Fish Tacos

Post-vacation depression (PVD) affects an estimated 97% of vacation goers annually. It can occur as early as your last day on the trip and linger for months, sometimes lasting until your next vacation. After returning from my honeymoon in Hawaii, I developed a severe case of PVD. It struck when I least expected— walking through hot bus exhaust set off memories of warm tropical breezes and even a dripping air conditioning unit induced flashbacks of sipping fruity cocktails in the swim-up bar. Needless to say, the transition back to reality has been rough. What can I do to cope? Fish. Taco. Therapy. In Hawaii, I ate some of the most insanely delicious fresh fish. The fish tacos were particularly unreal. Fresh ono nestled in a flour tortilla with shredded cabbage and served with pineapple salsa. It was a thing of beauty. Unlike beef tacos, fish tacos are more refined and don’t really require as many fixings. Fresh salsa, shredded cabbage and guac is all you really need. He me iki ia (you’re welcome).

picstitch-21photo 2-5

picstitch-20photo 1-5

picstitch-15Fish Tacos with Pureed Tomato Salsa

(Serves 2)

photo 3-3

PVD set in early…

1 lb tilapia (feel free to use any white flaky fish such as mahi mahi, snapper or cod)

1/8 tsp ground coriander

1/8 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper

olive oil

4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeño, sliced

1/4 cup cilantro

1 lime

hot sauce (optional)

shredded green cabbage

Guac

Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Heat a frying pan with about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Rub a little oil on your fish and sprinkle with spices and salt and pepper. Cook fish about 3-5 minutes per side, or until it flakes nicely.

Pureed tomato salsa:

Adapted from Bobby Flay

picstitch-16

Sautee garlic and onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and jalapeño and cook for about 10 minutes. Add cilantro. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender. Add the juice of 1 lime, salt and hot sauce if you’re feeling frisky. Serve tacos with warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, guac, sour cream and a wedge of lime. Alcoholic beverage accompaniment encouraged.

picstitch-18

Advertisements

Rustic Roast Chicken

Simple and understated is often the best approach to food, fashion, and reacting to your friend’s horrific new haircut. It always surprises me how delicious a simple whole roast chicken is and it’s one of my absolute favorite foods.  This recipe is pretty foolproof, too. Toss the bird in with your favorite veggies and roast for an hour and a half. The trickiest part  is carving the golden bird. But, that’s where YouTube comes into play. Hope you enjoy this chicken as much as I do.

photo (1)

Rustic Roasted Chicken

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 whole chicken (about 3.5 lbs)

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 bunch of thyme

1 lemon, cut in half

1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise

fingerling potatoes (small bag)

4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 bulb of fennel, top removed and cut into wedges

2 yellow onions, cut into chunks

Preheat your oven to 425. Rinse your chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and thyme. Brush the bird with about a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss veggies with olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper and any leftover thyme that you have. Put the veggies in a roasting pan or dutch oven and place the chicken on top. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. See YouTube for helpful carving advice.

 

 

 

Panang Tofu Curry

Mondays are rough. Not quite as bad as Sunday nights, which are pretty much the lowest depth of misery, but pretty darn close. You’ve got the weekend behind you, with all those glorious calories you consumed, and a whole 5 days of work ahead. It’s bleak, people. That’s why you need a bright, flavorful veggie dish to tide you over until your next nacho and margarita binge… tomorrow night. This dish is not hard to make and proves yet again that coconut milk makes everything better.  Tofu, butternut squash, cauliflower, potato, red pepper and carrots nestled in a delicious sauce flavored with garlic, onions, spices, peanut butter (!!!) and coconut milk. Serve with rice to soak up all that delicious goodness. You’re welcome.

photo 4

photo 2

photo 3

 

photo 4

photo 2photo 1

Panang Tofu Curry

Adapted from Bon Appetit 

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 tbsp finely grated peeled giner

4 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

a few shakes of red chili flakes

1 cup water

1 14-oz can of coconut milk

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 14-ounce package of firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes

3 peeled carrots cut into coins

1 peeled potato cut into 1 inch cubes

1 peeled butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes

1 red pepper, chopped

1 head of cauliflower, broken up into bite size pieces

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger, and garlic; cook until onions are tender. Add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, and chili flakes; stir for about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup water,  coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and brown sugar; bring to  simmer. Season with salt. Add tofu, carrots, cauliflower, butternut squash, potato, red pepper and simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve with rice and garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

photo-11

Enjoying some corn on the cob over the weekend.

 

 

Tolafel

“Where does Liz Lemon go when she’s out on the town? To the Barnes & Noble bathroom!” To no one’s surprise, Liz Lemon knows what’s up yet again. Not only does Barnes and Noble offer a free, semi-clean bathroom but the place also boasts an extensive collection of cookbooks! I found myself in a Barnes and Noble recently and not only did I use their restroom, but I perused the shiz out of their cookbook section. After learning about the Moosewood cookbooks recently, I began to pour over the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook. This vegetarian gem offers a wide array of delicious sounding recipes, like tolafel, a tofu-falafel hybrid that’s packed with protein and veggies. The patties are baked, not fried and make a very satisfying dinner. I roasted up some eggplant slices and made a quick Israeli salad to go alongside the tolafel. Throw in some Israeli pickles and hummus and hop on the express bus to tolafel town.  And the next time you find yourself in a Barnes and Noble, make your way over to the cookbook section and you too may find a weeknight dinner keeper. 

photo 4

photo 1  photo 4 photo 2photo 3photo 1

photo 3

Tolafel

From the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites Cookbook

12 oz block of extra firm tofu (pressed to remove excess water)

16 oz can of chickpeas

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup tahina

sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 7 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the sesame oil, turmeric, and coriander and cook for another minute. In a food processor combine the chickpeas, tofu (broken into crumbles by hand), lemon juice, soy sauce, tahina and parsley and pulse until combined. Place the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the pepper and onion mixture. Stir until combined. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Form patties using about a 1/2 cup of the mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 35-40 minutes.

photo 3

 

Spinach, Red Pepper and Feta Frittata

Frittata is one of those dishes that tastes great, presents beautifully and is a cinch to make. Kind of like creme brûlée or coq au vin. Frittata is lighter than quiche and just as tasty. You can use any combo of veggies and cheese like asparagus and cheddar, mushroom, onion and swiss or tomato, basil and mozzarella. Perfect for brunch, this dish pairs well with bottomless mimosas or bloody marys.

photo (46)

 

picstitch-14imageimage_4

Spinach, Red Pepper and Feta Frittata 

Based on this recipe from Williams-Sonoma

10 eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper, sliced thin

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup feta cheese

salt and pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add red pepper and sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft. Meanwhile crack 10 eggs and whisk until frothy. Add feta and salt and pepper to taste. But don’t actually taste–salmonella alert.  Add spinach to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes until it is wilted. Add eggs and stir everything around lightly. Cook for about 5 minutes and then stick the pan straight under the broiler for a minute or two until it is golden brown on top.

Game Day

The Super Bowl is over, leaving only a trail of beer cans and indigestion in its wake.  It was a game to forget, but a night to remember at my apartment, with guests so sated by the food that one ended up unconscious on the floor. The wings showed more fight than Peyton Manning and the spices in the chili were more aggressive than Seattle’s defense— this was the game of my life.   Football deviled eggs, chili, corn bread muffins, baked salami, hot wings, fun punch, roasted chickpeas, chips, dips and more. This spread was more ludicrous than Denver -2.

1795724_10151819993621580_1395565853_n

photo (10)

Oven Roasted Chickpeas

1 15 oz can of chickpeas

1 tsp ground corianderpicstitch (9)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

Big pinch of kosher salt

2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Drain chickpeas and dry thoroughly on a paper towel. Toss chickpeas with olive oil, zest, salt and spices. Spread the chickpeas on a cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Occasionally move the chickpeas around on the pan while roasting. Let cool and serve. Flavor explosion.

picstitch (5)

***

Football Deviled Eggs

10 large eggsphoto (5)

7 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

pinch of kosher salt

squirt of  sriracha

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

chives

Perfect hard boiled eggs every time: Place your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let the eggs sit covered for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs and run under cold water. Peel the eggs under cold running water. Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with the mayo, mustard, cayenne, salt and sriracha until nice and smooth. Stuff the creamy mixture back into the egg whites. Decorate the eggs like footballs with the chives. Become everyone’s favorite hostess.

photo (8) photo (7)

***

Baked Salami

This recipe is from my wonderful mom, Carol

photo (9)

A work of art.

Large hard salami (2 lbs)

1 cup apricot preserves

1 container frozen orange juice concentrate

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup spicy mustard

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the salami into thin slices, but not all the way through. Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet and put the salami on top so the excess fat will drip off when baking. Bake the salami for 1 hour uncovered. Meanwhile, place the apricot preserves, orange juice concentrate, brown sugar and mustard in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the ingredients are all melted together. Take your salami out and pour maybe half of the sauce on the salami. Bake for another hour, pouring more sauce on the salami every 15 minutes or so. Cut the salami and serve with mustard and cocktail bread.

photo (4)

***

Halftime Chili

This recipe is from Bon Appetit

picstitch (3)

Oliver’s masterpiece.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

8 large garlic cloves, chopped

3 pounds ground beef

5 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried basil (used fresh)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree

1 14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth

1 12-ounce bottle beer

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 15- to 16-ounce can pinto beans

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add meat and sauté until brown, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano and thyme. Stir 2 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, beer and tomato paste. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Mix in beans. Simmer 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with corn bread muffins, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and sliced green onions.

***

Corn Bread Muffins

5 tsp baking powder

photo (3)

Find a man who makes muffins. Never let him go.

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup honey

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 1/8 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 18 muffins.
picstitch (4)
***
Buffalo Chicken Wings
32 chicken wings (about 6 lbs)picstitch (2)
2 sticks of margarine (SORRY WORLD)
8 tsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat the broiler. Cut the chicken wings in thirds, cutting between the bones. Melt the margarine and add the cayenne, hot sauce, and salt. Put the wings on a sheet pan and brush them with the sauce. Broil them about 3 inches below the heat for 8 minutes or longer until golden. Turn the wings, brush them again with the butter, and broil for 10 minutes or until crisp and delicious. I tossed the wings in extra hot sauce at the end.
picstitch (6)picstitch (7)
***
Fun Punch
This recipe is from my Aunt Debbie
1 package frozen limeade concentrate
36 oz of Miller Light (I used Bud)
Malibu rum
Place the frozen limeade in a punch bowl. Fill the limeade container with Malibu rum and add to the bowl. Crack open the beer and pour in. You’re welcome.

Comfort Pot Pie

Sunday night is downright depressing.  With Monday looming over your head like a dark cloud, it’s important to treat yo’ self, especially in these cold winter months.  Mac and cheese, homemade pizza, a nice hearty soup or chili are all good options. But if you’re feeling fancy and all-American, which is pretty much how I feel all the time, chicken pot pie is the way to go for a cozy Sunday night supper. There’s something so incredible about that herbaceous, brothy gravy, crisp veggies and tender chunks of chicken all under a golden puff pastry roof. Now, that’s a house I would like to live in. All year round. Utensil advice: use a spoon for this. It’s that good.

picstitch (40) picstitch (44)

picstitch (41)picstitch (36)

Chicken Pot Pie 

Based on Mark Bittman’s Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler recipe 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, washed well and choppedpicstitch (42)

2 carrots chopped

2 cups quartered button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced

salt and pepper

1 cup frozen peas (or any mixed veggies you like)

4 sprigs of thyme

2 tsp corn starch

1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add chopped leek. Add salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme leaves, carrots and chicken. Cook until chicken and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook for another minute or so. Whisk the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of the broth together and add the mixture back into the pan. Stir until the liquid thickens a bit. Pour into a baking dish, top with one sheet of puff pastry. Make sure there are no holes as the liquid will seep out and prevent the crust from cooking. Brush with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown just cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Notes: The first time I made this, I put slits in the crust which resulted in lots of liquid seeping out and pooling on top of the crust. Bad news. Don’t make clever slits like I did. Also, I’ve used boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, and it’s just ok.  I found the thighs to be infinitely better. They stay super tender and moist.

picstitch (43)

Holy Mackerel

During one cruel summer at Park Day Camp, tuna fish was declared uncool by the Sisterhood of Evil, aka my seven-year-old peers. Those who dared to consume tuna were banished to eat lunch in the projects of grassy lunchtime real estate— far away from the cool crowd. That summer, mustard (my favorite sandwich condiment) and bangs (had ’em) also qualified as abhorrent. I might as well have just become home schooled. Even in middle school there was a period where fish was again uncool to eat. What the heck people? Fish is delicious. Fish is sophisticated and healthy.  It can be prepared in any number of ways — roasted, poached, fried. It can even be served raw. Can you say the same about chicken? No.  Salmonella anyone? So needless to say, the fish-haters did not get to me and I remained a loyal and fervent fish fan. Whenever I find a fish recipe that’s not tilapia or salmon, I get very excited. This mackerel recipe definitely intrigued me. Boldly flavored fish on a bed of crispy roasted potatoes with a tangy yogurt sauce. Yum.  Quite frankly, if you don’t like it, you can sit somewhere else.

picstitch (33)  picstitch (32)photo (44)

Mackerel with Crushed Potatoes

Based on this recipe from Bon Appetitpicstitch (31)

1 whole mackerel filleted, skin left on

5 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp lemon zest

4 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped basil

1 lb yukon gold potatoes or fingerlings

1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp white wine vinegar

Sea salt

Preheat the broiler.  Place potatoes in a pot of boiling water, add a good amount of kosher salt. Let the potatoes cook for about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Put the potatoes on a sheet pan and using a measuring cup press the potatoes down to flatten slightly. Pour over 4 tablespoons of olive oil, crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Take the potatoes out and put the fish fillets skin side up on the potatoes and pour the remaining tbsp of olive oil on the fish and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish and potatoes back under the broiler for 10-12 minutes. The  fish skin and potatoes should be crispy and delicious and the fish should flake easily. Top with basil, parsley, zest and sea salt. Spoon some yogurt sauce on your plate and top with potatoes and fish. Heaven. On. A. Plate.

picstitch (34)

Chicken Marsala

Cancel those Olive Garden reservations right now: it’s about to get Italian up in here.  Chicken cutlets, mushrooms and Marsala wine join forces in this elegant dish, which was a Friday night staple at my house growing up. Chicken Marsala was one of my dad’s favorite Shabbat dinners to cook. His other gourmet go-to’s included sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breasts, hamburger soup, lemon chicken, BBQ chicken, and Mexican flank steak (to name just a few).  Most dads don’t step foot in the kitchen— let alone pound out chicken breasts, delicately pan fry them to perfection and finish them with a mushroom wine reduction sauce. This dish is a labor of love, something that became clear to me only when I whipped it up myself. But I would expect no less from my dad, whose tremendous love for his family shined through in his cooking. This chicken marsala is rich, delicious and tastes straight up restaurant quality. Pairs well with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, lemon-garlic green beans or a nice green salad—  make sure to cook this for someone you love.

photo 4 (1)     photo 4

Chicken Marsala 

This recipe is based off of the Veal Scallopine Alla Marsala recipe from The New York Times Cookbook.

4 chicken breasts, pounded thinphoto 2

1/2 cup flour

salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

10 oz mushrooms sliced

1 cup Marsala wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp margarine

Pound chicken breasts until about 1/4 inch thick. Season flour liberally with salt and pepper and mix with a fork. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Shake the excess flour off the chicken, place in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until golden. Remove to a plate. Lower the heat and add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes or so until nicely browned. Pour in the Marsala wine and let cook for a few seconds and then add the chicken stock and margarine. Let the sauce reduce for a few minutes. Place the chicken back in the pan and let everything mingle for a few minutes while the chicken heats through with the sauce.

picstitch (26)

Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Chickpeas

Thighs are better than breasts. There, I said it. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move forward. These chicken thighs are easy to make and full of flavor. Chickpeas, which pack a protein-rich punch, make this a hearty and filling dish. Feel free to use any spices you like, and if you’re not into spices, that’s ok too, you can just go with good ol’ S and P. You could even turn this into a one-pot (and carb-free) meal by adding veggies to the mix. Carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash or zucchini would be great in this. I served the chicken with bulgur wheat, which soaked up all that yummy tomatoey-chickpea sauce. You’re going to want to add this one to your weeknight repertoire, trust me.

picstitch (19)

The whole gang didn’t even fit in the picture!

picstitch (16)picstitch (17)

Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Chickpeas

Adapted from Bon Appetit

4 chicken thighs

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can of chickpeas

3 tbsp tomato sauce

1/4 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper

1 small onion (I used 3 green onions and a little bit of red onion)

2 cloves garlic

Ok, let’s be clear. I didn’t really measure my spices, I just sprinkled a good amount of each spice on the chicken thighs. But it would have been around a 1/4 tsp if I had… Preheat your oven to 425. Season thighs on both sides with all the spices and salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes. Remove thighs and put them on a plate. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of shmaltzy goodness. Throw in the chopped garlic cloves and onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chickpeas and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Place the chicken back in the pan and finish it in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

picstitch (18)