Blackened Fish Tacos

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I have to be honest, today’s post almost didn’t make it up! We had a rough start to our day that threw me off for the whole afternoon. I woke up this morning with a really bad migraine, I thankfully don’t get them too often, but when I do, they really aren’t fun! I groggily made my way to get a glass of water, and found out soon after that we had NO WATER!

Having no water would have been upsetting on a normal morning, but compounded with a pounding headache, needless to say, I lost all sense of humor. My darling husband (knight in shining armor) magically appeared with coffee and he made all of the necessary phone calls to get our one house drought solved.

Post coffee, some food, and a migraine pill – still desperate for a shower, I start to feel human again. Luckily our water situation was an easy problem to fix.  A tiny little ant had made his way into the well pump and got himself smushed to death by the electric firing mechanism, but his swan song was to prevent the firing mechanism from firing thus making it unable to pump water from our well into the house.

Problem solved, ant funeral completed, finally ready to cook! Given today’s adventures, I needed a win.

Blacked fish tacos are a really fun weeknight dinner, and so easy and fast to cook! Especially when you’ve made salsas ahead of time, all you need to do is get corn tortillas, a good beer or cocktail, and the fish.

For the blackened seasoning you need:

  • 1 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika (if you can’t find smoked, regular is fine, but a bit less flavorful)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used more, but we love spice)

I used cod today, but you can use tilapia, snapper, trout, or any other delicious white fish!

Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and rub seasoning all over it.

Heat your grill or non-stick pan to medium heat and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes depending on thickness of the fish.

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Warm your corn tortillas either on the stovetop or in the microwave so they don’t break when you eat them.

The fun part about this is that you can make a taco station so your family can build their own tacos with whatever salsas and toppings they like.

I served it with this really delicious red cabbage slaw and all of our salsas!

Hope you enjoy this one!

Chila – Chila- Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

I am sure many of you wondered what I might do with all of the salsa I made in yesterday’s post.  I assure you, we will find use for all of it! What I can prevent James from eating, I will use in recipes throughout the week. This often takes covert tactics of misdirection and hiding in plain sight, but I will do my best to save enough to cook with.

Now most people we know, LOVE breakfast.  In New York City they make a sport of breakfast on the weekends.  This weekend sport is in fact a marathon, not a sprint.  Brunch in New York City lasts until 4:30pm at most restaurants and often includes some form of bottomless mimosa or bloody mary! Marathon!

Admittedly, I cannot hang with the elite in this event with regards to the bottomless beverages, but I do rank among the top competitors in the eating aspect of brunch. (Clearly we have a little olympic fever over here…)

One of my favorite brunch dishes is a Mexican breakfast called chilaquiles! This is pronounced tʃilaˈkiles – take a moment to say this 10 times fast, just to see if you can.

Chilaquiles are a pretty simple breakfast to make, and a seriously delicious one at that! Once you’ve perfected your salsas, you are ready for the next step.

Chilaquiles chips cooking

For a family portion of chilaquiles, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of salsa (either tomatillo or tomato – this is up to you, I prefer tomatillo)
  • 4 handfuls of tortilla chips
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of Cotija cheese for sprinkling
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a non-stick pan (this is for your own good) put in half of the salsa and all of the chips and heat on medium until salsa starts boiling and chips begin to soften.

Remove chips and salsa from the pan, taking care to leave a little salsa residue.  This will make your eggs taste delicious.

In a medium bowl scramble up your eggs and season with a little salt and pepper. You can add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa into the raw egg mixture to marry the flavors as well.

Pour the eggs into your already hot pan and cook through.

Put a small portion of salsa soaked chips on each plate and top with a portion of eggs. Spoon over another bit of salsa on top (you can never have too much salsa) and sprinkle some cheese on top.

Savor each bite as you enjoy a classic and delicious breakfast!

Chilaquiles plated

Hot Hot Hot…

Salsa Intro

Did you ever hear that saying as a kid, “If you can’t beat them, join them,”? Well I had an epiphany this week with regards to this heat wave gripping the country.  If I can’t beat the heat, then I will join it!  Today’s post is all about SALSA!! OLE!

As a native Texan of Mexican decent,  salsa is quite an integral part of life.  It is added to almost any recipe for flavor and kick! Its such a versatile condiment, that in fact, there are hundreds of different iterations and possibilities.

Today, you get an introduction to three of my favorites: traditional tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, and sweet and spicy mango salsa! Traditional tomato salsa is my husband, James, favorite – but alas variety is the spice of life (pun most definitely intended)!

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Mango Salsa is probably the easiest of the three.  It requires no cooking, only chopping, and it’s ready to go.

  • 1 mango
  • 1-2 tbsp red onion
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1-2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove

Finely chop the onion, jalapeño, mango, cilantro, garlic and avocado and put in a bowl together.

Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the lime over it. Its up to you if you want more onion, cilantro, or jalapeño, but I find this is the best balance of flavors.

Enjoy with fish tacos or tortilla chips as an appetizer.

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Now for the tomato and tomatillo salsas you do need to roast the tomatoes, peppers, and onion.  This helps get some of the liquid out of the tomatoes so your salsa isn’t too watery.  It also gives the salsa a really nice flavor! Take care to not roast the garlic cloves as the roasted garlic can overpower the flavor.

Tomato Salsa

  • 1lb Roma or Plum tomatoes
  • 2-5 jalapeños
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tomatillo Salsa

  • 1lb of tomatillos
  • 1-4 serrano peppers
  • 1/3 white onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and thoroughly wash all vegetables before using them.

For both salsas, roast the ingredients minus the garlic cloves in a 400F oven for 20-25minutes until the tomatoes blister and start to brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  If you are really eager to have salsa, you can blend these when they’re hot, but you need to make sure to break apart the tomatoes and peppers to avoid a salsa explosion all over your kitchen! I may or may not have learned this the hard way…

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Blend each salsa’s ingredients separately adding peppers in one at a time to temper the heat.  Taste as you go to get your desired level of heat. Every now and again you get some seriously spicy jalapeños and serranos that will make a grown man cry!

Finally, enjoy! These salsas are delicious with fish, meat, eggs, avocado, chips, beans… you get the point.  Enjoy salsa however you want, the possibilities are truly endless!

Buen Provecho!

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Pearl Couscous and Kale Salad

DSC_0469I can’t speak for other parts of the country, but in Greenwich, CT it is HOT up in HURR!!! Over the weekend, the heat index reached as high as 110F! Humidity levels were off the chart and as a girl from South Texas who is quite equipped for this weather, even I was feeling burn… and I don’t mean Bernie Sanders!

When the weather reaches temps like this, I can’t even begin to imagine eating hot and heavy food. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love my summer barbecues, but when even our dog wants nothing to do with outside, it’s time to find some cool and light alternatives.

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This salad is filling, and so delicious! The best part about it is that you can add in anything you have in your fridge and make it colorful and tasty. The base of the salad is pearled couscous and kale, but depending on the season the rest of it can be improvised.

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In this version I used local heirloom cherry tomatoes and avocado. For dinner I would throw on some grilled shrimp for a little extra protein.

  • 1 box of pearled couscous
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale
  • 1 lemon or two to juice
  • 1 box of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Boil your pearled couscous according to the directions on the box.

While your couscous is boiling chop up your vegetables as you like them in big or small bites.  I prefer smaller bites so everything integrates better and you can get a little bit of everything in every bite.

In a small bowl mix together your garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and oregano.

Feel free to add Feta or Cotija cheese for a little earthy flavor and added depth!

Put everything together in a bowl and enjoy!