Wednesday, January 24, 2007

INSTANT GOURMET FOOD!!

A good friend of mine once lamented the time it takes to make healthy food. No offense intended to my friend, but to that I say Pah! Most people share this complaint, and so I have taken it upon myself to disprove this myth!!

First off. Eating healthy is all about ingredients. What takes time is your method of cooking. A lack of time only limits what you can cook and how. It doesn’t prevent you from cooking healthy.

I’ll say that again. A lack of time only limits what you can cook and how. It doesn’t prevent you from cooking healthy.

I think the real problem is that most people don’t know what their options are when it comes to cooking because you probably have to either go to cooking school, or religiously watch the Food Network for a year like I have. Since most of you don’t have the time for that, I have taken it upon myself to come up with quick, easy recipes that not only don’t take any time to prepare (and cook), but are healthy and very cheap.

For my first recipe, I have a fish pouch! It takes 15 minutes or less to prepare, and takes 15 or 30 minutes to cook, depending on how you prepare it. The cool thing is that you don’t have to use any of the ingredients I used if you don’t want them. What I am showing is a METHOD of cooking that will allow you to make easy, fast, healthy, and tasty foods!

What do you need?

The Hardware
1 medium sized bowl
Parchment Paper (though aluminum Foil will work too)
One Baking Sheet


The Food

1/3 of a cup of Bulgur Wheat (though any small grain will do)
One of those super cheap bags of frozen fish (usually they are 3 to 5 bucks each)
A handful of fresh beans
Two carrots
A small sprig of fresh Sage
One green onion
One Shitake mushroom


And now for the Sauce and Seasoning

Salt
Pepper
Soup Broth
Sherry Cooking Wine
Worcester Sauce


Okay, now on to making the thing.

Fist. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. By the time you are done making this, your oven will be hot.

Chop up the carrots. To save time I recommend NOT peeling them. It really doesn’t change the flavour; it’s still a carrot. Just wash them first. Don’t have enough time? Try cutting the ends off the carrots and breaking them up into three pieces with your hands. Just remember that if you do this, you probably want to use thinner carrots, because it may take longer to cook thicker ones. If you have peeled baby carrots, even better, because you don’t have to do anything to them (more on how to preserve them on another show).

Wash and chop the ends off the beans, I like to do more than one at a time to speed this up. You don’t need to chop these. That’s what the knife and fork are for when you are eating them.

Slice the mushrooms in whatever way is quickest for you.

Dice the Sage, or whatever herb you happen to like with fish. For even faster prep, use dried.

Then get out your fish. Cut any pieces that wont fit evenly in the bowl you have. One of those bags will have enough fish for two batches of this recipe.



Okay, now you want to get your bowl. Why the bowl? Well what you are going to be doing is piling food into a pocket of parchment paper, and unless you are cooking Lego blocks, they aren’t going to stay put, especially when you pour in the sauce. The bowl keeps everything in place.



Tear off a big sheet of parchment paper and push one side of it into the bowl as shown. You want to have enough of the paper to one side so that you will be able to fold it over and seal it.



Pour in 1/3 of a cup of Bulgur Wheat. You can use whatever grain you want though.



Next, layer a couple or a few pieces of fish on top.



Then throw on your veggies.



Next up is the herbage.



Now comes the Sauce. In a small bowl, mix up about 1/3 of a cup of soup broth (I used Organic Chicken broth), then one Tablespoon of Sherry Cooking Wine (though any wine will do. Put in what you like), and Two Tablespoons of Worcester Sauce. Mix.



Now sprinkle about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt on your pile of food (give up on the table salt and use kosher, sea, or anything but table salt. It tastes like a chemical refinery), and a few dashes of pepper. Then pour the sauce over the food.



Now fold over the other end of the parchment paper, and starting at one of the folds, twist the paper. Move a bit further along, and twist it tightly.



Keep twisting the paper along the edge. I know it looks complicated, but it really is much easier than it looks.



Then when you get to the fold at the other end, twist it into a tight point.



There. Now you have a parchment paper pocket. It is definitely easier with foil, but I find that a lot of the food ends up sticking to it after cooking, so I go with the paper. It’s more biodegradable too.


Now carefully move your pouch out of the bowl and onto a metal baking sheet. You have lot of water in there, but don’t worry. Parchment paper is water resistant. Put the whole thing in the oven for 15 minutes, or 30 if you are using frozen fish.


Come back when it’s done, and you get this.



Then you can move it to whatever plates you want and eat. Or you can eat it out of the paper if you want.


So there you have it. The measurements I used took a bit of time to figure out, so that there would be enough water to puff up the Bulgur and steam the rest of the food, but it is a very versatile meal and any ingredient can be replaced for another. The only reason I used what I used was because that was what I had in my fridge at the time. It took me 15 minutes to fully prepare, but depending on the vegetables and how you chop them it could take even less time.

Sound good. Put in 15 minutes of work, and wait another 15 or 30 minutes and dinner is done. It tastes good too. You also don’t have to wash any pots. So the next time you find yourself complaining as you slave over the stove, don't blame the food, get better recipes.

I will have another one later involving ramen noodles that can be made in 8 minutes, including cooking time!

3 comments:

Jilly R said...

That is sooooo cool (actually, hot) Your pics are great. Is this the beginning of the next book? Those yucky plates have got to go though! Yummy, yummy, I know what I am having for supper.

Eifriger said...

Oooohhhhhhh mmmmmm Foood good....
Healthy food even better!
Great pictures Keith; I felt like I was standing in your kitchen watching the action. All I need is the smell-o-rama to let me know when dinner was ready! Wait a minute; we can do that tomorrow! Hurray :-)

I love you posts..keep doing them ok??
your pal
Suzanne.

Doc Savageland said...

Thanks! Glad you like the recipe. But try it out! It won't take long, and I think you'll like it.

More later.