Tag Archives: Tacos

I cannot make it cohere*

If you were to go through the archives, I suspect I would find easily ten different posts all about how my intentions were good and the follow-though, well, lacking.

I can’t help myself.

February didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts for various reasons, including, but not limited to being seriously sick, and who wants to hear about that? Two weeks ago, I got into work only to turn around two hours later—just enough time to get everything in order so that I could work from my apartment. I was back in the office the next day out of necessity, and the long days that followed didn’t help much either. I made power points and pretty things, I wrote pitches. But, each time that I started to write something here, it didn’t quite gel.

The thing is, things are busy, and they’re not likely to change any time soon. I’m searching for a connection here. Maybe it’s my need to present things in a cohesive narrative. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Here are some recipes?

That hardly seems inspiring.

I’ve been cooking a lot—over the weekend, a friend came over for a long over due catch-up. Dinner consisted of red wine, salted caramel ice cream and home made hot fudge. Before then, there was a dinner party for another friend’s birthday. I didn’t get pictures there, although, let’s be honest, my photography skills still need some work. I want to tell you about all of these things. And, the stew that’s currently bubbling away on the stove as I get ready to tackle a shortened work-week.

I’ll get to them in due time. Just bear with me.

Until then, I’ve been busy. Here are some recipes.

Chicken Tacos
Half recipe of Roasted Tomato-Chile de arbol salsa (recipe follows)
1 roasting chicken, 5-6 lbs
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and roast for another hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, remove the skin and, using two forks or your hands, pull the meat from the bones. Save the carcass for stock.

Combine the pulled chicken with the roasted tomato salsa. Serve with salsa cruda (recipe follows), guacamole

Roasted Tomato Salsa
Recipe courtesy of Simple Food, Big Flavor

4 plum tomatoes
3-6 chiles de arbol (vary to suit your taste)
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your broiler.

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and cook them, about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are charred. Set the tomatoes aside to cool. Once the tomatoes have cooled, slip off the skins and remove the cores. Place the tomatoes and all of the juice into a large bowl and roughly chop them.

While the tomatoes are cooling, in a separate dry skillet, heat the chiles de arbol, toasting them until they begin to smoke, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan, setting it over medium heat and stirring until the onion is soft. This should take approximately 7 minutes. Add the chiles, tomatoes, and water, bringing it to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, then let it cool.

When the mixture is room temperature, add it to a blender, along with the cilantro, salt, and pepper. Puree it until the mixture is smooth. Then, run it through a fine mesh strainer so that it is smooth. Serve it at room temperature.

Salsa Cruda
Use this recipe as a guideline, altering ingredients to your taste

1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cilantro, minced

Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit 30 minutes prior to serving, allowing all flavors to meld.

*with apologies to Ezra Pound

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Filed under Etc., Meat

Guest Post: A Visit from the Pacific Northwest

After months of telling you how busy I’ve been and that it’s been a challenge to find time to write, I’ve taken to outsourcing my posts.

Ok, fine, that’s not quite true. Here’s what is: when my friend Jared proposed that we host a dinner party together, I proposed that he write something here. Shockingly he said yes. I’ll admit that, after confessing about my quirks in the kitchen (namely, my epic emails with menu plans and inability to give up even an inch of space, I was worried he would expose me as the crazy person I am. Instead, as he’s pointed out, he visited, we cooked, we ate well, and all was right with the world. what follows are his musings and recipes.

No one is more pleased that me, not least because Jared left me with a huge tub of miso and I can now make his miso cod which was, by far, one of the best cod dishes I’ve ever had the privileged of eating. It’s not quite the same has having him cook it for me, while he insisted that I drink my beer, but it’ll have to do.

Take note, too, of the first photo featured, taken my my friend Mark—which explains why it actually looks good. You’ll notice in the recap posts from this series that there aren’t many photos—we were too busy catching up to be bothered with such things—the few that he good did the food justice. And, now, onto the post:

What does a great visit to NY look like? For me, it’s not just experiencing the bright lights of the big city, but rather seeing how the people I care about interact with those bright lights and myriad buildings; it’s about connecting with friends in a way phone, email and third-hand conjecture doesn’t do justice. Having moved away from NY 7 years ago, what I like most about NY is seeing my friends’ love of the city and trying to grab whatever reflection I can from their interactions with a place that carries such a strong sense of place.

During this last visit I was able to share in a remarkable amount of those moments, doing some of the things I used to do with friends when I lived in NY and seeing the things they now do since I left. One of the things in that latter category was dinner at Hillary’s, something I’d only previously experienced as a reader. And so it was that I invited myself over with an offer to cook.

A few notable hitches up front:

  • I’m pretty sure Hillary had never tasted anything I’ve ever cooked. Ever. Was she really about to hand over her kitchen?
  • I don’t eat meat

Add the fact that I’m not what you would call a “planner” and that I’m used to a kitchen best described as suburban in size and this was going to go off like gangbusters. Obviously I played down any concerns to Hillary; I just told her it would all work itself out and then I promptly proceeded to avoid the first two of Hillary’s tips for a successful hosting. Luckily, I’ve found you can compensate with the final remaining four: drinks, assistance, focus on fun, and drinks.

In this case, I knew I also had a few tricks up my sleeve:

  • I figured my friends rarely ate home cooked Asian food, so I had novelty on my side
  • I cook dinner for an omnivore virtually every night—as they say, “practice makes edible”
  • Backup plan: restaurants are open late in NY No fear

As it turned out, everything was delicious, Hillary’s apartment is still standing and she’s still talking to me.

Success!

Now on to the recipes—

Miso Glazed Cod

We used these in the tacos, but they’re great over a bowl of sushi rice, too. I consider all the ingredients pretty much to taste—if you like the marinade, you’ll probably like the finished product.

Soy sauce
Grated fresh ginger
Garlic paste
Cayenne pepper
Miso paste
A white fish like cod
Olive oil, Salt, Pepper
Green Onion
Lemon
Sake (optional)

Combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix in a few tbsps miso paste until the marinade thickens up—I find it easiest to use a whisk. Toss the fish in the marinade and let sit for 30 min.

Heat a few tbsps oil over med heat in a wide shallow pan. Drop in the fish and let it cook—try not to play around with it too much. Once it has a little color on the cooking side, about 5 mins, flip it over—it’s done when it starts to flake. Toss in some chopped green onion and squeeze in a bit of lemon just before removing from the heat, then add a bunch more when plating.

Cabbage Slaw

I don’t remember everything I put in the slaw and I never make it the same way twice, but the basics are red cabbage and rice wine vinegar (red wine vinegar will work as well). I usually add mirin, whatever citrus juice is around, and if I add anything else I just start playing around with other ingredients I think will taste ‘fresh.’ For those who feel slaw must have some creaminess, feel free to add a tsp of mayo, but if you’re serving it with the cod you’ll want to keep it fairly runny/vinegary. Either way, salt and pepper to taste.

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Filed under Fish, Vegetables

Good Housekeeping

The blog, it seems, is in need of a little love.

So, first thing’s first: a little housekeeping and clearing of debts.

Ages ago I promised to tell you what happened to the 16 pound dolphin fish—better known as Mahi Mahi—caught by my traveling companions.

The quick answer: fish tacos.

This was vacation eating at its best; a meal composed entirely of what was already on hand. Simple cooking designed to let the just-out-of-the-ocean freshness of the fish shine through. Of course, these fish tacos would be even easier to make if you’re getting your fish from the grocery store rather than waiting for someone to catch it for you.

(And, in the interest of full disclosure: I’ll likely be doing that next time I make this recipe, too. So, have no guilt on that count).

There’s more housekeeping to come, including the rest of the menu from the Indian dinner of weeks past and from the first annual Indian Summer Picnic of this past weekend. So stay tuned.

And make these fish tacos in the meantime.

Fish Tacos

A note: I’ve left measurements out of this recipe since you’ll be dredging the fish. So, you’ll need more flour, eggs and breadcrumbs than you’ll actually use. There will be some waste, but it’s well worth it. Trust me on this.

Flour
Breadcrumbs or panko
2 eggs
Mahi Mahi, cut into 1″ strips
Vegetable Oil
Salt
Pepper
1 tsp paprika, divided in half

To serve:
Corn Tortillas
Guacamole
Onions, chopped finely
Lettuce

Combine 1/2 tsp paprika, salt, and pepper with both the breadcrumbs and the flour.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

Start coating the fish. Coat it first with flour, then egg, and finally breadcrumbs.

Set all of the pieces of fish aside while heating vegetable oil, enough so that it comes up about 1/4″ in the frying pan. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small amount of water into it. If it splatters, you’re ready to fry the fish.

Fry the fish until it is cooked through and the crust is a golden brown. About 3-4 minutes per side.

Drain the fried fish on paper towels.

Serve the fried fish with tortillas warmed in a 350 degree oven, Guacamole, onions and lettuce.

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Filed under Fish