Nothing beats a summer weekend. Music Flowing. Low Humidity and a bit of a chill as the sun eventually goes down. Hyndrangeas and Peonies in bloom. A touch of salt on your homemade margarita. The tastes of cilantro, jalepeno, garlic, green onions and sour cream weaved through fresh fish, meat and vegetables. There is a complexity with a little extra kick for your tastebuds. Sheer Bliss for your senses all weekend long.
Feeling the thrill of summer on a recent Friday night, I turned on some tunes, ordered my husband (with a please) to make each of us a classic margarita with 100% agave tequila, fresh lime juice and Cointreau and proceeded to cook fish tacos. I used a marinade of lime juice, olive oil, green onions, cilantro, garlic, jalepeno, and habenero chili powder (a smidge) (recipe below). I sauteed the fish in a pan, flaked the fish and served it in a corn tortillas with sour cream, salsa, homemade guacamole (recipe below) and red cabbage slaw (recipe below). Yum!
But what to do with the leftover ingredients taking up needed space and otherwise destined to rot over the coming week in my refrigerator? I aimed to try out some new recipes using a variety of these tasty ingredients leftover from Friday night.
Saturday morning I created a “jalepeno spiked egg scramble.” I’d deliberately chopped extra cilantro, jalepeno and green onion on Friday night so there was little prep involved as I rubbed my tired eyes on Saturday morning. We found the egg scramble precisely what was needed to fortify the fam (or at least mom and dad) for a morning hike in Pound Ridge. The sour cream gave it an added richness and the jalepeno (with a little coffee) was the perfect thing to get the endorphins flowing. The kids were demanding turkey bacon, and I’ve been interested in experimenting with grapeseed oil and pumpkin seeds so the spinach salad featured below was born. It was a great accompaniment, and the flavors worked together nicely. I liked it so much that I made it again and took it to a BBQ on Sunday!
Saturday evening I was frankly a little lazy so I created what was essentially a “kitchen sink” burger. The weather was still fabulous so we decided another classic margarita was in order. We didn’t have any buns — nor did we want the carbs — so I made bunless cheddar and jalepeno burgers, again utilizing the prechopped ingredients from Friday night.
I put out the leftover slaw that was even better on day two. I also made a quinoa salad I wouldn’t make again (recipe omitted) and sauteed baby kale (recipe below).
To finish off the meal, we grilled a dessert of peaches and adorned it with a cognoc whipped cream and basil (changed to mint in recipe below).
Friday Night Unplugged
1-2 jalepeno (minced and deseeded) [Depends on size, spice and crowd’s tastes]
3 garlic cloves minced
3 large avocados
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 green onions chopped (white and green parts)
2 plum or campari tomatoes chopped
Juice of one lime
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Mince jalepeno and garlic and use a mortar and pestle or muddle to release the juices. Half the avocados and scoop insides into the bowl and mix with jalepeno and garlic so that the avocado has a creamy consistency. Add cilantro, green onions and tomatos and stir into the avocado. Squeeze the juice of one lime and salt and pepper to taste. Serve preferably with blue corn chips.
Consider reserving one third for the fish tacos or doubling the recipe because there won’t be any left if you don’t!
Fish Tacos for 8
2 lbs cod (sliced into 4-5 pieces for easy of flipping)
Juice of one small lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cub chopped cilantro
3 chopped green onion
1-2 jalepenos (minced and de-seeded)
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh oregano (1 tsp dried)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp habenero chili powder (alternatively you can up the amount and use ancho chile powder which is much milder)
ground pepper and sea salt to taste
16 Corn Tortillas
Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream (do not use this as an opportunity to get low fat. Get the full fat variety. You need it to offset the spice!)
Salsa (store bought will do or homemade even better!)
Guacamole (see above)
Red Cabbage Slaw (see below)
Combine all ingredients of the marinade in a small bowl. Pour over the fish and let marinade for 30 minutes. Heat large frying pan sprayed with olive oil on medium high heat. Add cod to pan with all the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 minutes more. Flake fish to incorporate the marinade.
Meanwhile, heat a medium sized frying pan sprayed with olive oil on medium high heat. Individually heat the corn tortillas (30 seconds per side). Repray pan as needed. Stack in tinfoil and set in a warm oven until read to serve.
Scoop fish into the corn tortilla top with creme frieche and salsa and guacamole and serve with the red cabbage slaw. Yum!
Red Cabbage Slaw
1/2 of 1 chopped red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup cilantro
2 chopped green onions
1/2 chopped and deseeded jalepeno
1 chopped garlic
Juice of one lime
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
Sea Salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste
Chop and combine first five ingredients. Wisk together dressing ingredients and toss.
Saturday morning Fortification
Jalepeno Spiked Egg Scramble for 4
6 extra large brown eggs
1 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tbsp milk
1 jalepeno minced
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground pepper to taste
Turkey Bacon – 12 slices
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl and add in green onions, sour cream and milk. Heat medium sized frying pan sprayed with olive oil on medium high heat. Cook jalepeno in pan for 2 minutes (or until juice of the pepper begins to sizzle). Add egg mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add shredded cheese and begin to toss eggs in the pan for another 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 6 slices of turkey bacon on 2 pieces of paper towel. Cover with a third paper towel. Microwave on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Repeat for additional 6 slices. Reserve 2 pieces for spinach salad.
Spinach Salad with Pepitas and Turkey Bacon
1 package of pre-washed baby spinach (approximately 7 oz)
2 slices of crispy turkey bacon – chopped
1/4 cup pepitas/pumpkin seeds
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
2 tbsp finely shredded manchego
1.5 tbsp grapeseed oil
1.5 tpsp olive oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
Dump spinach into a bowl. Chop turkey bacon and add to the bowl. Heat medium frying pan with olive oil. When sizzling, add pumpkin seeds and roast, tossing periodically for 2-3 minutes. Add pumpkin seeds along with remaining oil to salad. Half the grape tomatoes and add to the salad. Finely shred the manchego and add to the salad.
Combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk until honey, oil and vinegar are combined. Toss less than 10 minutes before serving.
Saturday Evening Backyard BBQ
Bunless Jalepeno and Cheddar Burgers for 4
Approximately 1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 green onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Combine ingredients together into 4 patties. Heat grill on high and cook to liking. For us that is medium and takes approximately 8 minutes total, flipping every 2 minutes to avoid burning.
Sauteed Baby Kale
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz baby kale
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Heat the butter and olive oil until sizzling (but before butter starts to brown) in a medium frying pan. Gradually add kale and stir until it wilts (takes less than 2 minutes). Continue to add kale until it is all wilted. Add seasonings and serve warm.
Grilled Peaches with Cognac Cream
4 peaches (halved and pitted)
Sugar to sprinkle
Heaving whipping cream – 1 cup
1 tbsp cognac
2 tbsp chopped mint
Half peaches and take out pit. Sprinkle sugar on the inside of each half. Let sit for 20 minutes. Heat grill on high and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes until peaches begin to brown.
Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, whip 1 cup of whipping cream until peaks form. Blend in 1 tbsp cognac. Chop fresh mint.
Serve each peach with a healthy dolap of whipped cream and top with mint.