Posts tagged ‘mexican food’

Grilled Fish Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce

I don’t remember the first time I had fish tacos. I guess it was probably a few years ago when they first started becoming popular.

I’ve always loved fish though, so I thought they were a great idea from the get go.

Making fish tacos myself, however, is a more recent thing. I think the first time I made them was probably a year or so ago.

As I’ve said before, I don’t like deep frying things, so I usually bake, pan fry, or grill my fish (much like my homemade fish sticks).

My fish tacos are the same. For these I pan fried the fish, but you could also grill it. They’re fast and delicious either way. The avocado cream sauce is also very easy. Just throw everything in a food processor, whiz it, and you’re good to go.
You can use pretty much any kind of white fish you like for these. Heck, you could probably even use a none-white fish, such as salmon, for these. I’ve never tried it, but it’d probably work fine.

Okay, first, mix the spice rub for your fish. It consists of cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.


Rinse and pat dry your fish fillets. Make sure you get boneless skinless fillets. Picking bones out of your fish tacos is not fun. I know, because I’ve done it. One word: messy.
Place the fillets on a baking sheet. Rub the spice rub all over both sides of the fillets. Let them set for a few minutes while you heat up your skillet/grill/oven.


Meanwhile, add a peeled, deseeded avocado, plain yogurt, a little mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, a little honey, and a little onion powder to your food processor. Process until smooth and lovely.


See? Lovely.


Pan fry, grill, or bake your fish fillets until flakey. I pan fried mine in a little olive oil. Delicious.


Chop the fish fillets up however small you want them, and serve it with the avocado cream sauce, cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage), fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice or lime wedges, shredded cheese, and warmed flour or corn tortillas.


We had corn and flour tortillas, because my dad prefers corn tortillas and I prefer flour tortillas. Even with enchiladas I prefer flour tortillas, which some people might think is sacrilege. I say, eat whichever you like. That’s just how I roll. Viva la flour tortillas! 🙂

Grilled Fish Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce

(serves 4)

  • About 16 oz. boneless skinless fillets of white fish
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
for the avocado cream sauce:
  • 1 avocado, peeled and de-seeded
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder

to serve:

  • corn or flour tortillas
  • cole slaw mix
  • fresh cilantro
  • shredded cheese
  • lime wedges or fresh lime juice
  1. Mix the cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Rinse and pat fish fillets dry, and place on a baking sheet or large plate. Rub the spice mixture into both sides of fillets. Set aside and begin heating a skillet with olive oil over medium high heat (if pan frying), or a grill set on medium.
  3. In a food processor, add avocado, yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro, honey, and onion powder. Process until smooth. Pour into a small serving bowl.
  4. Fry or grill fish fillets, turning them over once while cooking, until cooked through and flakey.
  5. Heat up tortillas on the stove or grill.
  6. To serve, place some fish, avocado cream sauce, shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, and shredded cheese (optional), all in a warm tortilla. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over if desired, and eat.

March 27, 2012 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Mexican Paradise Pie

Hisa and I went swimming this morning, but it was not the most pleasant swim. Actually, it wasn’t pleasant at all, because the water was freezing.

The only reason I’m able to get up at the crack of dawn and go lap swimming when I’m barely awake, is because the water is always nice and warm. It’s almost like sliding into a really big bathtub (and then swimming laps in it).

When I got in the pool this morning, however, the water was freezing.

I really hate the cold, and I hate being cold, so you can imagine that getting into a pool with very cold water in February at the crack of dawn when I’m sleepy and barely awake is not very high on my list of things I want to do. It’s not anywhere on my list of things I want to do. In fact, it’s on my list of things that cause me pain and suffering. Like the dark side of the force. Boo hiss.

Since we’d already bothered with getting up and getting there, however, rather than wimp out and leave early, I was determined to finish my swim. And I did! Yay me. I basically swam as fast as I could to try and warm up and get it over with as soon as possible.

Right before we left, I asked the people working why the pool was so cold. They said that when they got to the pool this morning, the pool was flooded, a hose was broken and spraying water everywhere, and the boilers were out. By the time we got there, the flooding and spraying hose were under control, but they just got the boilers fixed as we were leaving. I would say the pool employees had a pretty rough morning too.

I’m just happy the boilers are fixed now though! I really hope the water is never that cold again!

Mexican Paradise Pie is a Mexican casserole that’s a wonderful one pot dinner, hearty, and just happens to be vegetarian. My whole family loved it. Even the meat eaters!

I love one pot dinners, because it just makes everything so much easier. They’re quicker to make, easier to serve, and there’s less dishes to wash when your done. Love it.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C). In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Add one diced onion, one diced green bell pepper, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until onion and pepper are tender.


Add 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. cumin powder, and 1 tsp. coriander powder. Saute for another minutes.


Add 1 (14 oz.) can each of drained and rinsed black beans and kidney beans, one can of original Rotel (undrained), and 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken broth. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour everything into a greased or sprayed deep casserole dish.


Next, make your cornbread topping. In a large bowl, add 1 c. unbleached flour, 1 c. cornmeal, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 c. sucanat, rapadura, or sugar. Mix well. In a separate bowl, add 1 1/2 c. buttermilk, 1 large egg, and 1/4 c. melted butter or oil. Mix well. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, and stir until mixture comes together. Add 1/2 c. cheese and mix.


Pour the cornbread mixture gently on top of the bean mixture, and smooth it out with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown. If you want, add some more shredded cheese on top in the last 5 minutes of baking.


Serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream.


Aww, Paradise!


Mexican Paradise Pie

(serves 6 – 7)

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can original Rotel (undrained)
  • 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. sucanat, rapadura, or sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c. melted butter or oil
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese, plus more for topping
  • fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C).
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high  heat, add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion and pepper are tender.
  3. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, and coriander. Saute for another minute.
  4. Add black beans, kidney beans, Rotel, and broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour mixture into a greased deep casserole dish.
  6. In a large bowl, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well.
  7. In a smaller bowl, add buttermilk, egg, and oil. Mix well.
  8. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture, and stir until comes together. Add cheese and mix well.
  9. Carefully pour cornbread batter on top of the bean mixture in the casserole dish. Spread around evenly with a spatula.
  10. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until cornbread topping is golden brown. Add extra cheese as topping during last 5 minutes of baking (optional).
  11. Serve with fresh cilantro leaves and sour cream (optional).

February 21, 2012 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Vegetarian Black Bean Burritos

I went to the pool early this morning to swim.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have masochistic tendencies, because what could be more painful than getting up at dawn to exercise? And this is not just any exercise, this is lap swimming in January.

Not that I hate exercising in the morning. In Japan, I would usually go to swim or do my workout in the morning around 10 or 11am. On the contrary, I prefer to workout in the mornings. But the term “morning” covers a lot of territory. Anything done before coffee and breakfast is a painful experience. Waking up? Pain. Getting out of bed? Pain. Speaking to another human being before I have coffee running through my veins? Excruciating. So you can understand why exercising early in the morning is not very high on my list of things I want to try.

Unfortunately for me, however, the pool here is only open for lap swimming early in the mornings and in the evenings. All the times I’ve gone swimming at this pool before, have been in the evenings, but evenings are always kind of a pain the butt. If I’m in the city, I have to make sure I’m back in time, I have to hurry there and back so I can start making dinner, I’m usually already tired from doing things all day, etc. It just doesn’t work out that well.

So this morning, I decided to try swimming during the morning hours. I have to admit, I’m quite proud of myself for actually getting up and getting there, and it was quite refreshing in a way. Now that I’m home, showered, and I’ve had my breakfast, however, the sleepiness has suddenly hit me like a sack of potatoes (and I’m not talking about new potatoes here, I’m talking about a huge bag of russet potatoes).

I’d love to be able to be one of those people who can do this every morning, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ll be thrilled if I can pull this off twice a week.

We’ll see how it goes…

Last night a tried out a new recipe for vegetarian black bean burritos. Usually when I make Mexican food, there’s meat involved in some form or another, so I was a bit weary of whether this meatless version would be as satisfying or not. They were a hit with everyone though, and just as satisfying and tasty as their meat filled cousins! This is a great vegetarian Mexican food alternative, and it’s quick to throw together for nights when you need something fast.


First, in some olive oil, saute a diced onion, a couple cloves of minced garlic, some chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and coriander for a couple minutes.


Add two cans of drained and rinsed black beans and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the temp and simmer for about 8 – 10 minutes.


Mash everything up, and mix in a little salsa or hot sauce if you want.


I only had small flour tortillas on hand, so mine were more taco-like rather than actual burritos, but warm up some burrito-size tortillas, then serve everything. To eat, fill a warmed tortilla with some of the bean mixture, salsa, cheese, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lettuce, tomato, cilantro, etc. Fold the sides in, and then roll it all up into a burrito.

Vegetarian Black Bean Burritos

(serves 4)


  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried coriander
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • dash salt
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c. salsa -or- 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (optional)

To serve:

  • burrito-size flour tortillas
  • lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • sour cream -or- Greek yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Heat a few lugs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and spices, and saute gently until onion softens, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add beans and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and continue simmering for 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mash up beans until a paste. Mix in salsa or hot sauce if desired, and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Heat flour tortillas individually on a hot (non-oiled) skillet, or in the microwave.
  5. To eat: Spoon some of the bean filling onto a warm tortilla. Add lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro as desired. Fold the sides in, and then roll up intro a burrito.

January 4, 2012 at 2:23 am Leave a comment

Today’s Lunch

Today’s lunch: Chicken, bean, and cheese quesadillas, guacamole, salsa, and an apple

I meant to add some corn chips to go with it, but forgot in my early morning haze. These things sometimes happen pre-coffee.

October 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

Homemade Enchilada Sauce and Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

When I was still living in the U.S., enchilada sauce wasn’t one of those things I thought of making from scratch. I always bought the canned stuff, and didn’t think anything of it.

When I moved to Japan, however, I discovered that enchilada sauce is practically nonexistent here (note: since then it is now available in some import stores, but only one kind available and usually it’s expensive). So what was an Oklahoma girl seriously craving some enchiladas to do?

I decided to make my own enchilada sauce from scratch. I began researching enchilada sauce recipes all over the internet until I had a pretty good idea of what made a standard red enchilada sauce, and then I experimented with making my own only to discover that, oh, making enchilada sauce is actually easy!

Since then, I make enchiladas quite often, and my husband and I love them! I honestly don’t like the canned stuff anymore. It tastes horribly salty if I have it now. Homemade enchilada sauce is so much better than the canned stuff! And it’s much healthier for you.

Until now, I’d never measured things when I made my enchilada sauce, and instead simply went by taste when I made it. I decided I should probably get an actual written recipe though, so I measured everything out last night when I made enchiladas for dinner, and I now have an actual recipe for you!

Simply pour this sauce on your enchiladas before baking, and you’ll end up with awesome enchiladas! This sauce is also good for making enchilada or taco soup. Just mix the sauce with chicken broth (to taste) and add cooked chopped chicken, black beans, corn, diced carrot, etc. You can also freeze this sauce for later use.

To start, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Dice onion small onion (or half a large onion) and add it to the pan. Cook until onion turns translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add 3 cloves minced garlic and continue cooking for another minute.

Add 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, and a good dash of cinnamon powder, and cook for another minute. Do not fear the cinnamon. The cinnamon is your friend. Trust me.

Add 2 cups chicken broth and turn up the heat to medium-high.

Add two tablespoons of tomato paste and a bay leaf, and mix well. When it starts to boil, cover the pan and turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. If you want it spicier, you can add more cayenne at this point. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool. When it’s no longer super hot, remove the bay leaf and then blend the sauce in the blender. Be careful when blending hot liquids in a blender! It will splatter out of the blender all over you and everything else if it’s too hot. I did this once, and I still have a couple burn scars where the hot liquid splattered on me. And I was holding down the lid. Not fun. Let the sauce cool a little before blending.

After blending the sauce, return it to the pan and heat it on med.-low until it’s heated through. At this point if you want the sauce to be thicker you can mix a little flour (a couple tablespoons should suffice) and water in a small dish and then drizzle it into the sauce while stirring constantly until it thickens. Corn starch or arrowroot powder and water will also work.

At this point your enchilada sauce is done, and ready to be used to make delicious enchiladas!

To make my chicken and spinach enchiladas (serves 2):

  1. Boil two chicken breasts, shred them, and mix them with a little of the enchilada sauce.
  2. Then saute a whole bag of fresh spinach in some butter and season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Once that’s done, add a little bit of the chicken, a little bit of spinach, and some shredded cheese to a tortilla, roll it up tightly, and place it in a baking pan.
  4. Keep doing that until the pan is full (I use a square baking pan, so I make about 6 – 8 enchiladas depending on if I’m using flour or corn tortillas), then simply pour on the enchilada sauce until the enchiladas are swimming in it, sprinkle some shredded cheese, and pop the pan in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 C).

I usually have some enchilada sauce left-over, but if you use a larger pan with more enchiladas, you probably won’t.

Mmmmm, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (or half a large onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (chili pepper)
  • good dash of cinnamon powder
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp. flour (or cornstarch or arrowroot powder) mixed with 2 1/2 Tbsp. cold water (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until onion softens.
  2. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add cumin, oregano, coriander, cayenne, and cinnamon, and cook for another minute.
  3. Add chicken broth, tomato paste, and bay leaf and mix well. Turn up heat to medium-high. When it begins to boil, turn down the heat down to a simmer, cover the pan, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf and adjust seasoning to taste (you can add more cayenne if you want it spicier at this point). Turn off heat and let cool until no longer scalding.
  5. Blend in blender, and return to pan. Turn on heat to medium-low and heat sauce through. To thicken sauce at this point, add flour dissolved in water slowly, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
  6. Use immediately to make enchiladas, enchilada/tortilla soup, or freeze for later use.

September 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm 2 comments

Today’s Lunch

One of the best time savers for making lunches, I’ve discovered, is that when I make certain foods for dinner like calzones, burritos, soups, stews, chilli, baked potatoes, etc., I simply make extra to include in lunch the next day. Or even better, for foods that freeze well (things like calzones, burritos, english muffin sandwiches, etc.), I make a lot more, then simply freeze the extras for a quick lunch box main dish whenever I need it.

Although I’m still new to making packed lunches every day, I’ll try to share my tips and discoveries as they come along. 🙂

Today’s lunch: grilled burritos with chips and salsa

September 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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