A Deprived Expat’s Fish Taco Recipe

It’s not easy being an expat, especially when you’re deprived of fish tacos.

This post is mainly for any of my readers deprived of your favorite home foods, especially since you are living the ‘good life’ across the pond somewhere. Therefore, today’s post is about fish tacos. Why? Because it’s Cinco de Mayo of course. And because fish tacos rock!

We don’t have access to fish tacos around these parts and when I first heard about them, the idea sort of turned me off. Yes, I like fish. In fact, I eat fish at least twice a week, but fish and tacos just didn’t seem a likely combination. But then on a recent trip to California, I decided to try them. I was hooked from the first bite and took every chance I could to eat them.

Fish Taco Recipe

As I was looking for recipes for our Cinco de Mayo celebration, the idea of a plate of fish tacos made my tongue jump for joy (again).

 

So, What is a Fish Taco?

It’s simple math really. Fish + taco = Fish taco. Hee-hee, let’s break it down even further.

Fish tacos were reborn in Baja, the second earth’s second-longest peninsula off the Northwest coast of Mexico, but have been extremely popular in Southern California for many years.

Let’s step back a bit and give credit where credit is due. Anthropological evidence shows that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos filled with small fish. Praise for fish tacos, now onto the recipe. 🙂

A Simple Fish Taco Recipe

You can make fish tacos (Tacos de Pescado) with a hearty white fish such as, salmon, cod, tilapia, or even with shrimp (Tacos de camarones). The taco filling generally consists of shredded cabbage, a sour cream or Greek yogurt-based dressing, and fresh cilantro. Interpret your own fish taco recipe as I have below.

Ingredients (Makes 4 medium-sized tacos)

  • 1 pound (450 grams) salmon fillets (cod, tilapia, or shrimp)
  • Flour
  • Creole seasoning
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • Cooked corn kernels (roasted adds an intense flavor)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 lime
  • Mexican oregano
  • Chipotle (optional)
  • Soft shell tacos
  • 1/2 red or yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • Arugula

Fish Taco Yogurt Salsa

In a medium bowl, mix together Greek yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon each of ground Mexican oregano and fresh lime juice until the consistency is not too runny. Add sea salt and chipotle to taste.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Season fish on meat side with Creole seasoning or salt and pepper.
  3. Lightly dust the fish with flour and shake off the excess.
  4. Add a tablespoon of sunflower oil to the pan.
  5. Cook fish pieces until lightly golden brown, break into chunks, and set on a paper towel.
  6. Remove excess oil from pan and lightly fry the tortillas, they should still be soft to handle.

To serve, place fried fish pieces in a tortilla, add the healthy colorful toppings of your choice such as roasted corn, red pepper slices, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, yogurt sauce, and arugula. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo by cooking some healthy fish tacos served with a glass of refreshing Aguas Frescas.

¡Buen provecho!

 




My First Yoga Retreat Experience

Going on my first yoga retreat was a major turning point in my life.

Last summer I decided to take the plunge and sign-up for a serious and much-needed yoga retreat. My body and mind were mush and I desperately needed help. Months later, I’m still practicing yoga and feeling the effects of a lifestyle devoted to the mind, body, and soul. I took a long-time to post this because I wanted to make sure the retreat was beneficial it and indeed it was.

Le Château du Montgoger

There’s no other glorious place I can think of to practice yoga than in a historical French Chateau. The Loire Valles is home to more than 300 châteaux where nobility lived and vacationed. As I entered the sprawling grounds of Le Château du Montgoger, I put on my princess demeanor and opened up to be transformed.

Chateau du Montgoger, France
Chateau du Montgoger, France

Le Yoga

I recently returned to yoga after a long absence and prepped my body as best I could by practicing at home. Of course, there’s nothing like a good yoga teacher to provide the best adjustments as well feedback on your performance and our yoga teacher Emily did just that. I won’t kid you, it was tough practicing yoga fours hours a day, but you need to set your intention and do the best you can (or hang out in Child’s Pose). LOL

Yoga Room at Chateau de Montgoger
Yoga Room at Chateau de Montgoger

Aside from prepping the body for daily yoga practices, a good yoga retreat packing list helps since I didn’t have time or the means to travel into town to purchase forgotten items leaving time to relax and reflect.

Le Detox/Le Food

Frankly, I was terrified about the detox and the effects it would have on my body as well as the taste of the food. The word detox alone conjured up grotesque images and made me turn up my nose, but boy was I wrong.

Ayurvedic Detox Meal at Chateau de Montgoger, Emilyoga.com
Ayurvedic Detox Meal at Chateau de Montgoger

The team at Le Château du Montgoger poured so much love into the amazing, healthy, and delicious sattvic meals. Eliminating dairy, meat, fish, salt, and sugar was actually quite easy. Most of the fruits and vegetables were harvested from the organic garden in back of the chateau so they were as fresh as could be.

Ayurvedic Drink at Emilyoga.com Yoga/Detox Retreat
Ayurvedic Drink at Emilyoga.com Yoga/Detox Retreat

During our daily brunch and evening meals, one-by-one, the vegan dishes were presented accompanied with an explanation of the health benefits.  For those with allergies or dislikes, alternative dishes were made and during the week-long retreat I did not once go hungry. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and taste of the food and kept saying “Ce repas est delicieux!” (The food is delicious!).

Le Meditation

The health benefits of mediation are numerous. Whether you wish to help reduce stress, sleep better, feel happier, or be more at peace, a regular devoted practice is necessary. I started meditating more often at home, but am still thrown off by sounds. Whether it be a neighbor mowing lawns, a bus passing by, or a dog barking, I haven’t been able properly enjoy meditating.

Yoga Retreat Bliss
I’m still in yoga retreat bliss.

During the retreat not only were we guided on how to meditate, but given the tools in the comfort of a peaceful surrounding. Now that I’m over the first hurdle, I find it a little easier to meditate and be more present. Just like yoga, it’s a practice that keeps getting better with time.

Le Downtime

The chateau is located about one hour outside of Tours, France and entering the grounds you are immersed in a tranquil, serene setting. Even at a retreat you need a little downtime and after two yoga sessions daily, I was able to catch up on my much-needed sleep.

The daily meditation and walks through the forest certainly helped me to relax and so did the walks among the hectares of luscious green forests. There  were bikes available for rides into the nearby villages and hammocks to relax  under a large oak tree awaiting the next Yogi nor far from where Joan of Arc slept.

Grounds of Chateau de Montgoger, France where Joan of Arc slept
Grounds of Chateau de Montgoger, France where Joan of Arc slept.

The only sound was the occasional bark from the dog, a few pigeons, and the sound of lat summer leaves gently blowing in the breeze. To break up the routine, we also had some play dates at a nearby river and a visit to an organic cheese farm. It’s not sattvic but I couldn’t insult the cheese maker as she place a sample fromage in my hand.

Le Experience

Without getting into the details, before the retreat I was in a bad place and in much need of a sleep and TLC. So, how was my first yoga retreat experience? All I can is, “Ahh, pure bliss”. I can’t believe it’s already been seven months since the retreat and I’m still feeling fantastic.

I’ve returned home to a familiar place with a renewed spirit. And guess what? I decided to continue eliminating meat and fish from my cuisine but cheat a little and eat cheese every so often. I’m a cheese head from Wisconsin, so don’t comment. 🙂




Frankfurt Street Food Festival

It’s summer, I’m hot, and this foodie is ready to ride up to the Frankfurt Street Food Festival.

Germany’s food truck scene was virtually non-existent until a short time ago. Basically all I could find was a brat and bun truck, a French crepe and Nutella truck, or the occasional vendor selling roasted chestnuts during the holidays. Jeez, what the truck!

I’m not sure why, but food trucks hadn’t quite hit the Germany scene except in large progressive cities like Berlin. The rest of the country’s food truck scene was basically sitting on the Autobahn in a Stau–it just wasn’t moving like in other countries like the U.S. and Thailand.

This weekend it’s a different story in Frankfurt, Germany the multi-cultural economic capital of Europe. The engines are revved up in Frankfurt as over 30 vendors will be rolling out their favorite foods as the city celebrates the first Frankfurt Street Food Festival.

Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival
Street food market during the Yasothon Rocket Festival. Wiki photo by Takeaway.

Head to the Hauptwache, the baroque building that was a former guard-house and the Zell or just follow your nose. The food trucks are lined up, have their coals burning, and are ready to tantalize your taste buds with some mind-blowing unique foods.

To capture the real essence of street food you have to go beyond the norm and offer the people something different and you’ll find it at the Frankfurt Street Food Festival.

Considering this is Frankfurt’s first street food festival, there’s quite a good assortment of trucks offering some savory mouth-watering treats. Black Calamari sandwiches, 24-hour cider marinated beef steak, Surf & Turf burger to name a few. Fancy an Arepa? Maria Maria Arepas makes delicious gluten-free flat bread pocket is filled with naturally raised meat or veggies.

For a global array of food and beverages from artisans head to the Frankfurt Street Food Festival. It runs Friday, July 31 (12:00 – 22:00), Saturday, August 1 (12:00 – 22:00), and Sunday, August 2 (9:00 – 20:00).

Bon appétit my foodie friends!




Almost Roasted Blue Potato Recipe

Blame it on the moon. I had to substitute yellow taters for my almost roasted blue potato recipe, but it’s all good.

My plan was to head to the Blue Danube River, listen to Johann Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz, eat blue potatoes, and see the blue moon, but the stars had another plan. Instead of a blue potato recipe post, using blue potatoes, I’m substituting yellow taters.

Almost Blue Pan Roasted Potatoes
Almost Blue Pan Roasted Potatoes

The problem with being a travel/food blogger is that you can’t always get the picture perfect photo and you can’t always get the ingredients when you need them. The latter is the case with my Almost Roasted Blue Potato recipe. I went to five grocery stores in Germany and couldn’t find a single blue potato. I did find French blue cheese and Persian blue salt though. 🙂

Persian blue salt is a natural mineral rich rock dotted with blue crystals and has a hint of sweetness.
Persian blue salt

Like any good cook, sometimes you just need to substitute ingredients which is what I did and it turned out wonderfully delicious.

Pan Roasted Blue Potatoes with French Blue Cheese and Thyme Recipe

  • 1 pound (500 grams) blue or yellow potatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried thyme (I like Penzey’s)
  • 3-5 cloves fresh purple garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Blue Persian salt or Fleur de sel (more if needed after cooking)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Crumbled blue cheese

Almost Pan Roasted Blue Potato recipe.
Almost Pan Roasted Blue Potato recipe.

Pan Roasted Blue Potato Instructions

  1. Wash the potatoes in cold water only removing the skins if there are imperfections.
  2. If the potatoes are large, quarter them or dice them into 1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Blanch the potatoes and make sure they are completely dry before placing them in hot oil.
  4. Heat the large pan on medium heat, add the olive oil, potatoes and some salt.
    You can always add salt but you can’t take it away.
  5. In the uncovered pan, gently turn the potatoes browning both sides until half done.
  6. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the garlic cloves and thyme. Continue to roast for approximately 10 minutes or until the garlic and potatoes are done (cooking time varies depending on the potato variety).
  7. Add more thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and top with crumbled blue cheese.

When I get my hands on some blue potatoes, I’ll update the post with a picture of blue potatoes.

Enjoy tonight’s blue moon and this recipe!




Once in a Blue Potato Salad

Once in a blue moon you have to do something different and eat blue potato salad

Tomorrow an additional moon or “blue moon” will appear, so I’m celebrating the rare event by making a blue potato salad with roasted garlic, topped with blue cheese and dried rosemary.

The moon was last full on July 2 and will be full again Friday, July 31. The second of two full moons in a calendar month is called a blue moon when a full moon, which doesn’t quite sync with the months in our calendar.

Is the Moon Really Blue?

Just because it’s called a blue moon, doesn’t mean it will take on a bluish hue except under certain atmospheric conditions. When a volcanic eruption or large fire leaves dust particles in the air, this causes the moon to appear slightly blue-colored.

The moon has UV reflectance and it can be recorded using proper equipment which makes that nicely visible
Blue Moon. Copyright photo by Dr. Klaus Schmitt (www.uvir.de)

Are There Really Blue Potatoes?

Yes Virginia, there really are blue or violet-blue-colored potatoes and you can make a delicious blue potato salad with them.

Native to South America, blue potatoes are common near the mountains in Peru and Bolivia where they are often used to make blue potato salad and potato cakes. There are also varieties in France (Vitelotte, also called Vitelotte noir) and the United States (Adirondack Blue).

Pommes de terre (Vitelotte) cuites à l'eau (entières et épluchées).
Violet-blue potatoes. Wiki photo by user Stephane8888

From a nutritional standpoint, blue-hued potatoes have a high concentration of antioxidants, mainly anthocyanin (water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH). The pretty pigmented potatoes are also high in fiber and potassium and low in cholesterol. No need to get blue eating these taters–they’re a totally heart-healthy treat.

How to Cook Blue Potatoes

You prepare and cook blue potatoes like any other potato. Peel em. Cook em. Prepare em. Don’t eat them immediately because right out of the boiling water blue potatoes are hot as blue blazes.