Grilled Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw & Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

IT’S HOT OUTSIDE AGAIN… FINALLY. Glory, hallelu! Simple pleasures are the best, and there are few simple pleasures I love more than the feeling of sun on my face and limbs and a warm breeze blowing by. It’s my favorite time of year- time for long days and nights and living outside, for outdoor concerts and bikes and running and sweating and swimming and brewery patios and dinners from the grill. Time to jump in with wild abandon and really live!

29 Things You Can Expect Now Summer's Finally Here

I’m aliiiiive!!!

Speaking of dinners from the grill, these tacos are a favorite dish I had kind of forgotten about for a while (oops) and made last night to celebrate the change of seasons. Produce-heavy and no oven required. Perfect for a hot and steamy weeknight. Mama likey.



  • 1.5 lbs firm, white fish fillets (I used cod, mahi mahi also works well)
  • canola oil
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • corn tortillas
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives, if you have them around
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (optional but highly recommended)
  • white onion, diced (optional)
  • hot sauce for serving

fishtacos 11



  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • the kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp  chopped chives, if you have them around
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


For the fish tacos and slaw:  preheat a grill or an indoor grill pan or skillet to medium-high heat. Brush the fish on both sides with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dave grilled these (thanks!) while I prepped the veggies, and he cooked them in a grill basket for about 7 minutes per side. How long you cook the fish will depend on the thickness of the fillets and the heat of your grill or stove; basically, cook until firm and opaque, flipping halfway through. Set aside in a large bowl when done.

not a very colorful or exciting pic, but you can take that up with the cod

not a very colorful or exciting pic, but you can take that up with the cod

While the fish cooks, stir together the sour cream, juice of one lime, a pinch of kosher salt and about 1/4 tsp black pepper in a medium-sized bowl.

fish tacos4

Stir in the chives, cilantro, jalapeño, and cabbage. Taste this and adjust seasoning a needed.

fish tacos5

Toss the fish with the cumin and the remaining lime juice. Spoon into microwaved, doubled-up corn tortillas, top with onion and the cilantro slaw, and serve, passing hot sauce around. YUM.

For the corn, tomato, and avocado salad: okay, first off, to remove corn kernels, stand an ear of corn up on its flat end (the end you break the stalk off of) on a cutting board and slice the kernels off from the top down with a large knife. In my next life, I’ll add a video of how to do this (so many plans for this next life). Toss the tomatoes, scallions, parsley, chives, and corn together in a large bowl. Top with lime juice, canola oil, a big pinch of salt, and a few generous grinds of black pepper and toss together. Fold in the avocado. DONE! This is crazy flavorful and so, so good for you. Enjoy!

fish tacos6

Winter was arduous, mmkay? Welcome, late spring and I love you, summer.

The 15 Phases Of Every Winter

who has two thumbs and figured out how to add gifs to her posts? hahaha…






Quickie: Coconut-Chili Shrimp & Snow Pea Brown Rice “Risotto” (gf)

Need a quick dinner idea? Have little time but want lots of flavor? Do you have a pound of shrimp or chicken and a green vegetable handy? Let’s do this.



Adapted from Real Simple


  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, or 1 lb chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bag ready to eat snow peas, or 2 cups other green vegetable (broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic paste, such as Huy Fong
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste (or increase chili garlic paste by 1/2-1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 scallion, sliced (optional)
  • juice of a lime (optional)


Heat the coconut oil in a deep saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp or chicken and cook, stirring, until no longer pink (3 minutes for shrimp, 5 minutes for chicken). Remove the cooked shrimp or chicken to a plate and add the coconut milk, chili paste, salt, and red curry paste to the pan; bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer, allowing the sauce to reduce to about half. Add your green veggie and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the rice, shrimp or chicken, and lime juice, stirring to combine, and cook two minutes more (or until rice is hot). Top with sliced scallion and serve! Easy snow-peasy!

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas

Happy holidays! I hope everyone reading this is stuffed to the gills with pie and ham and eggnog and booze and sugar cookies. That’s a good way to be. Dave and I have between three and four family Christmases to attend each year and the highlight is always the food. This, for our crazy Cruse appetites, means two dinner plates each and a dessert plate, at every meal. WHOA. Hey, we love life! What can I say? A delicious practice, gorging ourselves, but fleeting and not without serious après-holiday plumping effects.


This year, Dave’s mama suggested a healthy Christmas Eve feast- novel idea! I assume some responsible families, somewhere (somewhere very far away from us, out of sight and mind) have been doing this for generations, but it was definitely a twist in our holiday routine. The menu included mashed sweet potatoes, Oaxacan eggplant spread, shrimp cocktail, quinoa salad, grilled salmon, and roasted pork tenderloin. Not a stick of butter in sight, and the meal was a huge hit! I’ve included all recipes below. What did you make? Does your family steer from the norm and go healthy during the holidays?

dinnah is served!

dinnah is served!


salmonGrilled Salmon with Herb Rub: just posted this Allez! recipe last week! Such an easy crowd pleaser.





OaxacanOaxacan Eggplant Spread: adapted from Gourmet magazine. Char eggplants and poblanos, peel, chop, and combine with white onion, cilantro, lime, and the kicker-  a habanero! Divine. This was the underdog Big Deal dish of the evening. We made it one before, in the summer- it’s really good with ice cold beer. Serve with corn tortillas or tortilla chips.




potatoesMashed Sweet Potatoes: clean, roughly chop, and boil 3-4 large sweet potatoes until tender (do not skin). Drain, return to pot, and mash with 1/2-3/4 c orange juice, 2-3 tbsp margarine, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of kosher salt. Taste and add more OJ/margarine/cinnamon/salt to taste.




quinoaQuinoa Salad with Avocado, Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes: adapted from MindBodyGreen. Cook and cool 1 cup quinoa according to package directions. When cool, add a whisked vinaigrette of the juice of a lime, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Add a handful chopped cilantro, 1 cup corn, a rinsed can of black beans, 10-12 halved cherry tomatoes, and a diced avocado. Adjust seasoning to taste.



tenderloinPork Tenderloin: we roasted a pre-seasoned pork tenderloin from the store, but here’s an Allez! rosemary pork tenderloin recipe from February, 2012.




Shrimp Cocktail: who has two thumbs and forgot a close-up? This girl! But no biggie- just buy shrimp and serve with cocktail sauce. BOOM.

I hope the holidays were wonderful for you and that 2014 is full of joy and success. And, as always, thank you for reading!


Merry Christmas!




Herb-Rubbed Salmon with Savory Oat Groats & Kale (gf)

My next stop on the one-way kale train I’ve been lately on was a tasty and versatile savory grain recipe. It was a win-win because of the kale and because I heart savory cooked grains. We were given a generous amount of groats from my husband’w coworker, who bought them by mistake. After Dave made them for breakfast several times with milk, cinnamon, and berries, I thought to myself “self, I bet we could get rid of these more quickly if I paired them with dinner.” And guess what? Well, there were still a LOT of groats left and we’re not quite through them and there are only two of us for Pete’s sake, but the new dish helped us slog through.

salmon and groats

I served this with salmon rubbed with my favorite herb rub and cooked in cast-iron. The fish can be grilled or broiled, so cook it however you’d like. The rub takes well to each of those cooking methods. If you don’t have kind coworkers to bless you with a windfall of oat groats, you can find them in the dry goods sections of health food stores or in larger grocery stores. You can usually buy them loose. Also, the groat recipe is vegan!

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, sliced into matchsticks and rinsed well in a colander
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 cup oat groats
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 large bunch kale, deveined and chopped into ribbons
  • cracked black pepper
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the leek matchsticks, and 3 cloves of garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the carrot and the groats, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the stock, water, and salt and bring to a boil; when boiling, reduce heat and cover, cooking for 25-30 minutes.



Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium in a deep saucepan. Add the kale and garlic and saute about 3-4 minutes, until the kale has wilted. When the groats have cooked their 25-30 minutes, stir in the kale and garlic, cracked black pepper to taste, and the crushed red pepper. Voila! All done! I like to serve this dish with lemon wedges on the side.




Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salmon fillets, 1-inch thick, skin on
  • olive oil


Okay, now for the fish! Heat your skillet over medium and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Add all rub ingredients in a food processor and blend well. This makes enough rub for a few go-rounds, so save what you don’t use in the fridge. You’ll be glad you did, this is good stuff right here.


Rub the salmon on both sides with olive oil. Take 1-2 tsp seasoning per filet and rub that onto the salmon flesh. Place the fillets in your skillet, skin side down, and cook 3-4 minutes, until about halfway done (you’ll see the color changing from dark pink to light). Flip over and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flaky. If you’re grilling or broiling, prep the same way but don’t flip. This rub is so flavorful, surprisingly so. It’s almost the only way i make salmon at home- I hope you like it! What rubs do you use on fish? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

kale. it's so hot right now.

kale. it’s so hot right now.

Provençal Fish Soup (pes, gf)

The change of seasons must be triggering my cravings. I don’t know what it is about summer-to-fall, but the transition puts me into cooking and Pinterest overdrive! Two nights ago, I stopped at the grocery store on a mission: TO MAKE FISH SOUP. I had to have fish soup! A warming yet light, garlicky, fresh and fragrant tomato-based fish soup. IMMEDIATELY. The drive was so intense that I completely neglected to pick up the other items on my grocery list!

feeling rustic?

feeling rustic?

The soupy cravings I had were a perfect compass to a healthy and sustaining meal. We tend to eat large portions, and this recipe fed Dave and me for three meals straight. Please, if you’re a fish lover, give it a shot! It’s a boulliabaise-y dream come true. Would be even more delectable with a crusty loaf of French bread, and shrimp could be left out for those avoiding shellfish. Bonus: I felt quite rustic and womanly while making it. Ha! Bon appétit!

I love little fishes, don't you?

I love little fishes, don’t you?


Adapted from Emeril Lagasse, bless his soul


  • 1 1/2 lbs cod or  halibut, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, smashed (trust me on this)
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) clam juice
  • 6 c vegetable broth, or 6 c water and 5 tsp vegetable base
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 orange, juiced and rind reserved
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut in half width-wise and chopped
  • 2 yellow potatoes, diced
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • salt & cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, cooking until tender.

mmm, aromatics

mmm, aromatics

Add the white wine, tomato paste, crushed red pepper, orange juice, clam juice, and vegetable broth. Cut a few inch-long strips off of the orange peel, and toss into the pot. Bring this stock to a boil and reduce by one-third. This took me about 10 minutes; feel free to taste-test to gauge your reduction time or cook at a lower heat if you’re blessed with this elusive “patience” I keep hearing about.  Sounds interesting. I haven’t had time to check it out.

nourishing goodness

nourishing goodness

While the stock is reducing, finish chopping your tomato, fennel, and potatoes. Add these veggies when the stock has reduced, and cook at a simmer, uncovered, for 15 additional minutes. Salt and pepper your fish and cut into chunks. When the potatoes and fennel have cooked for 15 minutes, add the fish chunks, shrimp, and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes at medium heat, stirring to make sure the fish is well-immersed in the hot broth. Do a taste test and add salt and pepper, if you like (I added lotsa black pepper). Ladle into bowls and enjoy! And enjoy again!

Trinidadian Chicken & Shrimp Asopao (gf)

When Dave goes out of town, the happenings atop my stove get spicy and exotic. I cook within my comfort food zone. The meals are usually tropical recipes that involve rice (brown… I wish so much that white rice wasn’t horrible for us… le sigh), and generally made in big batches so I only have to cook once in order to cover several meals. This frees up my alone time to do like PT leg workouts with the cat staring at me, and to drink wine, wear sweatpants, and watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Those last three are one continuous activity, each component reliant on the others for success.


Here’s what I whipped up last week, while wearing a clay face mask and blaring Feist. An asopao is a variation on a rice stew, kind of like a tropical jambalaya.


Adapted from Andrew Zimmern (I know, right?) 


  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 garlic cloves or 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see below)
  • 3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, optional (could opt for jalapeno instead)
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • kosher salt & black pepper, to taste


Chop the chicken thighs into one-inch pieces, and mix with the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cover this and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. It will be fine and no one will die or be poisoned, I swear. Meanwhile, chop all of your veggies, thaw the shrimp, if necessary, and thaw the peas. Preheat your oven to 400. Spread the shredded coconut across a baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes, until toasted. Pour into a bowl to cool when done.toasted coconut

Ina  large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken after it has marinated, scraping into the pan any yummy, garlicky thyme and oregano bits. Cook the chicken until browned, about five minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Use a slotted spoon so you leave the fragrant olive or coconut oil behind.

chicken cooking

Add the peppers and onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rice and coconut and cook for another minute; then add the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom fo the pan. Add the tomatoes, add the chicken back to the pot, add the chicken broth and the coconut milk. Taste now and season with salt and pepper, and give the pot a good stir. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

veggie nom noms

When your 45 minutes is up, stir in the shrimp, peas, and lime juice; cover again and cook another 5-10 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the rice is tender. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce. I have been reading this post back to myself in the voice of Sebastian the crab as I type…. Disney movies are another home-alone guilty pleasure, and this dish would pair well with The Little Mermaid. Or The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants, whichever. Enjoy!

Ensaladilla Rusa (pes, gf)

The weekend of February 15th, I met Dave in D.C. for a lovely Valentine’s getaway. We stayed at the Willard the first night- which was FABULOUS and made me feel very important and as if I needed an official seal or something- and stayed with my lovely aunt & uncle in Annandale the rest of the trip. We walked all over the place, we saw art, we posed with sculptures, we ate tacos, we drank Yuengling, we ran and walked in Maryland and saw falls and boat locks, and there were memorable oysters at the Old Ebbitt Grill and an inspiring dish of ensaladilla Rusa at Jaleo.

ensaladilla rusa

What is ensaladilla Rusa, lady? you may ask, and why should I care about Jaleo? Well. You’ll be happy to know that ensaladilla Rusa is an iconic Spanish tapa, basically a simply dressed potato salad with tuna and peas. I’d read about it before, but we tried it for the first time at the José Andrés-owned Jaleo, a busy tapas spot on 7th Street in Penn  Quarter. Jaleo is full of tourists (like us) but the food is fast and tasty. I am always fine with having anything to do with José Andrés, who I admire very much, and Jaleo is an accessible way to try one of his restaurants with little-to-no planning required. Find his bio here– just know that he’s a legendary Spanish chef and a visionary. I won’t drag my chef groupie-ism out any longer than I need to… but check him out.

the spectacular Willard

the spectacular Willard

So! Those things being said, I recreated the tapa at home and it made quite the bright and tasty spring dinner. I’m looking forward to having it as a bright and tasty spring lunch tomorrow.


Adapted from a José Andrés recipe


  • 3 red potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 cups shredded carrot, chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 large can white albacore tuna, drained
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • light mayonnaise, about 3/4 cup
  • salt & pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully place the potatoes into the water, and boil for ten minutes (don’t drain yet- keep reading). While the potatoes are boiling, I’ll mention a fool-proof way to hard-boil eggs: place eggs in a pot and cover with an inch of cold water. Bring to a boil, then immediately cover and remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 15 minutes, then remove to a bowl of ice water for five more. Perfect, and no green rings on the yolks!



Okay, back to the kitchen. Heat the peas for a minute in your microwave and drain; place in a large mixing bowl. Chop and add the parsley. Drain the tuna, drizzle it with the olive oil, and let sit. If the ten minutes are up on your potatoes, add the shredded carrots to the boiling water and cook them both for five minutes more, and drain.

the goods

the goods

Let the potatoes cool to room temperature, which should take t 10-15 minutes. While you wait, chop the eggs into small dice. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle and not crumbling when you cut them, cut them into 1/2 inch dice. Carefully stir the peas, parsley, and potatoes together; then carefully stir in the eggs. Stir in the 3/4 cup mayo, and then fold in the tuna. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. This will be a room-temperature dish. Serve with cracked black pepper and enjoy!

Quick shout-out to one of my other main men, John Singer Sargent, and the first Jaleo to capture my heart in the capital, long ago.

And here’s an allez! gourmet recipe for another spin on potato salad- broccoli and potato gribiche!

Quickie: Broccoli Slaw, Grilled Bok Choy, and Rice Noodle Salad with Salmon and Avocado (pes, gf)

We had about an hour to buy and make dinner last night, before my beloved and long-lost husband was shipped out again ahead of a winter storm for work. I felt obligated to fill him with omega-3s and veggies before he left, really laying down HARD the enticing groundwork to get him to come back. I like the guy! Hang out with me and eat delicious dinner salads!  Come back! Here’s what my feminine wiles and I came up with:




Lemon-sesame vinaigrette recipe below.

  • 1 bag broccoili slaw (we bought our ingredients at Whole Foods; their version is julienned broccoli, carrots, and red cabbage)
  • 1-lb salmon plank
  • 1 1/2 tsp jerk seasoning or other all-purpose seasoning or 1 tsp soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp honey (no need to add this if you used soy sauce)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced and a few inches of green tops discarded
  • 3 oz cooked or uncooked vermicelli rice noodles (you could instead use 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice)
  • handful shredded carrot, optional
  • 1 head bok choy, washed and root cut off
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • sesame oil  


Disclaimers: This is mostly a quickie entry because I was cooking like the wind and neglected to take any step-by-step photos. So this is where your spectacular imagination comes in!! Really. Right now. Another note- I labeled this a vegetarian entry because the salmon could easily be left out or replaced with tofu or edamame.  Here’s what we’re doing: MAKE NOODLES, MAKE SALMON, TOSS VEGGIES, DRESS AND SERVE. Let’s get started.

Boil water and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Rinse and pat salmon dry. Top salmon with 1 tsp honey and sprinkle with jerk seasoning; set aside. Drizzle or brush the bok choy leaves with a small amount of sesame oil. Heat a well-oiled grill pan or saute pan over medium-high. Once hot, grill or wilt the bok choy leaves about two minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Alternately, you could cut and saute in a saute pan for 3-4 minutes.

Turn the heat in the grill pan down to medium. When it has cooled a bit, place salmon in pan skin-side down and cook for 5-6 before flipping. Since you have a few minutes now, you can whip up and dress the salad base. Toss the broccoli slaw, green onions, carrots if you’re using them, cooked noodles or rice, and bok choy in a large bowl. Drizzle with your dressing of choice and toss. Set aside.

When the salmon is done, serve dressed salad in bowls and top with the lovely fish. Garnish with a few slices of avocado. This would be great with: cilantro, other salad greens, chicken, well-marinated flank steak, bean sprouts, more red cabbage or green cabbage… the list goes on and on. Just use what you have in the fridge. It will all work. This is man-hooking salad!

LEMON SESAME VINAIGRETTE: 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp sesame seeds, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of kosher salt, 1 tsp honey. Whisk together. Drizzle in olive oil as desired until emulsified. De. Lish.