Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fish Tacos

Why fish tacos should become one of your summer time dinner staples:

They go great with beer.... or margaritas.. or shots of tequila.

They come together quick when you need something to eat after having several of the above mentioned beverages and eating a bag of tortilla sounds like an appealing dinner.

They are mad healthy. Protein, Vegetable, Starch, GO!

They are super delicious.. light, yet filling, unless you eat three in one sitting, then you might feel like a beached whale.

Been there, done that.

Eat one.. have a beverage, then go back for more...

You will, I know you will.

Fish Tacos (makes six tacos)

6 c. shredded green cabbage
2 jalapenos
1/2 c. cilantro

1 c. radishes, julliened

1 1/2 lbs. haddock, skinned

2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1/2 T. granulated garlic
1 T. oregano
1/4 t. chipotle powder
1/2 t. sea salt
3 T. extra virgin olive oil

Guacamole.  Make a double batch... trust me.

6 flour tortillas

Fresh lime wedges, for serving

Combine cabbage, jalapenos and cilantro in a large bowl.
Julliene radishes.
Prepare a double batch of guacamole.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl combine the chili powder, cumin, granulated garlc, oregano, chipotle powder, salt and olive oil.
Rinse haddock and pat dry. Place in a glass baking dish and generously coat each side with the spice/olive oil mixture.
Bake for 5-7 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Using a fork, break into small, 1-2 inch pieces.
Heat a medium sized griddle or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Heat a tortilla for 20 seconds on each side.
Spread a couple tablespoons of guacamole on the tortilla. Top with a small amount of the cabbage mixture, followed by five or six pieces of fish, another small handful of cabbage, then top with a sprinkling of radishes.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Serve with lime wedges and your favorite hot sauce on the side.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Black Bean Chocolate Truffles

How about getting a little extra fiber in your diet... In the form of CHOCOLATE??

Now, I'm not talking those miralax fiber chews that you can pick up at the pharamacy.  Those things sound gross.  Don't eat them.... There are much better ways to get your roughage.

Eating beans is a great way to up the fiber in your diet, and what better way to do so than in the form of chocolate... Chocolate DIPPED in chocolate.

Black beans have made their way into brownies, cakes, cookies and now, truffles. 

Pureed black beans are like a blank canvas of creaminess, so when cocoa powder, coconut oil and a some maple syrup make friends with the beans, the result is chocolatey goodness without the guilt.  I've eaten the mixture on it's own.. like alot of it, when I was having a crazy chocolate fit, and it's delicious.  Sure, it tastes a little like beans, but dip those bad boys in melted chocolate and you can barely tell the difference. 

Chocolate Black Bean Truffles (makes 16)
From So Good and Tasty

1 c. cooked black beans
2 T. coconut oil
3 T. cocoa powder
pinch of sea salt
3 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped dark or semi sweet chocolate

Place beans, coconut oil, cocoa powder, sea salt, maple syrup and vanilla in a food processor and process until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.  Transfer mixture to a container and refrigerate at least 6 hours. 
Roll the mixture into small balls (about 1 Tablespoons worth) and place on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper. Place in the fridge for thirty minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When the balls have chilled, pull out a few at a time (you want them to stay cold, so it's best to do them in batches). Carefully insert a toothpick in the center and dip in the melted chocolate to coat. I found the best way to remove them from the toothpick was with a fork. Carefully slide the fork tines under the side where the toothpick is inserted and slowly twist while pulling upward, placing them on a sheetpan lined with parchement paper. Let them chill a bit to allow the chocolate to harden. Store truffles in the fridge.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes are the flowering stalks of a particular variety of hardneck garlic, Rocombole (also known as serpent garlic) due to the curling scapes it produces. If you are fortunate enough to have garlic growing in your garden, save those scapes!  I have zero land whatsoever (don't even suggest windowbox gardening.. my dogs enjoy eating dirt.. 'nuff said), but fortunately I have an awesome farmers market that sells 'em to me dirt cheap.

To be honest, I have never had garlic scapes before. They kind of fit into the category of wild edibles (like ramps, fiddleheads and dandelion greens) that I SHOULD be able to forage for but since I don't know anything about identifying wild plants and all the dandelion greens in my 'hood have dog piss on them I resort to shelling out too much money to get my fix. 

Nine dollars a pound for fiddlehead ferns?  I mean, c'mon...they're freaking FERNS!


Garlic scapes at the farmers market were 10 for a dollar, so I went for it.  You can't buy anything for a dollar these days so I considered it a steal.

When I asked some friends (and google) what I should do with my scapes, having never prepared them before, pesto was the number one response.

I can make pesto in my sleep I've done it so many times, so this came together in about three minutes.

For you unexpericed pesto makers, it will probably take you all of 10 minutes, and that's if you're making it doped up on vicodin.

In other words... this recipe is QUICK. I especially love quick when I've been at work cooking ten hours and can't think about picking up my knife ONE. MORE. TIME.

It will save you from another beer and popcorn night.

Toss it with some pasta, spread it on some toasted baguette, use it as a sandwich spread, dip raw vegetables into it, toss it into a grain based salad. 

Endless options.

Garlic Scape Pesto (makes 1 c.)

6 garlic scapes
1 c. fresh basil
1/3 c. walnuts
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. sea salt
black pepper, to taste
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Cut garlic scapes into 1 inch pieces. Place in a food processor with the basil, walnuts, parmesan, and lemon juice.  Process into a coarse paste.  With the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil and process until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Store leftover pesto in a glass jar covered with a thin layer of olive oil (to preserve the color).  Or... have a friend over and eat the entire batch.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Strawberry Arugula Salad

After laying in bed for two straight days with a head cold I decided I needed to get out of the house and do something productive...

Of all the things I SHOULD have done (laundry, grocery shopping, taking the dogs for a much needed long walk) I decided to say screw it and go strawberry picking instead.


Plus.. strawberies are FULL of vitamin C, which in turn will help boost my immunity, so I think I made a very wise decision. 

I ate my fair share while I was picking.  You know how it goes: Pick one, eat one. Pick two, eat two... You think I would have learned my lesson when I chomped down on a piece of sand from my unwashed "stolen" berries, but no, I just kept eating more.

So.... by the time I got home I was kinda sick of berries, but those fresh picked babies have to be eaten pretty quickly or else they get all nasty.

I had to think of some ideas...

Strawberry shortcake? Unless homemade buttermilk biscuits and fresh whipped cream appeared at the snap of a finger, it wasn't gonna happen.

Strawberry margaritas?  No tequila in the house. Note to self: buy some tequila.

I wanted some greens for dinner (no brainer), but had to use my berries. A salad... with strawberries? Yes, please!

Strawberries and spinach are a classic combination, but I'm not a huge fan of raw spinach and I had some arugula on hand, so I went with it.  Throw in some toasted nuts and a little cheese (I used walnuts and feta in this case) and make a simple vinagrette and you have a damn tasty lunch or light dinner.

Strawberry Arugula Salad (makes 2 large salads)

5 oz. arugula (one of those clamshell containers worth)
2 c. strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
6 oz. feta cheese

Honey Champagne Vinaigrette:

2 t. honey
1 1/2 T. champagne vinegar
2 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Combine honey, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small jar and shake until emulsified.  Place the arugula and strawberries in a large bowl and toss with half the dressing. Divide between two plates and top with the walnuts and feta.  Drizzle the remaining dressing on top, if desired.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cucumber Mojito

Summer time sippin' is here!

The first time I had a mojito was the summer of 2004.  It was hot... and I was drunk.

It was then that I decided that it would be my new summer time drink of choice.

Of course the next morning I totally forgot what was in it.. Mint... I knew there was some mint involved because I nearly choked on a very large leaf.  Muddle your mint people!!

I googled mint + cocktails the next morning, all the while wondering how I got home from the bar last night.

Search result completed.. the mojito.

Yup, that was it for sure.

Now.. I had to make it on my own, because homegirl is not shelling out $10 for one of these at a bar unless there is ALOT of rum involved.

Turns out this classic cocktail is super easy and requires very few ingredients.

Mint, lime juice, rum, sugar and club soda. Add some ice and you're good to go!

So, I've been making this here cocktail every summer for the past eight years.

As I was making my first round of the season I spotted a cucumber in my fridge. A couple cucumber slices in a glass of water is totes refreshing, so I thought, why not throw some in my cocktail.


Summer in a glass.

Cucumber Mojito (makes 1 cocktail)

8 sprigs mint
5 slices cucumber
1 lime, juiced
1 1/2 shots rum
1 shot simple syrup
club soda

Muddle the cucumber, mint and simple syrup in a large glass.  For those of you that don't have a muddler, a wooden spoon works like magic! Add the lime juice and rum. Fill the glass with ice and top off with club soda.  Give it a good stir and drink up!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spirulina Smoothie with Hemp and Flax Seed

Spirulina is a simple one celled form of algae that thrives in warm, alkaline fresh water bodies and is one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources on the planet.
It is one of the few plant based sources of vitamin B12 (4 times higher than the amount in raw liver!), it's high in easily digestible protein, and is one of the best sources of GLA (gamma linolenic acid), an important acid for heart and joint health. It is high in minerals (including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium and selenium), contains 18 amino acids, is rich in chlorophyll, boosts immunity and can assist in drawing heavy metals and toxins from your system.

Oh, yeah.....

Let's do this.

Spirulina Smoothie with Hemp and Flax Seed (makes 1- 16 oz. smoothie)

1/2-1 c. yerba mate (water or your favorite juice can be substituted with great results)
2 frozen bananas (just peel, cut into chunks, place in a pastic bag and freeze for at least 6 hours)
1 T. spirulina
1 T. raw honey
1 1/2 T. ground flax seed
2 T. hemp seeds

Place bananas, spirulina, hemp and flax seeds and honey in a blender. Add 1/2 c. yerba mate and blend. If your smoothie seems too thick, add more yerba mate until your smoothie is thick and creamy.