Thursday, February 25, 2010

Date Night: Glazed Mahi -Mahi and mashed potatoes

It's Wednesday and my wife will be home around 6:00 tonight for dinner. I always try to plan something special for this day because as I explained in my previous post, Wednesdays are when my wife "favors" me with a mid week visitation. You have to know that since we first started dating 7 years ago, I have had limited claim to her time. First, she was keeping me secret from her bossy older sister, then it was her crazy work schedule. So, the four nights we see each other have been hard fought after, not that I'm complaining. Today, I did the laundry, vacuumed, changed the beds and now it's time for dinner. Just in case you make the mistake of thinking this girl has the perfect life and the best husband, let me assure you that being married to a pain in the ass like me has to have some rewards. When we were first dating, one of my daughters asked her younger sister what she thought of dad's new girlfriend. She answered, "I think she's perfect for him". "Why?", she was asked. Without hesitation, the younger one answered, "Daddy is sooo annoying, and she thinks he's funny." The daughter's opinion of me notwithstanding, Neeta still thinks I'm funny!


First, a plan. I'm making glazed mahi-mahi I decided,  with mashed potatoes and peas and onions. So first, I will need a marinade. All marinades have 3 basic parts, something sweet, something acidic and oil. Mine will have 2 Tbs. of honey; 2 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar; 2 Tbs. of soy sauce, 2 cloves of garlic finely minced with a little coarse salt, a teaspoon of ginger paste, a shot of chili sauce, 2 or 3 Tbs. of vegetable oil and some parsley, chopped. I will marinate the fish in that for an hour, then grill it (in my grill pan). Before I start grilling, I will carmelize the onions for the peas and potatoes,  boil the potatoes, melt some butter and heat up some milk and sour cream ( I have no half and half in the house) for the potatoes. While I'm grilling, I will heat the left over marinade to thicken it for a glaze. So, I'll start the fish in the marinade about 4:30.

Italian Grandmother Tip: Once every two weeks (more often if I'm cooking a lot), I use my electric knife sharpener to sharpen my kitchen knives. I also scrub down my cutting board with a mix of bleach and dish detergent.

After an hour in the 'fridge, my fish is ready to grill. Meanwhile, I have taken the (frozen) peas out and I have cooked my onions on low heat in a covered pan. I added a few drops of water to the onions to keep them from getting too brown. Next, I'll start my potatoes in cold water. When they come up to a boil, I'll cook them for about 20 minutes.

This meal is all about organization. It's 5:32; my potatoes are boiling, my grill/pannini pan is getting hot, the marinade is in the saucier pan ready to be reduced, and the butter and milk/sour cream mix is ready to be heated for when the potatoes are done. It's nice to have 5 burners. There is plenty of time to clean up now, and set the table.

At 5:45, my "date" arrived, and I put my fish in the grill pan. I'll cook it for about 5 minutes on a side, repositioning it in the pan once so it will have crossed grill marks. The potatoes are just about done which means a knife will easily slide through them. I will peel them, pass them through a ricer and add first the melted butter, then the heated milk/sour cream mix. I'll use the potato pan to cook the peas for about 3 minutes. Always a lot of scrambling the last few minutes- I'm glad my date helped! I poured the reduced marinade over the fish, mixed some of the onions with the peas, and plated the meal! "How is it, honey?", I asked. The reply, "Good, Joseph!"

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