“I definitely secretly dream
of being a mermaid.”
~ Jazz Jennings
“I definitely secretly dream
of being a mermaid.”
~ Jazz Jennings
Dining Outside the Home: Red Fish Blue Fish in Key West, Florida! When you’re wandering around Mallory Square, step off the beaten path a block or so to discover a hidden gem where seafood is prime and the drinks go down easy. Order one of the signature cocktails from Red Fish Blue Fish, made with real fruit and fresh juices. Stay awhile, and without a doubt, you’ll be smitten by the most breathtaking sunset in the Florida Keys. This is cause for celebration. The sheer beauty and passion of the residents is enough to make anyone feel at home once they cross the threshold of this popular seafood joint.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia! I never thought of tilapia as an interesting choice of fish until I mixed things up with a Santa Fe style coating. The robust crunch of tortilla chips is a surprising prelude to the tender moist fish inside. It had me wishing I prepared seconds for the hubs and me. If you’re looking for a meatless meal, give it a whirl. Who knows, you may find yourself adding tilapia to the weekly menu.
TORTILLA CRUSTED TILAPIA
1/2 cup Santa Fe style tortilla strips, crushed
1 tablespoon natural cornmeal
1 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 egg, room temperature
Fresh cilantro, garnish
Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. Whisk egg in a shallow dish. Set aside. On a sheet of waxed paper, combine crushed tortilla strips, natural cornmeal, panko bread crumbs, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and parsley flakes. Mix well with a fork. Working one at a time, dip a tilapia fillet into the beaten egg. Flip over to coat both sides. Press fillet onto the crumb mixture; turn over and repeat. For an extra crispy crust repeat process. Carefully transfer crusted fish fillet to the baking sheet. Continue with second fillet. Bake 10 minutes or until crust is golden and crunchy. Serve with fresh cilantro.
Dining Outside the Home: Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ in Kapaa, Kauai. In the heart of Old Kapaa Town, you can get food hot of the grill on the outdoor patio while listening to lively island music. Meet up with family or make new friends across the picnic table. Paniolo’s signature style reflects cooking meat that has been properly seasoned over an open fire. There is an art to moving the grill up or down to control the temperature. The results will amaze you. Plates are served with chili-bean rice, tossed green salad, and grilled French bread slathered in butter. Follow your nose to the woodsmoke aromas of barbecue pork, tri-tip steak, fresh fish, and tender chicken. It’s a toe-tapping happy place to eat.
Dining Outside the Home: Oasis on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai. Fusion food is spot on at Oasis on the Beach, an open-air restaurant a few steps from the ocean. This is Hawai’i, after all, where the fish is as fresh as the view is captivating. No humdrum menu here. One of the House specialties is the island catch-of-the-day, seared to perfection. Mmmm. Pair it with Thai curry spices blended into coconut milk for a fabulous sauce. Did you notice the farm-to-table veggie chunks to add flavor? Now you’re talking. Don’t forget a scoop of white rice. It’s a meal in a bowl that does not disappoint.
Dining Outside the Home: Little Fish Coffee in Hanapepe, Kauai. Slurp on a smoothie that lives up to its name with shots of espresso, iced milk, and creamy caramel. It’s not called the “Jitterbug” for nothing. Little Fish Coffee understands what it means to be as happy as a fish. Their menu offers a variety of super-healthy açaí bowls, bagel and grilled sammies, plus delicious pastries. On a garden isle, it only makes sense to use local, Kauai-grown ingredients. The fair-trade organic coffees are great for sipping or on-the-go. Either way, prepare to be a happy little goldfish.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Tilapia Macadamia Fillets! Tired of hum-drum meals? The crispy crunch of tropical nuts on the outside are a prelude to the moist flaky fish inside. Turning that taste into a healthy and delicious dinner option is spot on! The subtle hints of sesame, green seaweed, and Parmesan cheese add to the nutritional value making this a new favorite to try again and again.
TILAPIA MACADAMIA FILLETS
2 tilapia fillets, boneless and skinless
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon furikake seasoning (sesame seed and green seaweed)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 425°. Rinse tilapia fillets and pat dry. Mix together all dry ingredients and spread on a sheet of waxed paper. Using a wire whisk, combine egg and milk in a shallow bowl. Dip one fish fillet at a time into the egg bath, coating both sides. Once wet, dredge in bread crumb mixture to fully cover both sides. Set aside and repeat for the second fish fillet. (For a crisper crust, repeat process in egg bath using all coating mix.) Place fish fillets in a nonstick pan and place to oven. Bake 8 minutes, gently turn over and bake 4 minutes longer. Do not over cook. Garnish with cilantro, lemon slice, and whole macadamia nuts.
Dining Outside the Home: Ray’s Seafood in Rye, New Hampshire! Baked stuffed lobster doesn’t get any better than this. No cracking the shell and digging for the meat. The chef at Ray’s Seafood takes care of that for you. As the server places the plate of succulent lobster chunks bathed in high-quality sherry and parmesan seasoning on the table, take note of the buttery cracker topping. It’ll makes your taste buds drool. Not what you’d expect from an ordinary fish shack. Ray’s is a cut above the rest. Go for the freshest seafood and house-caught lobster. But also go for an outstanding ocean view.
Dining Outside the Home: JJ’s Broiler in Lihue, Kauai. Even if you’re not a sport enthusiast, you can still get a healthy meal with an oceanfront view of Kalapaki Bay. Portions are generous, so sharing is encouraged. Order several menu items for a taste explosion of flavor. For starters, Crispy Won Tons with two dipping sauces is amazing: salty soy or hot mustard. Double-dipping allowed, as long as your partner doesn’t mind. The Cobb Salad is practically a vegetable garden on a platter. Crispy romaine lettuce provides a bed for chunks of turkey, ham, and bacon. Add avocado slices, chopped tomatoes, sliced eggs, and bleu cheese crumbles. Now you’re talking. Smother it with salad dressing, toss, and eat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.