THE Best Fish Tacos. Period.

Cinco de Mayo es muy circa.  Yeah, that’s right.  This is what 3 years of Spanish in high school got me.  Well…that, and “dos cervezas por favor”.  And one thing we can all pretty much agree upon.  Me gusta los tacos!

Those who know me well and have frequented The Shavens Tiki Bar for dinner and drinks (don’t search this on Google Maps…it’s what we call our lanai), this fish taco recipe is legendary.  I actually feel a little awkward posting this in conjunction with Cinco de Mayo as its roots come not from Mexico, but the little Hawaiian Island of Maui.  Specifically, the “Fresh Fish Tacos” from Leilani’s in Ka’anapali.

I discovered these culinary wonders while producing the Big Break Ka’anapali series for Golf Channel back in 2008.  Up ’till then, I had never had, nor entertained the idea of, consuming a fish taco.  I’m a New England guy.  There’s not a deep taco tradition up there.  Seafood, yes.  Tacos, not so much.  Your typical options were beef, chicken or pork (all good options!).  Now, I’m sure this has changed since my formative years, but growing up, the “fish taco” was a decidedly Cali creation.  And that was nothin’ but wicked namby pamby gaaaahbage.

Time, age and worldliness has a way of adjusting one’s outlook on things.  And let me tell ya, these tacos from Leilani’s were a life changer.  I mean, the whole crew would eat these things for 2 weeks straight and continue to crave ’em upon returning to the mainland.  Hell, when my wife and I went to Hawaii the year before we got married, we made a point to go to Leilani’s for the fish tacos.

Since Hawaii isn’t necessarily a readily-accessible destination for us common folk, I needed to figure out how to replicate this back in the good ol’ FLA.  Which I did.  Sorta.  I would come close, but they were never quite the same.  It was from these initial copycat efforts, though, where I began to sample with different flavor/ingredient combos until I came up with a taco that supplants Leilani’s as THE best fish tacos.  Period. Continue reading

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Steak That’ll Pull You Out Of Hibernation

Grilling season is neigh, my friends.  Well, unless you’re like me and live in Florida.  Then, it’s usually never a bad time to fire up that ever enjoyable outdoor cooking apparatus.  Now, if you happen to be in the northern reaches of the country and are still hesitant to embrace the charcoal life because of that jerk-ass named Jack Frost, fear not…I do declare that the early evening, summertime scent of charred meat has nearly arrived.  Yes.  All those feels.  Soon to appear. Continue reading

This Soup Is Neither Italian, Nor A Wedding…Discuss

In keeping with my current winter recipe kick (I mean…it is winter, after all) here’s the latest one-pot wonder to keep you warm and satisfied, without expanding your waistline.  Italian Wedding Soup.  Now, this is one of those recipes that you can tweak about a hundred different ways.  Some call for chicken meatballs, some for pork and beef.  Some pre-cook said meatballs and some poach them in the broth itself.  Some don’t have carrots and some do.  Some say you should finish it with parmesan and some have you whisk raw eggs into the hot broth.  No matter which way you simmer it, in order for the soup to be considered of the “Italian Wedding” variety, it needs to have meatballs, spinach, and small pasta in a chicken broth.  So, here’s my take on it.  Just so you know, this recipe yields a whole lot o’ soup and it’s absolutely delicious. Continue reading

Chili, Because It’s…Well…Chilly

As my friends up in the Northeast can attest to…it’s winter.  The struggle is even oh so real down here in the FLA.  It got down in the mid 30’s last week (GASP!!!).  I know.  Cry me an ice cube tray of frozen tears.  Regardless if it’s a Class-5-Kill-Storm or a Florida-frost-warning-freakout, this is the time of year when all you really want at the top of your list of food choices are whether or not said meal will take the chill out of the bones.  Not too many would argue that there’s no better food to help in that endeavor than a good ol’ bowl of chili.  And in the interest of keeping our meal choices figure friendly this time of year, I’ve decided to go with a White Bean Chicken Chili recipe that will not only warm you up and satisfy your appetite, it won’t have you using those leftover gift cards from Christmas to buy larger clothes. Continue reading

Dad’s Kitchen: Sautéed Chicken with Balsamic Reduction

While I pull together the rest of my notes from our Vegas trip, I figure there’s no better time than now to share a recipe penned by none other than the guy who taught me how to cook and how to have fun doing it.  My Dad!Me n Dad

Yup.  The goofball gene is strong in the Havens household.

Let’s make some chicken! Continue reading

Redneck Miso Ramen With Leftover Pork Tenderloin

So, you’ve made the best damn pork ever and now you have leftovers. Congratulations! You’re now set up to enjoy this tastiness for the rest of the week! But, now we’ve encountered a 1st World Problem. “I don’t know what else to do with all this food!” Well, dry those eyes, champ, ‘cuz I’m here to help.

Miso soup is generally regarded as a labor-intensive style of broth that takes time and effort to refine.   If you stick to the traditional method of making this, then yes, it is a lot of work. However, after making a batch of it from scratch earlier this year (I will post later), I found that there are shortcuts to get you that very distinct umami flavor (yes, I did just use the word umami) of that rich, yet light, broth.

Now, this recipe is definitely what the kids would call a “hack”. Life calls for hacks sometimes and I’m not above ’em. By no means is this a classic miso soup, but damn it…it sure tastes like miso to me. Continue reading

Ok, so before we get started, I’d like to welcome you to my first blog entry!  I decided to lead off with this recipe because it’s one of my absolute go-to’s that I make for me and my wife.  It makes a ton of food and you can eat off this all week in many different incarnations (sandwiches, soups, salads, etc).  Pork Tenderloin is also very low in fat, so it makes for an excellent source of lean protein (yay healthy stuff!) Speaking of healthy, you don’t necessarily have to make the veggies with it, but I think they’re a great complement.  To that point, I guess, you can just make the veggies and leave it at that…but I don’t suggest that.  You’ll be depriving yourself of too much deliciousness.

Full disclosure.  When reading my recipes, the majority of measurements I have for seasonings are estimates.  I flavor my food mainly by using The Force.  Jedis make terrible bakers.

I initially got the basis for this recipe from an article I read in Fine Cooking Magazine whilst searching for a good method for grilling Pork Tenderloin.  This 7-6-5 grilling technique with a quick brine is just perfect.  The pork gets a great crust from the high heat, but stays extremely juicy because of the brine.  So, without any further delay…let’s get cookin’! Continue reading