Dairy and Fish Tacos

G’day eaters!

Are you ready for another installment of “Kara cooks fish”?

Yup, I’m on a roll.

For the first installments, check out Milestone Salmon and Anchovy-Enough Pasta. 

But this wasn’t just momentous because I cooked fish again. No, this was momentous because I got over my weird aversion to mixing fish and dairy.

Yes eaters, in my mind fish and dairy just don’t go together. (I’m not counting butter.)

I have no clue why this is. I could say it has something to do with the fact that a long time ago, when I was first getting into cooking, I watched some restaurant rescue-type show and everyone was aghast that they were serving shark with mozzarella and ever since then it’s been burned in my mind.

But I highly doubt that’s it.

Whatever the cause, though, for years I’ve been telling waiters to leave the cheese off my fish tacos. And while this isn’t exactly a fish quesadilla, it’s dairy and fish, so I’m counting it.

Creamy Fish Tacos

~0.5lbs/0.25kg white fish such as tilapia

½ c Greek yogurt*

1 lime, juiced

1 T (smoked) paprika

½ t cumin

¼ c cilantro, chopped

tortillas

toppings

*Of course, I used FAGE fat free.

Pre-bake.

In an oven safe dish, mix together the yogurt, lime juice, spices, and cilantro.

Chop the fish into small pieces, about ½” cubes. Add the fish to the yogurt mixture, give everything a good stir to coat, and leave to marinate for about half an hour.

Give the dish another good stir and then put it in a 200C/400F oven. Cook for a total of 30 minutes, stirring about half way through.

Feel free to serve these with whatever accoutrements you want.

I suggest a corn tortilla. And then I suggest you line that corn tortilla with a large piece of lettuce. This is some creamy fish and you don’t want your tortilla to fall apart in your hand.

From there, the toppings are up to you.

I suggest some red cabbage, for crunch and color. You might also want to go ahead and sauté up an onion and jalapeño, for some spice. Don’t be afraid to be a little heavy handed with the heat, because dairy calms the effects of capsaicin.

And then, if you can get your hands on some, I think a schmear of chipotle ketchup is in order. And maybe some green ‘basco sauce, for a little zip to compliment the zip of the lime.

Mmmmcondiments.

Or, you can keep it simple with salsa, lettuce, and cheese.

I don’t recommend that last one, though. Dairy and fish just don’t mix, haven’t you heard?

Your turn, eaters:

What weird combination aversions do you have?

Are you all about the toppings or do you like to leave your foods au natural? 

Later eaters!

WIAW: Eat Your Pantry

Hi eaters!

It’s been a long day and I’m fading fast.

Yes, I realize it’s not even dinner yet. Don’t judge, I’m in college.

Anywhoo, I’m going to skip the chitchat tonight and get right to the good stuff (read: where I talk about trying to eat all my food before I move out).

Breakfast:

Rustic cornbread with (not my) homemade blueberry jam and two scrambled eggs.

Look! I changed it up. And let me tell you, this was a hearty breakfast. Now I’m craving more cornbread.

Snack:

Black licorice.

Licorice is quite possibly my biggest weakness. A bag won’t last more then a couple of days around me.

Proof: triple the amount in that picture and you’ll see what I ate yesterday.

Exercise:

I did 45 minutes of a hodgepodge of cardio machines. After some time incline treadmill walking, ellipticalling, and on the stationary bike I was pretty successfully sweaty.

Lunch:

Comforting Beta Carotene Soup with Crazy Easy Crackers.

This meal didn’t come until 3pm so I was starving.

I nibbled on a few more crackers while everything was heating up.

Then I ate my soup out of the Tupperware because hand washing extra dishes is lame.

Afternoon:

I hunkered down at Starbucks for a few hours to study for an exam I have tomorrow. While there I drank my usual tall coffee with cold soy.

FYI — I’m probably never going to drink a fancy latte. It’s just not my style.

Dinner:

M’friend Peach and I went out for $1 tacos last night. I didn’t have my camera, so please enjoy these pictures I’m recycling from one of this summer’s $1 taco dinners.

Everything was the same except we sat outside and it wasn’t still light out.

Two "Mexican style" black bean tacos.

Oh, and there was queso dip. Because sometimes you just need queso.

Fun times:

After a quick visit to Harris Teeter, Peach and I hung out at her place, drank beer, and watched “Elf.”

I drank Sweet Water IPA and continuously pointed out the plot holes in the movie.

Ex: Why doesn’t Buddy ever try to find his mother?

Don’t I sound like a fun movie friend?

So all in all, a pretty damn good day of eats, but not a wildly successful day of eating up my food.

Oh well, sometimes you just need tacos and beer.

What about you, eaters:

Do you get fancy queso or guacamole dips when you go out for tacos or are you happy with salsa?

And what’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Are there Hanukah movies like there are Christmas movies?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: Retail Therapy

Woohoo eaters!

It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway to the weekend. And it means that I’ve tackled a major hurtle in the process of getting my Visa for London — biometric scanning!

I had to drive to Raleigh and wait around a boring office for them to scan my fingerprints.

It was loads of fun.

Anywhoo, now onto something that actually is loads of fun…

Breakfast:

Fried eggs with kale, Genesis bread, chipotle salsa, and Crofter's jam.

Yes, it’s still eggs, but these are a little fancier.

I got the idea to add a schmear of jelly from Julie, who constantly eats jelly, cheese, and egg sandwiches.

The sweet schmear isn’t overpowering, but it plays so nicely off the chipotle salsa and the peppered eggs.

Mmm….

Lunch:

Mushrooms and greens tacos.

Oh tacos, you are so delicious. I love eating with my hands. And you make me happy.

(Can you tell I was singing that? If not, it sounds pretty weird.)

Also, did I ever explain why I use a spoon when I eat tacos?

Well, for multiple reasons. Spooning the filling into the tortillas. Spooning on the salsa. And spooning anything that fell right into my mouth.

Lunch dessert:

Pure, sugary mouthgasm.

I don’t want to hear a single word about chemicals and preservatives and whatnot. I know this will probably wreak havoc on my insides at a level comparable to eating sugar-coated packing peanuts.

But o’m’gosh eaters, the second you sink your teeth into that sweet, soft, cakey cookie covering in almost sickeningly sweet icing and feel the tiny crunch of sprinkles, you won’t care about chemicals either.

Breakdown:

I don’t mean this like an emotional breakdown. I mean it like the breakdown in a (hardcore) song when everything changes.

It was around this time that I got some bad news from home. And this news worsened dramatically as I sat in my next class.

I really don’t want to go into it — partially because this doesn’t seem like the right time or place, partially because I already said it on Twitter (also not the right place), and partially because I doubt it will affect my day-to-day so it feels weird to mention — but it was the kind of bad news that makes you look back through old FB photo albums and feel almost painfully nostalgic.

Yeah…

“Dinner”:

Honeycrisp apple and Crazy Richard's pb.

So when I get back from class there was only one thing I wanted to do — eat my emotions.

Yes, I know this is bad. You’re not supposed to turn to food for comfort because blah blah blahblahblah.

But I’m okay with eating my emotions sometimes. It so rarely happens and I don’t all out binge and I genuinely felt comforted after eat this while watching bad TV.

And I also felt genuinely comforted after…

Retail therapy:

This wasn’t so much about shopping to easy my feelings, but more walking up and down the Christmas aisles to get some Christmas cheer. Living in a dorm makes it almost impossible to feel cheery because they’re not cozy and no one decorates.

A potentially painful reindeer ring.

So after ample time with m’lovely lady Janet trying on rings and deciding which would hurt worse to get punched with, we ventured over to the happiest place on earth in Target.

Lots of fun things happened.

We pressed every single button on the holiday CD display.

We debated the merits of each color of metallic Christmas tree.

We talked to a very cute employee stocking shelves.

And in the end, I got a GREEN metallic tree.

Which I made a star for out of tin foil.

I feel cheerier already.

So to sum up yesterday: it was good, it got bad, it got better, I ate lots.

The end.

What about you:

What do you turn to when you are looking for a little comfort from food?

Do you think there’s any merit to buying a green metallic tree?

Later eaters!

I Hope You’ve Learned Tacos

Hi eaters!

It’s Tuesday, as you probably already know. There really isn’t much to say about Tuesdays in general, or this Tuesday in particular.

So let’s talk about something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: learning.

I love to learn.

Proof: as I write this, I’m listening to NPR and learning about dynamic windows and how the NHL has more reliable brain damage testing then the military.

More proof: when I was younger I thought about being a college professor because the idea of being in a career based on constantly learning was thrilling.

I honestly hope I never stop learning. And so far I haven’t.

From this blog alone, I’ve learned an immense amount.

I’ve learned how to create recipes. I’m still learning about photography and plating. I’ve learning (and hopefully will always keep learning) about nutrition. I’ve learned cooking techniques.

The list goes one.

And hopefully (oh I really really hope so), you’ve learned a thing or two from reading my blog.

I hope you’ve learned to see the potential from a pile of vegetables.

I hope you’ve learned that vegetables are really awesome.

I hope you’ve learned that there are two ways to skin a cat raccoon. By that I mean, you can rip kale off the stem by hand, or you can cut it off with a knife. Neither is wrong because both result in stem-less kale.

I hope you’ve learned that having a good recipe to follow can make cooking easy.

On the flipside, I hope you’ve learned when a recipe isn’t that good.

Note — If a recipe suggests sautéing with water, not oil, and doesn’t have any spices, it’s probably not a good one.

I hope you’ve learned how to be confident enough in the kitchen (because, honestly, if I can do it, so can you) to use that bland recipe as a jumping off point and create something delicious.

Mushrooms and Greens Tacos

I hope you’ve learned that just about anything sautéed up with cumin and cayenne can be put in a tortilla and called tacos.

1 container mushrooms, roughly chopped

½ (red) onion, diced

~2 c kale, roughly chopped*

2 cloves garlic, minced

¾ c TVP**

1 T ground cumin

~1/2 t cayenne, optional

~1/2 t salt, divided

½ T (apple cider) vinegar

oil

water

tortillas and salsa, to serve

*Substitution — Use any green you want. Chard, spinach, or whatever you have on hand.

**Substitution — Beans or crumbled tempeh would also work if you can’t find TVP. But, really, try to find TVP (Bob’s Red Mill sells it). It’s a really fun and easy ingredient.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Sauté the onions until they are just softening, add to garlic, and continue cooking until everything is fragrant and almost translucent.

Next, add the mushrooms, TVP, and a good sprinkle of salt.

Note — When you salt things matters. Salting early draws out water (which is what we want here), while salting later adds flavor.

Stir everything together and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the TVP is soft. Add the cumin and cayenne, stir, and cook until fragrant (about a minute or two).

Toss in the kale, another sprinkle of salt, and a dash of water. Stir everything together, trying to get the kale covered by the mushroom mixture, and cook until the kale is wilted down.

Finally, add the vinegar, give everything one more good stir, and spoon the mixture into tortillas.

This recipe may not seem very different from the original. But it’s worlds away, flavor-wise.

The addition of a little cumin, cayenne, and salt made this more then a bland, mushy pile of sautéed vegetables. The kale held up better then chard would have. And by swapping TVP for the beans I used what I had on hand and upped the protein and fiber.

These tacos became something delicious and filling, that makes you want to eat your vegetables. All because I learned how to confidently depart from recipes.

Another thing I hoped you’ve learned — salsa makes (a lot of savory) things better.

Yup, better.

Your turn:

What’s something you’ve learned lately?

What’s something you want to learn here?

G’night eaters!