Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Steak Tacos with Smoked Tomatillo Salsa

What is the difference between a taco and a fajita? Is there really a difference? Greg said the thing that sets a fajita apart from a taco is the addition of peppers and onions, and a Google search said that fajitas are typically made with grilled skirt steak, peppers, and onions. I used peppers and onions, but no grilling was involved. I do not know if this recipe is for tacos or fajitas (I am going to call them tacos, though), but I do know that it was a delicious meal. The tomatillo salsa was so good, and I recommend the (small) extra effort of making it rather than buying jarred salsa. It is smoky and flavorful, and it has just the right amount of kick to it. Check back next week for another taco recipe! Enjoy.

Steak Tacos with Smoked Tomatillo Salsa

 3 tomatillos, husks removed and cut into halves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and sliced in 1/4" slices
1 7-ounce can chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, divided
1 small green bell, sliced
1 small yellow bell, sliced
1 small red bell, sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced
3 Tbsp. of Olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar
3/4 pound flank steak 
Flour tortillas, soft taco size
Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional) 
Sliced avocado (optional)
1/2 lime (optional)

Make the tomatillo salsa first. Put a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the tomatillos, skin side down, in the skillet, and add in the garlic and jalapeno pepper. Let it cook for about 7 minutes, or until the tomatillos are softened completely through. Then remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer contents of skillet to the bowl of a food processor. Add in 1 of the chipotle peppers from the can and 1 Tbsp. of water. Pulse until a salsa is formed. Put in a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining contents of the chipotle peppers to the food processor. Pulse until smooth. Put the steak on a large plate and brush all sides of the meat with a thin layer of the chipotle sauce. Let sit until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Arrange the tortillas on a baking sheet and brush each side lightly with olive oil and sprinkle one side with a touch of sea salt. 

In a large, nonstick pan, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the peppers and onions, a dash of salt and the 1/8 tsp. of sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until peppers and onions are cooked through. Transfer to a bowl or plate and cover with foil. Wipe pan out and place back over medium high heat with the last tablespoon of olive oil.

Place the tortillas in the oven.

Add the meat to the skillet. For medium, cook on one side for 4 - 5 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 4 - 5 minutes. Remove meat and place on a cutting board. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting. If you want a little more kick in the meat, once it is cut, place back in skillet and set over low heat with a little extra sauce for about 1 minute. 

Assemble your tacos. Remove warm tortillas from the oven. Place about 1.5 - 2 ounces of steak, peppers, onions, smoky tomatillo salsa, Greek yogurt, avocado, and a squeeze of lime into each and serve!

Recipe Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Recipe make approximately 3 - 4 servings.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Coconut-Encrusted Fish Tacos with Mango, Avocado Crema, and Sweet Chipotle Sauce

I decided that this is going to be the summer of tacos! I searched the web for some super tasty taco recipes, and I also have been dreaming up a few recipes myself. I am kicking off the start of taco recipes with these delicious coconut-encrusted fish tacos with mango, avocado crema, and sweet chipotle sauce. They are amazing! I am planning on including vegetarian tacos, crab tacos, chicken tacos, pork tacos, grilled scallop tacos, shrimp tacos, and so much more over the next couple of months I hope you are as excited about these taco recipes as I am. Enjoy!

*This summer I am also hoping to make many recipes with tomatoes and squash from our garden, as long as they do well this season. Last season our zucchini crop did not produce. I want to make lots of recipes from this list. And, of course, I will be making plenty of yummy desserts this summer!

Recipe for Coconut-Encrusted Fish Tacos with Mango, Avocado Crema, and Sweet Chipotle Sauce

4 (4 ounce) frozen filets of flaky white fish (such as Alaskan Flounder), thawed
2/3 cup of flour
2/3 cup of Panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 cup of shredded sweet coconut (such as Bakers brand)
1/4 tsp. of smoked sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. of salt
Sea salt
Olive oil
Avocado Crema
2 large Hass avocados
Pinch of sea salt 
3 Tbsp. of full fat Greek yogurt
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp. of pure maple syrup
Sweet Chipotle Sauce
One chipotle pepper from can, minced very finely
1 tsp. of chipotle pepper sauce from can
1 tsp. of honey
1/3 cup of full fat Greek yogurt
2 mangoes, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
Juice of one lime
Pinch or two of sea salt
Shredded carrots or cabbage
4 - 6 soft taco size flour tortillas

In a shallow dish, stir together the flour, Panko bread crumbs, coconut, smoked paprika, and salt. Pat thawed fish fillets dry with a paper towel. Drizzle a little of honey over one side of the fish,  use your hands or a spoon to make sure honey is rubbed in, and then sprinkle with some sea salt. Flip, and repeat on the other side. Then dredge the fish fillets into the coconut mixture, coating each side. Place the coated fish on a plate or pan and set in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes. Chop up the mangoes and place in a bowl. Squeeze juice of one lime over the chopped mango and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in container, cover, and put in fridge until ready to use.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add in 2 of the fish fillets (more if there is room in your pan, without overcrowding) in the pan, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Then flip, and cook for an additional 2 - 3 minutes, or until coconut is browned, but not burnt, and fish is cooked through and flaky. Remove fish from the pan. Place fish on a baking pan and keep warm in oven at 200 degrees while you cook up the remaining two fillets of fish. Before cooking the rest of the fish, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Once all fish is cooked, transfer to a plate, drizzle with a little honey, sprinkle with sea salt, and cut up.

While the fish is cooking, make the avocado crema sauce and sweet chipotle sauce. For the avocado crema sauce, pit the avocados and remove the skin. Put the fruit of avocado into a bowl. Add the juice of one lime, pinch of sea salt, Greek yogurt, and pure maple syrup. Use a fork to stir well until completely smooth.

For the sweet chipotle sauce, add Greek yogurt, minced chipotle pepper, chipotle sauce, and honey to a bowl and mix well.

To assemble, warm tortillas by wrapping in paper towel and heating in microwave for about 30 seconds. Put cut up fish in tortilla, top with avocado crema, mangoes, sweet chipotle sauce, and carrots. Enjoy!

Recipe serves 2 - 3 
Recipe Inspired by Beer Battered Fish Tacos, by Pink Parsley 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Avocado Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I have been obsessed with avocados lately. Actually, I have been obsessed with avocados for quite a long time, but these days, I feel like I am eating them at least once a day. I will eat it an avocado for breakfast with eggs, eat avocados for dinner with Mexican meals, and I will even eat avocados for dessert! I dreamed up this ice cream one night before going to bed, and the next day, I made my dreams come true. Wendy helped me make the ice cream mixture. Wendy put the milk, sugar, and lemon juice into the blender, and I added in the avocado. Then Wendy ran away to another room when I turned the blender on, and then came back into the kitchen when it was time to mix in the cream. We then added chocolate sauce and some milk into the mixture that we couldn't get out of the blender, and shared a chocolate avocado shake (well, Wendy let me have two sips). Based on the smoothness of the shake and the flavor, I could tell that the ice cream was going to be a hit. I only made a small amount of ice cream in case it didn't turn out, but next time I will make the full recipe. We all loved this ice cream!


Recipe for Avocado Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Syrup

1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
3 small to medium sized ripe (but not overripe) avocados, pit and skin removed
2 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

Put the sugar, milk,  avocado, and lemon juice into a blender. Mix until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in the heavy cream and whisk until well combined. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 hours. Then pour mixture into an automatic ice cream maker. Start ice cream maker, and let it mix for about 5 - 7 minutes, or until ice cream is formed. It will take less time than regular ice cream mixtures due to the thickness of the avocado. Then transfer ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for desired amount of time before serving.Serve ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup!

For the chocolate syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Put the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt into a small saucepan. Add the 2 Tbsp. of water, more if needed, so mixture is able to be stirred. Add the unsalted butter. Put the saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil.  Let the mixture boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract. Serve warm or at room temperature over ice cream. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with White Beans, Spinach, and Prosciutto

I  know it has been a long time since I have posted a recipe, but I actually had no idea it has been close to six weeks! I have been slammed with school work, my internship, home renovations, and spending time with my little toddler, who will be 2 in less than 2 weeks!  I have not cooked as much as I like to because when I get home in the evenings, all I want to do is hang out with Wendy and Greg. I am on spring break now, and the first few days of spring break were spent in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and now that I am back home I am excited to have time to cook healthy and delicious meals for my family again. While on the long trip down to North Carolina, I went through an old Self Magazine I found, and I came across a few recipes that caught my attention. The other night we did salmon with a butter, lemon, and rosemary sauce, and these mushrooms were served as our tasty side. It was so filling! Wendy gobbled down the filling of the mushrooms, and Greg commented on how much he liked them. These stuffed portobello mushrooms are loaded with protein and fiber, and they are packed with several savory flavors. They start with a brush of olive oil and balsamic, and they are filled with a buttery mixture of shallot, garlic, rosemary, parsley, fresh black pepper, white beans, prosciutto, and spinach. Then you top them off with some Panko and Parmesan, toss them into the oven so they get nice and crunchy, and dig in! You can eat one of the stuffed mushrooms as a small meal or serve them as a side to chicken or fish. Enjoy!

Recipe for Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with White Beans, Spinach & Prosciutto 

4 large portobello mushrooms, with the stems and gills removed
2 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. of balsamic vineger
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tsp. of fresh rosemary leaves
1 can of great northern or cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. of chicken broth
2 Tbsp. of fresh parsley leaves
3 ounces of prosciutto, sliced thin
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. Stir in some salt and pepper. Put the mushrooms cap side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each cap lightly with the olive oil mixture. Place in the oven, and cook for 8 minutes. 
While the mushrooms are cooking, put the butter and the remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil into a large pan and set over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the chopped shallot, garlic, and rosemary leaves. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots have softened. Then stir in the beans and the chicken broth, remove from heat. Put the mixture into a medium bowl and add in the parsley and the prosciutto. Put the pan you used back over the stovetop on medium-low heat. Add in the spinach leaves and cook until wilted, about 1 - 2 minutes.
Once mushrooms have cooked for 8 minutes in oven, remove from the oven and carefully drain the liquid off. If needed, very carefully transfer mushrooms to a plate, wipe down the baking sheet, and line with new parchment paper (I decided to do this). Turn mushrooms over and stuff with the beans and spinach. In a small bowl, toss together the Panko bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Evenly distribute over top of the mushrooms, and then drizzle each with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top of each. Place back into the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the tops are browned and crispy. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and then serve.

You can serve as a side to chicken or fish, or eat it as a light lunch. They taste good leftover, too! Greg said he liked them even better leftover, because they were even more flavorful! I think these would also be good with bacon or crumbled sausage in the stuffing. If you want to make it vegetarian, leave out the meat and add a little extra Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from: Self Magazine, November 2014 issue