Monday, January 30, 2012

Ahi Tuna Fish Tacos with Creme Fraiche and Handmade Tortillas

You will love these wonderful fish tacos any time of the year. You can change out the fish - or even chicken but I love Ahi and Mahi-Mahi . Trader Joe's has a lot of options in the frozen fish area.   I also am going to include the recipes for how to make Baja Rice and Cuban Beans that we had as side dishes.  Enjoy!  

Bill cooked tonight and this is what we got! 

Ahi Tuna Fish Tacos with Creme Fraiche and Handmade Tortillas 
With Cuban Beans and Baja Rice 

Ingredients and Tutorial 

Marinade and Fish 
1 lb Ahi Tuna ( or any kind of favorite fish)  
1/4 cup oil
1 Serrano pepper
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 lime juiced
2 Tbls honey
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin

8 corn tortillas 
vegetable oil 

Creme Fraiche  ( mix all together- set aside) 
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 juice lime 
dash salt
1/2 tsp cumin 

Baja Rice
1 cup white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp cumin
1 chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 bunch chopped green onion
1 bell pepper ( any color) 
1/2 juice lime
salt and pepper to taste

Cuban Style Black Beans
1 can ( Trader Joe's) Black Cuban Beans
1 chopped jalapeno
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin

1.   Bill was in the kitchen tonight!  Go Bill!  He is an amazing cook and has the best knife skills.  
Start with letting your fish thaw ( if needed. Then combine marinade in small dish) 

add oil,chopped pepper, chopped garlic, cumin, chili powder, honey and lime. Stir. 

Put fish and marinade in a non-reactive glass dish or bowl or bag to marinade for 30 mins.  Pre-heat oven here to 500.  It needs to be hot! 

2. While fish is in marinade start your rice.
Put water, cumin and rice in a pot and simmer for 20 mins.  Wait until rice is fully cooked turn off heat. Mix in tomato, cilantro, green onions, pepper, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste . Cover rice and let rest until you're ready to serve.  

3.  Put fish in the oven - Be sure your oven is at hot at least for 10 mins prior to putting your fish in the oven. It will cook quickly and you want to "sear" the fish. I like mine medium rare and the tuna steaks only took about 10 mins total cooking time.  Ours looked like this below:


4.Cook tortillas:  I get the ones from Trader Joe's but any corn ones will do.
Put a 1/2 tsp or less ( Pam works too) in a non stick sauce pan and warm on both sides for 3-mins then fold in half and keep warm.

Warm and fold in 1/2 to make taco shells 

5. Cuban Bean - There are easy!  Can dump in bowl, with all ingredients above and put in microwave for 3 mins. That is it! You're done.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Easy Marinated Pork Chops

Thursday Night's dinner:  

 Marinated Pork Chops 
with brown rice and broccoli 

This is an easy weeknight meal.  Bill was home on Thursday and prepped this marinade with the chops and we grilled them inside on our grill. It would work better to grill on an outdoor grill or if you had better venting in your kitchen than I do.  The chops were great and the marinade is very versatile for all kinds of meat. But I would just suggest lots of air flow in the house.  Enjoy. 


1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tbls vegetable oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
6 boneless or bone in pork chops


1. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, oil, ginger, garlic in a gallon ziploc bag.  Take pork chops and pierce with a fork several times.  Put chops in ziploc and leave in fridge for at least 4 hrs ( overnight is ideal ) 

2. Take pork chops out of fridge and bring to room temperature. Heat grill to med-high heat. 

3. Grill.  My grill took about 10 mins to cook, check at 5 mins. Pork should be firm and have little give when.  Wait until juice run clear.  

4. Let rest 5 mins and serve.  I served with brown rice and steamed broccoli and side salad.  The whole meal took about 30 mins from oven to dinner table.  


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bruschetta Pizza

You can have this pizza as an appetizer or a main course.  Bill and I had this as an after work snack.  Not a good idea when you go to the gym afterwards. 

Bruschetta Pizza 

Preheat Oven to 450

1/2 package pre-made pizza dough  * use whole package double ingredients below*
1 Tbls toasted sesame seeds
olive oil

1/2 cup freshly packed basil
2 Tbls lemon juice
3 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 cup nuts ( any kind you have) 
1/4 cup olive oil 
salt and pepper

2 ripe roma tomatoes
1/2 white or yellow onion
1/2 cup fetta cheese
balsamic salad dressing 

1. roll out dough to desired shape and size, brush edges with olive oil and sesame seeds. 
2.  Make Pesto: 
Basil, lemon juice, garlic, nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper  in food processor - blend until pesto consistency. Spread on crust. 

Chop onion and tomatoes

3.Compile pizza 
 Finish with feta and balsamic dressing ( drizzle dressing on top) 

Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown and crispy.  I took pizza off silpat when it could support itself on the oven rack. 

Let rest for 5 mins and cut and serve! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde

Tonight's dinner was a grown up version of the roasted chicken Mom would make.  It's easy and very flexible on the herbs spices and side dishes.  Just plan ahead and give yourself time to let the chicken cook.  

Recipe and Tutorial 

1 – 4-5 lb Whole Chicken
Kosher Salt
2 Tbls Olive Oil
½ Lemon, thinly sliced
3-4 fresh rosemary springs
3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
Salsa Verde ( recipe to follow)

Salsa Verde
½ cup olive
½ cup finely chopped basil
¼ cup finely chopped mint
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbls anchovy paste ( or dried salted anchovies)
1 zested lemon and juice
1 small yellow onion chopped finely or shallot
1 jalapeno minced ( seeds optional for extra heat)
Salt and pepper

1. Night Before - rinse whole chicken- remove cavity contents and pat dry.  Rub with 1 Tbls kosher salt and cover and let rest in fridge.  

2. Preheat oven to 450 - remove chicken from fridge 

3.  De-bone chicken - I taught myself how to do this on YouTube videos but its easy after the first time. 

cut down one side of the rib bone with a sharp knife - do the same for the other side and remove the spine. 
  Should look something like this.( Discard or you can  freeze and save for making stock) 

Final Step -  make chicken into 2 even pieces by cutting down the middle of the breast bone. 

4. Prep chicken by sliding thin sliced lemons under the skin and slices of garlic.  Arrange rosemary around the cast iron pan and drizzle with olive oil ( about 2 Tbls) 

One side per pan or one large cast iron pan 
Oven ready!  Place in oven at 450 for 30-40 mins. 

5. Check at 20 mins and baste with drippings - 30 mins check internal temp ( 165) 

Final product should looks like this 
6.  While chicken cooked I made salsa but here are the pictures. 

Chop basil and mint as finely as you can chop onion, garlic, jalapeno add to small bowl. 
Add olive oil and juice lemon, put red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and 1 Tbls anchovy paste ( or dry salted anchovies)  Even if you don't like anchovies - no one will notice it's in there.  
Should look something like this. Set aside until chicken is done.  ( this can also be made the day before) 

Here is how the final plated meal looked.  My potatoes shown here are not worthy of a write up but they are tossed with a paprika aioli 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen's Carnitas Pizza with Habanero Salsa

This pizza was inspired by the California Pizza Kitchen's -Carnitas Pizza with Habanero Salsa .  Many of you know that when I go out to eat I can be somewhat of an embarrassment and always ask the server "what's in this?".  Usually they will tell me, I have even had the chef come out and tell me what is in dishes and how he made it......or I have them tell me it was a "secret". I usually get the "secret" line when the restaurant is trying to sell their own sauce, salsa and cookbooks. Nevertheless I will still try to re-create the dish at home.

Last month Bill and I went to CPK and had this new menu addition. It was amazing with a great blend of cilantro pesto and the Mexican spiced pork....with sweet hot salsa.

Here is the recipe and tutorial :

Pizza Details: Base: Cilantro pesto  fixings: Slow roasted Mexican style pork on a bed of mozzarella  and jack cheese garnished with red onions and cilantro.  Served with Habanero Salsa  

Final product was amazing!  I can't wait to hear what you think when you try it.


1 pkg of pre-made dough or make your own ( I used Trader Joe's $1.69 can't beat the price)

1-1 1/2 cup shredded pork- (Mexican spiced pork any kind will do butt/top round /shoulder see recipe below)
2 bunches cilantro
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup roasted chopped almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbls white vinegar
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup jack cheese
1/2 red onion sliced
garnish with cilantro

1 seeded Habenero finely chopped ( use gloves)
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbls white vinegar
dash salt
finely chopped cilantro


Preheat Oven to 400

1. Roll pizza crust out to desired shape and size - I use cornmeal as my base instead of flour it gives the crust more of a crunch.  Bake on corn meal dusted cookie sheet, pizza stone or silpat for 10 mins until softly cooked.

2. While pizza crust is cooking assemble your cilantro pesto. Using your food processor or blender.  Combine 1 whole bunch cilantro stems removed and washed and roughly chopped, 3-4 rough chopped cloves of fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, roasted almonds ( or any nut you want) a few shakes slat and pepper, cup olive oil, vinegar. Blend until pesto consistency.

3. Spread pesto on crust:

*you might have extra pesto - save for pasta or sandwiches*

4.  Add jack cheese, then onions, then pork.
Pork See Recipe below * I use this pork for pork tacos too and the meat freezes well so you can have tacos on Monday and this pizza on Wednesday*

5. Finish with mozzarella it locks everything in.

6. Bake at 400 for aprox 20 mins.  ( check at 15 and gauge from there)

7. While cooking make salsa:
Dice as fine as you can possibly dice with your knife. habanero, red onion, cilantro and orange juice. Should like something like this...... don't blend it or it will turn grey.
 8. Final Product

Pork Recipe :

In your crock pot take a 2-3 lb pork roast and rub with taco seasoning and a chopped onion. Set 6 hr setting and check when pork can fall off the bone or shed with fork.  This can be made in advance and used for tacos, enchiladas, taco salad, nachos and other Mexican dishes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Red Asian Chicken with Broccoli

Today I need to admit I spent 5 hrs watching The Food Network.   I will usually go to the website and find the recipe and print or add it to my online recipe box to try for later.  While watching Diners Drive-Ins and Dives , Guy went to this restaurant in Indiana with the largest menu in the state.  The owner was making a "Red Asian Chicken" and the recipe was not online.  Thank goodness for DVR and  2 hrs of rewind to re-watch her make the dish and scribble down what she was doing.......Here is what Bill and I had for dinner tonight.  I need to say pretty amazing and gluten free too ( My mother would approve)

Asian Chicken Tutorial and Recipe

3 chicken breasts ( aprox 1 lb  or 1 lb boneless thighs)
2 egg whites
1 cup pure corn starch
1/2 cup oil
1 can tomato sauce
1 small yellow onion chopped
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 bunch chopped green onions
1/2 cup powered sugar
4 tbls sesame oil
1 tbls chili oil ( more if you like it spicy)
1 1/2 cups broccoli

2 pie pans one with egg whites the other with corn starch.  Take pounded thin chicken pieces and dip in egg whites then corn starch and let sit on plate until ready to cook.

Close up of raw chicken.  I added some salt and pepper here to increase depth of flavor.

 Non-stick fry pan heat 1/2 cup oil at a med-high heat.  Cook chicken in batch and brown on all sides ( about 4 mins a batch)  Remove and have chicken rest on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Heat sesame oil and chili oil in pan add in chopped onion simmer for 3-4 mins on med-high heat in your wok. Add in whole can of tomatoes sauce- heat until bubbles.  Add in 1/2 powder sugar and stir - allow to reduce and thicken.  Taste and add salt to taste or more chili oil if wanted more heat.

Add in raw broccoli - It was getting late and I wanted to get the dinner on the table so I didn't pre-cook broccoli. I am sure frozen would work too but I allowed it to cook for about 5 mins to slightly soften. If you cooked ahead of time you could add just in and then add in chicken.

Add chicken and toss in red sauce with broccoli.

Add green onions and and garlic - toss and turn off heat.

Final product -  Served with a bed of jasmine rice and  garnished with toasted sesame seeds!

Enjoy -Love Lydia