Friday, July 17, 2009

Fish Tacos, Cheating at Dessert & Inexplicably, Cheese Grits

How great are fish tacos?!

Pretty great. This was my first attempt at fish tacos (obviously, since that's what this whole blog is about), and I think overall they came out all right! In retrospect, I would've liked more heat - either by pumping up the cayenne in the breadcrumbs or just by throwing some hot sauce on top of the whole thing!

I kept these pretty traditional, with shredded cabbage and sour cream, but you could of course add any taco topping you like - or leave out anything you don't like. This is an easy, quick meal that - despite the frying - I'm convinced is still fairly healthy. Obviously you could grill the fish and they would still be delish.



3 fresh tilapia filets
3 large flour tortillas (or 6 small ones)
2 eggs, beaten
juice of two limes
various spices: salt, pepper, coriander, chili powder, cayenne powder, etc. (just experiment)
peanut oil for frying
Ian's bread crumbs, regular (not Italian-seasoned)
the salsa of your choosing
fresh shredded cabbage
shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
handful cilantro leaves, chopped


Make the fish-frying assembly line: place the flour on one plate, the eggs (mixed with the juice of one lime), and the breadcrumbs (seasoned with a generous smattering of spices, including salt) onto another plate. Have a fourth plate, covered in a few paper towels, ready for when the fish come out of the pan. Heat the peanut oil in a semi-deep pan over pretty high heat (we put ours on an 8 out of 10 setting).


While the oil is heating, bread the fish: dredge in flour, then lime-egg, then breadcrumbs. Shake off excess. When the oil splatters a bit when you drop a few water droplets in it, it's ready. Fry the fish until the first side is golden-brown. Flip and fry the other side. Remove from the oil and drain on the paper towels. When all the fish is fried, cut it into slices.


Mix the sour cream with the juice of one lime and the chopped cilantro. Assemble the tacos in the tortillas: the fish and any toppings of your choosing! (Shredded cabbage is traditional, but you could use lettuce.) Enjoy!

Here's what Taylor had to say about the fish tacos:

"When Elizabeth said she wanted to make fish tacos for dinner I was psyched because I knew they'd taste great. And the meal didn't disappoint. I couldn't help but notice how evenly the fish was fried despite our not having a deep fryer. When I pan fry things they usually end up either undercooked or with little black areas here and there. Not so with this panko breaded tilapia.

Also included in the taco were cabbage, something I would never have thought to add but provided a nice crunchy texture, and a dill cream sauce that went nicely with salsa to add flavor. I reduced it to a few scraps of tortilla in what seemed like 30 seconds.

After that came the pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream that Eliz just whipped up on the spot. I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Best meal of the week for me. Thanks!"

(Not too shabby!)

When the LeCroys and I cook together, we hardly ever plan for dessert, but inevitably we sit around watching Top Chef and end up wanting more food! This time I came prepared with a little sweet treat in tow. This is the easiest dessert in the world - and probably one of my favorite sweets of all time! Since strawberry season is in full swing - and is sadly all too short - I wanted to make use of them while I could.

The one "homemade" aspect of this dessert is the whipped cream, which - once I found out heavy cream can be whipped in a matter of minutes - I never intend to buy again. Why get the creepy aerosol can when you can just make your own so simply?



1 store-bought angel food cake (or you could use pound cake)
1 small container heavy whipping cream
1 container strawberries (or berries of your choice)
a few pinches sugar


Slice the berries and sprinkle with a little sugar, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for a little while in the sugar.


Slice the cake.


Using an electric hand mixer in a deep bowl, add a little sugar (about 1 T.) to the cream, and whip it until it becomes...whipped cream (a few minutes). Top each slice of cake with the berries and cream. Enjoy!

This last recipe I included simply because one of my goals in life, should I ever achieve my dreams of becoming a culinary superstar, is to convince the world above the Mason-Dixon line that cheese grits are the food of the gods! Everyone I know who's tried grits says the same thing: "They just seemed so bland." Um...DUH! That's why you put butter and cheese in them, people! I grew up eating cheese grits almost every weekend for breakfast, and they are still one of my favorite ways to start a Saturday morning. I hope if you ever get the chance to try real, homemade cheese grits, you'll begin to love them as much as I do. With a couple of quick-fried eggs (and some bacon or sausage, if you're feeling ambitious), they're hot, filling, and deserving of way more credit than they get!



1 c. water
3 tablespoon dry grits
1 hunk cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces?), cut into small pieces
chunk of butter
salt and pepper
2 eggs
a little more butter
a little more salt and pepper for the eggs


Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the grits and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the grits begin to thicken. Stir in the cheese and butter, and stir until the cheese is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. Pour out onto a plate.


Meanwhile, cook the eggs in a small pat of butter, seasoning with salt and pepper (I did mine with the whites cooked and the yolks runny, but you could scramble or poach them, whatever you like). Serve atop the grits. Enjoy!

LeCroys, thanks for hosting and allowing me to watch your glorious television!

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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