Baja Fish Tacos

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I’ve long searched for the perfect recipe to recreate the first fish tacos I ever had as a kid, and I’ve finally found it. The sauce is creamy, the fish are fried in a light batter, and the slaw is slightly tangy.


baja fish tacos

Ingredients:

1 cup dark beer
1 cup flour
1 t salt, plus more to taste
1 lb boned, skinned tilapia fillet
vegetable oil
10 corn tortillas, warmed
2 cups shredded red cabbage
3 T lime juice
1/4 t hot chile flakes
1 1/2 T canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup chopped onion

1. in a large bowl, mix cabbage, lime juice, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, hot chile flakes and salt to taste. set cabbage slaw aside.

2. in a bowl, mix the chiles with the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and onion until until well blended. set chipotle tartar sauce aside.

3. in a bowl, whisk beer, flour, and salt until well blended.

2. rinse fish and pat dry; cut into 1-inch-wide strips.

3. pour 1 inch of oil into a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. dip each piece of fish into beer batter; lift out and let drain briefly. slide fish into oil, a few pieces at a time, and cook until golden, turning if necessary to brown on all sides, 2 to 4 minutes per batch. with a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. to assemble each taco, stack two tortillas and top with a couple of pieces of fish, then a spoonful each of cabbage slaw and chipotle tartar sauce.

Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread

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this recipe was almost a disaster, as i accidentally placed all the toppings before transferring it to the baking sheet, and in the process of trying to move it made a huge mess. in the end, i resurrected it and it came out wonderfully.

Ingredients:

nonstick spray
1 lb pizza dough
3/4 cup garlic and herb cheese spread
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 T chopped parsley
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 thinly sliced zucchinis
olive oil
red pepper flakes

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick. spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2 inch border. sprinkle with half of parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley.
3. fold plain half of dough over filled half. spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
4. arrange 1 row of zucchini down 1 long side of the dough. arrange onion slices in row alongside zucchini. repeat with zucchini and onion until surface of dough is covered. brush vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and red pepper.
5. bake bread until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes. sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

in other news, i finished reading christopher de bellaigue’s in the rose garden of the martyrs: a memoir of iran. considering that most iranian memoirs are written by iranians, it was a fresh look into a european’s take on modern iran, and namely how the revolution and iran-iraq war has shaped it. and with all the headlines about iran lately, i highly recommend rageh omaar’s bbc documentary inside iran. it’s easily one of the best documentaries i’ve seen on the subject.

Ferry Building Marketplace

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so my updating habits have gotten a little sporadic. things will be back to normal soon, really. in any case, last week was my birthday and i spent it with with a friend at the ferry building marketplace in san francisco, which happens to be my favorite place in my favorite city.

to begin our day of tasting, we had brunch at tsar nicoulai, where we split a sturgeon chowder in a bread bowl, served with tennessee hackleback caviar on a blini. it was tiny, but the caviar was delicious. (not as delicious as caspian osetra caviar, but you’ve got to be insane to pay for that outside of iran.)

it was so cold outside
birthday wishes in the freezing cold. (seriously, why is it so cold this year?)

afterwards we walked around, sampling and admiring the goods (the scent of the roast chickens for sale was unbelievable), and finally gave in and bought this beauty:
gorgeous
romanesque broccoli. almost too pretty to eat. almost. we decided that it would go into a salad alongside cheese and prosciutto.

we stopped by cowgirl creamery where i salivated for a few minutes before i decided on the roncal – kind of like a manchego but nuttier.
cheese!
in awe of all the choices. can you see why i love this place so much?

our last stop at the ferry building was mastrelli’s delicatessen, where i picked up some prosciutto di parma, and then we drove to north beach for cappuccinos at caffe trieste. before we headed back to the east bay for the evening, we stopped to have one of our favorites – lomo saltado, for dinner at fresca. not bad for a day’s worth of gastronomy.

Oyster Po’Boys

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i don’t cook dishes from the americas (both north and south) very often, not because i don’t like the cuisine, but rather because my few attempts haven’t turned out nearly as successful as my more eastern-oriented efforts.

but i gave it a try again, and i can’t say i did too bad:

more lime juice next time
jicama, cucumber, and orange salad

mmm, masa
mozzarella and chorizo arepitas

gooey
banana and s’mores sandwich (okay so this burned a little)

not enough flavor
yuca fries with chipotle mayonnaise

delicious!
oyster po’boy

here’s the recipe for the po’boys:

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 t salt
2 t pepper
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 t cayenne
2 jars shucked small oysters, drained
vegetable oil
1 loaf soft french bread
1/4 mayonnaise
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce

1. beat together egg, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. whisk together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining teaspoon pepper in a shallow baking dish. whisk together cornmeal, remaining teaspoon salt, and cayenne in another shallow baking dish.

2. dredge a few oysters in flour, then dip into egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, knocking off excess. coat remaining oysters in same manner.

3. heat oil in a large pot over high heat until hot but not smoking. while oil is heating, halve bread crosswise, then cut each piece in half horizontally, cutting all the way through. put bread in oven and heat for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

4. while bread is heating, gently drop half of oysters into hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. fry remaining oysters in same manner.

5. spread mayonnaise on cut sides of bread, then make sandwiches, topping lettuce with oysters. halve each sandwich crosswise for a total of 4 sandwiches.

Crispy Chicken and Kimchi Potstickers

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anyone who knows me knows of my affinity for korean cuisine. and of my affinity for kimchi. and more specifically, my affinity for all things banchan. i can think of nothing better than an array of small plates to complement a plate of bulgogi or japchae. naturally, i relish the taste of kimchi in my dumplings.

Kimchi and chicken potstickers

recipe:

1 t toasted sesame seeds
1/3 c + 1 T soy sauce
1/4 rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey
1/2 lb kimchi, drained and finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 t cornstarch
1/2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 pepper
gyoza wrappers
2 T vegetable oil
1 c water

1. in a small bowl, stir 1/3 cup of the soy sauce with the vinegar, water, garlic, 1 green onion, and sesame seeds.
2. in a large bowl. combine and mix the ground turkey with the kimchi, remaining green onions, egg, cornstarch, sugar, remaining soy sauce, salt and pepper.
3. place gyoza wrappers on a work surface and lightly moisten the edges of the wrappers with water. place a spoon of the filling on one side of each wrapper and fold in half to form half moons. press the edges of the wrapper firmly to seal. repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
4. in a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. add half of the potstickers to the skillet. pour in 1/2 cup of the water, cover and cook over moderately high heat until the water has evaporated, the filling is cooked through and the bottoms are browned, about 10 minutes. transfer to a serving platter and repeat with the remaining oil, potstickers, and water. serve with the dipping sauce on the side.