Fish Tacos + Beer…. Yes please!

Whats up people, foodies and the rest of you out there? I first want to apologize for my absence from my blog. I recently took an amazing trip to California to visit one of my best friends that I haven’t seen in quite a long time. His name is Josh and he is weird, far-out and remarkable all at the same time which is why we have been friends for half our lives. He currently is a cook at a restaurant, and on his off time he sharpens his acting skills by performing in local plays. And let me tell you this guy is FUCKING HILARIOUS and knows how to work a crowd.

The thing that inspired me to make these mouth watering fish tacos was one of the drunken crazy nights in Cali Josh and I went to the local taco truck around 3 in the morning. Which from people I asked, or drunkly slurred, on the way said it was pretty good. Well…thats the last time I listen to anyone where to eat when I’m drunk, hungry, and really don’t know where the hell I’m at because that shit was absolutely putrid. I had ordered 2 steak tacos and a coke, stumbled back to Josh’s apartment as fast as I could to sit down and enjoy them after a solid bong rip. I bit into the first taco and couldn’t help but spit it out and investigate this rancid taste that had been shot in my mouth like an unexpecting load. When I looked at the steak it resembled what looks like week old rabbit turds. Me, being a professional chef with a ServSafe certification, noticed that this steak had probably been in the danger zone for at least 2 1/2 hours. I couldn’t believe that someone would serve that quality of food to people. So I threw the nasty tacos away and spent the next few minutes in the bathroom. Im sorry I’m not sorry for putting you through that hahaha.

After my trip was over and I returned to Chicago, I was determined to come up with an-outstanding taco recipe to share with the world–or at least the people that will read the shit I post on my blog. I really wanted to make steak tacos but my stomach said “You’re not eating that red meat just yet,” so I decided to go with fish and used Tilapia.
“Tilapia is rapidly becoming one of the most popular seafood in the United States, with the National Marine Fisheries Service ranking it the fifth most consumed seafood. In fact, American’s annual consumption of tilapia has quadrupled over the last 4 years, from a quarter pound per person in 2003 to more than a pound in 2007. Researchers predict tilapia is destined to be one of the most important farmed seafood products of the century.”- from http://www.abouttilapia.com

So here is my Recipe for my fried fish tacos I know that you will enjoy them as much as I did. It is very simple and Scrum-chu-lessant!!!

Makes 4-5

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The First thing that I start preparing and making is the Remoulade sauce. This Remoulade sauce is a New Orleans style condiment thats base contains of mayo, mustard and paprika but, me being me had to put a sweet little spin on it. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth cover and store in refrigerator until serving. This is one of my favorite sauce/condiments to make, you can use it on/with: burgers, fries, onion rings, chicken, fish, veggie dip and any fried foods. will last for a month plus if stored correctly.

1 1/2 cups mayo
2 celery stalks (cut in small pieces
1/2 cup spanish onion
4 Tbs ketchup
3 Tbs yellow mustard
3 Tbs grain mustard
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbs garlic
3 green onions (cut off whites)
4 Tbs parsley
3 Tbs cilantro
2 Tbs worcestershire sauce
Lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper to taste

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The second thing to do is to make the Pico de Gallo salsa because we don’t want to contaminate any other produce or food with the fish. We will always handle that at the end unless you enjoy getting really sick then go for it. Cut all the ingredients into small dice. Thats small square pieces for all of you yahoos that don’t know.

1 cup tomatoes ( cut into quarters and deseed )
1/2 cup Spanish onions
1/3 cup jalapeños ( cut in half and deseed )
1 Tbs Cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime ( If prefer more onion, tomato, jalapeño do so )
salt to taste

Mix well in bowl, cover, and put in refrigerator.

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Almost done. Just a few more things to do. This is when we make the beer batter for the fish-and there is nothing more satisfying for a beer drinker than to have beer in your food. I know this from personal experience, a little to much at times. Alright here we go, put all ingredients in bowl and mix well but make sure your beer is in first then slowly add flour while whisking it in then add spices and herbs.

1 12oz can of beer (which ever you prefer)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs black pepper
1/2 Tbs cayenne pepper
1 Tbs paprika
1/2 Tbs cajun seasoning
1/2 Tbs ground cumin
1/2 Tbs curry powder
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp coffee grounds
1 tsp dried basil

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Final Step! Heat vegetable oil in pot or in deep fryer to 350 degrees, if frying in pot make sure there is enough oil to cover fish. If frying in pot and you don’t know how to tell if your oil is hot enough flick a few dribbles of water into the oil. if it pops fiercely your good to go and if oil is smoking its a little to hot… turn off heat wait 2 min and start frying. Cut the fillets of fish into 2-3 inch pieces toss in flour to cover the fish then dip the fish into the batter again making sure its covered all over then carefully place in oil. Wait until the fish starts to float and turns GBD ( Golden Brown Delicious ) then take out (aprox 3-4 min) and set on paper towel to drain excess grease.

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Bang! Bang! Now your done! Now just heat up your tortillas and stuff those bad boys with greatness! Thanks for reading my blog please leave comments because I want to know what you thought.

Keep it GBD
Till Next Time

Tony

Roasted Cauliflower Casserole that Kids Love, Crazy Right?

This homestyle dish should go down in history for one of the best cauliflower dominated dishes. I had made something close to this, this past thanksgiving    for my family and friends and let me tell you that I have never in my entire 27 years of walking this planet have seen my little brother Pete eat cauliflower let alone eat half of the casarole that I had brought. He absolulely enjoyed everything about it and he even asked me for the recipe, ive never even seen my brother boil water let alone follow a multiple set recipe to make something that he wants to eat. Everyone that was at the Balestreri family (my last name) Thanksgiving dinner loved it, its something diffrent and exciting that you can do no matter that occasion it may be. Its cheesy, creamy and it has Bacon.. I mean who the hell doesnt like bacon? it makes everything just that much better and if you dont eat bacon you can just leave it out but I strongly suggest that you use it! MMMmmm BACON!!!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large Head of Cauliflower
  • 1 LB Bscon
  • 1 Spanish Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 15g Tub Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 1/4 Sicilian Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • S & P , Red Pepper Flakes & extra Parm

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Alright! Now that we have all of our ingredients together we want to get a few things started first. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. The very first thing we want to do is break down the caulifower into bite size pieces and cut off the stems if they seem to big. Spread them out onto a sheet pan with a thin layer of olive oil on every piece, its easier to toss in a bowl so I would suggest that.  Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bake for 20 min take out and set aside to cool. You’r aiming for the cauliflower to be soft yet still hold little crunch.

Before

Before

After

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Cut off the top of the garlic head drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on the top. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. Should look like this when finished.

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While the cauliflower is baking, cut the bacon into 1/2″ pieces put in pan on medium heat and render the bacon and drain the grease. Make sure your constantly moving the bacon pieces around so the pan and most importantly the bacon doesnt burn.

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With the onions we are going to cut into julienne pieces which is the cooking term for a way of saying long thin strips. Cover bottom of pan with thin layer of olive oil and 1/2 Tablespoon of butter and sprinkle some S & P ( salt & pepper) on onions. Cook Low & Slow. Just carmelizing some onions here,you want them to look golden brown but no crispy parts. It adds a great flavor and your kids will never know they are eating onions and it tastes fantastic!

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Now we are going to make the creamy cheese sauce. In a stand blender or robot coupe food processor add milk. ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, black pepper and roasted garlic cloves and blen until smooth and pureed.

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Now that we have every component made we just need to build the casserole. Preferred in a 6″ 9″ cooking pan.

Step 1: Spread out cauliflower on pan

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Step 2: Caramelized onions

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Step 3: Add half of the bacon bits and parmesan cheese spread over evenly

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Step 4: Cover with cheese sauce and add more parmesan

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Step 5: Bread crumbs and other half of bacon bits.

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Cover with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and your deliciousness is finally here!

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This cassarole pairs awesome with many diffrent main courses. I highly recomend trying  it at least once. I made this cassarole out of only the stuff that i had in my refrigerator at the time, if I would have gone to the grocery store I would have gotten a few more vegetables but hey its still great!

I hope that you liked this dish.

Catcha Later!!!

Tony

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Who doesnt Like Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes???

Its finally here people! I have perfected my very own recipe for some outstanding mashed potatoes that are extremely easy to make and something that you’ll never forget just by doing things a little differently than your used to. Let me tell you… these taters are so good I just ate three cups of them and am currently held up on my couch which made me think of sharing this idea with the world. Ok, Ready? here it is! Please enjoy and leave comments and questions

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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  • 2 Lbs Large Idaho Potatoes (2 Lg Potatoes)
  • 4 Tbsp Butter (melted)
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • 4 Tbsp Picked Dill
  • 10 Cloves of Roasted Garlic
  • Garnish : Red Pepper Flakes and Green Onion

Alright.. now that we have all of our “mise en place”, a french term meaning to be prepared and have everything that you will need to complete what your making, we can start out actual cooking. The very first thing that your going to want to do is cut off the top of the head of garlic, place in bowl shaped tin foil, and drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over the top of the garlic. Close foil tight and place in oven for 20 minutes at 410 degrees.

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Boil water and add salt so it tastes like the ocean and if you have never been to the ocean its salty as fuck. While water is boiling rinse and cut the large potatoes in half then into quarters. I like to keep the skin on but most people would rather have it peeled off, so its up to you. Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces, they cook faster!!! Not trying to take forever cooking a potato. Then place cut potato into bowl and run cold water over them for a few minutes to get rid of some of the starch.

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Once water is boiling, gently put in the potatoes. Stir potatoes occasionally so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. You will notice when you have perfectly cooked potatoes is when they start to flake and fall apart. The best way to test this is to poke a few of the larger pieces with a fork and if they fall apart they are good to go. While your soon to be fluffy potatoes are in the works we are gonna head on over to another burner and slowly and i mean SLOWLY heat up the butter and milk in a sauce pan, when it turns into a liquid take off heat and set aside.

When the garlic is GBD (golden brown delicious) just squeeze the bottom of the head and the cloves will just ever so gently slide right out. Place cloves on a cutting board, using the flat end of a knife smash the garlic until it looks like a paste and set aside.

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Put potatoes, milk and butter liquid, sour cream, in a kitchenAid stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix well. If you don’t have a mixer you have to do it the old fashion way…Yes, by hand with a masher.(hope you guys got some good forearm muscles) Once mixed well add garlic paste, picked dill, salt and pepper.

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I understand that there is not a high population of non cooks that enjoy dill. I seriously do get that. but this makes these potatoes delicious. Its that one extra ingredient that makes a good thing a great thing. So please give it a try! After everything is completely mixed and seasoned appropriate put in bowl or on plate and garnish with red pepper flakes, green onions, and black pepper.

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Thanks for check’n out my page hope you enjoyed it. Now go make some dope ass potatoes!!!

What’s Cooking?

What’s up people of the web? My name is Tony Balestreri. I am a chef that lives in Chicago for the past 4 years. I recently moved here from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Whoo Beer City!). So how is living in Chicago? Well, it’s busy, expensive, energetic, and frisky. Fashion, food, and sports are part of what drives this city. And I couldn’t care less about $200 ass-hugging men’s jeans, or the  Da Bears(lets face it.. they still suck). Other than that, it’s a beautiful city.

What I’d really like to talk about is the food. I love to eat, cook, and explore new types of cuisine. Chicago offers diversity in culture and food–making it the best place for a chef and food lover. This shit is the real deal. From the hot dog stands that sell local, mouth watering Vienna Beef wieners that we all love to shove in our mouths. To the hundreds of critically acclaimed restaurants littered throughout the city. And then we get to the drinking…and of course the late night snacks. Don’t we all love the ‘tamale guy’? Walking around the Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square neighborhoods from 12-4 am with his red cooler packed full of delicious authentic Mexican tamales. Life Saver.

These uniquely Chicago experiences inspire me to keep learning and cooking outside the box. So lets talk! I’d like to share my experiences and some of my recipes with you and hear your feedback and what you’re up to. Bring it on. Lets EAT!

TOYYYYYYNYNNNN

I’d Rather Not Be So Popular

One Man's Meat

Chicken and pancetta pie (16 of 18) My blog has got incredibly popular of late. This is a good thing, right? Sadly, no. Very wrong. It’s not my regular visitors and friends at all points in the free and not so free world that have me exercised. It’s those hard-hearted, vexatious, spotty people who spend their time spamming my virtual home here on WordPress. I checked today and have 475 spam comments in the darned efficient spam catcher used by WP. That means that of the time I spend here on the Internet, more of it is spent clearing out the dross and less is spent on the stuff you are here to see.

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Football… Food… and Sunday

Sunday is a day of relaxation, football, and eating food; nothing more nothing less. When you think of watching your favorite team winning on Sunday what foods do you think of? wings? pizza? chips & dip? ants on a log? Pretty much anything that goes well with beer right? And who in the hell would eat a stick of celery smothered in peanut butter with raisins thrown on it? Well I guess I would if someone else made them and put them in front of my face. Has anyone ever had a veggie friendly Sunday? Yeah I doubt that anyone who eats meat, fish chicken would opt for a veggie friendly Sunday…we NEED some damn Protein!!!(but I’ve been wrong before) Shit, I would enjoy a Green Bay Packers win with a stick of Pepperoni and a pound of pepper jack cheese. But that’s me. I am going to give you “Tony’s Top Two” things to shove onto your mouth on Sundays.

2. Bulgogi Glazed Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Bulgogi is a Korean style bbq sauce or marinade. A basic Bulgogi sauce or marinade consists of three major ingredients. Soy, Brown Sugar and Onions. It is extremely easy to make and beats the hell out of doing the same shit using sweet baby rays and A1 sauce. Variety is a must! Can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again…gets boring as hell. So try out this recipe and leave a comment. BULGOGI RECIPE

4 cups soy sauce, 3 cups brown sugar, 2 tablespoons minced ginger, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 2 jalapenos (sliced) 5 green onions,(scallions) and a pinch of black pepper.

Put onions, ginger and garlic in a pot with a few tablespoons of oil and cook aromats to loosen up a bit. Once aromats are soft add the sliced jalapenos, soy sauce and brown sugar. bring up to boil. take off heat and blend all ingredients in blender. Transfer to container and put in ice bath to cool. Very simple and delicious sauce that goes perfect with many cuts of meat. Enjoy!

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1. Scorpion Pepper Chicken Wings Red Curry Buttermilk Vinaigrette

Before I get into this dish I would like to say that the scorpion pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world so if you don’t like hot foods these wings are not for you!! Shit’s Hot!

RECIPE

12 Chicken Wings, 1 quart of Buttermilk, 5 Scorpion peppers

Blend the peppers in the buttermilk until the peppers are completely broken up. Put wings into a container with a lid, pour the buttermilk pepper liquid over the wings cover and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 24 hours. When ready to cook wings get a bowl with seasoned flour (salt and pepper) and set your fryer to 300 degrees. Why 300 degrees? good question, a lot of store bought wings are bigger than the wings you order at a restaurant and we don’t want to under cook them so we fry them at 300 so they get completely cooked in the middle. because under cooked chicken sucks… and we could die, which isn’t fun. Toss the wings in the seasoned flour, make sure the whole wing is covered in the flour. Once wings start floating to the top they are done. take out and put on paper towel to let the oil drain off. While oil is draining off wing turn your fryer up to 350 degrees this is to get that great crunchy skin of the wing. Once your oil is up to temperature you only have to fry them for 2 minutes until you get that GBD ( Golden Brown Delicious) wing.

Hope you enjoy

Till next time