Thursday, September 23, 2010

Balancing the scales

I tend to extremes, so it’s not really in character for the fall Equinox to be my favorite of the earth holidays. I’m not a compromiser; Libra and her scales just annoy me. My brother is a classic Libran compromiser. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for him growing up stuck in a household with a dour and whiny Capricorn (me), a creative, flighty Gemini (my mother) and a choleric Aries (my father).

My family matched the sun cycle- two Solstice and two Equinox birthdays: winter, spring, summer, fall. There’s a novel in there somewhere, or a mythology. Perhaps the eventual implosion of that family unit is the reason I’m a gardener- a garden balances the eternal with the ephemeral. You both keep and consume a garden; not the same garden of course. Each year in a temperate zone you make a new plant from an old seed- the cycle of life. A family that consumes itself, like mine did, has no replant; you cannot save the seeds and start again.

And for Libra, a meal with, um, scales (sorry).

Pan-fried white fish

1 large fish, fileted
2 tablespoons butter
lime juice
capers (optional)

Heat a large skillet, and add the butter. Once it's melted, place the fish in the pan, sear on one side (about 1 minutes), then turn and sear the other side. Turn down the heat and continue cooking, turning only one more time (so the fish doesn't fall apart). When it is cooked nearly through, splash some lime juice on it. Add capers and finish cooking. Fish is done when it is white all the way through and falls apart easily when prodded with a fork. Don't worry about keeping it in one piece when you remove it from the pan.

Serve with rice and Tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)

10 tomatillos
5-10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 jalapeno pepper
lime juice

Roast the tomatillos and jalapenos: heat oven to 350, cut vegetables in half, place them on a baking dish and brush all sides with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool them in the bowl of a food processor. When they are cool, run the food processor til they are completely blended, then add the tomatoes, a small handful of cilantro leaves, and a splash of lime juice. Blend again.

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