After my Korean massage in the town across the river where Ginnette performed gua sha-scraping the sides of my hips and legs and lower back to release muscle tension-I stopped at the co-op. I like this co-op more than the one in my own town. My husband claims this is a common theme in my life: if something is far away it must be better. He might be 8% right.
On a visit to New Orleans, I insisted on hailing a taxi to a diner outside of the tourist loop for oyster Po’ Boys. It’s not the grass is greener sort of thing. A well-written rave review will send me on the hunt.
Outside the co-op, a chef was grilling. Gleaming bites of seared fish lined up for sampling. He said the barramundi was perfect for fish tacos. It had heft and wouldn’t fall apart at the first poke. Tacos for dinner!
Once I got home, depleted by the massage and shopping, all I wanted was a couch and a margarita. That night dinner came from the freezer – Vermont Flatbread pizza with caramelized onions and mushrooms and arugula salad lightly dressed with white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a little garlic. I tucked arugula into my folded slice of pizza for combo bites.
The next night, I cooked the fish. Corn tortillas. Soft and blue. A red onion and bright green jalapenos from the garden. A handful of cherry tomatoes. I’m a lazy gardener. Some mornings, I wave to the lettuces out the kitchen window and check on them the next day.
Slice and clean the jalapenos of seeds and ribs, slice the red onion; drop both into a jar with white vinegar and sugar and salt for some quick pickling. I just now remember that I had cilantro in the fridge, but forgot it. I’ll throw it in the freezer. The avocado, which had been on the counter for a week, was still hard as a rock; what are you waiting for?
Beans flavored with sazon, which stymied me until I found a recipe on my fav site at NYT Cooking https://cooking.nytimes.com/ @samsifton Mix garlic and onion powder, cumin and turmeric, and oregano, paprika and sea salt. Black pepper. I sizzled the spices and some grated onion in sunflower oil. I’d never grated an onion before. It was too wet and bubbled instead of browning in the oil. Next time I’ll mince with a knife. Add a can of rinsed black beans. Mush most with a fork. Do not leave the kitchen until you turn off the flame. Luckily, I salvaged a layer of beans above the scorched ones.
I settled the fish, skin side down, in hot oil over a medium flame, maybe for 8 minutes. I halved the cherry tomatoes and tossed with a little olive oil and salt and garlic. Shredded some Queso Fresco. Warmed the tortillas. Assembled. Beans cheese fish onions jalapeños tomatoes no avocado no cilantro still good. Two each. No traveling.