Monday, September 27, 2010

Garlic-Parmesan Tilapia

I was not a good father yesterday. I really wanted to sit around and do nothing. I got to do that mostly because I am married to the best woman ever. I got to take a two and a half hour nap, which my body really needed. When I woke up, I got up and made dinner for the family. Fish sticks and mac and cheese for the boys and broiled tilapia fillets for Mr. and Mrs. BA.

We have a recipe for basil butter fish fillets, which is good (however, last night I substituted spinach for the basil and it was ok as well). I lamented that I needed a number of different recipes for broiled fish as we have a number of tilapia fillets in the freezer.

On October 24, we will have a new grocery store to shop in just up the road. Wegman's will open on that day. I am greatly looking forward to my first shopping experience at Wegman's. Needing a recipe for tonight, I moseyed over to their website and poked around. And what did I find? A recipe for Garlic-Parmesan Tilapia. Now, I'm all set.

Garlic-Parmesan Tilapia
TOTAL TIME: 25 min
  • 4 Tbsp Wegmans Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter (Dairy Dept)
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Classics Shredded Italian Blend Cheese (Cheese Shop)
  • 1 tsp Wegmans Basting Oil
  • 4 tilapia fillets (about 6 oz each)
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) Wegmans Bouillabaisse Seafood Sauce (Prepared Foods), warmed
You'll Need: Small saucepan, baking sheet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Melt garlic butter in saucepan on LOW; remove from heat as soon as it is melted.

2. Combine melted butter and bread crumbs in a small bowl; mix well. Add cheese; mixing well.

3. Coat baking sheet thinly with basting oil. Place tilapia on baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.

4. Top each fillet with about 3 Tbsp of bread crumb mixture; press to cover entire top of fillet.

5. Bake 12-15 min or until internal temp of fillets reaches 130 degrees. (Check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of tilapia.) Remove from oven; let rest 2 min.

6. Serve with bouillabaisse sauce.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Brave Astronaut has all of his Fingernails, Thank You

Of course, you all know that I am drawn to space stories. Here's three for you to look through.

The first is sort of evidence as to why I don't think this Brave Astronaut will be heading into orbit anytime soon. According to Time Magazine, who got it from National Geographic, it evidently can make your fingernails fall off, among other bad things. A tendency to motion sickness also? Well, duh.

If you would like to brush up on your "Fundamentals of Space Travel," head over to ThinkQuest and read up.

Secondly, of course, growing up, the mnemonic that we all learned to remember the order of the planets was:
  • My (Mercury)
  • Very (Venus)
  • Educated (Earth)
  • Mother (Mars)
  • Just (Jupiter)
  • Served (Saturn)
  • Us (Uranus)
  • Nine (Neptune)
  • Pies (Pluto)
Of course when Neptune switched places with Pluto, making the furthest planet, it became "Pizza Nicely" but that's neither here nor there. For now, it seems that Pluto has been kicked out of the planetary club. Membership Card revoked. Secret Handshake changed.

American youth is not taking this sitting down. It gives me hope for the future when I see that children have taken pen (and pencil and crayon) in hand to lash out at the powers that be to demand that Pluto be given its planetary status back.
  • First link from kottke, who includes a letter from "Will," who offers a picture of what Pluto looks likes so the scientists can make a model and put it back.
  • PBS listed more "hate mail" in its Pluto files. Emerson asked why the scientists were making the other planets cry.
Finally, I had intended to make this list a bigger post, with links to the music, but you folks all know how to do that. Go read the list from (kottke)and then listen to some of your favorite tunes that were used to wake the astronauts on space flights. Evidently, according to NASA, the first recording used were the lyrics to "Hello, Dolly" sent to the crew of Gemini 6 in 1965. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lets Go Nats!

Where am I tonight? I am attending one of the last Nationals games of the 2010 season. It hasn't been the best season this year, but like the Cubs, "we'll get 'em next year." There's always next year . . . and the year after that . . . and the year after that . . . Tonight, the Brave Astronaut will be on the field as part of a recognition ceremony for all of the group leaders who brought groups to a game this year. As you may recall, I arranged for about 150 of my closest archival friends out to a game in August as part of the SAA Annual Meeting.

The 2011 schedules have been announced and it looks like Brave Astronaut tours will be taking in the Cubbies in Chicago when SAA meets there next August. As the regular baseball season leads into October and the playoffs, I will likely make my focus on those lovable American League dominators, my friends, your World Series Champion New York Yankees.

Can they repeat? Sure. Will they? Maybe.

And of course, hockey starts this month - so I've got that going for me.

Update: After being down by three runs for most of the game - the Nats exploded in the 8th inning for 8 runs and won the game 8-4.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cinnamon Bread

I am usually in charge of breakfast for the boys in the morning. A popular request at the house is raisin bread, which is why we are often out of it. Perhaps I will have to whip up a loaf of my favorite Cheverly Chef's Cinnamon Bread (and throw in some raisins).

Cinnamon Bread
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks
For 1 loaf
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 6 TB Butter
  • 2½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1/3 cups Sugar
  • 3½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cups Sugar
  • 2 TB Cinnamon
  • Egg and Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
  • Softened Butter, For Smearing And Greasing
Melt butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it’s warm. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Smear loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Sorry, but every time I think about this particular soup, I have to say the name, just like Newman.

From the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook via the Amateur Gourmet, here's a recipe for the New Orleans staple.

from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
by Matt Lee & Ted Lee

For 6 people
Time: 1 1/4 hours

  • 1 pound headless medium shrimp (41 - 50 per pound), shells on
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (homemade preferably, though I used boxed)
  • 1 tablespoon Lee Bros. Shrimp Boil [make that by grinding together in a mortar and pestle 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 1 tablespoon celery seeds, 6 bay leaves shredded, and 1/2 cup kosher salt then stirring in 3 Tbs cayenne pepper. But you only need 1 Tbs of the full mixture, so you may want to make less!] [Don't skip this, though, it gives the dish significant flavor.]
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more if necessary
  • 10 ounces smoked andouille sausage or chorizo, cut on the bias 3/4 inch thick
  • 6 chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 pounds) [I forgot to skin them]
  • About 2 teaspoons salt
  • About 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • One 28-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • Six 3-4 inch-long fresh thyme stems

Peel the shrimp and place in a bowl, reserving the shells separately. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and the shrimp boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the shells and discard. Turn off the heat.

In a broad-bottomed 4-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the sausage, turning the pieces with tongs until the outer surface of the sausage pieces are browned all over, about 6 minutes total. Remove to a plate and reserve the sausage.

Brown the chicken: add the chicken thighs to the sausage fat in the pot - in batches, if necessary; don't crowd the pan - and sprinkle them with pinches of salt and pepper. Saute them on one side until they are a rich golden brown, about 4 minutes, agitating them every so often and adding drops of oil, if necessary, to keep them from sticking. Turn the thighs, sprinkle them again with pinches of salt and pepper, and saute until the other side is nicely browned. Remove to a plate and reserve.

Add the onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup reserved tomato juice to the pot and saute, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the bottom, until the vegetables are softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as you add them. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and thickly soupy, 4 to 6 minutes.

[Note from Adam: I also seasoned with salt at this step and, actually, every step along the way. It's good to season as you go.]

Add the chicken, nestling the thighs in the stew. Then add the sausage and any juices that may have drained from the chicken and the sausage.

Strain the broth into a measuring cup and add enough of the remaining tomato juice to make 3 cups of liquid. Add the liquid to the pot and then add the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Turn off the heat and add the shrimp, stirring to distribute.

Let the jambalaya rest for 10 minutes before serving. The rice should be plump and very moist but not soupy. Serve in bowls, and garnish with the thyme. [I stirred in chopped parsley to make it look even prettier.]

And that's how you make Jambalaya.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day For Reflection

My post from September 11, 2006

My post from September 11, 2007

My post from September 11, 2008

My post from September 11, 2009

In the morning on this day nine years ago, I had just dropped my car off for service and gotten a ride into work. I turned on the radio in my office and the morning show deejays that I normally listened to were talking in very subdued tones, relating how what was believed to have been a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

There is not a day that goes by when I don't think about September 11. Everything changed that day and the images from that day are seared into my mind. Like a tragic Flickr stream, images pop into my head, and especially on this day. I have also been watching some of the specials that have been on television over the past few days leading up to today's anniversary.

There is another blogger out there whom I read. He also marks this day by writing a letter to his friend, Andy, who didn't come home that day from his office in the World Trade Center. You should go read his post for today.

Then. Stop. Reflect. Remember.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Raspberry Goodness

It's Labor Day. The unofficial end to summer. The Brave Astronaut Clan is surely cramming in a few more hours at the pool. If we were in New York, school would be starting on Wednesday, but here in Maryland, LBA started Kindergarten last week. But of course, it will be hot this week, because it always is right when you go back to school.

These recipes caught my eye the other day when I saw it in the New York Times Magazine. The magazine often does these "Recipe Redux" columns and this particular one featured a 1900 recipe for Raspberry Vinegar and then the new recipes for a float and a tart. Both excellent items for a hot late summer day. And the article even notes that it is appropriate to make enough to give as gifts on Labor Day as a farewell to summer. So, sorry no vinegar for you, but here's how you can make your own.

Recipe: 1900, Raspberry Vinegar
This recipe appeared in The Times in an article titled “Women Here and There — Their Frills and Fancies.” You may halve or quarter the recipe.
  • 1 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 quarts freshly picked raspberries
  • Sugar
  1. In a nonreactive bowl, combine the vinegar and raspberries. Cover and let macerate for 3 days.
  2. Mash the raspberries in the bowl, then strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. To every 1 cup of juice, add ½ pound of sugar (1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon). Combine the juice and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer (gently!) for 15 minutes. Let cool, then bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months.
  3. To serve, add 1 teaspoon raspberry vinegar to a tumbler filled with ice. Add water, sparkling water, rum, brandy or prosecco. Makes about 1 quart.
Recipe: 2010: Raspberry Vinegar Float
by Joanne Weir, the author of “Tequila”
  • 1 ounce raspberry vinegar (from recipe above)
  • 2 ounces pisco Italia
  • 1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • Club soda
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • 1 sprig mint.
Place the first four ingredients in a shaker and stir well to mix. Add plenty of ice and shake well. Strain into a tall float glass. Top the drink with club soda to taste (¼ to ½ cup). Carefully place a scoop of ice cream into the glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve with a tall bar spoon and a straw. Serves 1.

Recipe: Raspberry Vinegar Tart
By Allison Kave, the owner of First Prize Pies in Manhattan

For the crust:
  • 25 chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1 cup freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries (optional)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (see 1900 recipe)
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (see 1900 recipe)
  • 1/2 tablespoon St-Germain elderflower liqueur.
  1. Prepare the crust: In a food processor, grind the cookies until you have 1½ cups crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. If using the freeze-dried raspberries, process them in a food processor, spice grinder or mortar and pestle until they are reduced to powder. There will be seeds, so sift the powder through a fine-mesh sieve into the cookie crumbs, and stir lightly to combine. Butter a 9-inch tart pan, put the crumbs in the middle and slowly drizzle the melted butter into the crumbs. Mix until the crumbs resemble the texture of wet sand. (You may not need all the butter; you can discard the rest.) Firmly press the crumbs against the sides and bottom of the pan until about ¼ inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator, or even the freezer, for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crust until the base is dry, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Keep the oven on.
  2. Make the filling: Whisk together the eggs and ¼ cup sugar. In a 1-quart saucepan, whisk together the flour and remaining ¾ cup sugar, then whisk in water, red-wine vinegar and raspberry vinegar. Bring to a boil, whisking until the sugar is dissolved, then add to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking vigorously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Pour the filling back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it coats back of spoon, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not boil. Pour a ½-inch-thick layer of filling into the chilled tart crust.
  3. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven until the filling is set, about 15 minutes, then cool completely in the pan. Chill in the refrigerator.
  4. Whisk the heavy cream with the raspberry vinegar and St-Germain until stiff peaks form. Spread over the surface of the tart, then drizzle with a bit more raspberry vinegar.
Serves 8. Cookie crust adapted from “Paris Sweets,” by Dorie Greenspan; custard filling adapted from Gourmet magazine.