So. A few things have occurred since we last chatted…or rather since I last threw words at your face and you took the time to read them because you’re awesome. These things, these amazing, temporary-life-altering things, were…temporarily life-altering.
The first was that I was hired to work as a part time law clerk for a fantastic attorney and equally amiable team of paralegals. Nowhere else (that I know of) can be heard throughout the office talking about deposition dates and court orders one moment, then pedicures and aphephobia the next. The work is twice as rad as regular homework because I’m getting paid.
The second was that I set into motion and am now on track to attend Guardian ad Litem training. When I first heard of this, I was interested solely for the pro bono hours (a requirement for graduation). After researching a little more, I was hit with a very sudden, very deep and very real sense of something that I can describe only as heroism. I could not wait to get started-to feel as though I was doing work for good, that that work counted and that I was helping people who could not otherwise help themselves.
The third was New Hampshire. Oh my god. New-Freaking Hampshire. I don’t think those people fully appreciate what they have up there. Mountains. With rocks. Big rocks. Everywhere. I mean, if I lived there, I’d be up on the trails so often I think I’d grow hooves, horns and be partially adopted by a herd of mountain goats. I’d certainly smell like them. Do mountain goats herd?
Anyway, I always love challenging myself, but this. This was epic. We summitted Mt. Lafayette, the tallest mountain in the Franconia Ridge range. Granted, I was too numb to fully appreciate it while I was up there (try a 40-degree temperature drop and 50-mph gusts), but when we trudged our aching knees and twitching ass muscles back to the car and looked up, it was like a punch in the face. A good punch in the face. One that said “you just climbed that shit.” I white water rafted (which was cold), caved and climbed more mountains. I learned how to be patient with other not-so-enthusiastic hikers, came to understand what family was in a way that I had not yet thought of and took another step in the being-okay-with-the-flow direction.
But, the most profound thing I did was to start eating lunch. Wierd, no? Let me explain. Since high school, I’ve had this habit of not eating until I was hungry. I felt that the experience would be diminished if I wasn’t starving by the time it came. Illogical? Yes. Garnered from disordered patterns of thought? Absolutely. As a result, I would eat a large meal after my morning workout (before which I would wake up and go directly into the workout), and then wouldn’t really feel hungry again until around 4 or 5 that evening. The problem, dear friends, was that no one else in the house ate at 4 or 5. So, I would super-starve myself until 6 or 7, by which time I would be ravaging. Some physiology: you starve yourself, your metabolism slows way down because your body is trying to conserve what energy stores it has because it doesn’t know when it will be fed again. I was in a cycle of gorging and starving, which did a number on weight maintenance…which makes me very grumpy.
This was the way of life for a good 5 or 6 years. That’s right. A grump for 6 freaking years. But you see, if you eat a number of meals throughout the day, your metabolism speeds up. And you know the magical (at least for me) thing about a fast metabolism? You’re hungry ALL the time!! Joy! AND, your body zips it right out, so (given you follow a healthy, balanced diet) you get to maintain your weight without any extra effort.
Two birds. One stone.
Eating makes me happy. And enjoying the experience makes me ever more ecstatic.
However, dear, sweet readers, this revelation comes at a steep price: Not as many huge, decadent sweet breakfasts. BUT, it does mean more healthy lunchy-type stuffs, and more special breakfasts. Why more special? Because I won’t have them as often, the times I do have them must be marked and dusted with fairy magic and sunshine.
And now, the fish.
Which my baby brother caught in Boca Grande Pass.
Which was as big as my leg.
Oh. My God. I’m very particular about my fish. It has to be white, super mild and absolutely free of the brown bits and veins. Unless it’s raw tuna or salmon. Or, unless it’s fresh. You put a mackerel filet caught two hours ago in front of me, and I will all but vaporize it and inhale it through an epic flavor tube. ANY fish tastes good when it’s fresh. Cobia has a super dense texture-almost crab-like (you thought I was going to say chicken, didn’t you? No fish has the consistency or flavor of chicken, and anybody that tells you otherwise has an ulterior agenda.); and a wonderfully mild sea-watery flavor. This fish is perfect for pan-frying and oven-galzing.
Which is exactly what I did.
1 super-ginormous freshly caught Cobia….or about 4, 3-4oz. filets (swordfish, cod, haddock or grouper work well too. Even Tilapia…ugh.)
Salt and lemon juice
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup Guinness
2-3 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder (or nifty roasted garlic spray–3 sprays)
1/4 teaspoon Onion powder
Dash Chili powder
Dash File (sassafras powder)
1/2 cup minced Sweet onion
1/4 cup minced Dill pickle (I used the hot pickles)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder (or 4 sprays of the roasted garlic juice)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons Parsley (fresh or dried)
2 teaspoons Apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons Ketsup (to taste…some like it tomato-y)
1/3 cup Mayo (the real stuff, people. Don’t be pansies.)
2 1/2 cups H2O (I don’t know why I didn’t just type ‘water’….this sounded cooler)
2 cups Long grain white rice
2 tablespoons Canola oil
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Salt
Broccoli. Lots of it. (2 1/2 cups)
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter (optional. But not really. Pansy.)
1. Combine the beer and sugar in a small saucepan. Don’t try this in the microwave. Just…don’t.
2. Bring to a boil on high heat just until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.
4. Boom. If it seems too thin, return to high heat and boil for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thicker.
1. Season the fish with the salt and lemon juice and preheat a non-stick pan to medium-high.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees on convection bake/cook/broil, and prepare a cookie sheet by placing a cooling rack on top.
3. Sear the fish on one side in a bit of oil for about 2 minutes, or until there is a deep golden crust. DON’T TOUCH IT!! In those two minutes. Otherwise you steam it, you ninny.
4. Working 2 filets at a time, place the seared filets on the rack.
5. Glaze the fish and stick em in the oven for 10 minutes.
6. Remove after 10 minutes and check firmness. If it’s still a little squishy, cook for another 5-10 minutes. Now would be a good time to re-glaze.
7. When fish are done, remove and glaze again. It’s beer and sugar. You can’t over-glaze.
1. Microwave the onion and a teaspoon of butter on high for one minute.
2. Remove and add remaining ingredients, stir to combine and chill until ready for slathering.
1. This takes 25 minutes. Plan accordingly.
2. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil in a tall saucepan.
3. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
4. After all of the water has been absorbed/evaporated, turn off the burner and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.
5. Okay. I lied. It takes 35 minutes.
1. Combine everything in a microwave-safe casserole.
2. Nuke on high for 4 minutes.