Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tilapia Tacos

Who doesn't know that a good cookbook is SUPER hard for me to resist?  Especially if it's a cookbook from a chef who's career I follow or a person/restaurant who is of Special interest.  And, even though my hubby complains like the dickens about my cookbook collection, it PALES (by miles) to those who are really serious about food, it's preparation and it's presentation.

I really do read them from cover to cover.....LIKE NOVELS!  There I am, in my bath with a glass of wine (and harp music),  reading the cookbook, sizing it up, laughing at the anecdotes, getting to know the chef and determining  whether it will be a book I will indeed cook with, one I just get ideas from or one I will display just for the art that it is.

I follow the happenings of certain chefs know - pick up their newest cookbooks, eat at their restaurants,watch their latest show, notice news about them or notice commercial products in the stores they put their names on.  Those chefs are the likes of Tom Colicchio, Rick Moonen, Gordon Ramsey, Rick Bayless, Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Michael Chiarello, Biba Caggiano, Julia Child (yes, deceased but STILL AMAZING), Rocco DiSpirito, Curtis Stone and a  myriad of others. 

So you can imagine my excitement when I get a new cookbook from one of these guys - and HOLY COW - if I am able to swindle an AUTOGRAPHED book??? OMG!  So, needless to say when a box arrived from my mother this morning  WITH an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Biba Caggiano's new cookbook, 'Spaghetti Sauces', it just made my day (well, my whole entire month really).  Check this out!

And the best part:

YEAH.  That's cool.  We will be reviewing some of the recipes in this book....TRUST ME.

I was JUST as excited about a product I found from Rick Bayless called Frontera Skillet Sauces.  (Frontera is Rick's restaurant in Chicago).  These little packets of delicious cooking sauces are not only fantastic, they are reasonably priced and make a gourmet dinner in about 10 minutes!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!!

If you happen to grab any cookbook by Rick Bayless they are wonderful and worth it.  He has a show on PBS called,  Mexico: One plate at a time.  And his cookbook, Authentic Mexican, is superb. I believe he was named as this country's foremost authority on Mexican food....and I believe it!  He's definitely one of my faves for great recipes and believe me they are gorgeously replicated.

Tonight I made Tilapia Tacos with his Key Lime Cilantro skillet sauce:

Literally here is what I did....sauteed a bell pepper, onion till slightly tender added 3 small tilapia fillets (salt and pepper the fish) and cooked until flaky. Broke up the fish pieces and poured the sauce over.....warmed it all up and served it in my favorite corn tortillas with Sour cream, jack cheese and lettuce.

LESS than 10 minutes and I was enjoying a meal as good as it gets if you make the sauce yourself.

If you cannot find this sauce, use any good quality green tomatillo salsa verde, pour over fish and veggies and heat through....Voila!

The result?  A fast, easy and healthy weeknight dinner that is as beautiful as it is delicious!  It's definitely worthy to serve to the most precious people in your life.

From my home to yours, ENJOY!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Asian Inspired Krab Salad

OK.  I admit it.  I thought imitation Crab was garbage.  Oh, you know....I would have "that look" and turn my nose up at it when I walked by it in the store.  I would think...who uses that? 

Well, I am in a new Bunko group....and let me tell you this.  These Ladies can cook!  All the food at Bunko was fantastic, but my favorite thing was the imitation Krab salad.  I know....laugh now.  But it had dill, celery, carrots and big pieces of the Krab.  I know this is gonna sound weird, but I haven't eaten many Krab salads. But that salad changed my mind about this ingredient.  The texture was great...not chewy or salty and it seems like it lends itself to many different flavors.  So, while at the market, I snatched up a  package of the flake style. 

It just sounded cool, easy and lite. Nice and cold crab salad on a hot day.  Now I just had to choose what kind to make.....I settled on Asian flavors because those flavors are refreshing, cool, and somewhat comforting in the middle of this "humidity wave" we are having.

Now being a dork, I made the salad and took pictures, only to delete them by accident.  So I made another batch....YUMMY mistake!

Any nice crunchy veggies will do.  I happened to pick a cucumber from my garden and had snow peas, celery, etc....  If you don't have something on the list, substitute with something else!  I also think a bit of mango or mandarin oranges would work well too.  My mango wasn't ripe enough and I didn't have any oranges, but add them if you have them!

Asian Krab Salad

For the salad:
8 oz package imitation crab, flake style
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup cucumber, small dice
1/4 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons roasted slivered almonds
A few tablespoons of shredded carrot for color
Zest from 1/2 lime
Sesame seeds, toasted

For the dressing:
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Ponzu sauce (sold where soy sauce is sold)
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (or more to taste)
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Chili or Chili garlic sauce (otherwise known as Sambal Oelek) available at any market in the Asian section.

Mix all ingredients for dressing and set aside to let flavors meld (taste it, you make want salt, pepper, more of this or that...)

In a mixing bowl, add all veggies, cilantro and almonds. 

Pull the Krab apart with you fingers (cut the biggest pieces) and add to the vegetables and add the lime zest

Pour in the dressing,

Stir to combine.  I refrigerated the salad for a couple of hours (because I wanted it super cold), but it would have been delicious served immediately.

Serve on cracker's, over cold brown rice, or eat as is - Top with sesame seeds.

The first night I served cooled short grain brown rice with a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.  The second time, with Asian Pearl couscous.....add the same ingredients as the rice but add green onions.

The result?  A simple, but not traditional Krab salad that is both delicious and refreshing.  It might just change your mind about using this innovative product, while putting a little more fish into your diet.

From my home to yours, ENJOY!!