Thursday, July 15, 2010


It's way too hot to cook these days.The temperatures are soaring and the air conditioner runs constantly. Even the thought of firing up the BBQ seems to take too much energy. To be truthful, people around here don't have much of an appetite but let's face it, you have got to eat., at least I do. So why not a salad as a main meal?
The original recipe is actually made with watercress, but as you can see I didn't have any, although I did make a special trip to the green grocer especially for it, as luck would have it , they were all out, not a bunch in the entire store, but the jicama was there, something that is usually much harder to obtain...go figure!
I will write the recipe below for the watercress salad, keeping in mind that you can make many substitutions. The salad was refreshing, healthy with a really great, clean tasting vinaigrette .

the juice from  2 fresh lime
1 serano chili, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 navel oranges,sliced, removing the pith and membrane
2 bunches watercress, large stems removed
1 small jicams peeled and finely julienned
1 ripe avocado peeled, pitted and sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, chile, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour in the oil in a thin steady stream while whisking constantly and thoroughly emulsified forming a vinaigrette. Set aside.
Prepare salad and orange slices,marinade jicama in extra lime or lemon juice.
Just before serving, drizzle the vinaigrette over the watercress mixture, carefully fold in the avocado slices, Taste and adjust the seasoning ,serve at once.

Is a member of the large legume family,the crunchy,ivory fleshed, brown- skinned jicama is a tuber used throughout Mexico. Its bland taste benefits from being marinated raw in lime juice or from being combined with fruits and vegetables.
Before using, peel away the skin and the fibrous layer beneath it with a sharp knife.(If jicama is hard to find you can substitute apples for it. In Ottawa, I found mine at the Asian store called T&T, Farm Boy carries it occasionally, ask for it.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I was over at a friend's house the other day and while sitting having a cold drink I picked up a new cookbook from her coffee table . It was a Williams-Sonoma Mexican cookbook. We have all had our share of Mexican classics such as Guacamole, Tacos, Enchiladas, Burritos just to name a few, but when my eye caught the recipe for a fish tacos, I immediately new what I was going to make for supper that night.
To be truthful I was getting a little tired of BBQing, and with the weather so hot I didn't want to be by the stove either but believe me, this recipe was so good everybody was still raving about it a whole day later!Well worth the little effort it took to make.

To make the batter, in a bowl, stir together the flour, garlic salt, and ground chile/or cayenne pepper.  Pour in the beer, whisking to make a smooth batter.  Cover and let stand for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, make the creamy salsa: in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup and yogurt until blended.  Set aside.  I used red snapper and talapia fillets and cut the fish into strips each 3-5" long (10cm) and 3/4" wide (2cm) and place in a glass bowl.  Sprinkle with lime juice, garlic salt and ground chile and toss to mix.  Let marinade at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Pour the oil to a dept of 1" (2.5cm) into a deep frying pan and heat to 375F this may take up to 5 minutes.  Pat the fish strips dry with paper towels. One at a time, dip a strip into the batter allowing the excess to drip off and slip into the hot oil, do not allow the pieces to touch.  Fry until the strips are crisp and golden approximately 7 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  When all are fried transfer to a warmed serving plate.  Put the salsa fresca, cabbage, and limes in separate small bowls and set on the table along with the fish, creamy salsa, tortillas, and hot pepper sauce.  Let the diners make their own tacos wrapping the fish in a tortilla and adding the other items.  If you prefer you can heat the tortillas  in a frying pan. 

This chunky fresh salsa is the reigning condiments of Mexico.  It also goes by the name of pico de gallo in some regions.  In a Bowl toss together one pound of tomatoes cut into little pieces, a 1/4c finely chopped white onion, 1/4c loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro (or coriander), 3 serrano or jalapeno chiles seeded and finely chopped, 2T fresh lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and let stand for 10-15 minutes. 

For the Batter:
1c flour
1t garlic salt
1/2tsp cayenne pepper or arbol chile ground
1c beer preferably dark or milk at room temperature

Creamy Salsa:
1/3c mayonnaise
1/3c ketchup
1/3c plain yogurt

Other Ingredients:
1lb red snapper or sea bass fillet
1t fresh lime juice
1/2tsp. garlic salt
1/4tsp. ground arbol chile or cayenne pepper
Canola oil for deep frying.
8-10 corn tortillas
Finely shredded cabbage, and the salsa fresca
8 lime quarters and bottled hot pepper sauce for serving.
(makes 8-10 tacos or 5 servings)