I hope you all had a fun and festive Cinco de Mayo – you know, that American holiday with a Mexican name. Still can’t quite figure that one out! Anyway, I’m trying to keep the party going. Thanks to a “clean out the freezer” night, I was able to kill 2 birds with one stone: 1) used up some frozen cod filets to make room for a Trader Joe’s frozen food run and 2) spiced up a Tuesday night with some Cajun Fish Tacos!
I think everyone has an answer to this fill-in-the-blank question: “________ has the best fish tacos, like, ever!” Mine, without a doubt, would be from Havana Hideout in Lake Worth, FL. Seriously, they are craze-amaze! My version can hardly hold up to the high standards they set, but they can definitely quench a girl’s fish taco craving.
My secret weapon was a bit of a shortcut for sure. (Hey we’re all busy/lazy professionals/moms/whatever your situation happens to be, right?!) I thawed my cod filets, brushed a little olive oil on them, then generously sprinkled some cajun seasoning on both sides before pan cooking the them. It gave the fish some nice flavor.
I also adore red cabbage on my fish tacos instead of lettuce. Just chop up some thin strips, sprinkle some olive oil, lime juice, honey and salt on there and you’re ready to go.
And of course the fun of tacos is mixing and matching toppings. I made some simple guacamole (because my husband won’t eat cabbage), and some amazing Tomatillo Salsa to top it all off. Muy Bueno!
If you have an answer to my fill-in-the blank question, I’d love to hear it. I’m always on the hunt for a good fish taco!!!
2 Generous Pieces of Cod (or other white fish)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Brush both sides of cod pieces with a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle creole seasoning on both sides, about 1/4 teaspoon/side.
On medium heat, sear fish on both sides for about 5 minutes. Remove, let rest 1-2 minutes, then flake cod pieces with a fork.
FOR CABBAGE SLAW:
1 cup of red cabbage, sliced into thin strips
Add juice of 1/4 to 1/2 a lime
Add a nice pinch of salt.
Add 1 teaspoon honey
It’s the great Mexican food debate: which salsa is best? Red or green? I’ll of course eat both, but I am totally a green salsa girl. I’m in love with anything verde on the menu. That’s why it’s kind of a travesty that I’ve never made homemade Salsa Verde before. Why on earth did I think it was more complicated than chopping up red tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Silly, Jenn! Now that Cinqo de Mayo is just a few days away, I decided it was definitely time to get my green salsa on!
The tomatillo is definitely my new best friend! So modest and covered up like corn, yet so green and sassy like a pepper. The base of this recipe comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook It’s All Good, but I modified it a bit to use ingredients I had on hand. You can also adjust the spiciness by adding more or less ribs and seeds from the jalapeño. A good food processor comes in handy because you don’t want your salsa verde too chunky. Enter my other new love!
To whoever bought us our food processor as a wedding gift: you are an angel! I hate to admit this, but it’s been 4 years since our “I do’s” and I just used it for the first time last night to make this smokin’ salsa! A food processor was the first gift I put on my registry and the one I was most excited about receiving, but due to 2 moves across the country and limited kitchen space (blog idea!) I never got the chance to break it out. Now… I don’t know how I ever lived without it! I’m hooked!
Viva Cinqo de Mayo and Viva Green Salsa!
Have a great weekend everyone!
6-7 ripe tomatillos (roughly chopped)
2 jalapeños (roughly chopped and seeded for mild salsa)
3 cloves garlic (cut in half)
1/2 a red onion (roughly sliced)
Juice from 1/2 a lime
A handful of cilantro leaves (more or less depending on your taste)
1. Set your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Put the tomatillo pieces, garlic, 1 chopped jalapeño, and red onion slices on the sheet. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt.
2. Broil until vegetables are soft 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool briefly.
3. Add broiled vegetables to a food processor, toss in the second jalapeño (ribbed and seeded if you want it mild), lime juice and cilantro leaves. Add another pinch of salt. Pulse ingredients until they are blended but not pureed.
4. Refrigerate for an hour or so if you prefer chips and salsa, or keep warm for enchiladas, tacos and Fajitas.
Simple pleasures become even more treasured in the aftermath of terrible tragedies like the one our nation experienced last week. A hot dog at a baseball game… sunshine… or a day at the park. Sometimes it takes a disaster to remind us of how fortunate we are and the simple beauty that surrounds us.
With that in mind, Rosie and I decided not to waste such a glorious and warm afternoon here in Seattle today. We took a short ride down the street to the Denny Dog Park, and I’m proud to say we both enjoyed making some new friends. I hope these few pictures bring a little bit of joy to your day or evening. #PrayingForBoston
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a complete “Gw-oopy.” I’m totally on team Gwyneth. I’ve drank the Gwyneth Gatorade, and I’m not ashamed of it. Some haters are dissing on the girl because she’s so extreme and out there with her strict diet regimen… yada, yada. But come on, the girl has a bangin’ bod. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting as much “good” into your body as possible. No, I can not afford her $90 t-shirts, but no one’s perfect, right?!
So, my heath idol just released her second cookbook filled with healthy and body cleansing recipes called:
It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great
According to her forward, a health scare and revelations of severe anemia, a Vitamin D deficiency, and high stress necessitated a shift to a more “clean” way of eating. I’m coming off a sugar-induced binge eating spree myself and I’ve been looking to make a few changes in my diet, so this book is kinda perfect timing! Off topic: she totally goes sans heavy make up on the cover and still looks radiant. Ugh, love!
I have Gwyneth’s first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter and I’ve made several of the recipes including the Buttermilk Pancakes, Butternut Squash Soup, and the Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano. (All winners, by the way!)
This month, Self magazine published a few recipes from her new cookbook. While I wait for my own book copy to arrive, I decided to get a head start and try out her Sriracha Lime Salmon! And I thought I’d never use that huge bottle of sriracha in the fridge again!
Such a cool flavor combo: maple syrup, lime, cilantro, and sriracha. A little sweet, a little tangy, a little spicy.
It might be totally silly, but I have to end this post by sending a little love to my girl Gwyn: Stay strong, stay proud, stay positive and continue to stay an inspiration to all us girls who strive to be their best selves, inside and out!
(RECIPE AS PUBLISHED IN SELF.COM)
Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons tsp sriracha sauce*
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 1/4 lbs pounds salmon fillet, skin removed
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1. Heat oven to 425°.
2. In a bowl, whisk together juice, zest, syrup, sriracha and salt.
3. Place salmon in a baking dish lined with parchment paper; pour lime-maple mixture over top.
4. Roast salmon until cooked through and flaky, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve.
Seattle Restaurant Week is back! These quite possibly could be my favorite two weeks in the city. For a food lover, explorer, and appreciator… it’s practically a holiday. Some of the best restaurants in Seattle offer 3 course lunches for $15 and 3 course dinners for $28. Now that’s a deal that gives Groupon a run for its money!
Restaurant Week is a great way to discover new restaurants and get a taste of what they have to offer. That takes me to my first stop for Spring Restaurant Week: lunch at Blueacre Seafood in downtown Seattle.
This rotation, Blueacre has 3 app choices:
Roasted Asparagus Fritters
Hot Smoked Wild Salmon
Baby Minuza & Ruby Grapefruit Salad (my choice)
I went with the salad. You either love grapefruit, or you don’t. I go hot and cold, but today I was craving some tang! It was really refreshing and balanced with chunks of goat cheese and green olives.
Tuna with Homemade Ramen Noodles, Bok Choy & Shiitake Mushrooms (my choice)
Artichoke Crusted Ling Cod
Southern Fried Chicken Salad
I am notorious for struggling to make up mind mind with a menu in my hand. Yeah, I’m the girl at the table that has to order last then changes her mind at the last minute and usually regrets her decision. You’d think just three choices would make it easier… not so! So, I left it up to the waiter/bartender. He convinced me to get the Tuna. Thanks, barkeep! No regrets this time around! I will say it could have used a little more seasoning… but dang… it sure was a pretty dish.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet (my choice)
Red Devil Cupcake
Here’s your chance to go hog wild. Don’t you love it when you don’t have to decide whether to splurge on dessert or not. The decision’s made. Just do it! I should have indulged with the pie or the cupcake, but a little light sorbet just felt right. And a mint leaf… nice touch. I’m in love with fresh mint. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a garnish, but I decided to go for it and tore up some pieces to eat with the sorbet. Yeah, I’m a rebel like that. #YOLO
Hey bloggers, visitors and anyone who just stumbled upon my slice of the internet! I’m coming to you from Seattle, WA and I’m so glad you’re here!!
This is my second year participating in the UBP, and I have to say my favorite part is discovering other amazing blogs and getting to know/network with other bloggers. There are so many of you out there… so, lets connect! Like me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, and I’d love to follow you back!
My blog is focused on my two loves: Food and Dogs! No, they don’t really go together, but that’s the beauty of a blog… you can make it whatever you want it to be!
This is me:
And here’s my bulldog Rosie.
And the food I love to make and eat!
Feel free to look around and explore all of my fun categories.
I know you have a lot of blogs to check out, so I won’t waste any more of your time.
Go get your blog on!
There’s something about Spring:
The first day that it’s warm enough to leave the jacket at home.
The pops of color that suddenly spring up in storefronts, billboards and flower beds.
The feeling that the worst of the grey days are behind you.
It all makes me want to get outside and celebrate life a little harder than I did the day before!
Today I decided to forget some of the troubles weighing on my mind and spend part of my day running around Seattle marveling at the “little Spring things” that just make me happy.
So, here’s a look my “Favorite Spring Things” that take me to my happy place, and how you can get there too!
1. Bright Spring Dresses and Shoes
My Spring color obsession is Tangerine. These bright Tahari sleeveless dresses at Nordstrom Rack triggered a major endorphin release! I’m a black and white girl, but these dresses make me want to wear color every day!
2. The Power of Pink
Channeling my inner Barbie doll. I know bubble gum pink should be reserved for girls under the age of 10, but I can’t help myself. I’m officially obsessed with hot pink. Man, am I going to regret this fad, but for now it makes me happy, so I’m going with it!
3. Trophy Cupcake Run
I treated my eyes, so now it’s time to focus on the taste buds with a little box of Trophy Cupcakes. Unfortunately, these were a gift for the awesome crew at my apartment building at the Dexter Lake Union. Lets just say I’ve been very needy lately. Back to Trophy… their April flavor of the month is Luscious Lemon Merengue Pie. Oh, how you know my weakness in life!
4.Snoqualmie Lavender Ice Cream
This, I did eat! Snoqualmie, you are my everything! I am living and breathing lavender this Spring and this ice cream takes me to heaven on a little lavender cloud of delicate flavor goodness. A bit dramatic, but taste it and you’ll totally see what I’m talking about.
5. Pelindaba Lavender Products
Staying on the lavender train: this farm on San Juan Island makes the most incredible lavender products from homegrown lavender. I have the body spray, lotion, shampoo, and body wash. A little spritz of the body spray each night washes away the craziness of my day and helps me drift off into dream land!
6. Eating, Reading, Walking & Doing Pretty Much Anything Outside
After my months-long standoff with winter, I am breaking out of my bunker… heading to the roof deck and completing as many activities as I can in the warmth while it’s here.
7. Bulldog Love
No list of happiness-inducing things would be complete without my heart, Rosie. She is my everything.
Dogs… and Dogs! We’re talking about the “Hot” and “Canine” variety.
One of my favorite restaurants in Florida combines two of my favorite things for the perfect laid back, flip flop wearing, salt in your hair dining experience: The Old Salty Dog in Sarasota.
I just got back from a mini-vacation visiting my parents and sister in Florida. Turns out, it was colder and windier in “paradise” than it was back home in Seattle. Laying on the beach was not gonna happen… but we still indulged in some tropical shenanigans with some fun tropical dinner outings! A visit to The Salty Dog is a tradition in my family. We’ve been going there for 20+ years, and unlike the name, it never gets “old.”
Eating Doggie Style
I knew this place was right up my alley when I saw the restaurant’s mascot: a huge picture of a BULLDOG! If only Rosie (my bulldog) could have made the trip, she would have felt right at home snoozing on the easy breezy patio. Instead, I had to settle for taking a picture next to their giant billboard!
The puppy love is everywhere at this place… from the signs depicting different dog breeds above the bar, to the doggie bowls holding your condiments on the table. It’s the fun doggie details that really makes a dog lover like me miss the pet they left behind… and make me want to move back to Florida… stat!
What To Eat?
You can’t walk away from the table without ordering The Salty Dog’s signature dish: “The Salty Dog,” of course!
It’s a 1/4 pound hot dog, dipped in batter and fried to a golden brown with toppings like cheese, sauerkraut, onions, mushrooms and bacon.
They also have great Grouper Sandwiches
Raw or Steamed Oysters
Fish and Chips
and Key Lime Pie
Vacations are all about making memories, having fun, and slipping away into a fantasy, if only for a brief amount of time. How can you not reminisce with a smile about a restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously, is full of dog references, and still delivers seriously good seafood and vacation food/cocktails. This was one stop of many to The Old Salty Dog for my family and I, and, God willing, it won’t be the last.
Until the next vacation…
What’s your favorite vacation restaurant?
Spring has sprung… at least on the calendar and at the grocery store! Outside… not so much! Western Washington ushered in the first day of Spring with a windstorm, a convergence zone, and snow in the mountains. My friends back in Michigan have it even worse: they’re getting another blast of cold and winter weather. Mother Nature is most certainly oblivious to the change in seasons, and my Facebook feed is lit up with people who would like to have a word with the “woman in charge.” But while we don’t have control over our spring weather, we can still enjoy the season!
A few positives: the wild daffodils are coming up here in Seattle! Very spring-like!
Nordstrom, Banana Republic, and H&M all have their spring fashions in the windows to boost our spirits (my color obsession of the season: Gray & Tangerine!)
And the grocery stores are full of spring vegetables – on sale – Zucchini and Asparagus are my faves!
I’m embracing what little spring vibes I can grab hold of and using them to make this delicious spring pasta dish: Vegetable & Chicken Primavera!
If you’re not a fan of asparagus or zucchini, you can really mix and match this recipe with any vegetables you like: broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots… you get the idea. I happen to have a special love affair with asparagus, so I was in heaven when I saw the huge display on sale at QFC! Score! I also used whole wheat pasta for this dish. If you haven’t tried it yet, get on the train! It eases my guilt about my pasta gluttony.
Hang in there, friends… summer and warmer weather are on the way. But if your patience is being put to the test right now – like mine is – do the sensible thing to diffuse your resentment at Mother Nature… eat a heaping bowl of spring pasta and go shopping!
HAPPY SPRING, EVERYONE!
1 pkg of whole wheat pasta
1 green zucchini, sliced
1 yellow zucchini, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup of cream
1 1/4 cup parmesan & Romano Cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. In a large skillet, cook your chicken breasts until nearly cooked through. (They will go back in the skillet later) Remove from skillet.
2. While chicken breasts are cooking, bring water to a boil and cook pasta. Bring another pot to a boil and steam vegetables – or you can use a steamer.
3. Once pasta is cooked al dente and vegetables are cooked but still crisp, drain and remove from heat. Add a drizzle of oil to pasta to prevent noodles from sticking together.
4. In the skillet, add olive oil and garlic. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch chunks. Once garlic has cooked for 1-2 minutes, add chicken to the skillet and cook through.
5. Add pasta and vegetables to the skillet. Add cream, cheese, oregano, and basic and toss until pasta is warmed through and coated in the sauce.
6. You’re ready to serve!
I’m not joking when I say this is the “World’s Best Mac & Cheese.” If Oprah says it, it is so! Besides the Original Starbucks, the Beecher’s cheese shop is one of the biggest attractions at Pike Place in Seattle. There is always a line out the door, and if you ever get the chance… be sure to stand in it… for there is a pot of GOLD on the other end. Cheesy gold… in the form of Macaroni and Cheese!
Beecher’s hand-makes their cheeses in true artisan style. We like to buy a block of the “Flagship” cheese and just eat it straight-no-chaser… ok, there’s often a wine chaser! It’s also fantastic in grilled cheese or a panini. But if you really want the cheese to shine, you best be puttin’ it in a Mac & Cheese casserole!!!
Unfortunately, I can’t be running down to Pike Place every time my husband or I get a craving for some high-end comfort food. Luckily, they sell Beecher’s cheese in almost every grocery store around these parts, so if you have the recipe, it’s easy to make a dish at home.
I tried my hand at making it for the first time this week. As with any copycat attempt, it’s never as good as the original (you just can’t replicate a masterpiece, people!), but this was darn near as close as they come. Score one for me in the “Best Wife In The World” category!
If you’re not in the Seattle-area, you can buy most of Beecher’s products online and have them shipped to your house. Even the Mac and Cheese Now that’s something to kiss the mailman about!
RECIPE FROM BEECHER’S HOMEMADE CHEESE
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
7 ounces Flagship cheese, grated (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 ounce Just Jack cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
6 ounces penne pasta (about 3 ¼ cups)
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Flagship cheese, grated
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Just Jack cheese, grated
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder Instructions
1. Prepare Sauce: melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour.
Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.
Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or oil an 8-inch baking dish. Cook penne 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.)
Rinse pasta in cold water and drain well.
3. Combine pasta and sauce in a medium bowl; mix carefully but thoroughly. Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheeses and then the chili powder.
4. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.