I was at real cross purposes today–my visit to Leite’s Culinaria inspired me to try out parchment cooking again, so after a few hours to myself of brooding, errands, and a bit of drawing, I visited Berkeley Bowl West and got a couple of boneless trout, some colorful vegetables, and headed out to the parking lot.

BUT–sitting on my car was a copy of Sunset magazine, the March, 2013 issue which, amazingly, was simply lying/laying on the hood of my car. And one of the articles was on how to negotiate your way through Hispanic grocery stores. Huh. Well, I’ve been doing that now for months, finding that their prices and their quality more than satisfactory compared to any Whole Foods or the like and at half the price. (Not on all items, lets be real, but…)

There was a recipe for some little chicken tinga tostaditas that looked pretty tasty. Sunset mag hasn’t yet posted the recipe, but to get an idea of how to prepare it, you can go here to see how to do it, even while you add your own unique touch to them.

I will be preparing this tomorrow evening…if I feel up to it: tomorrow I undergo my lithotripsy procedure at Kaiser. Apparently I will be drugged to the gills while they do this, where three hours later my wife will drop me home to recover in a drug-induced world of relaxation. So…will I cook? Dunno. When I do, I will provide the recipe.

Tonight, though– fish and veggies in parchment paper. Why? You ask? Well, there are a variety of good reasons, but mostly…it’s cool-looking on the plate. I prepared boneless trout stuffed lightly with walnut bits, and dusted in salt, pepper, and olive oil along with several thick slices of lemon (from our front yard). Adding a splash of red wine vinegar, I sealed up the packet as tightly as possible and then prepared the veggies.

In a colander, I placed a baby zucchini, carrot slices, a scallion or two, green beans, and a few asparagus and drizzled them with olive oil and salt, along with a wee bit of shallots. Wrapped up same.

Again–why in parchment? Did I say it looked cool? Hmm. The ostensible reason is that the packet contains all the flavors, including aromatics like lemon or onion, which allows those flavors to more easily permeate the fish or vegetables–and they did.

Here are the parchment packets (note that the potatoes weren’t wrapped–not that they wouldn’t have benefited, but I hadn’t yet decided what starch to add to this plate–at the last minute I oiled and salted them along with a sprinkling of fresh rosemary)


And here are the parchments after opening….whew! Cooked thoroughly through at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. The veggies could have stood maybe 5-10 minutes less in retrospect, but no real harm done.

The walnuts and the trout were an exceptional pairing.