Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's for dinner?---No. 1

Oops, I did it again...I waited until Gillybean was awake before beginning today's post. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson after trying to post this way last Friday. Oh well, on to more important things---food!

With a couple of birthdays to celebrate this weekend, including my own on Sunday, this weekend will be busy!

In our family, it's always been a tradition for the birthday honoree to choose the dinner menu. So when Bret asked what I'd like to have for my birthday dinner, I didn't hesitate, Mahi Mahi fish tacos! Even though I'd never even tried a fish taco before our visit to the beach for the Jimmy Buffett concert a few weeks ago, it only took one bite before I was hooked! They are so delish and in my opinion, the perfect light late summer meal!

My parents will be heading over to spend the day, and with my dad's birthday the day after mine, I will be making a special dessert in honor of his big day! Although I'm still on the fence as to which dessert to prepare, I do have it narrowed down to three yummy choices: bread pudding, chocolate fudge pie, or chocolate chip cheesecake. Needless to say, my dad's a big fan of all three!

For our fish tacos, we like to keep it really simple. Bret likes to blacken the Mahi Mahi on the grill using the recipe below. Then using soft flour tortillas, we load up our tacos according to taste and preference---a little cheese, loads of lettuce, a spoonful or two of black beans, and pico de gallo. We always make our own pico, it's just better when it's fresh!

Blackened Mahi Mahi fillet


4 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp salt
4 mahi mahi fillets, thawed
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup dry white wine
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup heavy cream
½ pound unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


Mix the first eight ingredients in a shallow dish. Coat both sides of the fish fillets in the spice mixture and set aside. In a large cast iron skillet or griddle, heat a small amount of vegetable oil until smoking. Blacken the fish over medium-high heat for about five minutes per side. In a small saucepan, reduce the lemon juice, wine and shallots until the liquid is almost completely gone. Add the cream and reduce by half. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter a little at a time, making sure that the sauce does not separate. Plate the fish and serve with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce.

Image found here

Pico de Gallo (courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network)


1 1/2 cups seeded, diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon diced jalapenos
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper


In a bowl combine all ingredients.

Image found here

Bread Pudding (courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network)


2 cups granulated sugar
5 large beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

*Optional Sauce:

* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup brandy


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.

*Optional---For the sauce:

Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.

Image found here

Chocolate Fudge Pie
(courtesy November issue of Real Simple)


Basic Flaky Piecrust or 1 store-bought piecrust, fitted into a 9-inch pie plate
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, plus more shaved for topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream


Heat oven to 375º F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Prick crust with a fork and line with foil. Fill to top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until just golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325º F. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold a third of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder.

Pour the combined mixture into the crust and bake until puffed and beginning to crack, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 1 hour, then chill.

Beat the cream with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over the pie and sprinkle with the shaved chocolate.

{Tip---The pie can be prepared without the toppings and refrigerated, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Top it with the whipped cream and shaved chocolate and refrigerate uncovered for up to 6 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving. }

Image courtesy of David Prince

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

13 Oreo Cookies, crushed
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
2 pounds (four - 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, cool temperature
1 can (14 ounces) Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups mini semi sweet chocolate chips
Optional Chocolate Ganache Icing


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven and close the door.

Remove the bottom of a 9- inch springform pan, then line the bottom plate with aluminum foil. Reassemble the pan. Pull the excess foil up and around the pan to prevent any batter from leaking into the oven. Spray sides and bottom with vegetable spray. In a small bowl, mix crushed Oreo Cookies and melted butter together. Pat on just the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a mixing bowl on medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth ~ about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides half way through. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat again, scraping a few times. The mixture should be smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time beating after each addition until fluffy and creamy. Add flour and vanilla and blend. Gently fold in 1 cup of mini chocolate chip chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan on top of the Oreo Cookie crust. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips over the top of the cheesecake, and bake at 300 degrees for 65 - 75 minutes. The center of the cheesecake will still be a little jiggly when it comes out of the oven, and will set up as it cools and chills in the fridge. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing the sides of the pan. VERY IMPORTANT! See the important link, How To Make Perfect Cheesecake for further baking, cooling, serving and freezing instructions.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups mini dark chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate


In a medium sized pan, heat cream almost to a scald. Remove from burner.

Add chocolate all at once, and whisk to blend smooth and melt.

Cool enough to spoon or drizzle directly onto eclairs, brownies or cheesecake.

Chill ganache 1 hour or more to spread or pipe from a pastry bag for decorating

Makes three cups dark Chocolate Ganache - enough to decorate a cake, and have
some left over for ice cream!

Image found here

What sounds good to you? Happy chewing, y'all!



liz said...

i was totally going to compliment your fancy plating and presentation of the mahi mahi tacos, and then i saw the image source link! ha!

I Do Declare said...

Now I'm ready for lunch...hee! Have a great birthday weekend!

Natalie said...! First of all, Mahi Mahi is my favorite and I love fish tacos! I am now sad becuase I feel like I need to be eating this now ;) Thanks for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

You've got me drooling over this post! I'm a huge fan of bread pudding, so I will definitely be making Paula Deen's recipe soon.

Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

YUM!!!!!! I love fish tacos!!!!!! The blackened ones are good...but my husband makes some pan fried catfish ones that are TO DIE FOR!! And bread pudding is my favorite dessert EVER next to cheesecake! Good choices!!! :)

And I didn't know your birthday was on SUNDAY! I sure wish you would have told me this important information earlier!! ;)

Andrea said...

Yum! I love fish taco's! I don't think I have ever had them with mahi mahi before, I usually use shrimp, but this sounds amazing! Have a great day girl! ~Andrea @ Life in Dawleywood

Anonymous said...

So yummy! Have a great time celebrating!

Kristin @ Ellie-Town said...

Thank you for reminding me to order fish tacos on vacation. YUMMY!

blueviolet said...

I can't take it! I'm dying for those yummies now!

Val said...

You had me at Mahi. I'am so hungry. = ))

Allied Moms said...

oh that ALL looks good!

Stopping by from Allied Moms!


Carey said...

Well happy early birthday! I totally wanted to lick the screen on that choc chip cheesecake! It looks to die for!

Kelsey @ Seattle Smith's said...

I want that PICO!!

Southern Belle Mama said...

Bread of my Favorite desserts!! I remember my grandmother made it all the time. Thanks for sharing this recipe; maybe I'll try making it myself now. :)

my shy thai said...

yummm good recipes!

following from Follow Me Friday,