Favorite son, Alex and his lovely girlfriend, Alyssa are quite an accomplished young couple. Both will be graduating from a reputable university in May with degrees in Chemical Engineering and a B.A. and Masters in Accounting respectively, and Husbie and I will finally get a raise…whoop! I recently received a text from Alex asking me that if they opened a cafe, would I ‘pastry chef it up?’ My initial response was absolutely, but first go and earn some money in the field that you have been studying for the past five years and then we’ll talk!
The ‘kids’ are fast becoming very skilled in the kitchen that I step aside and watch in amazement and burst with pride as they pickle vegetables, brew beer, make mayonnaise from scratch, grill burgers with blue cheese sauce, make gyros and much more. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised since it’s sort of written in their genes! Alyssa hails from a Louisiana family that takes it’s food very seriously. Her mother, Rhonda is an excellent cook who can stuff a shrimp like no one’s business and make a hearty chicken and sausage gumbo that’ll make you want to slap ya’ mama! I have never resorted to fast food as a means of sustenance for my precious children and am happy to see that their philosophy of eating includes an appreciation and respect for fresh ingredients that not only nourish the body, but also provide a healthy avenue for creativity.
Alex’s interest in ethnic cuisines began in a Cuban restaurant. At the age of two, Husbie and I watched in amazement as he polished off a bowl of spicy Cuban salsa without a flinch of an eye! In junior high, he experimented with salsa concoctions and loved to share them with his classmates. One such salsa was so spicy that it managed to agitate the entrails of an intrepid classmate that he had to leave class and go home; I sincerely hope he hasn’t been scarred for life!
Here’s a meal that Alex and Alyssa treated us to recently. Inspired by Rhonda’s recipe, these fish tacos are easy to prepare and include a sunny tropical salsa, crunchy red slaw, buttery avocado slices and delicate tilapia.
Fish tacos with spicy pineapple salsa and red cabbage slaw Serves 4
8 corn tortillas, warmed. I found very good yellow corn and wheat flour blend tortillas from La Tortilla Factory in Santa Rosa, California. They didn’t crack when folded as many corn-only tortillas do. They are available at Kroger grocery stores (one of the few good things I can chime about that comes from this chain. Living in the ‘burbs comes with its own challenges, one of them being the lack of great stores!)
Red cabbage slaw (see recipe below)
Spicy pineapple salsa (see recipe below)
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
4 pieces of tilapia, or other mild white fish
Coat tilapia in a little oil. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne, to taste. Just before you are ready to eat, broil the tilapia for about 8 minutes until just cooked.
Serve tilapia with warmed tortillas, pineapple salsa, avocado slices and red cabbage slaw.
Red cabbage slaw
½ red cabbage, finely sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
Place sliced cabbage, cilantro leaves and sliced red onion in a large bowl. Mix vinegar, honey and lime juice in a small bowl. While whisking quickly, add canola oil to vinegar mixture. Add to coleslaw and mix thoroughly.
Spicy pineapple salsa – this recipe calls for more than you’ll need for the tacos. The rest makes a refreshing tropical dip when served with tortilla chips.
1 large can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in its own juice
1 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
hot sauce, to taste. Alex loves Sriracha brand to spice things up.
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend.
This post was submitted to Susan’s informative blog Yeastspotting for this week’s edition.