I woke early this morning to swim with the Master’s class at our Park District pool. I love being in the water, especially swimming outdoors in the morning, but this experience has been both wonderful and humbling. I have the distinction of being the fastest swimmer in the slowest lane. I can’t seem to figure out how to count my strokes and swim at the same time. I used to think the breast stroke is my best stroke but now I’m unlearning the breast stroke, apparently it’s new and improved since the 70’s when I first learned it! Our coach cleverly gave us a counting game that made it clear how inefficient our free style stroke can be. It also helped me see that reoccurring theme in my life. I’m over thinking, working harder instead of smarter and not “letting go” enough. There are so many life lessons and peace that come to me in the pool. I can quiet the voices, meditate on bible verses I’ve memorized, hear a few lyrics in my head from Frozen’s, “Let it Go“! Eventually, I’ll learn to count my strokes and become the efficient swimmer I pretend to be when I have my flippers and paddles on.
Lately, I’m trying to find ways to use up some of the items in the fridge/freezer instead of running to the store, maybe because my summer shopping companions are not cheap dates! Last week, we somehow ended up having Mexican cuisine 2 or 3 nights, almost always featuring guacamole. I’ve had some avocados hanging out from a cooking class I did for a large group a few weeks ago and they needed to be used asap. A student from my water class and friend from various venues was asking me for a fish recipe with a mango salsa. That also set off the light bulb to try this lovely recipe from Dianne F, another long time Redeemer friend who always has a genuine smile. I hope Dianne will forgive me for modifying this excellent recipe from page 4.
I cut the recipe in half and also omitted the mayonnaise and guacamole seasoning, since I was trying to cut the fat and sodium. I used lime vs. lemon juice, as I love the way lime compliments the fresh cilantro that is literally growing like a weed this rainy June. I was planning on cooking this salsa version of the appetizer on salmon, but I somehow ran out of my stock of wild frozen salmon from Trader Joe’s. Instead, I found frozen Tilapia, which needed to be used up as well. This thawed quickly in the cold water of the sink. Next, I needed a vegetable to serve with the fish. I am sure most dietitians would argue that corn is not a very nutritious vegetable, but this practical one knew that corn would be eaten by all family members, needed to be used up and could be steamed in foil on the grill.
I started preheating the grill around five. I love to grill on these hot sticky days. Well, many interruptions ensued… children needing help with piano practice and pedicures, landscapers evaluating the sad state of affairs from last years tree removal in our backyard. Just as I was getting ready to put our dinner on the very hot grill, I could hear distant rumbles of thunder and the sky darkened. It was time for plan B!
My husband and kids surprised me with a new toaster oven for my birthday, professional quality, I might add. Our old toaster oven, handed down from my in-laws, still worked but the temperature settings were completely worn off and the rack was quite bent. As my son loves to say, one of its “cool features” is that it has a top loading toaster as well as an oven part. It was time to really take it out for a test run!
I actually tried a double-decker approach by cooking the foil wrapped corn on one rack and the tilapia on bottom. I cooked the tilapia alone with a little oil on it first and after flipping it, added the salsa. It is lighter and flakier than salmon, didn’t hold together as well as I’d liked as I flipped it. It was a good meal and got 2 thumbs up from my husband, who admittedly isn’t a big tilapia fan but does love his guac! Thanks to Stan for this wonderful present that came in handy tonight when I was feeling heat adverse!