Tonight I drove the truck back from the repair shop through dreadful traffic. I sat for 15 minutes on one block. Usually we watch the Lehrer Hour at 6 while we eat dinner, and I arrived home at 5:45. And that is what we did while having a wonderful Friday meal. I now am going to tell you how I accomplished this. Here is the final plate as served.
First of all let me tell you how I made the fish. Tilapia was on sale yesterday at the grocery store, so I had a pound on hand. As soon as I got home tonight, I turned on the oven to 400º. Then I got out the 7 x 11 baking dish and put a mixture of butter and olive oil in it, enough to coat the fillets. I put 3 fillets on top of the oil mixture, then turned them over. I sprinkled them with lime juice, salt, a little cayenne pepper, thyme, and parmesian cheese. I have all these things on hand. When the oven was hot, I put the pan on the middle shelf for 20 minutes. By the way, this is a perfect way to fix any fish fillet. Just run a fork through it to make sure it is cooked before you serve it.
The other side dishes, I already had on hand. I try to make a dish with at least 6 or 8 servings and store the rest in the refrigerator. That way Stephen and I either have 2 or 3 meals or we are ready for guests who drop in and stay for supper. A couple of days ago I had fixed my favorite rice pilaf with almonds and peas and a mild vinaigrette . That way it can be served either hot or cold. But you could fix your favorite rice dish, or just serve rice. The coleslaw has served us for at least three meals now. It’s just shredded cabbage and carrots with celery seed, lemon juice, olive oil and a little honey. Very refreshing, and keeps well. Oh, and the reddish purple dab of stuff that you see in the upper left of the plate is just some store bought Harvard beets that I had on hand.
So, you see, I was able to set this stuff all on the table at 6:15 pm and sit down to watch the news. A glass of chardonnay and a cup of green tea with brown rice complemented the meal.
And here is the final cost analysis for this nice repast. You can trust me because I am used to figuring the cost of meals out. I am estimating a cost of $3.00 per plate with tea, and of course the cost of the wine will vary depending on your choice. This was a California wine at about $2.00 a glass. (We split one.)
This same meal in a restaurant would have cost between $20 and $30. I have made the general claim, and I think it’s true, that you will pay 1/4 of what you pay in a restaurant for home-cooked food. And how much is your time worth? Let’s say a cook gets maybe $12 an hour.