Apr 20 2010

You Better Belize It

Published by at 9:24 pm under Dinner

This weekend my assistant and I went camping in Big Sur. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks stocking up on gear like a sleeping bag, new sneakers and the biggest backpack I’ve ever carried, but I can sincerely say it was worth every minute. We were blessed with a gorgeous three-hour drive, flawless weather that made hiking a pleasure, and a campfire sparked with Zippo lighter fluid (yeah, we cheated a bit).

Naturally, camping requires dry, portable foods, so I’d had just about enough nuts and raisins by the time we packed up. But the drive up the highway 1 includes more fruit and vegetable stands than I’ve ever seen in one stretch. Signs like “10 artichokes for $1” and even “5 avocados for $1” lined the roads, and I was itching for some fresh produce.

Planning the night’s meal, we picked up some goodies: Mango, cilantro, avocado, tomatillos all looked delicious, so we agreed on a tropical-themed cod for dinner, with a side of coconut-mango rice. This was a perfect summertime menu, but since it rarely reaches 80 degrees in San Francisco, we had to seize the moment.

Full disclosure: It took more than one attempt to get this one just right. The first night I nailed the salsa and rice, but the cod was too spicy and left much to be desired. So I gave it another shot tonight, and I have to credit my assistant with deciding it was necessary to blacken the cod — the seasonings were perfect! We have some blackening mix left over, and I’m dying to try it with shrimp on my grill pan. The taste reminded me exactly of the blackened snapper I had in Belize last summer (a VERY good thing).

Blackened Cod

Ingredients (Serves 4):

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 pounds cod fillets

Mix first 9 ingredients together in a small bowl (onion powder through cayenne). Rub cod with seasoning mixture, liberally or to preference (some may like more flavoring than others). Use hands to evenly distribute spices. Heat oil in large skillet, and add fish to pan. Saute for 3 minutes on medium-high heat one side, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes or until it’s cooked through.

Top with Tomatillo Mango Salsa.

Spicy Tomatillo Mango Salsa

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large tomato, diced

2 large tomatillos, diced

1/2 mango, diced

1 serrano pepper, chopped

Juice of 3 limes

1/2 red onion

2 small avocado (about 1 large)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Combine first 7 ingredients (garlic through onion) in a large skillet and simmer on medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in avocado and cilantro.

Coconut-Mango Rice with Cilantro

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1.5 cups coconut juice or coconut water (I used a variety with pulp)

1 tsp. butter or oil

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 mango, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Bring coconut juice and butter to boil in a pot. Add rice and mango and cover. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “You Better Belize It”

  1. riverson 15 May 2010 at 1:22 pm

    liv! this looks absolutely delicious. you’re getting so good at this! i plan on trying this one.

  2. Livon 18 May 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks! And let me know if you try it — I’d love to hear how it works out!