A few days before we reached the threshold of the new year, we stripped down the walls on the first floor. Holiday trimmings were put away, but our normal decorations were not returned. Instead, we reassessed each piece. Some we purged, some we kept. But before moving forward, we gave the walls some love. Holes were patched, nicks were retouched. Window coverings removed. Furniture was covered, and then we painted everything a pristine white.
The project is nearly done downstairs, and has continued to the second floor. For the first time in a very long time, we no longer have color on the walls. I’m surrounded by newfound light, and each piece that is placed on the mantle has been carefully considered. I love the freshness, the feeling of space, and starting fresh, and am finding myself extending this sense of serenity to everything in my life.
When I pick up my camera, I have been more thoughtful with each press of the shutter-release. Less in my viewfinder is more. Post processing is streamlined. What used to take far too long culling, is completed in minutes. Which gives me more time to return to the kitchen.
My approach to cooking has been straightforward this week, too. I cooked old favorites, the ones I can prepare with my eyes closed, I’ve made them so many times before. I cooked dishes that require very little fuss. When my husband brought home milky white fillets of cod, hinting at the notion of fish and chips, I decided to go the opposite direction. Clean and light, Steamed Cod with Ginger and Scallions seemed like a better idea that afternoon.
Steamed Cod with Ginger and Scallions
This very simple recipe, which called out to me the moment I saw it on Martha Stewart Everyday Food, is not only a breeze to cook, it is especially wonderful because of its ingredients. With fewer than 10 items, it packs great flavor with hardly any fuss.
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (alternatively, chicken stock may be substituted)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or julienned
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, skin removed
freshly ground black pepper
In a deep sided saute pan, swirl together the rice vinegar (or stock), soy sauce, and ginger. Slice the cod into 4 fillets of the same size and season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Place the fillets in the pan and place over medium heat. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 8 minutes, periodically spooning the liquid over the fillets.
Meanwhile, slice the scallions into three inch pieces crosswise. Take the green portions and thinly slice lengthwise. When the cod has steamed for about 8 minutes, Scatter the scallions over the fillets and cover again. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and opaque.
Serve immediately. I love this over rice noodles (which cook very quickly, 5 minutes or less) or steamed rice.