Posts Tagged ‘fish tacos’

Spice Rack Breakdown

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

My latest pride: my spice rack.

After moving into a new apartment, I’m finally getting closer to unpacking all of my things and was beyond ecstatic to get this baby set up. My beloved spice rack was given to me by my sister and brother-in-law, and it’s been hands-down the best kitchen companion I could ask for.

At first, I felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of unfamiliar spices on this revolving monster: cardamom, caraway, marjoram, what?! But after some time I grew to love the thing, how it spins so swiftly with a flick of my wrist and I can pull out whatever color of the spice rainbow calls out to me at any given moment.

I have to admit, having this spinning savior can get a little dangerous, too. I find myself tempted to put a dash of this and a shake of that in everything (to my pan of scrambled eggs– a little bit of paprika? sure, why not!). So to spare anyone else from going spice crazy overboard, here’s a brief breakdown of what you can use different spices for.

Allspice—used in many baked goods; smoother and milder than cloves
Anise—a mild licorice flavor, used in cookies or other baked sweets
Basil—slightly sweet and herby, used in Italian and Mediterranean cooking
Caraway Seed—herb seed of the parsley family; slightly bitter, this is the seed of rye bread
Cardamom—rich and flavorful; used in Indian cooking
Cayenne—also known as red pepper; hot and spicy
Chili Powder—blend of dried chilis and herbs, not spicy like cayenne
Cilantro—fresh tasting herb; used in marinades, salsa or fresh dips such as for fish tacos
Cinnamon—mild sweet flavor; used mostly in sweet desserts, but also really good in chili, such as Hard Times’ Cincinnati Chili
Cloves—very strong and bitter flavor; used in desserts or sweet vegetable dishes
Coriander—citrusy, sweet and tart flavor; dried seed of cilantro; used in curries, soups and stews
Cumin—aromatic strong and hearty flavor; great with tomato dishes such as chili
Curry Powder—spice blend of typically cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom
Dill Seed—herb used in pickles, dressings, or potato salad
Ginger—sharp and sweet flavor; used in sweet baked goods or curries
Fennel—licorice flavor
Marjoram—similar to oregano and mint, but sweeter and more subtle
Nutmeg—sweet and nutty flavor
Oregano—used in Italian cooking; mild herby flavor
Paprika—from sweet peppers; gives a bright red color and slightly smoky flavor
Parsley—fresh flavor, often used as a garnish
Rosemary—needle-like texture with strong flavor, used in Italian cooking
Sage—herb member of the mint family; typically used in stuffing
Tarragon—mild licorice flavor
Thyme—very strong herb; used in Greek and Italian cooking
Turmeric—natural yellow color and mild flavor of the ginger family

See the complete list here.

And just for fun:

-Julia Harbo



Killer Fish Tacos, Dude!

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The other night I had the pleasure of enjoying a fantastic meal of fish tacos at my boyfriend’s parent’s house. Fish tacos have recently become one of my favorite meals; every time I have them I am reminded of how good they are, with so many fresh flavors and textures. Plus, enjoying some fish tacos makes me feel like a cool Californian surfer, like this dude:

Here’s my recipe for ridiculously delicious and easy fish tacos. Most fish tacos are made with mahi-mahi, but I use tilapia because I like the mild taste and it’s generally less expensive. I use a bean-corn-tomato dip recipe as the topping for the tacos, and it compliments them amazingly. Finally, they’re topped with a killer sauce my boyfriend whipped up to give the tacos an ultimate zesty kick. These fish tacos are Wapahh! good:

(Serves four)

For the converted dip-topping:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sweet corn
1 large tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper (if you want an extra kick)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Put aside, either in refrigerator or leave out at room temperature.

For the sauce:

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1/2 lime
A couple leaves of cilantro, finely chopped

In a small bowl, whip together mayonnaise and vinegar with a spoon. Add the honey and the lime, and lastly, the cilantro. Put aside.

For the taco essentials:

4-12 small soft corn tortillas (depending on how many tacos you plan on eating)
3 tilapia filets
Salt and pepper, to season
About 1 tablespoon of olive oil, for pan frying

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Season the filets with salt and pepper on both sides and throw in the pan when hot. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked all the way through. Don’t worry about keeping the filets intact as you serve them in medium-sized chunks anyway. When finished, put the fish into a bowl with a spoon for easy serving.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave or in the oven.

To assemble, spoon some fish onto your open tortilla, followed by a generous serving of the dip-topping, and finally, the sauce. I like to finish it off with a sprinkle of green chile hot sauce. Roll the tortilla together and dig in! Expect it to get messy and have extra napkins handy (or just lick your fingers like I do).

For more fish taco options, check out this Northern Virginia-based blog recipe or visit some of the fish taco-serving joints in the NoVA area, such as Taqueria Poblano‘s Baja Fish Tacos with beer-battered and fried mahi-mahi.

Enjoy, dudes!

-Julia Harbo



2010 Relish Trivia Challenge

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Bar Trivia

Break out those thinking caps, Gut Checkers!

(And it might not hurt to have a few back issues and/or our features page open. But you didn’t hear that from me).

Now, the rules of the trivia challenge are pretty simple.

All the restaurant-related trivia questions were derived from the past 12 months of reviews. The first 10 people to correctly answer all 10 questions–please send all submissions to warren@northernvirginiamag.com–will win a gift certificate to one of our participating restaurants. In the case of a tie, we’ll pick a winner at random from all the correct responses.

Submissions will be accepted until noon EST on Monday, December 20.

You ready? Then have at it!

2010 Relish Trivia Quiz:

Question 1: At what local gastropub was I unexpectedly greeted (and perhaps professionally “outed”) by a high school chum?

Question 2: What 50 Best Restaurant bowled me over with homemade donuts and sumptuous dipping sauces?

Question 3: What local hot dog haven cooks all their wieners in Dale’s Pale Ale?

Question 4: What LoCo bbqpreneur boasts a homemade hot sauce forged from 17 fiery peppers?

Question 5: Which Bavarian-born butcher treats his clients to seasonally-inspired spiessbraten?

Question 6: What ice cream oasis saved an ill-equipped fellow bicyclist from certain doom?

Question 7: What exurban cafe pads their signature paninis with pairings like bacon and apple or peppermint and Nutella?

Question 8: Which Tunisian restaurateur takes great pride in his Merguez-based mezze?

Question 9: What Crystal City eatery’s fish tacos did I feel completely floundered?

Question 10: Which licentious bingo caller showers patrons with vintage Barbies and off-color humor?

In order to avoid any confusion, please make sure to tag all responses with the question number (Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.) you are attempting to answer.


Good luck!

–Warren