Roasted Trout with Lemon and Dill

Whenever I eat fish I feel as though I’m somehow instantly becoming a healthier and better person by proxy, it’s ridiculous how smug I feel when I’m eating it. I’m assuming this is largely because I had to teach myself  to like fish, in no way was I born with an innate taste for inhabitants of the sea. I live with someone who really won’t eat fish so I limit these sessions of weird superiority to evenings when I’m alone in the apartment.  This trout is simple to assemble quickly when you’re hungry and craving feelings of robust healthiness. The pale coral flesh becomes buttery soft once roasted in a scorching oven for a very brief amount of time. I tend to use fresh baby dill because I buy it regularly, other herbs that would be delicious are basil, cilantro, parsley and oregano; let’s just say that this recipe is very much open to interpretation. The fruity sourness of the lemon and the heat of the crushed black pepper once again prove to be an effective marriage of flavours and the Dijon mustard binds the two together with unwavering certainty. Because trout has a somewhat assertive taste I like to eat it with an equally assertive green and some garlic tossed together in a pan of olive oil for maximum psychological health benefits.

roasted trout with lemon and dill:

1 trout fillet

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

One good handful of fresh dill, finely snipped with scissors

2 tsp. dijon mustard

Kosher salt to taste

A generous amount of black pepper, I like to crack  black peppercorns with a mortar and pestle for this recipe

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine 1 Tbsp. of the vegetable oil, lemon zest and juice, fresh dill and mustard and stir until blended.

3. Using the remaining 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to lightly grease a shallow glass casserole dish, place the trout skin side down and pour the lemon and dill mixture over the fish to coat. Apply the salt and freshly cracked pepper according to taste, I think lots of pepper provides a bite that pairs wonderfully with the acidic tartness of the lemon.

4. Roast the fish in the oven until the flesh turns to a soft coral shade and flakes easily with a fork; the fillets I use take around 11 minutes to cook. (I direct you to this handy chart for information on cooking fish for the appropriate time.) Eat while extremely hot and feel richly nourished.

You know how sometimes you need a song to make you happy? Something that will lift you up and knock the dust off after a stupid day; my stupid days usually mean my ability  to pass as an extrovert while actually desperately needing to be quiet and to not speak to anyone for at least 24 hours.  New Order is, most of the time, the happiest depressing band ever so I find this song fitting for moods such as the aforementioned. It’s pop melody hyperbole, sunshine in 7:00 minutes and it will make you feel better and warmer.

New Order – Temptation

Blueberry and Lemon Yogurt Muffins

If I had to choose between a lifetime of cooking or a lifetime of baking I would without hesitation reply that my fate was to cook always from there on in. My baking repertoire therefore consists of items that don’t require very much patience and that almost always without fail, despite my lack of precision upon execution, come out perfectly each time I make them,. These blueberry and lemon yogurt muffins fall neatly into each of these categories – the lemon Greek yogurt ensures a dense, cake-like crumb (very appropriately as these are good muffins to have for dessert or with Earl Grey tea.) I am now blissfully surrounded by local blueberries that are deep navy blue and somehow sweetly tart when you bite into them – the brief sojourn in the oven intensifies the sweetness and makes them taste like a blueberry preserve. I like these hot out of the oven with some good salted butter or at room temperature with a cup of the aforementioned Earl Grey tea with lemon.

blueberry and lemon yogurt muffins:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup of lemon flavoured Greek yogurt

1/3 cup of canola oil

The zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line or butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Combine the lightly beaten egg, yogurt, oil and lemon juice and zest in a large bowl and whisk until mixture is glossy and smooth. In a separate bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder/soda and salt with a fork until completely mixed.

3. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir in the blueberries. Very gently and with as few strokes as possible combine all the ingredients until the batter reaches a slightly undermixed yet cohesive whole.

4. Using 2 spoons drop the muffin batter into the muffin cups, there should be enough for each cup to receive a large scoop of the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a fork comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a muffin.

Happy twee summer music at its best; I started loving this album in grade 11 and I have loved it ever since. For each season I tend to justify a reason to listen to this album over and over again but I really do think it’s most appropriate for an August Sunday afternoon spent baking muffins and drinking iced black coffees.

Belle and Sebastian – Ease Your Feet in the Sea

Best Ever Lemon Risotto

I’m making this risotto today out of necessity, I am battling some fairly strong negative feelings this afternoon and luckily for me risotto is a very successful soother of the soul when both preparing and eating it. Emotional pain is a solid wall to slam into when momentum is high and the stages you will pass through are well-defined; there is shock to be felt, catharsis, and the odd period after that when your brain fumbles blindly for coherent thoughts and your old emotional self. Bear with me, for my point is that during the final stage of pain it is entirely acceptable, in fact encouraged, that you make some of this lemon risotto. I can speak from experience when I say the soft buttery smells and repetitious movement over a steady source of heat is a perfect antidote to the deepest of disappointments. After you’re done cooking it you can eat it on the couch while watching some Arrested Development, a formula that is almost fail proof for fighting the blues.

best ever lemon risotto:

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 clove of garlic, minced finely

3 shallots, diced finely

1 cup of any dry white wine

1 litre of vegetable stock, kept simmering on the stove

1 lemon, zested and juiced

4 Tbsp. whipping cream

1/2 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 egg yolk

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. Whisk together the salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest, cream, egg yolk, and the cheese. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter and oil together in a large pot over medium heat; sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and transparent.

3. Add the rice and wine, stirring constantly until all of the wine has been absorbed. Working ladleful by ladleful gradually add the entire pot of warmed stock to the rice, stirring the entire time to prevent sticking.

4. Once all of the stock has been absorbed take the pot off of the heat and stir in the cream mixture. Serve immediately with extra cheese and pepper sprinkled on top.

If you want a really good song to listen to while you’re sad and stirring then look no further than Beck’s album Sea Change. Most of this album is perfectly suited to a morose mood, but this song in particular brings on the real theatrics of a terrible day.

Beck – Lonesome Tears