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…






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!

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.

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Shrimp (pes, gf)

I am so excited to share this recipe!! The photos I took are few, due to my hurry to get on with the process and eat already! This was nutritious, unbelievably tasty, and reheated really well. The sauce is a no-cook sauce that’s whipped up in a food processor and poured over hot noodles before serving. Simply put, this recipe is a stellar example of the so many dishes I like. Let’s do some math, shall we?

whole grain + lean protein + veggies + spicy, exotic sauce+ cilantro and/or scallions = yumyumlove&happiness.

Everything you need in a meal in one pot, great for leftovers. Can it be topped with Sriracha? Yes. And avocado? Yes. FANTASTIC. Leave the shrimp out for a vegetarian or side dish; leave the crushed red pepper out for a mild one. Here you go:

a familiar sight in the Cruse household


Sauce adapted from Food & Wine 


  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
  • 1 box brown rice or whole wheat linguine
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin half-moons 
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter, chunky or smooth
  • 6 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (available in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores)
  • 6 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, reserved
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped, or 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Sriracha and sliced avocado, for serving (optional, but why not?)


Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. In the same pot (yessss!), heat the canola oil over medium-high. Add the onion and carrots, stirring to cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and stir frequently until it’s no longer pink. If you used previously frozen shrimp, the mixture may need to be drained.

Guess what? You’re almost done!! Toss all of the sauce ingredients into a blender: peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, water, crushed red pepper, garlic, and ginger pieces. Blend until smooth, about one minute.


Add the pasta back into the large pot with the veggies and shrimp and pour the sauce on top. Add the sesame seeds (you may toast if you like, I was lazy and trying to eat) and gentlytoss to combine and fully coat the noodles and toppings. Top with cilantro and scallions, serve with Sriracha, and enjoy!

This is how I feel when I eat noodle bowls:

Sally’s Summer Salad & Crabcakes (pes, gf)

When my husband goes out of town, I like to treat and distract myself by cooking nice meals to be enjoyed solo. He’s my favorite person to be around and when he leaves, I find myself doing things to keep my mind off of the house being so quiet. I grew up with lots of noise, two sisters, and very little privacy, and that first night with him gone is always a little, well… boring. Close quarters and bedlam are my peace.

fancy photo

Lots of people would savor that quiet, private, coffee commercial-like time… not me. I am happiest when surrounded by people I love (and sorry, Parley, but you don’t count). Correction: people I love and FOOD! And if I can’t have one, I’ll certainly have the other. We’re fortunate enough to have great friends to visit in many parts of the state and country, and we spent the past weekend in Joplin with some wonderful people. Being in a house full of folks we love and miss had me spoiled. Here was my (edible) replacement for rowdy company last night:


Recipe poached from the lovely Sally Robinson


  • small container Organic Girl greens of your choice
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 bag ready-to-eat green beans, cut into thirds
  • 1 bag ready-to-eat snap peas, cut in half
  • 1 container Santa Sweets grape tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1 lemon, juiced (you’ll save some juice for the recipes below)


This was an as-best-I-can remember recreation of a delicious salad our friend Sally made Saturday night. When I told her I’d duped it, she mentioned that she’d also used feta, toasted slivered almonds, and garlic, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of oil instead of a vinaigrette (recipe to follow). Each of those ingredients was incredibly tasty- I highly recommend adding any and all. All you need to do here is wash and cut the veggies as stated above and toss. Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice for a bright, fresh taste, and to keep the avocado green in case you have leftovers.

Set salad aside, or meanwhile, make the following super-easy vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp-1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried herb of your choice (basil’s a good one)
  • 1 tsp whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients except oil; then add oil in a steady stream while whisking to emulsify dressing. Taste and season accordingly. I have categorized this post as gluten-free; the salad if gf, but the crabcakes are not gluten-free unless made with gf breading.



  • 1 12-oz container lump crab meat (found in the refrigerated section of the seafood counter)
  • 1 tbsp light mayo
  • 1 tsp whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • dash (or three) of cayenne
  • dash celery seed, if you have some around
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (save this from your vinaigrette)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil


Moutarde was the surname I gave these basic crab cakes to make them extra-fancy. French does that (see: Grey Poupon and pommes frites). So does drinking wine. There is mustard in the sauce I made, so I guess the name is legit. Voila! So very fancy.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium low, and add oil. Mix all ingredients except crab and bread crumbs. I recommend whisking them so they’re well-combined. I wouldn’t over-salt these, as you want to taste the delicate crab, and can liven up the flavor after cooking with bright, fresh, lemon juice. Fold in the crab with a spoon; then fold in the breadcrumbs. Add more breadcrumbs if you like, but keep in mind that the egg will bind the ingredients and help them cook in a patty form.

Divide the mixture into quarters (about 3 tbsp each), and gently form into cakes with your hands. Add patties (also gently) to the hot oil, leaving space between each. They don’t have to be flat and wide to thoroughly cook, they can be tall. They’ll cook pretty quickly. Let cook about 3-4 minutes on the first side; make sure to monitor the cooking temperature so the bottoms don’t burn. Flip over with a spatula and cook an additional 2-4 minutes. You want both sides to be golden brown. The crab cakes will look so pretty and smell so good at this point!

Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, and let rest while you make your schmancy moutarde sauce:

  • 1 more tsp coarse grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp light mayo
  • remaining lemon juice

Whisk all together. Plate your vinagrette-dressed salad, add crab cakes, spoon sauce on top. There! Being home alone isn’t so boring after all! Savor, finish your wine, and google some more French words in the sunroom as you watch the sun set. Enjoy.

Defiantly unaltered photo. Instagram is Photoshop for food.

Broiled Honey Salmon with Lemon-Dill Tzatziki Sauce (pes, gf)

Having lived without a grill for the past two and a half years, I’ve come to enjoy broiling salmon almost as much as grilling it. I hope to post my favorite grilled salmon recipe here soon, complete with a great rub for fish- as soon as I figure out how to use the grill at our new place.


This is simple and delicious. The sauce is tangy and fresh and compliments the fish perfectly, without adding a bunch of additional empty calories.



  • a fresh salmon plank piece to feed two (about 8 inches long and 4-5 inches wide, 1-2 inches thick)
  • olive oil (about two tsps)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 of a small to medium cucumber, in small dice
  • 4 tbsp fresh dill 
  • 8 oz fat free Greek yogurt Read More

Classic Shrimp and Asparagus Barley Risotto (pes, gf)

Earlier in the month, I published a slight spin on one of may favorite recipes. I essentially made this dish with broccoli in place of asparagus and added curry powder. This version, with asparagus, fresh lemon, and no curry powder, is my absolute favorite version and really delicious in the spring, when asparagus is at its peak. The lemon zest and juice really give this a bright kick of flavor; do yourself a favor and make sure to include the lemon. It makes all the difference in the world.



  • 1 lb (generally 1 bag) 31-40 count shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined
  • 1 1/4 c pearled barley
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups stock, or water + 4 tsps cooking base or bouillon
  • juice and zest of 1-2 lemons Read More