Monday, October 22, 2007

Grilled Tilapia with Red Potatoes and Pumpkin Biscuits

Grilled Tilapia with Red Potatoes, Pumpkin Biscuits and Spiced Apple Cider

One of the most challenging parts of home cooking is trying to get home late from work, cook everything, and have it ready to eat before bedtime. In order to do this most effectively, I do as much as I can the night before. Then I simply have to throw everything together when I get home so we can eat at a reasonable hour. So when I give directions, I'll keep notes on what I do in advance. There are only two of us, so I generally try to limit the ingredients and portion sizes. I also use zip-lock bags generously for leftovers to take to work for lunch.

  • Grilled Tilapia with Red Potatoes:
    • 6-8 fresh red potatoes
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 2 fresh tilapia fillets
    • 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
    • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
    • 1/2 stick of butter
    • 1/4 cup of olive oil
    • 3 fresh garlic cloves
    • 1/4 bag of Kingsford regular charcoal
    • small terracotta grill
    • lots of aluminum foil
  • Pumpkin Biscuits:
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 2/3 cup of canned, mashed, cooked pumpkin
    • 1/3 cup of half and half
    • 2 glasses of apple cider
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • The night before: Wash the potatoes and put them in a pot. Cover with water and add 1 tsp sea salt. Cover and boil for 40 minutes (tilt the lid up to allow steam to escape but keep enough heat under it to keep it boiling). Take the potatoes out of the water and put them in a single zip-lock bag and toss them in the refrigerator for the night. Put the spices (paprika; 1 tsp. sea salt; onion powder; cayenne, white, and black pepper; dried thyme and oregano leaves) in a small sealed container. For the biscuits, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Take a whole stick of butter and cut it lengthwise twice make 4 long thin sticks. Then slice these sticks in quarter inch slices making lots of little butter rectangles. Stir all of these butter rectangles up in with the biscuit mix and dump them in a sealed container and put them in the fridge for the night.

  • After work: Remove the grill, stack the charcoal in the terracotta, douse it with lighter fluid, then light it up. In a small sauce pan, melt a half a stick of butter. Add the olive oil to the melted butter. Stir in the spices from the small sealed container. Chop up the garlic cloves into little pieces and mix them in with the butter, oil, and spices. For each fish fillet, pull off 2 pieces of aluminum foil each about 4 inches longer than the fish on each side. Make a double foil rectangular "pan" for each fillet, shiny side toward the fish. Take a spatula and paint the fillets with the oil, butter, garlic and spice mix. Be liberal with it spilling plenty into each individual aluminum foil "pan". Save about 1/3 of the mixture. Wrap the coated fish up in the foil. Take the potatoes out of the fridge, open the zip-lock bag, cut each potato in half, put the potatoes back in the bag and pour the rest of the mixture into the bag with the potatoes. Re-seal it and shake it up until the potatoes are well coated with the mixture. Make another couple of double aluminum foil "pans" for two servings of the potatoes. Dump half the potatoes into one, and half into the other. Seal the foil around each set of potatoes. The charcoal should be all gray by now. Separate it to both sides of the terracotta basin leaving none in the center in a space about as big as the two fillets. Put the grill on. Place the fish in the middle between the charcoal and the potatoes on each end over the charcoal. Cover the entire grill with two layers of aluminum foil locking the foil around the grill handles.

    Grill the whole mixture for 40 minutes. While it's grilling, mix the pumpkin with the half and half in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the flour mixture from the fridge and stir it up until it is the consistency of biscuit dough. Add more flour if necessary. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Flour your hands and knead the dough for a bit on a floured board. Then roll it out to a 1/2 inch thickness. Dip a glass or plastic cup into the flour bag and use it to cut biscuit shapes out of the dough. Keep kneading and placing the cut biscuits on a lightly greased baking pan until you've placed a dozen biscuits on the pan. Re-knead the dough scraps, re-flour your hands and the glass top as often as necessary. Put the biscuits in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes. Put on a small sauce pan and pour two glasses of apple cider into it along with 2 cinnamon sticks and heat it up until it's steaming. Pour the cider into two coffee mugs and put a cinnamon stick in each one. Bring in the fish and potatoes off the grill and dump them into two plates. When the biscuits are done, stack them in a plate. Now you're ready to eat a warm autumn meal!

1 comment:

peggy at the lake said...

Hey there, Your dinner sounded great, and the photos are just grand--guess what--I always love ordering "tilapia in a bag" at The Red Lobster Restaurant, and now my own son can do it even better than
the Red Lobster!! Your photo of the meal was just beautiful!
Keep on cooking & blogging--Isn't life grand!!
P.S. when we come down in November, sure hope "tilapia" is on the menu!!! See ya!!!