A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sea bass teriyaki

Back when we lived in Washington state, we would occasionally drive to the southwest coast principally to dine at The Ark. This was back in the 1980s and 90s. The setting of this restaurant was picturesquely classic: Fishing boats bobbing on the water of the inlet on which the restaurant was located, huge piles of shucked oyster shells, gulls and herons flying about. And the restaurant itself with its weather-beaten exterior and an inviting very casual interior which belied its excellent cuisine which had garnered high praise from James Beard. We never had anything but excellent meals there and even now, after many years, the memories of those trips and those meals are very pleasant. 
So it sounds like the following recipe must be taken from The Ark. No, I started out thinking about making one of their preparations called Sturgeon Szechuan, but for one reason or another - not least the unavailability of sturgeon in the Twin Cities area - it morphed into what you see here, which bears only a resemblance to The Ark recipe. As we’re now surrounded by formulaic, corporate, consultant designed restaurants, I just wanted to pay homage to a one-of-a-kind restaurant which is, alas, no more. It closed a few years ago, but if you can find them, three cookbooks which the owner-chefs published afford a way to recapture their food. All are by Jimella Lucas and Nanci Main: The Ark: Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest (Ladysmith Limited Publishers, 1983), Bay and Ocean (Ladysmith Limited Publishers, 1986), and The New Ark Cookbook (Chronicle Cookbooks, 1990).
Sea bass or other white, firm-fleshed fish such as halibut, 10-12 oz, skin removed
The teriyaki sauce:
Garlic, 2 tsp minced
Ginger, 2 tsp minced
Soy sauce, 1/2 cup
Dry sherry, 1/2 cup
Lemon juice, 2 Tbs
Brown sugar, 1/4 c
Honey, 2 Tbs
Sesame oil, 1 Tbs
Butter, 2 Tbs
Orange juice, 2 Tbs
Sake, 2 tbs
Peanuts, roasted and chopped
Cucumber, “European” style, chopped
Place the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce in a blender or food processor and puree. Set aside.

Lightly dust the sea bass with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the sesame oil and butter over medium high. Place the fish in the pan and sauté on both sides until half done. Pour in the orange juice and sake and continue cooking. When almost done, throw in the teriyaki sauce and cook for another minute at most. 
In the meantime, you will have sauteed the cucumber in a bit of butter and oil in another pan until soft and browned. Sprinkle it with salt and white pepper.
Plate the fish and pour over the teriyaki sauce. Scatter the cucumber chunks over the fish and then the chopped peanuts.

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