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Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Jersey to Washington, Tilapia Made Easy

aWelcome to another adventure! We have a badass addition to the Gypsy Gourmet franchise, Ms. Niki Stewart (Rouund of applause please!) She's a southern Californian(San Diego) with an amazing work ethic, a great personality, and did I mention she's a hottie? This girl definitely knows her stuff and has taught this ol' bird a few new tricks as well. Nice not to be solo anymore (Sorry Harley we know you'd drive if you could) and it's certainly a good thing to be a smokin' hot team again. We're back on the just in time (JIT) freight, hazardous materials endorsed, specialized division where we belong. Our first week out was a lesson in learning the ropes, but our second week out seriously kicked tail. 7010 miles accomplished in one week, safely and legally! However, on weeks like this we are lacking in the gourmet food porn department. It's tough to remember that it can only take a few minutes of preparation to produce food that's good for the body and the soul. Try living off of protein granola bars, non fat Greek yogurt, and fruit for days on end and see if your generally sunny disposition takes a turn for the worse.

The trick to running hard (on the road and in regular life) lies somewhere in that grey area that equals balance. I know that some of my readers don't drive professionally. It may be hard understanding what it's like to schedule your life around bathroom breaks and fuel stops, but I do know that you're all busy in your daily lives and this level of understanding chaos is universal. You can be a mom, a dad, a writer, a carpenter, a chef, or any number of occupations that are demanding. The bottom line is that finding time to be good to your body and spirit is a daily challenge. This next dish is a simple reminder that a tiny bit of effort can produce that balance that we all crave. Being good to yourself sets you up for success amid the chaos, and better prepares you for the challenges ahead.

Tilapia is a versatile fish that can easily be cooked from a frozen or fresh state. It is readily available at the best fish markets or in your local grocery store or food co-op. This dish is a one skillet wonder and you can keep it simple with your favorite all in one seasoning blend. I used a blend that has become one of my favorites (Thanks Jay for the introduction!). It's called Tex Joy and can be purchased all over Texas or online at If either way is inconvienient for you, Tony Chacherie's Cajun seasoning is an excellent substitute and can be found in the spice isle at your local supermarket. Round off your meal with fresh fruit and a sauteed veggie and you've only taken about fifteen minutes out of your day to create a hot, home cooked meal that you don't have to feel guilty about.

One Skillet Tilapia for Two

2 tilapia fillets (4 if they're very small)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. REAL butter
Tex Joy or Tony Chacherie's seasoning to taste
4 c. fresh broccoli florets
1/2 sweet onion julienned into 1/4 in strips
small amount of water to steam (less than 1/4 c)
small additional amount of olive oil (less than a tablespoon)

Easy enough in a non stick electric skillet, but whatever your favorite is use it! Make sure you have a cover for it, for the slight steam process at the end. Get skillet good and hot (med-high for some or between 300-325 for others). While skillet is getting hot season both sides of the fish and set aside. Add oil and butter to skillet and allow butter to melt and sizzle before adding fish presentation side down. Generally the flat side is the bottom of the fish. Give the fish about 2 minutes to achieve a nice crispy brown, and remember this will cook fairly quickly and will try to fall apart if it's overcooked or flipped more than once. So curb your instincts and flip your fish only one time. After 2 min or your golden crispy texture has been achieved, flip the fish. Add the broccoli florets and onion around the fillets and sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil and seasoning. Emeril says his veggies don't come seasoned and baby neither do mine! Also this seasoning is to YOUR taste and needs not mine. So be creative and have fun with it. Check the fish for doneness by touching the center of the fillet. If its firm to the touch and springs back it's done. Place each fillet on a plate and stir your veggies well adding a little water and the cover for approximately one minute more. Uncover and plate veggies with the fish, add fresh fruit and enjoy!

On a side note, your Gypsy Gourmet is feeling great. I have been taking better care of myself than EVER, and have lost a few more pounds around my middle. I do love to eat and have not forgotten about the rich foods I enjoy; I'm just much more concious of portion size. The idea is to balance the good and the not so good with moderation. I have many more great ideas in the bull pen, my determination and drive are at an all time high(I think it helps to be happy and healthy). You can expect to see a lot more frequent posts on varied subjects. Please feel free to comment on ideas you'd like to see featured. Your feedback means a lot to me and I'm always willing to take a look, give advice, or generally know how I'm doing. Until next time folks, eat well, laugh often, be you, and be free!

gypsy gourmet

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