Sweet new bike light: check

Reflective gear: check (thanks mom)

Pumped up tires: check

Warm weather: well….almost. I hear it’ll be a balmy 46 degrees tomorrow with SUN

Tis biking time! I know, I know, if I were hard core I would have never put the bike in hibernation for the winter, but I am not hard core. In fact I am very very soft core. I despise the cold and while 46 STILL isn’t ideal (I’d take 75) I think I’m ready to suck it up and get out there.

And HOORAY! for online shopping…when the inevitable rains come, this little beauty is currently in the mail on it’s way to keep me dry:

Waterproof, non crinkly sounding and only 10 oz!  I’m excited. Plus red…hot.

So let’s change gears and talk fish! Let’s forget for a moment that I spent a good portion of this weekend shoving raw fish in my face in the form of sushi (mmmm) so you’ll believe me when I tell you I was terrified to make this latest daring challenge, ceviche, with raw fish.  It’s probably not much different buying high-grade fish to prepare yourself than having a restaurant prepare it for you, but there’s just something sketchy about buying raw fish to eat from a grocery store in Pittsburgh…no where even remotely close to where raw fish comes from.

In any case I wasn’t prepared to make that leap (and neither was my pocketbook) so I decided to use atlantic cod, at an amazing 5.99/lb and blacken it before using it in ceviche. It was AWESOME. And the papas rellenas?

Just look at that golden crust, they speak for themselves!

Blog-checking lines: Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Blackened Cod Ceviche

1.5 lbs atlantic cod
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 tbsp fajita seasoning, premixed, or use a mix of cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper
2 limes
1 jalopeno, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced small
1 tomato, diced small
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Just so you know…normally the fish is “cooked” in the acidity of the lime juice, but like I said, not for me until I live next to an ocean! To make this cooked version: generously sprinkle on fajita seasoning to both sides. Either grill the fish…or if you are a poor student with no grill, use an awesome grill pan to blacken the fish as follows.

Add oil to the pan and turn heat to high. When pan is searing hot add the fish and let it blacken for 2-3 minutes on each side. It cooks shockingly fast so keep a close eye on it. As soon as you can see the fish turning opaque on the sides flip it. When it is opaque all the way through it is done. Remove from heat and let cool.

Next add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.

Let cool in fridge for ~10 minutes.  Serve on a fancy plate that someone incredibly awesome made for you in a pottery class.


Note: The chips aren’t necessary OR traditional, I just thought they looked pretty. Ceviche is normally served with boiled sweet potato, an ear of corn, or beans.


Sweet Potato Papas Rellenas with mushroom filling – warning, incredibly delicious

For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
1 carton baby bella mushrooms
1 small sweet onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
1 tbsp fajita seasoning, premixed, or use a mix of cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper
1 finely diced jalopeno pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1/4 cup cilantro (optional)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry panko

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Heat the oil in a pan. Add mushrooms and onions, saute for 8-10 minutes or until onions are completely translucent and mushrooms are soft. Add the seasoning and the garlic, saute another 1-2 minutes. Add deglazing liquid and simmer until gone. Remove from heat and add cilantro.

Peel potatoes, cut in quarters and boil until soft when poked with a fork. Mash with egg to make a soft dough.

Mix the flour, cayenne and salt. Lightly beat an egg in a second bowl and add your panko to a third dish. Lay out your breading ingredients and heat oil in a pot until 350-375.


Now the hard part. Dip your left hand in the flour. Next scoop 1/4 cup or so of potatoes into your palm, flattening with a spoon with your right hand. Spoon 1 tbsp filling on top of potatoes and cup your hand so the potatoes form around the filling. It’s complicated for the first one, but it gets easier with practice. Once you’ve got a filled potato ball dip it in the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Put the potato balls into the oil no more than 3 at a time. Flip once and fry until golden brown.

Happy Spring!