When I first started this food blog, one fresh plate, a couple of years ago, I did it to reset myself through making myself dinner on Friday evenings. This blog went through many Friday evenings of my attempts at eating more healthy, learning to take food and beverage photographs, falling in love, enduring a very difficult break-up and wreckage and finally taking a break because cooking became painfully associated with memories I needed some time and distance away from.
I love to cook, especially without a plan in the beginning and just using what I have around. It has been very painful to have these cooking memories cause pain and not pleasure these past months. I missed cooking but I turned instead to making food for energy and health rather than as art. I used food as fuel only and not a language from my soul and spirit.
This past Friday I had a particularly bad day at work. When I left at 5pm, I was scratching my head for a way to feed myself: spiritually, artistically, and also something healthy for my body. I had my camera with me and was planning on walking and taking the sunset, but the weather turned out to be much less conducive than originally forecasted. I didn't really have a "walking in the rain" kind of heart, feeling a little bit heartbroken and blue. In an instant I was struck with inspiration. I was struck with being ready again. I thought back to my Friday nights of old and how the ritual of making something healthy to eat and sharing the recipe and photograph made me feel fed in all ways. I thought about ingredients I already had at home, got an inexpensive bottle of wine at a local wine shop I knew I could trust (I have never disliked anything I have gotten there, in any price range) and headed home to make dinner.
Baked cod served on a bed of quinoa with sautéd asparagus, spinach, mushrooms and peppers photograph and recipe:
Bake cod fillets in a shallow baking pan at 450 degrees for 35 minutes (frozen) and about 20 minutes (fresh) until the fillets are opaque and break apart easily with a fork. After they have cooled for about 10 minutes, squeeze fresh lemon juice over them and season with sea salt and pepper. If you season them prior to putting them in the oven, you will create more smoke, so after works better (unless you really like the fire department visiting).
Cook the quinoa as directed. While the fish and quinoa are cooking, sauté mushrooms (cremini go nicely with this recipe), peppers (orange peppers bring out the flavors best) and spinach in olive oil. Boil the asparagus ever so slightly and then toss in the oil with the other vegetables.
When the quinoa is finished, let it sit for about 10 minutes off the heat and then toss in the veggie mixture. Make a bed of that on the plate, break up one of the cod fillets and place the pieces on the quinoa bed.
I had this meal with a crisp Pinot Grigio and that paired perfectly. I could tell you the exact wine, but that would take the fun out of discovery. My recommendation is to find a wine shop you like or are intrigued by, buy two of their least expensive bottles (one red and one white) and if you like both of them, consider that the wine shop you can trust with any bottle of wine you need.
It is more important than ever to feed ourselves in the small ways we can: through humor, friendship, community, and art. I notice that when I make a concerted effort to feed myself in these ways, I can withstand the constant barrage of information and bad news that we are subjected to on a daily basis. I feel more able to face the day rather than shrink from it. I hope that these recipes and photographs inspire you to feed yourself also.