Presenting The Faux Gourmet!

The Faux Gourmet has been on hiatus for a while. I began this blog as a creative outlet during law school. After law school, I started other blogs on other topics and no longer needed this as a creative outlet, not to mention my diminishing free time.

But I kept cooking, kept taking food pictures and garden pictures, kept wanting to share the little tidbits of what I'd made. I occasionally did this on my personal blog (to which, I'm sure, people yawned and wondered when I'd post another cat picture). But I started to miss this space. Of all the blogs I have, this format, culled over several dedicated years and incorporating that adorable illustration by Sam Wedelich (see info the left) is by far my favorite.

So I'm back!

Expect short and sweet posts. Less food porn, more recipes and tips. If you want food porn you can look at any of the 5000 million existing food blogs. I don't have good lighting in my apartment and don't have time to style plates. I just want to make something yummy and eat it. If that sounds ok with you, stick around.

Looking forward to being back in touch!


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    Monday, May 21, 2012

    What to Do with Herbs vol 2

    Fish Veracruz Style

    Taste & See: Like the most recent post, here's another simple dish full of complex, rich flavors you can make almost entirely with stuff in the pantry, plus a jolt of fresh herbs.

    What do you have in your pantry?

    You have pungent, flavorful, long-lasting things. Things that you can add in small doses to de-borify basic staples. Things that keep for ages. (To be fair, some of the below should be refrigerated.) Things that don't cost much, at least not for the work they do. Things like:
    • A good array of spices, dried herbs & dried chilies. What is a good array? It depends on what you like to cook, duh. But it's also not a bad idea to just buy something and learn how to use it. I never used Aleppo Pepper until this awesome cookbook inspired me to shell out a few bucks for something I've since come to love and sprinkle on EVERYTHING.
    • Olives, capers, anchovies, preserved lemon : Last forever, a little goes a long way.
    • Canned tomato, tomato paste, sundried tomato: Do you see a theme?
    • Roasted red peppers: The miracle jar that makes you feel like you actually do eat more than just carbs and cheese.
    • Garlic, ginger, onions: Great in everything. Just keep on hand. Being without garlic when you need some is like having to read a whole lecture on your pantry before getting to the recipe .  .  . uh, er . . .
    I could continue but hopefully these suggestions give you an idea. 

    What's the point?

    Let me spell it out: pantry + fresh herbs = blah weeknight evening when you're tired and hungry but don't have much on hand, you can still eat a decent dinner without ordering in or working hard. 

    This is pretty much why this site exists, but I feel a mild need to remind you since I'm just now coming back from a hiatus, lest you're here looking for something super fancy. This blog is about faking fancy. Are we on the same page?

    Alright, lecture over. On to the recipe.

    Baseline Recipe:
    Red Snapper, Veracruz Style, from Epicurious / Bon Appetit.

    This is an adaptation. I'll just tell you what I did - I didn't have everything on hand & didn't feel like measuring precisely.

    I wasn't expecting much - I just needed to use up the fish. But even though it took just minutes to throw together and didn't use anything fancy, this dish was so flavorful and satisfying. I actually wished I had company so I could show it off. And PS, the sauce would be fantastic even without the fish.

    What You Need:
    Jar of home preserved tomatoes. (Oh, you don't preserve your own tomatoes? Kidding! Just keep some cans of diced tomatoes on hand, like I said!)
    Olive oil
    Small onion (+ half a leftover shallot I needed to use up) 
    Bay leaf
    A few tablespoons chopped fresh oregano and parsley
    Fillet of porgy (a fish similar to Red Snapper available at a budget price at my farmers' market)

    What to Do: Preheat oven to 425. Chop garlic, onion & shallot in food processor; saute briefly in olive oil. Meanwhile, put a colander over a bowl and dump in tomatoes. Press down with a potato masher or spoon, reserving the drained liquid. Add (what is now) tomato puree to onion mixture, allowing to thicken (about 1 minute). Add bay leaf, chopped herbs, handful of raisins, spoonful of capers, and tomato sauce. Simmer until it thickens.

    Put about a half cup sauce in a shallow baking dish (I used a pie pan), add fish fillet, and top with remaining sauce. Bake about 15 minutes or until fish is just opaque in center. Garnish with more chopped parsley. Serve over rice.

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