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Fish Tacos, Strawberry Flan, Sangria, Four Spicy Sauces , Oh...and An Evening With Bren!
As I have read about foodie connections happening all across the blogosphere, I personally got to experience one. When I began blogging last year, I never thought that foodies were such beautiful people. The experience that I have had cooking and blogging has been damn near life changing. Whoda thunk that my love for food and cooking could be so well received. I really wish that all of you could taste some of what I make and I wish that I could taste all of your delicious creations. Well, last Saturday night, one fav foodie and I got together to share.
A lot of you may recognize the woman in the picture with me. No it’s not my wife Beck, she is camera shy, that is Bren from Bren’s FlaNboyant Eats. She is one of my favorite bloggers. I found out by chance that she was local. We had been visiting each other’s blog for some time now and one day Bren writes to me, “we should just get together and talk food all day.” I said, okay, let’s do lunch.
Well, lunch never happened; a couple of missed opportunities, scheduling conflicts, Bren thinking here is another married perverted Internet psycho food loving killer come to butcher and broil me then blog it as brisket. You know, the normal hit and miss.
As it turned out, we managed to pull it off. I must say, I had a great time. Bren suggested sangria and I had already been thinking the same thing. So I asked her, she’s the professional, and since I had only ever opened a bottle, what to get for it. Well as the picture below tells, I went overboard and made the sangria like a frat house hunch punch. Nevertheless, it was good. And I drank a lot of it. I am sure that Bren will tell you more about my indulgence than I am willing to share.
Allow me tell you about Miss Brenda. I have always been a fan of her blog, but there is sooooooooo much more to her than her cooking. I am telling you people, she is a Latin force!!! She made me tired just watching her sit on the sofa! She has, not nervous energy, but pure energy! Wow, thoughts of spinning Information Society in the club in the eighties just flashed in my head! I used to spin that song an awful lot back in the day. No, I am not drinking the sangria, yet, I just like that song
As I was saying, Bren is a serious dynamo! Emeril even called her that. She is a serious go getter. She writes for travel magazines, she brought me one, she runs a boutique, she is a jazz singer, she is a professional chef, a personal chef, teaches cooking classes, and who knows what else. Breathe with me! Again, I’m tired thinking about all of that!
Watch out people! This young beautiful lady will be coming to a TV channel near you very soon. I am sure of it.
Oh, while there is more to come with two newly founded foodie friends, there was some food involved. I made fish tacos. Now I had always had some sort of aversion to fish tacos, but after watching Tyler Florence make them, I wanted to try them. I also prepared three spicy sauces too, along with my black bean salad.
Let me tell you folks, being a run-of-the-mill home cook and having your food called excellent by a professional chef is a humbling experience. And I thank Bren for her visit. You really must check her out.
I really wanted to do Cuban cuisine for our little get together, but that was really out of my comfort zone. Plus, I would really wanted to have fish tacos for some reason or another. It helped when I was browsing at Whole Paychecks and I found this beautiful specimen:
That my friends is a huge piece of pollack or pollack. I’m sure that you Nor’ Easters are well aware of this gorgeous piece of white fish. Actually more of you are familiar than know you are. This is the same type of fish that Micky D’s uses in it’s fish sandwich. It’s used at BK and DQ as well. Lesser quality pollack is also used in frozen fish sticks. The really great thing about this tasty fish is that it was only $2.99 a pound!!! Made burning the gas worth it.
I also settled on making my bean mozzarella bowl. This time though, I used freshly prepared Rancho Gordo Good Mother Stallard beans in place of the canned black beans. A really nice substitution.
Now the sauces were spicy and really tasty. Becky was dipping tortilla chips in them as I was making them. I put together a chipotle tartar sauce, heirloom tomato salsa fresca, a creamy guacamole, and a very spice tomatillo salsa. Beck and I finally, finally, found a farmer’s market that was close to us. It was small but packed with really fresh produce. I picked up a bunch of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, peas, and more. This place will be visited more every Saturday morning until the end of summer. Below is my spicy tomatillo salsa:
Bren brought her fabulous flan. Not only that, she graced us in the kitchen by making a strawberry flan, since strawberry anything is Beck’s favorite. It was interesting watching Bren whip that flan up. I had never made flan and, to be honest, it doesn’t look all that easy. Bren started with making a delicious caramel.
You know, this was such a great time, spending some time with a fellow foodie, we are getting together again this evening. Bren is going to show me pressure cooking techniques and I am going to make smoked meatloaf. We’ll let you know how this all comes together next week. Be sure and check out Bren’s blog for flan recipes and more Latin fusion, you’ll be glad you did.
2 lbs white fish (pollack, cod, tilapia, flounder, halibut)
1 cup panko (more or less may be necessary depending on size of fish)
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 cups buttermilk
8 inch corn or flour tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying
Cut fillet into 1 x 3 inch strips.
Lay fillet strips in a baking dish and cover with butter milk.
Let fish soak for at least 1 hour up to 4.
Prepare a deep fryer or a deep pot to 350 degrees-f.
In a flat pan, add bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Old Bay, and mix to combine.
Roll strips in panko and press to coat.
Fry strips in batches until golden brown - about 4-6 minutes.
Drain strips on a sheet pan lined with newspaper covered with a grate and keep warm in a 175 degree-f oven.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
Lay a tortilla in skillet and warm for 30 seconds per side.
Repeat with enough tortillas for 2 per person.
Lay 2 fish strips in each tortilla.
Lay sauces out and top with whatever your heart desires.
1 Haas avocados
~ 1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp cilantro
1 jalapeño diced (seeded - no membrane)
1 medium heirloom tomato diced (regular tomato works too)
Into a blender with everything. blend until smooth adding oil until the desired consistency is achieved.
Chipotle Tartar Sauce:
1 tsp fresh dill finely chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped gherkin or dill relish
1 tsp capers coarsly chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
sauce from 1/2 can chipotles in adobo
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
zest and juice of 1 lemon
In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients until combined.
Cool and serve cold.
Spicy Tomatillo Salsa:
1 lb tomatillos husked and quartered
1/4 cup EVOO
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 small onion chopped
1 tsp sugar
2 jalapeño peppers diced
5 cloved garlic
1/2 bottle light beer
zest and juice of one lime
Preheat oven to 375 degrees-f
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Spread tomatillos onto pan.
Roast tomatillos for 30-40 minutes.
Into a blender with all ingredients.
Blend until smooth.
Cool. Serve cold.
4 ripe tomatoes (I used heirlooms)
1 red onion finely diced
1 jalapeño finely diced (seeded - no membrane)
1 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup EVOO
Toss all ingredients in a bowl.
Note: feel free to scale this back. I went overboard.
6 bottles red wine (I used Merlot)
2 Granny Smith apples quartered
2 oranges halved and juiced
2 grapefruit halved and juiced
1/2 pint strawberries cored and quartered
In a vat, combine all ingredients.
Let get cold, about 4 hours, stirring periodically.
all those sauces!
i love fish taco's so very much
there are no words
i am so very jealous
bren is both beautiful and obviously pretty damn amazing in the kitchen. have fun tonight too!
Every time I turn around, someone is selling a fish taco, somebody made it for the Joust. I'd rather have my fish without the tortilla, but if it involves some great salsas, I'm down.
E: Thanks! It was nice.
Fret: Yes! She is a little dynamo. We had a great time last night too.
Nik: You're just up the road. When u r in the ATL, Bren and I will be sure to feed you! I used to feel the same way about fish tacos, but not anymore!
Judy: Absolutely! It was very nice. I made a new friend.
Lys: Thanks. And yes, meeting Bren was very nice. You most definitely can have the tarter sauce recipe. Do try it!
Courtney: Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, meeting fellow foodies is really nice.
Melissa: Thanks! You should visit Bren more. I'm telling you, you're gonna watch her on TV one day!
Krysta's right, 4 sauces is very ambitious.
btw, I'm glad your Nigerian homie liked my African food. Thanks for passing the vibe!
Am a sucker for topping sauces/dips, just one question what is EVOO? Haven't seen/heard of it in this part of the globe... Can I replace it with anything?
What an amazing feast you guys, what a party and what a gathering. I just loved reading and drooling over the fabulous food. Let me know when the next paaaarty is, I'll invite myself over and hide under the table for all the fallen scraps!!
You two are great! XOXO
If I could enjoy a feast like that, I might have to be conveniently "in the neighborhood" as well.... so get your meal ideas ready!!
Kim: No doubt! We can haz ze ribs too!
JS: I didn't think I'd like the tacos but I am a believer now. The meeting went really well, Bren is great!
Heather: It was really a nice encounter. You have to let us know about your foodie get-together. We should like throw a giant convention for the blogosphere or something. And yeah, Ike was really taken with your African dish AND the site.
Kavs: We're still working on the kitchen. Only so much we can do with it, but so far it is working. I like sauces too, as is apparent. :-) Yeah, EVOO = extra virgin olive oil.
Queen: Thanks! It really is kinda cool meeting up with foodie friends. Gotta love the blogosphere!
T&: Thanks! We had a great time. You guys are welcome here anytime. Next time you're in the ATL, let us know!
Elle: We did! And ooooooooh... way toooo much sangria!!!
Sharon: Thanks! You aren't too far up there in DC, that's Bren's town. But, hey when you are in this area, I'll throw down something good!
Paula: We did! Thanks.
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