Thursday, January 25, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 01/24/18: Mid-Eighties, *On the Media*, Fish Cakes

1. I don't know what it was about the year 1984 and 1985 and on into 1986 that had me so invigorated. It just seemed like every independently made movie I went to at Cinema 7 or the Bijou, whether it was Sid and Nancy or Stop Making Sense or My Beautiful Laundrette or Streetwise or Mona Lisa thrilled me and I'd stop by The House of Records or Everybody's Records in Eugene and, whether it was Sting's The Dream of the Blue Turtles or The Eurhythmic's Be Yourself Tonight or Dire Straits' Brother in Arms or The Waterboys' This is the Sea, these albums and many more sounded fresh to me, either got me dancing in my tiny basement apartment on W. Broadway or threw me into a meditative trance.

This afternoon I had the house to myself for a while and I called up some of this music on the Echo Dot/Bose and turned it on loud enough to hear it while doing laundry in the basement and while working in the kitchen. I danced -- or moved in a way that passes for dancing these days. I sat. I stared. I thought about all the promise my life seemed to hold in 1984-86 and how little of that promise materialized, but other future promise I couldn't have imagined back then, did. I wanted to flip on a television and a VHS player and watch some of those movies again, but, alas, I have neither (on purpose), so I'll have to figure out other ways to see them. I don't want it to be 1984-86 again, but when it comes to personal enjoyment and feeling fully alive, those were some peak years for me.

2. I jumped off the way back machine and came back to 2018 and listened to a couple of podcasts while I did more work in the kitchen and messed around with other things. I turned my attention to On the Media and, in one episode, listened to an interview with journalist James Risen and to a second episode that discussed the #Me Too movement, Facebook's new approach to presenting news, and a tribute to radio legend, Joe Frank.  As soon as I can, I'll listen to Radiolab's episode focusing on Joe Frank. If you'd like to listen to these On the Media episodes, click here and here and here is where to go to listen to Radiolab's piece. 

3.  I'm pretty good about keeping talapia on hand and today I thawed about six fillets along with leftover chicken stock I made a while back. While I was listening to podcasts, one of the kitchen tasks I completed was to get out the rolling pin and some wax paper and make saltine cracker crumbs.  Once the Deke returned home, I poached the tilapia fillets in butter, garlic powder (I was out of cloves), white wine, and the chicken stock. I set them aside to cool. Once cooled, I flaked the fillets and combined the fish with the cracker crumbs, mayonnaise, yellow mustard, capers, finely chopped cilantro, the zest and juice of a lemon, and Old Bay seasoning and formed this mixture into fish cakes and fried them in butter.

I love fish cakes (especially crab cakes) and the Deke and I agreed that tonight's were really good. Normally, I would have fried the tilapia or baked it in the oven, but today's experiment with poaching the fish worked beautifully and gave the tilapia a buttery and deep flavor as opposed to the roasted or fried taste the other methods would have resulted in.

I didn't follow either recipe verbatim, but the two recipes that guided me today are here and here.

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