Cumin & Cilantro Fish Tacos with Pommes Frites

Doesn’t that title sound fancy? This is actually one of the more simple meals we have made. Our good friends Chris and Laura came down from Rochester, New York last weekend for our annual winter visit. We have established a tradition that we see each other every year in the winter – not sure how that happened, because February and March is usually the best time in the northeast – right?

Also, because it’s not cold enough for us, we usually head north. Two years ago we went to Quebec City, where we experienced freezing rain the entire time; last year we went to Montreal, where the temperature was consistently 3 F. I guess we like to challenge ourselves – no matter what we do, however, we always have the best time (as an example of how weird the weather has been this year, when we went to visit them in Rochester in October, we actually went swimming in Lake Ontario – in October!). This year, we simplified things with a visit to Portland, where the weekend turned out to be beautiful.

Morse Mountain, Phippsburg, Maine

It is also a tradition for us that we have a warm meal (and plenty of wine) prepared for the arrivals (it is after all, a 9 hour drive from Rochester to Portland!). We didn’t want to make anything heavy, like lasagna, or something that was too complicated – we wanted to enjoy each other’s company, not spend the whole time cooking. Then it came to me – fish tacos! I don’t know if I had summer on my mind, or dreams of southern California, but it was the perfect solution – they are easy to make and great for eating with a group of friends, as everyone participate in making their meal. And homemade french fries were the perfect accompaniment to the tacos.

Pommes Frites
(entirely from Smitten Kitchen)

Smitten Kitchen has once again taught me a valuable cooking lesson. When I made french fries or potato crisps in the past, I would simply slice potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in the oven. What I ended up with was hit or miss – some pieces were golden brown perfection, while others were undercooked or burnt. But as I learned from this recipe, the key is boiling first. It really works – every piece came out perfectly.

  • 3-4 russet potaotes
  • olive oil
  • salt pepper

Thinly slice potatoes (I keep the skins on) and place in a cold, salted pot of water. Bring to a gently boil and cook until almost done. Drain the water and place potatoes on a baking tray. Bake until golden brown (in our oven, it took about 40 minutes).


While the fries are baking, make the sauce for the tacos next, so the flavors have some time to meld. I tend to like things spicy, so adjust the hot sauce to your liking.

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 or 2 squeezes of lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • hot sauce
  • salt
  • pepper

Mix all ingredients and adjust to taste. Cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Fish Tacos

  • White corn tortillas (small)
  • 1-2 pounds white fish (we used hake – it was on sale at the Harbor Fish Market at the time, but it’s normal retail price is affordable and worked really well for this dish)
  • 3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • Assorted vegetables for your toppings: we used avocado, red cabbage, green and red bell pepper and lots of cilantro

Cut and prep all your toppings so they are ready to go once the fish is done.

Mix the panko bread crumbs, cornmeal, chili powder and salt and pepper. Cut the fish into bite size pieces and dip each piece in the egg mixture, then the panko bread crumbs. Fry the pieces on medium heat in a cast iron pan until both sides are crispy brown and the fish is cooked all the way through. You may  have to do this in two rounds – keep the first batch in the oven on warm.

Set up all the toppings buffet style and put out the fish. Warm up the tortillas in the cast iron and hand out to your guests and let them assemble – enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

I guess you could call this my unhealthy snack series. However, I made these for a party, so I justified it by telling myself other people will eat most of these – and let’s say that pretty much happened.

I had President’s Day off last week and got the mid-winter urge to do some serious baking (I also made oatmeal cookies). I was scrolling through dessert recipes on Smitten Kitchen and the peanut butter brownies literally screamed at me to make them. A quick scan of the pantry confirmed that I didn’t even need to leave my house – all the ingredients were  on hand (or so I thought – more below!)

These brownies are very decadent, but oh so good. The brownie is thick and dense and the chocolate ganache is the perfect complement. Because they are so heavy, I ended up cutting them in smaller bites – enjoy!

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
(based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

For brownies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter,
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  •  3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For ganache

  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I did not have enough, so I improvised – see below)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (which I didn’t have, see below for substitutions)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 pan or line with parchment paper.

Let the butter soften and bear with sugar. Add peanut butter and beat until mixed. Beat in the three eggs and vanilla. Once well mixed, add the flour until just combined.

Mix in chocolate chips and spread in the pan (it will be a pretty thick batter)

Bake until brownies are golden – it my took my oven about 40 minutes.

Chocolate Gananche

While the brownies are cooling, work on making the ganache. Because I didn’t have heavy cream, I combined 2% milk and unsalted butter (about 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter). Heat up the mixture until gently boiling and pour over the chocolate chips. I was completely out, so I substituted baking cocoa and sugar (3/4 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup sugar).

Mix in the butter until well mixed. Spread the ganache on the brownies and let it set (it took about 25 minutes for me).

I found the brownies lasted about one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Guest Post: Swapaholics

Head on over to the Swapaholics blog to see a complete post about the ModCloth Swap hosted this week by Julia from Jeeze, Julia! More importantly, read Julia’s blog about how she organized the swap, chose the theme and pulled off a fantastic clothing swap that has me hankering for more clothes, shoes, accessories, hats…

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ModCloth Swap: Sneak Peek

Spring must be coming, because all I want to do is participate in and organize clothing swaps. It’s definitely that time of year – look for a guest post on the Swapaholics blog later this week about the lovely ModCloth swap I attended last night with Ashely from Sweet William. Hosted by Julia from Jeeze, Julia!, the swap featured a mid-century camping theme, a specialty cocktail and handmade favors. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of some of the great items I picked up:

Turquoise & Silver Necklace

Wood Earrings

Brown Turtleneck Sweater

Black Aldo Zipper Boots

Are you organizing any mid-winter clothing swaps?

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Healthy Snacks: Coconut Cocoa Date Balls

I never even tried dates until last year. I always looked at them as a weird, amorphous food akin to prunes. They are now one of my favorite snacks – while they are great to eat on their own, they are even better when made into these babies. These are super easy to make and last in the fridge for about two weeks, so make plenty to have on hand for a healthy snack!

Coconut Cocoa Date Balls

  • 2 cups organic dates, pitted
  • 1.5 cups organic raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup organic non-sweetened coconut (for rolling in)
  • 3 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tbs raw cocoa powder

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth. Roll into balls and roll in  coconut flakes. Enjoy!

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Sunday Dinner: Veggie Pot Pie

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted here – I have a backlog of recipes ready to be posted, as well as some great thrifting finds, so I hope to be more consistent! Tonight’s recipe came from assembling a hodge-podge of ingredients in the fridge. The inspiration was the frozen pie dough I found in the freezer, leftover from holiday pies. If you have dough ready to go, this is a really quick recipe. I included my go-to dough recipe below if you need to make it from scratch. Feel free to substitute any veggies you have on hand!

Sunday Dinner: Veggie Pot Pie

  • 1 pie crust recipe (see below)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • salt
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • sprinkle of oregano
  • 3 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp cornstarch dissolves in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp siracha
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup corn kernels

Sautee onion, garlic, salt and chili powder until translucent. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and oregano. Cook for about 10 minutes and add the potato and cornstarch. Stir and cook for five minutes or until potatoes are slightly softened. Add the siracha, tamari, veggie stock, milk and corn. Cook until mixture thickens (10 minutes or so).

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pour mixture into oven-safe deep dish. Place the pie crust over the top and gently pinch the sides. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the pie crust is golden brown and the veggie mixture is gently bubbling.

To make the pie crust:
(makes 2 pie crusts – freeze one for later use!)

  • 2 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (cold, cut into cubes)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3-6 Tbsp ice water

Put all ingredients (except water) in food processor. Pulse and gradually ice water. Take out dough and form into ball. Let sit in fridge for half hour before rolling out dough on floured surface.

What’s your go-to recipe to use up old vegetables?

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Chocolate Covered Almond Apricots

A few things here:

1. These are amazing

2. They are very easy to make

3.  You will be the hit of the potluck when you unveil these babies

This recipe is very adaptable. I used almonds, but I also think that pecans, hazelnuts or pistachios would work well – I’m also interested to try this using dates. Have fun with this!

Chocolate Covered Almond Apricots

  • 25 dried apricots (sulphur-free)
  • 25 roasted almonds
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz white chocolate

Take each apricot and gently open one end and to put in an almond. Seal the ends.

Melt each chocolate bar in separate double boilers. Using tongs, dip half the apricots in the semi-sweet chocolate and half in the white chocolate – make sure they are fully covered and shake off any excess chocolate. Place the chocolate covered apricots on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper and put in the refrigerator for about an half hour or until the chocolate is firm.

Remelt the chocolate that is left and drizzle both over the tray of apricots – go abstract! Refrigerate again until firm. Store in a tupperware in the fridge until ready to serve – they are good for about two weeks, so make plenty!

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