OMG! I got home and checked my email and /GLEE there was a guest post from none other than a very popular commentor, Shiningstar (Shindig). She definitely outdid herself doing not 1 but 3 recipes. (Recipes located at the end of the post)
Here is what she had to say…
I recently was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, so I’ll be choosing recipes that are gluten free or that I can modify so they will be gluten free. Due to this restriction, I’ve been eating a lot more fish. I think I had one whole week with nothing but salads and tilapia fillets. When I saw McCargo’s recipe collections, I found some that would fit my diet and hopefully give me some fresh new ways to prepare things I already like.
First recipe I started was the wedged fries. I’m trying to eat a bit healthier, so I decided right off that I wasn’t going to deep fry mine. Instead I wedged the potatoes, put them in a big ziploc bag with a few tablespoons of olive oil, shook and dumped them on a foil lined cookie sheet. I baked them at around 400 degrees. I didn’t time it, but it was probably around 35 minutes. I kept an eye on them and when they get crispy and are fork-tender, I know they are ready.
As soon as I popped the unseasoned wedges into the oven, I mixed up the dry seasoning rub according to the recipe for the tilapia. I had to buy the smoked paprika, as I had never even heard of it. That recipe calls for grapeseed oil (*smirk*) and of course there is none to be found in our grocery store. I used olive oil and it was just fine. It said to let the seasonings sit on the fish for 15 min at room temperature. I had some doubts about how this would taste, although the seasonings did smell pretty good. I’m not really crazy about spicy food.
While the fish was waiting to be cooked, I mixed up two of the three seasonings that were listed with the potato wedges recipe, the dill lemon zest seasoning and the smokey paprika seasoning. Man, Aaron McCargo also has a thing for smokey paprika, huh? (Editor’s Note: HE IS! It was in my garlic bread AND in Betsy’s chicken skewers) It’s not just all about the grapeseed oil. I was pleased to discover that I could use the lemon zest for the potato recipe and the juice of the lemon for the tilapia. Two for the price of one! Hehe!
Put the fish in the pan to cook and wow did it smell good. Again, still skeptical about all that seasoning. Watching it in the pan, it was a little alarming really at just how seasoned it is. The tilapia cooked much faster than I expected, so Jordan (my 10 year old son) and I decided to eat that first while the wedges finished. I doused the 4 fillets with the juice of one whole lemon instead of just a half, and I’d recommend doing that for anyone who tries this recipe.
You know that scene in Ratatouille where the rat is trying to teach his brother about combining different tastes and there are little fireworks and a symphony of tastes playing in his head? That was what happened when we ate that tilapia. No kidding. I bet I could have even gotten Addy to eat it and he might not have known it was fish. The lemon juice definitely toned down some of the spicy-ness but I still had a lot of water with it. I don’t know if I will ever make tilapia without that spice mix again. I do think I could modify it to bake it in the oven (bypassing the grapeseed oil need, lol) and it would be just as good. Jordan ate all of his too! My daughter had just been woken up to eat it and she had several bites and declared that it was too spicy and she wasn’t hungry.
I moved in with the wedges. Now since I didn’t deep fry mine, I was sort of at a disadvantage getting the spice mixes to stick. I put half the wedges in 2 different bowls, dumped the spices on top, and sort of stirred them around a bit. The dill lemon zest seasoning mixed a lot better. The paprika mix was rather clumpy and never did get spread on the wedges well. I absolutely loved the dill ones. Jordan liked them but kept picking the lemon zest off. I think it disturbed him that he was eating lemon peel. I think we saved one wedge for Cady but she again stated she wanted a plain one with just ketchup on it. I salvaged a few of the paprika ones that were undercoated and gave her those. After eating the tilapia, I can’t say that the paprika wedges had noticeable flavor. They sort of tasted like the fish.
For dessert we had the Big Berry Smoothies. I omitted the soy milk and used regular milk. After tasting the smoothies, I added about 2 tablespoons of honey and blended them some more. Plain yogurt is a bit tart and that sweetened it up. The kids and I sucked them down.
I packed my lunch for tomorrow with some of the dill lemon zest wedges and the last piece of tilapia. Sorry Addy, NONE FOR YOU, muhaha. There are leftover tacos in the fridge.
Big Daddy’s Seasoned Wedge Fries
- 6 russet potatoes, wedged
- Peanut oil, to fry
- French-fry seasoning, recipes follow
Heat deep-fryer with peanut oil to 350 degrees F.
Fry potatoes in a deep-fryer until golden brown and tender. Approximately 6 minutes. Toss with your choice of seasoning.
Dill Lemon Zest Seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Smokey Paprika Seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Big Daddy’s Blackened Tilapia
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 tilapia fillets
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
In a small bowl combine all of the spices. Press a heaping tablespoon of the spice mix onto each fillet so that both sides are liberally coated. Allow the fish to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature prior to cooking.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is almost smoking, add the fillets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with lemon juice and transfer the fillets to serving platter.
Big Berry Smoothie
- 2 cups ice
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 1/2 banana
Add all the ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth.