Crispy Fish Taco Recipe + The Best Fish Taco in San Diego

You guys are in for a treat today!  Two treats really.

Crispy Fish Tacos

A few months ago, Jorge and I went on a hunt for the best battered fish taco in San Diego.  Given the massive amount of fish taco options available, we decided to start our search by polling friends, family and fellow foodies about their favorite spots for fish tacos.  This poll resulted in these top 3 restaurants/trucks (also vetted on Yelp): Mariscos Alex, TJ Oyster Bar and Oscar’s Mexican Seafood.  After we found a favorite fish taco, I then made my own Crispy Fish Taco recipe paired with a spicy Chipotle Crema.  This week, I’m sharing my pick for the best fish taco in SD plus my fish taco recipe over on Salt & Wind, a food and travel blog by Aida Mollenkamp.  Continue reading for photos from the hunt plus links to the winner and recipe.

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Peach Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe

It has been so HOT in San Diego recently.

Peach Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe

For those of you in typically warmer summer climates, you may laugh at me when I say that it’s been an uncomfortable 75 – 80 for the past week.  But those seemingly normal temps have been accompanied by a thick blanket of humidity, something that we rarely get here in San Diego.  I used to deal with humidity all the time when I lived in New Jersey, but I’m coming up on my 11th year in SD, and I’ve completely lost all tolerance.

This uncharacteristic heat has me craving cold, sweet treats nighty.  My freezer is stocked with various tubs of homemade and store-bought ice creams, including this Fresh Peach Ice Cream.  Made with both a blended peach puree and macerated bits of yellow peach, this egg-free ice cream is just packed with peach flavor.  Like scoopable summer.

When I’m feeling lazy, I’ll enjoy a scoop or two of ice cream with some fridge staples, including jam, caramel sauce, or ginger syrup.  OR I’ll make ice cream sandwiches with store-bought cookies.  When I’m feeling a bit more ambitious, I’ll whip up a fresh batch of cookies for ice cream sandwiches.  Here, I’ve paired this Fresh Peach Ice Cream with dark, glistening Gingersnaps.  These cookies are bursting with notes of ginger, star anise, brown sugar and molasses. Ginger pairs harmoniously with peach here, forming an addicting sweet treat.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Fluffy Cardamom Pancakes Recipe

I met Cheryl at a conference last year.

Fluffy Cardamom Pancakes

Winner of Saveur’s 2014 Reader’s Choice Best Writing Blog award, Cheryl was one of the guest speakers at the conference.  I remember being particularly enthralled by Cheryl’s creative writing presentation, and I’m always impressed with her stories on 5 Second Rule.  I find that I pour most of my creativity into my cooking, styling and photography, and my writing often gets the short end of the stick!  It’s a skill I’m continuously trying to improve, and Cheryl’s blog is a good source of inspiration :)

In addition to being an amazing writer, Cheryl just released another cookbook called Yogurt Culture: A Global Look at How to Make, Bake, Sip, and Chill the World’s Creamiest, Healthiest Food.  This book is a beauty!   I often find myself with a tub of yogurt (Greek or otherwise) in my fridge, and I’m always looking for new ways to use it up (besides snacking with berries and granola!).  You’ll find a collection of my yogurt recipes below, but for a real comprehensive yogurt experience (300+ pages), you need to get Yogurt Culture.  I’ve cooked several recipes from the book including Twice-Cooked Yogurt-Marinated Chicken, Yogurt Whipped Cream, Lemon Poppy Seed Mousse and these Fluffy Cardamom Pancakes.  All were delicious, but I really loved the pancakes.  Continue reading for the recipe and roundup!

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Basil Turkey Burger Recipe

Aaaaaaand I’m back.

Basil Turkey Burgers

For the past couple of weeks, Jorge and I have been adventuring around Europe, including stops in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.  A big thanks to all who provided recommendations!  I’m not going to dive into our trip just yet, because I haven’t processed all the photos; however, you can find some foodie highlights on Instagram.

Now that we’re back, I’m in full 4th of July mode.  This year, I will be grilling up a batch of Basil Turkey Burgers inspired by one of my favorites from Burger Lounge.  Flavored with tons of fresh basil, these burgers are laced with two secret ingredients: fish sauce and sugar.  Fish sauce provides some much-needed umami without imparting a fishy flavor.  The sugar balances out the fish sauce.  Stacked up with lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup, the finished burger packs a pleasant basil punch followed by an incredibly satisfying savory finish.  Continue reading for the turkey burger recipe plus 9 other recipes for 4th of July!

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Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Chermoula

Chermoula.  Sounds crazy, but it’s super tasty.  Let me explain.

Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Chermoula

Chermoula is a North African sauce made with herbs, spices, lemon, garlic and olive oil, similar to a chimichurri or an Italian salsa verde.  It’s bright.  It’s fresh.  And it’s just packed with flavor.  For the past few years, North African condiments and spice blends have really been coming to the forefront in home kitchens (harissa, za’atar, preserved lemon), providing big hits of flavor with minimal effort.  I think Chermoula might take the spotlight next.

Here, I’ve paired this bold North African sauce with hard-boiled eggs and toast as a satisfying lunch or snack.  But that’s not the only thing you can do with Chermoula.  Far from it actually!  Dress up some broiled white fish with several spoonfuls of Chermoula to take a weeknight fish dinner to the next level.  Rub chicken thighs with this sauce then roast until tender and golden.  Serve extra Chermoula on the side!  Drizzle over charred slices of rare flank steak.  Mix with mayo for a vibrant burger topping.  So many tasty options!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

Queso Fundido, Spanish for “Melted Cheese”, is truly a thing of beauty.

Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

In it’s most basic form, Queso Fundido is just melted stringy cheese flavored with onion and garlic, and it’s often paired with roasted poblano peppers, spicy chorizo or sautéed mushrooms.  Here, I’ve taken the classic poblano pairing to the next level.  Three fat peppers get nice and charred under the broiler, and one gets chopped and mixed into the Queso Fundido while the other two transform into a vibrant green purée flavored with garlic and lime.  The contrast of the warm, rich cheese and the bright, smokey sauce is 100% addicting.  So much so that the boyfriend and I easily consumed the entire skillet (shown above) in one sitting!! Continue reading for the recipe.

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Raw Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Mint and Harissa

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Raw Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Mint and Harissa

Today, I’m sharing a vibrant raw salad made with purple carrots and beets.  These nutrient-packed vegetables are grated, and then tossed with fresh herbs and a bold citrus-harissa vinaigrette.  After a brief rest in the fridge, the salad is finished with crumbles of salty feta cheese.

Carrots and beets have been showing up regularly in my weekly Specialty Produce Farmers Market Box, so I’ve been trying out all sorts of cooking preparations to use them up.  This method of soaking grated veg in a spicy, acidic dressing is common in Moroccan cuisine.  And it’s brilliant!  The acid in the lemon juice tenderizes the grated beets and carrots while infusing with tons of flavor.  Flavors here include orange, garlic, olive oil, paprika and harissa, a spicy, North African chile paste.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Hand Pies

One of the most classic on-the-go eats, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, gets a dessert makeover in this recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Hand Pies.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Hand Pies

Stuffed with crunchy peanut butter cream and tangy grape jelly, these golden brown beauties would be a perfect addition to any picnic or afternoon at the beach.  And given that it’s going to be 80+ in San Diego this week, and I’ve got the next 4 days off, I see an afternoon or two at the beach in my very near future.

Luckily, these hand pies are super simple to prepare, so I can easily whip them up as needed.  The key?  Store-bought puff pastry!  Start by swirling together some cream cheese, chunky peanut butter, honey, sugar and milk until fully mixed.  If you can manage to not eat the entire filling with just a spoon, spread some on cut discs of thawed puff pastry.  Ideally, the puff pastry would be made with just butter (Dufour brand), but I’ve also made this recipe with cheaper types of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm, I’m looking at you), and it turns out just as well.  Next, top each swath of peanut butter filling with a spoonful of grape jelly, then seal the pie closed with another puff pastry disc.  Be sure to crimp the edges all pretty with a fork.  After a quick bake in the oven and a brief rest, you’ll be enjoying these warm, flaky pockets of goodness.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Kale Salad with Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette

Kale is still frequently on the menu at my house, and this Kale Salad with Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette is my latest creation.

Kale Salad with Miso Lemon Vinaigrette

Made with miso, lemon juice, honey, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, this Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette is simple to prepare, but still packed with flavor.  It’s salty.  It’s tart.  It’s bright.   And it’ll make you go “Oh my!” after just one taste.  I’ve paired this bold dressing with an equally full-flavored green: kale.  Prepared like my Raw Kale Salad, the chopped kale gets tossed with several spoonfuls of vinaigrette, then sits for a short while until tender.  A final sprinkling of chopped, roasted pistachios and flaky sea salt add crunch and contrast.

Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette has become one of our weekly standards, because it pairs so well with many other things.  The sauce is on the thinner side, so it packs a big flavor punch without adding too much heft.  I like to drizzle it on all sorts of salads, roasted vegetables and seafood.  Bonus!  The vinaigrette is made with mainly fridge and pantry staples.  You can keep most ingredients on hand, and then pick up fresh lemons as needed.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Harissa Butter

I’m keeping things real simple today.

Hard Boiled Egg Toast Harissa Butter

My love for healthy, flavor-packed toast isn’t limited to just avocado variations.  No, my friends, I am equally enthusiastic about the beautiful open-faced sandwich above. Meet: Hard-Boiled Egg Toast.

Now I know the combination of eggs and toast isn’t a novel one, but the addition of Harissa Butter takes these breakfast staples to the next level.  Let me explain.

Harissa Butter is a simple mixture of softened butter, Harissa (a North-African chile paste), lemon juice and salt.  This infused butter gets schmeared on a crusty slice of hot toast then topped with sliced hard-boiled egg, picked parsley leaves, salt and pepper.  The combination of flavors is incredibly satisfying.  I’ve been known to eat a slice or two for lunch or dinner, and sometimes I’ll even throw a fresh salad into the mix.

Not familiar with Harissa?  Check out my recipe here.  I also have a tube of Harissa in my fridge as a backup.  Both are tasty options.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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