The Mad Chef

One man's search for sanity through the creation of tasty vittles

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Helllooooooo Pudding!

Enjoying my last day before I become well-acquainted with the snak-paks, and I'm having steak tonight as a farewell to mastication for a couple of days! At 9:45am tomorrow, I will be having 4 teeth popped out and I bid them good riddance. I have plenty of other teeth who have been happy to do their job with no pushing, shoving, complaining, or repeated infections and I will be more than happy to go the rest of the way with just them.
My farewell steak is currently marinating in a combo of soy sauce, worcestershire, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, ground mustard, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and two different kinds of ground, smoked chiles. I am very excited about this. I'm also going to grill some broccolini with lemon and garlic and make some rice to round it all out. Potatoes would be better, but then I'd have to go to the store. Not happening. What I'm most interested in is seeing what our HT butcher really knows about the meat he's slingin'! I was at the HT on Saturday, and was perusing the last chance bin for a cheap, good steak for the aforementioned reasons, when the butcher started chatting with me. I talked to him for a minute, then he came around the counter and recommended a chuck eye steak to me. I'm always a little wary of grilling anything originating from the chuck, but he swore up and down that this is the best for your money, and that it's what he himself takes home when he eats steak. This being a fairly ringing endorsement, and at only ~$4/lb, I decided to give it a shot. The one thing I've found about these steaks is that you better marinate the heck out of them, and you better not like your steak over medium rare. Well, you shouldn't like your steak over medium rare no matter what, but that's already been discussed here. I'm just going to slap it on the high heat, turn it, flip it, turn it, throw it on a plate and let it sizzle. Mmmmmm. . .red meat. . .hard to go wrong with that.
It will probably be next week before I get to report back on the steak, that is unless I go on a painkiller-fueled blogging bender tomorrow, so this place will be silent for a few days. Wish me luck with the extractions, hopefully it will go smoothly. If not, well, that will just suck. I can't have anything other than clear liquids the last 6 hours before the appointment, so I'm going to load up tonight. Well, I would consider scotch to be clear. . .
Until next.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A Little Slice of Heaven

Paul of Playing With My Food, and a resident of my hometown, has posted pics of two of my favorite things about Carrboro: Cliff's Meat Market and Tom Robinson's Seafood. They may not look like much, but they're pure gold in my eyes. The freshest, best meat and seafood you can find anywhere around here, and with some of the best selection to boot. I have to talk to Tom sometime soon, I need to put in a request for an upcoming dinner party. But that will be another post. For now, just savor the majesty.
Until next.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Short & Bitter, Just Like My Dwarf Mistress

First, though, I must say that the talent show was much better than I expected. There were even a few "Daaaaammmmnnn. . .those kids are pretty good" moments. There were a couple of brutal ones, too, but you try to focus on the positive, right? Seeing a kindergardener in a big, yellow star costume sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is worth the price of admission, anyway.

On to the bitterness!

I was getting ready to leave for work this morning when I heard a hissing noise. At first I thought it was the stereo, but it was off. Then I thought it was the gas fireplace, but the noise wasn't coming from there. Then I realized. . .it was coming from under the floorboards. I made a running-like motion over to the laundry closet and cut off the water main, and the noise slowly petered out. So I spent the morning awaiting the plumber, who patched it in no time and left with a few bottles of homebrew in his truck for later. That wasn't so bad. What's bad is that we have Qwest pipes, and that this is the second leak since December. What's really bad is that they've denied our claim on the class action suit against Qwest because the leaks occured just outside of 16 years since the pipes were installed. This means that the entire plumbing of our house will have to be replaced, and it's happening ~1 year too late for it to be done on their dime.
Suffice to say that I will be leaving work a little early today, and there's a cold, frosty pint glass with my name on it. Perhaps it will bring it's smaller, less frosty friend along who just happens to be filled with whiskey. Until then, I'm checking out the clinical trials to see if I qualify for any of them. . .that pipe isn't going to pay for itself.
Until next.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pain is Good

I've had to be a little selective about what I'm eating lately, not just because of the diet. I have an abscessed wisdom tooth, it's actually the third time for this particular tooth, so it's presenting an interesting challenge to me. I'm having it, and it's 3 friends, out one week from today, but in the meantime I have to find things I can eat. Last night, that ended up being fridge pasta.
Delving into the depths, here's what I found:

Leftover roast chicken, already shredded
Heavy Cream
1/2 lemon
Questionable cilantro
Really questionable green onions
1/2 red onion

I liked what I had to work with, but I needed something more. I've been in fairly strong pain from the tooth since the weekend, and I decided it was time for me to control the pain. Or, at least, choose to inflict pain on myself to overpower the pain that my tooth was dealing out.
To that end, I went to the big freezer and came back with one of my Red Monster habañeros to top things off, then I put some water on to boil. I minced 3 cloves of garlic, the hab, and then diced up the red onion and put them in a cold pan with a little olive oil. Put that on low heat, then I tossed the questionable bits and salvaged what was still good of the green stuff. I put the whites of the scallions into the pan, then sliced up the rest. Once the goodies started sizzling, I salted them a little and let them sweat down. I had to add a little pasta water to keep them from cooking too fast, you can actually lose some heat from the chiles that way. But not too much, just a few splashes with the pasta scoop. Once the aromatics started to soften, I added some cream to bring it all together. I stirred in some shredded chicken, the greens from the scallions, and the juice from the 1/2 lemon, then let it simmer. Once the pasta was done, I splashed in a little more water to the thin the sauce to a workable consistency, stirred in the rest of the cilantro, and tossed it all together with the pasta (which was a few handfuls of penne).
Hooooo doggy.
That was some mighty tasty eating, and the endorphin rush carried me through almost til bedtime without hearing a peep from that damn tooth. I'd been wanting to mess with a chicken-habañero pasta for a little while, so I was glad to have the chance. I think this one was pretty close to right, although I may have to perform some further investigations just to be sure. I think the one thing I would definitely change would be to use a whole lime instead of the 1/2 lemon, but that's what I had at the time. It could have used the extra acidity to brighten things up, but it was still a pretty darn good meal.
I'm cutting it short today, so all three of you can breath a sigh of relief. The left side of my head is throbbing, and I appear to be sweating for no apparent reason at the moment (although that may be from thinking about those habs). I'm going to take that as I sign to put my head down on my desk for a little while, and maybe make some guttural, threatening noises at anyone who tries to talk to me. Any entries after having the teeth out should be interesting, so keep an eye out for those: "I had applesauce today. I freaking hate applesauce." There won't be any dinner to write about for tonight, as I will be attending the spaghetti dinner at my lovely and talented wife's school. I'm going to their talent show tonight, yay. I have to leave the room during particularly awkward moments in TV shows, so this should be interesting. . .
Until next.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Popcorn, The Popcorn, The Popcorn is on Fire

Well, my day has certainly been more interesting than I expected it to be.
I was walking over to our little break room area when I noticed a fair bit of smoke coming up over the dividing wall (it's more like a "break cubicle"). So, I busted it around the corner as well as I can bust it these days, and I saw smoke pouring out of the back of our microwave. I popped the door open, and was greated by a bag of the new internal-combustion microwave popcorn. There were flames popping inside the bag, and smoke pouring out of it, so I grabbed it and threw it into the sink. I turned the water on it, and the damn thing sizzled and popped for a few minutes before finally giving in with a damp, smelly, sputtery death groan. I have to say, there's no aroma quite like that of charred Act II popcorn. And now we'll get to experience that aroma every time someone heats anything up for the next 6 freaking months. Good times.

Back on track! I'm very happy to hear from fellow Carrboro-ite Paul Hinrichs, whose blog "Playing With My Food" can be found in the Links section. I will also link directly if he gets a chance to post a pic of the immortal Tom Robinson's Seafood. Either way, though, thanks for stopping by Paul! I'm envious of your proximity to all things good and Carrboro. I also am going to have to order some of the beer sausage you posted about, that is truly a thing of beauty. I'm still hunting for the KitchenAid meat grinder/sausage stuffer attachment on Ebay (preferably really cheap), and I hope to add sausage making to my resume in the not-too-distant future. Although, that does seem like a very, very dangerous idea. I can see the late, drunken evenings when the conversation turns to, "Wow, you know what would be cool? If we took that, and made SAUSAGE out of it!" Actually, I'm kind of looking forward to that. . .

Anyway, on to the herbs! I've got my standards in the herb barrel on the back deck. Rosemary, berggarten sage, thyme, and chives, plus Greek oregano and mint in windowboxes and tarragon in a pot to keep them from taking over. I couldn't do without those, and having them fresh makes cooking so much easier. But I've been trying to add new flavors to the garden. Flavors that aren't mandatory, but that greatly expand the variety of my cooking.
I found a kaffir lime tree at the farmer's market, which has such an irreplaceable flavor that I'm not sure how I cooked some dishes without it. I'm also going to pick up a lemongrass plant (to pair with the kaffir) and a bay tree once they become available again. I had always used bay leaves in brines and long-cooking dishes, but the fresh ones add a surprisingly bright and complex herbal flavor that really can't be compared to anything else I've ever had. Those two are an easy call, but I still want to add more.
Once the farmer's market cranks up, I'm also planning to pick up an old favorite called Vietnamese Coriander. I've had plants in the past, but I didn't overwinter them properly and lost them. It's not quite the same flavor as traditional coriander/cilantro, with a slightly more lemony flavor, but I honestly just find the plant itself much less frustrating. It grows in a vine-like form, cuttings root easily, and you don't have to worry about it bolting. Great stuff, I highly recommend it.
I'm also a huge fan of basil, and usually end up growing several different kinds of it. It's the only plant this high-maintenance that I have the patience to grow, as I can't stand to go through the Summer without it. Basil has such an incredible flavor and aroma, I have to rank it above tomato leaves. I grew Napolitano this past year, and it's one of the best fresh basils I've ever had. The leaves are huge (also known as lettuce leaf), and the flavor is exceptional. It falls at the farthest end of the sweet range of basils, which makes it versatile, but I need to have some of the spicier basils on hand, too. Moving towards the middle of the scale, you come to Genovese and the aptly named Spicy Globe Basil. I grew both last year, but I prefer the Spicy Globe in a photo finish. They both have the clove tones that take basil from Italian food staple to exotic herb, but they're balanced enough that it's still wonderful fresh on your pasta or pizza. Plus, the SGB is a neat looking plant that really does grow in almost a perfect globe. On the opposite end, Thai basil may be one of the most incredible herbs known to man. I didn't really think it was that special until I finally grew it for myself and had it fresh. It's amazing, I think the best descriptor for it is "heady," although I kind of feel like a tool using that word. It just fits, though. It's got that minty-clove thing going on in such a way that it will make you forget all about those nasty cigarettes everyone smoked in high school (Actually, those were kind of good at the time, but no more for me, thank you). Asian noodle soup with Vietnamese coriander, kaffir lime leaf, chiles, mint, and Thai basil is so flippin' good that it makes Top Ramen into a sexual experience, I shit you not. The first time I had it, I had to go take a cold shower afterwards, it's that good. If you don't believe me, try it some time. Just don't do it when there's anyone else around.
After trying all of those other herbs, and loving the results, I'm trying to find that new hidden treasure that will change my cooking forever. The other day I was at a hardware/garden/supply store looking through the seeds for landscaping plants (our yard is very boring, but I can't afford to buy lots of plants), when I came across a packet of Mitsuba seeds. I have never had Mitsuba, but $1.79 is worth risking, even if I decide it tastes like crabgrass. If it is good, though, making great and different food gets that much easier.
Chicken is chicken, veggies are veggies, beef is beef, fish is fish, and pork is a gift from God, but it's all equal sitting in the grocery store aisle. It's what you do with your food when you get home that makes the difference. Or that makes you a dirty, dirty person, but I'm not judging. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go make some noodle soup and smoke a clove.
Until next.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Just Follow the Path, Wherever It Leads

I had originally intended to talk about the wonderful Tom Robinson's Seafood, and the great fish I picked up there on Saturday. Tom's is this little, beat-up looking concrete hovel that's only open Thursday-Saturday (and you better bring cash or your checkbook), but has the best seafood in town. I made the trip over there hoping to score some quality monkfish, and I learned that I need to be there on Thursdays to get that. I ended up with some flounder that was wonderful, and baked it in a modified (I think much better) version of Rachel Ray's baked cod in tomato sauce. I put the fillets in a baking dish and topped them with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Then I sauteed garlic and onion 'til slightly translucent, then added diced zucchini. Salt, pepper, and a splash of balsamic, then added a can of drained diced tomatoes. Two pats of butter to thicken the sauce, then I spooned it onto the fish and popped it in the oven. Tossed some angel hair with the leftover sauce, and we had a winner. Nothing too fancy, but I was pleased with the result.
When I was searching for something to link to about Tom's shop, though, I came across this. I'd seen it before, but I hadn't really paid that much attention to it. I finally read through it a little today, and I got a little nostalgic about my hometown. Not that I live that far away right now, I still head over there every Saturday morning to have breakfast with my folks, let our dogs run with theirs, and give my lovely and talented wife a chance to sleep in. I just miss so many things about the place where I grew up that I simply don't find where I live now.
When I looked through his photo album of old mill houses, these are the houses from my neighborhood. I walked past those to catch the bus when I was a little kid, and I still walk past them now to get to the farmer's market. This is the neighborhood I walked through to go make my first purchase from the legendary Cliff's Meat Market (I think I was maybe 10), or just up to the grocery store, or to the diner where I worked before getting married and getting a real (read: desk) job.
I loved that, in Carrboro, we walked everywhere not only because it was there and close, but because the town invites you to walk through it. There's always a sidewalk, or a bike lane, and you always knew you were safe. We did have some folks living in the woods behind the elementary school who would try to hit you up for money, but they were never particularly threatening. I live in Durham now, and I can't imagine walking anywhere from our house other than to take the dogs around the neighborhood. We live in one of the better parts of town, but there just isn't anywhere that you would want to walk to.
I guess it's predictable that so many of the places I'm hankering to walk to involve food, but what better reason to walk? Within a quick trot of the old homestead you've got great sushi, French, one of my favorite bar & grills, the diner, Weaver Street Market, and a great restaurant that can't even really be classified. Those are just if you want to go out, but you have great shops if you want to hit your own kitchen. There's a mercado right around the corner, the aforementioned meat and seafood markets, Weaver Street for the fancy stuff, and a good old HT for the basics. Not to mention the Farmer's Market, and all within a short walk.
This only scratches the surface, but I think it's time to cut myself off. I can ramble for a long time about. . .anything, I guess. Don't get me wrong, some of the overly socially-conscious folks can get irritating, and it does have it's share of self-righteous hippy-types. But what do I care about the people? It's not like I'm trying to talk to them anyway.
Please pardon my little fit of reminiscence. I just had to share a little love for my town, and I think Readers #1 & #2 might understand. I just hope that the path leads back there eventually, and if I have any say at all (which I don't know that I actually do) I believe that it will. Time to sign off now, before this puts any remaining readers to sleep.
Until next.
Coming Soon: exotic herbs that won't get you arrested!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Nothing Important

That is what my life has become. I dread every morning when I have to leave the sweet, sweet darkness of my safe, womblike bed. The crippling fear that overwhelms me as I try to face the daylight just won't let me. . .I'm just kidding. You thought it was going to be another 10k-word ramble about my insecurities again, didn't you? Well, no. At least, not today.
This is just a quick diet update, since I've failed in my goal to keep myself honest by updating on it. Started out at 216 a few weeks ago, weighed in at 204 on Saturday. Gradual progress, but hopefully lasting. Still messing with a lot of baked fish ideas, including what Rachel Ray's recipe looks like if I just take the idea and wing it with what I have in the house. Will try to discuss that tomorrow, I've actually been doing work today! But I was very happy with the results, so it's worth sharing here.
I feel like Ms. Ray has some great ideas, but her execution of them could use a little fine tuning. I also feel like I spend way too much time analyzing Rachel Ray, but that could be because she's on TV for an hour straight right when I'm usually cooking dinner, so I do tend to watch her almost every day.
On another developing note, I'm trying to use one of my other hobbies to expand my cooking. I've been trying to add new herbs and vegetables to my garden, just so I'll have some new flavors to work with. I figure that, on our budget, I can rarely afford the truly exotic ingredients at the store. But I can certainly grow them, and a packet of seeds is rarely more than $2. I won't elaborate too much on this right now, as it's 4:52pm and nobody better get between me and the door today, but it will certainly be an ongoing project. Well, off to wrap things up for the day, but I've got a few things on tap for tomorrow. Until then.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I-Ronnnn Chef!

OK. I may have had my doubts at the beginning, but I'm really enjoying Iron Chef America.
After the god-awful network TV attempt, I was a little fearful about this one, but I had faith in the Food Network. I don't always have faith in their specials, but I figured they had seen the first try at this, so they knew that it would fail again if they didn't get it right. Plus, they threw in The Professor as their main commentator, so I was obviously going to give it a shot.
In many ways, this show is better than the original. I'm sure that part of this is that I feel like I already know the I-Ron Chefs (of America!), but I'm also familiar with a few of the challengers. So I can actually have an opinion other than "Bobby Flay is an arrogant prick, I hope he gets his ass kicked by whoever that guy is." I can look at the schedule and think, "Wow, Rick Bayless, he's a god! I'd really love to see someone who respects tradition as much as he does kick the everloving crap out of that arrogant prick Bobby Flay!" See? It's much more fulfilling this way. It also lets me care more about the matchup itself, and then the secret ingredient is just a bonus. For instance, in the first 2 episodes they went for tradition versus new-wave cuisine. They put Bobby "Hi, I'm an arrogant prick!" Flay against Rick Bayless, then they put Mario "I don't get a derisive nickname, I'm fairly likeable!" Batali against Roberto Trevino, who I'd never actually heard of despite his Beard Foundation recognition. But it turns out that he's one of the big studs in Nuevo Latino cuisine, and made some very impressive dishes. Interesting stuff, it's fun to watch the contrasts and also see where they're drawing on the same influences.
But they changed things up with the most recent episode, when they threw Bobby Flay against Ming Tsai. Dubbed "The Battle of the Fusion Cuisine Egomaniacs" (well, at least by me), I finally got to watch it last night. At one point, I was a huge fan of Ming Tsai. I still admire his cuisine, he's just always a little too pleased with himself. Then he left the Food Network to go to "Fine Living," and that pretty much sums up my issues with him right there. But I was certainly still in his corner due to my early fandom, and the fact that he was up against the arrogant prick. Very entertaining, good dialogue going back and forth, Ming openly fucking with the arrogant prick's head and laughing about it, and that's the first time I've ever seen an air compressor used in the preparation of poultry. But I think the best moment was when they were about to announce the winner, the looks on their faces were priceless. Ming Tsai had that look of, "Heh, I just kicked his ass," and Flay had that look of, "Wow, he just kicked my ass." If nothing else, the whole series has been worthwhile just to see that.
Another big plus has been the soux chefs. I know that sounds a little silly, but they're bringing in top-shelf folks to back them up. It makes it easier to do more impressive dishes, and it's interesting to see how their team functions. Just a fun little tidbit to watch.
And, of course, there The Professor doing commentary, so that can't help but be an improvement. But I think the biggest edge to the American version is that everyone is speaking English. It just gives you more insight to what's happening, because you hear their own words in their own voice. But it is hard to give the Food Network credit for that, given that they're in an English-speaking country.
Of course, though, there are some drawbacks. Kevin Brauch is still struggling as the floor reporter, and he has considerable shoes to fill by following the immortal Shinichiro Ohta. In the most recent show, I kept forgetting he was there. Alton had to continually prod at him to get any info, so I'm not quite sure what was going on. I'm a big fan of "The Thirsty Traveler," but Brauch seemed to do much better in that format than he's doing here, I hope he can adjust.
The other personnel issue is The Chairman. I understand that Mark Dacascos is the nephew of the original Chairman Kaga, but he's just brutal. He takes himself far too seriously, and he murders with his efforts to create the camp that comes so naturally to his uncle. I mean, Kaga looked like a Japanese Liberace, talked a mile a minute, and you often couldn't quite tell if he was parodying himself or if he was just that insane. It was great. Dacascos seems to still think he's in "The Crow: Crappy Sequel With a Goofy Name or Spun-Off TV Series," and that just kind of kills it. The producers seem to understand this, as they have limited his screen time, but he's still dragging behind the show like an anchor. Everything he says is scripted, you don't get the moments like Kaga seeing that a regular challenger had shaved his head and asking. "May I touch it?" while wearing a Holstein print jumpsuit. Maybe William Shatner wasn't that bad of a choice.
But the biggest things that separates the two is the theater of the original. This may improve over time, but it's what made the Japanese Iron Chef television gold. You had the"Ota faction" marching in, awkward celebrities presenting their favorite chef, drunken mentors punching assistants in the head because they didn't like what they were doing, and the occasional truly bizarre secret ingredient. Or, in the early episodes, things like "Rice!" or "Milk!", which was absolutely hilarious because you got to see Iron Chef Chen with the look of "What the fuck am I supposed to do with milk, I'm from China?!" Also just the cultural differences that make you laugh and say "Look! They're not the same as we are!" And last, but certainly not least, the Japanese rap star, Korn. These things just can't be duplicated through effort, they have to happen on their own. Granted, stranger ingredients can be selected, but they're making it an American show. I'd love to see Bobby Flay in "Battle Goat Pancreas!" but they're smart to save that for once they've established their audience. I think some people are going to miss that in this version, though, so they'll have to work it in at some point. Maybe when Morimoto finally makes his first appearance in the series.
I'll wrap this up, but I just had to offer my (was $.02, now) $100 on it. I guess the verdict is that you can't really compare them, it's just a different feel. I greatly enjoy this show, I have it on my DVR list, and I look forward to watching it every time. But it will never replace the cult (not anymore, too widespread to be cult now) classic that I discovered one drunken evening in college and said, "Holy shit! You can make ice cream from eel?!" and began planning my life around watching with it a group of other drunken idiots. The original represents a whole period of my life, as well as the good times we all had playing drinking games and talking out of our asses about what we thought they were doing with that 3-foot-long radish. And those ideas rarely involved them making food out of it. Ahh. . .drunken immaturity, how I miss thee. At least, while I'm at work. Until next.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Baked Fish, Hold the Whining

OK, no crying from me this time. Promise. Well, maybe a little, but I won't write about it. That work? Cool.
Baked fish again last night, trying for something a little simpler with a little less cleanup than the Rachel Ray version. One thing I noticed with most of her recipes is that they do indeed cook quickly, but most of her time-saving involves buying pre-prepped ingredients and using a veritable army of pots and pans so that everything is cooking at once. Great when you need to have it on the table quickly, not so great when you're trying to save money or if you're the one who has to wash all those pans. Plus, I really like good fish, so I'll take any excuse to prepare it a new way.
We had haddock this time, which isn't that inspiring on it's own, but it's really inspiring when it's on VIC Buy and you don't get paid until the next week! Plus, haddock is extremely versatile, as opposed to a more flavorful fish like salmon or tuna that needs to be catered to. Sooo. . .haddock it was. Of course, I found after the fact that they had shark, so I was a little bummed that I didn't get to play with that. But I'm alright now.
I had a little under 1# of haddock in two fillets, and I thought baking it in foil would be the easiest way to cut down on clean-up. I rinsed the fillets, and lay them on two separate sheets of foil. This way I could do a little customizing, and not set my lovely and talented wife on fire. I went ahead and rolled the ends over to form an open pouch, then I started adding ingredients. First off, I drizzled some olive oil on top, then squeezed in half a lemon. I split that between the two, but they probably would have been a little better with half for each. I likes me some fresh lemon. From there, it was time to hunt through the cabinets.
Reminding myself that I was supposed to keep it simple, I came back with 3 scallions, a few cloves of garlic, a little flat-leaf parsley, and the Old Faithful of seafood ingredients, Old Bay. I was an Old Bay junkie when I was a kid, I'd put it on anything. One night after lacrosse practice, I came home and emptied all of our leftover pasta into a big bowl, reheated it in the microwave, tossed in some butter, parmesan, and Old Bay, then spent the rest of the night walking around eating it. Good times. Plus, Old Bay is the only pre-mixed seasoning blend that The Professor is willing to use, and that has to count for something. I also grabbed an Inca Hot chile from the freezer for mine, they're great with seafood.
I'm also really enjoying linking to the Epicurious Food Dictionary today, it's been in my favorites for a long time. I highly recommend it.
So, in order, olive oil, lemon juice, Old Bay, chopped garlic, sliced chile (for mine), sliced green onions, and chopped parsley all went on top of the fillets. I sealed up the packets and rolled them down to less than an inch above the fish.
You want to be a little careful when doing this, as you don't want to manhandle the fish by crushing it inside the foil, but you also want to restrict the space so that it will steam some in it's own juices.
I put the two packets on a baking sheet, then into a 350º oven for 12 minutes.
While that was cooking, I made a box of parmesan couscous according to the package directions. Only difference is that I threw in some chopped, (still-)frozen broccoli once the water came to a boil, then waited for it to come back to a boil before stirring in the couscous and letting it rest. When it was done, I mixed in some diced tomato and called it a side dish.
The fish came out just right, and the whole thing was done in no time. I threw away the foil, tossed my cutting board in the dishwasher, and washed one pot and one knife. Not too bad on the clean-up side, and it's always fun to cook in pouches. There's just something about opening it up and having all of those aromas come wafting up to you.
The Professor even did an entire episode about pouch cooking, I want to try the ramen pouch sometime. Seems like there needs to be some alcohol involved in making that, though, so I'll just have to twist some arms and get a few guinea pigs over for the experiment. I don't have any Saturday night plans yet. . .Until next.