Coconut-Lime Fish Tacos

This special-occasion dish beats all the fish tacos in town we have tried.  The toppings and tortillas can be prepared 1 day ahead.

Coconut-Lime Fish Tacos with Chipotle Dressing

The components of this dish are grouped into 3 categories:

1.  Lime-cilantro slaw:

1 c. thinly sliced cabbage

1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion

zest of 1 lime

juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp. diced cilantro

salt and pepper

2.  Chipotle dressing:

1/2 c. sour cream (cultured organic best!)

2 tsp. adobo sauce from can of chipotles

1 chipotle pepper, finely diced

1 tbsp. diced cilantro

1 tbsp. diced chive or green onion

squeeze of lime juice

salt and pepper

3.  Crispy Breadcrumb Coating:

4 wild-caught white fish fillets, such as tilapia or mahi, sliced into 2 oz. sticks (abt. 4 pcs. per fillet)

1 c. panko breadcrumbs, or homemade breadcrumbs

1/3 c. desiccated coconut (dried, no preservatives)

zest of 1 lime

salt and pepper

flour or arrowroot powder for dredging

1 egg, lightly beaten.

Lard, ghee, butter or coconut oil for frying – about 1 inch’s worth.

15-20 tortillas

1/4 c. Roasted Chipotle Salsa, optional

First, prepare the slaw so that it has a chance to marinate in it’s lime-juicy goodness.  Combine above ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature about 1 hour or overnight in fridge.

Next, prepare the chipotle dressing by combining the ingredients above and reserve in fridge.

Last, make a dredging station.  Get out 4 plates.  On one plate, place cut fish pieces.  On another, have arrowroot or flour for dredging.  On the next, combine the breadcrumbs, lime zest, and coconut.  On the last pour in your beaten egg.  Salt and pepper each plate (layer).  Heat oil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-high.  Do not let it smoke (370-ish).  Use a candy thermometer to be exact.  Dredge fish in arrowroot, then egg, then breadcrumb mix.  Reserve on original plate until oil is hot enough.  Add pieces, 2-3 at a time, and fry until golden brown, then flip, totaling about 4 minutes per piece.  Reserve on wire rack until ready to serve or place in warm oven.

Heat or cook tortillas while frying.

To assemble a taco, place about 1 tsp. chipotle dressing in middle of taco.  Place fish on top, then top with about 2 tbsp. slaw.  If you like and for a more spicy experience, top with 2 tsp. roasted chipotle salsa.  Enjoy!!

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Enfrijoladas

This is one of those dishes I have made so many times I don’t have a recipe written down, until now :)

Enfrijoladas (this title, translated, is to say something is covered in beans)

3 c. homemade beans in their juice

2 tbsp minced onion

20 prepared tortillas

1/2 c. quesco fresco or other hard or crumbly Mexican cheese

Shredded chicken for topping, optional

Mexican creme (Crema Mexicana), optional

1.  Puree beans in the blender.  Heat large-rimmed skillet to med-high.

2.  Sautee onion until translucent, add beans, warm.

3.  Dunk tortillas in beans, fold in half on plate.  Repeat.

4.  Top with cheese, chicken, and crema.

Serves 4 adults

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Mexican Chilli

Make this chilli convenient by using whatever meat, stock, and beans you have on hand.

Mami’s Mexican Chilli

1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. chili ancho powder (add more if you like spicy!)
20 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes tomatoes with juice, pureed if you don’t like chunky-style
3 c. un-rinsed homemade beans*

optional:  cheddar cheese and chives or green onions for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

—————————————————————————————

Choose between:

2 c. chicken broth //2 c. beef broth
2 cups shredded or chopped chicken or turkey//1 to 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

Heat rimmed skillet to med-high and melt butter.  Add onion and sautee on medium until translucent.  Add ground beef, if using.  Add ancho powder, tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, beans, stock, and chicken or turkey.  Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until flavors combine and chilli thickens.  Add salt to taste.  Serve with grated cheddar cheese on top and some chives for garnish.

Cook’s Notes:

*If using canned beans, be sure to rinse first.

Credit – recipe adapted from Hartman family blog.

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Homemade Beans

These beans are full of flavor and freeze easily.

1 lb. dry **black beans

2 tbsp. whey

2 quarts water

Soak this mixture overnight.

In the morning:

Add above to a pot and bring to a boil.  Skim the foam from the top when it boils.  Add:

1 roughly chopped white onion

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peels removed

2 tbsp. salt

Cook about 2 hours, or until beans are tender.  Add more salt to taste.

**Variation:  To make pinto or white beans, follow recipe exactly as above, but omit whey in the soaking.  Pinto beans taste even better with fire-roasted tomatoes mixed in after cooking.

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Michelle’s Rice and Beans

1/2 c. homemade black beans

1/2 c. cooked brown rice

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tsp. chopped chives

Combine ingredients while hot in a bowl.  Serve with glass of milk.

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All About Beans

Beans and rice are 2 of the most frugal, versatile staples in the dry goods pantry.  Everybody has a version because they have been around forever and were accessible to all.   Millions of healthy children have been nourished by this simple fare for generations.  In many cases the working classes did not have the money to eat meat, so beans, bone broths, and other plant foods stood in their place.  I imagine that this was one of the foods that the kids would wince and say, “Maaam, beans again?!”  One way to avoid this is to serve different kinds of beans.  You could serve pinto beans in a soup on Monday, and then re-fry them for Wednesday’s lunch, and then make black beans on Thursday, etc.  If you want to go Italian or American, try white navy beans or kidney beans and prepare chillies and soups that way.

These are our favorite combinations:

White beans:  In Italian salads and soups, in chilli, also use as puree in sneaky recipes.

Black beans:  Black bean soup, in Mexican chilli (with chile ancho powder, yum), refried in manteca with onion as side dish, in salads with salsa-ranch and corn, in bean dip, enfrijoladas (tortillas dipped in pureed beans topped with chicken and cheese), rice and beans.

Pinto beans:  Prepared as side dish/soup with pureed fire roasted tomatoes.  Refried with onion as a side dish.

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Organic and Real Food Are NOT Synonomous

Today I was browsing Whole Foods for a few items (we are slowly moving away from Whole Foods as we find local and more economical versions of their goods).  While there I couldn’t help but notice the heap of ORGANIC junk food I saw.  I guess these types of products have been around a while, after all, one year ago when I got started here, I was also buying gluten-free Gorilla Munch and Annie’s Bunny Cereals.  I didn’t really care about the sugar content or the ingredient list at that point because I was desperate to get gluten-free goods.  We’re all on our own level of this real food quest.  However…

In Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution season finale, there was a mom that spoke up at one of his events.  This lady’s statement keeps coming back to me – “we stopped buying (blank) and started buying everything organic”.  In her defense who knows what that means, but all I could think of is the moms of America getting the idea that real food means organic sugar bunnies and…PopTarts.

Then I was reading Parents magazine, and I came across this ad for…PopTarts.  It marketed the “fruit” aspect of the tart by displaying the 3 fruit flavors of the tarts:  strawberry, blueberry, and new grape.  It said, “PopTarts are made with real fruit!”  Then of course it had a little star directing you to the fine print on the bottom that said, “less than 10% fruit”.  The whole ad made me so sick that I actually had to laugh out loud.  I found this ad manipulative and offensive.  It’s an assault on the word fruit and offensive to all the brainless Moms who Kellog’s thinks they are fooling.  Don’t believe me that PopTarts are pure junk?  Look at the ingredients in this strawberry beauty:

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, ENRICHED FLOUR this means bleached white flour(WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL (WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS), POLYDEXTROSE, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, CORN SYRUP ( just in case the high fructose wasn’t enough sweet) WHOLE GRAIN BARLEY FLOUR, GLYCERIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF INULIN FROM CHICORY ROOT, WHEAT STARCH, SALT, DRIED STRAWBERRIES, DRIED PEARS, DRIED APPLES, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, GELATIN, CARAMEL COLOR, SOY LECITHIN, XANTHAN GUM, MODIFIED WHEAT STARCH, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, RED #40, REDUCED IRON, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), YELLOW #6, RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), FOLIC ACID.

The reason I am bashing on PopTarts is to set an example.  There are a lot of fancy words out there on a ton of seemingly healthy products.  For example, on this tart box alone it says, “one serving of whole grain” and “20% daily fiber” and “5 g. total fat per serving”.  If you look at the nutrition label you will see it has no trans fats, no cholesterol, 5 g. of dietary fiber and even 2 g. of protein!  Surely it is good to eat.  Wrong.  Look at the ingredient list, not the nutrition facts. That is the #1 rule I shop by.  The Nutrition Information is based on a system (Jaime Oliver talks about this.) that tells you to eat 6-11 serving a day of grains and get even fatter oh no!  Methinks someone is trying to promote their agricultural products…

Look at the ingredient list.  If it’s very long, that’s your first clue it’s junk.  If there is high fructose corn syrup, it’s likely junk.  If it says enriched flour, it’s junk.  This means white bleached flour that has been stripped of all naturally occurring vitamins because of processing that is later supplemented with synthetic vitamins.  Also, anytime you see corn syrup and soybean (in this case oil) they are GMO‘s.  If you ever see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, those are the famous TRANS FATS = junk, junk, junk.

Once again, it is not my purpose to make you feel bad about eating your PopTarts.  Like I said before, we are all in our own stage in life.  I understand that and don’t judge you.  But take baby steps when you can to feed yourself and the ones you love food that gives you energy, food that makes your body work better, foods that increase your immunity, foods that you can be proud of – REAL FOODS.

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