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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fish in the Slow Cooker

I'm not much of a cook. I admit that readily. I hate it and it hates me back, but the one thing I can usually do well is use my slow cooker. Except for turkey breast, which I can't seem to master. Anyway, I wanted fish, but I didn't want to risk cooking it on the stove or in the oven, so I did a search online and discovered a recipe for Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Asparagus. I decided to give it a try.

When I went grocery shopping, I picked up asparagus and tilapia. (Although the fish proved to be an issue. More about my grocery shopping issues on Thursday.) If you check out the recipe, you'll see the fish needed to be wrapped in tinfoil. This proved a little problematic too.

The first tinfoil problem arose during the wrapping stage. I had to fold the edges to keep the lemon juice in while I finished putting the packet together. I had one that started leaking even after being carefully wrapped and I had to double up with a second sheet of tinfoil, but at last everything was wrapped and put in the slow cooker.

It was when I took the fish out that problem two surfaced. Leakage. The bottom of the crockery was filled with lemony sauce. I'd figured there'd be a small amount seeping out, but I wasn't prepared for the volume. My culprit was the fish on the bottom. The heat must of ripped a gash the length of the packet. Can a slow cooker do that to tinfoil? It was super torn, not like a hole.

But the big question was how did it taste?

Yummy! The asparagus was so soft and I loved that. The fish was slightly dryish. (but not bad!) I think the problem was that the fish was half frozen because I'd had it in the refrigerator overnight. I decided to cook it as if it were frozen. I probably should have split the difference and done 2.5 hours instead.

I'm not a food photographer or professional chef who knows how to plate food, but here's a picture of my dinner. I served with a quarter cup of brown rice.

Lessons learned: I'm not a fan of pepper, so I would cut back a little on the lemon pepper seasoning the next time I make it. It was a little bit too peppery for me, but not by much.

Buy more asparagus. I picked up a small bundle and it wasn't enough for four fillets.

Double wrap all the fish packets and put a liner in the slow cooker. I always, always line my slow cooker before using it, but I didn't this time. Next time I will.

I'd do the fish frozen. The pieces that were more solid were easier to work with while I built the packets. The fillets that were partially thawed were messier and just a pain.

I give the recipe two thumbs up. It was super good. Prep time was relatively quick and even for me, someone who hates to cook with a passion, it was an easy meal to put together. Certainly worth the effort for the results I got. :-) Recommended if you like lemon.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I Miss Old-Style Movies

My original plan was to blog today about how my crochet class is going (okay), but I changed my mind after watching White Christmas.

Over the holidays I watched some movies with my dad. It's so hard to find things he enjoys so  a lot of the movies were old--from the 40s, 50s or early 60s. Among these movies were musicals. Delightful songs, dancing, sweet stories.

As we were watching White Christmas on Saturday I started thinking about how they don't make movies like this anymore and haven't for decades. Oh, sure, there's an occasional musical now and then, but once upon a time these were released all the time. Actors and actresses could sing and dance as a matter of course. Now I'm not so sure they can do anything except act. Which is fine, but still I can't help thinking we're missing something special.

There are no words for how sick I am of comic book movies. Marvel Universe, DC Universe, I just don't care. I'm tired of Batman and the Joker and X-Men.

Part of my problem no doubt is related to what I consider the poor offerings Hollywood has released in the last ten or fifteen years. It's all the same and it's part of their chasing the blockbuster and that they're gearing movies to the foreign audience. They now make more money overseas than in the US and this has meant we've lost dialogue-heavy films, especially if there's subtlety involved. I do love action and adventure, but I also love witty banter.

And I love singing and dancing. I loved White Christmas. I never get tired of The Sound of Music. I heard there's a new musical out right now and that it's not bad. I'll have to make a point of seeing it at some point, but I kind of doubt it will have the same magic as the old musicals.

Edited to add: Not that White Christmas is by any means a perfect movie. The conflict in the romance part is the Big Misunderstanding which could be resolved with one conversation and the secondary romance is pretty much non-existent. The characters aren't really well fleshed out either. I look at the movie as more of a vehicle for the singing and dancing and that I enjoyed tremendously.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Snowmageddon That Wasn't

The weather service predicted snow for Atlanta last Friday. I don't know if you all remember the last time it snowed in Georgia, but people were trapped on the roads for 24 hours and longer. It made the national news. I think it was December 2014.

I didn't have the problems getting home in the last snowfall, but it did take me 3.5 hours. That would be an hour longer than my worst ever snow commute in Minnesota. That includes snowfalls of two feet, not the meager 2.5 inches that fell in Atlanta, but as I'm continually reminded, the south isn't used to snow like the north is and doesn't have the equipment to remove it.

So with 2-4 inches of snow in the forecast for Friday into Saturday, I was naturally concerned. This is almost double what fell during Snowmageddon 2014.

It started raining early in the day right on schedule according the the weather people. The temperature hovered in the mid thirties. We watched and waited. And waited. And waited, but finally it was late enough to go to bed.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I expected to see a blanket of white covering the ground. I opened the blinds to brown. Brown leaves, brown grass, brown pine needles.

The snow forecast had apparently been changed to ice, although I missed that little announcement. There wasn't much ice either that I could see. That was a huge relief, but when I think of the time we spent getting ready and worrying about the weather, it's a little frustrating too. Still, I'll always take them being wrong this way than to have them be wrong the other way and have surprise snow.