Don’t you just hate it when a summer weekend flies by before your eyes? We had some crazy weather this weekend in Chicago. Hot to cool, sunny to pouring rain, and back again. It seemed to flip back and forth all weekend. But despite the weather, Michael and I managed to fit some fun times in. I had dinner out with Michelle, my old roomie, Friday night. We enjoyed catching up during the beautiful evening weather on a patio and had a long leisurely meal with yummy martinis. I had a few key lime martinis. Yum!
Saturday started out with rain, rain, rain, but it cleared up for us by 9am. We decided to take a nice brisk walk over to our local farmers market, despite the instant humidity that popped up. The market is about 1 mile from our apartment and we were able to pick up some fresh zucchini and three cheese foccacia. We walked up further into Lincoln Square, did some looking around, which always involves a stop at Gene’s Sausage Shop. A European market with all kinds of meats, produce, wines, beer, liquor (I found organic vodka here!), pasta, bread, cheese, and candy never ceases to amaze us with its broad variety of items. We love looking at the wine and beer selections the most. The shop is ALWAYS busy, no matter what day or time it is, and brings all different types of people in. I especially like hearing all the different languages spoken while I’m there. Even though I’m not a huge meat eater anymore, I’m always intrigued by their huge deli selection.
They also recently opened up their rooftop. We just took a quick peek this weekend and it was beautiful! Lots of tables, umbrellas, and bars. It had wood everywhere, floor, walls, tables…which made it feel slightly like a sauna on the toasty hot day we stopped by, but that’s ok. They serve all the usual German beers and foods: brats, schnitzel, pierogis, goulasch, and sauerkraut. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I’m sure it’s delish if you enjoy all those hearty German foods. I’m looking forward to spending a sunny afternoon up there sometime soon with a nice cold beer.
We rounded out our walk around the neighborhood, walking about three miles total. Not a bad way to get some exercise in on the weekend and spend some quality time together!
Michael and I try to cook a new, fresh, interesting dinner for our cutesy “Sunday Night Dinner” every week. It’s a time for us to turn on some music, unwind, try some new cooking techniques, maybe have a beer or a glass of wine and really relax. This week’s Sunday Night Dinner soundtrack feature was Kings of Leon. We always look forward to our Sunday Night Dinners, and use them as a way to talk about our the week we just finished up and talk about our week to come. We’ve found it’s a great way to bond.
So, yesterday we tried out a new tilapia recipe. Crispy Honey Lime Tilapia with Blueberry Lime Salsa, Kale Chips, and foccacia. The tilapia was fresh from Whole Foods, kale and three cheese foccacia from the Lincoln Square and North Center farmers markets. I absolutely loved the salsa. Blueberries, strawberries, red onion, lime, cilantro. Yum yum yum! We served it as a garnish to the tilapia. We also tried out baked kale chips for the first time. I have to say…I think Michael was pleasantly surprised at how much he liked them. They start out just as little leaves on a pan lined with parchment paper:
Then you drizzle them with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. They come out a bit smaller, crunchier, and deliciously seasoned looking like this:
They were light and crunchy and quite good! We didn’t eat all of it, and I made the mistake of trying them second day…ummm, not so crispy. Oh well. Eat ‘em up while they’re good!!
The tilapia and salsa recipe we tried is from a blog I completely love, How Sweet It Is. Jessica makes sooooo many delicious recipes and nothing is that fake flavor, low-fat, low calorie stuff. It’s all the real deal. It’s just about moderation in life, right?? We’ve made quite a few of her recipes. She was inspired to make her blueberry salsa after visiting northern Michigan on vacation. Yay Michigan!! It sounded so refreshing and delicious, I definitely wanted to try it. Plus, we’re always looking for new ways to prepare our fave fish.
Blueberry Lime Salsa
makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup fresh blueberries
5 medium srawberries
1/4 red onion
1 teaspoon lime zest
juice of two limes
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 avocado, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice and cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse. The consistency is up to you but I like to leave mine a bit chunky, so I only pulse it about 5-6 times. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Scrape salsa into a bowl and fold in chopped avocado. Serve with pita or corn chips, or on top of fish or chicken.
I think I need a bigger food processor
Crispy Honey Lime Tilapia
makes 4 filets
4 fresh (or thawed) tilapia filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup flour [I used whole wheat pastry]
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
additional honey + lime zest mixed for drizzling
60 minutes before cooking,season tilapia filets with salt and pepper then lay in a baking dish or into a large ziplock bag. In a bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lime juice and zest, and crushed garlic and whisk until combined. Pour over tilapia and let marinate for an hour. Add flour [+ a bit more salt, pepper, and lime zest] to a bowl and set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Dredge each piece of tilapia through the flour until you have a very light coating. Making sure the pan is hot, add tilapia to the oil and cook until flaky and crispy on each side – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove tilapia from pan and let drain on a paper towel for a few minutes. Serve with an additional drizzle of lime + honey, then cover in blueberry lime salsa.
This makes our plates look like they're for giants
We made enough that we had salsa leftover for my lunch today with tortilla chips and the leftover piece of tilapia and more salsa for dinner tonight! Woohoooo!
So, after a fun weekend, we have some more new recipes planned for the week. Get excited!!!