Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Holy Mackerel!

I feel I need to be honest about my motivation behind "What's cookin' good lookin' Wednesdays. Cooking dinner seriously stresses me out. This has been multiplied by a million since moving to Timor where there are always runs on items (currently you couldn't find butter to save your life) so you have to constantly be changing your menus according to what happens to be available at the TINY grocery store that day. The red meat here tastes appalling and if you would like chicken you must buy it whole and then cut it up yourself (which is what we do most days). I am sad to say I am not one of those amazing blogger girls who loves to do every craft and cook, baking? Yes. Coming up with a new meal every night that is nutritious and delicious? Not so much. I thought if I set aside one day a week on the blog to devote to cooking it would guarantee my family gets at least one good meal HA! It is really not that bad. We probably end up doing "Brinner" only once every 3 weeks. Anyway, almost as if to off set the shortage of palatable meat here there are always fresh (and as organic as you could get) veggies and fruits that are super cheap, although sometimes questionable in quality. The other item available in droves is--fish. Ugh. Something else you should know? I hate fish. I know it is totally odd for a girl who grew up next to the beach to hate fish but I do. I try so hard to like it but I always end up gagging. My husband LOVES fish, I mean L-O-V-E-S it and we both really want our children to like it, which means it must be made, and made often. Luckily a wonderful friend of ours who works here with USAID owns a boat and started up his own little NGO. Every weekend he takes out the same group of local guys and they fish all day. On their way home Peter sends out a text letting us know what they hauled in and that it will be available in front of the embassy. The guys then debone, flay... whatever the fishy term is the fish and separate it into generous amounts in freezer ziplock bags for five bucks each!!! All the money the local men keep so it is also a great deal for them. How easy and awesome is that? This week they caught Mackerel. The boys were soooo bummed when they saw they bag. They were totally hoping for "a fish with eye balls" :) (Mommy was sooo grateful for the bag) We received five large cuts.
I kinda thought they looked like mustaches or lips smiling at me.
Sawyer was positively giddy to help me prepare the fish.
He even helped light the grill (All eyebrows remain intact). I didn't know what season works best with Macrel and the internet wasn't work so I went with what my mother in law (who is a fabulous fish chef) uses on salmon, lemon and old bay seasoning.
I cut four lemons in half and Sawyer squeezed the guts out of them
(He also learned the valuable lesson that lemon juice and cuts are not a happy combination-- but he was "brave" enough to continue) We then shook on a hefty amount of the Old Bays and wrapped them all up in tinfoil and threw them on the barbie. While that was cooking I made some couscous.
I LOVE couscous, especially here in Asia when I feel like I am eating a bag of white rice everyday.
Surprisingly enough you can find quite a few varieties of it here, but plain is still my favorite. I couldn't find any fresh peas at the veggie market today so we resorted to our frozen stash. We invited out wonderful neighbor Brenda over for dinner (who also does not like fish), because apparently I need moral support when it comes to eating seafood. I am happy to report that is was delicious!!! The Mackerel didn't taste anything like fish ha! I actually had two helpings (the second was mainly a result of  reminding myself how crucial Omega 3's are and how little I actually get). Evie packed hers away and it only took minor coaxing for the boys to eat theirs. If you are like me and are not a fish fan and happen to get cornered in a situation where you have to eat it, go for the Mackerel my friend. You will NOT regret it. For you fish lovers out there if you have a recipe that involves fish, that you love please send it my way, especially if it ends up barely tasting like fish ha! I hope your dinner was as happy as ours!
Come back tomorrow to find out the winner of the Couture Cutie dress! Thanks for all your comments, I love reading them!


  1. I have a fun kid-friendly fish dish called fish tatertot bake. I don't suppose you have access to frozen tatertots, but if I'm wrong send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you.

    One recipe that we love and is easy:

    Fish Italiano

    3 T olive oil
    1/2 C sliced onion
    2 C thinly sliced zucchini
    1 t dried oregano
    1 tomato, chopped
    1 lb. fish fillets (mild whitefish is best)
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/2 C roped provelone cheese (feta works also)

    Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, zucchini and oregano and saute over med-high heat, stirring often for ~ 4 minutes. Add S&P. Put tomato and fish over vegetables. Sprinkle fish with S&P. Cover skillet, reduce heat, and simmer until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 9 minutes. Uncover skillet and sprinkle fish with cheese. Cover skillet until cheese melts, about 1 1/2 minutes.


  2. coincidence, we had fish tonight. it was salmon and i placed it in a pyrex dish, drizzled lemon juice, orange zest, garlic (fresh or powdered), fresh thyme, salt,pepper and a little bit of wine. baked for 20min and it was yummy. you could try it with any steak fish. i also like the easy way of seasoning a fish, placing in a dish, sealing with cling film and stick in the microwave for approx 5-8min (depending on size of fish).
    oh i could go on and on. my kids especially love the fish soup i make. will give you recipe if you'd like. buon appetit!
    bpbajona at maltanet dot net

  3. This was how we started eating fish:
    dip tilapia filets (or any thin, filet fish) in Italian dressing and then dredge in breadcrumbs (Italian is yummy, so is panko). Cook in a skillet with some olive oil. It might not be the healthiest dish in the world, but it's not deep fried or anything and it's definitely delish and doesn't taste like fish. I think I need to pick up some white fish

  4. My husband hates fish but I might have to try this. Thanks!

  5. Are you sure it is mackerel? seems like sword fish... which actually don't taste like fish...

  6. Hey Kelly - as a Baltimore girl who grew up on seafood from the Chesapeake, Old Bay is a staple in our house :) It can dress up any seafood that you might end up with for dinner. (my mom also loves to use it on chicken)

    As for fish, I love a recipe I found from Rachel Rae. It calls for serving the fish over a basil salad. The freshness of the basil really cuts that fishy flavor. You salt and pepper the fish, then coat with bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Cook in pan over med-high heat till browned on both sides and cooked through.

    Serve over a bed of fresh basil tossed with remaining parsley leaves, sliced red onion, small tomatoes, and olive oil and a bit of lemon juice.

    Original recipe calls for swordfish, which is definitely a nice light fish. I always use rockfish (old Chesapeake habits die hard!) and it is very good that way too.

  7. Hi there! I'm not a fan of fish too much myself but...I'm working on it. Having a husband from FL and one that wants to eat fish and have our kids eat fish can be a challenge at times. Our absolute favorite way to have fish is fish tacos. I like to use a mild white fish, sprinkle with blackening seasoning and then pan fry the fish in a little olive oil but, I've also breaded and pan fried them. Then serve them on (warmed!) corn tortillas with shredded cabbage (lettuce is ok too but we love it with cabbage), shredded cheese, salsa or tomatoes, avocado or guacamole and sour cream. We love this sauce we got in FL on top, it's called Peruvian sauce, kind of a sweet and spicy honey mustard. I'm sure you don't have that sauce and I'm not sure what veggies you have available but our kids love this! I think it would probably taste good with ranch dressing too but I don't know for sure since I don't do dairy

  8. Hello from northern Alaska! We eat fish two to three times a week. All fish that we have caught in our region. Shiifish (Large Tarpin type of whitefish) and all the salmon you can imagine, small whitefish, grayling, trout, mudsharks, etc.

    We use it like any other meat. Dice it up, make fish pattys, use lemon pepper and lightly fry it, make it in chowders, deep fry it, broil it, bake it, fish tacos...etc.

    My kids all time favorite way to have fish is to mix some parm. cheese with mayonnaise, chopped onions and garlic powder, spread it on a few fillets and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. My favorite way to eat it is called "flour soup" and basically, you dice it, boil it, add some rice, corn and salt, then make a flour/water mixture in a cup, while the fish is at a rolling boil, pour the flour mix in, it thickens up a little bit...Tadaa! Flour Soup. (We were poor growing up, but always had lots of fish, caribou and moose, so that's all we ate)

    We eat ALL the fish. Eggs, heads, etc. Good luck with your fish eating days!


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