Fruit

10 years ago, if you’d told me that I’d move to the far west, cookie-cutter suburbs of Houston and judge most of the restaurants frequent-visit list by the quality of their playground and not necessarily the food, I might have laughed in your face.

Probably would have, actually. All those margaritas I made with Mrs Ts neon-green bottled mix would have no-doubt left me pretty giggly.

But here we are 10 years later. In the far west, cookie-cutter suburbs of Houston. And we judge most of the restaurants that we frequently visit by the presence of a playground, the quality of said playground, and lastly: the food.

One of those restaurants shoots to the top of that list simply because of the playground. Because why else would anyone pay more for average TexMex when you can get better, for less?

But we have a 4 year old with endless amounts of squeals and climb-up-the-slide energy. And they have free ice cream and a covered playground smack-dab in the middle of the cookie-cutter suburbs. They are, as you can imagine, raging successful.

And sometimes being able to talk over a bowl of chips and green sauce on a patio while The Little plays 20 feet away is totally worth it. So you pick your battles. And I made peace with it once I discovered their Fish Tacos with double Cucumber-Mango salsa. Because the fresh, crunchy, and sweet salsa has been the best thing I’ve tasted there.

At home, we ditch the oily coleslaw and heavy chipotle mayo that comes on the restaurant version in favor of keeping it light and simple: chile-lime grilled fish, thin slices of avocado, cucumber-mango salsa, and whatever crumbled cheese I have (queso fresco or goat cheese).

Fresh, bright, light, and flavorful. And if we had a rocking playground like that our backyard, we’d never have to go back.

Grilled Chile-Lime Fish Tacos with Cucumber-Mango Salsa

Flaky white fish seasoned with chile and lime is topped with a sweet, fresh scoop of cucumber and mango salsa and queso fresco.

Ingredients

  • For the fish:
  • 1 lb tilapia
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Chile powder (I used chipotle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • For serving:
  • 1/2 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Tortillas
  • Crumbled cheese (queso fresco or goat cheese)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  2. Squeeze a couple of lime wedges over the fish and then season both sides with salt, pepper, and dust with chile powder.
  3. When the grill is heated, lightly spray/brush the filets with olive oil and cook for ~4 minutes each side.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno with a pinch of salt and the juice from 1-2 lime wedges (to taste).
  5. Squeeze the remaining limes over the fish when it comes off the grill.
  6. Flake the fish into large bite-sized pieces and serve on tortillas topped with a generous scoop of salsa and crumbled cheese.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Watermelon Salad with Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

Last week, a picture of a pumpkin cheesecake popped up in my Facebook feed and I was like no.

And then I went all Tracy-Morgan-from-Cop-Out.

NO. NONONONONONO.

HELL. NO.

It’s July. And I want no part of pumpkin creamy salted apple Thanksgiving caramel candy corn baked casserole pumpkin anything.

What I do want? Sweet, figure-friendly summer fruit. Doused in figure-unfriendly tequila.

And we all know that fruit and tequila go together perfectly.

Watermelon Salad with Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

One of my favorite throw-together summer side salads is watermelon, red onion, feta, jalapeno, and a big handful of cilantro, sprinkled with just a little salt and a squeeze of lime. It has everything you could want in a summer side, except tequila.

Cut in larger chunks, it makes a fabulous salad. Cut in smaller dice, it’s makes a fabulous salsa for a no-cook chips-and-salsa dinner on the patio.

So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite recipes from Pastry Queen Parties is a similar blend of flavors taken to the next level with a tequila-lime vinaigrette. It has everything you could want in a summer side, including tequila.

The Pastry Queen serves her spiked watermelon salad in scooped out personal-sized watermelon bowls. So fancy. I opt for the no-fuss approach: a 12-year-old tupperware bowl that’s missing its lid.

Watermelon Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Watermelon and feta salad get a summery kick from a tequila and lime vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • For the salad:
  • 5 generous cups 1.5-inch dice watermelon (about 1 small watermelon)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 3 oz crumbled feta
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (optional - but go for it)
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tequila
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Lightly toss the watermelon, onion, cilantro, feta, and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, tequila, 1 Tbsp honey, salt and red wine vinegar together.
  3. Taste for sweetness and whisk in the extra honey, if desired.
  4. Pour over immediately before serving.
  5. If you anticipate having leftovers, only dress half the salad with half the dressing - the watermelon will water down the dressing the longer it sits. Dress additional salad as needed.

Notes

Yields: ~8 servings

Adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties

Estimated time: 20 minutes

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DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

The first time I made it, I called it “Cheater’s Cherries Jubilee.” For a few nights more in a row than I’ll admit on the internet, I pitted ~2 dozen cherries into a small bowl, dropped a piece of orange peel in, and popped it in the microwave for 90 seconds.

I scooped the still-warm, slightly-tart cherry sauce over a bowl of vanilla ice cream and borderline inappropriately oooh’ed and aaah’ed my way through dessert.

But only borderline inappropriately.

DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

90 seconds. That’s all it took for a quarter-pound of fresh cherries to cook into a borderline magical dessert sauce. No butter, no booze, and most importantly: I still have both of my eyebrows.

After a couple of nights of making single-serving cherry sauce in the microwave, I buckled down and pitted an entire pound of cherries for a larger, “yogurt topping” batch.

It took two 90-second trips through the microwave with a couple of pieces of orange peel, a little cornstarch to help it “gel” just a bit more, and a few drops of liquid stevia at the end just to sweeten it enough to take the edge off my morning bowl of plain Greek yogurt. (When I make it for ice cream, I dodn’t add sweetener at all.)

DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

Making your own fresh cherry dessert topping couldn’t be easier. I mean, maybe it could… but I think you’ll be happier with a DIY version than opening up a jar.

And it’s applications are endless: top pancakes and waffles, scoop over ice cream, swirl into your favorite brownie batter, serve over plain cheesecake, swirl into yogurt… I could keep going. But then I’d have to make another batch.

DIY: Fresh Cherry Sauce

Fresh Cherry Sauce

Fresh cherries are turned into a decadent ice cream or yogurt topping in just 3 minutes in the microwave.

Ingredients

  • ~1 1/4 lb cherries, pitted to yield 1 lb
  • 2 1x3-inch lengths of orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • Sweetener of choice (optional; I used 4 drops liquid stevia)

Instructions

  1. Place cherries and orange peel in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over top.
  2. Microwave on high for 90 seconds, stir, and heat for another 90 seconds - the mixture will bubble up so don't walk away! Or better, place a paper towel under the bowl.
  3. Add any sweetener, if desired, and let cool a bit.
  4. Scoop the still-warm sauce over ice cream for Cheater Cherries Jubilee or chill completely and swirl into yogurt.
  5. Will keep at least a week in a jar in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: 2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 15 minutes

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Peach and Plum Galette

There are two things of which I am certain:
1) God intended a ripe, bruise-it-just-by-looking-at-it peach to be consumed in the heat of July, straight from the tree and
2) Plums get the shaft when it comes to pretty internet recipes.

But if God didn’t want something like this to happen, surely he wouldn’t have let the Pilgrims invent buttery, flaky pie crust to share with the natives on the First Thanksgiving*

*That is possibly not historically accurate.

Peach and Plum Galette

We’ve talked before about how “galette” was just a fancy French word for throw &^%$ together (as well as another way to consume wine). And if this recipe doesn’t exemplify throwing *&^% together, man, I just don’t know what does.

I took three of the ripest peaches I could get my hands on and three of the juiciest plums I could swipe before Landry ate them all. I sliced those up, piled them into a rolled-out pie crust that I found at the bottom of the freezer (while I was making room for another bag of pitted cherries, naturally), and then hit it with an egg wash and a sprinkling of sugar.

What went into the oven was an almost-pretty pile of improvisation. What came out of the oven was a beautiful, bubbly concoction wrapped in a flaky, buttery pastry crust. And at about the same temperature if I had grabbed a peach off the tree in the backyard.

Peach and Plum Galette

I used as little sugar as possible. I could tell you that this was to let the natural sweetness of the fruit shine. But that’s kind of a load. What I was really trying to do was save the carby carbs for the ice cream I planned to serve on top. The creamy vanilla ice cream cut the slightly tart galette perfectly for dessert on the patio.

Not too shabby for a barely-a-recipe recipe.

Peach and Plum Galette

A quick and easy fruit tart highlighting two of summer's best fruits: peaches and plums.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium peaches, skin-on and sliced*
  • 3 plums, skin-on and sliced*
  • 1 pie crust (this is my favorite recipe)
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • *I quartered the fruit, removed the pits, and then sliced each quarter into three pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper.
  3. Arrange the sliced fruit in the center and working your way out, leaving a ~2-inch border of crust.
  4. Fold the crust edges up and over the fruit (you can lift the sides of the parchment to fold the dough over if it has gotten too soft to do it by hand).
  5. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet.
  6. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  7. Bake for ~30 minutes, until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
  8. Serve topped with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, pie crust from The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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