Fish that You’ll Want to Eat: Light and Flavorful Fish Tacos!

I’m excited to bring another post in a continuing series by my good friend and fellow Underwear Yogi, Nick Kindrick. It’s a recipe almost as delicious as he is. Enjoy!

You’re probably thinking… fish tacos, huh?

When many people here in the US think of tacos, they think of those hard corn shells, some ground beef, and some kind of seasoning packet comprised mostly of msg. Or even worse, they think of Taco Bell. The marketing gurus of the 70s did a great job of bringing “Mexican” food to the US, but it’s a far cry from the uber-fresh, light, colorful, healthy and delicious food that real Mexicans eat on a daily basis. This recipe is an adaptation of a dish that is ubiquitous along the Pacific coast of Mexico. Typically, the fish is fried, but baked fish is just as delicious. Hope you enjoy. “Buen provecho,” as the say south of the border.

Baked Fish Tacos with Mexican Coleslaw, Serves 2-3

  • 1 1/2 lb of white fish, such as cod, flounder, tilapia or catfish (make sure all bones are removed)
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in the Mexican/Latin section of your supermarket)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced paper thin
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thinly (seeds and veins removed)
  • 1/2 c carrots, matchstick cut
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped finely (you may want to remove the thicker stems)
  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • avocado, sliced
  • flour tortillas
  • mayonnaise (optional)

Turn the oven on to 45o degrees. Remove the chipotles from the adobo sauce and reserve all but one for another use. These will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for a while (up to 2 weeks). Chop 1 chipotle finely. More if you like very spicy food. Add the chopped pepper to the adobo sauce (the liquid from the can) and pour over the fish. Make sure that the fish is completely covered with the pepper and the sauce. Chipotles are smoked jalapenos and are typically quite spicy. BE CERTAIN TO WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY after touching the peppers if you are not wearing protective gloves. You can let the fish marinade up to an hour if you have the time, but this step is not necessary. Place the fish in an oven safe container, ideally on parchment paper (this will make for a simple clean up).

To prepare the slaw, slice the cabbage very thinly, as you will the onion. Remove the stem, seeds and the veins from the jalapeno and slice into a julienne (matchstick, like the carrots). Once again, BE CERTAIN TO WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY after touching the pepper. Remove the cilantro leaves from the thicker stems and chop finely. Mix all ingredients of the slaw in a medium size bowl and add the carrots. Cut one of the limes in half and squeeze the juice of the entire lime over the slaw. Add the extra virgin olive oil. Add a hefty pinch of salt and mix thoroughly with your hands. The salt will break down the cabbage so it is essential to the salad.

Now bake the fish for approximately 8-10 minutes, per inch of thickness. If you’re using thin fish, this will not take long at all. Most importantly, just be sure that the fish is opaque. If it is not, it must cook more.

As the fish bakes, slice the avocado. Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the oven. This will not take long. Remove the fish from the oven. If you’re using mayonnaise, spread liberally onto the warm tortilla.  Spoon some of the fish on top and place some of the slaw on top of the fish. The sliced avocado goes on top. I usually eat 2 or 3 or 4 or 5… just kidding. Enjoy!

Healthy End of Summer Salad! [Recipe]

I’m excited to bring another post in a continuing series by my good friend and fellow Underwear Yogi, Nick Kindrick. Enjoy!

Hello friends in fitness. I sometimes help out at the Union Square Greenmarket here in New York City, as I did this past week. Being obsessed with food, it’s truly one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Right now is really my favorite time at the market. The pumpkins, apples and cauliflower begin to appear and gently remind us that fall has in fact, arrived, yet the tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers of summer are still fighting their way to the market. Who knows when the first frost will arrive? We just sense it will be soon.

In honor of summer’s last stand, I present you with a beautiful, nutritious and delicious salad. I know what you’re thinking… salad is salad. But, salad can be a great, light and satisfying meal. I LOVE “entree salads,” which are essentially salads substantial enough to be a one-plate-meal. With the addition of some wholewheat bread and some leftover pesto, this was an awesome ode to summer, on a plate. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. If you don’t have something, it’s okay. I did this in less than 30 minutes. Hint: a large bowl (of any sort – even a pasta pot would do in a pinch) is essential to mix this salad.

Serves 2.

For the salad:

  • 3/4 lb fresh tuna or 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 large tomato, cut into  wedges
  • 1/2 lb green and/or yellow string beans, trimmed of stems
  • 1/2 lb of potatoes of any variety, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 small red or yellow (or even green or purple!!) bell pepper, stems, seeds and veins removed, sliced thinly into strips
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs (cook in a gentle boil of water for 7-8 minutes, let cool and then peel), cut in half
  • any mixture of hearty lettuces, washed and dried, to serve as a bed for all of these ingredients (I used red leaf and mature arugula)

For the vinaigrette:

  • the juice of 1 freshly, squeezed lemon
  • 1 T of Dijon mustard
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small purple onion, sliced paper thin
  • a couple of leaves of fresh parsley and basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (kosher salt is preferred)

Make the vinaigrette first. This will allow all of the flavors to mingle longer, which will produce a more tasty dressing.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and the mustard. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, and herbs. Whisk a little more and set aside.

To compose the salad, place the greens at the bottom of your bowl. Fill a medium pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add some salt and when it begins to boil again, use a spoon to taste it (after it cools a moment, unless your a Masochist). If it tastes like the sea, then it’s sufficiently salty. If not, add some more. Add the potatoes and boil until tender (can you easily pierce the potatoes with a knife?). Approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove the potatoes, most easily with a slotted spoon. Place in a separate bowl, and while hot, pour some of the vinaigrette over the warm potatoes. When the water returns to a boil, add the beans. Boil for another 4-5 minutes, till the beans are tender (I prefer the beans al dente, with a little crunch). Remove the beans from the bowl and let cool, a minute or so, and add to the greens in the salad bowl. Add the slices of cucumber and bell pepper to the greens. Add the tomatoes to the bowl as well.

To cook the tuna, add 1 T extra virgin olive oil in a pan and turn to high. Sprinkle the tuna steak with salt. Just before the pan begins to smoke (but is NOT), when the oil is very, very hot, turn down the heat to medium, add the tuna steak and sear on 1 side for 1 minute, then the other side for a second minute. This will give you tuna that is rare to medium rare, depending on the size of your steak. If you like it more done than less, cook slightly longer.  If you prefer tuna that is cooked through well, use canned tuna. Remove the tuna from the pan, and pour the hot oil and juices over your salad. Slice the tuna.

Add a pinch of salt to the salad and then the remaining vinaigrette. Mix well with your hands. Yes, I wrote hands. Just wash your hands before you do this step. This is the best way to properly dress a salad. Be certain to dress each square inch of every vegetable is dressed and it will be delicious. Then add the potatoes and give one more gentle toss, just be careful with the potatoes. Taste the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like. Serve the salad on plates, and place the halves of hard boiled egg on the plates and the slices of tuna on top.

Enjoy.

Simple Lentil Soup Recipe.

My mom likes to say that there is nothing sexier than a man that cooks, and I tend to agree. I’m excited to bring another post in a continuing series by my good friend and fellow Underwear Yogi, Nick Kindrick. It’s a recipe almost as delicious as Nick himself!

Hello friends in fitness.  Here in the Northeast, we’ve been enjoying some fall-like weather for the past couple of days, which has been a welcome respite from the stifling heat wave that has been this summer.  The cool and windy conditions make me think of fall, which I equate with hearty and fortifying foods.  I’m happy to share with you one of my all time favorite meals – simple, rustic, lentil and chicken soup.  Of course, if it’s 100 degrees where you live, you can still enjoy it by making some slight changes to lighten it up a little.  Either way, with the addition of a green salad, this is a highly nutritious and gratifying meal.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over for any stones or debris
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a couple sprigs of thyme (fresh or dried, but fresh would be better)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno (optional), chopped with seeds and veins removed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chicken breasts or thighs and legs, on the bone preferably but skin removed
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro and/or parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place the lentils, bay leaf, thyme, sweet potato, and chicken in a medium pot with the water.  If you leave the chicken on the bone, the bones will add richness and flavor to the broth, but that is not essential.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to medium, stirring occasionally.  While that is cooking, put the olive oil in a small pan and heat to medium.  Add the onion, celery, carrot and jalapeno.  Add a substantial pinch of salt to the lentils and the chicken after they’ve been cooking for a while, and  another healthy pinch to the vegetables in the olive oil.  Stir and cook the veggies until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).  If they begin to caramelize, turn the heat to low.

When the lentils are cooked and the chicken is cooked through – somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes – remove the bay leaf, thyme and chicken, if on the bone.  Discard the herbs, and remove the meat from the bone.  Be careful as the chicken will be hot, so best to let it cool for five minutes or so.  Cut or tear the meat into bite size pieces.  It should fall right off.  Return the chicken to the soup and add the onion, carrot, celery and jalapenos (and the olive oil).

Bring to a boil once again, stir and then lower the heat.  If you’d like a thicker, stew-like soup, continue to cook, until the ratio of liquid to veggies, lentils and meat dissipates (just be careful not to burn, so stir frequently).  Otherwise, you can make this dish a little lighter, by cooking it less time, so there is a larger ratio of broth to the solids.

Garnish with the cilantro and parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Most people are not aware how awesome this little legume is.  1 cup of cooked lentils has about 19 grams of protein AND they’re loaded with soluble fiber – 16 grams in that same cooked cup, which means lentils have a very low glycemic load (although the sweet potatoes alter this, so if blood sugar levels concern you, omit the sweet potato).  They’re also a great source of folate (vitamin B9, or folic acid in the synthetic form of a supplement), which is essential for cell production.  They’re also a good source of iron.  And unlike beans, lentils obviously need no presoaking time (otherwise I would have noted that in the recipe).

So toss together a little green salad and enjoy this amazingly wholesome – and delicious – meal.

Chicken and Basil Recipe.

This is the first in a series of healthy cooking guest posts by Nick Kindrick of www.thrivewithnick.com. Nick is a good friend of mine (and costar of Underwear Yoga) – and a fabulous cook to boot. Bon appetit!

It’s summer time and I have a glut of basil. Here’s a delicious, healthy recipe that will help you use up this delicious herb.

Serves 4

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 jalapenos, serranos or fresno chiles, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper sauce such as Sriracha
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups fresh basil, torn

Dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel and then cut into bite size chunks.  Peel the ginger (this is most easily done with a spoon). Finely chop the garlic, chiles and ginger. If your knife skills are not so great, you can also do this in a mini food chopper, along with a little bit of olive oil.

Warm a saute pan on the stove with medium to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and toss the salt on top.  Stir just until the chicken begins to brown (about 3-4 minutes). Then add the garlic, chile and ginger. Be careful not to burn this, as both garlic and ginger naturally contain sugars, which can burn easily.

After a minute or so, add the soy sauce, the chile pepper sauce and sugar. Continue to cook for 3-4 more minutes. If the pan becomes dry, you can add a little more soy sauce. Add the basil and cook for another minute, or just until the basil has wilted.  TASTE to correct. If it needs a little more salt, add another pinch.

Enjoy! If you give it a try, let me know what you think!