Hump Wednesday for $24!

Pan Seared Talapia with Black Bean and Corn Salad

If you ask me what my most dreaded domestic question is, I’d have to say “what’s for dinner?” It seems that since I’ve been the dominant cook in my home for as long as I can remember, this question can become very daunting. Often it provokes a snippy response – something like “Can’t you at least ask me how I am, or how my day was before WHAT’S FOR DINNER?”

So, if you’ve experienced the same quandary-question, and want nothing more than to default to the quick frozen meal, top ramen, or box of mac and cheese – I’m here to offer a suggestion. I’m gonna call this weekly post – Hump Wednesday. Each week, I’m going to take a stab at coming up with a beautiful, simple meal that you can prepare quickly, and on a budget. Hopefully one that you’ll enjoy making.

So, I’m driving home, thinking, “what am I in the mood for?” It’s the new year, I’ve been eating lots of rich, heavy, holiday food; I want something light and tasty. Fresh fish! That’s it, fresh fish sounds good! Hmmmm –  Spicy, I’m also craving something spicy! So, I arrive at the market with a plan…

Hump Wednesday Menu:

Fresh Talapia – panned grilled and finished with a spicy cream sauce, served on a bed of black beans and corn salad.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 Talapia filets
  • 2 cans organic black beans  – rinsed
  • 2 bag frozen organic corn – defrosted
  • 3 jalapenos – minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro – chop and add to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions – chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper – chopped into small pieces (match size of beans and corn)
  • Small carton (or block) of feta cheese – crumbled
  • 1 small carton sour cream  (had at home)
  • Hot sauce of choice (had at home)
  • Olive oil (had at home)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado – sliced and reserved for plating
  • 1 lemon


  1. Brush the talapia with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, set aside (about 5 minutes prep)
  2. Mix black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and red pepper, and feta cheese. Toss, and season with salt and pepper, add a touch of olive oil if needed (about 15 minutes prep).
  3. Mix sour cream, hot sauce to taste, and lemon juice. Set aside for plating (about 5 minutes prep)
  4. Heat grill pan to medium high, when heated add talapia filets. Pan fry until they are no longer translucent, and are showing signs of flaking. Fish cooks very fast, and you never want to over cook it – it will get dry and rubbery. Probably about 4-5 minutes max on each side. (about 10 minutes cooking)


Mound bean/corn salad on plate. Place talapia on top of salad, garnish with fresh avocado, drizzle cream sauce on top of talapia, squeeze some lemon juice and VIOLA – in about 35 – 40 minutes you have a beautiful plated Wednesday Hump meal on your table for under $30 – just try and find a restaurant of any caliber that can do this!!!

Wine pairing:

If you’re like me, and must have a bottle of wine, I suggest a Chardonnay, Rose, or Shiraz/Zinfandel. Each of these will offer different pairing complements to this meal, all can be found inexpensively at your local grocery store.

Here’s to the art of living well! Patrick


12 Responses to “Hump Wednesday for $24!”

  1. January 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Congrats, Patrick! ¡Tu sueño ha llegado!

  2. 2 Patrick Bartlett
    January 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Indeed, the time has come for my dream!!! I think I translated that correctly. HOPE YOU’RE KEEPING WARM IN THE WINDY CITY!

  3. 3 Glenn
    January 7, 2010 at 4:35 am

    I very classily-designed web site, Patrick!

  4. January 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I was there and this dish was DELICIOUS. Wow. What’s for dinner tonight? OMG just kidding.

  5. 6 Kevin
    January 11, 2010 at 11:49 am

    YUMMY! Can’t wait to try it!

    Here’s a rather unappetizing talapia story: when I was looking up info on the Salton Sea before Bryce and I took a little day trip to see it (which was a bizarre experience, I must say), I read that talapia used to be farmed in the sea before it got too salty and toxic. Can you imagine what kind of scary pollutants would’ve been in those fish, even back when the sea was cleaner? It’s not like the runoff from the Imperial Valley only started within the last decade. Bleh! It certainly pays to know where your fish comes from, even when it’s labeled “farm raised.”

    I hope the Salton Sea reclamation project gets going at some point, before the toxic dust gets worse (like the Aral Sea). But considering the economic train wreck in CA, I don’t expect the project is at the top of anyone’s to-do list.


    • 7 Patrick Bartlett
      January 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Kevin, First of all, I’m loving that you’re looking at my blog… THANKS! The thought of Talapia raised in the Salton Sea is disgusting… I can’t even imagine it! I’m not big on farm raise either… when you see some of the ponds they’re raised in, it reminds me of seeing commercial chicken farms, or cattle yards! I rapidly lose my appetite!

      I think the most important thing to do with the Salton Sea is keep water in it, so it doesn’t start evaporating more, and expose all the massive pollutants I’m sure are settled in the muck at the bottom… talk about an apocalyptic image!

  6. 8 Kevin
    January 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Sorry, I know I’m starting to monopolize your blog, but hey, better to have too many comments, right? :-)

    Question: we found an unopened container of crumbled feta in the fridge (I forgot what its original purpose was supposed to be). Its expiration date was 12/15/09, but since it’s cheese, I assume that’s more of an arbitrary date — it’s not like it has a visible mold colony growing on it. Would you have any problem using it a month after its expiration date? Thanks

  7. 10 AJ
    January 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I’m learning a ton from your answers to Kevin’s wonderful questions and getting a big kick out his stories, too. Keep them coming!

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Patrick Bartlett

A conversation about food, wine, and the art of living well!


January 2010
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