Monthly Archives: June 2011

Easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia

This TK recipe caught my eye last week, and for good reason. We’d just come off a weekend of meat: we had barbecued beef and pork Friday night at Uncle Sam’s. On Saturday we chowed down on grilled chicken, burgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, bacon, and beef all day long at Aunt Jacquie’s birthday party, courtesy of grillmeisters Martin and Eleanor. And then, to top it all off, we had grilled steaks Saturday night with my in-laws.

By the end of the experience, I felt like my stomach contained 5 pounds of steel, and possibly a few pounds of random autombile parts. A wrench and a hammer might have been in there, too.

So both my husband and I entered the brand new week on the same page: bring on the veggies. I love it when we’re in synch like that: neither of us wanted to look another piece of meat in the face for a nice long while. Hence the fish, which is so much lighter. Let’s make our stomachs a happy place this week.

My default tilapia cookery method is simply flouring it lightly and pan-frying it in butter, adding a little lemon juice (and/or zest) during the last few minutes of cooking. I will always love it that way, but I was intrigued by the thought of topping the fillets with cheese and letting the oven do the work instead. And it’s delicious!


(Serves 2)

2 tilapia fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 TBS butter, softened
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/3 c finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Pat the tilapia dry with paper towels, and season it generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

I should add that doubling or tripling this recipe would be a cinch, for those of you who have more than just a spouse to feed.

Lay the tilapia on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or in a dish), and bake it for 10-12 minutes. While it’s baking, mince the garlic, grate the Parmesan, and rip the tiny leaves off the sprigs of thyme.

Mix the butter, Parmesan, garlic, and thyme into a paste.

Refrain from eating the paste. My faults don’t have to be your faults.

You could also use this time to chop up the lemon.

Why not, I ask? Why not indeed.

As soon as you remove the fish from the oven, carefully turn the fillets over–they may still look a little raw on the reverse side.

Spread the paste evenly over the top . . .

. . . and it’s ready to go back into the oven!

Put the fish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Serve the fish with the lemon wedges. Lemon and fish were meant to go together from the dawns of time. Who are you to question that plan?

It’s so good, guys–perfectly tender, perfectly flavored.

We had it with that creamed corn I shared about on Tuesday, and it was perfection.

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A couch for Dr. Evil

This is my aunt Jacquie (right), posing with my Mom on the day of her 60th birthday. She is an amazing woman, has raised three spectacular kids, and (being an English PhD) regularly polices the grammar on this very blog (all while being its staunch supporter and enthusiastic reader as well). The celebrations were so much fun, and a lot of friends and family came down to party Friday night and all day Saturday.

I have lots of pictures to share from these two days, but I thought I’d start with some very important ones.

What is my cousin June holding . . . ?

It appears to be an ornately decorated box.

Yes. In fact, it’s a contribution box for a very important cause.

This brilliant brainchild of my cousins was passed around to the party goers as the day progressed. Are you confused? Muddling about in a cloud of incomprehension?

Let’s review the evidence, and everything will become clear:

Here’s the living room. Yes, very tasteful, very classic in appearance. But not exactly . . . lounge worthy. I mean, can you picture a pile of cousins and grandkids in PJ’s just hangin’ loose on these marvelous pieces of antique furniture?

I didn’t think so.

Eleanor agrees–completely unacceptable. We want comfort.

We want to slouch. We want to snooze. We want to hang our limbs all over this place. But the scrolly bits of ornate wood keep getting in the way.

I’ll give you further evidence. Using my spy-skills, I witnessed the following conversation between aunt Jacquie and a distraught female guest. I should note that I have no idea who this woman is (dear Mystery Woman: I hope you don’t mind being blogged about)–this is just cold, hard reporting, folks.

Strange woman: You know, I really enjoyed my visit, except that after sitting on your living room furniture for an hour or two, I think I might need back surgery.

Aunt Jacquie: Oh no, you poor thing! I’m so sorry!

Aunt Jacquie: You know, now that I think about it, I can’t even count the number of medical complications that furniture has caused over the years . . . lemme see . . . one (a sprained back), two (a herniated disc), three (a stomachache–though that may have been from all the meringue) . . .

Aunt Jacquie: I mean, I know that whenever I sit in my furniture I always get this cramp . . . it starts along my neck right here and moves into my shoulder and upper back . . . it’s really quite painful.

Case closed! We can’t have Aunt Jacquie in pain and getting cramps in her neck for the rest of her life. That just wouldn’t do.

And just when I thought this little manifesto was about wrapped up, I called out to my husband . . .

“Hmmm . . . should I include this picture of you on the couch? I don’t know, it’s kind of dark and . . . you know, you don’t really look that uncomfortable.”

“Well that’s because I didn’t think it was really that uncomfortable. I mean, the living room looks really nice,” he said.

I stared at him blankly. He continued:

“She has a beautiful living room.”

“But . . . but . . . ” I spluttered. “You’re not on our side?”

“I don’t know, her furniture looks really pretty.”

“Pretty? Pretty!?!? But that means . . . you’re with the opposition!” I cried. “Dang it,” I muttered, “I guess I’ll have to include your views in my blog post.”

Everyone else, I hope you align yourselves with the correct side in this matter. Over and out.