Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cooking: Bluefish, Basa fish, Eggs and Tomatoes

This is my first post on cooking. I will admit that I am pretty bad at cooking particularly for other people. There are maybe two other people who didn't mind eating my food... and they practically eat anything. I also easy practically anything so I have not minded my own cooking so far.

But in the light of wanting to try to cook for other people, I have started to "experiment" with my cooking. It is very hard for me to follow recipes because I do not like not knowing why I am doing certain steps. So it is not that I cannot follow recipes but I spend a lot of time thinking "why 2 tablespoon," "why 1:2 ratio," "what's a scallion, can I use green onion," etc. That is very frustrating to me.

Up to this point, I have basically "water fried" my food. In other words, I basically stir fry but in water. I've been told my food is very bland and tasteless. For me, it tastes like the food that I am eating. I have not used any salt or pepper, so I basically would have the same container since a decade ago if my family didn't visit and use the ingredients. I am still amazed how quickly my mom can go through my ingredients in just a couple visits. So that is about how much seasoning I put into my food.

Even though I eat out quite often, I still find most of the food too salty for my taste. It always surprises me when people add more salt to the food.

I do have some experience with some dishes with pre-made spices like spaghetti, curry, and stew. I've tried to make chili once, but it tasted more like beef and beans than what I knew as chili. Anyhow, I started playing around with some of the foods to figure out the different tastes in dishes. My primary dish is the eggs and tomatoes which I have tried different ratios of sugar, vinegar, and salt.

Eggs and Tomatoes
I use about the ratio of 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tbs of vinegar, 2 eggs, 2 tomatoes (or 4 roma tomatoes), 1 tbs of salt. This probably is a little more sour than what most people would enjoy, but I prefer it this way. Or if I had better tomatoes, then I would not need as much vinegar. Salt seems to enhance the flavor without having to add more sugar or vinegar.

I have only cooked fish maybe 5 times in my life. I do not even know what fish they were. My guess would be cod or tilapia.

I was at the supermarket and felt adventurous. I bought two kinds, Bluefish (local wild) and Basa fish (farmed) . I had absolutely no idea what kind of fish they are. I got 1 fillet of each which turned out to be 2 lbs of bluefish and 1 lb of basa fish.

I basically just water fried the basa fish. 5 minutes on one side at medium heat (lvl 7 for my stove), then flipped 5 minutes on the other side. I ate this with rice and turned out very nice for me. Very light texture compared to the blue fish.

For the bluefish, I cooked half the fillet. I used the same process as the basa fish. Fortunately, I am used to eating fish because there is a bone in the center part of the filet (later I found it is only in certain segments). The bluefish was much meatier. I tried to look up fishy taste, but I think it tastes a bit fishier too but not in a foul smelling way. It is a taste that I would associate more with a fish market. It tastes a little drier than the basa so I'm not sure if I overcooked it. I still enjoyed the fish though. The texture is a little like cooked salmon but different taste.

I cooked the second part and experimented with ginger, salt, and pepper. I cut the fillet into several segments and used different ratios on each piece. I still have not quite figured out what ginger does to the food. I either do not taste it or it is too strong. In this case, I could not taste it with the fish. I added it to the top of the fish, maybe next time I should leave it in the water or oil.  I am not sure that I like pepper on the fish. It tasted separate. Salt made it taste less fishy. I could probably add more than a sprinkle of salt to the fish next time. The last piece, I added after I cooked it to spaghetti sauce that I already had made before grocery shopping. I used a fork and broke it down into smaller bite-sized pieces. This turned out really well for both the fish and the pasta (which does not have meat in it).

I have a long ways to go with cooking. Feel free to give me any advice on how to start cooking.