My sophomore year of college, I had a revelation: that I had the power to feed myself. And I’m not talking about grabbing burritos from the local taqueria (though I did that plenty) or scarfing down a package of mini Hostess donuts (I did that, too). Like the know-how to jump start my car or balance a checkbook, learning how to cook — even the basics — was empowering. I was no great chef: much of my cooking revolved around boxes of pasta and canned sauces, but I pulled things together. I was realistic, not optimistic, as I am about most things in life.
Slowly, I realized that cooking had a powerful effect not only on my wallet, but on my body. I started educating myself about what it meant to eat healthy. It wasn’t about cutting out entire food groups, or eating everything low-fat. It was about making conscientious decisions. To skip sugar in my coffee. To replace fat-laden bottled salad dressings (calorie bombs!) with rich-bodied home-made ones. To skip the cookies from the bakery by my work in lieu of homemade treats on the weekend. Again, I took the realistic approach. I didn’t swear off all bread and pasta, or devote myself to a life free of sugar.
Most nights we cook at home with sheer speed and determination. There’s a lot of multi-tasking involved, roughly chopped herbs, and eyeballing measurements. We reserve more demanding recipes and experiments for the weekends, when we know we can enjoy them more. And for weeknights, we make realistic plans. We try to focus on fresh vegetables. We opt for fast-cooking proteins, like chicken or fish. And many of our favorite recipes are often on heavy rotation.
But as we did before we had Neko, we have made home-cooked meals a priority in our house. They are not always fancy. In fact, they most certainly are often no more fancy than yours: we eat a lot of Whole Foods sausages and simple roasted broccoli, these carrots. Sometimes I think they are not blog-worthy but after reading this wonderful piece from Mark Bittman about why it is important to commit to cook real (easy) food, I feel compelled to tell you that we want the food you find here to not feel like it’s unachievable. Some recipes may be more complicated but many, I hope, you can tackle on any given weeknight like we do. Our meals aren’t always plated and staged, but they are intended to nourish our family. To bring us together, every night (or most nights), around our kitchen table. To be away from our computers and our phones. To eat.
Fish Tacos with Pomegranate Salsa
adapted from Yummy Supper
For the salsa:
Pomegranate seeds from 1 large pomegrante
1/4 cup of freshly-squeezed lime juice
handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of diced shallot
1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
For the fish:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
juice from 3 limes
sea salt and freshly grated pepper, to taste
1 pound of rock cod or tilapia
warmed corn tortillas
cilantro leaves and lime quarters
1. In a small bowl, combine the pomegranate seeds, lime juice, cilantro, shallot, jalapeño, and salt. Toss gently with a spoon and then let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper to a medium bowl. Add the fish and toss to coat. Let the fish hang out in the marinade for 15-20 minutes (no more).
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, pour off a little of the marinade into the skillet, then add the fish. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until it’s tender and flaky.
4. Serve the fish on warm tortillas, topped with pomegranate salsa, a few dollops of crème fraîche and cilantro leaves. Serve the quartered limes alongside the tacos.