Pork Tacos

BAHN0MI-TACO

As you all know Instagram is “the go to” for all teenagers. My 17-year-old-foodie found this recipe for Bahn-Mi Puffy Tacos from Tastemade on Instagram, and of course wanted to make it. I jumped at the opportunity to spend “quality time” with my son. It was actually a super simple recipe, and didn’t take that long to prep or cook! Thanks, Tastemade, and thank you, Lucas! These tacos were amazing!  (Video link below).

For the pork: 

  • 1/2 pound boneless pork chop cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic finely minced and ground black pepper to taste

For the pickled vegetables:

  • 1 carrot peeled and shredded
  • 4-5 few radishes thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Taco Shells and Garnishes:

  • 4-6 corn tortillas
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, to taste
  • spicy mayo (equal parts Sriracha and mayonnaise)
  • oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine pork and marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Make the pickles: in a bowl or sealable container, mix vinegar, sugar, and salt. Then mix in the vegetables and let sit for at least 1 hour.
  3. Drain off the pork marinade. Heat a little bit of oil in a pan, and cook the pork until caramelized. Should take about 5 minutes.
  4. In a shallow pot, heat oil to 375°F – Carefully lower one tortilla at a time into the oil. Once the tortilla begins to puff up and rise to the top, gently push the edge of a metal spatula into the center, bending it in half like a taco shape. Hold in place and cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and repeat the process.
  5. To assemble: Fill the puffy taco shells with the caramelized pork, and top with the pickled vegetables, jalapeño, cilantro, and a drizzle of spicy mayo.

Here is the instructional video from Tastemade Pork Tacos

 

Fish Tacos

Well, after experimenting with different ways to use Open Blue’s Cobia (aka Black Kingfish), I decided to create a new fish taco recipe. After spending 10 days in Mexico with my family, I really felt like I had tasted ample local flavor, in order to attempt to create something that my family would be proud of… and the verdict was… “This is, by far, the best fish tacos I have EVER had”, a direct quote from my foodie (a try food snob) 16-year-old son! Wahoo!!! It truly warmed my heart. Well, so here it goes:

Cobia Fish Marinade*:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 pound of Cobia (black kingfish) cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 limes cut into quarters

Pickled Onions:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • About 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar

Tacos shells:

  • 8 fresh corn tortillas (We love the brand Mariposa)
  • 2 cups of canola oil

Avocado Crema:

  • 2 avocados
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup sour cream

Pico De Gallo:

  • 1 ⅓ cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green chili
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ Tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp seeded and minced jalapeño (optional)

Bean and Corn Salsa:

  • 1 cup of sweet corn (organic canned)
  • 1 cup black beans (organic)
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • ¼ Tsp salt

Preparation:

Marinate the Onion: Put the onion in a small bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to several weeks.

Marinate the Fish: Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and add the ancho chile powder, cumin, and chopped cilantro. Mix well. Place the fish in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over it, making sure to massage and coat the fish well on all sides. Allow marinating for at least 20 minutes. I marinated mine for 2 hours.

Avocado Crema: In a food processor, add the avocados, salt, and cilantro. Puree until smooth. Remove from food processor and stir in the sour cream.

Pico De Gallo/Salsa:  For both the Pico De Gallo and the Bean salsa. Mix all of the ingredients together. (I kept them separated).

Cook the Fish: Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan (there is no need to add more oil). Season the fish with salt. Cook the fish for 4 minutes undisturbed, then turn over, and cook for another 2 minutes or until cooked through and opaque. Remove the pan from the heat and flake the fish into the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.

corn-tacosMake the Tortillas Tacos Shells: In a large deep pot, add the oil and cook on medium-high. One by one, place the corn tortillas into the oil, flip over after 10 seconds and make sure both sides start to puff up and brown, crease the middle and bend the tortillas in half, and submerge them until they are crisp. Place them on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Assemble and Serve: To assemble the tacos, place a heaping spoonful of the marinated flaked fish onto the center of a tortilla, add a squeeze of lime. Top with the both the Pico del Gallo and the bean salsa, and marinated onions. Serve with a dollop of avocado crema and cilantro.

*Inspiration from a fish taco marinade I found on Epicurious – made some modifications to the ingredients – the rest of the ingredients are my creation.

Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions, Black Beans, Sweet Potato Toast & Avocado Cream

I once again found inspiration for this dish from the Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. I wanted to combine ingredients that were unusual but had a good balance of flavors, and paired nicely together. So this dish has a little bit of everything, sweet, sour and salty. My husband Dan and foodie-son Lucas said I could add it to my Top Five! It was a proud moment!

Hopefully, this list of ingredients is not too daunting. 😉

Avocado Cream:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (no stems)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Creme Fraiche

Sweet potato toast:

  • 1 large sweet potato (sliced with cheese slicer)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Pork Tenderloin:

  • 1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Black Beans:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 can of organic Black Beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 onions sliced in rings
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. First, you want to bake the sweet potato toast. Cover sweet potato slices in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven on a baking sheet and cook until slightly browned approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the pork loin, melt butter in an iron skillet (oven safe) on medium high heat, add salt and pepper to the loin roast, and sear the pork on all sides. Once it is nicely browned, place the pork into the oven, next to potatoes and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees (for medium rare). You can then caramelize the onions, in a skillet with butter, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and sweet. Next, in a saucepan, add the butter, once melted add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat. Make sure not to brown the garlic. Add in the beans with the liquid and cook down the beans for 15 minutes. Next, you can make the avocado cream. Place the avocados into a food processor, or blender and add the oil, lime, salt, and cilantro. Puree until smooth. Remove from food processor and fold in the Créme Fraîche.

Now you are ready for assembly. Place 2 spoonfuls of Avocado Creme on each plate in a long smear. Add to pieces of Sweet Potato toast, then the beans, followed by the pork and caramelized onions, and finally sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Channa Dal (Dahl)

Channa Dal

It’s finally winter, and I really wanted to something that was hearty, healthy and warm. It’s been years since I’ve made this Ayurvedic dal (Dahl), but it has always been one of my favorite dishes. I learned this recipe over 18 years ago when my husband and I visited the Deepak Chopra Center in La Jolla, Ca. We stayed there for a week and attended spiritual classes, yoga classes, daily massage treatments, and Ayurvedic cooking classes, and even had a chance to meet Deepak in person! A truly “life-changing” experience! The recipe we made at the Center was a mung Dal, but I could only find Chana Dal at my local grocer. Channa Dal is a small relative of the chickpea and has a yellowish color. Its flavor is slightly sweet. If you can’t find channa dal use yellow mung dal, or yellow split peas. In preparing Dal, it is important to soften it well and cook it long enough so that it takes on a creamy consistency. ( I ended up soaking mine for 2 hours, then cooking for 2 more hours).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry Chana Dal
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp pureed ginger
  • 2 tsp of mustard seed
  • 2 tsp of coriander
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • salt to taste
  • a sprinkle of asafoetida (helps with digestion) – get online or Indian Market
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Wash Chana Dal; drain. Soak in water for 2 hours. Cook Chana dal in water in a medium-sized saucepan covered over medium heat until soft, about 1.5-2 hours, depending on the dal! In a small frying pan heat the ghee and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add in the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, making sure not to brown the garlic. Add it all of the spices, and stir so the onions are covered. Then add the spice-onion mixture to the chana dal pot and stir. Add salt and asafoetida. Cook for additional 10 minutes. The texture of the dal should be creamy. Serve with a garnish of cilantro. If not concerned about paleo, you can serve with garlic Naan or basmati rice.

Here are some other great resources for Ayurvedic Meals:

“The Ayurvedic Cookbook” – by Amadea Morningstar

“Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living” – by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda and Johnny Brannigan

“The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well” – by Kate O’Donnell and Cara Brostrom

Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Stew (Paleo)

paleo moroccan chicken and vegetable stew

After a traditional Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to make some aromatic, and spicy ethnic food. I pulled out a “somewhat Paleo” recipe book, written by Dr. Mark Hyman called “The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook“, based on his book “The Blood Sugar Solution“. It’s basically a healthy cookbook with a lot of Paleo recipes. This dish called out to me with all of the aromatic spices, like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. I made some slight modifications and spiced it up a bit. Warning: It did take a while to prep, approximately 40 minutes as I like to chop the ingredient a bit smaller than Dr. Hyman recommended, but was well worth it. I did not include the recommended eggplant, as my husband “claims” that he is allergic to it. (What REALLY happened: when he was in college, after a dinner of eggplant parmesan, and bit too much to drink, he threw up, and now claims it was the eggplant he was allergic to). Ha! Anyway, you can always add one chopped eggplant to this dish. Oh, and this dish is also called “Tagine”. Also, if you want to go vegan, substitute the chicken for firm tofu and reduce cooking time by 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp pureed ginger (I use this one)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (powder)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp for less heat)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ pieces and trimmed of fat (if going vegan use firm Tofu)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half circles
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth is going vegan)
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a dutch oven or heavy stock pot (I used a cast iron dutch oven), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and saute gently until the onions begin to caramelize, 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat to low, and add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the dried spices. Saute the spices and onions about 2 minutes. Salt the chicken (or tofu) with the remaining salt, and add to the pot. Turn heat up to medium, and saute for 3 minutes, until all of the chicken (or tofu) is well coated with spices. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes. Then Add the bell peppers and zucchini, and saute until they soften about 5 minutes. Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer the stew gently, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables are tender and the liquid is thickened and reduce approximately 15-20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in olives. Plate and serve with cilantro garnish. Serves 4

paleo moroccan chicken stew

Asian Cole Slaw

Asian Cole Slaw with Sesame Oil and Cilantro
Asian Cole Slaw with Sesame Oil and Cilantro

Okay, I’ve honestly had enough of this summer heat! With 90+ degree weather for the past couple of months, I thought I would share a light, refreshing coleslaw recipe, to cool you down. This dressing is a little sweet and pungent. Pairs nicely with a Panko Crusted Tuna.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh pureed ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp Mirin*
  • 2 tbsp Toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Organic Canola Oil

* Mirin is a rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol and higher sugar content.

Directions: In a mixing bowl, place soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and Mirin and whisk until brown sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the oil to the mixture in a slow stream, waiting for the oil and mixture to begin thickening before adding a little more oil. This is to ensure emuslification. Add to the slaw and refrigerate, this can be made a few hours before serving.

For the Cole Slaw:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 3/4 cup julienned carrots
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds

Directions: If you don’t have the patients to hand slice/chop all of the ingredients, you can use a food processor with the slicing or julienne blades. Mix the cabbages and carrots into a bowl, slowly add in the dressing, tossing to cover. Add in the cilantro and sesame seeds and toss. This can be served with a nice panic crusted seared tuna and sushi rice. You can also make a bit more of the above dressing and add it to the Tuna and rice.

(Cobia) Fish Tacos

fish-tacos-home1
pico-de-gallo bean-corn-salsa avocado-crema2

Well, after experimenting with different ways to use Open Blue’s Cobia (aka Black Kingfish), I decided to create a new fish taco recipe. After spending 10 days in Mexico with my family, I really felt like I had tasted ample local flavor, in order to attempt to create something that my family would be proud of… and the verdict was… “This is, by far, the best fish tacos I have EVER had”, a direct quote from my foodie (a try food snob) 16 year old son! Wahoo!!! It truly warmed my heart. Well, so here is goes:

Cobia Marinade*:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 pound of Cobia (black kingfish) cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 limes cut into quarters

Pickled Onions:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • About 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar

Tacos shells:

  • 8 fresh corn tortillas (We love the brand Mariposa)
  • 2 cups of canola oil

Avocado Crema:

  • 2 avocados
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup sour cream

Pico De Gallo:

  • 1 ⅓ cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green chile
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp seeded and minced jalapeño (optional)

Bean and Corn Salsa:

  • 1 cup of sweet corn (organic canned)
  • 1 cup black beans (organic)
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • ¼ tsp salt

Preparation:

Marinate the Onion: Put the onion in a small bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to several weeks.

Marinate the Fish: Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and add the ancho chile powder, cumin, and chopped cilantro. Mix well. Place the fish in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over it, making sure to massage and coat the fish well on all sides. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. I marinated mine for 2 hours.

Avocado Crema: In a food processor, add the avocados, salt and cilantro. Puree until smooth. Remove from food processor and stir in the sour cream.

Pico De Gallo/Salsa:  For both the Pico De Gallo and the Bean salsa. Mix all of the ingredients together. (I kept them separated).

Cook the Fish: Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan (there is no need to add more oil). Season the fish with salt. Cook the fish for 4 minutes undisturbed, then turn over, and cook for another 2 minutes or until cooked through and opaque. Remove the pan from the heat and flake the fish into the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Set aside.

corn-tacosMake the Tortillas Tacos Shells: In a large deep pot, add the oil and cook on medium-high. One by one, place the corn tortillas into the oil, flip over after 10 seconds and make sure both sides start to puff up and brown, crease the middle and bend the tortillas in half, and submerge them until they are crisp. Place them on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Assemble and Serve: To assemble the tacos, place a heaping spoonful of the marinated flaked fish onto the center of a tortilla, add a squeeze of lime. Top with the both the pico del gallo and the bean salsa, add marinated onions. Serve with a dollop of avocado crema, and cilantro.

fish-tacos2 fish-tacos-home

 

 

 

 

 

*Inspiration from a fish taco marinade I found on Epicurious – made some modifications to the ingredients – the rest of the ingredients below are my creation.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Perfect wood planks background with nice studio lighting and beautiful vignetting to draw the eyes into the picture

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2-3 pork tenderloins

Directions:

In a mixing bowl whisk brown sugar with soy sauce until brown sugar dissolves. Slowly add in the olive oil, whisking to prevent emulsifying. Add in the garlic and ginger. Place all ingredients into a large ziplock bag and add the tenderloins to the bag. Make sure all parts of the tenderloins are covered with the marinade. Marinate in the fridge for up to 2-3 days (but not longer than 3, as the pork will get too salty). Remove Pork from the bag and place the reserve the sauce in a sauce pan. Grill the pork on high heat (on BBQ Grill) or broil the pork, to get a nice crust on the outside. You can also sear the pork in an iron skillet to get a nice crusty outside, then bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 140. I like my pork medium rare, so I normally pull it out at 135 (internal temp), and let rest 5-10 minutes until it reaches 140. This is great served with Asian Slaw and Sesame Sushi Rice with Cucumbers and Avocado, or sautéed ginger carrots. Optional – Slice meat on to each place and sprinkle with apples (instructions below).

Sauce:

  • remainder marinade from above
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp water

While the pork in cooking, cook the marinade on medium-high heat, so you cook down any of the raw pork juice. Add in the broth, and cook down till reduced by half. In a cup combine the flour and water, mixing so it turns into a paste, making sure there are no clumps. Slowly whisk in the flour to pan, making sure there are no clumps. Your sauce will be come thicker, if it becomes too thick, add some more chicken broth. Pour over sliced pork loin.

A little added accouterment: Sautéed apples with butter and brown sugar.

  • 1 apple chopped into ½” cubes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Place butter in iron skillet until it bubbles, add in the apple and toss in pan for 4 minutes, add in the brown sugar until melted and covering apples. Add the apples to the pork.