Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cookish: What's for Lenten dinner?

My friend, the Free Market Mommy, asked me for some Lenten meal ideas. My first thought was all of the possibilities of eggs for dinner, until she reminded me that such meals would be a recipe for death for her husband, who is allergic. Oops--I knew that.

So I am going to cover some more no-meat, no-eggs ideas for Lenten meals. You can check out the recipes tagged "Vegetarian" to see the ones already on the site.

The first meal I came up with is the one I made for myself tonight: fish tacos. This is less a recipe and more a method with suggestions, because the possibilities are really limitless. It occurs to me now that the FMM's husband may also be allergic to fish now (he wasn't always), so this may not be good either! But, you could certainly make bean tacos or cheese and veggie quesadillas instead. Mexican food can be made vegetarian in many ways.

To serve with the tacos: Mexican Rice and Easy "Refried" Beans--both vegetarian! (You could make a meal out of just those sides, if so inclined)

For the tacos (mix and match any of the below):
Flour or corn tortillas (Feeling ambitious? Make your own! It's not hard, just a little time-consuming. But, they are delicious!)
Cabbage or lettuce (Cabbage is pretty traditional on fish tacos--you can even buy the pre-shredded coleslaw mix at the store--it works great)
Shredded Carrots (already in your coleslaw mix!)
Chili-Lime Sour Cream or Mayo (just mix some lime juice and chili powder into your sour cream or mayo to give it a kick. Let it sit for at least a few minutes to let the chili powder really come to life. Or you can just use plain mayo or plain yogurt)
Salsa (make your own, or store-bought. I like Salsa verde or fruit salsas on fish tacos)
Taco sauce
diced mango or pineapple
diced avocado
Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley

Or anything else you want! Use your imagination.

To cook the fish:
sprinkle fish with cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. squeeze lemon or lime. juice over the top. Put in a skillet with a thin layer of oil. Cook for a few minutes on one side, then flip. At this point, I like to squeeze a little honey on the fish, because I like the lemon/lime and honey balance. Cook for a few more minutes, until the fish flakes easily and is opaque throughout. That is the best thing about this--you don't have to try to keep the fish in one piece because once it is done, you're just going to flake it up for the tacos anyway. Put the fish in a bowl and flake with a fork. Give an extra squeeze of lime/lemon or honey and an extra sprinkle of salt, if necessary.
Build your taco with any of the tasty ingredients above and enjoy! Does that really feel like a sacrifice?

*Talapia is a farm-raised fish, readily available frozen across the US, which is why I give it a shout-out here, but you can use any flaky white fish you like. It's a very mild fish, unlikely to offend even skeptical fish-eaters.

Stay tuned for more Lenten meal ideas!

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