttery salmon and marinara pasta with homemade sauce. Instead of using the grill, we experimented with a pan seared salmon. Our family is filled with salmon fanatics so we decided against a marinade to keep the salmon flavor pure and intense. We started by preheating a non-stick pan to medium heat for 3 minutes. When the oil had the constant of water and the pan was hot, we threw the salmon on, skin side down. For 30 seconds, we pressed the salmon against the pan to prevent the skin from curling up and then lowered the heat to medium low and seared the salmon for 4 minutes. Once the four minute was up, we flipped the salmon so the skin was facing up, raised the heat to give it a quick char and that was that. With the salmon out of the way, we moved on to the pasta. It was just a simple red sauce with some minced garlic, al dente spaghetti and chili flakes. It wasn’t much but it did its job of letting the salmon shine while adding a sweet tangy flavor of its own.

Day 3:

After a relatively chilly day, we decided to go with a classic that was sure to warm up everybody’s day, chicken noodle soup. In lieu of having a new grill, we improved a little bit and decided to utilize what we had and grilled the chicken to start. This turned out to be a great decision because we were able to get a quick char for some extra flavor without fully cooking the chicken. After getting some browsing, we took the chicken off, still pink and raw on the outside. With the chicken nearly ready, we began boiling out chicken stock with carrots and celery and a homemade herb packet consisting of fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley. Once the soup came to a boil, we dropped the chicken in and turned the heat all the way down to low for 25 minutes. This would let the chicken cook fully through while letting all the flavors combine flavor the soup broth. After 25 minutes, we took the chicken out and shredded it by simply just ripping it apart with forks, took out the herb packet and dropped the shredded chicken back into to soak up some broth. Here, we also added our cooked pasta. We decide against cooking the pasta After just 45 minutes, we had this amazing some with some many complex layers, textures, depth of flavor and of course pasta.

Day 4:

It was a warm day so we decided to make a summer classic, prawns and pasta. We love garlic in the family so I began by starting with a garlic forward marinade. The marinade consisted of 6 cloves of garlic, parika, thyme, parsely, salt, pepper and oil. Similar to the tilapia marinade but more intensity and flavor with extra herbs, spices, and garlic. Once the marinade was finished, I started deveing and shelling the prawns. This was a long and icky process of cracking opening the shell and butterflying the shrimp to deveining but in the end it was worth it. Once the prawns were cleaned, they were marinated and put in the fridge for the flavors to come together. After 30 minutes, we took out the prawns and fired up the grill to around 350 and put the prawns on, closed lid for around 15 minutes. As an added bonus, instead of dumping the marinade, we utilized it in our pasta sauce. To stick with the summer feel, we made pesto pasta as a side dish and incorporated the remaining marinade into the pesto sauce for more flavor immersion.

Egg in a Ham and Cheese:

This dish is almost like a Croque Monsieur but with an american twist.

Directions: Melt 1/4 tablespoon of butter on to a medium high heat pan and toast one side of one slice of bread. Take 3 slices of ham and one slice of American cheese and put it on the toasted side of the bread. Turn the heat down to low and let the cheese melt and ham warm up for 3 minutes. Take the bread, ham and cheese of the pan and began toasting another slice of bread at medium heat. After 30 seconds, cut a hole in the bread the size of a egg yolk and add an egg into the hole. Cook the egg like a sunny side up egg and put the sandwich together. This sandwich is perfect from a nutritional standpoint because it has protein, fat and carbs but the runny yolk with melted cheese and chewy fatty ham.

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