Dónde está el fin de semana?

Also known as, "Oh my God, where in the hell is Friday?"  It was a REALLY long first full week back to work after holiday break.  I kept thinking on Wednesday, "Surely tomorrow has GOT to be Friday".  No such luck.  But it finally DID get here and we decided to celebrate by having a small Mexican Fiesta last night.  

I am an ethnic food fan of any kind, but Mexican food makes me generally happy because of all of the dip-y options.  Salsas, Guacamole, Quesos, Bean Dips, the possibilities are endless.  Lots of intense flavors that are fresh, different and a mouth surprise with every crunchy chip bite.   Bored with my standard ground beef/shredded chicken fare, I decided to consult my Rick Bayless cookbook for some alternatives and boy did he come through.  I wanted to do a taco bar with several options so folks could have a few small tacos of different flavors. 

First up was a Creamy Chicken and Greens with Roasted Poblano.  It was amazing and the poblanos gave it perfect heat.  The greens were a total surprise but worked once it all came together.  It needed nothing else in it.  If you wanted to crumble some Mexican Cheese on it, it would work, but I had none and didn't miss it. 

Second I did just a traditional ground beef filling with standard seasonings.  I add a bottle (give or take) of salsa to the ground beef and garlic and onions after it is seasoned and cook it down for about 45 minutes and it has crazy good flavor.  It also gives me time to get everything else prepped and ready to go. 

Next was a fish filling that I kind of just winged.  It was nice and needed tomatoes next time.  I had some Cordova in the freezer and simply did a rub for it, pan seared, and flaked into a bowl for the tacos.  I then did a lime yogurt dressing for it with lots of fresh herbs. 

 Fish Tacos
1/2 pound white fish of any kind.  I would have used anything I had, including tuna, swordfish, talapia, etc.  It all works.
2 Tablespoons Olive oil plus 2 more for the pan
1 cup chopped tomatoes
Flour tortillas
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon (to taste) ground Cayenne
Yogurt Dressing
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
handful of chopped cilantro
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
Rub fish with olive oil and mix rub ingredients together in a bowl.  Apply rub to fish on all sides.  Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the fridge.  Next make yogurt dressing by mixing all ingredients together.  It will taste very tart by itself.  Heat oil in pan and place fish in pan.  Cook just through (I prefer my fish medium well for this.  It flakes easier but is not too dry).  This could be about 3 minutes per side but it all depends on how thick the fish is.  Flake fish into a bowl and serve with the yogurt and tomato garnish inside tortilla.
The bar remained an important feature in last night's fiesta (big surprise there).  I wanted something different but also wanted variety.  I offered regular margaritas, Mojitos, Cerveza, and Blood Orange Margaritas.  I'm gonna need you to go ahead and double that recipe for the Blood Orange Margaritas and just save yourself some time.  O...M...G...were they fantastic!  No one touched the other drink options.  I found Blood Oranges at Creation Gardens a couple of weeks ago and have been looking for something fabulous to use them in and I did.  Outstanding.  I will reiterate instructions about the liquor in margaritas (or anything for that matter) that I have heard forever from those that know.  There is no substitute for good liquor, folks.  While it is utterly ridiculous to mix Patron (in my opinion it is a little like mixing Blantons or an 18 year old scotch; just a moral sin), you are going to need to go ahead and spring for the Cointreau (seriously I could've had a REALLY good bourbon for the cost there).  Also I am not a big tequila drinker anymore so I don't usually keep it here and I needed a lesson since there are so many new tequilas out there.  It is the new vodka.  I went with a 100% Agave El Jimador that was only $19 for the bottle.  It was very good and very smooth.  
Thank goodness the weekend got here!  None too soon.  I am looking forward to leftovers today.  We are headed to a friend's house for a bonfire in the snow.  Hmmm...what does one take to drink at a winter bonfire?  Here's to hoping the routine becomes easier next week.  Viva la fiesta!   

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