Friday, April 19, 2013

My Prayer For the Hurting and Pan Seared Tilapia with Crispy Oven Fries

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
"Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will act.  He will bring forth righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday!"  Psalm 37:5-6
I want to start off by addressing the two tragedies that have happen since I last posted.  I never. ever. want to grow unaffected by such horrific events, despite the frequency of them.  I am heartbroken for the city of Boston, the town of West, TX and for every person and family whose lives have been permanently altered.  I've been praying for these communities!  I can only imagine how clouded their minds must be from the marathon terrorist bombing and the plant explosion, since there hasn't been much time for reality to sink in.  
I pray for peace and comfort that only the Lord can give and for safety and justice in this situation.  I trust in God to do this, because He loves us and I'm asking in Jesus' name!  Every time I see another tragedy unfold, I'm reminded of the blessing of my health and own family whom I never want to take for granted.  It's only because of His grace and mercy.  I put my hope in the one constant thing on earth ... His unfailing love!
It's not easy to transition to a recipe from this, but we must continue to live our lives. Perhaps this food can bring you some sunshine today!
So now, I wanted to share with you the delicious plate of food I made for myself one day when I was outside working in the yard and I could smell Long John Silvers wafting my way!  We have one very close by.   
There was something about the warm, sunny, beautiful day and working outside that made me crave a fish dinner.  I grew up on "fish dinners", and they're still one of my favorite meals of all time, really!  Usually a classic fish fry style meal consists of fried catfish or crappie, hushpuppies, french fries, coleslaw, white beans, with tarter sauce, lemon with freshly sliced tomatoes.  Friends, this is summer cooking at it's best!!
I didn't really want to go out to eat since I was home alone, and I didn't want greasy fish (since I'm working out to be ready for shorts, ha) so I decided to whip up a dinner with what I had.  I happen to find some tilapia in the freezer (score!) and I had a baking potato that would be perfect for homemade fries.  Delicious, crispy, skin-on french fries doused in some hot sauce for a kick!  For some reason I was really wanted fries with hot sauce instead of ketchup.
I didn't have anything for slaw, but I found a ripe avocado that sliced up would be the perfect cool, creamy side I needed.   I also just happened to have some sweet tea left over from the night before, and of course that's what you drink with your fish around here!  I found lemon for the tea and fish, and I made up a quick tarter/remoulade sauce, too!   I had everything for a perfectly delicious and healthy fish dinner that would satisfy my summer craving.
I can't tell you how quick I whipped this dinner up, because I was so hungry after working outside!  As you can see, I already started digging in before I took a picture. (I hope you don't mind my occasional blog posting with very casual/real pictures!!) These pictures aren't staged at all, but in fact the one at the top is actually my plate sitting on--you guessed it-- my lap!   I ate picnic style in front of the tv.  Mr. Cozy thinks I have mad lap-eating skills! ;)
  I thought maybe you all would like to know how I fixed this meal in case you also want to make an impromptu fish dinner!  These are not exact recipes, but they are all my own.  I hope this will give you a good idea of how easy it is to make yourself!
Here's to the taste of summer!  :)
Pan Seared Tilapia with Hand-Cut Oven Fries
This is a very loose interpretation of my fish"recipe". I add different seasonings every time, but this time I wanted some spicy heat.  I began making pan seared tilapia and salmon after Mom began making it at home with sauteed onions and pepper on a bed or fresh spinach and brown rice. Really fast and delicious!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tilapia Fillet
1/4 c. sliced onion
Cajun Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
On a plate or flat bowl, squeeze the lemon juice on your fish.  Eyeball the amount, but evenly sprinkle the Cajun seasoning, a little garlic powder and a little paprika to evenly coat the fish.  I do this liberally because I love flavor.  Add a little salt and pepper depending on how salty your Cajun spice is. 
While  your fish is sitting, over medium heat swirl some EVOO in a cast iron or regular skillet until the bottom is coated.  Once hot, add the sliced onion and cook until tender and translucent or a little browned.  Remove from pan.
Add a little more oil, and add the fish to the pan top side down.  Cook over med-high heat for about 3-4 minutes and carefully turn to the other side for another 2 minutes or until fish is white and opaque.  When you turn the fish (once) put the onions on the top of the fish for the remaining cooking time to flavor it well.  Serve hot with a slice of lemon!
Crispy Oven Fries
I make these ALL THE TIME.   I very rarely buy frozen french fries anymore, because these are so good!  Mind you, I'm only cooking for my husband and I don't have to make that many.  Remember, 1 large baking potato serves about two people.
1 large Russet Baking Potato 
Freshly Ground Pepper (if you have a grinder)
Garlic Salt (I use Mc Cormick's Garlic-Sea salt)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
 Wash, scrub, and dry your potato well. 
Using a steady hand and a large knife, carefully cut the potato in half width-wise.  Stand each piece on the flat end and cut in half again.  Lay down flat and half again.  Now, it's just a matter of slicing to get medium to small shoe string pieces of potato.  Mine end up being about 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 inches long.  (So sorry for no visual here!)
If you have a little extra patience and want extra crispy fries, put the uncooked fries into a large bowl and submerge with cold water for at least 30 minutes.  This draws out the starch in the potato leaving you with potatoes that will be easier to bake and get crispy!
Rinse and dry the potatoes well.
Drizzle a large baking sheet with EVOO to coat.   Dump the fries on the pan and drizzle them with more oil.  You really don't want them swimming in oil here, but they should feel oily once tossed.  Start with about 1 Tbsp. and  you can always add more.
 Sprinkle all the seasoning on the potatoes and toss well.  Spread out evenly and add more seasoning if you can't plainly see it on the potatoes.  (Watch the amount of garlic-salt, you can always add more salt once out of the oven.) 
You don't want to over crowd your potatoes in the pan, even if that means using 2 pans.  An overcrowded pan equals soggy fries!
Bake for about 30-35 minutes--tossing once or twice--until fries are golden with crispy edges.  If they finish before the other food, turn the oven off and cracked and leave them in to keep warm.
Taste a fry and add a more salt or pepper if need-be, fresh out of the oven.  These french fries are so addicting and especially delicious with fish or grilled hamburgers!
The Sauce
I apologize for not having a recipe for the yum sauce I made for the fish.  I will play with the recipe more and post it soon.  Here are basically the ingredients if you want to play with it...
Light Mayo
Greek Yogurt
Smidgen of Dijon Mustard
Lemon Juice
Diced Sweet Pickles and bit of juice
Cajun Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Like I said, I need to make it again and give y'all the exact proportions to make it easier. It's divine with the fish!
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elizabeth said...

Our family LOVES fish and all types of seafood. Whenever I make tilapia my grandkids gobble it up.
I make mine with sweet potato rounds oven roasted with olive oil and salt which my grandkids do not love, so I'll try your oven fries for them next time.

Leslie said...

Elizabeth, your sweet potato rounds sound like something we would really enjoy, too! I hope you like the oven fries like we do! :)

Bernideen said...

What lovely thoughts you have shared! The fish looks fabulous!

Michelle said...

I love fish. I just made my Munster fish for dinner the other night. It's low fat and good. Dip any white fish in egg whites, then in seasoned bread crumb. Place on foil cover pan. When it's almost cook add a slice of Munster cheese. Let it melt. It's so good. I am going to try your recipes. I do oven fries but didn't know about the cold water trick. I will be using that tip next time for sure. Thanks so much for sharing.

laurie said...

Beautiful post, I agree!

Lois' Laughlines said...

Oh my, I echo your prayer...All I can think of is Lord Jesus come back soon!
blessings to you.

Kathy said...

I agree with Lois. Don't know how much worse this world can get. Thanks for your prayer.

As for your recipe, I have some Tilapia in the freezer and I am going to try this. It sounds so good.

Lisa Pearson said...

Hi Leslie...I am visiting you, now. :)
I agree with you, I never want to grow unaffected by tragedy. I pray that my heart will never grow hard toward those who are in need of love and never be to be too busy for those who are in need of help. Love your bloggy...and your recipe looks divine!! <3

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Wonderful fish recipe! I love your directions!!!
You have so many great tips!
I could almost eat your pictures they are that beautiful!!!

kitty said...

You've written some beautiful words for the tragedies our country had this past week, dear Leslie. Your impromptu fish dinner looks wonderful and healthy! Food comforts our souls, doesn't it?

Erin Tableforseven said...

What a lovely post...
The fish and fries look delicious!