Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Summer Pico

One of the few things I look forward to in Texas when the weather heats up is the summer crops.  We don't have to wait until June to get quality corn and tomatoes.  The first sale of the year was last week where Firecracker and I were able to pick up six ears for $1 and beautiful vine ripened tomatoes for .99 cents per pound.  Greenhouses and technology have made most of our favorite produce available year round but there is no substitute for produce harvested in season.

Most of the people I know love fresh corn to be eaten on the cob.  Grilled corn on the cob with cilantro butter is a favorite of my parents.  Firecracker has been caught "clearing the table" by eating the leftover corn when she thinks no one is looking.  And, it wasn't long ago I watched a close friend nearly put himself into a corn coma after crushing five ears worth.  I actually have photographic evidence of the event before, during, and after, but that shall remain between friends.  What I will say is his wife writes a blog I follow called McMurrey with an E-Y. Check it out.

While I do enjoy corn in every way, I have to admit I prefer to eat it off the cob.  One of my favorite ways is in a roasted corn pico.

Roasted Corn Pico

3 ears of fresh corn grilled or oven roasted until slightly browned
4 roasted poblanos seeded and chopped
1 serrano minced (seeds and ribs included)
2 jalepenos seeded and minced
3 vine ripened tomatoes chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cucumber seeded and chopped
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 small red onion (or half large one) diced
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
Handful of fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes (adjust to taste)
2-3 TBS olive oil
Salt & Pepper
*Adobo seasoning (I have used cumin and chili powder in similar recipes but I didn't want cumin to overpower the freshness. Whatever seasoning you use, go light because most of the flavor comes from the combination of roasted and fresh veggies along with the lime and cilantro)

Simply combine these ingredients and refrigerate.  It will taste great immediately, but becomes unbelievable after four hours in the fridge when everything has a chance to mingle.  It's great as a salsa on chips (which we did), but it was even better as a topping on seared salmon tacos.

The tacos couldn't be easier to make.  As an apartment chef I don't have access to a grill very often.  If I did, I would grill the salmon in this recipe with olive oil and salt & pepper finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Since this wasn't an option, I pan seared the salmon fillets which is just as easy and faster.  All you need is a hot pan and olive oil.  Season the salmon with salt & pepper and sear each side for 2-3 minutes, finish with lemon juice.

Chipotle Mayo

In a food processor add:

2 canned chipotles in adobo
1/4c mayo
1/4c sour cream
1/2 lime juiced
2 TBS cilantro
1 TBS agave or honey
salt & pepper to taste

Whizz up those ingredients and you have the perfect sauce for a fish taco.  Spicy and creamy but balanced by the agave with a fresh kick from the cilantro and lime.  Slap some of the mayo on a tortilla (we used good corn tortillas), add your salmon, top with the pico and crumble a little queso fresca on top.  It is a great summer dish that is soul satisfying but still fresh and light.  Perfect with a watermelon/mint margarita.

P.S. The chipotle mayo is really good on herb roasted fingerling potatoes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Game 7, Game 0, Game 1

Is there panic in OKC?  There shouldn't be.  I think they have Dallas and Memphis right where they want them.  After blowing out Memphis in game 5, the Thunder stunk up the second half in game 6 in what was arguably Kevin Durant's worst game of his career.  Definitely the playoffs.

Memphis rallied nicely from an early deficit and showed a lot of grit.  It started with Shane Battier hitting a clutch 3 pointer at the end of the half.  O.J. Mayo played some of his best minutes of the playoffs and Zach Randolph got hot and took over late like he has done in several other playoff games this season.  There's no doubt Memphis has heart and I think you have to give head coach Lionel Hollins nearly all of the credit.  As good as some of the Grizzlies have played, there is no way they should be competing at this level without Rudy Gay.  Hollins seems to push all the right buttons and the Grizzlies have repeatedly played over their head.

All that considered, I still love OKC to win game 7 and advance to the next round.  For some reason it feels like Durant and Russell Westbrook are still learning to play together.  Westbrook is a shooter and needs to score for OKC to be successful, but he also needs to create more shots for Durant.  Last night Durant never got in the flow of the offense and settled for taking quick 3 point shots.  Even though Westbrook shot the ball well, it is the job of a point guard to distribute.  Westbrook needs to do both.  When Durant is hot there is no stopping him and subsequently no stopping the Thunder.  These guys are far too talented to lose a game 7 on their home floor.  Especially with the incredible fans of OKC who make their arena the loudest in the NBA.  An emotional win could be exactly what OKC needs to push them over the hump.

While Memphis and OKC finish their battle, the much older and experienced Mavericks have been sitting around.  A lay off is good for veteran teams, but how often do we see too long of a lay off disrupt a team's rhythm?  OKC is young enough to stay fresh after a long series and could catch Dallas flat.  I don't know I love their chances based on the way they have played against Memphis, but there is no questioning the talent and star power of the Thunder.  The only question that remains is whether they are mature enough to handle the moment.  Either way, Thunder fans should rest assured of a victory Sunday night.

Also on Sunday (because Oprah is bigger than the NBA), game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals starts in Chicago.  The Heat have gone from inexplicable underdogs in the Eastern Semis to favorites to win the whole thing.

Since The Decision I have not been able to figure out how any team could beat LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in a 7 game series and the Bulls playoff record doesn't give us an indication of what level they are capable of playing.  The only thing we really know is Derrick Rose is unstoppable.  As far as what you'll get out of the rest of the cast, that is a nightly mystery.  Carlos Boozer hasn't had nearly the impact many expected when he signed with the Bulls.  Without his help, Chicago doesn't stand much of a chance.  The one thing the Bulls do have is home court advantage which might make for a great series.  I think Chicago has to win game 1.

There has been some speculation that the Heat celebrated beating Boston a little too much and are ripe for a hangover against Chicago.  I don't think that will happen.  The Bulls swept the Heat in the regular season and Miami has not forgotten that.  The infamous crying comments that Heat coach Eric Spoelstra made came after a one point loss to the Bulls where the Heat came up short in the final moments of the game.  The other two losses came when Lebron was out and Chris Bosh had one of the worst shooting performances in NBA history going 1 for 18 from the floor.  Either way, the Heat still have something to prove and I think they will play like it.  The only time they are vulnerable is when they lose interest and coast.  As we have seen these playoffs, when Miami plays hard, they win.  I like Chicago to make it a fun series.  I think they will put up one more win than Boston and take it to game 6 where the Heat will close it out in Miami.  Both teams play excellent defense, but when you boil down the matchup it is basically two against one.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Follow Me on Twitter @bbscrewball

You know what takes a lot less time than writing a blog?  Writing a tweet.  Those that know me personally might be surprised I am engaging in one of the latest forms of social networking (I didn't get a cell phone until 2004).  I don't blame you.  But as it turns out, it is required by my current employer so "I jumps een et."  I quickly realized what an excellent tool it can be to keep my blog afloat while there isn't the time to devote to an entire blog.

I have been engrossed in the NBA playoffs, MLB, and even a bit of hockey playoffs (good luck San Jose, doesn't look good), but between watching sports and starting a new business, the blogs haven't been cranking out as some of you may have noticed.  At this point I might only have 1 or 2 readers that have stuck with my sporadic postings.

For those that are still interested in my takes, follow @bbscrewball on Twitter.  Instead of yelling at the TV, I'll post my views and hopefully get some of you to argue back.

I would have never checked out Twitter if I wasn't forced, but now that I see how it works, it is pretty fun.  I don't think many of my readers have accounts, but if you do, send me your address so I can follow you too.  It is easy to start, and once you get going it's hard to stop.

Rather than a blog a month I will be able to crank out several tweets a day if there is something worth commenting on.  This doesn't mean I will stop blogging.  I do love my blog.  It pains me that I haven't kept current.  Unfortunately, the real world has a tendency to keep us from doing all the things we love as much as we would like.  I'm still working on a cure for that.  When I find it, I'll tweet about it @bbscrewball.  Until then, I'll continue playing Mega Millions so I can sleep at night.

By the way, we still might see that OKC vs. Miami Finals.  What a display of talent that series would be!  I fully expect OKC and Chicago to close out their opponents in the next couple of days setting up a D Rose/D Wade matchup and a Dirk/Durant pairing.  Great stuff.  If you're still not watching the NBA despite the great collection of talent in the playoffs, you're in the minority.  The ratings haven't been this high since the Jordan era.  Anyone want to argue Lebron going to Miami was a bad idea now?  If so, drop me a tweet @bbscrewball.

For those with no intention of getting on the Twitter train, you can still follow my latest tweets on the right side of my blog below My Blog List.


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