Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

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Shrimp Tacos on the Blackstone

Yeah, we missed National Taco Day…so what? Who came up with all of these food days anyways? Was there a committee of stuffy old men smelling of Old Spice and Icy Hot sitting around a large boardroom table? Or was it a bunch of young hipsters sipping on grande mocha soy frappe carmel latte espresso agave sugar coffee drinks while vaping their brains out and blowing huge clouds? Who cares? I’ll eat what I want, when I want and last night I wanted some shrimp tacos!! And more importantly I wanted to cook on my new Blackstone griddle, dammit!!

I usually prefer my shrimp tacos (and fish tacos) fried, but that’s not exactly healthy nor would it allow me to use my griddle. A quick search with my Google-fu skills found me this recipe over at Pinch of Yum and it sounded like it would fit the bill. This is our version cooked on the griddle  with a few modifications.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

For the Garlic Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of light sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled with tail removed (we used 1.25 lbs of 21-25 count)
  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, cumin and chicken fajita seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 green cabbage, shredded
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • Queso Fresco, Cotija or Feta cheese
  • lime wedges for serving
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Warm up the tortillas until you begin to smell corn and they have become pliable. Only takes a minute or so.

To make the sauce, toss all the ingredients in a food processer and pulse until smooth. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss some of the sauce (not all of it!!) with the cabbage. It should resemble a coleslaw. This can be done right before hand, but we did ours about 2 hours ahead of time and placed in the fridge. The rest of the sauce can be used on your tacos.

Heat your griddle medium to medium high heat. Warm up the tortillas for a minute or so until you notice a corn smell and they have become pliable. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Even better would be one of those tortilla holders they have at Mexican restaurants. We, however, don’t have one of those so why the hell am I even bringing it up? I digress…

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Toss the shrimp on the griddle

When the tortillas are done, squirt some oil on the griddle and add a tbsp of butter. Then throw on the shrimp and cook 4-5 minutes or until done.

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Done!!

To serve the tacos, spread a spoonful of the sauce on a tortilla, top with a few shrimp, coleslaw, cheese and avocado and maybe some more sauce and squeeze a slice of lime on top.

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Who needs a National Taco Day to enjoy these shrimp tacos? Eat them whenever the hell you feel like it.

I gotta say, the more I use this griddle, the more I am liking it. It’s just so fun. And it heats up quick. A whole lot quicker than the Egg. Sure, we could have grilled these shrimp and they would have been just as good, but that would have taken longer. From the time I stepped outside and fired up the griddle, to the time I shut it off and went inside was less than 10 minutes!! That’s a fast cook!!

The tacos were fantastic. I tried one of the shrimp by itself, and I hafta say it had some heat. But when you add the slaw and the cheese and the sauce, it balances that heat perfectly. These are definitely going into the rotation, especially on nights when a fast cook is needed to get the food on the table.

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Blackened Red Snapper

Blackened Red Snapper
Blackened Red Snapper

Dizzy Pig is back at it again adding to  their “-ish” rubs with the new release Bayouish. Once again, they’ve sent me a sample before they release it to try out. I honestly don’t know why they choose to include me on their little list of people who get to sample it first, but I am glad they did.

Dizzy Pig's new Bayouish
Dizzy Pig’s new Bayouish

Along with a small sample, they sent a little note.

Note
Note

Enough of all that. Time to get cooking.

Ingredients

  • about a pound of fish fillets, red snapper, red fish, catfish or trout (or even chicken or steak)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • Dizzy Pig’s Bayouish Seasoning (or other blackened seasoning)
  • lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
Snapper going into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill
Snapper going into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill

Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to hot. We had the Big Green Egg going steady at 650F. Allow your cast iron skillet to come up to heat with your grill.
  2. Brush both sides of your fish with melted butter and apply Bayouish liberally. Reserve remaining butter.
  3. After allowing your skillet to get “screaming” hot, carefully pour in a tbsp or so of butter and put the fish flesh side down.
  4. After two minutes, flip the fish and pour in another tbsp of butter and drizzle some on top of the fish. Cook for another two minutes or until fish is about 130F.
  5. Remove fish from skillet, squeeze lemon juice on top and enjoy.
Look at all that smoke!!
Look at all that smoke!!

Now why would you want to blacken your fish outside? Couldn’t you just do it inside? Check that above pic. See all that smoke? Can you imagine how smoky your house would be after that? This dish is better prepared outside so you don’t smoke out all your family, friends and/or pets.

Fresh off the gril...er...I mean cast iron skillet.
Fresh off the grill…er…I mean cast iron skillet.

     Sometimes, I don’t know what I would do without Mrs. G. She found a recipe somewhere and whipped up some dirty rice to go along with the fish. Not sure what all went into it except hot breakfast sausage, chicken livers (we had some left over from the risotto), celery and rice. Whatever it was, it was tasty.

Plated up and ready to eat.
Plated up and ready to eat.

     The red snapper was pretty darn tasty and I can see us using Dizzy Pig’s Bayouish often once they officially release it. It had a nice flavor and didn’t overpower the fish at all. If anything, Mrs. G and I both wish it had a bit more spice to it. I understand when marketing to the masses, you have to please a wide range of palettes, but the heat was just lacking in our humble opinions. Nothing a little hot sauce won’t fix. Or mixing in a little cayenne to the rub. Otherwise, the flavors were pretty well balanced. If you like really spicy food, this might not be the rub for you, but if you are addicted to blackened fish, you should give it a try.

Herbed Trout Fillets

Herbed Trout Fillets
Herbed Trout Fillets

     Back to the other day when I was wandering around aimlessly shopping at Sprouts and I spotted that beautiful okra. I needed something to go with the fried okra that I thought I was going to make. Fish is always a healthy choice and I figured I would make some blackened salmon or maybe catfish. When I got to the fish counter, the trout jumped out at me. It looked fresher and while a bit more than the catfish, it was cheaper than the salmon. Plus we like trout.

     My original thought was to do our Grilled Blackened Trout. We don’t like to do the traditional method of blackening inside our house. It get the house smokey, which in turn sets off the smoke alarm, which then freaks our dogs out causing them to either start barking or go into hiding. Not to mention makes the house smell. But with temperatures in the 20’s and me all nice and cozy in our warm house, lighting the Egg just did not seem to be in my future. So it was off to go scour the old interweb and see what kind of easy recipe I could find to go with our stewed okra and tomatoes. 

Herbed Trout Fillets 

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Herbed Trout Fillets

Ingredients

  • 4 6-8 oz trout fillets
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped green onions (or chives)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges as accompaniment

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler to 500F
  2. In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, Creole seasoning, garlic, parsley, green onions and oregano. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with foil and then place a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack with PAM. Arrange the fillets on top and then brush with vinaigrette.
  4. Broil 5-6 inches from heat until just cooked through, about 5 minutes or until temperature reaches 135F.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges.
Herbed trout fillets with stewed okra and tomatoes
Herbed trout fillets with stewed okra and tomatoes

     We really enjoyed this simple method for trout. Easy ingredients and total time from start to finish was under 10 minutes. By lifting the trout off the baking sheet and onto a wire rack, it allows the skin to crisp up a bit which is a plus in my book. And the trout paired really well with the stewed okra and tomatoes. I didn’t think that this recipe was going to be worthy of a post so I really didn’t work hard at the photos, but I was pleasantly surprised. I just wish I had taken better photos now. Oh well.

     And please, please if you are going to eat seafood, don’t reach for that bottle of tartar sauce. Do yourself a favor and quickly whisk up a batch. It really does make a difference and takes very little effort on your part. This is one we really enjoy: Home Made Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce

Buffalo Shrimp

Buffalo Shrimp, plus one lonely regular ole shrimp.
Buffalo Shrimp, plus one lonely regular ole shrimp.

    

Wow!! Sometimes life just gets busy. Works been crazy with a move to a new lab and all that has entailed. Throw in the holidays, and things get put on the back burner. Hate to say it, but that’s what kinda has happened with this blog lately. Honestly, I meant to cook these lil shrimps up last night (12/4), but we had to go out and find a Christmas tree before this bad storm hit Dallas (12/5). I don’t know where in the world you are, but if the weather is anything like it is here in the DFW Metroplex, it’s pretty darn cold, wet and nasty and chances are you won’t be going in to work tomorrow. As cold as it is outside, these shrimp sure did warm us up inside.

Dredge station all set up.
Dredge station all set up.

     Those of you who have followed this blog for anytime, know that I have a deep love for wings. Anyway I can get them. Not only do I love wings, but I love Buffalo sauce. A little less known fact is that I love fried shrimp. Coated in cornmeal or flour, tempura or any other way. About once or twice a month, I get a craving and I have to satisfy it. It dawned on me the other day…why not combine fried shrimp and Buffalo sauce? Now, I’m no nutritionist and I could be totally wrong, but don’t you think Buffalo shrimp has to be a little bit healthier than Buffalo wings? And if not, who really cares? They were pretty damn tasty.

Regular ole fried shrimp
Regular ole fried shrimp

 Ingredients

  • 2 lb shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1.5 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, Cajun seasoning (we used Dizzy Pig Swamp Venom), pepper and salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (Frank’s)
  • canola oil for frying

For the Buffalo Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 lemon, squeezed
  • a coupla squirts of Sriracha
1/2 plain fried shrimp, 1/2 tossed in Buffalo sauce
1/2 plain fried shrimp, 1/2 tossed in Buffalo sauce

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200F.
  2. Pour about an inch and a half of oil in a cast iron skillet and heat to about 350-375F. While oil is heating, combine ingredients for the Buffalo sauce in a small sauce pan and heat on low to medium low. You just want to melt the butter and get warm. High heat will cause the sauce to break and that is no bueno.
  3. Fill a shallow dish with cornmeal and add the seasonings and stir until well mixed. In another bowl, beat two eggs and add milk and Frank’s hot sauce.
  4. Dip the shrimp in the egg mixture and then dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Shake off excess cornmeal and fry the shrimp, about 6 at a time, 2 to 3 minutes a side or until golden brown. Remove shrimp to a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to allow oil to drain, and then dip shrimp in Buffalo sauce. Return the shrimp to the cooling rack and place in pre-heated oven. Continue with remaining shrimp until finished.
  5. If desired, drizzle on more Buffalo sauce when finished. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese and celery.
Dinner is served
Dinner is served

And if you like it a bit spicier and messier, don’t be afraid to drizzle more Buffalo sauce on the shrimp right before serving.

Messy can be a good thing!
Messy can be a good thing!

     I thought the shrimp turned out fantastic. Granted, they would have been better had I eaten them while still piping hot and not stopped to take pictures for the blog. Shrimp cool fast. Very, very fast. The sacrifices I make for you guys. Combining two of my favorite things, fried shrimp and Buffalo sauce? What’s not to like? I thought they were a hit. And while my wife likes fried shrimp and she likes Buffalo wings, she wasn’t the biggest fan. In her own words, “I don’t like that flavor on shrimp.” I guess she’s more of a purist and would rather let the shrimp stand by themselves. So one thumbs up and one thumbs down here in our casa. I guess you’ll just have to try them yourself and let me know who’s right and who’s wrong. Me or Mrs. G?

     And on a side note, the news just announced that Frisco ISD is closed tomorrow which means Mrs. G’s work is closed as well. Which means that I’m  not going to work tomorrow either. 🙂 Hope y’all have a good weekend. And if the weather in your neck of the woods is anything like ours, stay warm and stay safe.

Spiced Salmon Kebabs

Spiced Salmon Kebabs
Spiced Salmon Kebabs

     Kebab or kabob? I’ve often wondered which was the correct spelling. To me, it seemed like kabob was a Western spelling of the word. No real reason for that, just how I felt. Looking around this morning, I also found it spelled as kebap and kabab. It seems the word kebab is derived from an Arabic word “kabab” and was first mentioned in a Turkish script in 1377, so maybe that’s the correct way to spell it. However you choose to spell it, kebabs are no doubt a fun and easy way to grill up a healthy meal.

Assembling the kebabs for the grill
Assembling the kebabs for the grill

     Ever had one of those ADHD moments? I have them all the time. Yesterday, I was in the store procuring the necessary ingredients for dinner last night and tonight. One thing I needed was a cup of Greek yogurt. Have you looked for one cup of Greek yogurt before? You can get the small ones…6 oz. Not enough. Or you can get the gi-normous containers that would be way too much. I decided to go with the 6 oz, but now I had to decide what brand. Finally picked one, came home and started getting my sauce ready. The last step involved to do was dump in the yogurt and as it starts to fall into the food processor, I look closely at the container and wouldn’t you know it? Yep, I grabbed VANILLA Greek Yogurt!! In all my thinking about size and brand, somehow I overlooked plain vs. vanilla. Let me tell you, it was not going to work at all.

     With salmon already in the fridge, I was committed to my protein. Do I go with the tried and true Dizzy Pig Raging River spice or do I scramble madly about and find something else? Yep, scrambling madly about won and I’m glad it did. What I stumbled upon was Bon Appetit’s Spiced Salmon Kebabs. We stuck to the recipe, but I had some squash and zukes that needed using up, so they got sliced up and added to the kebabs as well.

Onto the grill that was pre-heated to 400F
Onto the grill that was pre-heated to 400F

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 squash or 1 zucchini or 1/2 squash and 1/2 of both (optional)
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 Tbsp oil, olive or canola
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Soak 8-10 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill to about 400F or medium heat.
  3. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
  4. Thread vegetables, salmon and lemon onto skewers. Use two skewers per kebab to keep meat and vegetables from spinning while grilling. Make sure that each piece of salmon has lemon (folded in half) contacting it and start and end each skewer with squash or zucchini.
  5. Brush kebabs with oil and season with spice mix.
  6. Grill kebabs, turning and flipping every 2 minutes or so, until fish is done, 8-12 minutes.
Finished
Finished

     Don’t those look pretty? Some cherry tomatoes would have made a nice addition with the red contrasting with the yellow and green and pink, don’tcha think?

Plated up and ready to eat
Plated up and ready to eat

     I’m sort of glad I screwed up the sauce in the original recipe I was going to prepare. This “replacement” dish turned out spectacular. While seemingly pretty simple with the ingredients, it burst with flavors. The lemon, which is always a nice addition to seafood, seemed to have basted the salmon with its juices every time the kebabs were turned or flipped.  The oregano added a wonderful herby flavor and the cumin and red pepper flakes gave it an extra boost of flavor with out overpowering the salmon. Mrs. G and I both loved the way the salmon turned out. By cubing it up, the salmon “nuggets” had extra surface area to hold flavors and get a nice char on it while not drying the fish out. I think from now on I might only cook salmon on kebabs.

     I think that the only thing I would do different is to omit the squash and zucchini from the kebabs. While it visually looks more interesting, I’m not a big fan of mixing meats and veggies on kebabs. It’s hard to get everything cooked perfectly because the proteins and veggies usually have different cooking times. Instead, I’d give the veggies their own skewers. I also think that having a slice of lemon between every “nugget” of salmon (instead of veggies) would add extra lemony flavor to the fish.

     And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the original recipe I was going to try. I want a redo on that one because I think the sauce would be a fantastic accompaniment to salmon. Look for it to appear here soon, possibly next week.