Posts Tagged ‘great fish recipes’


Road rage is in the news again this week. A Las Vegas mother of four shot after an incident with a neighbor triggered by something that happened while both parties were in their vehicles. I’m the first to admit I get annoyed by inconsiderate drivers or people who insist on riding my bumper. Never, however, have I become so enraged I felt it necessary to arm myself or attack the other person. Arriving at my destination a few minutes later is better than not arriving at all.

One of my favorite scenes from a movie would be the one in Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bates has her parking spot taken by two young girls. Bates leans out and explains politely she had been waiting for that spot. One girl responds, “Face it lady, we’re younger and faster”. Piled on top of the rest of the problems occurring in her life Bates rams the girls car out of the spot pulling in her car. On exiting the vehicle she yells to the excited girls, “I’m older, and have more insurance”. We’ve all been in such a situation. People can be rude and less than thoughtful. I run into it every day. Several days ago I was walking out of the pharmacy with a load in my arms. They recently instituted a plastic bag ban in our town and I keep forgetting to bring my reusable bags. At any rate a woman in front of me seeing me juggling my load of 2-ply Charmin, simply let the door go in my face knocking several packages to the ground. Turning around she looked at me, smiled, and kept on walking. The man behind me stopped, picked up my packages and walked with me to the car commenting that courtesy has all but disappeared in our world. Never during the whole scene did I feel like running the woman down in the parking lot or following her home. Not that important in the scheme of things. Really.

Often on the road I’ll encounter someone who is tailgating and passing everyone in front of them, weaving in and out of traffic. Arriving at the next stoplight that same car will be sitting behind all the others waiting for the light to change. All that activity didn’t really have much effect on how quickly he was going to reach his designation, but the unsafe lane changes and bumper running could have effected how others got to theirs or if. Unless you’re driving an injured person to the hospital what can be so important as to endanger your life or the lives of others to get to?

Anger is becoming a way of life. Every time you turn on the TV it’s in your face. Not long ago I watched my young grandson going through the levels of a video game. Military men, or cyborgs of some type, were shooting at one another with high-powered automatic weapons. Bloody limbs were flying about everywhere. The game, I was told, was purchased for his older brother. This may be, but it was not his older brother who was manning the controls. Kids are reacting, I believe, to all this violence with violence. Never in all the time I was in school or my children were in school did I hear of one case of a student shooting at other students on the school ground. Surely it had happened, but not in the alarming number of incidents we hear about today.

When married to my ex-husband, a Texan, we had a gun in the house. There were no worries about children getting hurt at that point, they were grown. Neither the dog nor the cat seemed to have any interest in the weapon, although both might have paid more attention had they known it had the propensity to eliminate the large red squirrel fond of taunting them in the yard. Truth was, it scared me. Bought for my protection, he worked nights at the time, the weapon made me more nervous than if an intruder was in the house. After several failed attempts at being able to even chamber a bullet, the decision was reached to leave it on safety underneath the nightstand on nights when I was there alone. Most probably I would have shot off my own foot before hitting an intruder, but he felt better knowing I had a way to defend myself such as it was.

I took it out only once when an errant possum wandered in the yard and got its head stuck in the tin can used to catch drippings beneath the barbecue. Other than that it remained where it laid until it went with him when he went and I wasn’t sorry to see it go. Growing up in Texas he explained they learned early to respect and use weapons. His daddy, so he said, kept guns in the house but all four children knew not to touch them and if they had occasion to use them, how do to so safely.

Violence has never been my first course of action. In the case of protecting myself or someone I love, I’m sure I would be spurred into action. I do know if someone took my parking place or passed me and shot me a universal hand signal, it would never be worth anything other than perhaps returning the favor. Obviously something far beyond the incident on the road must push these perpetrators of such crimes to the breaking point.

At any rate, dark thoughts for a gorgeous day. Unbelievably I have daffodils blooming on my hill and the cherry trees already magnificent down the road. Strange year for weather. Weather gurus are saying this could be a long drought for we Californians. Not good news for those people making their living from agriculture in the central valley.

On a cheerier note. This cod is so delicious. I make extra bruschetta and put in atop garlic bread. Yum.

Alaskan Cod with Olive Bruschetta Sauce

Olive Bruschetta

3 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
4 leaves fresh basil, chopped fine
1/2 Tbsp. EV olive oil
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a pot of water to boiling. Cut a cross on the bottom of each tomato. Drop in water for 1 min. Retrieve with slotted spoon and cool. Peel, seed, and chop.

Mix tomatoes with remaining ingredients. Allow to sit in refrigerator for 1 hour.

2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup fresh fennel, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
Olive bruschetta
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Alaskan Cod filets
Hot cooked pasta

Melt butter in large skillet over med. heat. Add fennel, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 mins. until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, bruschetta and basil to pan. Heat until bubbly. Add cod to pan pushing down into sauce and ladling some on top. Cover and cook for 8 mins. or until fish begins to flake.

Serve over cooked pasta tossed with butter or olive oil and chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Serves 2

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Photo by Susie Nelson

Photo by Susie Nelson

Last night I had an In-N-Out burger “animal style”. Yum. In high school I contributed a good deal of my allowance money to In-N-Out and never lost the taste for their delicious burgers over the years. To give them all the credit they deserve, they’ve never lowered their standards using fresh ingredients and delivering a terrific product every time. The original stand I frequented was just that, a stand. Basically it was set up for drive through customers, although there was a small window at the front of the small boxlike building, where customers could order if on foot. Music blaring from our stereos, tuck and roll freshly installed from Tijuana, we cruised through after catching a movie at the drive-in or roller skating for a late night cheeseburger with grilled onions and a large fry, washed down with a soda or a suicide (a deadly concoction of coca cola, root beer, 7-up and anything else with a spigot attached to it). No wonder Clearasil did a big business back in the day.

Unbelievably, I can remember getting a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries for about $.30. When I babysat, which I did often during my high school years, parents paid me $.50 an hour for the privilege of watching their little ones. Married not long after I graduated, I could feed my new husband and myself on a budget of about $15 a week, barely covering a loaf of bread and a jug of milk at today’s prices.

I mention this because I went to the grocery store yesterday. This is not unusual as is obvious by this blog, but it certainly is getting more expensive. Handing over $65.82 I got in return two bags, neither containing meat other than a half a pound of deli peppered turkey. Amazing. I wanted turmeric for a recipe I was working on. I found it appropriately in the spice aisle on sale for $7.99. Really? I hope it comes with a steak. Waving a fond farewell to the turmeric I decided instead to do something different with my chicken with the impressive array of spices already found in my cupboard.

It used to be I went to the store and purchased what was written on my list. With the drought pumping up the prices on nearly everything I need, I’ve turned to grocery outlet stores and double coupon days to help bring the cost of food down to a manageable place. Mentioning the soaring prices to the checker as I placed my two bags in the cart he said, “don’t forget the price of gas”. Thanks for reminding me.

Our middle class is fading into the background with jobs flourishing for low-income employees as well a higher paid executive positions. Advancing technology is phasing out many jobs formerly done my middle-income employees with a high school education, or high school plus a few years of college. Many middle-income jobs are being rerouted overseas where products can be produced at a fraction of the price by employees happy to work for pennies on the dollar. It is not unlikely the grocery clerk reminding me about the rising gas prices may someday be replaced by a computerized system at the checkout stand.

Lately there is a lot of buzz about reeling in some of the technology we’ve come to know and love. It is deemed unhealthy for little ones easily addicted to tablets with colorful pictures and animation before pulling on a pair of Dora the Explorer training pants. How do you reel in a revolution so warmly embraced by everyone from the diaper set to their great-grandfather Skypeing his grandchildren from the nursing home? It would be like taking away a pacifier from a crying baby. It wouldn’t be pretty.

Apps are popping up quicker than spring flowers. They range from helping police officers locate the closest donut establishment to capturing a picture of the food on your plate and determining your caloric intake taking into account what you’ve already put away for the day. We’re on the line, the hook is set and we’ve been reeled in. People are tiring of the constant clicking and chattering cluttering up their daily lives, unable to capture a moment of their children’s attention away from the glittering screen in front of them. Technology companies are amassing huge fortunes in their coffers riding on the surge of technology flooding the market devoured by consumers hungry for newer and more advanced products finding the ones just purchased obsolete before reading the user’s manual.

Where will we go from here? It boggles the mind. I watched a story on the news about a device implanted in several spinal injury cases which actually sends pulses to the brain allowing them to walk again and feel their previously inanimate limbs. Wow. Had we seen it in a movie in the 70’s we would have considered this all merely a work of Hollywood fiction. Hal, for me, in 2001 a Space Odyssey, was a bit unnerving but perhaps not so far fetched. What if we create machines so smart they outsmart their inventors? Cue Rod Serling now.

It is becoming an interesting, frustrating, often dangerous, and unpredictable world we live in. Always filled with incredible beauty and mother nature in the background toying with us playing her incessant games. Hopefully, the prices will level out as I’d like to try that recipe with turmeric down the road I’ve been eying. For today, it is to be in the 80’s, the tulips are blooming in the yard, and I’m headed out for a walk.

Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spinach Salad


4 tilapia filets
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Canola oil
Tartar sauce

Pat tilapia dry. Mix together Cajun seasoning, black pepper, garlic salt and salt. Sprinkle evenly over filets. Whisk together egg whites and Dijon mustard in shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in another shallow dish.

Coat each filets with egg white mixture then thoroughly dredge in bread crumbs.

Heat 1/2″ of Canola oil over high heat until shimmering. Add fish to pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce.

Serves 4

Spinach Salad with Mustard Dressing

1 pkg. baby spinach
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
6 large button mushrooms, sliced thin

Toss all ingredients with dressing or plate decoratively and pour dressing on top.

Mustard Dressing

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Add all ingredients to food processor. Process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Photo by Susie Nelson

Photo by Susie Nelson

Surgery may be lurking somewhere in my future. I’m not a fan. This certainly wouldn’t be my first trip under the knife, but hopefully it will be my last. In my mid-twenties I had emergency surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst. After being examined by several different physicians, I was told something was quite wrong but they weren’t sure exactly what it was. A bit unnerving. If they didn’t know, who did? In order to clarify the situation, I was told, it would require going in and having a look around. Since I hadn’t come equipped with a zipper or any noticeable seams, I assumed this wasn’t going to be without some discomfort. Not having one single clue what surgery encompassed, I signed forms giving them permission for everything from removing the mole behind my ear to resetting my nose break from when I was sixteen. Almost immediately after obtaining my signature, hospital personnel began to show up. Blood was drawn, the surgical area was prepped, and questions were asked regarding allergies and medical history, etc. A nurse arrived with a syringe. Shoving the business end of the needle in my upper arm while depressing the shaft, she inquired what medications, if any, I was allergic to. Thinking this question might have been asked prior to the injection, I again recited the short list. Arriving at atropine, she pulled the needle out of my arm so fast a huge lump rose under the skin resembling an anthill. Oh-oh. If I hadn’t felt so awful, I believe I would have sneaked out a side door. Had she continued to push the liquid into my arm, we would have had at least one diagnosis wrapped up and in the bag, and me with it.

My frantic mother arrived about ten minutes before I was to be taken down to surgery. Being her “only chick” as she is wont to refer me, a crisis was afoot. Let me say first, I adore my mother. However, in emergencies she’s about as useful as a life raft with a slow leak. Sitting in the chair next to the hospital bed with a look as though I would momentarily draw my last breath, she asked if I wanted a priest. Not being Catholic, I felt this to be a definite no. The woman watches too many old movies. Next came the Demerol shot, every pre-surgical patient’s guide to the land beyond the beyond. Love the stuff. They told me later I sang “Mama Told Me Not to Come” all the way to surgery and offered my phone number to one particularly attractive young intern.

Fluttering my eyes in the recovery room, my mind grasped hold of that first post surgery twinge. Owwww. They keep you pretty well medicated after major surgery, a definite plus. Once stabilized, I was wheeled up to a room. I discovered later I was sharing it with a very pregnant mother to be. At the time I was originally unloaded, had an orangatan wearing a fez and smoking a cigar been occupying the adjacent bed, I wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss.

Fading in and out in my drug induced haze, I remember being vaguely aware of activity around me. It appeared far away, mostly blurred whisperings blending with an occasional machine beeping or humming. I would drift off to sleep only to have someone in a hospital uniform show up to wake me up. What is it exactly hospitals have against a person getting a full night’s sleep? The curtain dividing the two beds was drawn so as yet I hadn’t seen the woman sharing my space.

On the second night of what was to be a seven day stay, I woke up more frequently. They’d packed me ice due to a reaction to a morphine injection so sleep wasn’t coming as easily. I considered the definite possibility of a conspiracy brewing to kill me by injection and save having to compile what was likely to be a staggering hospital bill. Sometime late, with nothing illuminating the room but a shard of light leaking through the cracked door a voice interrupted my subconscious. “Lady”, it said. “Huh?”, my mind replied. “Laaaaaaaaaaady”, was repeated. This time the annoying voice was punctuated with a disturbingly loud groan. Waking up, then dozing, the “lady” rode the waves of my drowsy brain, each time becoming more urgent. “What?”, I wanted to say but my lips were somehow stuck together and simply refused to unglue to form the words. “LADY!” “WHAAAAAAAAT?”

Finally coming around enough to be in the room with my body, I realized the woman behind the curtain was addressing me. I answered, but I don’t think made any sound. Parched mouths do not an orator make. Trust me on this. Over the next half hour I came to grasp the woman was in labor and needed a nurse. Her nurse summoning contraption was somehow beyond her reach and she required my help. This was somewhat of a conundrum, as I was the human version of a sno-cone. Fumbling around in the bed of ice unable to sit or stand, I located the end of the cord to my call unit. Sleep again captured me before pulling it up, but the woman groaning beside me was not to be ignored.

Finally, I pulled up the unit and pushed the button. The response was not exactly spit spot, if you get my drift. They must have been eating a little tub of tapioca or watching late night TV. Once they arrived on scene, however, total chaos ensued. For me it was like what I imagine the experience of watching a movie on LSD might be like (never tried the stuff, swear). Lights flickered on and off, colorful uniforms filtered in and out of my vision. Lots of screaming ensued, this from the pregnant lady I presumed. Certainly I hoped it wasn’t from a member of the staff. That wouldn’t be good. Last came the loud protests of a baby crying following a slap. My muddled mind concluded I’d just had a baby and smiling I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, somewhat more clear than the day before I awoke to find myself next to an empty bed. Reviewing my thoughts from the night before, I couldn’t be sure a baby had been delivered but my suspicion was there had been. This worried me. A nurse, coming to check my vital signs, confirmed indeed a little boy had been born around 4:30 and apparently I had alerted the nurses station he was on his way. It wasn’t mine. Thank God, I didn’t have any Pampers at home. It turned out his young mother was morbidly obese. Due to her considerable size, mother and baby were in danger so she was put on this ward to be kept under close observation. I hesitate to think what would have happened if they hadn’t been keeping such a keen eye on her. Ice woman might have ended up officiating, and my hands were cold, mighty cold. At any rate, unable to get her on the gurney, the wee boy was delivered in the bed next to me. Mother and son were doing fine.

My next roommate was to be an elderly lady with dementia who kept throwing the contents of her food trays at me. Once able to eat what was being served myself, dementia or not I completely understood the sentiment.

So, hopefully this stay if it happens will be less eventful. Knowing me it probably will not.

I’m also not a fan of salmon. Growing up in Nova Scotia salmon came to the dinner table disguised as cakes, loaf, salad and sometimes the whole fish appeared draped in cream sauce with sliced hard boil eggs. Lately I’ve been able to approach it again but it has to be cooked in a certain way and this one works beautifully with the tangy sauce.

Baked Salmon with Tarragon Tartar Sauce

Tarragon Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. dried Tarragon
1 tsp. dried dill
2 Tbsp. pickle relish
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and minced
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Siracha sauce or to taste
Salt and pepper

Mix together all ingredients and chill for 1 hr. Serve with fish.

Baked Salmon

2 Tbsp. butter
4 salmon steaks (skin on)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Sea salt
1 tsp. dried dill
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
Lemon slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray bottom of casserole dish with cooking spray. Dot bottom of pan with butter. Rub steaks with olive oil and place on top of pats of butter. Sprinkle with seasonings.

Mix together wine and broth. Pour in bottom of pan. Bake for 15 mins.

Garnish with lemon slices and serve with tartar sauce.

Serves 4.

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Photos by Susie Nelson

Photos by Susie Nelson

While filling out an application to work with the local theater arts group, I came to the CONTACT INFORMATION section.  Under the main heading they had included a sub-heading reading Best way to Contact You. Never have I been faced with so many options for connection.

cell phone
Magic Jack
Jack in the Box
Face Time
flaming arrow

What was most interesting is the list did not include home phone.  Do people not have land lines anymore?  Good Lord, I’m getting so out of date I’m going to require regular dusting before too long.

Recently I read programs are in place to deprogram those high-tech individuals addicted to their devices. You know who you are.  The symptoms, for those of you texting and playing on-line poker while reading this, may include checking your phone within 10 seconds of opening your eyes, and the last thing before you close them to sleep. Those individuals for whom every facet of their lives revolves around their devices, including creating alarms to keep them on track for appointments during the day. The ones often seen scaling a hedge carrying a running garden hose to catch an incoming call. Mentioned also were the compulsive, if not somewhat narcissistic, people who make an art form of personal picture taking. You find them posting endless personal poses on their social media pages ranging from flossing their teeth to having their callouses filed. It’s epidemic. Researchers were saying that rather than living the moment, we’re capturing it in a lens. Interesting.

My phone issues lean in the opposite direction  Mine can often be found in a drawer. Late at night it wouldn’t be out of character for me to bury it in the back yard, or toss it out of the car window on the freeway. Anything to make it stop its incessant ringing. When we moved in this house I noticed there is a phone jack in the master bathroom, one place I draw the line.  I do not want to speak to someone who is thus occupied on their end, nor would I choose to ask them to bear with me was I in the same position.  Just me.

Face time draws you into a whole different dimension of phone communication.  Days of answering the phone in your boxer shorts with bed head, or sipping on a glass of wine during a business conference call are behind us.  Now you need to be fully dressed, makeup in place, and the house cleaned before considering engaging in a call.

Day before yesterday I needed to make several calls.  Since we’ve moved I’ve alerted all the principal players in my life, banks, credit cards, magazines, insurance companies, etc. of our new location. Every time, however, I have gone into Social Security on-line to change my address for my Social Security Card, I’ve been denied access because according to their system the information I’m providing them is incorrect. Specifically, where I was born.  Seeing no way to avoid waiting in the endless queue of a government phone system, I dialed the number and got the expected response. “Due to heavy phone volume you may expect an 11 minute wait.  For quicker response please refer to our online site at www…”.  Uh-huh.  Sigh.  I put the phone on speaker and went about making the batter for my fish. Thirty-four minutes later a gentlemen came on the phone.  After explaining my situation, he pulled up my account.  Once we established my SSN, DOB, and location he began with the security questions, four in total.  Mother’s maiden name, check.  First pet, check.  Where you were born, not so fast.  After answering the question with what I know to be correct, I was informed I was wrong.  Okay.  He suggested I pick another big city.  Really?  Could we narrow down to a country, or should I just start at the A’s?

I went and retrieved by birth certificate.  Why I did this I have no idea.  I know where I was born and it hasn’t changed since I arrived kicking and screaming in the delivery room.  I repeated my answer and he repeated this was incorrect and to try again.  In desperation I threw out, “um, New York City?”.  I did not win the car.  In the end he could not verify I was me, and I was beginning to doubt it myself, so I was instructed to visit my local social security office.  Sigh and sigh.

Yesterday we got up early, had our coffee, and headed to the local SS office. Our goal was to arrive a half an hour before they were to open.  This is not my first rodeo.  Last time I had to avail myself of their services I went midday.  I was number 175. They were calling number 46.  Never again.  This time I was 3.  Yea.  Should you have to go take every available piece of picture ID you’ve been issued since kindergarten. Guaranteed the one you leave at home is the one you’ll be asked for.  In my case, being Canadian, I needed my birth certificate and green card as well.  Everything was on a roll until she got to my green card.  It seems you have to renew the damn things every 15 years. I was one year passed the limit.  Ach. As a plus, it was determined although of Canadian Citizenship according to their records I was born in Long Beach, CA. This she attributed to CA also being the abbreviation for Canada.  What more can I say here?  Given a piece of paper with the location of the appropriate office in Sacramento, she suggested I arrive early.  Got it.

The last time I changed my green card I was the first body in the lobby at the Canadian Consulate. I remained there until closing at 5:00 that night.  The problem stems from my personal history. For me this is not new news. My father died when I was one.  For the purpose of clarification, let’s call him Frank Williams.  When I was nine Mother exchanged vows with Frank James who adopted me, changing her name and mine. So far it goes, Frank Williams to Frank James (refer to your chart and handouts).  Taking the plunge for the third but not last time Mother became Mrs. James Martin.  So we have Frank Williams to Frank James to James Martin in that order. It is, at best like trying to untangle a nest of horny water moccasins. Launching into the details of my marry-go-round got my last interviewer so confused I believe he assigned me a new card so he could go home and have a drink before dinner.

So, I may never be able to prove I am who I am. Who knows maybe I’m someone else and have only been kidding myself I’m me all these years.

This fish was lovely.  Honest.

Beer Battered Tilapia

1 lb. tilapia filets
flour for dredging
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 cups ale
3 Tbsp. vinegar

Heat 2″ of oil in large heavy bottomed pot over med-high heat.

Cut each filet in half. Pat dry and dredge in flour.

Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, cayenne (optional), paprika, and black pepper. Slowly whisk in ale and vinegar until mixture is smooth.


Dip flour dredged pieces into batter with a fork allowing excess to slightly drain off. Drop into oil and cook until golden brown (about 3 mins. on each side). Drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce, malt vinegar and lemon wedges.

Serves 4

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