Monday, March 14, 2011

Perch with Marjoram Sauce - 4 points

I am a cheater, but I am an honest one. If you do not understand - here is what I mean. I don't follow the rules, but I can admit that I don't follow the rules. Here is my story about attempting to be a good, rule abiding blogger and failing miserably (interspersed with random pictures to keep you from getting bored.

First picture break, Tennessee sunset:
I was looking over Dom's fabulous, amazing, wonderful blog today and thinking, "I should like to try that challenge he has going on." The challenge was to count through your cookbooks until you reach number 18. Open the book at random and prepare whatever dish is on that page.

Problem...I have already gone grocery shopping for the next week. I do not want to go spend more money this close to vacation. Solution...I shall try the challenge anyway. If the fates decide to give me a recipe for which I have the ingredients, so be it. If not, I will just sit this one out.

I count to eighteen on the shelf and come to a book I thought I had rid myself of. It is a horrid book in which the recipes have long lists of hard to find and seasonal ingredients followed by directions like "twist your arm around the back of your head and peel a lemon without breaking  the rind". I meant to give it to the used book store but must have forgotten. Fine. Whatever. I open the book - a page full of directions. I open the book again - a page full of tips for cutting artichokes. Again, a page with menu for French New Year (I do not think France has its own New Year, further lowering my opinion of this book. )

Second picture break, Tennessee lake:

Cheat #1- I skip to book two. This is a very slim cookbook given to me by Beck's teacher. The title is Go Red for Women and it is published by the American Cancer Society. I open the book and see the recipe "Chicken in Tarragon Sauce". Eureka! I had tarragon on my shopping list, so that is a go. I have all of the other ingredients save one.

Cheat #2 - "Dom, you understand that I don't have chicken, right?" I ask him telepathically. "You do not mind if I use the perch that was 1/2 price today?" Of course, I decide that he completely supports this decision and go ahead with my preparations. Things are going swimmingly until I get to the fruit bowl and reach for the lemon. It is moldy. "Frickenjibbit!" I think.

Cheat #3 There is lemon in the recipe and there is pepper in the recipe, so if I use lemon pepper, that is not really cheating, right? I know it is cheating. I am starting to feel very guilty about my continual rule breaking. Still, I go on. I add the lemon pepper, the onions, the celery, and then the tarragon. No. No I do not. I reach for the tarragon and find that I have rosemary. You know, the spice that sits right next to the tarragon. The spice I grabbed in my haste to get out of the store and to my chicken fajita lunch. I consider crying or cursing or giving up. But the voice in my head says, "It is a stretch, but you are doing your best. Go ahead."

Third picture break, Tennessee waterfall:

Cheat #4 I add marjoram. It looks quite nice, really. Everything is going to be fine. I remove the fish from the pan, and try a bit of the sauce. It lacks something. It is time to add the flour. If I add white flour, the sauce shall continue to lack. If I add seasoned flour, it will have a better flavor. The  voice in my head, now sounding a bit miffed, says, "You've already shot to the whole recipe to hell. Who cares at this point?"

Cheat #5 I used seasoned flour. The rest of the recipe went by the book. Really, it did.

Dear Dom, I am sorry for mucking up this challenge and hope that you will accept my submission despite my flagrant cheating and long winded story. If not, I shall fully understand as I am a self confessed rule breaker and cannot expect people to put up with my foolishness.

Last picture break, a Civil War bullet hole in the Carter House, Franklin, Tennessee.
Here is the recipe, as I made it.

Perch with Marjoram Sauce
1 lb perch fillets
10.5 oz fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 medium rib celery, sliced
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 medium bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt to taste
1 tbsp seasoned flour
5 oz fat free evaporated milk
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Brown the perch for 1 minute on each side; transfer to a plate.
2. Place broth, onion, celery, lemon pepper, bay leaf, and salt in pan. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and add perch. Simmer, covered for 2-3 minutes, until perch is cooked through.
4. Remove perch and vegetables to a plate. Remove all broth, leaving 2 tbsp, to a bowl. Add flour to pan with a whisk.
5.Whisk in broth from bowl along with milk. Cook over medium heat 6-9 minutes, until bubbly. Stir in parsley.
6. Add fish and vegetables and warm for 1-2 minutes, until fish and vegetables have reheated.
7. Yields 3, 4 point servings


Now time for menu plan Monday. We are going to be with Stone's parents on Friday. I cannot very well ask them to be meatless on Friday. So

Cheat #6 We are going meatless every day but Friday. I think that is a reasonable solution.

perch with marjoram sauce



spaghetti squash kugel
salmon burgers


Stone's parents

Helen, GA

If you are making your own menu, here are some recipes suggestions.





night out!


Happy Monday!


  1. good LORD what a string of disasters!... of course I forgive you for all the above... the idea of the challenge is to open your inner creativity and use cookbooks that just sit there and don't do anything... you've clearly been creative here, which is the point!... so well done you and thank you for taking part! xxx

  2. In spite all these changes this dish looks delicious. Nice clicks, we love nature photography, now rarely going out.

  3. Really funny post. You amused me and that's good. I think you did very well on your challenge!

  4. HAHAHAHA!!! This entire post just cracked me up! I love how you can just laugh at yourself, but really I think you took what was probably an okay recipe and made it really special by breaking the rules and making it your own. That's what cooking is all about :) Bravo!

  5. Dom - thank you so much for being such a forgiving soul. You are such a gentleman.
    Swathi - I hope you are able to get out as the weather is warmer. We live in such a pretty place, don't we?
    Shannon- Thank you!
    Ann- I love to amuse you. You are such a good writer:)
    Victoria- Aw, shucks. Thank you for being so sweet.

  6. Despite the "tweaks" this sure looks like a success!!! Love the photos too. Have a great day Angela!!

  7. Ha ha I've just found your blog and I'm so glad!!
    You write so well, I feel like I'm there with you!
    I'll be back!

  8. I laughed the whole way through your post! The final dish looks lovely, well done for being so creative and not giving up!


Thanks for your comments!