Saturday, January 31, 2009

Easy Fish Soup

Low-fat, extremely tasty, relatively cheap to make...what's not to like?

For 4 people:
Saute 1 chopped large onion, 1 chopped small fennel bulb, in olive oil, until translucent.
Add a generous spoonful of minced garlic.
Add 2 regular cans petite diced tomatoes (organic plz - Muir Glen or Del Monte)
Add 2 small bottles clam juice (I'm lucky to get a no-preservatives brand), or 2 cups fish stock
Add generous spoonful each fresh or dried thyme and oregano. Grind a lot of pepper too.
(Salt optional, unless it's low-sodium tomatoes)
Add: 1 can white beans, or 1 cup frozen baby limas
Add: several handfuls of baby spinach
Simmer about 5 minutes to get flavors blended.
Add: 1 lb mixed white fish fillets & steaks, deboned & skinned, cut into bite-size pieces (I've used hake, baja, blackfish, halibut...whatever's cheap is fine, and frozen is ok).
I also like to add a few shrimp for flavor too, no shells, cut in bite-size bits. Squid are great, cut into bite-size bits. Clams or mussels too. As many as you like per person.
SIMMER until the fish are all cooked through, and tender, about 7 minutes.
Optional: chopped red pepper, chopped celery to taste. That becomes more gumbo-like.

Serve with firm crusty dunkable bread, and Outerbridge Bermudan Sherry Peppers Sauce.
Also a nice dry white wine, like a Suavignon Blanc, or La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc, or Sancerre...or else a wheat beer like Hoegaarten.

I promise you it's really good.

More 2008 Music, and 2009 Too

Finally did more listening to more albums...

David Byrne & Brian Eno "Everything that Happens will Happen Today": "Rei Momo" and "Uh-Oh" were terrific, but this might be Byrne's best solo album. Not coincidentally, it sounds the most like the last couple of Talking Heads albums. Catchy melodies, great arrangements, everything you'd hope for from a Byrne-Eno project.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds "Dig Lazarus Dig": I'm not the only listener who thinks Cave has finally made a commercial-sounding album. And I really like it. I would worry if Cave ever created an easy-to-listen-to record, and this comes close on a few tracks, but his lyrics are as edgy and amusing as ever. So whew.

Derek Trucks Band "Already Free": My new favorite album! My god this is good stuff. Super-sophisticated Allmans-flavored rock, virtuoso guitar and soulful manly singing, great songs...the radio track, Dylan cover "Down in the Flood", is just a taste of what awaits. Their earlier album "Songlines" was more experimental with world-music flavors and I'd love to hear more of that from this band, but I'm quite satisfied as is.

Bulbophyllum Confusion

I'm sometimes sorry I'm such a sucker for species orchids. And bulbophyllums.
This charming plant above, that I have nurtured and coddled for at least seven years, has been all along mis-labelled. It claimed to be Bulbo. curtisii "Pololei" but it wasn't. After my struggle with the newer plant I got that turned out to be Bulbo. corolliferum (but is still called Cirrhopetalum curtisii in Siegerist's book), it was clear that this older plant and the newer are two quite different things. "Pololei" would appear to in fact be Bulbophyllum lepidum, also very common in cultivation. Except that Bulbo. lepidum is no longer that, it is now Cirrhopetalum flabellovernis, or was, if you want to look at it from the perspective of that name being the older one by 34 years or so.
All fine and well! But I have one other elder plant in this pool: a Bulbophyllum makoyanum that had failed to flower for the past five years out of six. It looks just like "Pololei" vegetatively. As I hadn't photographed the flower six years ago, I forgot what it looked like, except that it was yellow and daisy-shaped. I was entirely satisfied it was the plant as labelled. Silly me.

Responding well to improved care -- lots more water, and a boost closer to the light source -- my supposed B. makoyanum has flowered again. As I remembered, it's yellow and daisy-shaped. But it's not B. makoyanum. The flowers are too short. They're not rolled. What I've in fact got is another Cirrhopetalum flabellovernis, a yellow-er form than my other plant.


Well, I'll keep both. They're cute. I like them. But I seriously, seriously have to repot both too. They have never been repotted. I hate repotting bulbophyllums. I am going to use very shallow pots and fill them with bark and sphagnum moss and hope for the best...tomorrow.