Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday/Monday Food-day - Fish and the Winter Princess

Hi!  So I totally unwisely declared Friday Food-days a tradition shortly before leaving on a long trip that would put me out of cooking duty for a looooong time.  So writing about cooking is a little harder if I'm not actually cooking.

As I mentioned previously, my trip schedule is China-Mexico-China.  The China trips are for work, the Mexico vacay is for fun.  I'm on the Mexico leg right now and let me tell you, life does not suck.
The view from our patio.  Oh hecks yes.  So I'm not doing a lot of complicated cooking.  I thought about trying to post a Thanksgiving recipe, but in honor of our Mexican Thanksgiving, I offer the following:

Fred's Fish Tacos
3 kilos of the freshest fish you can find.  (We think we had something in the tuna family.  But whatever pescado it was, it was delicious...)
Limes.  Lots of limes.
Sea salt.
Tortillas (preferably fresh, preferably made with lard)
Guacamole (fresh avocados, onions, tomatoes, limes, cilantro and salt to taste)
Pico de gallo (tomatoes, onions, cilantro)

Turn on the grill.  Juice the limes.  Mix the guacamole and the pico de gallo.  Rub the fish with the limes and then sprinkle with salt.  Put the fish on the grill, grill till just barely done.  Heat up the tortillas and assemble!  

Clearly, the most important part of this recipe is freshness, so it's impractical for most Americans the last week in November.  However, I'm posting it anyway as the only thing I've been part of cooking for the last week, and I think it's a great reminder of how many meals can be totally simple and still totally awesome.  Sometimes it's important not to overthink things.  (My subtlety is not strong here, but just for reinforcement, it feels nice to get out of complicated Thanksgiving prep this week.) 

As an apology for the recipe cop-out, I'll share with you the best food-related story I have from my time in China.  While working at a factory in China last week we go to a "coffee shop" for lunch.  "Coffee shops" usually make regular Chinese food and they also specialize in frou-frou beverages.  I'm reading the drink menu and trying to decide pineapple slush and strawberry smoothie when I happen across something called "Winter Princess in Papaya Boat".  There is a photo of it on the menu that looks like this:
(This pic actually from Just Delish.)  Except the Winter Princess was bright pink.  Bright pink and lumpy with a straw and a festive umbrella.  Fascinating.  So I ask my colleague Andrew for an interpretation of "Winter Princess".  "Don't ask" he advises, "just order."  I'm almost tempted to do so when he cracks.  "Toad ovaries!" he declares.  Apparently they're very good for you if you have reproductive issues.  And they are sometimes served blended in a papaya.  Huh.  I ask Andrew why they call it Winter Princess.  He laughs and says "cause if they call it anything else, no one would order it!"  Touché .  

So that's my life in food right now, from Winter Princess to fresh fish and back.  When I get back from all this, it will be time for Christmas deliciousness!

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