ForneyLife

Fish Tacos for Cinco De Mayo

Posted in Food, Recipes by Sarah on May 5, 2011

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I tried my hand at a spin on Fish Tacos.  These tacos may not be from the Flying Fish, but they are a simple and healthy recreation!

The Inspiration!

This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine Magazine.

The Result!

This recipe relies on a thick and creamy guacamole as its base.    To make your guacamole, either follow Andrea’s Recipe, or give this a try!  What makes this recipe creamy is the use of low-fat sour cream or greek yogurt.

I used a 6 oz. container of Fage free Greek yogurt, and it made this very creamy and rich.  When finished, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole.   This will keep the guacamole nice and bright green (not brown, that’s gross).

This recipe's guacamole is rich and creamy.

You’ll also need to prep the cabbage slaw.  This adds a real punch and crunch to the taco!

The color and crunch of the cabbage make this fish taco feel festive!

Next, you’ll want to prepare any other toppings you might enjoy on top of your taco.

Some people use tomatoes or grated cheese.

Pshaw, says the picky eater 😉  I used a corn & black bean topping that was made by mixing together in a small bowl black beans, corn, 1 Tbsp. cilantro, 1/2 Tbsp onion, and some lime juice.

Later, because I had extra chopped veggies on hand, I threw in some diced peppers and even some grated zucchini!

Finally, grill the fish!  Heat and spray your grill (I am in love with mine, but any other way to get your fish flaky and tender will do).  Season and grill until lightly charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes for a large steak-sized slice.  I used about 1.5 lbs of tilapia.  Other good grilling fishes will do, and the original recipe calls for Red Snapper.

Add fish to make it a fish taco

Add all the toppings and garnish with  a lime.  Best served with a little hot sauce for the hot sauce lovers, and a little Corona to cool the palate.

Add Toppings & Garnish with Lime

Ingredients

  • 2 Hass avocados—halved, pitted and peeled  (see here for The Avocado Secret),
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced (If you can handle it!!!)
  • 2.5 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Adobo seasoning
  • 1 small head of napa cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 pounds fish fillet, grilled (I used tilapia, but many other good grilling fishes may be used)
  • Ten 7-inch flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (I skipped this topping!)
  • 1 can fresh corn, drained (optional)
  • 1 can black beans, drained (optional)
  • Hot sauce, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Make your Guacamole (or follow Andrea’s Recipe):  In a medium bowl, mash together avocados, yogurt or sour cream, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice. Season the guacamole with salt, pepper and adobo seasoning.  When finished, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole.
  2. Make your cabbage topping:  Cut & shred the small head of napa cabbage.  In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make your corn & black bean topping:  Mix together in a small bowl your black beans, corn, 1 Tbsp. cilantro, .5 tablespoon onion, and some lime juice.
  4. Grill the fish!  Heat and spray grill.  Brush the fish with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until lightly charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes for a large steak-sized slice.
  5. Now, assemble your tacos.  Spread a healthy layer of guacamole on a tortilla. Top with a fish, cabbage slaw, corn and bean mix, and any other desired toppings (e.g. diced tomatoes  and cheese, if you’re into those ingredients).
  6. Serve with the hot sauce (and Corona) and lime wedges.

Viva La Fish Taco!

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Homemade Crackers

Posted in Food, House and Home, Life, Pictures, Recipes by Elizabeth on May 1, 2011

I was writing a comment on Sarah’s Cookie Cutter post when I realized that my response was going to be in depth and might be better in a post.

I too have no cookie cutters but, on a recent trip to Sperryville, VA, I was reminded of Heidi Swanson’s idea to rummage at flea markets or antique shops for things like cookie cutters. At an antique shop we happened upon in Virginia, there were lots of dishes, silverware, and other kitchen knick-knacks like those copper pots above. (There was also a 2 qt. cast iron dutch oven for just $15! If I didn’t already have a 3 and 5 qt dutch oven, that sucker would have been mine!) I hunted for some cookie cutters but came up empty. Anyway, some of the best metal cookie cutters are probably found at places like these – not to mention that they could be a steal.

In place of cookie cutters, things like a pastry wheel or pizza cutter are quick easy substitutes. You may not get the fanciest shapes but it gets the job done.

As for homemade crackers, I love this idea and have a number of recipes logged to try. Here are just a few:

Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers by Smitten Kitchen (she uses a drill bit for the eyes and mouth – too funny!)

Graham Crackers by Smitten Kitchen

Oatmeals Crackers by 101Cookbooks

Whole Grain Animal Crackers by The Cilantropist

If anyone makes any of these, or comes up with innovative cookie cutter replacements, fill us in here!

Request for Advice: Cookie Cutters

Posted in Food, House and Home by Sarah on April 29, 2011

I just found a recipe for making your own crackers.   Excellent idea! – I thought – I’ll do that this weekend!  Then I realized the directions involve the use of cookie cutters.  Alas, I have none.  Cue the Debbie Downer music.

Off I went to find some cookie cutters and boy have I gotten some silly results, including Williams Sonoma’s Star Wars cookie cutters.  Seriously.

If someone offers you a Death Star cookie, do you take it?

I thought I’d have more success asking some of my favorite cookie-baking friends:  do you all have cookie cutters that you love or use with special frequency?   It could be a brand you’ve found success with or a particular go-to shape, I’m open!

By the way, if you are interested in making your own crackers, please visit “Oh She Glows” here for the basic recipe and lots of fun suggestions for variations, including sea salt and vinegar, smoked paprika, and garlic, chive & onion.  Yum!  (CHOMP!)

Our Technology Age

Posted in Life, Technology by Meredith on April 28, 2011

This is a little thought bubble that I’m having as I sit here.  Andy and I are planning a wedding 3,000 miles away.  To get there, we use a lot of planes, trains, automobiles, and these days we do it all with the help of internet tools like yelp, etsy, weddingchannel, google docs, you name it!  And guess what!  We are even doing our pre-marital counseling over Skype!  That’s right!  Pastor Tom is conducting our first counseling session tomorrow morning at 7am (PDT) over skype!  How amazing is that?!  We live in an age where planning a  wedding and preparing for marriage can be done mostly from the comfort of our own homes.  Crazy!  My mind is just a little blown by this so I wanted to get it out there in the universe.  Any thoughts?

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Posted in Entertainment by Elizabeth on April 12, 2011

Balzac and the Little Chinese SeamstressBalzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This books is a quick read that is certainly an indulgence for literature lovers. It offers a brief glimpse into the world of reeducation in revolutionary China but is much more about the coming of age of two boys through literature.

View all my reviews

Turbot with Harissa Sauce

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on April 4, 2011

I’m not very good at spicy food. I’d like to be better, but I cannot help that I am unaccustomed to the heat having grown up eating food that was seasoned mostly with the most mild of mild heats (ground black pepper anyone?). I think there are a number of Forneys out there who share my experience. This is not to say, however, that I dislike spicy food. I love it actually. It is frustrating when you take a bite of something that you really enjoy and then BAM, the heat hits, your tongue is tingling, your lips crave water, your palette is ruined, and you’ve barely started dinner.

I have a solution for my unaccustomed mouth. For a few years now I have been working on eating hotter and hotter food on a regular basis (starting at just about mild).

As a part of this schooling, I made this turbot with harissa sauce. If you haven’t had harissa, be advised that it contains hot peppers, like serrano, seeds and all. A North African spice, also usually has cumin, lemon juice, garlic, and coriander. I picked up a premade container of it at my local store. A dish as tasty as this one does nothing but encourage spicy food eating behavior.

Turbot with Harissa Sauce

  • 1 part harissa
  • 2 parts plain greek yogurt
  • juice of a lemon
  • cumin
  • salt
  • turbot filets

Combine the harissa, yogurt, lemon, cumin, and salt and mix until blended. Spread the sauce over the top of the filets and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. After ten minutes, scrape off the sauce, reserving it for later. Over medium-high heat, sear the fish on either side, about 2-3 minutes each side. Transfer the fish to an oven safe baking dish. Redress the fish with the harissa sauce and bake for 5-6 minutes, until the fish is white and flaky. Serve.

I found couscous and cumin seasoned sauteed leeks and kidney beans to be a great compliment to the fish. The crisp leeks pair well with the fish while the beans serve as a spice absorber for those moments when my mouth has just about had enough. Enjoy!

Spice-Braised Chicken

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on March 24, 2011

Spring is just around the corner here, but the chill in the air refuses to move on. When reading the April issue of Food & Wine, I came across a perfect in between winter and spring kind of dish in the “What to Cook Next” section. Alexandra Guarnaschelli provided a dish with warm  seasonings that was satisfying without being heavy. And, of course, provided an excuse for opening a nice bottle of red wine.

Spice-Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Red Wine

recipe from Food & Wine by Alexandra Guarnaschelli

Ingredients:

  • 9 skinless chicken thighs, fat removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with their juices

In a large, deep skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. I used a large dutch oven since there was a lot going into this pot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add half to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Pour off the fat in the skillet.

Add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for about 10 seconds, until fragrant (stay close, they become fragrant quickly). Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, crushed red pepper and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over moderately low heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock and the tomatoes with their juices and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken to the sauce along with any accumulated juices and simmer over low heat, turning a few times, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is flavorful, about 50 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper and serve. We served ours over some brown rice. It certainly served as a delicious consolation that spring has yet to fully arrive.

Spicy Soba Noodles

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on March 20, 2011

All I have to say is, thank goodness for Yes Market that is on the first floor of my building. This little organic grocery store is a life saver when we are out of that one little ingredient we forgot to get, or are craving some dark chocolate at 8:30pm on a Wednesday night.  This particular thank you is for the quick meal it provided for dinner with just a few ingredients; though I had a good amount of what I needed to make this dish, I lacked chicken, soba noodles, and shiitake mushrooms. Basically, I didn’t have the heart and soul of the meal and would have come up with saucy garlic ginger for dinner otherwise.

Spicy Soba Noodles (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

the sauce

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

the noodles

  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 to 9 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles)
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame

Stir the sauce ingredients together until the brown sugar is dissolved. Smitten used a specific Korean chili paste that alas, I nor Yes Market had. The chili sauce worked just fine. Set this aside.

Over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until they are pale golden (about 4 minutes). Set aside.

Saute the ginger and garlic in the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it is fragrant. Next add the chicken and the mushrooms and season with some salt and pepper. After about 6 minutes, add most of the scallions. Stir occasionally so that the chicken cooks evenly. Once the scallions are in the saute pan, turn the heat down to medium. Boil the soba noodles and edamame while the chicken is cooking. These will cook pretty quickly (4-5 mins or so). . Strain and add the noodles and edamame to the saute pan with the other ingredients. Add the sauce to the chicken and mushroom mixture and simmer for 1 minute.  Add the noodles, edamame, and the sesame seeds to the pan.

Serve hot with the remaining scallions as garnish.

Dine Out for Life

Posted in Food, Life by Elizabeth on March 16, 2011

The other night Adam and I, along with a few friends, took part in Dining Out for Life in D.C.  On this particular night, restaurants around the city agree to donate a portion of their proceeds (from 25% to a generous 110%) to the local agency supporting the fight against AIDS.

Adam is just sad he had to put his scotch down for a photo

We chose do dine at a local restaurant, Posto.  This is a place we’d normally visit for some delicious Italian food. Posto annually participates in Dining Out for Life and donates 100% of the proceeds from that night to Food & Friends, the local D.C. charity that benefits from this event.  Food & Friends provides meals to families who are coping with AIDS, cancer, and other life threatening illnesses who cannot go to the supermarket or physically cannot make these meals themselves.  What better excuse do you need to go out to eat and drink when that cash is also buying other people food!  So find your city, gather some friends who enjoy eating and drinking, and dine out for life!

Kale and Scallop Quinoa Pilaf (& mini-reunion recap)

Posted in Food, Life, Pictures by Sarah on March 7, 2011

As spring draws ever nearer, I am making the most of the end-of-winter seasonal vegetables before they are gone!

Tonight I put together a pilaf using some red winter kale that resulted in a warm hearty dinner on a rainy San Francisco evening.

Kale and Scallop Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients

  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (I used Pereg Italian style Quinoa, which contains dried Italian vegetables)
  • 1 large bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (mushrooms instead of, or in addition to, would be great too!)
  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 1 1/2-2 cups chicken or vegetable soup broth
  • 1 handful pine nuts or walnuts

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic in a lightly oiled pan.

Add in quinoa with about 1 cup of chicken broth.

Low Sodium Of Course!

Chicken Broth

Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. The quinoa will absorb the chicken broth.

Next, add in the kale and sun-dried tomatoes with another 1/2 to 1 cups of chicken broth.

So good for you!

Chopped Kale!

 

Raisined tomatoes mmmmm

Sun-dried tomatoes

Cook the kale and veggies on medium heat approximately 4-5 minutes.

Then, add in the scallops and the pine nuts.

Scallops

On this initial attempt at the recipe, I added in the scallops first, but realize this probably was a mistake.  Scallops cook very quickly, in about 5 minutes!  Add the scallops only after you have cooked the veggies for about five minutes.  Once you have added your scallops to the quinoa-kale pilaf, cook approximately another 5-6 minutes, on medium heat.

Remove from heat and add salt and pepper and herbs to taste.

Scallop and Kale Quinoa Pilaf

Serve warm (or as a cold leftover:  lunch tomorrow)

Torre also suggested that next time, we marinate the scallops in a little lemon and lime for about 1o minutes before cooking. That will bring an extra fresh flavor to the dish!

Mini-Reunion Recap

As the parenthetical portion of this post’s title suggests, there was a mini-sibling reunion this weekend on the West Coast!  Michael and Becky came to San Francisco, for Becky’s interview at the Wright Institute (our fingers are crossed for Becky!).  Meredith and Andy were the tireless drivers and joined for a fun weekend too.

On Saturday, while Michael and Becky explored the Berkeley area, Meredith and Andy joined us for a Mexican lunch in the Mission.  Meredith ordered in Spanish!  We learned that the only thing that beats a burrito is a super-burrito.  We also watched a guy whose job title appeared to be “Official Onion Chopper,” and we decided that the sole requirement for the job had to be the inability to cry.

After lunch we headed to Torre’s jiu-jitsu gym and passed by the murals in Clarion Alley.  I snagged a few pictures to share with you all on Flickr (here’s a quick preview):

After we had wandered the alley, we picked up Torre and began to make our way home.  On our way, we stumbled across a small gathering of food trucks, musicians, and people, sponsored by San Francisco’s Off the Grid food truck project.  Of course, we had to stop. 

I captured Meredith’s proud moment of her first food-truck ordering experience!  Mmmm.After an afternoon of relaxing, playing games, and visiting, the six of us headed out for a special evening with two local celebrities:  Uncle Pete and Aunt Meredith!

We enjoyed a casual Italian dinner in the neighborhood, replete with wine, appetizers, lots of bread and plenty of sharing stories!  (Note to self:  bring a better camera to these family gatherings.)

It was just delightful to have a family of 8 together for dinner.  And it’s a special occasion when that many Forneys are assembled at one table!

Sunday started with a great home-cooked family brunch (Torre and Andy were the masters of the kitchen!) followed by a restful day of visiting, with a quick trip to the local Jewish deli as the major outing.

We were so glad to host the younger siblings and had a great time.  Come back soon, please! 🙂

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