Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Easy Grilling: Tilapia with Herbs

Once the weather warms up, I grill as much as possible. I alternate between fish, chicken and boneless pork, depending what is on sale. Fish is especially easy and fun to experiment with as long as you take it easy and don't over do the herbs or spices. Frozen tilapia is often on sale, and this is one method I used that turned out tasty and moist.

First, I gathered a small bunch of lemon thyme from the garden. I stripped about a teaspoon of the leaves off the stems and placed it in a bowl. I added about a tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of garlic pepper and the same amount of kosher salt. I mixed this together well and brushed it on the thawed fish, which I had placed on a sheet of foil. I then placed the remainder of the lemon thyme on top of the fish, leaving on the stems.

I preheated the grill, then turned it down on low. I placed the foil with the fish on the grill and closed the lid. I turned it once, leaving on the loose thyme so it was on the bottom. I continued to check it often, and turned it once more. It was almost cooked to where it was flaking, so I dotted the fish with a small amount of butter (at the most a tablespoon). When it was melted, and the fish cooked, I removed it from the grill and placed it on plates. I served it with potatoes I had microwaved, then cut in chunks and sauteed in a pan with butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. (I also like sauteing sliced sweet onion before adding the potatoes.)

Variations: If you don't have lemon thyme, regular garden thyme will work, plus a little lemon juice added to the mixture. You can also use minced or crushed garlic and freshly ground pepper instead of garlic pepper. This method would work with any white fish fillets such as whitefish, catfish or perch.

Visit OFL for a warm weather menu, including Italian Grilled Chicken.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Garden Tips for May

As I've been working outside last week and this week, I jotted down some tips to share.

-Check out garden centers right now for herbs. Home Depot, Lowes, and other stores with garden centers have good deals on basic herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, mint, and others. I picked up at Pineapple Sage and Bee Balm at a Buy One Get One Free sale this weekend. This is a really good way to start an herb garden for a low cost.

-Remember, if you had a vegetable last season that ended up with wilt, or some other disease, don't use that same space to grow it again. Some of these diseases can lay dormant in the soil and you will have the same problem again.

-If you have any small bushes, trees or perennials, make sure you remove weeds that could use up nutrients and moisture. We just went through and did this, then mulched with composted straw that had been here when we moved in. The previous owner raised horses. You can do this same thing with compost you've made yourself or bought at a garden center.

-Now is the time to plant daylily, peonies, hostas, oriental lilies, irises, and many other perennials. I planted two new types of daylily this afternoon in spots that needed some color.

-Buy violas, pansies and Johnny-Jump-Ups and plant for some pretty spring color while we wait for more blooms. I've learned over the years the best places to tuck them into:

*plant a violas near hostas where they will be shaded later by the large foliage, and add a splash of color.

*Butterfly bushes take some time to grow and bloom, especially in the northern climates. Plant pansies in front, not too close to the base of the bush. They will give you color now, and later will be shaded.

One last reminder: allow your daffodil, tulip and other bulb foliage to die back naturally. Don't cut it off when it's done blooming because that's how the plant stores up nutrients for next year.