Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.– Ecclesiastes 9:7
Just for fun, this week let’s do, “Five Food Friday.” Life is never simple, and the day-to-day of caring for my parents can be a real challenge. So I try, best as I can, to at least prepare some really good food on a regular basis.
Here are five examples from the past few days. As you can see, I haven’t been able to do much that is ambitious, but I do aim for fresh, healthy, and flavorful.
White fish with roasted potatoes and asparagus:
There is a lot of choice when it comes to a light fish. However, I have consistently been happy with the texture and flavor – and price – of what is generally sold as “tilapia.” I drag the fish in some seasoned flour (or House-Autry Seafood Breader), then cook it in just a little olive oil at a medium/high temperature for no more than three or four minutes per side.
They key here is to have everything else ready and transfer the fish from the pan to a hot plate at the last possible moment. Generally I will make a simple white sauce to serve with it, but this time I had some black beans left over from a recent Cuban-American dinner and they combined surprisingly well with the asparagus and roasted potatoes.
Classic hamburger dressed up with breaded okra:
What makes a good hamburger great? Try some sautéed mushrooms held in place on the meat by melted cheese – this time I used a Gruyère. What makes all that even better? Serve with breaded okra.
A few frees, of course, complete the picture. And, for me, a good locally brewed IPA.
Simple fare does not have to be bland or boring. Bland and boring are crimes against food, and I aim to fight that kind of crime to the utmost of my ability!
Tenderloin with a baked potato:
When our niece Faith graced us with an extended stay at Maul-Hall, she was also working in food service at Outback Steakhouse. She shared some great tips and one in particular has made a huge difference. It’s about the potato.
Her big tip was to soak the potato in salty water for a good two-three hours ahead of cooking – this makes it softer and more fluffy (I then cook it at least halfway in the microwave; this saves time and heat without spoiling the good texture from the oven). When the potato goes in the oven, keep the temperature around 400 degrees to make sure the skin is properly cooked. Do not puncture the potato before cooking, and do not wrap it in foil.
Seared salmon with yellow rice:
I think the salmon speaks for itself.
The point of searing is to seal in the juices. Then, again, I cook this fast in the pan – I prefer my old, well seasoned, iron skillet. Also, as with the tilapia, I use House-Autry Seafood Breader.
Finally, pictured below, even a simple tomato soup can be jazzed up with the help of fresh basil from my garden.
Point being, life is a challenge sometimes, and eating together can be a simple but beautiful opportunity to add some special moments.
As Rebekah often says, “Don’t ever miss a good opportunity!” – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.