Fresh fish from the fish guy...Cooking in a new land...Sharp knives and gadgets...

Early morning cloudy view of a mountain with sun peeking through the clouds.
Yesterday morning I was up at 5 am busy preparing the day's post.  Our hope was to head out the door in time to make it to the Farmers Market Taranaki before all the fresh caught fish was sold. 

The prior week, the fish guy explained we'd need to arrive by 9 am to ensure we'd be able to purchase fish when it often sold out in the first half hour. Tom doesn't care for fish unless its fried and thus, the purchase was exclusively for my dinner last night.

Preferring not to freeze any fish, we only purchased 500 grams, 1.1 pounds, of Red Cod, a fleshy fish cut into several boneless fillets, priced at NZ $15, US $9.72. With taco salad for Tom's dinner for three nights, this portion would last three nights for me, which I'd use in my equivalent of a taco salad.

My salad was made with a few tablespoons of the beef mince mixed with chunks of the saut√©ed fish added to lettuce, red peppers, avocado, celery, feta cheese, onion, tomato, lettuce and tossed with my homemade sour cream dressing.  It was delicious and I'm looking forward to tonight's "rerun".

As the clouds quickly moved, seconds later the view changed.
Tom's taco salad includes the beef mince with taco seasoning (I can't use the seasoning mix due to gluten and sugar), sliced olives, diced tomatoes, diced onions, lettuce and grated "Tasty" cheese (NZ's and AU's version of cheddar).  He also enjoyed his salad immensely.

Usually, when I make a meal requiring a lot of prep, chopping and dicing, I make enough to last three nights.  In the case of the above meal, I'll cut fresh tomatoes and lettuce each day with all other ingredients prepped on the first day.  This way, I get a two day break in spending lots of time in the kitchen. 

When we go out and about during these periods, the dinner is ready to go with only a few minutes prep time.  My days of spending hours in the kitchen are long since passed.  As for the above, when I have a good knife (which I borrowed from Trish a few days ago) I can do most of the prep in an hour with another half hour required for cooking and seasoning all the protein.

Recently, we noticed a food processor tucked away in an upper cabinet.  I hadn't used such a contemporary kitchen appliance in over three years.  Tom pulled it out and we proceeded to hand wash every part in hot soapy water. 

Unfamiliar with all these varieties of fish, the fish guy suggested the Red Cod, which we purchased.  He wrapped the fish with a small packet of ice and then in newspaper.  We placed it into our insulated bag to which we added a blue (injury type) ice pack.  When we returned hours later, the fish was still ice cold.
In our old lives I'd often use a Cuisinart food processor when I was cooking big meals when we frequently entertained.  Since the onset of our travels, I've struggled with cooking never having access to any chopping gadgets of any type let alone a sharp knife.

Early on in our travels we carried a few sharp knives in our checked baggage which were later confiscated.  At that point, we decided to ask the property owners for a sharp knife or purchase one to leave behind. 

Its the same with a cookie sheet and two 13x9 baking pans which we purchase when available leaving them behind, most often able to buy all three for under NZ $23, US $15 with the lower prices in most countries.  Purchasing these few items enables us to make meals with greater ease. 

If the pans aren't available, we'll purchase tin foil pans which are easily found in most countries although finding a cookie sheet is another matter (which we use to make sugar, grain and starch free coconut macaroons, a frequent evening snack for Tom).  When unavailable, I'll butter the bottom of a baking sized tinfoil pan to use for baking the cookies.

This is apparently a more contemporary version of this item many of us used decades ago.
In this wonderful house in New Zealand, we've been thrilled to have the availability of many modern conveniences and gadgets although we've still  purchased the three pans, none of which were available.  Most tourists staying in vacation homes don't bake, dining out for most meals.  As a result property owners see little reason to include baking pans in their litany of household goods.

As a side dish to the salad, I made our usual mushroom casserole after I'd already washed and dried the food processor.  Preferring not to have to wash it all again, I dug into the gadgets drawers to find this old fashioned hand mixer.  I hadn't used one of these in years.  It worked well for beating the eggs and thickened cream for this recipe.

We were thrilled to get this food processor cleaned and working.
After our delicious meal, we watched the second to last episode of Downton Abbey on my laptop. Tonight, we'll watch the series finale.  For some reason, our HDMI cord won't work on this flat screen TV.  All the ancillary TV equipment is synced to the satellite and we can't find a TV remote to set up use of the cord.  Any suggestions out there to avoid un-syncing the TV setup?

After our trip to the farmers market, we explored a historic site in New Plymouth on its final day of public viewing due to the necessity of earthquake proofing which we'll share with photos tomorrow.  Please check back!  Carpe diem!

Photo from one year ago, February 1, 2016:

One year ago, I wrote: "Do I recognize this scowl, similar to Tom's when driving in traffic?  Just kidding, honey!"  For more details, please click here.


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