Not Following the Recipe

Because I can’t always blog about dancing, here’s something about other recent adventures…in cooking.

Following recipes doesn’t always work. I’m not one of those ultra-free spirits who feels boxed in by instructions. I LIKE recipes. They teach you proper techniques and flavor combinations. The problem is, sometimes I have to diverge. Usually, because:

A) I failed to plan ahead

B) I want to use up stray items in the fridge before they go bad

C) I’m too lazy to go shopping for the correct ingredients

Last night was a little of all three. But here’s how I managed to make something wonderful anyway.

I came home from yoga class craving Baja fish tacos. We made them a few weeks ago. We had tilapia fillets in the freezer and lots of leftover corn tortillas. I was confident I could MacGyver my way through the rest of the recipe requirements. Who needs to plan when you have ingenuity on your side.

Step 1: Combine sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add

Yummy fish tacos. Image from

finely chopped white onion. 

  • Uh oh. Technical problems right out of the gate. I don’t own a food processor. We ran into this problem last time. I guess the sauce will be chunky again. Must be careful to chop the jalapeno extra small.
  • Darn, no fresh jalapeno on hand. Better go with the dried jalapeno and hope it soaks in lots of moisture. Are you supposed to go with half the amount when you use dried, or double?
  • Oops, that’s not sour cream. That’s ricotta. Ricotta with green mold. Yuck. Hmm. YOGURT! Yes, that will work.
  • Fresh cilantro and lime? No such luck. I have some fresh mint. and some lime juice in a squeeze bottle. Maybe this will be a mojito fish taco.
Step 2: Combine specified amounts of spices (paprika, cumin, salt, red pepper, oregano, garlic powder) with brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over fish. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. 
Thankfully, I’ve got all the spices I need on hand. Can’t claim they’re all fresh though. Especially that garlic powder. I think I’ve had that since 2003. It’s still a powder. That’s the important part. Into the pan you go!
Step 3: Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish, onion mixture and avocado among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.
  • There are package instructions? I never noticed that before. I hope the instructions are to microwave them, because that’s what I’ve already done.
  • Divide evenly? I’m a choose-your-own-adventure kind of girl.
  • Speaking of adventure, how did that yogurt sauce turn out. Tasting is important. Did the jalapenos reconstitute? HOTHOTHOT! OWOWOW! A little more yogurt is needed. Oops all out of yogurt now. How about creme fraiche? That’s just like yogurt. Ah, much better.
Dinner is served.
It was delicious. Haphazard, but delicious.

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