Questions of Science, Science and Progress
Lately, the grad school search seems to have sapped all my energy, and with it all my wanting to cook. For someone who likes cooking, and loves eating, this is a pretty major deal. Last week I didn't even try: at one acceptance, one rejection, and 9-hour round trip drive to Ithaca to check out campus and back, cooking and feeling like cooking were not on the agenda.
But then a happy thing happened: Thursday morning, just as I was tired from driving back Wed, angsty about having one school that didn't seem to fit, and so frustrated I was going to swear off psychology altogether and go into something really drastic that I know nothing about rather than something I'm actually good and accomplished at . . . the phone rang and I got my second acceptance. And just like that, my mood switched, and the day - and life - got better almost instantly. It's not a perfect match. It's a place I almost didn't even send in the application. It will give me a really crappy stipend. It's a recognized name, but it won't have the same allure, resources, or credentials as the Ivy. But it feels better, and I credit gut instinct with a lot. I'm still not always sure I'm doing the right thing, but I didn't quite realize until I'd driven five hours away how long five hours can be. Staying local is a big deal, and this would enable me to stay in roughly the same area - though I'm not sure I'll still be a Jersey girl, what with rent on a grad school budget. I am STILL waiting to hear from one place, but given they have eleven days I'm not holding my breath.
But perhaps the best news was that since then, I've felt like cooking and I've enjoyed it. Hurrah!
I do not get the Food Network anymore since I canceled my cable, and most of the time it doesn't bother me, except that immediately after that they put Nigella on. I am slightly enamored of Nigella Lawson ever since I received How To Be A Domestic Goddess from Sara and have aspired to be Nigella Lawson, or at least a domestic goddess, ever since. The other one I miss is Alton Brown. I don't care much for his cookbooks but I adored Good Eats. Rob gets cable and dutifully reports on Alton back to me, and last week he apparently spent a whole show on how to make a tuna steak.
Right then, I wanted a tuna steak. The idea did not go away. I dreamed of gorgeous red ahi or mellow yellowtail, raw or just lightly seared. So Friday night I went off in search of fish over at the local Asian market, and sadly there was no tuna to be had. But they did have a very nice piece of salmon, and I ended up making it the same way I would've done the tuna. And we loved it. Short of eating it in uncooked slices (we're sushi fiends), this is a great way to do it . . . the fish has loads of flavor and doesn't dry out, and it's superquick. I can only imagine how good this recipe is with just-seared tuna.
TOASTED NORI AND SESAME SALMON
adapted from this recipe on allrecipes.com and Joy of Cooking
1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 nori fumi furikake (a toasted shredded seaweed and sesame seeds seasoning mix for rice; available in Asian markets)
1 1/4 lb salmon fillet
2-3 chopped scallions
In a measuring cup, mix together the soy sauce, mirin, honey, and 2 Tbsp sesame oil. Pour about half into a bowl large enough to accomodate the salmon. Reserve the rest in the refrigerator, covered.
On a large platter, mix together the sesame seeds and nori fumi furikake.
Carefully dip one side of the salmon into the soy mixture, let drip, and press into the sesame and nori mix to coat. Repeat with the other side. Lay on a plate and drizzle the used soy mixture over and around the salmon and press additional sesame and nori mix onto the salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Brush the bottom of a Pyrex baking dish large enough to accomodate the salmon fillet with the 1 tsp sesame oil.
Heat a skillet (I used nonstick; if you use anything else heat with some oil; be sure to turn on the kitchen fan either way) over medium-high to high heat. Carefully place the salmon into the pan and sear for about 45 seconds on both sides. Immediately remove to the prepared baking dish. Place in the oven and bake at 325 for about 12-14 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet and how well you like fish cooked.