Halibut Fish Tacos

Continuing on with my Mexican obsession, because it has clearly not dissipated, I decided to make fish tacos tonight for dinner. This past weekend I consumed more than my fair share of margaritas, and so I felt like making something healthy and a little on the lighter side. I love tacos, obviously, but I have never attempted to make them of the fish variety myself. I’ve eaten enough of them in the past (hello Red Fish Blue Fish!), so I had a general idea of what I wanted my own to consist of, and the types of fillings that would make them perfect.

I was surprised but how little effort and time was required to make something so great. All the ingredients were so fresh and definitely noticeable. I will for sure be adding this one to my repertoire of go-to recipes.

Halibut Fish Tacos
Inspired from Guilty Kitchen

Guacamole 
1 ripe avacado
1/2 a ripe tomato, diced
Juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste

Peel avacado and use a fork to mash in a bowl. Add the tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper. Combine well and set aside.

Fish Taco Sauce
1/4 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of light mayo
Juice of half a lime
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of ground coriander
A sprinkle of fresh dill

Combine sour cream and mayo in a bowl, using a whisk to stir well. Add the lime juice through dill, mix well and put in the fridge until ready to eat.

Fish Tacos
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of oil (I used vegetable)
1/2 a ripe tomato
2 handfuls of lettuce, shredded
2 medium size halibut fillets
1/2 cup of flour
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan over medium heat. Trim the skin from the halibut and cut into thin strips. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in bowl. Add halibut into the bowl turning to coat until all sides of the halibut are covered with the flour mixture. Add to the pan and cook a couple minutes on each side until browned. While the halibut cooks, prep and tomato and lettuce and place in separate bowls. Heat the tortillas in the microwave by layering a paper towel between each.

Place fillings on the table so everyone can make the tacos according to their liking. Enjoy!

 

 

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Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

I have finally broken out of my baking rut! I have been feeling so uninspired lately that even the most amazing looking baked goods were not doing a thing for me. Usually I would never pass up the opportunity to create some deliciousness, especially something chocolatey, but for some reason during the last few weeks I have been unable to muster up the energy. Thank goodness that’s over! I think I can say without a doubt that this had everything to do with my renewed baking spirit. Seriously, did you see it? There are no words to describe the effect it had on me. Simply amazing. The one thing that stuck with me the most however, was the fact that I cannot remember the last time I had an Oreo cookie. And so I needed to have one immediately. Like walk down to the store at the moment to buy a bag immediately. I was good though, I did only have one. I know, I know such restraint. Until today. When¬† decided to make cupcakes out of the rest of them and then eat said cupcakes. Whoever created these was a genius, and I strongly suggest you make them.

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from Bakergirl Creations

Cupcakes
2 1/3 cups of flour
1 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of butter, at room temp.
2 cups of brown sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk (I made buttermilk by using just under 1 1/2 cups of milk and stirring in 1 1/2 tbsp of vinegar and letting it sit for about 5 minutes)

Frosting
2 cups of whipping cream
6 tbsp of icing sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
7 Oreos + 6 Oreos

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with paper liners. Mix together the flour through salt and set aside. In an electric mixer cream the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar a little at a time and beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk. Beginning and ending with the flour and beat until smooth. Distribute the batter evenly into the paper liners. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, break up 7 Oreos a little bit and place them in a blender. Blend until cookies are finely crumbled (about 1/2 a cup). Cut the remaining 6 cookies in half with a sharp knife (for the top of the cupcakes)

Once the cupcakes are completely cool begin to make the frosting. In an electric mixture, add the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla and beat on high until stiff. I attempted to make my cupcakes pretty by using a piping bag for the frosting but that failed miserably because the cookie crumbs kept clogging the hole. I resorted to spooning the frosting on top and gently spreading it around and they looked pretty darn good to me. Finally, top each cupcake with half an Oreo.

Note: After filling 12 liners I still had quite a bit of batter left so I made a small cake in a loaf pan. But of course you could make another 4-5 cupcakes.

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberries

Breakfast is the most important meal of day and luckily for me, it’s also my favorite. I’m not sure if it’s because I love all breakfast foods like waffles, pancakes, eggs, toast, and cereal (I would eat cereal for every meal for the rest of my life if I could), or if it’s because I’m a terrible person when I’m hungry. And I’m always hungry when I wake up in the morning. So I prefer to be healthy and happy by eating my breakfast. Not to mention sparing those close to me in the morning from random acts of unkindness. I do not like to be unkind.

Because I am a huge fan of breakfast, I like to make something special on the weekends when I have the time. This weekend I decided to make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. I first had these at Rebar (a fantastic heath food restaurant downtown Victoria), and had to recreate them again at home. Blueberries are just starting to come into season now too, so they aren’t even outrageously expensive anymore, bonus! And I am also now hooked on ricotta, it’s delish and I will certainly be finding more ways to use it.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberries
Adapted from Canadian Living

1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of butter, melted
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup of blueberries, washed and dried

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl add ricotta, egg, milk, butter, and lemon rind. I melted the butter first and added it to this mixture last so it has a chance to cool slightly. The original recipe also said to press ricotta through a fine sieve before adding it. Next time I won’t waste my time doing it because only a few drops of moisture came out of it. It may depend on the brand so if you find the ricotta you are using really wet then I would do it. Otherwise don’t bother because I don’t think it would effect the consistency of the batter. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently to combine. Fold in the blueberries.

Heat a large pan over medium heat with a non-stick spray. Use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup (depending if you want the pancakes larger or smaller) to scoop batter into the pan. Cook until the bubbles on top pop, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2 minutes until browned on the bottom and cooked through. I topped my pancakes with bit of vanilla yogurt and blackberry syrup. Amazing!


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Wilted Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette

About 3 times a weeks for the past little while I have ambitiously woken up at 6:30 to get to the gym by 7. Only as a last resort, mind you. We have been so busy the last few weeks that by the time we get home in the evening and still have dinner to think about, gym time slides out of view and into the abyss. So I came to the conclusion that if I want to wear a bathing suit to the beach this summer, action must be taken! That action arrived in the form of inhumane early morning hours. It definitely gets easier as you go along though. And it doesn’t hurt that more and more days are beginning with sun streaming through the window.

I also found that making it to the gym so early in morning sets you up for making healthy choices for the rest if the day. Like snacking on blueberries and strawberries instead of cookies, and having an amazing salad for dinner instead of a frozen pizza that “accidentally” got picked up at the grocery store. My Mom passed along this recipe to me and I am so glad that she did. It will definitely be my go-to meal when I want something good for me and fast. Like 15 minutes fast. You could also add a hard boiled egg to the salad for some protein.

Wilted Spinach with Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette
Adapted from the Food Network

1 bag or clam shell of spinach
4 tbsp of olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
5 large mushrooms, sliced
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of honey
Boursin cheese with herbs

Place spinach in a large salad bowl. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until browned and tender. Pour the mushroom mixture onto the spinach and return the pan to the stove. Add the balsamic, remaining 2 tbsp of oil, and honey. Swirl around pan until warmed. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss well. Serve salad onto plates and top with crumbled Boursin cheese. YUM!

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Homemade Granola Bars

This is the recipe I have probably made more times than anything else, and I only just discovered it a few months ago. That is how good they are. I usually make these granola bars sometime at the beginning of the week for our lunches. They are also great for breakfast on the run or just after the gym. They also freeze amazingly well. Not to mention the recipe is incredibly flexible and you can pretty much throw whatever you have on hand into them. For instance, I used 1 cups of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. But you could also use dried cherries or blueberries, pecans, almonds, coconut, apricots or any combination of the above. As well as anything else you can think of, don’t be afraid to be creative. But as is, these are the best things I have ever tasted.

Homemade Granola Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 2/3 cups of quick rolled oats
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of oat flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
2-3 cups of dried fruit and nuts (cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, etc)
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 tsp of vanilla
6 tbsp of melted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of water

Preheat the oven to 350 degree and line a 8 by 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil. You could also use parchment paper but I find aluminum foil works much better. Make sure the foil goes up 2 opposite sides far enough to make a sling. Grease with a non-stick spray.

Stir together the rolled oats through dried fruit and nuts in a large bowl. In another bowl add the peanut butter through water and mix well. Stir the wet mixture into the dry until crumbly. Put into the pan and spread evenly. Make sure you press the mixture firmly into the bottom and corners of the pan. You can also use a piece of plastic wrap to help with this.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned around the edges. The center will look soft and under baked but will firm up as it cools. Let cool in the pan for about half an hour and then use the sling to remove the bars from the pan and finishing cooling on a wire rack. Once completely cool (will crumble a little otherwise), use a serrated knife to cut into bars. I then wrap the bars individually and keep half out and put the other half in the freezer.

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Turkey Enchiladas

Here comes the sun! And with the sun comes the Mexican fiesta! … Or my own version of it anyways. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I have been craving Mexican food ALL the time. We went out for Mexican food last night not thinking (or was I?) that enchiladas were on the menu for tonight as well. I have been hearing all kinds of good things about this little place called Hernandez, and it definitely owned up to all the hype. It’s a little stand in line and place your order, find your seat, and wait for your order to be called kind of deal, and it was perfect. It was amazing food and I will for sure be going back again. Maybe tomorrow? Okay not quite that soon.

And tonight’s dinner was just as great. Not to mention made from scratch in my own kitchen. But I’m not bragging. The only thing I caution against (besides over eating because its easy to do), is that I seriously dirtied pretty much every dish we own putting together this recipe. And I usually pride myself on minimizing mess and using as few cooking utensils as possible. So if your not a fan of doing dishes and can’t get someone to do them for you, be warned. 100% worth it though.

Turkey Enchiladas
Adapted from Guilty Kitchen

Turkey Mixture
1 tbsp of canola oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, diced
1 package of ground turkey
1/2 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of seasoning salt
1 tsp of chili powder (more if you want more of a kick)
1 398 ml can of diced tomatoes

Black Bean Mixture
1 19oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp of cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Enchilada Sauce
1 tbsp of canola oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, diced
1 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 398 ml can of tomato sauce (I used one with spices in it)
4 large tortillas
1 1/2 cups of grated cheese

For the Turkey Mixture: Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until translucent. Add Turkey and brown for a few minutes. Add spices and cook until turkey is cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until most of the liquid is gone, about 20 minutes.

While the turkey mixture is cooking, mash the black beans. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a sauce pan and heat for about 5 minutes, adding 1/2 a cup of water as it heats. Set aside.

When the beans are done, start the enchilada sauce: Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes until translucent. Stir in all the spices. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Grease a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish. To make the enchiladas, spread the black beans in the middle of each tortilla. Top with the turkey mixture. Roll the tortillas so the ends are enclosed. Place each tortilla in a row in the baking dish. Cover with the enchilada sauce and finally top with the grated cheese. Put into the oven for about 15 minutes.

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Cream of Carrot and Rice Soup

This past weekend was an absolute whirlwind. Saturday was full of painting and prep-work for our new business endeavor (many thanks to everyone who came out to lend a hand!) and Sunday was filled with birthday activities for my babe who turned an exciting 25. So not much time for rest and relaxation. Too much excitement for that anyways. We did manage to find time though, to browse through the Times Colonist Book Sale that happens every year.

Last year was the first time I had ever been, and I took home lots of treasures. So needless to say, I was looking forward to the great finds I may come across this time around. And let me tell you, there is some serious searching that must go on. Not only is there rows and rows filled with books of every possible category you can think of, you also have to battle the masses of people also looking for hidden treasure.

It’s a 2 day event, and we managed to get there on Sunday morning. Naturally I made a beeline to the cooking section (they give out handy little maps indicating the various sections). Most of the books had been picked over pretty well, but I did manage to find a couple recipe books to take home. And at $3 a piece there’s nothing wrong with that!

This evening dinner was straight from a soup and salad book published in 1983. But obviously great things transcend time because I’ve earmarked so many recipes already. And if tonight’s selection is a testament to the rest of them, there are many to look forward to. I promise I’ll share.

Cream of Carrot and Rice Soup
Adapted from Cooking with Bon Appetit – Soups and Salads

3 tbsp of butter
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 a medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cups of chicken stock (I used “meat-free” chicken stock)
1/3 cup of long-grain white rice
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1 cup of cream

Melt butter in a large pot. Add carrots and onion , cover and cook about 15 minutes over low-medium heat. Stir occasionally. Stir in stock, rice, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 1/2 an hour or until vegetables are tender.

Put half the mixture in a blender and puree. Repeat with the second half. Return pureed mixture to pot and add cream. Turn heat to medium and heat through.

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