Shrimp Tacos with Mango Habanero Salsa

Shrimp Tacos 4

Shrimp TacosIf there’s a taco you need in your life, it’s this one. I’m not sure that I can properly express my feelings towards this taco. I can tell you that going through these photos was a special kind of torment, though. I want to stuff. My face. With these. Again.

And again and again and again.

Between going on a pescetarian diet and moving to the Southern US, I can definitely say that I’ve been indulging in my fair share of fish and shrimp tacos within the last few months. It’s been interesting to see how seafood tacos differ from taco joint to taco joint. The good news is I have yet to meet a taco that I didn’t enjoy.

One of my favorite Mexican joints, which is conveniently located around the corner from where we live, has a real strong taco game. Their shrimp taco includes crispy deep fried shrimp with guacamole and a crisp slaw; their fish taco comprises crispy deep fried fish on slaw, with onions and roasted poblano aioli. It’s definitely a once-in-a-while treat, what with it being deep fried, but hey. Moderation is key, and moderation my middle name!

Just kidding. It’s Kristen.

One of my favey fave pub (which happens to be attached to one of my favey fave breweries) has a blackened fish taco with diced tomatoes, slaw, and sour cream–totally different than the aforementioned tacos, and still totally delicious.

In an effort to put a Dana spin on my tacos, I made up a tangy and spicy salsa with diced mango, habanero, lime juice, olive oil, kosher salt and a few cracks of black pepper. To add to that, I did what I like to call an “instant pickle” with the red onions to add a nice and briny flavor. I’ve included the directions on instant pickling in my recipe notes. It’s perfect for those times where you realize last minute that a dish–whether it be tacos, a burger, whatever–could benefit from some sweet and tangy pickled onions but…you got none.

I guess you could say my instant pickling method gets you out of a pickle.

Also, it makes the tacos look gorgeous with that pop of fuchsia. I added some diced avocado as well and, of course, a Greek yogurt drizzle. The garnish is parsley since I can’t do that whole cilantro thing.

The result?

(Do I even need to tell you how good they were?)

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry with Cashews

One of my favorite things about eating and blogging vegetarian dishes is that they are so stunning; they are so incredibly bright and inviting.

I made this Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry (with crunchy cashews, heck yes) for a Game of Thrones potluck that our friends held on Sunday. The theme wasn’t GoT or anything, it was just an excuse to get together and devour delicious food while we excitedly discussed what this season could possibly have in store. As an aside, if you’re a GoT fan, have you ever seen any of the beautiful women on this show outside of set? They are somehow magically even more stunning as themselves! Emilia Clarke is such a joy to watch in interviews. Her personality is a breath of fresh air. (You thought I was going to say a breath of fire, didn’t you?) And then there’s Jon Snow. Le sigh.

I digress. As I tend to.

Let’s curry this up, shall we?

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry with Cashews 2Our friend, Sarang, had been talking about his tandoori chicken for weeks prior to the potluck and I absolutely love when people are stoked to cook–especially when it’s their signature dish. And, because he was kind enough to make tandoori fish for your friendly neighborhood pescetarian over here, I can say that I get why he beams when he talks about this dish. It’s fantastic.

I was originally going to make a soba noodle salad as a side for the event, but then I thought… hey, no. I need to make something to compliment this wildly anticipated tandoori dish.

That’s how this dish came to be, and the leftovers have been amazing. What is it about curry dishes and being SO delicious when reheated? I don’t want these leftovers to disappear, ever! Luckily I’m doing the MyFitnessPal thing, so my portioning has allowed these leftovers to last me a little longer than usual šŸ˜‰

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Horseradish Mac and Cheese

Horseradish Mac and CheeseI’ve been on a very healthy recipe kick. I think I owe you some indulgence.

As a horseradish fanatic, I’m always trying to find creative ways to use horseradish in dishes–especially now that I don’t eat beef; gone are the days of making a roast solely for the excuse to eat ALL the horseradish.

But sometimes I just slather it on crackers.

And sometimes I just grab the jar out of the fridge and take a huge whiff.

Sometimes I think I have a problem. But, if you’re a horseradish nut like I am, you get me.

If you happen to dislike horseradish but still find yourself reading this post, good news! You can totally omit the horseradish from this recipe and end up with a good ol’ ooey-gooey cheesy mac–no harm done.

Oh. Have I mentioned the broiled cracker topping?

Horseradish Mac and Cheese 3

Horseradish Mac and Cheese 2Yeah. There’s a broiled cracker topping.

Please note that the amount of horseradish in this recipe is totally adaptable. Because I am the way I am, I couldn’t stop myself. In fact, I emptied our entire jar into the cheese sauce. If you’re unsure, start slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Continue until you reach the peak of horseradish goodness you’re looking for; you do you. I’m just here to give you ideas, be your guide, and make you hangry.

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Gourmet Veggie Sandwich

Gourmet Veggie SandwichOne of my biggest weaknesses has always been a nicely stacked sandwich and by being on a mostly plant-based diet, filling that craving can be a challenge! I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of amazing ‘wiches–think Italian meats folded between focaccia bread, classic BLT clubs, gooey turkey melts–you name it. I mean, some days I see a fancy sandwich on Pinterest and I’m like, “Mmmmm, a prosciutto, arugula and provolone melt OH WAIT I CAN’T HAVE THAT.”

I can’t say I regret nixing the consumption of land animals though–this Gourmet Veggie Sandwich has been filling my stacked ‘wich cravings like a champ! Just look at the thing. LOOK AT IT.

A few weeks ago we hit up Beasley’s Chicken and Waffles in downtown Raleigh with my in-laws who were visiting from out of town and hankering for some good old fashioned Southern comfort. Now, I’m never one to complain about having limitations on menus due to my dietary restrictions; going pescetarian was my choice and no one else should have to suffer for it. I was, however, a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything to eat at a chicken and waffles joint. But hey, worst-case scenario, I could just drink my lunch, right? Their beer list is quite nice after all šŸ™‚

Although slightly relieved to see a veggie sandwich on their menu, I must admit, it sounded like a snore. I mean, how exciting could a veggie sandwich be, right? Again, especially in an establishment that caters to a crowd that is eager to leave clean bones behind…

But sweet Jesus! You couldn’t get a word out of me during lunch because I was too busy having a love affair with my ‘wich. It was perfection, and I mean that. Between two slices of toasted bread were tomatoes, sliced avocado, aged cheddar, mayo, and sprouts. And it was dee-lish. Well done, Beasley’s. Thanks for looking’ out for us nonmnivores.

Because I kept thinking about that sandwich well after lunch (and probably during dinner), I knew I had to come up with my own version and share it with the masses. I made a few alterations and I really, really like how it turned out. I used less cheese (not because I dislike a lot of cheese, but because I’ll be on a beach for a week in just over a month so, there’s that); I added some red onions, and I jazzed up the mayo by adding fresh lemon juice and a generous amount of cracked black pepper.

Anyway, I’ve said enough.

Without further adieu, here it is: my Gourmet Veggie Sandwich with Lemon and Cracked Black Pepper Mayo. UNF.

Gourmet Veggie Sandwich 2Gourmet Veggie Sandwich 5

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Orange and Ginger Cabbage Slaw with Roasted Peanuts

Orange and Ginger Cabbage Slaw with Roasted PeanutsTypically when I do groceries, I know exactly what I need. I’m a list woman, and I have lists for my lists. I try to meal plan ahead of time and buy only what I need based on said plan. I hate overbuying produce because I hate hate hate when it ends up going to waste; you could even say I stress over it. There have been times where I’ve been going about my day and, out of nowhere, realized there is a two week old crown of broccoli in the crisper. My reaction is comparable to Mrs. McAllister’s whenever she realizes they left Kevin at home: *Gasp* “BROCCOLI!”

But, despite the lists, sometimes ingredients find you. And it’s kind of the best thing ever.

I remember the moment in great detail as if it were yesterday: I was perusing the produce section at Earth Fare (I felt fancy that day) when I spotted the most gorgeous magenta head of cabbage I’d ever seen. I mean sure, I’ve seen purple cabbage before, but not like this. Most purple cabbages I’ve come across have possessed more of an eggplant shade–or Tyrian purple–but never magenta. As someone who spends a lot of time food styling and planning, I knew I had to have this head. I had no plan for it upon purchase, but I knew it was the key to a super fresh and incredibly colorful, eye-popping dish.

I think I did it justice?

Orange and Ginger Cabbage Slaw with Roasted Peanuts 2This Orange and Ginger Cabbage Slaw with Roasted Peanuts is BOMB. After snapping photos, I couldn’t get my fork out of the gosh darn bowl. The crappy part (choice words, Dana!) was that I’d forgotten that I was supposed to be headed to the gym that afternoon, ha! I’m happy to report that there were no incidents. I did, however, take precautionary measures and skip the leg press machine. Because cabbage.

It took everything out of me to avoid making this dish a spicy one. You know me, Miss Sriracha-In-All-The-Things! I’m really glad I stuck to the sweet and savory route. This is one helluva fresh side dish, guys.

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