Monday, August 17, 2009

Fish Gyros with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce

So every once in awhile, I create a recipe that immediately shoots to the top of my "Absolute Favorites" list. Usually, it's something I throw together without much thought, and then ends up completely astounding me with its deliciousness.

This recipe is absolutely fantastic and was the result of a long love affair with gyros. I can still remember the first one I ever had - I was about 11 or 12, and we were still living in Nairobi, Kenya. A new Greek stand went into the mall that had just been built down the street (the first in the country, ya'll) and we just had to try it. Their gyros had about 4 different sauces on them and were OUTSTANDING. They also made a falafel that was pretty close to heaven. But when I gave up meat, I sadly said goodbye to the goodness of the gyro. It wasn't until my mother, who is also a vegaquarian, convinced our local spot to make a gryo with grilled mushrooms, onions, and peppers that the hope came alive again.

I was on my way to the grocery store and was kicking over some ideas in my head when it hit me - a fish gyro. I wanted to make it a little more healthy and less carb-y, so I wrapped it all in a nice large Boston lettuce leaf. Whoa. First of all, the tzatziki sauce is fantastic. If you make nothing else, make the sauce. It's perfect on the fish, but it would make a fantastic salad topping or dip for fresh vegetables. Now pair it with the seasoned fish, and you have yourself a wonderful meal. I mean, look at it....

Fish Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Fish Gyros with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce
8 oz plain yogurt
1/3 c diced cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
pinch sugar
1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced

1 pound tilapia filets
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and ground coriander

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, and allow to chill in the fridge for an hour or so. Season fish filets with spices and cook by preferred method. (I threw mine in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes).
Serve fish with diced fresh tomatoes and onions, topped with tzatziki sauce, and wrap in a large washed leaf of Boston lettuce. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baja Fish Tacos
Seriously, without a doubt, this is my favorite thing to order at a Mexican restaurant. I must admit, that up until about 3 years ago, I was extremely skeptical about the tastiness of a fish taco. But a trip back to California and a few fish tacos later, and I'm a convert.

However, I unfortunately (or fortunately, some would say) stumbled on the nutritional data at one of my fish taco haunts. Whoa. Seriously. After reading this, and the data on other similar dishes, I just couldn't order them without feeling the guilt of eating my caloric allotment for the day.

So here's my stripped down and healthier version. It still has the delicious flavors and spiciness, yet doesn't bring the heavy and greasiness of fried fish. And like most of my recipes, you can switch it up to use your favorite fish, add pico de gallo, cheese, or whatever else you like on your taco. And the coleslaw is so fantastic, I think you'll enjoy it on its own. So go ahead, try these guilt-free tacos today! If you're heat sensitive, I'd use 1/2 chipotle pepper.

Baja Fish Tacos

Baja Fish Tacos

Chipotle Cole Slaw
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, pureed in 1 tsp sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
Pepper to taste
2 c coleslaw mix
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced

1 pound flounder, tilapia, or cod fillets
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp of a Sazon packet

In a food processor, combine lime juice, mustard, chipotle pepper, garlic, oil, honey, and pepper until well combined. Pour over coleslaw mixture, stirring in cilantro. Put into a ziploc bag, and allow it to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, oil, and Sazon. Pour over fish in a ziploc bag, and marinate in fridge for an hour or so. Remove and drain from marinade. Prepare fish on the grill, under the broiler, or sauteed in a smidge of oil until done. Serve on flour tortillas with a serving of coleslaw. Enjoy!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mexican Beer Cheese Dip

Didn't your mom ever tell you that "it's what on the inside that counts?" Although it's a somewhat trite quote, there is a hefty portion of truth in there. Sure, something may look perfect on the outside, but the inside could be a hot mess. Or, you see something that's not conventionally attractive on the outside, yet the inside is absolutely gorgeous.

All that to say that I know this dip is ugly, but wow - its flavor profile more than makes up for its lack of beauty. Sure, it's not as fetching as guacamole or as pretty as fresh salsa, but the taste is so addictive I promise it'll be the belle of the ball.

Sharp cheddar and cream cheese lay the base for the Mexican spices and black beans. There's only 1/2 cup of beer in this, so if you're like me and not a beer drinker, and you can't either buy or beg for a single bottle of beer, then either use the non-alcoholic stuff available in the grocery store, or skip it all together. It can also be jazzed up with fresh jalapenos and cilantro, if you're looking to take it over the top! No matter how you make it, you'll have this simple and quick to make dip to wow your friends.

Mexican Beer Cheese Dip

Mexican Beer Cheese Dip
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 - 3/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c beer
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 (10 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

In food processor, process cream cheese until whipped. Add garlic salt, onion powder, cumin, coriander, and Worcestershire sauce until well combined. Add beer and sharp cheese, and pulse until mixed. Add black beans and pulse until combined, yet still chunky. Allow to relax in the fridge for an hour, then serve with tortilla chips, carrot sticks, or whatever strikes your fancy. Dip can also be served warm if desired.