What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Good Food Hunting: Lemon Chia Seed Cake

January 09, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Nielsen

Lemon chia seed cake is an alternative to lemon poppy seed cake only with no grains!

Lemon chia seed cake is an alternative to lemon poppy seed cake, only with no grains!

Lemon chia seed cake is an alternative to lemon poppy seed cake with  a ton more nutrition and get this, no grains!

My personal blog, Eat Your Tarte Out is a place where anyone can come to learn more about cooking and baking. On occasion, I’m presented with challenges by individuals, and that’s exactly what happened in this recipe. My rider friend and colleague wanted me to create a version of lemon poppyseed cake, but with no grains. At the end of my experimenting, I was so surprised with the results- it tasted absolutely phenomenal!

What I came up with in this recipe was a way to combine what most people had in their homes, with a few specialty ingredients. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, just make things a bit more healthier and tailored to this person’s diet.  Take chia seeds for example, they’re one of nature’s nutritional powerhouses. Packed with tons of Omega 3’s, protein, vitamins and minerals, and with a unique gelling ability, chia seeds should become a staple in your pantry for all the benefits!

Chia seeds provide a complete amino acid profile including Lysine and Proline. Proline is a key constituent of collagen. Chia's antioxidant content is higher than blueberries.

Chia seeds provide a complete amino acid profile including Lysine and Proline. Proline is a key constituent of collagen. Chia’s antioxidant content is higher than blueberries.

For the flour components of this recipe, I opted for almond flour and quinona flour. Almond flour rarely gets fine enough unless bought for commercial use, therefor you’ll have to try and find almond meal or make it yourself from slivered almonds. You start off by baking the almonds at 350 degrees on a baking sheet, in a single layer for about 10-15 minutes. The almonds can brown slightly, but be careful not to get too much color on them. After they have cooled, you put them in your food processor to get a fine ground meal. Over processing a nut that has excess moisture will turn into butter, so this method of drying works well to help you achieve your desired meal. In this recipe, I also opted to use quinoa flour. Because of the grittiness of almond meal, I wanted to make a more desirable texture in the end cake so I needed a non-grain flour preferably packed with tons of ingredients. However, if you haven’t used it yet, beware. The first time I used it and had it activated with butter, I almost ‘lost my lunch’ due to the smell and taste. Non-cooked quinona emits a very bitter smell and taste to ward off prey in the wild. When it reaches a certain temperature, that bitterness gets removed. It was after much research I gave it another shot in my cake recipe. If you can maintain your sniffer through putting the cake together and baking it (DO NOT try the batter), the results will be well worth it.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, but I look forward to you trying this no grain recipe!

To full plates and eating your tarte out!

Lemon Chia Seed Cake

1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of almond meal
3/4 cup of quinoa flour
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
Juice from one freshly squeezed lemon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of confectioners sugar

Position oven racks to the middle and reheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ cake pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, baking powder, quinoa flour, almond meal, chia seeds and salt. Set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale in color, about two to three minutes. Scrape down the sides and add in the the eggs, mixing till combined. Add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.  Spread out evenly into the buttered pan and bake until golden brown on top, 20-25 minutes.

In another small bowl, combine the lemon juice, vanilla and powdered sugar to make a glaze. Keep stirring to remove lumps. Pour the glaze onto the warm cake and spread out evenly. Let cool completely before cutting.

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

December 27, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Nielsen

Finished roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans.

Roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and brown butter.

Roasting these mini cabbages brings out awesome flavor, but pairing them with nutty brown butter and sweet pecans, they becomes a dreamy side dish for eating “lesser vegetables” and all taste.

Trimming the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts, preparing them for baking.

Trimming the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts, preparing them for baking.

Roasting almost any vegetable is a usually a surefire way to success. I’ve found many converts to beets and Brussels sprouts because of this method of cooking. You start this process by coating your vegetables in oil, and roast at a high temperature to bring out the natural sweetness. In the case of the Brussels sprout, the cabbage flavor mellows out which is usually why most people stay away from these guys.

With the addition of brown butter, you get a really lovely nutty flavor that coats everything. To understand brown butter, you start but realizing that butter is just water and milk solids. When you cook the butter, it’s usually over a saucepan and continually stirred. As the water evaporates, the milk solids start to brown and create a very aromatic sauce, with amazing taste. It’s that unique flavor you can add to baked goods, roasting and just about anything where you’d use butter to amp things up a bit.

Brown butter, this is an incorrect example with too many browned/burned bits at the bottom. Yours should be equally tanned and nutty in aroma.

Brown butter, this is an incorrect example with too many browned/burned bits at the bottom. Yours should be equally tanned and nutty in aroma.

Last but not least, are the addition of toasted nuts to the Brussels sprouts. I love pecans, and because they’re iconic of the holiday season I love adding them in this recipe. Of course you can substitute hickory nuts, or even hazelnuts for that extra crunch factor.

Enjoy your roasting and the taste of the season!

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

2 pounds of fresh Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of butter, unsalted
1 cup of pecan pieces (or hickory nuts)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Trim the base of your Brussels sprouts and remove any bruised leaves. If your Brussels Sprouts are extra large, be sure to halve them down the middle. Place into a baking dish large enough to let your Brussels sprouts spread out onto one even layer.

Pour olive oil onto Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for fifteen minutes.

In the interim, heat your butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue stirring. Butter will foam, it is after this point that you’re looking for a light tan color and nutty aroma. Remove from heat once this is achieved.

Remove Brussels sprouts from oven, pour butter over top and sprinkle with pecans. Stir to coat. Bake for an additional ten to fifteen minutes or until largest Brussels sprouts can be easily pierced with a knife.

Remove Brussels sprouts from oven, serve immediately.

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

November 07, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Spaghetti squash with a fresh tomato sauce is an ideal healthy meal or side dish that tastes super delicious too!

Spaghetti squash with a fresh tomato sauce is an ideal healthy meal or side dish that tastes super delicious too!

A recipe that packs a flavorful punch and is low in calories and carbs is pretty hard to come by. But finding a recipe that also meets a meat and potatoes man’s seal of approval is almost impossible. Never fear however, because I’m sharing with you my man’s most requested dish that is good for you AND gluten free, vegan and sugar free.

Pasta is one of the most versatile foods. It can be adapted in so many ways which is exactly why spaghetti squash fits the bill for being an ideal meal option for those looking to make a healthy change. It’s great because once you get the basis of spaghetti squash down, it can be one of the best substitutes in your pantry, and it stores for awhile without needing refrigeration.

Spaghetti Squash, showing the whole, roasted and shredded squash.

Spaghetti Squash, showing the whole, roasted and shredded squash.

The recipe really couldn’t be easier in that it uses fresh ingredients, or easy to locate items even during the winter for year round enjoyment. The squash is baked and cooled, and then a fresh sauce is made. I find that the sauce can be doctored up in a number of ways. I typically add a small amount of sugar to help balance out the tomatoes acidity and give them a more rounded flavor. This of course is not necessary, and you will need to taste test along the way as you make your sauce to be sure it fits what your own taste buds enjoy.

A bite of the finished Spaghetti Squash, ready to eat.

A bite of the finished Spaghetti Squash, ready to eat.

For those with dietary restrictions however, please heed the following advice to alter this basic recipe and still make it taste super:

  • Low glycemic– omit the sugar called for in the recipe
  • Vegan– substitute the sugar and use something like agave syrup, omit the parmesan or use Parma
  • Paleo– substitute the olive oil for coconut oil
  • Lactose free– omit the parmesan
  • No Iodine– substitute the type of salt used and omit the parmesan
  • Gluten lovers– try the spaghetti squash, or if you must, omit it and use pasta
  • Gluten free– This recipe is perfect for you!
  • Vegetarian– This recipe is perfect too!

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Spaghetti Squash with a sprinkling of basil and parmesan (optional).

Spaghetti Squash with a sprinkling of basil and parmesan (optional).

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs)
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary, fresh
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 can of whole tomatoes (18 ounces), preferably San Marzano or 1 lb of tomatoes, skins removed
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1/4 cup fresh Basil, sliced
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice your spaghetti squash from end to end horizontally using a sharp knife. Scoop out the pulp and seeds, rinse under cold water. Pat dry.  Place your two halves of spaghetti squash onto a baking sheet. Drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil onto each half and coat the top using a pastry brush or clean paper towel. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until fork punctures easily through the flesh. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once the spaghetti squash is cool, use a fork and pull down the length of the squash to remove strands. Remove until just the skins are left. Repeat with other half, placing the strands into a bowl for serving.

In a saucepan over medium heat, place the remaining olive oil. Sauté your onions and garlic for about 3-5 minutes or translucent. Over the saucepan, run your fingers down the rosemary sprig removing the leaves into your pan. Sauté one minute longer. Next, add your red pepper flakes and tomatoes along with their juices. Using a wooden spoon, break up your tomatoes into large hunks and bring to a simmer (if using fresh tomatoes simmer for about ten additional minutes). Add in your sugar and vinegar. Stir and taste the sauce, adding more sugar and vinegar as needed to balance out the flavors. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, heat till boiling.

Ladle your finished sauce on top of the spaghetti squash strands. Sprinkle with your parmesan and basil. Serve immediately.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Baked Apple Cider Donuts

October 03, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Baked apple cider donuts make for a healthier way to enjoy one of my favorite fall treats!

Baked apple cider donuts make for a healthier way to enjoy one of my favorite fall treats!

Fall is officially here in every sense of the season. The temperatures are starting to relent and the beautiful bounty of fall is apparent in the harvests. This is the time too that many of us start using our oven way more readily to heat up the house and leave everything smelling oh so delicious. While I’m the first to grab gallons of cider, one of my weaknesses comes with cider donuts. There just isn’t anything like visiting your local apple orchard and being greeted with fresh cider and those fried morsels of heaven.

Leaving out the greasy goodness of donuts, an emerging trend has been on the rise and that’s with baked donuts. Thank goodness for a little health where there really wasn’t any! Depending on the recipe, you can simply close your eyes and be none the wiser when it comes to detecting fried versus baked. I got a donut hole pan which I’ve been itching to try so I decided to give it a whirl. After several attempts, I realized that the recipe absolutely makes the difference. While you’ll never get a typical donut (or at least from what I’ve tried), I’ve found the cake-like donuts work very well in this instance.

Apple cider donuts are a favorite fall treat. Served up for brunch or enjoyed at a seasonal party!

Apple cider donuts are a favorite fall treat. Served up for brunch or enjoyed at a seasonal party!

For starters, you’ll need  a really good non-stick pan. I purchased my pan from Wilton. What I like about this version is that I didn’t have to use oil, I tried but it just kept pooling at the bottom so I finally gave up. That just meant less calories! Because I only had the one sided pan, I was left with a two-toned colored donut sphere, browned where it touched the pan, and a beige where the batter rose and domed. There are versions like the King Arthur Flour pan that come with a top and bottom so you do get more even coloring.

Sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon is my favorite way to enjoy these donuts, but you can also coat them in powder sugar or serve with maple syrup!

Sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon is my favorite way to enjoy these donuts, but you can also coat them in powder sugar or serve with maple syrup!

In the recipe I cut corners where I thought I could as I didn’t want to sacrifice taste. I used healthier oils such as sunflower and grape seed oil. Vegetable oil just really isn’t that good for you because of how it’s processed. With your oils it’s best to choose ones that are cold pressed and are light in flavor. Those can be subbed out in most recipes seamlessly and with more health benefits. The addition of whole wheat flour helps to restore some of those missing nutrients, but if you’re not a big fan, sub out for your favorite all purpose or gluten free flour. Lastly due to my own lack of self control, I made the donut holes to help me get a taste of what I “needed” without over indulging.

For equestrians and health conscious people alike, this recipe warrants a full of flavor donut with less calories than the fried version. It’s perfect for brunches, a quick breakfast for the family or a fun after dinner snack. Served with cider, there’s no better way to enjoy a crisp fall day in less time than it takes to wash a batch of laundry.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

The men-folk in my life said these were like mini pancakes. Served up with maple syrup they could be just that!

The men-folk in my life said these were like mini pancakes. Served up with maple syrup they could be just that!

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Makes 20 donut holes, 12 mini donuts or 6 regular sized donuts

2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1/8 cup of sunflower or grape seed oil
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of apple pie spice or nutmeg
1 1/3 cups of flour, preferably whole wheat
1/4 cup of cider
1/4 cup of milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Ready your baking pan, in this recipe you can use a mini muffin pan if you don’t have a donut hole pan (if you use a mini muffin pan preheat your oven to 425 degrees). Grease as per the directions of your pan manufacturer.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, oil and sugars until well blended. Next add in the vanilla and egg until incorporated. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix together until just incorporated.

Place an even amount of batter into each well of the pan, a heaping teaspoon should do. Repeat until batter is used up. Place pan into oven and bake for about fifteen minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes.

Gently remove donut holes from pan and allow to cool on a rack for another five minutes. At this point the donut holes should be slightly warm to the touch. Depending on your preference, you can coat the donuts at this stage or serve immediately.

To coat in powdered sugar, add 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar to a bowl. Roll donut holes around till coated. You can also place them in a paper bag and shake till coated (be careful to not be to rough in your shaking or the donuts may break apart). If wanting sugar coated donuts, combine 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Either place in a bowl or paper bag to coat. Serve immediately. These donuts are also great served with maple syrup as a substitute for pancakes!

Dig in!

Dig in!

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

September 19, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Roasted red pepper hummus is vibrant and full of flavor.

Roasted red pepper hummus is vibrant and full of flavor.

Hummus is one of the great many time savers in an equestrians life. It works as satiating snack item to help you avoid that ravenous feeding frenzy of processed foods and carbs that you struggle to deal with later on after consumption. Packed with tons of nutrients and not a lot of junk, it can be your new best friend for many a weeknight meals.

Roasted red pepper hummus enjoyed with vegetables.

Roasted red pepper hummus enjoyed with vegetables.

In my recipe below I recommend using dried beans as the base for the hummus. This process isn’t really a shortcut in time saving techniques, but in a lot of ways the recipe is low maintenance and allows you to shower and take care of other errands as the beans work themselves out. I actually learned that this overnight soaking helps to release excess gases in the beans. I know you all can put it together, but it’s something worth mentioning! As far as the cooking liquid called for in the recipe, this starchy broth helps bind the hummus together and gives you a nice creamy base. But if you’re pressed for time, two cans of garbanzo beans will do the trick (drained of course).

Roasted red pepper hummus plated and ready for enjoyment at your next social gathering.

Roasted red pepper hummus plated and ready for enjoyment at your next social gathering.

While I recommend roasted red peppers in this recipe, you can feel free to add your own take on it such as sun dried tomatoes (reconstituted), roasted garlic, pesto, or chipotle peppers. You could even enjoy it plain. I find the real magic happens after it’s made Of course it’s a great dip for vegetables and crackers. As a second meal, it’s a great binder and moisturizer for a vegetable wrap. Once it starts to dry out a bit, that’s when you coat chicken breasts in it and bake it. The chicken always turns out super flavorful and moist with a great crust. Basically enjoy using it up until it’s gone!

Hummus enjoyed on a flatbread piled on with a mountain of fresh veggies.

Hummus enjoyed on a flatbread piled on with a mountain of fresh veggies.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 cup dried garbanzo beans

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 roasted red peppers

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small lemon, squeezed for juice

2 tablespoons of tahini, optional

Salt and Pepper

 

Let beans sit overnight in about six cups of water.

Drain and rinse beans. Place Beans and six cups of cold water into a large saucepan with the lid slightly cracked. Cook on medium heat for about one hour or until the Beans lose their mealiness when tasted. Remove from heat. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid and drain the beans.

In a food processor or blender, place the beans, garlic, peppers, lemon and tahini in. Pulse until the ingredients are incorporated. Slowly add in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Once fully incorporated, test consistency. Depending on individual preferences, you’ll need to add small amounts of your cooking liquid until you get your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for about one hour before serving. Can be made ahead of time and stored in refridgerator before using.

Serve with carrots, radishes, celery, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli or any other desired vegetables.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Strawberry Cream Shake

August 22, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

The strawberry and cream shake gets a boost from freeze dried berries since frozen fruits aren't always ideal in terms of taste.

The strawberry and cream shake gets a boost from freeze dried berries since frozen fruits aren’t always ideal in terms of taste.

Summer is coming to an end, and with it the winding down of show season. Slowly we start getting depressed because daylight is shorter and our access to fresh ice cream and riding time is becoming limited. That ice cream bit may just be me however.
Ice cream or sweets splurges are something most of us can relate to in some way (for those dairy intolerant stick with me). We’re emotional over something- our horse decided to pull a stunt that left him lame before finals, your significant other threw their red shirt in with all of your riding clothes including the new breeches you bought, or you’re just sick and tired of it all. We’ve all been there and had some version of that ‘kind of day,’ where a pint of ice cream or visit to your secret stash is the first line of defense towards mending emotional breakdowns.
Ice cream, the universal cure for emotional upsets.

Ice cream, the universal cure for emotional upsets.

I hate to burst your bubble and possibly throw your emotional state right off the cliff, but have you happened to look at the nutritional label for ice cream lately? Holy Butterfinger! It’s absolutely and utterly heartbreaking to know that you can no longer eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting if you want to maintain weight (good thing you’re not a jockey). But it’s also scary not knowing what half of the ingredients are in it too.
Healthy alternatives usually mean no flavor and the inability to satiate even the barn dog. Luckily for you I stumbled upon an amazing fix for ice cream lovers without the huge guilt to rack up with it. The recipe started off as a shake to substitute for my morning meal which I do on days when I work out. It’s a good way to get nutrients, but not feel weighted down or starved. Normally I’ll throw yogurt, flax seeds, a banana, some type of frozen or fresh fruit and a splash of fruit juice in the blender. These are good, but due to the way our food system works, the frozen or fresh fruit (especially those which are out of season) doesn’t taste like a whole lot. While this shake can get me through my morning, there isn’t enough sweetness or taste there for me to feel like I’m getting satisfied as if I were to have one later in the day when I’m craving ice cream or a cookie. This is exactly how the recipe hunt got started, take the components of a shake but amp it up to feel like I’m getting a sweet treat but without all the calories and heaviness.

It’s a simple fact of compensating for what is lacking in the base recipe. In terms of the lame fruit with no flavor or taste, I added freeze dried fruit in addition to the frozen fruit. This not only enhances the color (we eat with our eyes), but also added the flavor of the berry back into the mix. For the subtle sweetness I was missing, I added in sugar and some vanilla- these are two ingredients in ice cream so it was a natural step. As far as the creaminess, I tried experimenting with a number of “creams.” Cream is in ice cream, but if it was unhealthiness we were trying to cut down on, then this wouldn’t suffice. I did try a vegan version and non-fat in terms of skim milk, the results were lack luster for me. I finally settled on organic whole milk which had a ton of flavor, vitamins and had just the right amount of creaminess. From all that, a recipe was born.

It’s a simple recipe, but I urge everyone to try various versions based on their own preferences. I insisted on the use of sugar because this shake became a healthier alternative to my plate of brownies in an emotional frenzy, and it satisfied my own sweet tooth. Omit the sugar or try honey or agave syrup. You can consider using different combinations of frozen fruit- perhaps peaches and raspberries, and then mix up the freeze dried fruit for whatever you can find. For those whose taste buds reflect a need for lightness, by all means- use skim milk or almond milk! Perhaps those vegans out there can help recommend an Almond Milk or other “milk” in which is creamier than what I chose to help make this more palatable for the masses. Be warned, the salt in this recipe is not one I would omit as it enhances the flavor of the recipe exponentially. But even if you stick to this very basic recipe, it’s satisfyingly delicious in times of weakness!

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Strawberry and Cream shake mimics a milkshake without tons of extra calories and a bright burst of berry flavor.

Strawberry and Cream shake mimics a milkshake without tons of extra calories and a bright burst of berry flavor.

Strawberry Cream Shake

1 cup of frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of freeze dried strawberries
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of sugar (optional)

In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend till smooth, adding more milk until desired consistency is achieved. Serve with a straw and fresh strawberry- or drink straight from the blender!

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.

Good Food Hunting: Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

August 15, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

By Kat Wojtylak

Finished and plated taco ready for devouring.

Finished and plated taco ready for devouring.

A culinary column for equestrians is no easy feat. Riders have little to no extra time, wish to eat as healthy as possible, want something that tastes amazing and of course looks phenomenal. Anything else I’m forgetting? Even when we travel to horse shows, we’re left with substandard eating that makes our breeches want to suddenly go missing. It’s not easy living the life.

Luckily, I’ve been in your shoes and know how it feels. My goal aside from the long list mentioned above is to provide delicious food that with some prep work will give you the ability to cook at home and feel really good about it. I ask you to quit grumbling about dinner, quit speed dialing the chinese restaurant that delivers in under fifteen minutes, and start finding ways to get inspired in the kitchen.

Fish tacos with mango salsa make for an easy dinner for time-strapped equestrians.

Fish tacos with mango salsa make for an easy dinner for time-strapped equestrians.

This week’s recipe is for fish tacos with mango salsa. A bright and spicy combination, these tacos showcase a ton of flavor in order to give you a new take on your next weeknight meal. Better yet, this is a perfect meal for company. Be sure to bring plenty of napkins and a great appetite too!

Tilapia is a very mild fish, and one I find works really well in a lot of recipes where you might use chicken. These tacos have a bunch of ingredients, but it’s pretty straightforward in putting them all together. You start off by pan frying up the coated fish (you can substitute shrimp, chicken or local fish), and then layer it between some corn tortillas, lettuce, cheese, mango salsa and some spicy adobo cream sauce. In both flavors and textural components, this dish is sure to wake your mouth up.

As far as the heat scale on this recipe goes, it’s pretty spicy both with the cream sauce and mango salsa. In the mango salsa you have jalapeños, but if you’re not a big fan, then simply substitute a green pepper or just omit. Don’t keep mangoes around? Try using peaches, and be warned that leftovers of this salsa are fantastic with tortilla chips. The adobo cream sauce combines sour cream with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which can be found in the hispanic section of your supermarket. The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce pack a lot of heat, but when combined with the sour cream it will help to cut down on the spiciness. I also found that consumed by itself it’s a lot hotter than when placed on the tacos. If you’re not sure if you’ll like it, start with a little bit and work your way up. You can also just drizzle sour cream on the tacos if heat isn’t your thing.

Mango salsa for adding brightness to fish tacos. Can also be served by itself for a new accompaniment to chips.

Mango salsa for adding brightness to fish tacos. Can also be served by itself for a new accompaniment to chips.

My last brainstorm for this recipe, is to try serving mini ones at your next party. You’d have to find access to mini corn tortillas, or make them yourself. But you could also use the Scoops tortilla shells. They’d be great for any party. On a small or large scale, these tacos are definitely great for entertaining, and most of all eating. So get busy in your kitchen and enjoy!

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Assembly and plating station for tacos.

Assembly and plating station for tacos.

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

1 lime, juiced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of corn meal
1 teaspoon of paprika (sweet smoked preferred)
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 lb of tilapia filets, cut into bite sized chunks
8 lettuce leaves, preferably Boston Bibb
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
oil for frying
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine mangoes, red onion, jalapeño peppers. Add half of your lime juice, and a dash of salt and pepper. Allow to sit on the counter while prepping the rest of your ingredients. As the juices settle, taste periodically and add more lime juice, salt and pepper as desired.

In a food processor, combine pecans and corn meal. Process until finely ground. Place mixture into a bowl and mix in paprika, pepper and salt. Set aside.

In a blender, or rinsed food processor, combine the sour cream and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If available, place mixture into a squirt bottle, or place mixture into a small ziplock bag (you’ll snip a corner off when you’re ready to serve). Place mixture into the fridge until ready to use.

Everything till this point can be done ahead.

In a small skillet on medium heat, cook tortillas for thirty seconds on each side. Do not use Oil. This process works best being done while you fry up your tilapia. Repeat with remaining tortillas until all are heated through.

When ready to eat, place a skillet on medium high heat. Once heated, place enough oil in the bottom to coat the surface. Take one tilapia chunk at time, and coat in the pecan corn meal mixture. Place into hot skillet and repeat with remaining pieces. Be careful to not overcrowd the pan. Depending on how big your pieces are, they should take about four minutes total to cook, three minutes on one side, one minute on the other. Place onto a plate when finished cooking and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with salt.

To assemble the tacos, place one corn tortilla down, followed by a lettuce leaf. Add two-three chunks of tilapia, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and a heaping spoonful of the mango salsa. Drizzle the adobo cream sauce over top. Continue with the remaining portions, serve and enjoy!

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at tartechic@eatyourtarteout.com.