Ina Garten’s (Sort-of) Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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One of my library finds was Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead. I am not ashamed to say that Ina was one of the first Food Network chefs to suck me into the world of cooking and baking. I’m not sure what I pictured a cooking show being like before watching hers, but to me, her entire lifestyle and approach to entertaining made me want to do a happy dance. As someone who cringes a little when I see the price for even slightly nice chocolate, some of her recipes come off as too extravagant for my bank account, but I pride myself on adapting a lot of her recipes to cost less and take fewer pans/bowls/utensils (*some* of us do not have an entire staff to clean up after us, Ina – but #cookinggoals).

I especially love her attitude about dessert. She can definitely whip up a cake or pie or other sweet thing with the best of them, but she often says “just put out some cheese and fruit” or “cookies and coffee.” I, too, rarely go “all out” to make a special dessert if I’ve been slaving away at a nice dinner. I either buy a pie/cake/tart or I make cookies. And often my grandmother’s ginger-molasses cookies (the recipe for which I swear is coming soon) because they take so few ingredients, I can make them from start to finish in an hour, and everyone just LOVES them. So I was pleased beyond measure to see a new cookie recipe in Ina’s cookbook and one that speaks to my desire for salty-sweet treats: Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies. These delectable little ladies have everything I love in them – the bitter-sweet chocolate, the light kiss of salt, the tart tang of dried cranberries, and the coziness of oats – is there anything better than oats in a cookie? We might be in the minority here, but oatmeal cookies are Mr.Foodie and I’s favorite kind.

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The only problem, as you can probably tell from the photos, is I did not wait to soften the butter before mixing it in. Thus the characteristic “melted edges” you see there. Honestly I rarely use butter in cookies because I prefer the more cake-like texture that shortening gives a cookie (and I don’t have to wait for shortening to soften!), but I wanted to replicate Ina’s cookies exactly. And she is definitely on to something – the buttery, oaty flavor of the cookie dough is extremely tasty, if a little rich. Despite my blunder, they are very delicious. Because I have ample amounts of all the ingredients left over, I’m planning to make them again – this time either softening the butter ahead of time or trying out shortening in its place to see how that fares. I’ll give you an update later in the week. Until then, enjoy the recipe Ina’s Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cups old-fashioned oats, such as Quaker
¾ pound bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, chopped in chunks
¾ cup dried cranberries
Fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. On low speed, add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl again.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix in the oats. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Don’t overbeat it! With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate and cranberries until the dough is well mixed. With a 1¾-inch ice cream scoop (or two spoons), scoop round balls of dough onto the prepared sheet pans. Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you prefer cookies thin and crisp, bake them straight from the mixing bowl. If you prefer them chewy in the middle and crisp outside, chill the balls of dough.

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A Real Dream and Faux Focaccia

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I’ve always dreamed of being the kind of person who can toss off a batch of fresh bread like it was nothing. It always seemed a kind of herculean feat to make your own bread. So much time, so much could go wrong, etc. Then the questioner in me was always like “I want to be that kind of person, but is making your own bread really worth it?” I would start a new segment every week called “Is it Really Worth It” (like the coconut debacle), but someone already wrote a book covering this matter, and, as the title of it suggests, making one’s own bread is recommended. There are also many, many ways to make a loaf of bread these days that shorten the amount of time you need to do it, the amount of effort (aka kneading), and risk of screwing everything up (hello instant yeast). Emma Chistensen, whose blog The Kitchn I love to read, recommends the no-knead (but 12+ hour) recipe that is apparently sweeping the nation by storm.

I myself am not intimidated by a 12 hour time requirement on a recipe if it is something I can forget about and which doesn’t require any appliances to be turned on for more than a couple hours. Homemade bread is also a tiny fraction of the cost of store-bought and healthier because it isn’t designed to last forever on the shelf. However, as Christensen points out, the real inconvenience is planning ahead. Her recipe is not something you can whip up at noon if you want bread to go with your dinner. That is why I settled on this recipe from Alexandra Cooks. I did not end up using the main recipe, although it sounds awesome, but rather the version of it way down at the bottom of her comprehensive post which says “Faux Focaccia” – this was mostly because I only have one 9×13 pan (not two oven proof bowls), but also because I LOVE fococcia. It was the first bread I ever made owing to its simplicity and flavor.

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This version appealed to me because of the very short amount of time involved in the whole process and the limited amount of ingredients (no heaps of olive oil like in real focaccia). The first rise is only ONE hour, the second is 30 minutes (!) and then it is just a 30 minute bake in the oven. It is an easy recipe to remember – 2 tsp each of instant yeast, sugar, and salt, 4 cups of flour, 2 cups lukewarm water (the instant yeast saves you time bc you don’t need to let it soak first). Having an easy-to-remember recipe is half the battle when becoming the kind of person who can “toss off a loaf” as my heart so earnestly desires. Two tablespoons of butter to grease the pan, two tablespoons oil for the bread, a sprinkle of salt and dried rosemary – et voila! A remarkably tasty “faux” version of focaccia. Note to the wise, this is not a “light” “healthy” type of bread owing mainly to the butter/oil and the lack of the nuts, grains, and/or wheat which would lend more nutritional value to the thing. However it makes a great base for a caprese sandwich.

For your convenience I’ve copied out the bread recipe below and our additions to make the delicious sandwich.

Faux Focaccia (by Alexandra Cooks)

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

4 Cups flour

2 Cups lukewarm water

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix the first five ingredients together until well blended. Set aside in warm place covered with plastic wrap or tea towel for at least one hour. Using a plastic spatula, scrape the sides and “punch” down the dough by folding it in on itself. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Pour the bread into the buttered dish and press it into the pan evenly (oil or butter your fingers so it won’t stick – unlike real focaccia it is a sticky dough). Spread olive oil over top of dough and sprinkle salt and dried or fresh chopped rosemary on top. Let rise again for 30 min. Preheat oven to 425. Bake after second rise for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375 and bake another 17 minutes or so. Turn out on wire rack to cool.

To make a Caprese Sandwich, slice fresh mozzarella into discs, slice tomatoes of choice into discs (or diced sun-dried tomatoes for a different take), and layer on on half of the focaccia (or on top of one whole slice as Italians do). Add a little aioli or olive oil and chiffonade basil leaves (or pest works well too). This is perhaps my favorite sandwich of all time – the creamy salty mozzarella and buttery, herby bread go so well together. The tomato and pesto (which is my favorite version) add a freshness that cuts the salt and reminds me of summer.

This bread is really great for all kinds of things, even as a snack all by itself! Do you have a favorite bread recipe? We’d love to hear about it.

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Mailbox Monday – 8th Edition

Has it really been 8 weeks of blogging? Time really does fly when you’re working on something you love. I’ve found perhaps the most intricate mailbox I’ve ever seen this week – just look at that lighthouse! There’s even little people inside. 20160824_094403 (1).jpg

What a week! Mr. Foodie and I have stepped up our baking game and made Peach Pie with Fontina, Peanut Butter, Cranberry Chocolate Cookies, and Soft Pretzels from scratch! The best part was stuffing our faces cooking with one another (:P). This week is wide open so far, but I’m planning sharing some of my favorite Cookbook Reads with you and testing some tried-and-true Keys recipes. A storm is coming – although looking like the worst of it will pass us by, but we are still battening down the hatches (aka moving the beer from the downstairs fridge to the upstairs one) in preparation. Power is less than stable even at the best of times, so we might be having some canned dinners a la mode lol. Finally Mr. Foodie and I have had the most transcendent street-food eats we’ve ever had in the keys, so stay tuned for that review coming up this week.

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PB & C (Cranberry) Chocolate Cookies

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Last night I stared at the half-bag of peanut butter chips thinking of all the things I could use them for. Drizzled on a scone? Melted in a fudge? Baked into a brownie? The wonderful versatility of these chips is only part of the reason I picked them up (the other part is Mr. Foodie and I like having something we can just pick at – a small pinch after dinner when we don’t want a proper dessert, a spoonful for a snack, etc.). I finally settled on an adapted version of Karen Rose’s Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies because a) who doesn’t love a chocolate cookie on occasion? and b) it didn’t require brown sugar which is perpetually missing from my pantry.

I say “adapted” because I found myself without vanilla extract again, so I used maple syrup. I also added cranberries along with the PB chips because I love the color combo and I wanted to break up the ultra-sweetness of chocolate and PB with the tart berries – good choice on my part! It was like have a PB & J and Chocolate sandwich – yum!

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The batter was addictive, but the finish product was, indeed, chewy – with creamy-salty pockets of peanut butter chips and tangy round dabs of tart cranberry. The chocolate cookie itself was sublime. It carried a deep, dark chocolate flavor which is my chocolate preference and paired perfectly with the strong flavors of the chips and berries. I will admit to the challenge I faced with baking time. I made these cookies slightly larger than I usually do and I had trouble discerning when they were ready because of the darkness of the dough (so much easier to see little crisp brown edges on a blonde dough!), but I succeeded by nudging the edges of the cookie with the spatula to see if they were stiff. Perfection! Though I love them warm from the oven, they are also delicious this morning with our coffee.

Often when I’m cooking or baking I use the opportunity to experiment on the “side” – for example I set aside two scoops of dough last night before putting in the chips and berries so I could add chili pepper to it instead. First, I LOVE pepper and chocolate as a flavor combination. I take my hot chocolate with cayenne, for instance. Second, I find this method less stressful than baking an entire batch of cookies with my tweaks and finding they didn’t work at all – less devastating and wasteful to be honest. Do you ever do that? Set a little aside to play?

My chili-chocolate came out too similarly to the rest of the batch – in other words I needed a LOT more chili to taste the heat I was going for. Noted for next time.

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Mr. Foodie’s Craving: Soft Pretzels

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Mr. Foodie had a major craving for soft pretzels, so we decided to try the recipe for pretzels crafted by the incomparable Alton Brown. This was our first attempt at making soft pretzels from scratch. A few years ago my friend and bridesmaid Rebecca Grawl and I hosted an Oktoberfest party after I visited one my best friends in Germany for her wedding. I came back with the most amazing sauerkraut recipe (another one I want to share with you!) and a bunch of gingerbread and icing-decorated hearts. We did not make our own pretzels, but heated frozen ones from the grocery store and set out a variety of mustards to go with them. We also had the most delicious beer-cheese fondue! It was a rather fun party if I do say so myself.

There’s something so wonderful about a soft pretzel. I like mine with a light dusting of salt and small dabs of spicy brown mustard. I also LOVE when a restaurant has pretzel bread sandwiches. Alton Brown’s pretzels have the reputation of being scientifically-proven to turn out well, and certainly I have a lot of confidence in Alton Brown as a chef. After a problematic beginning in which Mr. Foodie added 10 cups of water instead of 1 1/2 to the yeast mixture, we got back on track with a new batch and from there it was pretty easy. The rolling out of the pretzel strips was the hardest part. I had never done anything like it before, but I quickly figured out that using my palms to roll the dough on the oiled surface was most effective. As you can see from the picture above, we didn’t get all of them “right” but we had a blast making them.

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We did not buy special pretzel salt because I don’t like buying specialty ingredients that can be easily substituted by household items. I used a coarse grain sea salt that worked just fine. They turned out quite well. The color was perfect, the crust had the characteristic pretzel taste that comes, I found out, from the baking soda/water brine step in the process. Our only negative note was the yeastiness of the dough. With each bite I could taste that yeast in a way I’ve never noticed with other baked bread items I’ve made. I’m not sure why this is the case, but it is easily masked with mustard, so we’re overall pleased with our first attempt. Next time I might try Emma Christensen’s version to see how it varies.

Perhaps the best part of making these delicious pretzels is what we did with them this morning! We are proud to present the Fl Keys Foodie Pretzel Egg Sandwich:

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Recipe

1 Soft Pretzel, cut in half with bread knife to create a bun

1 strip of bacon

1 egg

2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

your favorite mustard (we used spicy brown)

Begin by cooking the bacon until it is crispy around the edges, then remove to a paper towel where it will continue to cook a little as the grease drips off. Use the pan and bacon grease to fry the egg. Crack the egg into the pan, salt and pepper to taste, flip and cook to desired doneness (Mr. Foodie likes his fried eggs over hard). When done, take off heat, add parmesan to the top of the egg and cover to melt for a minute. Spread mustard onto the bottom of the pretzel bun, put egg on top of the mustard, put bacon on top of egg, and top with second half of pretzel bun.

Let me tell you this was the best egg sandwich I’ve ever had. the pretzel bread works so well with the tangy mustard and the creamy, cheesy egg. The bacon adds a rich, salty bite. Even if you never want to make your own soft pretzels, consider grabbing some store-bought to use for your breakfast sandwiches – you won’t be sorry!

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A Happy Hour for Foodies: Whiskey Sour Day

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The first time I had to make a cocktail from scratch I was in a foreign country. I lived in Denmark for four months in college, and by the time our visit was concluded, I wanted to stay forever! I arrived in January, in the middle of one of the worst winters they had had in 30 years. The cold coupled with the fact that the Danish only get a handful of hours of light in the winter had me feeling a little bleak some days. Luckily a friend who was also visiting from my college was rooming with a Danish family who took me in as one of their own. The first weekend we were there they hosted a Danish dinner party for us. I will never forget the pickled herring on toast or the sharp, tasteless schnapps sipped from tall, elegant shot glasses that paired with it. Perhaps the most memorable dish of that meal was the leverpostej which was baked liver pate covered in bacon. I had never had liver in my life, but what an introduction! Some day I will recreate it for you all so you can have the pleasure.

One day my college friend and I wanted to return the favor and make a Mexican feast for them. There was only one “Mexican” restaurant in town and it was a hybrid “Mexican-Italian” place – it was as awful as it sounds. So we went shopping and with a little language trial-and-error were able to procure most of the items we needed to make pico de gallo, mango salad, and tacos. All that remained was margaritas. Copenhagen is not known for having “mixed drinks” in its bars – beer and wine and straight liquor only. The liquor store did not sell a margarita mix which was all we knew about making margaritas (being young in drinking at the time). We were stumped, so we did a little research and discovered the recipe for margaritas without the mix. Since then I have perfected my from-scratch margarita and gone on to make other drinks without a mix and with a level of creativity that I had not known was possible so many years ago.

Whiskey is a liquor we have on hand often because Mr. Foodie likes a basic whiskey-coke more than most other types of cocktails. Good for us since yesterday was National Whiskey Sour Day! Each week I always grab a handful of lemons because I end up using them in all sorts of ways throughout the week. They are also handy for several from-scratch cocktails that we both love. My recipe for whiskey sour is the simplest version: 2 shots whiskey, half a juicy lemon squeezed over, and 4 teaspoons of sugar or to taste – this makes one good sized cocktail. Mr. Foodie and I like to taste our liquor typically, so most of my cocktail recipes are designed to feel the heat of the liquor on your tongue. You can, of course, adjust the amount of lemon and sugar you add to make it palatable to your taste.

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What I love about this drink is its balance – the smokey whiskey, the tart lemon, and the sweet kiss of sugar make this cocktail the kind you don’t mind sipping while making dinner or staring out at the water watching boats float by. One is usually perfectly satisfying for me. I’m looking forward to sharing more of our cocktail recipes with you in the coming weeks! Do you have a favorite from-scratch cocktail recipe you’d like to share?

Whiskey Sour Recipe

3 oz (2 shots) of Whiskey

Juice of 1/2 a juicy lemon (or more if desired)

4 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste)

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 5-6 times, pour over ice in a low ball glass. Garnish with lemon and/or sugar if desired.

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Get In My Belly: Peach Pie w/ Fontina Cheese

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Yesterday was National Peach Pie day! I could not let this momentous occasion go by without a fitting tribute. I’ve been making pies (mostly with my grandmother) all my life. Even today (as she approaches 80 years old) she whips up a pie when one of her great-grand-children comes to visit. Rhubarb is my favorite. I grew up loving all things fruit. My grandpa was and still is a major fruit lover. Most of my childhood memories with him involve eating fruit. He would take the short paring knife and (cutting towards himself which was a no-no) he would hand me a piece, then eat a piece, and so on. I, who would rather eat fruit and cheese for dessert, feel like a love of fruit pies is a logical extension of my desire for not-so-sweet desserts and fruit in general.

Although my grandma prefers to work with ready-made pie dough (who doesn’t?!), I like to make my own using the food processor (thanks be to the gods who came up with this kitchen appliance). When she does make her own crusts, however, she employs her secret weapon – the weapon that makes ALL her baked goods better than everyone else’s and that is shortening. The ideal situation is to use a combination of shortening and butter. I wouldn’t say I’m a crust expert by now, but I can pull together two decent looking crusts that both hold the pie together well and taste buttery/feel flaky, so I call that a win!

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For the filling I adapted a recipe from allrecipes for “Old-Fashioned” Peach Pie. Essentially you cut up and skin 5 peaches, squeeze some lemon juice over them, add flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt to them, mix together until the baking ingredients are incorporated and the flour is no longer white. Pour into the pie crust, top with the second crust, and bake at 425 for 10 min, 350 for 30 (the recipe says 450, but I decided to do 425 instead and it turned out wonderfully).

Except, I also added *my* secret weapon: Fontina cheese! Whereas many pie recipes call for you to dot the filling with butter, I elect to add cheese to my pies. This might make some of you start – a slice of cheddar next to an apple pie is one thing, but cheese inside the pie? Yes. I didn’t know that such things were possible until a long-time friend of mine introduced me to the show Pushing Daisies when we were roommates. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the central character is a pie maker and his love interest incorporates cheese into their recipes. My friend ate so much pie while we were watching that show! Since then I’ve used Gruyere with apple pie (recipe forthcoming now that I’m back on the pie-making wagon) and now Fontina and peach pie. In the apple pie, I put the cheese into the crust and sprinkle some over the filling. For the peach, since I had limited cheese (only the little packets from our grocery store, which, as I’ve said, is going through a renovation), I diced it finely and sprinkled it over the filling so it would melt into the pie itself. It is like having a whole cheese platter at a fancy restaurant in one bite! The sweet/tartness of the fruit plays pleasantly with the creamy, slightly salty cheese and together they dance with the buttery, flaky crust. It is definitely a party in your mouth.

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Adapted Old-Fashioned Peach Pie Recipe

2 Pie Crusts

5-6 Peaches, skinned and cut into wedges

2 T lemon juice (you might want to add a little more if you like your pies more tart)

1/2 C Flour

1 C Sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-3 oz Fontina cheese, diced or shredded (I would have added more if I had it)

1 egg beaten w/ a few drops of water

1-2 teaspoons sugar

Set oven to 425 (his recipe says 450, but I set mine lower). Mix filling ingredients except cheese, pour into bottom pie crust. Dot top with cheese. Add second crust and crimp edges with fork tines. Brush top crust with egg wash and sprinkle sugar. Cut four inch-long vents in the pie crust to let steam escape. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes or until crust is golden and pie filling is bubbling.

Have you ever used cheese to make pie? I’d LOVE to hear your ideas because this is only the beginning – stay tuned for more cheesy, fruity deliciousness to come.

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#TacoTuesday ft. Lane Snapper

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In the past when visiting the keys for a week here and there, my family would book a charter boat and come back to shore with armfuls of the most delicious fish, cleaned and cut by the boat captain. A day or a half day is a GREAT way to spend time if you are in the keys. Even if you don’t care for fishing, the trip is always fun because you get to see some amazing sea life on the drive out – we normally see turtles, dolphins, sting rays, and jellyfish at the very least. Then there’s the appeal of knowing you’re in for a sure thing – I’ve never gone out on a charter boat and come back empty handed.

Now that we’re living down here, Mr. Foodie and I want to make fishing a semi-regular affair because we both love it and because we have easy water access. Our first fishing trip after we purchased a saltwater license was a dud. We didn’t have the right bait and we were in water that was too shallow – we caught and caught, but only caught babies. Thanks to a handy fishing app (Fish Rules) we know what the size and bag limits are for all the fish we catch.

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We got smart this time and moved to deeper water, but still too shallow for some kinds of fish like tuna. We hooked a few babies, but then we scored two regulation-sized Lane Snappers. At this point we were running out of bait (which we changed to squid instead of shrimp) mostly because these fish knew how to get it off the hook despite my best hooking tricks. Then all of a sudden Mr. Foodie watched the pole bend at an extreme angle. He started reeling hard, but every few seconds this whopper would pull out the line in spite of his effort. To our dismay the line snapped and we lost it all – bait, hook, and weight. We never did see it, so we can only speculate about what kind of fish it was. Our neighbor suggested a Rockfish which likes to dive back into its cavernous hidey-holes with the line, thereby snapping it.

In any case, we were one squid box down and two lane snappers up by the time we headed home. Because we still lack a fish cleaning station, we used the davit base where the hose is to cut and clean our fish. Though they were regulation size for lane snapper, they were still too small to stuff whole as I would have liked, so we filleted them. I snapped off the heads and pulled out the guts while Mr. Foodie cut the flesh from the bones. We chucked the bits into the canal where they were almost immediately whisked away by the sea life there.

What to make with our fresh catch? Because they were on the small side even before we filleted them, we wanted to stretch the fish meat out a bit – so we decided on fish tacos! I’ve written about using a large batch of tilapia (to feed a crowd) in fish tacos, but this time we we decided to change up our recipe since it was a tiny amount of fish and just us.

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Lane Snapper Tacos

Fish

3 small fillets of Snapper (about 1/4 lb) divided into strips

Lime Juice

3 dashes Cumin

3 dashes Chili Powder

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Filling

1/2 White Cooking Onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can black beans

salt and pepper

Put fillets in a bowl with squeezed lime juice and spices. Marinate for 15 minutes or so. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and place fish strips in hot oil. Cook 2-3 minutes per side.

For the filling, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add drained, rinsed black beans and drained tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste and heat altogether.

To assemble the tacos, place 2-3 strips of fish in the taco, spoon filling over top, sprinkle cheese, and add any garnish such as lime wedge or cilantro to the plate.

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Let me just say that I was shouting “yum!” as I was taste-testing everything before serving. The fish had the perfect amount of flavor without overwhelming the fish itself. The filling was delicious all by itself – the cooked onion and garlic carried the tomatoes and beans. Together the taco had texture, flavor, and heat – a trifecta that made Mr. Foodie smile at me between every bite.

I had been a little disappointed with our return on investment for this fishing expedition, but after tasting our tacos, I can say with confidence that it was worth every moment.

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#Poolside Eats: Roasted Red Pepper Burgers and Grilled Corn

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Initially Mr. Foodie and I were going to finally use our catch from the weekend to make fish tacos last night, but it was such a hot day, we wanted to grill out with something easy to eat poolside. I’ve already written about the first time Mr. Foodie made these Roasted Red Pepper Burgers, but I promised you a proper recipe which you can find below. We got lucky and scored some mini-fontina cheese coins from our grocery store which we sliced in half and placed on top of the burgers. The red pepper with the fontina cheese makes these burgers SO DAMNED GOOD. I don’t even use condiments because my tongue is already ecstatic with the cheese/pepper flavors.

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We also picked up four ears of corn the other day, and my preferred method of cooking whole ears is directly on the grill. We husk them, plop them on medium/medium-high and baste them with a red pepper flake butter, turning every few minutes. The corn cooks up without getting mushy, and the taste is smokey, buttery with a little heat from the pepper flakes. The butter just clings to this al dente treat. We enjoyed them immensely while we watched the sun setting into the canal.

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What I love about this particular meal is the ease of prep and execution. Perfect if you want to avoid a) carrying too much equipment downstairs to the grill and b) having to sit at a proper table to eat it. We have a table of course, but it was nice to eat with our hands while we dangled our legs into the pool. No need for plates, utensils, or much kitchen equipment to pull of this delicious spread.

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Roasted Red Pepper Burgers and Grilled Corn

1 lb Ground Turkey

1/2 a large Roasted Red Pepper, diced

Salt and Pepper

Four Slices Fontina Cheese

Four ears corn, husked

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 pinch red pepper flakes

In a bow, mix together with your hands the 1 lb ground turkey with diced roasted red peppers and seasonings (a couple pinches each). Split mixture into four balls and flatten into discs separated by parchment paper. Heat the grill to high, then lower to medium before putting patties on – this gives them the pretty grill marks you see above without burning the meat before getting fully cooked. Cook burgers around 5-7 minutes each side depending on how hot your grill is. In the last minute of cooking, put cheese on burger and close to melt.

Meanwhile, put husked corn ears on medium-high heat and baste with melted butter/red pepper flake mixture. Keep turning every 2-3 minutes and basting. Save a little of the mixture to put on a the very end. Corn will be done in about 12 minutes. It might feel undercooked to the touch, but will be al dente when eaten.

Tonight will be fish taco night and I can’t wait to tell you about our crazy, lovely, and surprising fishing day.

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Mailbox Monday – 7th Edition

It’s Mailbox Monday again! This series celebrates the amazing mailboxes I come across everyday living in paradise. Unsurprisingly, many of them are fishing themed such as this week’s fishing lure mailbox. Speaking of fishing, Mr. Foodie and I can’t wait to share our most recent fishing adventure with you! And this week we are busting out some of our favorite casual poolside eats. Mr. Foodie is working on Key West now, so I’m looking forward to testing some new restaurants (and reevaluating some old ones). In the meantime,  check us out on Instagram @flkeysfoodie and Pinterest for more fl keys foodie adventures!