Last night we had our friends Amanda and Brian over for dinner. I made tacos and Amanda brought an awesome jicama salad and a carrot-sweet potato-sesame soup.
When I do tacos, I usually use this recipe as my jumping off point. The baja cream is really simple and is always a big hit. I don't always do the pickled onions and jalapeños (a lot of the time I just buy pickled jalapeños, which are just fine) but I did last night. Actually, I made one batch with habeñeros in it then I haven't tried yet, at Mariah's request. Should be, uh, interesting...
This is probably my favorite salsa verde recipe too. Now, it seems like lately Wegmans only has fresh tomatillos when I don't need them, and Monday was no exception. So I tried an experiment: I used canned tomatillos. It was actually just fine! I think the salsa is just a little brighter with the fresh ones, but since you char half the tomatillos and then roast it all anyway, it isn't as important as it might be in a different recipe. This is good to know for the future...
I usually do not use the fish recipe from the Epicurious link. There's nothing wrong with it, but it doesn't do much for me. Often I will do breaded catfish strips instead, with some spicy chile powder mixed in with the bread crumbs. I think that is my favorite way to do it. Last night, I just took some catfish and dredged it in a spice rub vaguely inspired by an Alton Brown recipe, and then cooked it up in some olive oil. The flavor was pretty good, but I think I needed the pan to be hotter so the fish got a little bit of a crust on the outside. Ah well, live and learn.
I also cooked up ground beef since Mariah thought Brian would appreciate some meat. hehe... For that I just cooked it up with some garlic, Vidalia onion, serrano pepper, and some ancho chile powder. Mariah also had me make a mango salsa, which unfortunately was hampered by an under-ripe mango.
I did my favorite Mexican rice recipe, which comes from this nutrition website that I think exists mostly to hawk bogus detox products and supplements. But his rice recipe is just great!
I also did some refried black beans, which involved some crazy twists and turns... I worked from a bag of dried beans instead of from canned beans, so I had to cook them for an hour or so first. Well, I didn't cook them for long enough, so then when I started to fry them up with the various seasonings and mash them, the texture was all wrong. What to do? I added more water to the already partially mashed beans and cooked it until the texture was fixed. I actually really liked this method! I might even do it on purpose in the future. heh...
I also put out standard taco fixings, like chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese... Together with Amanda's jicama salad, which was a perfect fit for this meal, it was quite a feast!
Only problem is, as always we made too much food, so I expect to be eating Mexican for 2-3 meals a day for the rest of the week. Oh well, it was worth it.
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