O: The whole kitchen smells delicious, like real food.
Please don't misunderstand. My children have had dinner each and every night, but since I've been running back-to-back shows, it has generally been made by someone else. I'll leave instructions for the baby sitter regarding quesadilas or buttered noodles or some other sure-to-please-a-picky-tiny-person type of dish, but two nights ago, for the first time in weeks, I had the night off and I was in my own house, with my own kitchen.
So I had a beer, made scrambled eggs for dinner, and went to bed at 8:30.
But the next night, I made dinner, nothing fancy, just some steamed broccoli and fish. It felt good, to all be eating the same meal. It was nice to spend some time in the kitchen. It felt really good to make dinner, and even better to eat it.
Baked Halibut with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli
Serves 2 adults and 2 furiously hungry small people
(This recipe works beautifully with any mild white fish. I generally try to only buy wild caught and fresh, as in never frozen, which will drastically limit your choices most days if you are at a regular market.)
Three 6 ounce fillets of halibut
One cup brown rice (the girls prefer short grained)
One crown of broccoli
For the marinade (full disclosure-I never measure, I eye-ball, pinch, and approximate so feel free to taste and adjust)
1/4 of a of cup soy sauce
1/8 of a cup of rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp of honey
Two cloves of garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp of fish sauce-if you haven't cooked with this before, you should start, but know a little goes a long way
1/4 of a cup of olive oil
1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
Put the rice on. I use a rice cooker, but there are great stove-top directions here. Pre-heat your oven to 300. We have a cool, funky, antique, gas oven that works great, but heats up the whole kitchen, so when I can, I use our toaster oven, which handles this dish perfectly.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade. Rinse and pat fish dry. Place in a small baking, dish skin side up, and pour the marinade over. You may want to reserve a small amount to drizzle over the dish for any adults you happen to be serving.
Clean and prep broccoli, cutting into small florets.
Breathe and pour yourself a glass of wine. You are almost done.
Put fish into oven, checking for doneness every five minutes or so. Fish is done when it appears nearly opaque and flakey. These particular fillets took about 10 minutes at 300. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish, but remember that they will continue to cook in the hot pan when you pull it out, and while you can alway stick it back in for a minute or two, you can't repair an over-cooked piece of fish.
I usually cheat and throw the broccoli florets into the rice cooker, on top of the rice, when the rice is about 3/4th done, but you can also steam or sauté them the traditional way.
Serve the fish atop a bed of brown rice with the broccoli on the side, or on a segmented, plastic, zebra-themed plate.