Shrimp Tacos

 

Spicy Shrimp Tacos ~ Coffee and Crumpets

Hello friends! It has been a bit of a lazy and blah few days on the blog front. I’m not sure if it’s the weather; the snow and cold making anything related to thinking and writing quite difficult. I love winter though, so I’m usually at my happiest at this time, but I rather just stare out the window for hours on end at the snow falling rather than be attached to a computer or straddled to the stove.

The reality is that I’ve been crazy busy and when free time rears its head, I am so tired that I cannot think, let alone compose a sentence or photograph. This does lead to hours of blank staring out the window or mind numbing marathon of shows recorded on my DVR.

I have been preferring my dusty, paperback, even though I sneeze and cough every time I pick up the book to read, over the cold smoothness and blinding brightness of my iPad. I realised I had gone 48 hours without opening my iPad when it told me to sign in again! I apologise to my friends for not stopping by to read your posts. It’s just been one of those weeks.

Sometimes, I think that when I go on a diet to help my autoimmune symptoms, the world of food is suddenly lost because I’ve given up wheat and dairy! I also know that’s not true because there are so many delicious gluten free and dairy free foods. Case in point, these shrimp tacos. They are wonderfully tasty and naturally gluten free, and can be dairy free too if you omit the chimichurri sour cream sauce and just use the herby vinaigrette.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos | Coffee and Crumpets

To me playing with flour, butter, yeast and cream is the ultimate form of therapy and creativity. If I have to give up those, even for just a short time, my mind seems to shut down to all other possibilities. I do watch my gluten quite a bit but it’s just recently that I took out dairy as well, and now my world has ended, even though I know it’s just a temporary abstinence. The heart wants what the heart wants…

I know that’s the wrong way to deal with my dilemma and I should look at the vast array of delicious food that I can still post, they won’t be comfort foods but I’m sure I can come up with a few things that appeal to me…or I can just say to heck with it and go back to eating my beloved bread and butter ūüôā

So, the last few months, I’ve been consciously adding more seafood to our dinner rotations. However, the whole idea of eating fish 2 or 3 times a week is just not possible. I can barely eat fish once a week, and unfortunately, the rest of the family feels the same way. We don’t dislike seafood, we love it when we have it once in a while but it’s one of those things that can get a bit much for us.

The shrimp tacos were a way to get the kids to eat shrimp in a fun way and a way they recognise. I am thankful to have children who are willing to eat anything and love trying new things. They are actually less picky than I am!

Spicy Shrimp Tacos | Coffee and Crumpets

I also find myself getting into a cooking rut come dinner time. Since my job revolves around cooking, I really get tired of being in the kitchen (especially my crappy one after I’ve been using the fantastic ones at work!) I have noticed that my menu at home is suffering more and more, and the kids are beginning to notice. I always get the “You make the best stuff for work these days, and nothing good for us” And they are right. I am exhausted by the time I’ve created a menu, shopped and cooked and that leaves a sloppy attempt at dinner time.

Like keeping up with this blog, it’s getting harder to be organised at home too. I’ll figure it out I guess, I just need the voices in my head to stop telling me all that I still need to do.

Back to these shrimp tacos, they were delicious. Whole Foods carries a great Peruvian spice rub that I love. It smells amazing when cooking and tastes fantastic. I love roasting whole chicken with this spice rub, and even searing a salmon steak. If you can’t find a Peruvian rub, just use a good chilli powder rub or any other Southwestern or Latin inspired spice rub.

Since these are tacos, there is no hard and fast rule. Top them with anything that pleases you, I used crunchy jicama, red cabbage, red bell peppers, creamy avocado and lots of mixed greens and herbs. The sauce was a herby chimichurri that I mixed into some sour cream. You can most definitely use the chimichurri sauce by itself and can even marinate the shrimp in it. I used the rub to get another spice profile in there, and because I really love that rub!

I used a small 31-40 count variety of wild shrimp. That allows for more shrimp per bite in the taco instead of rationing shrimp to 1 or 2 per taco as is the case with the larger shrimp. These were met with much approval, even by the younger guy who isn’t a fan of shrimp. Put anything in a taco and it’s the best food ever.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos | Coffee and Crumpets

 

Shrimp Tacos

Rating 

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 15-18 tacos

Deliciously spiced shrimp tacos with chimichurri sauce,
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds/1kg small shrimp (31-40 count in the US)
  • 1 generous tablespoon Peruvian spice rub, chilli powder, or other spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lime
  • 1 large jicama, julienned
  • ¬Ĺ large red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2-3 avocados
  • mixed greens
  • mixed herbs
  • 15-18 corn tortillas
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • ¬Ĺ cup cilantro, packed
  • ¬Ĺ cup parsley, packed,
  • ¬Ĺ cup mint, packed
  • ¬Ĺ cup/120 ml balsamic vinegar, or any vinegar
  • ¬Ĺ cup/120 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 green chilli, or red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¬Ĺ cup/120 ml sour cream
Instructions
  1. Put the cleaned shrimp into a bowl and add the spice rub.
  2. Toss till all the shrimp is covered with the spice rub.
  3. Marinate for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meantime, chop up the vegetables for the topping and make the chimichurri sauce.
  5. In a blender, add all the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce and blend till smooth.
  6. Taste to adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Toss a couple of tablespoons of this herby chimichurri with the vegetables.
  8. I tossed my vegetables all in a bowl (not the avocados though) and everyone scooped a handful to put on their tacos.
  9. You could keep the vegetables all separate incase someone doesn't like a particular thing.
  10. If you want to make the creamy sour cream sauce, add ¬ľ cup of sour cream to the chimichurri sauce.
  11. Adjust the sauce to your taste, add more sour cream for a creamier sauce.
  12. Set aside.
  13. Heat a large non stick skillet on medium high and add a tablespoon of oil to the pan.
  14. Add half of the shrimp and sear quickly.
  15. As soon as they are pink, and slightly charred, remove from the pan.
  16. Don't over cook!
  17. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  18. Once the shrimp is cooked, while still hot, squeeze lime juice all over and taste for salt.
  19. Warm the tortillas on a cast iron skillet.
  20. Keep wrapped in foil or napkin to keep warm.
  21. Time to assemble!
  22. Take a tortilla, put a heaping spoonful of the vegetables, add some shrimp, some avocado, some greens and drizzle with sauce.
  23. Eat!
  24. They're messy, but oh so good.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos | Coffee and Crumpets

These were definitely tasty and so beautifully colourful. As much as I love winter, it can be a bit dreary and I get tired of eating heavy soups and stews. These make a great change to brighten up the winter blues and lighten up the heavy winter eating.

Hope you’re all off to a great week!

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches

This year, I seemed to have dropped the ball on posting holiday recipes. I had it all planned too! Back in January, I took my nifty calendar and scribbled possible posts and recipe ideas, I pencilled in relevant holidays and even some obscure ones like St David’s Day, who unlike St Patrick, doesn’t get quite the same recognition. For those of you not familiar with him, he’s the patron saint of Wales. However, I did remember Star Wars Day ūüôā A day circled in very bold on all calendars at home.

Tres LechesI wasn’t planning on sharing this post until next week, but as Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend and I still haven’t picked up that darned ball, I decided to post this early.

It’s quite a fitting cake for Mother’s Day even though it was made as a birthday cake for my husband a couple of weekends ago. You might also be thinking that it’s a bit of a froufrou cake for a man, and believe me, what he really wanted was a replica of the Starship Enterprise as his cake. A request I would have fully entertained if it wasn’t for the jam packed status of the weeks leading up to his birthday. Model cakes take a long time to make, ask anyone who has made one! I told him it’s still on my list and it may materialise for Father’s Day; we’ll see.

Tres Leches CakeSo, why the Tres Leches? Because it’s only the best cake ever! It’s also known as a three milks cake and it originates from Central America. Of course, it’s thought that it came to them from trade and travel in Europe.

Whatever the origin, this cake is incredibly popular in Texas, which is where we came across it. Typically, you will see this cake baked in a glass dish and the milks are poured over and then frosted. However, it can be layered and made to look like a special occasion cake. Infact, my sister had a three tier Tres Leches for her wedding cake, and a new tradition was born.

We continued the tradition by getting all of the kids’ birthday cakes from a local panaderia, and they did such an excellent job making it to any theme we wanted. Laith’s 2nd birthday, they did a full sheet cake in the Cars theme. It was so adorable.

Tres Leches CakeTradition continues with all the extended family now getting their Tres Leches wedding cakes and their kids’ birthday cakes from the same panaderia.

It had been a year since we last ate a Tres Leches and that was back on our trip to Houston last year. We were all craving it; big time. So, really, Trace had no choice, he was getting a Tres Leches whether he liked it or not! Lucky for me, he loves it as much as I do (as a matter of fact, he hasn’t met a cake he doesn’t like yet)

It’s not like we can’t get it here in Colorado because we have quite a thriving Hispanic and South/Central American community. It’s just that I don’t feel like looking for a panaderia and then driving down to get it. I have adopted the Colorado mentality of “if it’s not down the end of my street, I’m not going” which I think is just a ploy to not have to go on I-25. It’s a mentality I was surprisingly quick to adopt considering that I came from Houston where unless you have travelled on 3 State Highways and 2 Interstates just for lunch, you haven’t travelled!

Tres Leches CakeWhat is a Tres Leches cake? It’s an airy, dry sponge cake that is soaked in three milks, usually evaporated, condensed and heavy cream. It is then chilled overnight, and then frosted with either a meringue topping or fresh whipped cream. It is not a low calorie food. Unfortunately, it’s an addictive food.

I made mine a little different form the traditional ones you see on the web. Most of them are single layer, in a glass pan covered in cream. You do not see how wonderful this cake is when you serve it like that. It needs to be elevated to the top of the special occasion cake category with a bit of effort. I filled mine with macerated fresh strawberries, and since I couldn’t find an organic evaporated milk can or at least a can with no additives, I chose to forgo it and use half and half. It was perfect. It was moist enough to be recognised that it was soaked in 3 milks and sturdy enough to not collapse under the weight of the 3 milks.

There’s still time to make this for your mum! It only needs a day to chill overnight and an hour to ice. You can always just make it in a baking dish and cover it with cream.

Tres Leches

Tres Leches Cake

Serving size: 12

Calories: 699

Fat: 36g

A moist sponge layer cake filled with macerated strawberries and soaked in three milks.
Ingredients
Sponge Cake
  • 2 cups/290g all purpose/plain flour
  • 3¬Ĺ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups/400g sugar
  • ¬Ĺ cup/120ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Three Milks
  • 1 cup/235ml heavy/double cream
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups/470g half and half (half cream and half milk mixture)
Filling
  • 1 pound/455g fresh strawberries, chopped small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Frosting
  • 2 cups/470g heavy/double cream
  • 4oz/125g cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¬ľ cup/50g sugar
Topping
  • extra strawberries
  • mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Plan to make the sponge cake a day ahead so it can thoroughly chill.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  3. Grease and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, 2 9 inch/24 cm cake pans.
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  5. Using a mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  6. On high speed, gradually add the sugar.
  7. Add the egg yolks, one at a time.
  8. Add the vanilla.
  9. Add the flour, ¬Ĺ cup at a time until well incorporated.
  10. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides.
  11. Add the ¬Ĺ cup of milk until the mixture is smooth and evenly mixed.
  12. Divide the cake batter between the two prepared pans.
  13. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown about 25-30 minutes.
  14. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile, make the soaking milk.
  16. Combine the condensed milk, heavy cream and the half and half and mix well.
  17. Divide the milks over the warm cakes equally.
  18. Allow to soak into the cake.
  19. Place in the fridge to chill overnight.
Filling
  1. Mash the strawberries with sugar slightly so they release some of their juices.
  2. Allow to macerate.
Frosting
  1. Beat the soft cream cheese with the sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the heavy cream and whip until thick enough to spread on cake.
  3. You will need to beat it to quite thick but don't get carried away and make butter!
  4. Place in the fridge until needed.
Assembling Cake
  1. Run a spatula or a butter knife around the edges of the cake.
  2. This will be a bit tricky and you will need to wiggle the edges of the cake and prise up the edges to loosen.
  3. The cakes are soaked with milk so they will not just fall out easily.
  4. A bit of patience and delicate handling is all that's needed.
  5. The parchment is important so don't forget to line the pan!
  6. Once you've taken out the first cake, place it on a cake plate.
  7. Spread the macerated strawberries and the juices over the bottom layer.
  8. Make it quite flat and even but don't take it too far to the edge.
  9. Jiggle out the second cake and place on top of the strawberries.
  10. If a bit of cake gets stuck and remains in the pan, it's not a big deal.
  11. It's soft enough to paste back onto the cake and spread out.
  12. You can do a crumb coat with a little frosting or you can take thick globs of it and spread it around.
  13. The cake is not too crumbly but some parts tend to get stuck to the spatula.
  14. I suggest taking big globs of the frosting and spreading it on the top first and then working the sides.
  15. Always use a lot of frosting, the crumbs will stick if you're using too little.
  16. Smooth out or leave it rustic looking with swirls and peaks.
  17. Decorate the top with more fresh berries and mint leaves if desired.
  18. Refrigerate until serving.
  19. It is normal for some milk to seep out when the cake has been sitting in the fridge for a while.
Notes
This cake can be baked in a 9 x13 (24cm x 33 cm) glass dish but reduce the temperature to 325F. This won't have any filling but you can serve the fruit on the side or use it as a topping. You probably won't need all the frosting either.
Tres Leches CakeSo, here is my contribution to Mother’s Day. I will try and work on catching that ball so I can better represent some holidays here! Next up will be the Islamic month of Ramadan that will be here at the end of June. There’s always good eats during Ramadan which is interesting considering it’s a month of fasting!

I will wish all the mums out there a very Happy Mother’s day for Sunday and especially to all the new moms celebrating their first Mother’s Day.¬†

Have a wonderful weekend with your mothers and your loved ones.

 

White Chicken Chilli with White Chocolate and Lime

white chicken chilli

Last Friday, I had huge baking plans for the weekend. I was going to make panettone, bake cookies, replenish my blog back up with new recipes and photos and get a head start with the cooking and photography for this chilli for the Improv Cooking Challenge this month. I had done the shopping, I was pumped and totally organised.

chiles

Saturday morning rolls around and I cannot move. I cannot walk two steps to my bathroom let alone climb down a flight of stairs. UGH! I was so mad. This is the reality of my Rheumatoid Arthritis; stuff like this happens and I have no control. Goes to show that my body has its own mind and what I plan doesn’t always pan out. There is no point in getting frustrated, mad or anything else. I just take it as a day or two days where I do nothing but ice my knee, take pain medicine and watch TV.

white chicken chilli

So, last Saturday, my youngest daughter took care of me since my husband was working. She made me breakfast, got me lunch, snacks and tea. All the while keeping me company as we watched bad Christmas TV. When my husband came home he ordered pizza for dinner. 

Sunday rolled around and I still can’t move. My husband and I had to miss our weekly date at our favourite coffee shop for Sunday coffee. Instead, I lay in bed again and watched football. Dinner was takeaway again.¬†

white chicken chilli

I didn’t set a foot downstairs the entire weekend. Monday morning, I could hobble a bit so I limped downstairs to pack lunches and get breakfast. Oh, the horror! The state of my kitchen, the family room, the breakfast table! Every knife from my knife block was in the sink along with every spoon and glass! It was horrible. Now, my husband is very good with the dishes and cleaning up for me, but he’s not good with washing up knives, serving spoons and miscellaneous bits and bobs. Those bits and bobs filled my sink. I asked him why my knife block was empty and he claimed that he was having problems cutting the rotisserie chicken and apparently, used every knife to find one that worked! Hmmmmm, rotisserie chicken is usually so tender you don’t even need a knife. Oh, well.

So, this weekend, I went gluten free because this pain in my knee and the more crushing pain of seeing my kitchen in such a state, needs to stop. I have been going a bit overboard with my gluten intake lately and I think it is bringing on the flare ups regularly and more frequently. 

white chicken chilli

I had planned to make this White Chicken Chilli as soon as I found out the Improv Cooking Challenge this month was white chocolate and lime. I did have a short list of dessert ideas too, but a weekend of eating crappy takeout was all the motivation I needed to make a decent dinner for Monday night.

A plus for me is that this chilli is gluten free and absolutely delicious. ¬†It, also fulfils the Monday Night Football requirements; chilli, chips and sour cream ūüôā

white chicken chilli

The Improv Cooking Challenge is a monthly challenge hosted by¬†Kristen Baker of¬†Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.¬†Every month we’re given two ingredients/combinations and we come up with a recipe that uses both the ingredients. This month it is white chocolate and lime; a wonderful pairing.

This White Chicken Chilli with White Chocolate and Lime is a variation on the Cooks Illustrated white chicken chilli recipe. Of course, you have to pay mega bucks to subscribe to their site to get the recipe and then have the whole day to prepare it the way they want you to. This is easier, has white chocolate and lime and tastes just as good.

white chicken chilli

White Chicken Chilli

Serving size: 8

Calories: 1118

Fat: 60g

A delicious white chilli made with chicken, chiles, white beans, white chocolate and lime.
Ingredients
Shredded Chicken and Broth
  • 1 4-5 pound/2kg, whole chicken
  • 10 cups/2.4L water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • tops of the anaheim and poblano peppers
White Chicken Chilli
  • shredded chicken
  • 6 cups/1.4L broth
  • 6 Anaheim peppers, roughly chopped
  • 5 Poblano peppers, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups/3 cans organic white beans (I used organic northern beans)
  • 1 jalape√Īo, optional
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 4-8 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 limes
  • handful cilantro
  • salt
  • tortilla chips for serving along side
  • sour cream for topping
Instructions
  1. Start by making the broth for the chilli.
  2. Place the whole or pieces of chicken in a big pot, cover with water, add the onion, carrots, garlic and pepper tops and bring to boil.
  3. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender.
  4. I use my pressure cooker to make the broth, it takes 20 minutes.
  5. Follow your pressure cooker instructions.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked, lift out of the broth and allow to cool before deboning.
  7. Strain the broth and put aside.
  8. You should have about 8 cups of broth.
  9. Using a food processor, finely chop the anaheim chiles, poblano chiles and the onions.
  10. Don't puree, you want some texture.
  11. Once each of the peppers are chopped, add them to a large pot with the olive oil and sauté.
  12. Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two, till fragrant.
  13. Add the cumin and coriander, mix well.
  14. You want the peppers and onion soft but not browned.
  15. Add 6 cups of broth and bring to a simmer.
  16. Add the beans and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  17. Take out 2 cups of the mixture and puree, carefully, in the food processor.
  18. Add back into the chilli to thicken a bit.
  19. Add the shredded chicken and heat through.
  20. Add more broth or water if needed to loosen up the chilli (I usually add another cup or so of broth)
  21. Check for salt and spice and season accordingly.
  22. You can add the jalape√Īo if you don't feel the chilli is hot enough or add hot sauce on the side.
  23. Start by adding 4 tablespoons of the white chocolate chips.
  24. Stir them through and allow them to melt and blend in.
  25. Check the sweetness.
  26. If you don't taste it, add by tablespoons until it suits you.
  27. I added the whole 8 tablespoons and it had a nice hint of sweet flavour.
  28. Turn off the heat and then add the juice of 3 limes.
  29. Add the chopped cilantro and mix through.
  30. Taste to see if the balance of sweet and tart is to your liking.
  31. You don't need to add too much lime juice to the pot but allow extra lime to be served along side.
  32. The lime juice is more effective added right before eating.
  33. Serve in bowls with extra lime, a dollop of sour cream, extra cilantro and tortilla chips for dipping and crushing into the chilli.
Notes
The spice level of the chilli can be controlled by removing ribs and seeds from the chiles, especially the jalapeno and anaheim. I didn't use the jalape√Īo because my chilli was quite spicy with just the poblano and anaheim chiles. The consistency of the chilli is up to you. I like to make ours a little loose so when we add our tortilla chips, they have something to soak into. But if you like your chilli thick and scoop able, just don't add any extra broth or water. Now, some might say that the chicken is probably not worth using after boiling, but here, the flavours are so strong that its just a texture and bulk thing. You can always use poached chicken breast or roasted chicken breast and chicken broth. I have made it both ways with very little difference in flavour.

white chicken chilli

¬†Only a few more days till Christmas! Hope you guys are all ready. I am going to be hosting a dinner, not a Christmas celebration, probably more like Festivus ūüôā , for my friend’s family. It is also a bit of a bittersweet holiday for me this year because my nephew is getting married and I won’t be there ūüôĀ . I was 15 when he was born and I would get up when he would cry, always in the dead of night, and fetch him for my sister so she could nurse him. He would then fall asleep with me. I am very close to both my nephews and I am beyond thrilled for his big day but very sad I won’t be there. But he called me yesterday before heading off to Pakistan for his wedding and it took everything I had to not break down on the phone. Tears will pour come Monday when he is officially married.

Please check out my fellow Challengers below and their delicious contributions.

I would like to wish all my readers and friends a very Happy Christmas! I hope you enjoy your time with family and friends and may all the blessings of this season be with you all. 

Nazneen xx

Roasted Green Chilli, Corn and Black Bean Salsa

roasted green chilli, corn and black bean salsa

I spent 8 hours of my Saturday roasting like a chicken at my son’s soccer tournament. It was a nice day but if you are rooted in one spot just watching a game, the sun will get ya! We are a mile closer to the sun and let me tell you, you can feel its burn. Some of the more organised and seasoned parents had all kinds of fancy schmancy sports umbrellas and such, but we were neither organised nor are we that seasoned (we’re still fairly new to the kids soccer thing)

We sought out the free shade that came from other people’s umbrellas and some itty bitty trees. Unfortunately, after 8 hours of cheering our son’s team, waiting in between games and boiling in our skins, we didn’t have much to show for it. His team is a new team and these guys haven’t played together except for 5 practice sessions and it showed in the results. In their defence, the poor guys were also running up and down a huge field in the blaring sunshine.

roasted green chilli and cheese quesadilla

The highlight of the event ended up being my husband scoring two free pizzeria pizzas to take home. The tournament was giving out free slices of pizza to all the players and parents and they ordered too many. When my husband went up to get a couple slices of pizza, they gave him a whole pizza. He went back again to see if they had any hot slices, and they handed him another box! Score! I didn’t have to cook dinner! All in all it was a good day, I guess, even though we didn’t win. At least they learned to play together and learn team work (I’m a bit competitive though and had to bite my tongue)

Now, I’m home cooling off and watching the Broncos preseason game, unfortunately they aren’t faring any better than my son’s team. Let me just write this day off and talk about something else.

Around this time, near late summer, you begin to see all the wonderful summer produce. Farmers markets, stands and even produce departments are heaving with fresh, summer goodies like corn, peaches, berries, and figs. Colorado is known for it’s Palisade peaches and Olathe corn. The peaches suffered this year because of the cold temperatures and frost we were experiencing even in June. The peaches are not as plentiful this year and what we have is a bit pricey too. They are however, still absolutely delicious; so juicy and sweet that you have to stand over a sink to bite into one.

I am sure everyone has come across the familiar, smoky aroma of roasting chillies floating around outside grocery stores and farmers markets with Hatch chillies being the most famous. Around the blogosphere, recipes are popping up using these Hatch chillies in all manner of ways.

My local farm stand, with their amazing fresh, organic produce and especially corn, inspired my recipe. If you are in the Denver-Boulder area, check out Isabelle Farm in Lafayette, they are awesome people who work really hard and offer amazing organic produce. They were roasting chillies too, not Hatch chillies though but something more local and grown in the fields behind them. I got some roasted poblano peppers and field fresh corn.

roasted green chilli, corn and black bean salsa

Of course, you can use any roasted chillies that you’d like. I used poblano peppers and they were nice and spicy and added a nice kick to the salsa. This roasted green chilli, corn and black bean salsa is all about the corn and the roasted chillies. There is nothing like fresh summer corn straight from the field; juicy, sweet, crisp and bright golden.

This was a spur of the moment dish and it turned out so well, I wanted to share it and also because roasted chillies and corn are in season right now. No fancy photos today, just my dinner from the other night.

Our main dish was roasted chillies and cheese quesadillas, and my, were they good. Those roasted chillies; I finally understand the hype.

roasted green chilli and cheese quesadillas

Roasted Green Chilli, Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Serves: 6-8 serving for salsa

A fresh corn, roasted green chillies and black bean salsa served along side roasted green chilli and cheese quesadillas.
Ingredients
SALSA
  • 6 ears organic corn, remove the corn kernels
  • 115oz/425g tin organic black beans, rinsed
  • 2 roasted poblano chillies, chopped small dice (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped small dice
  • ½ large red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • handful cilantro/coriander, chopped
  • Salt
QUESADILLAS
  • 16-20 whole wheat tortillas
  • 16 oz/454g shredded cheese, I used MontereyJack/ Colby mix
  • 1-2 roasted green chillies
  • ¬ľ cup oil (olive oil, avocado, coconut)
Instructions
SALSA
  1. In a large fry pan or skillet, heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the corn and toss around until just cooked, but still crisp, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the cumin and paprika and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Remove from the heat and into a large bowl.
  6. Allow to cool down.
  7. When the corn is almost all the way cool, add the rinsed black beans, red onion, red bell pepper and the roasted chillies.
  8. Toss altogether, check for salt and add the lime juice.
  9. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  10. Serve with tortilla chips, as a side with meat or atop quesadillas.
QUESADILLAS
  1. Heat a large skillet/fry pan or griddle and drizzle a drop of oil in the fry pan or brush one tortilla with the oil.
  2. Add some shredded cheese and sprinkle the diced roasted green chillies.
  3. Place another tortilla on top.
  4. Let the cheese melt and allow the tortilla to get brown and crispy.
  5. Flip the quesadilla and allow the 2nd tortilla to brown.
  6. Remove and slice in half or quarters.
Notes
You can use any roasted chillies that are available in your area and how spicy you like your chillies. The salsa is open to many variations but I wanted to showcase the corn and chillies so kept it simple. Same with the quesadillas, you can add anything you want and choose any cheese. I wanted to use the roasted chillies so kept it simple with just chilli and cheese quesadillas.

roasted green chilli and cheese quesadillas

What’s your favourite seasonal fruit or vegetable? Even though these days we can buy almost anything anytime of the year, if you can get it in season and locally, the flavour is something else.

Hoping you’re all having a fabulous Sunday! I’m heading to Isabelle Farm to get some local, organic watermelon and probably some more corn.

UPDATE: The Denver Broncos did end up winning….barely.

Fish Tacos

 
I think I have mentioned before that I am not all that crazy about seafood. Being a Brit, of course, I love the Brit classic, fish and chips. Probably my all time favourite seafood dish. I don’t make it very often because of my aversion to frying. Trace and I will treat ourselves once in a while by going out to eat fish and chips; we have a couple of places here in Denver. They are not authentic, but they’ll do in a pinch. Trace really enjoys seafood, so for him, I do try and make it.¬†



Whole Foods had their “One Day Sale” on Wednesday, like they always do, and yesterday, it was sustainably caught cod fillets. I like cod. I ate a lot of cod growing up and that was the fish in the fish and chips we would get back home.¬†Since I don’t like to fry, I don’t usually buy cod for fish and chips. What has¬†become¬†one of my husband’s favourite seafood dishes is fish tacos. I like to use cod for my fish tacos.¬†


Fish tacos are wonderful. I remember when I was in California many years ago for some work training, I passed by a restaurant that had a sign outside for fish tacos. I just¬†remember¬†thinking “Eeeew, nasty, tacos with FISH.” I think I was imagining ground up fish with some taco sauce inside a taco shell and that just didn’t sound appealing to me. For the longest time, I had no interest in making fish tacos. It must have been Food Network that changed my mind about them. I watched shows in which these celebrity chefs would be chowing down on fish tacos in California and they looked so good.¬†


Fish tacos originated in Baja California,¬†Mexico¬†and even now, they are probably most popular in neighbouring California and the other western states. Nowadays, a few fast food fish taco places are popping up but they are still pretty uncommon in the South. Though, I think Wahoo’s Fish Tacos¬†just opened up in Houston. I have tried Wahoo’s and they are good, but mine are better.


What’s in a fish taco? A firm fish, like mahi mahi, swordfish or a firm flaky fish like cod. Some people use tilapia and it works, if you like tilapia. I can’t stand tilapia; it tastes like dirt. Most commonly, the fish is battered and fried and then stuffed in a corn tortilla with some fresh salsa and sauce. That is one heavy taco! I like the waistline friendly, grilled or broiled fish with fresh, home made pico de gallo salsa and a lime chilli sour cream for drizzling. I like¬†the¬†corn tortillas but you can use flour ones like my¬†children¬†do. The corn tortilla adds another layer of flavour to the taco and it has a pleasant, chewy texture which is a nice contrast to the creamy fish and fiery, fresh salsa.¬†


I generally just make a straight forward salsa fresca: onions,¬†jalape√Īo, tomatoes, lime juice and¬†cilantro. Fish goes very well with tropical salsas like mango or pineapple and even peach salsas. You can be very creative with these tacos. I make an easy sour cream sauce with lime juice and chilli powder but once again, you can let your imagination run wild. You can use guacamole, crema fresca (Mexican sour cream), chipotle cream sauce or even just some plain jarred salsa, the choices are endless. The other traditional ingredient in a fish taco is shredded cabbage and it really makes the taco. Yes, you can use lettuce, but the taste and the crunch of the cabbage is what you want. Once again it’s the symphony of texture and taste you are after: the toothsome and chewy corn tortilla, the soft, smoky fish, then the crisp crunch of the cabbage¬†followed¬†by the oozing, tangy sour cream and the fresh and vibrant salsa.


The quantity I have listed makes about 12-15 tacos, depending on how much fish you put in your taco.

 

Fish Tacos
 
Fish:
 
24oz/680g cod fillets (or other fish of your choice)
juice of 2 or 3 limes
1 tablespoon/15ml chilli powder (Mexican style)
1 tablespoon/15ml olive oil
salt and pepper
 
Salsa:
 
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped fine
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1¬†jalape√Īo¬†or Serrano chilli (adjust according to how hot the¬†chillies¬†are)
juice of one large lemon
handful of cilantro, chopped
salt
 
lime-chilli sour cream:
 
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of 2 or 3 limes
2 teaspoons/10ml chilli powder (Mexican style)
salt
 
12-15 corn tortillas
1/2 cabbage, shredded or use a bag of coleslaw mix
 
Make the salsa by mixing the chopped tomatoes, onions and chillies.
Add the lemon juice, cilantro and salt. 
Check for the seasoning and put aside so the flavours can meld.
Marinate the fish in the lime juice, olive oil, chilli powder for about twenty
minutes (not too long or else the fish will cook in the lime juice)
While the fish is marinating, make the sour cream sauce by mixing the sour cream with the lime juice and chilli powder. Check for salt and put aside. 
 
Heat a grill or broiler and cook the fish till the fish flakes and has 
a nice brown colour with crisp edges.
Heat the tortillas either on a pan on the stove or in the oven.
 
To assemble:
Take a tortilla, add some cabbage and place fish chunks/pieces on top.
Add a spoonful of salsa and a generous drizzle of the sour cream sauce.
Fold over and enjoy!
Watch out though, they are a bit messy.
 
 
 
These are made with the whole wheat flour tortilla…still¬†delicious.