Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Lemony Baked Tilapia — June 2, 2013

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Lemony Baked Tilapia

Yesterday morning, I took my first trip to the farmer’s market, and I have been really, really excited about it. I usually don’t wake up early enough to get there before it closes, but I am going to start making a point to do so. I decided, based on a friend’s suggestion, to get some asparagus.

farmer's market asparagus


Now, I’ve only eaten asparagus twice–once I spit it out, and once in macaroni and cheese. But I decided to start with it as a focal point for tonight’s meal because I am trying to eat healthier. This meal was a “crowd-pleaser” in the sense that both my boyfriend and I liked it pretty well, and I would probably make it again (with some slight modifications). The original recipe available at Once Upon a Chef.

Roasted Asparagus Salad


  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided use
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1/4 TSP pepper
  • 1 TSP fresh lemon zest
  • 1 TBS fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese



1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

2. Toss asparagus with 2 TBS EVOO, salt, and pepper

Oiled, salted, and peppered, and ready to bake
Oiled, salted, and peppered, and ready to bake

3. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes.

4. Cut asparagus into 1.5 inch pieces

5. Add remaining EVOO, lemon zest and juice, and feta cheese. Toss together. Season with extra salt, pepper, zest, or juice to taste.

Finished salad.
Finished salad.

6. Serve at room temperature

Even as I was cooking, I was pretty hesitant about this dish. I’m a horribly picky eater, especially when it comes to texture. I wanted the asparagus to still have some “bite” to it, but it seemed pretty limp as I was cutting it up. Luckily, it kept a nice crispness around the outside. I think this dish would probably taste a little better grilled, but apartment living means no such luck. And I didn’t think it would get the same flavor on my George Foreman grill, so I went with baking instead.

A complete meal!
A complete meal!

The complete meal turned out really good! I served it with some baked tilapia seasoned with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic and lemon, as well as a slice of this fantastic rosemary-olive oil bread I bought at the farmer’s market, too. This meal is definitely a keeper, and I can’t wait to see what else I can find at the farmer’s market to inspire me to cook and eat better.

The Post-Defense Reading List — June 1, 2013

The Post-Defense Reading List

On the 28th, I’ll be defending my thesis. . .it’s a really surreal thing to think about. I had breakfast with a fellow MA this morning, and she commented on how “calm” I was about it. Maybe it just hasn’t really set in yet? I’ve been in “hiatus mode” since I finished. I tried to start reading the books still hanging out on my reading list that I haven’t checked off yet, but that wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped. And I spent all day yesterday pinning recipes and playing The Sims. Today, I am trying my hardest at being productive: looking for jobs, writing up cover letters, compiling my post-defense reading list.

That last part is accidental, of course. I logged in this morning to see that Sophie Turner‘s facebook page had posted this link to an article about her being cast in an upcoming BBC drama called The Thirteenth Tale, based on a novel of the same name by Diane Setterfield.

At first, I started thinking about Turner’s role in Game of Thrones. I have to admit, it took me a long time to start to like Sansa’s character when reading A Song of Ice and Fire, but Turner does a really great job of bringing her to life and making Sansa more likable early on (or maybe I just sympathize with her differently because I know what is going to happen to her?). Even though her storyline is a little boring (it’s really developing now!), I always enjoy watching her on the screen. She has such poise and I think she has a lot of potential to continue her career in really strong roles.

Then I realized how genuinely interesting the plot of The Thirteenth Tale sounds. I first thought, “Yeah, I’m excited to see this!” (Assuming, of course, I can find it somewhere in the US). But I’m more of a read-it-before-you-see-it person, and a paperback copy of the book was less than $10 on Amazon, so I decided to go ahead and order it. Now, I wish there was a way to place an order and delay shipping at will. If so, I would have it delivered on June 28, just so I can’t be tempted to pick it up until I’ve actually finished reading all the academic books I need to read. But you can’t, so I’m just going to have to be extra disciplined.

I already have a couple of activities I’m anticipating after defending my thesis, including watching series 3 of Downton Abbey and eagerly waiting for the release of MaddAddam in September. But seeing as these three things, with the new addition of reading Setterfield’s work, is not going to take up all of my summer, I should probably start working on my post-defense reading list a little bit more (especially considering I’m very excited to get to do pleasure reading without feeling guilty!).