Baked Fish Tacos for Two

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We have a few weeks left till the official end of summer on September 22nd. With the current heat wave, it definitely doesn’t feel like fall is upon us. So, here’s one last recipe to savor summer. If you make the salsa and crema ahead of time, these fish tacos are a quick, tasty weeknight meal.

 Baked Fish Tacos for Two

  •  ¾ lb wild-caught white fish (preferably mahi mahi)
  • 4-5 tortillas, warmed

Half Baked Harvest’s Rub

  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp chile powder
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Salsa Garnish:

  • 5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced

Mexican Crema

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Whisk together crema ingedients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all salsa ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate both until serving.

In a small bowl, combine paprika, chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano. Place the fish in a baking dish and rub with olive oil. Then rub the seasoning on both sides.

Bake for 15 minutes or until fish is done (the fish will flake easily with a fork).

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Divide fish among tortillas and top with salsa, crema and any other toppings you fancy (arugula makes a nice, light topping). Serve with guacamole and sangria.

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Boozy Peach Bars

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Baking and I are not friends (unless a box of Funfetti is involved). Specks of flour sneakily inch into every kitchen corner and crevice, or I clumsily drop an entire bottle of vanilla into the batter whenever I bake. Usually more batter is on me than in the pan.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when these boozy peach bars came out quite tasty. Granted I spilled a whole bottle of pure vanilla extract all over the kitchen counter. I went to four grocery stores to find that stuff, FOUR! I also returned to the grocery store yet again, but let’s not talk about that. This decadent, soft dessert with fresh peaches is perfect for the end of summer. Happy baking!

Southern Astorian's Peach Bars

Peach Bars with Caramel-Bourbon Sauce

Makes about 9 squares

Crust

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened & cubed
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 large egg

Peach Filling

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 generous cups of fresh peach chunks

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine 1 cup flour, salt & ½ cup sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a fork into the dry mix until a grainy mixture forms.

Press mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan to form a crust. (P.S. reserve a little less than ¼ of the mixture to sprinkle on top at the end). Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the best part – the peach filling! Combine egg, ½ cup sugar, Greek yogurt, vanilla, orange juice & flour. Whisk until smooth and stir in peach chunks.

Pour peach mixture over the crust, top with remaining crust crumbles and bake 30-35 minutes until set. Wait until bars are completely cool before serving.

Buzz Feed’s Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons bourbon, divided
  • ½ cup heavy cream, heated
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened & cubed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

While the bars are cooling, make this caramel bourbon sauce from Buzz Feed. It’s amazingly simple and deliciously boozy.

Cut the bars into squares once cool. Top each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of the caramel sauce.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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The other weekend I spent Saturday morning at the Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarket. The market hosts a great selection of El Poblano Farm’s vegetables, bread from Artisan Oven Central Bakery and Red Jacket Orchard’s fresh juices. While browsing the local goods, you’re surrounded by a whimsy of sculptures and installations beneath the Manhattan skyline. It’s absolutely lovely!

I picked up a few poblano chiles and couldn’t wait to make stuffed peppers for dinner. They may look like globby wads, but they’re cheesy, tasty globby wads. I hope you’ll agree!

Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Serves 2-3

  • 3 medium poblano peppers
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp Mexican spice blend (Penzeys ya’ll!)
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ½ can black beans
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup salsa

Roast peppers under broil for 7 – 10 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, cook chicken, dice & add cream cheese & spices. Stir until blended. Mix in onion and black beans, then cover to keep warm.

Slice each poblano pepper, making a slit down the center. Remove core and seeds (keep a few seeds if you like it spicy).

Pour salsa on bottom of square baking dish. Scoop cream cheese/chicken mixture into the peppers. Place in the pan and top with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes at 350° until hot and bubbly.

New York Dog House

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I’ve wanted to share some love for New York Dog House for a while now. I finally captured a few shots over lunch the other weekend. So, here it is!

It was a sunny Saturday, but Chelsey and I skipped the sunshine in search of a bar to watch the World Cup. We wanted a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere so we settled on New York Dog House.

NYDH offers a thoughtful spin on the classic hot dog. The menu caters to a variety of tastes, from the “Far East Dog” (num pang topped with sesame chili paste, pickled daikon and scallion) to the “Cowboy” (cheddar bratwurst smothered with caramelized onions, crispy bacon, pickled chipotle, and house BBQ sauce). There are also several vegetarian options, including various salads, macaroni and cheese, and a veggie dog made of a farro and market vegetable blend. The restaurant also features an extensive list of seasonal and signature craft cocktails named after your favorite dogs or Astoria spots.

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We started with drinks. I sipped on the “Summer Fling” – a lovely blend of gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and seasonal ingredients. Chelsey enjoyed the rum, whiskey and brandy infused “Pitbull.”

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For lunch, Chelsey ordered the sausage grilled cheese with spicy kielbasa. She noted that the portion was just right for such a robust sandwich. I opted for the “California Dog,” substituting weisswurst for cheddar bratwurst. The topping consisted of a mix of fresh avocado, sliced lettuce and springy red onions. The light toppings and hearty bratwurst were quite delightful.

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Check out NYDH’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for news and events.

More NYDH love:
Astoria Arrivals: New York Dog House – We Heart Astoria
Welcome to the Neighborhood: New York Dog House – Tastoria Queens

Baked Chicken Sliders & Radicchio Jalapeno Coleslaw

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It’s almost summer, which brings memories of my family’s backyard – our cherished rope hammock from Nags Head, my mom’s garden of plump red tomatoes or dinner against the evening backdrop of humming insects. My dad would grill hamburgers as my mom whipped up deviled eggs. Summer food magazines always make me long for those sweet, humid Virginia evenings.

One afternoon, I sensed that seasonal pang as I was flipping through Food & Wine’s June issue. There were colorful outdoor essentials, communal cooking spreads and loads of grilled summer staples. Honey-butter-grilled chicken and grilled potato salad danced along the pages, tempting me to leave my backyard-less apartment in search for an expansive yard and cheap grill.

So that night I couldn’t decide what to make Baalok for dinner (I wanted something grilled dangit!). Accepting that a grill was not in our foreseeable future, I opted for baked chicken sliders topped with chipotle ranch and radicchio jalapeno coleslaw. The chicken patties didn’t pack the smokiness of a charcoal-grilled burger. However, the juicy kick of flavor smothered my silly meal complaints. It’s an incredibly simple, yet delicious lunch or dinner for summer. I’m excited to share this recipe so I hope you try it and enjoy!

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Baked Chicken Burgers with Radicchio Jalapeno Coleslaw
Makes about 8-10 sliders

Chicken Patties:

  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp, fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • A few dashes of salt & pepper

Garnishes:

  • 1 small head radicchio, shredded
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • A dash of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • A few dollops of chipotle ranch (try Marie’s if you don’t mind store-bought)
  • 8 mini Portuguese buns (or whatever you can find at the market!)

Preheat oven to 350˚F

Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix well to combine (I find the best way to do this is with your clean hands!).

Form into small patties and place on foiled baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip at 10 minutes to brown on both sides.

Meanwhile, combine radicchio and jalapeno in small bowl. Fold in lime juice and pepper. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Serve patties on bun and top with chipotle mayo, avocado and coleslaw. I also topped Baalok’s with pepper jack cheese for another spicy kick.

 

Cheesy Taco Bake

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I recently stumbled upon the food blog Half Baked Harvest on Pinterest. The writer Tieghan’s recipes are original and inventive yet manageable for the home chef. Her photographs are gorgeous with pops of juicy color and fresh ingredients. Browse through the recipe box – you will not be disappointed! She has everything from tea oven fried chicken sliders with jalepeno cheddar corn salsa to Rice Krispies Treats pancakes to a cheesy black bean and quinoa taco bake.

Last night I made the taco bake for dinner with Chelsey. Each bite was a healthy yet cheesy and comforting amalgam of flavor. I halved the recipe and baked each portion in a soup ramekin rather than one large dish. I also left out a few ingredients (in part due to my absent mind at the grocery store, oops).

Half Baked Harvest’s Cheesy Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bake
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Small lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/3 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic, onions and peppers. Sauté until tender. Add spices then lime juice and water. Cook for a few more minutes.

Stir in the quinoa, black beans, pepper jack cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Mix well until the cheese is melted.

Transfer the mixture to the ramekins (make sure they’ve been greased!). Top with mixed cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, diced avocado, shreds of spinach and tortilla chips.

Side Note: Millport Dairy at Union Square’s Greenmarket makes fantastic pepper jack cheese. The Pennsylvania-based farmers make raw milk cheese from their grass-fed pastured-raised cows. The pepper jack has a real kick. It’s even Baalok and Chelsey approved.

Astoria Flea & Food

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Astoria Flea & Food just wrapped its third Sunday at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Chelsey, my roommate, and I ventured to the backlot market on its first Sunday. We were thrilled to finally have a flea market in the neighborhood – and in walking distance. We had so much fun browsing the goods. So it’s no surprise that when our dear friend Grace visited, we decided to head over for a bit of local flavor. Where else can you find BBQ sandwiches, plants growing out of tiny corks, dainty vintage plates and gourmet marshmallows under one roof (err, lot)!?

It was definitely a wonderful way to give Grace a taste of Astoria. All of the vendors are fantastic. Here are some of our picks:

We-See-Stars
We See Stars: This modern jewelry line features geometric shapes with hints of neon and pastels. Grace and I snagged handmade necklaces whereas Chelsey chose a simple gold ring.

Vint-YorkVint & York: The stylish spec shop recently expanded to sunglasses. I couldn’t resist an oversized pair of aviators. The vendor also included a $25 gift card with the purchase. I’m not sure if they’ll be offering a gift card every Sunday, but it’s worth a try.

CorkBudsCork Buds: I’ve already mentioned these baby succulent plants at the LIC Flea. I.just.can’t.resist.the.cuteness.

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Taproot Organics: Taproot’s rows of sweet-smelling soaps transport you to a sea of lavender or freshly-cut lemongrass. All are handmade and organic.

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Zito’s Bites: Gourmet bagel bites? Yes, please. Don’t miss the jalapeño bite – the combination of cream cheese, jalapeño slices, green onions and cheddar is seriously amazing.

Southern-Astorian-Flea-MarketFrittering Away: Seasonal lemonade! Here’s Grace enjoying a refreshing jar of their strawberry basil.

Astoria Flea & Food will be open every Sunday until the end of June.
Location: The backlot at Kaufman Astoria Studios, on 36th Street via entry on 34th or 35th Ave.
Hours: 10am-6pm

More Astoria Flea Love: