Jun 292012
 

Every food blogger has a running list of things they want to make.  Fish tacos has been on my list for, well, maybe a year.  I kept hesitating because I needed them to be totally perfect and I just couldn’t settle on the right recipe.  Finally I decided to take the plunge and I can honestly say these were everything I wanted them to be and more.  Spicy sauteed fish, a sweet and creamy mango-avocado salsa, a crisp red cabbage slaw and a chipotle lime greek yogurt crema.  I’m honestly getting hungry again just writing this post.   
This is the kind of dish that you could make for a summer dinner party and really impress your guests (hint hint…4th of July is right around the corner), or just something you could make any night of the week.  It takes a little bit of prep work to prepare each component, but overall this really didn’t take too long to make.  It’s worth the effort because each component comes together so perfectly to make a light and flavorful fish taco.

 

Nutritional Highlights:  This is an incredibly healthy meal as well.  The protein is a lean white fish (such as tilapia, red snapper, halibut, mahi mahi…really anything you like).  You get healthy fat from the avocado, fiber and vitamins from the mango, and cruciferous veggie magic from the red cabage.  Plus, while a lot of recipes use heavy sour cream or heavy cream to make the crema, I mixed lowfat sour cream with some fat free greek yogurt to give you the creamy tang without all the fat.  Corn tortillas are also much lower in calories than flour tortillas so always opt for corn if you can (plus, they’re just way better with this recipe). 

Fish Tacos with Mango-Acovado relish, Red Cabbage Slaw, and Chipotle Lime “Crema”

Tip: prepare the 3 toppings first and prepare the fish immediately prior to eating
For the fish tacos (adapted from Chris Santos )

  • Grapeseed oil for sautéing
  • 1 pound red snapper, tilapia, catfish or wild striped bass fillets, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (I just used regular chili powder)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely minced (not a whole can…just one pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • corn tortillas for serving

Preparation of the fish: Place sautée pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil for sautéing. Add the fish, then the remaining ingredients one at a time. Remove from heat when cooked through.
For the Avocado-Mango Relish: combine all below ingredients and set aside (can be done a few hours early)

  • 1 avocados, diced
  • ½ jalapeño, minced  
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 mango, diced

Red Cabbage Slaw: combine all below ingredients and set aside (can be done a few hours early)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Chipotle-Lime Yogurt Crema: combine all below ingredients and set aside (can be done a few hours early)

  • 2 Tablespoons low fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fat free greek yogurt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle in adobo sauce 
 

Assembly:  Warm your corn tortillas (I did this by placing between two damp paper towels and microwaving for 15-20 seconds).  Construct your perfect taco by placing some fish in first, topping with avocado-mago relish, then slaw, and then a drizzle of the crema.  Enjoy these amazing tacos and be seriously impressed with yourself! 

Jun 212012
 
Things that I really really love:  sandwiches and pizza.  So why not make a sandwich out of pizza (aka, a calzone)? And why not try to make it semi-healthy by using whole wheat dough, healthy fillings, and low fat cheeses?  Well I couldn’t think of a single reason, so I went ahead and did it.  Not only were they super fun to make, they also have infinite filling options to please any one.  You can make mini calzones as an impressive app or full sizers for a healthy and filling dinner.  For mine, I used broccoli rabe, turkey sausage, and white beans, and a creamy lowfat cheese mixture.   You will not regret entering the calzone zone, I promise.
 

It wasn’t the quickest meal I’ve ever made, have to be up front about that.  You have to first cook your filling ingredients, mix the cheese, roll out the dough, and construct these cute little pockets.  But to me it was so worth it.  Here’s a close-up of the filling.  I could have stopped right there and just eaten the filling it was that good.  But I was on a mission.

And here’s the best part…the construction.  I love crafting more than the average person, so this put me right in my happy place.  Once you top your pizza dough rounds, you fold over half and seal it either by making little pleats in the dough or going around the edges and pressing together with a fork.  Add slits for ventilation and pop um in a super hot oven to get golden brown.  Enjoy your healtified pizza-wich (or what a normal person might call a calzone).

Nutritional Highlights:  This is a perfectly balanced meal in a cute little pocket.  The filling has lean protein from the turkey sausage, more protein/fiber/healthy carbs from the white beans, and all the powerhouse vitamins from the broccoli rabe.  By using lowfat cheeses and using a small amount, I didn’t add too much fat to the dish.  The whole wheat dough, rolled out thinly, is full of fiber and healthy whole grains.  Serve with a salad and you’ve got yourself a healthy and satisfying meal that even the pickiest people will enjoy. 


Broccoli Rabe, White Bean, and Turkey Sausage Calzones


Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pizza dough (I buy from my favorite pizzaria but many grocery stores sell it too)
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 12 oz), stalks trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz turkey italian sausage (I used the spicy kind!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1 cup skim or part skim ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • marinara sauce for serving
Directions:

For the filling:  In a large sautee pan over medium high heat, remove turkey sausage from casings, break up, and cook until browned.  Set turkey sausage aside.  In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat and add the sliced garlic.  Cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant and add in the broccoli rabe.  Cook down the broccoli rabe for about 5 minutes, or until tender.  Add the white beans and season the mixture with salt and pepper.  Add your browned sausage back in.  

For the cheese mixture:  In a separate bowl, mix the shredded mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and egg.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 500 with the pizza stone inside if you have one.  Cut your dough into about 6 even portions.  Sprinkle a large flat surface with flour and roll out each dough piece into a very thin round, about 9 inch diameter.  Spread on the cheese onto each round, leaving about an inch around the edge without any cheese.  Then top half of the cheese with a scoop of the sausage/broccoli/white bean mixture.  Fold half of the round over the filling and pleat the edges to seal the calzone shut.  Repeat with the rest of the calzones.  Brush the top of the calzone with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cut a few slits in the top of the calzone. 

Carefully transfer to your hot pizza stone and cook for about 12 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve along with some marinara sauce.  Enjoy calzones at home!

Jun 132012
 

I can’t believe that less than five years ago I wouldn’t even go near seafood or fish of any kind (except for maybe those little orange crackers) and now it’s basically the only thing I order when I eat out.  The only problem is that it can get pretty expensive at restaurants so I decided to make some restaurant quality tuna at home.  This sesame crusted tuna is seared and served rare along with a spicy Avocado-Wasabi sauce.  





The sesame seed crust isn’t just there to make it look cool. It also gives the tuna great crunchy texture and nuttiness.  It’s also incredibly quick to make, because you only cook the tuna for about 20 seconds on each side if you like it rare like I do.  You’ll impress just about anyone with this meal, and it took me about 15 minutes to put together the whole thing.  Not too bad.         





Nutritional Highlights:  Tuna is totally nutrient packed.  It’s an excellent source of protein and rich in a variety of important nutrients including the minerals selenium, magnesium, and potassium; the B vitamins niacin, B1 and B6; and perhaps most important, the beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids. Although people worry about consuming too much Mercury, as long as you eat tuna in moderation you will be fine.  The sesame seeds and avocado sauce add additional protein and healthy fat to this recipe.  Serving it with plenty of vegetables makes this and incredibly healthy meal for anyone (except maybe my prego sister :)

Seared sesame crusted tuna
  • ¾ to 1 lb sushi grade yellowfin tuna
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Sea salt
  1. Cut the tuna into 2-3 rectangular pieces.
  2. Mix the sesame seeds and sea salt together on a plate.
  3. Press the tuna into the sesame seeds on all sides.
  4. Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Sear the tuna for 20 seconds on each side, then transfer to a paper towel to drain. Let rest a couple of minutes.
  6. Slice  into ¼-thick pieces and serve with orange ginger dipping sauce.
For the Avocado-wasabi sauce:  I mixed 1/4 mashed avocado, 1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste (I had saved from my last sushi order), juice from 1/2 lime, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and salt. If wasabi is not your thing, you could also try this orange ginger sauce from the original recipe here.  

Serve the tuna with the wasabi sauce and your favorite veggies or brown rice.  Enjoy your amazing restaurant quality meal at home!
Jun 032012
 

The benefit to having the worlds best baking blogger, Erica Sweet Tooth, as your best friend–she makes something absurdly delicious for every important occasion (see: my giant s’more birthday cake).  But that means, that when something huge happens to her, such as, oh I don’t know, getting engaged, someone has to step up and bake for her.  And although homemade sugar cookies with royal icing aren’t a standard cook-tush activity, to celebrate this great couple’s engagement, I made one of Erica’s own recipes, and decorated them in a lovey engagement theme in her signature colors.  Congratulations Erica and Ryan!!!





I’m not going to tell you this was a quick and easy process,  but it was worth it for the beautiful results.  And when you have a friend as amazing and thoughtful as Erica, it’s not hard to take a little extra time to make something special for her.





And here they are, the happy couple.  Or maybe not 100% happy, because I’m forcing Ryan to put one of my cookie rings on Erica’s hand while I take a picture.





Check out the recipe I used over on Erica’s blog: http://www.ericasweettooth.com/2009/12/snowflake-sugar-cookies.html.  I can’t exactly endorse any health benefits of this recipe, but who cares, it’s a special occasion and we’re going to celebrate with lots of sugar and butter!  Congratulations to Erica and Ryan!!