October 23, 2012

Fish Tacos

I apologize for the lack of posts. I had a visitor and now am visiting my parents. My mom left my dad and me tonight to fend for ourselves, but suggested we make fish tacos. She had a recipe which was easy and delicious. I often order fish tacos when they're on the menu in a restaurant, so I'm glad to have my own recipe now.

Someday I will post my method for homemade corn tortillas made from masa harina. They're really easy and way better than store-bought corn tortillas. You can buy a bag of masa harina (corn flour for tortillas) in the mexican area of the grocery store. You add water, knead, roll out, and cook in a pan. The directions are on the bag. Totally worth the effort anytime you need corn tortillas.

Fish Tacos
adapted from Pampered Chef

1-2 limes, juiced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. milk
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. thinly sliced cabbage
1 avocado, sliced
8 6-inch corn tortillas
1 lb. tilapia filets
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

For salsa, combine 1 Tbsp. lime juice, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

For sauce, combine 1 Tbsp. lime juice, mayonnaise, milk and garlic in a another small bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Heat saute pan over medium-high heat. Season tilapia filets with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to pan. Add tilapia and cook a few minutes until lightly browned, and flip over. Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from pan and flake into bite-size pieces.

Warm corn tortillas. Top with fish, sauce, salsa, cabbage and avocado.

October 9, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

I found a recipe similar to this one - chocolate and coconut milk - but it had sugar as the sweetener. Then this recipe came across my screen, and I was sold. Ice cream with only honey as the sweetener?! I've been on a natural sweetener kick lately; if I'm gonna talk the talk, I better walk the walk, right?

This ice cream was excellent! I definitely didn't miss the sugar, though my local raw honey is super fragrant, and I could taste it. That's not a bad thing, but it added a dimension that less complex honies may not. Seriously, this is the most delicious honey I've ever eaten. It's like I can taste the many varieties of flowers that the bees touched. Back to the ice cream...the texture was less creamy than custard-based ice creams, but still very acceptable.

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
from A Couple Cooks

1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk (refrigerate before using if possible)
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (refrigerate before using if possible)
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cans coconut milk and 1/2 cup honey. Whisk in 1/3 cup cocoa powder until it is fully integrated (it will take about one minute to mix in). Then mix in the remaining 1/3. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker (it helps if the mixture is cold before freezing; as noted above, keep cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator so they are already cold). Or, make it without the machine.

You can eat the ice cream right away for a soft serve texture, or freeze it for about 2 hours for a harder texture.

October 7, 2012

Canning Tomatoes

A few weeks ago I scored a bucket of roma tomatoes for six dollars at the farmer's market. I canned tomatoes last year, but never posted about it. Those canned tomatoes didn't last long. Here's this year's yield, but I just received more tomatoes from my cousin's beautiful garden, so more canning this week.

It took almost 2 hours to prepare the tomatoes (blanching, peeling, coring), but the rest of the process was much less labor intensive. If you've never canned before, you'll need more information than this recipe, especially about preparing the jars. Also be sure to use bottled lemon juice, not fresh.

Raw-Pack Canned Tomatoes
from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Laruen Devine

bottled lemon juice or citric acid
salt (optional)

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids.

2. Working small batches, immerse tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until the skins start to loosen or crack. Immediately plunge into a bowl of cold water and slip the skins off. Remove cores and any bruised or discolored portions that become apparent after blanching. Leave whole, halve or quarter.

3. Prepare tomatoes for packing: Bring about 4 cups water to a boil and keep hot (you will use it to fill the jars). Do not heat the tomatoes.

4. Before packing each jar of tomatoes, add lemon juice or citric acid to the hot jar in the quantity specified below:

bottled lemon juice
pint - 1 Tbsp
quart - 2 Tbsp

citric acid
pint - 1/4 tsp
quart - 1/2 tsp

5. Add salt, if using, in the quantity specified below:
pint - 1/2 tsp
quart 1 tsp

6. Pack tomatoes into prepared jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar. Ladle boiling water into jar to cover tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by inserting a wand into the jar several times. Adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

7. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process pint jars for 40 minutes and quart jars for 45 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.