Tall Boots and Fish Tacos

Freshly sharpened pencils usher in the school year as well the sense of Fall...even if it is still in the mid-90s out there. Nonetheless, to those of us who are pining away for brisk mornings, turning leaves, and the mixing of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin in the same bowl, I have two words for you: tall boots. You can almost smell the change in the air.

But for now, in one final tribute to Summer before the mad rush of those freshly sharpened pencil march off to school, I offer to you my version of a quintessentially summer fare. For those of us who cannot eat one more hot dog or store-bought hamburger patty this summer, I have two words for you: fish tacos.

Ruth's Fish Taco Bar

(I can put my name to it, cause it's so simple, only a mother of four could come up with these recipes!)

Salsa Verde Black Beans Pineapple Slaw Tangy Tilapia White Corn Tortillas Chipotle Sour Cream Chips and Salsa Guacamole

Ingredients: 2 cans black beans, drained 1 jar salsa verde (I use Trader Joe's) 1 can pineapple tidbits in juice 1 bag pre-shredded cole slaw with carrots 1/2 fuji apple, cut into matchsticks 2 green onions, sliced in thin strips Tilapia fillets (1-2 filets per person) Italian dressing 2 large limes Sweet chile sauce (found in the Asian foods aisle), optional corn tortillas 1 container of sour cream 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in Mexican foods aisle) chips and salsa 2 ripe avocados 1 large clove garlic salt and pepper

Okay, for the fish, take a large ziploc bag, and combine filets, juice of one lime, one squirt of Italian dressing per filet, and a good size dollop of sweet chile sauce. Seal bag, combine well, and let sit in refrigerator for a few hours.

Then, make chipotle sour cream. Chop up half the chipotle peppers in can, and add to container of sour cream. Then mix in all the remaining adobo sauce (not the remaining peppers) to the sour cream. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Now make cole slaw. In large bowl, combine pre-shredded slaw mix, can of pineapple, and all the juice from the can. Add sliced apple and onions. Salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Ready to make guacamole. Mash avocados in large bowl using a fork. Mix in juice of one lime. Press or finely mince one peeled clove of garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover, and (you guessed it!) refrigerate until ready to serve.

10 minutes before ready to serve, make beans. You should be munching chips and salsa by now, especially if you made my salsa already the other day, and had it on hand...

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Combine cans of beans and jar of salsa verde in a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Pour into bowl when ready to serve.

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For fish, spray a large non-stick pan heated on med-high with spray oil, and pan fry fillets until cooked through and flesh is opaque. Move cooked fish to plate. Keep fish warm by covering plate with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, set a small non-stick pan to medium heat. Spray pan with cooking oil and heat each corn tortilla, spraying the top of tortilla as well before flipping over. Tortilla will soften and become pliable. Move heated tortillas to serving plate.

Bring everything out and set up your fish taco bar. I like my fish taco with guacamole, chipotle sour cream, and the pineapple slaw all dumped onto the fish. I eat the beans on the side. It's up to you...it's a DIY meal.

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See, I told you it was simple. With such a flavorful nod to the Mexican resort vacation not taken during the holiday, you won't even feel guilty when you unremorsefully wave summer...goodbye.