Sunday, 6 May 2012

Blackened Tilapia Baja Fish Tacos

I only recently discovered my love for fish tacos. I would never eat them until a few months ago. This had nothing to do with me not liking them and everything to do with me not being willing to try them. I don't know why, but I just would not give them a chance. I finally caved a few months back while eating at one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston (Molinas) with my parents. They order fish tacos every time we go there and I decided it was about time I gave the fish tacos a try. I now order them every time I eat at Molinas. I'm totally hooked. Since I had never liked fish tacos, I had never attempted to make them, so it was obviously time that I attempt making my own.

 Cooking your own food instantly makes it better than if you ordered it at a restaurant. There's so much more satisfaction thanks to the effort that goes into making the food. I took a chance and tried something new in the kitchen. That alone provides a certain instant satisfaction with the recipe. It helped that these tacos tasted awesome. They also looked really pretty!

 I found this recipe on CookingLight's website. I had eaten quite a bit of junk in the days preceding this one, so I really wanted to eat something lighter and healthier. This particular recipe was under reader favorites, so I figured it had to be pretty good. Also, two tacos only have 362 calories. Unlike a lot of fish tacos, the fish isn't fried, making it a lot healthier. This was such a satisfying, light, and healthy meal. I definitely plan to make these tacos a regular addition to my diet!

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos
recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

serves 4

1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 chopped jalapeno pepper (keep the seeds if you like it hot, ditch them if you don't)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
4 lime wedges

Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno in a food processor and process until smooth. Combine the jalapeno sauce and onion slices in a bowl.
Combine paprika, brown sugar, oregano, garlic powder, salt, cumin, and red pepper. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the tilapia fillets.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Place fish in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
Warm tortillas according to their package directions. Divide the fish, onion mixture, and avocado slices evenly among the tortillas. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Gruyère and Parmesan Soufflés

I almost ate two! (shared the second one with my dad)
half-eaten deliciousness
I recently went home (again!) to play at a fundraiser in Houston. The fundraiser was for an organization called Musiqa. They promote new music and new composers and it was such an honor to play for a benefit to help them raise money. 

Of course, I do most of my best cooking when I'm home in Houston, due to the much larger and better stocked kitchen that is a part of my parents' home. I've been really craving cheesy soufflés as of late, but don't own the ramekins to cook them in, so going home was the perfect opportunity to try out a new soufflé recipe.
ramekins lined with parmesan...yum!

 I always hate directions for whipping egg whites. Stiff peaks, medium peaks, small is so easy to go wrong and over-whip or under-whip. I'm almost too scared to try whipping the egg whites. This time around, my mom did the whipping part. This recipe called for medium peaks, and judging by how fluffy and light our soufflés were, I think my mom whipped the egg whites just right.
medium peaks

 The business of folding egg whites into other mixtures is also tricky. The whipped egg whites are so delicate and have to be folded in and handled incredibly carefully.

I love going home and being able to eat by the pool!
 Along with our soufflés we had salad and fresh watermelon. It was a perfectly light and lovely dinner. The beautiful Houston spring weather definitely helped!
my whole meal

Gruyère and Parmesan Soufflés
recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
8 teaspoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 oz cave aged Gruyère cheese, shredded
2 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat each of the 4 soufflé dishes evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Then, sprinkle each dish with 2 teaspoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Tilt the dishes so that the cheese evenly covers the sides and the bottom.
Combine the flour, red pepper, nutmeg, and black pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add the milk and wine, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook for four minutes, or until the mixture is thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add salt and gruyère cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Spoon this mixture into a large bowl, let stand for 5 minutes, and then stir in the egg yolks.
Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at high speed until medium peaks form. Gently stir 1/4 of egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Carefully spoon this mixture into the prepared dishes.
Place the dishes on a baking sheet and place them in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Bake the soufflés at 375 degrees for 17 minutes, or until they are puffed up and golden.
Serve and enjoy!