Archive for Fish

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

Week 33

My love of the fish taco continues.  If you recall from Week 4 I have an intense love affair with fish tacos (and I may have found the most delicious at-home recipe out there that week).  Fish tacos may be close to the best food ever.  If the idea of a fish taco weirds you out, I get it… I was one of the unenlightened my self at one time.  My first introduction to the fish taco was at Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Denver.  By first introduction, I mean I was introduced to the fact that they existed, not to the fact that they were delicious.  The idea of fish… in a taco… did not sound appetizing at all.  I think I probably got the chicken every time I went there.  When I actually got up the nerve to try one it was over for me.  My taste buds had met their true love.  I have found, however, that not all fish tacos are created equally.  You can have a pretty bad fish taco which would probably taint your view for life.  I’ve found I’ve become pretty picky about my fish tacos and will only order them if they have the following criteria:  1.) Great Seasoning  2.) Great Salsa  3.) Potatoes (a huge plus and guaranteed delicious, but not required because most restaurants have not figured out how yummy this really is).

Will you give me a minute to make my case for the potatoes?  I spent my final semester of college in London, England.  The English are not known for their culinary skills.  When I arrived, I had thought that this was just a fun European joke, but no, it’s true.  The English do not make good food.  Very bland.  Not delightful at all.  However, the one thing the English have figured out and probably the only thing they are known for food wise:  Fish and Chips.  The English have found the perfect complement to fish is the potato.  For that we must give them credit.  When I tell you that potatoes in a fish taco are marvelous, you must believe me.  I don’t know what it is, but heaven opens up when you add the potatoes.

So if you haven’t figured it out yet, this weeks recipe is a new take on the fish taco.  You can view the original recipe from allrecipes.com by clicking HERE.  And without further adieu…  Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped jicama (See Note #1 Below)
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 potatoes, wedged and grilled
  1. Preheat grill for high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together corn, red onion, jicama, red bell pepper, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and zest.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt. Brush each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices.
  4. Arrange fillets on grill grate, and cook for 3 minutes per side. For each fiery fish taco, top two corn tortillas with fish, sour cream, and corn salsa.

Tips I Learned Along The Way

  1. I had no idea what a Jicama was.  Wikipedia informed me that it is a root with a crisp texture and a sweet flavor that resembles an apple (this is a major paraphrase).  I decided to substitute a whole granny smith apple in place of the jicama.  IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!!  For the salsa you must make this substitution and not leave it out.  The salsa would have been terribly bland had it not had the tart/sweet flavor of the apple.
  2. I had accidentally eaten all the corn we had prior to making the salsa so I can’t comment on how corn goes with the salsa…  the salsa was super good without it though.
  3. If you happen to click on the original recipe, you’ll find I halved the spices for the fish for the recipe posted here.  A caution for the fish spices:  it’s very spicy.  Fiery is an accurate description for these tacos.  I didn’t even use all of the spice mixture and my fish had a major kick.
  4. Again, I can’t stress enough how yummy the grilled potatoes make these tacos.

Recipe High Points

  1. What I love about this recipe is that it’s quick.  It does take a while to chop everything, but there is no marinating involved with this recipe and you don’t have to plan ahead.
  2. Again, super delicious!

Recipe Low Points

  1. The only major low point is the fish seasoning is too strong for Ava.  I had figured this out ahead of time so she got her own little fish fillet with a different seasoning.

Jeff and I raved about these tacos all night.  A definite winner in our book!!!!

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Cajun Seafood Pasta

Week 13

I’m a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. I LOVE that show!  Not only is it so inspiring to watch people literally change their lives, I also enjoy the little nuggets of information they periodically throw out.  For example, I was just watching the latest episode today (latest episode for me anyway… I watch it online and am always a little behind everyone else) and Jillian gave out this Trainer Tip:

Instead of being strict about your calorie count all the time, instead try aggressively reducing your calorie intake for two days, moderatly reduce for three days and splurge on the weekends.  You’ll be more likely to stick with your plan if you give yourself some slack and you’ll keep your body guessing as to the amount of calories it will get.  This helps deter your body from storing up “emergency fat reserves”.

That’s my abridged version of what she said anyway.  When Jillian speaks, I listen.  I share all this with you because this weeks recipe definitely falls under the “Splurge” category and I just wanted you to feel good about it.  I keep telling myself this so I’ll feel good about it too.

One of my Colorado friends commented one day that I should make something Cajun since I now live in Cajun country.  Well this weeks recipe is definitely everything Southern.  Seafood… and cream.  Lots of cream.  I got this recipe from allrecipes.com and since I did change a few things, you can view the original recipe HERE.  Below is my version of Cajun Seafood Pasta:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cajun seasoning (I used Louisiana Fish Fry’s Cajun Seasoning)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound crab (original recipe called for scallops)
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Italian Blend Cheese
  • 1/2 box of fettuccine
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, pour cream into large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just about boiling. Reduce heat, and add herbs, salt, peppers, onions, and parsley. Simmer 7 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.
  3. Stir in seafood, cooking until shrimp is no longer transparent. Stir in cheeses, blending well.
  4. Drain pasta. Serve sauce over noodles or toss noodles into the sauce.

Tips I Learned Along the Way

  1. I don’t know if this is so much of a tip or a general confession, but in making this dish, I realized that I had never in my life before this cooked shrimp.  The bag said to cook until no longer translucent, but to me the shrimps looked translucent the whole time.  They did end up turning a little pink which I assumed ment they were done.  However it was a bit comical I’m sure with both Jeff and I standing over the stove wondering how you could tell if the shrimp were fully cooked.
  2. As delicious as fresh basil and thyme would have been, I only had dry seasonings of both.  I read somewhere that if you use dry ingredients instead of fresh, you should half the amount.  So I used approximately 1/2 tbs of each.
  3. The original recipe called for scallops.  When I was at the store purchasing my items, scallops were a whopping $10 for 1 lb!  That was too rich for my blood so I opted for the $3 package of imitation crab.  Perhaps that’s a seafood faux pas?  I don’t know.  I thought it came out ok, however I can’t say I really tasted the crab all that much.  I may have wasted $3.  Comments welcome.

Recipe High Points

  1. With 2 cups of heavy whipping cream there was no doubt that this dish would turn out delicious!
  2. I finally made my first cajun meal.
  3. It’s a fairly straight forward recipe and easy to make.

Recipe Low Points

  1. I spent a lot of time constantly stirring my cream… I didn’t want it to scald!
  2. I have no idea how many calories and/or fat is contained in this dish, but I’m guessing it’s high.  One tablespoon of heavy whipping cream has 17% of your recommend daily fat.  Yep, 1 tbs=17%.  I used 2 cups PLUS cheese!  Jillian did say that was ok, however I can’t with good faith say I have scrimped on my calories at all this last week, so I don’t really think that it counts.

All in all, while delicious, I think this one will only be pulled out for super special occasions in the future!  We’re really trying for healthy here and Cajun Seafood Pasta doesn’t really fall into that category!  Oh well, a little splurge every once in a while never killed anyone.

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Tilapia Pitas

Week 12

Well, let’s be honest.  This week I had no real inspiration for my meal selection other than the fact that I had bought a 4 lb  bag of frozen fish at the grocery store and felt the need to use it.  I had gone through the trouble of purchasing it and was now financially invested… in eating fish.  We all need to eat more fish really.  Do you know how many wonderful nutritious properties are in fish?  High in protein, low in carbs… chalked full of B-12’s… the list goes on and on.  I think most people would agree you should eat more fish.  That’s what the Chick-fil-A cow’s sign should read… “Eat More Fish!”.  Not quite as catchy as “Eat More Chicken!” I guess, but probably true.  I think fish gets a bad rap because it’s smelly prior to cooking…

Ok, I realized with that last comment, I really should get on with the recipe, because contrary to my above commentary, it is worth getting to.  I found this recipe while perusing my favorite recipe site, allrecipes.com.  You can view the recipe by clicking HERE.  I pretty much followed the recipe as is.  I give you this weeks recipe, Tilapia Pitas:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 anchovy fillets, drained
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (I used cucumber instead)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 6 pita breads, cut in half
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Italian dressing, feta cheese and anchovies. Season with cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt. Mix until well blended, then set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tilapia fillets in the skillet, and season with lemon pepper, salt and cayenne. Fry until browned on each side, and fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Warm pita breads in the toaster or in the microwave to soften. Open from the cut side to make pockets. Fill pita bread halves with lettuce, onion, and tilapia fillets, then spoon in some of the feta cheese sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Tips I Learned Along the Way

  1. I pretty much detest iceberg lettuce and wasn’t about to purchase a whole head of it just to use what would end up being just a small amount.  My rational was that iceberg lettuce usually has a nice crunch and that was probably what the chef was going for… crunch.  It couldn’t be flavor because, really, iceberg lettuce has no flavor.  So I decided to substitute cucumber for the lettuce and was very pleased with the result.  I suggest you do the same!
  2. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of anchovies, nor can I say I dislike them… I really don’t know much about them.  However, I did not purchase any for this recipe and as such, they were left out.  I didn’t find that the absence of anchovies was a joy-killer.  On the other hand, I may not know what I was missing…  your call.
  3. As with most sauces, this one made more than what was needed for the amount of fish, unless, of course, you love to drown you food in sauce.  Then it would have been enough.  It wasn’t a terrible amount, but after all the fish was gone, sauce still remained.  I think that left over sauce is on it’s way to become one of my new pet peeves.
  4. I didn’t fry the fish, we grilled the fillets… Jeff grilled the fillets.  I still haven’t learned how to use the grill.  Anyway, grilling is always better I think.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and you can’t go wrong.

Recipe High Points

  1. These ended up being really easy to make and surprisingly good.  I had hidden doubts about the recipe this week, but we ended up really enjoying them.
  2. Everyone always needs another fish recipe!
  3. I felt good about getting more fish into my diet!

Recipe Low Points

  1. Well, I still can’t say I get terribly excited about fish.  While fish is high in protein and low in carbs, I usually come away from the meal feeling like I needed to have a little something more… to use my newly acquired New Orleans term, a little lagniappe. Fish and salad don’t quite cut it for me.  I end up having to eat a bowl of cereal before I go to bed.

I’d have to say this wasn’t the most exciting meal I’ve made thus far.  However, everyone at the dinner table had a mostly enjoyable experience and the Tilapia Pitas made for a nice summary meal.  We’ll probably have them again in the future.  We need to keep up with our fish intake.

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Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Dressing

Week 4

Since moving to New Orleans, Jeff and I have been on a quest to find the perfect fish taco recipe.  Prior to moving, we would go to La Luz Mexican Grill in Fort Collins which had the BEST fish tacos EVER.  I’m fairly certain when I get to heaven, the good Lord himself will greet me with a La Luz Fish Potato Burrito in both hands and an endless supply will be readily available to me for the rest of eternity.  To me, that burrito is like a little piece of heaven on earth.  I’m salivating now just thinking about it.  Nothing compares and I have yet to replicate the fantastic flavors of the La Luz burrito.  But that has not deterred me from trying.  What has deterred me is one too many attempts while pregnant; so we have not made fish tacos for probably a year.  Jeff has been asking for them for months so I decided I’d better try a new recipe as the one we had been working on makes me nauseous any time I think about it.  Again, I found this recipe on allrecipes.com; you can view it by clicking HERE.

This week I decided to follow the recipe pretty much as written.  I only made a few minor changes.  It’s a pretty long recipe, but don’t be intimidated – most of the ingredients repeat themselves in the marinade and dressing.  So let’s begin: Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Dressing

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets

Dressing

  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toppings

  • 1 package tortillas
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges
  • grated Monteray Jack cheese
  • fried potatoes (my addition!)
  1. To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the sour cream and adobo sauce in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat. (See #3 under Tips I Learned Along the Way)
  4. Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes. (See #3 under Tips I Learned Along the Way)
  5. Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges.

Tips I Learned Along the Way

  1. First off – you need to buy 6 limes to make this recipe.  Come to find out, I could squeeze 1 tbs of juice from one lime and get 1 tsp of zest from it’s peel.  I had only bought 3 limes (which was not enough) and had to make due with bottled lemon juice and no fresh lime for the tacos.  To get the most juice out of the lime, press and roll it around on the counter until it softens.  Its much easier to squeeze the juice that way.
  2. I had no idea what Adobo sauce was.  I found a little 7 oz can in the Mexican isle of the grocery store that was called “Chipotle Peppers with Adobo Sauce”.  So I bought it.  That’s exactly what you need.  Inside are about 3 or 4 large peppers (discard the peppers) and the rest is sauce which conveniently measures out to 1/2 cup.  And just an FYI, the sauce comes out pretty spicy, so if you don’t like spicy – cut back on the Adobo sauce.
  3. Our BBQ grill had run out of propane so we didn’t grill our fish.  Instead I cooked it with the marinade in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Heat up your pan then just pour everything in.  When the fish is cooked, it will flake apart.  Most of the marinade cooks off; I transferred the fish to a serving bowl, draining off any excess marinade that was left.
  4. I didn’t use cabbage from a cabbage head.  I had some cole slaw mix in the refrigerator that I used instead.  You don’t use that much cabbage anyway and the pre-cut stuff is much easier.

Recipe High Points

  1. The marinade for the fish is EXCELLENT.  It definitely had that Baja Mexican flavor and reminded me of fish tacos we had once in Mexico.  So good.
  2. I had only fried up one potato which wasn’t enough for our whole meal.  So I had one taco with fried potatoes and one with out.  The potato adds a lot of yummy-ness so I highly recommend adding it to yours too!
  3. While it’s a long recipe, the marinade and the dressing were both really easy to make.
  4. I loved all the fresh lime.  That being said….

Recipe Low Points

  1. Zesting limes is a pain in the you-know-what.  And having to zest four limes is even more of a pain in the you-know-what.  Sometimes I put orange peel in the food processor and grind it up really fine when a recipe calls for orange zest.  Maybe that would work here too.  I’ve never peeled a lime though and don’t know how difficult that would be.  Plus, that just makes for more dishes.  Anyway, zesting the limes was definitely a low point.
  2. The sauce recipe makes about 3 times more sauce than what you need for 1 lb of fish.  You could probably half the recipe and be fine.
  3. You have to plan out your prep for this recipe.  Since the fish has to marinade for at least 6 hours, you’ll have to get the fish ready in the morning or the night before.  Not a great recipe if you’re in a hurry.

All in all, we really liked these fish tacos.  No match to the La Luz Fish Potato Burrito, but still good… an acceptable alternative if I can’t have the real thing!  I give the recipe 4 stars because it was really tasty, but the zesting… I’m coming to really loath zesting.  I continue to look forward to my eternity’s supply of La Luz Fish Potato Burritos.

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