Sunday, June 23, 2013

Welcome, Laura Alden!

I have had the pleasure of knowing Laura Alden for a few years. I knew her wonderful humor would appear in her books, but I was blown away by the touching relationships she paints with her words. Laura lives on a lake in Michigan with her husband and two cats, which, she says, means she spends "winters and summers falling down on skis."

I confess that I had to try this! We loved it. So quick and easy, but delicious and a wonderful way to get fish into our diet without being boring. The photos are from my attempt at making it. My apologies to Laura!

Welcome, Laura!

When Krista asked me to guest here on MLK, my first thought was, “Oh, how kind of her to ask!” My second thought was, “Oh, dear. My cooking/baking skills are pathetic!” But when she assured me that a fast/easy/minimal-ingredient-recipe was perfectly acceptable, I had a third thought; “Buck up, buttercup. You can do this.”

So here’s the dinner my husband and I cooked the other night. It’s going to be an odd recipe, because this is one of the few things I make up as I go, but I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

Fish and Guacamole Tacos

Ingredients: Fish, guacamole, and tortillas.

And that’s it. Thanks for asking me to guest post! :)

…Okay, there’s a little more to it than that, but not much. Here’s a slightly more detailed list of ingredients for a dinner for two:

About 10 oz. tuna steaks
Little bit of oil
Salt & pepper to taste

1 avocado
2-4 teas. onion, finely chopped
1-2 teas. garlic, finely chopped
1-2 Tb. cilantro, finely chopped
1 teas. lemon juice
Shake of salt

4-6 tortillas of either corn or flour (use whatever size diameter you have handy)
Little bit of olive oil (depending on warming method)

First, make the guacamole. Slice the avocado, remove out the pit, and scrape the yummy goodness onto a plate. Smush it up with a fork, then start adding the goodies. Depending on the size of the avocado, its freshness, its ripeness, and way the planets are aligned, the desired amounts of onion, garlic, and cilantro will vary. I start on the low end of the scale and keep adding until things taste Baby Bear right. It’s an individual thing, so don’t think my amounts as set in stone. By the way, it is possible to add too much cilantro. Did that once, won’t do it again.

[Note: cooks who don’t have a spouse who abhors tomatoes can add small bits of tomatoes to the guacamole.] Part of the fun of making guacamole is getting to taste test. I recommend warming up a few tortilla chips in the toaster oven for the job.

Once the guac is done, it’s time to cook the fish. Salt and pepper both sides of the tuna to taste, brush a small amount of oil on a grill pan (or frying pan) and cook 2-3 minutes on a side to desired doneness. Slice the tuna into strips.

[Note: though tuna is outstanding for this dish, we’ve used salmon happily enough, although we bake the salmon instead of using the grill pan. And I’m sure most any kind of fish would work just fine, although a thinner cut of a less-firm fish will flake apart when slicing. Which isn’t a problem; you just end up with fish flakes instead of fish slices.]

When the fish is cooking, it’s time to warm the tortillas. We use two different warming methods. My husband prefers the oven version; place tortillas under the broiler on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, with one side of the tortilla brushed with a little olive oil and heat until just before they start burning. I find this a little chewy, so I warm my tortillas in the microwave.

Put a happy heap of guacamole onto a tortilla, top with fish, roll it up, and eat! If we’re really hungry, we’ll make a double batch of guacamole so we can have some as a sort of a second course with a bowl of warmed tortilla chips.

If you want to go to extremes, try making your own tortillas. Amazingly good stuff. And if you want to go to ridiculous extremes, cut some of those home-made tortillas up and fry them to make your own tortilla chips.

Laura Alden grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Currently, Laura and her husband share their house with two very strange cats. When Laura isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing. Laura’s debut novel, “Murder at the PTA” was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. Her fourth book, “Curse of the PTA,” was released in April 2013.


  1. Welcome, Laura! Your fish and guacamole tacos are just perfect for this group - yummy and simple. Thanks! I like fish tacos, and LOVE guacamole. If I plan to hog it all and not share with my beloved, I add tomatoes--but no cilantro. Tastes like soap to me. This is a perfect summer dish!

  2. Laura, welcome. The tacos look perfectly delicious and easy. Even my new character in A Cookbook Nook series could tackles this one. She, like you, can only manage a few ingredients. Lovely!

    Good luck with your new Bookmobile Cat series. The cover is darling. Eddie looks so cute.


    Daryl aka Avery

  3. I might have to try those fish tacos! I would eat yours, but there's cilantro. (No can do cilantro, even after living in TX for 30 years.) Congrats on the new series, too!

  4. Welcome, Laura! Thanks for this recipe. Have always wanted to try to make them. I owe you one!



  5. Welcome to the Kitchen, Laura! Your recipe is perfect fare for the start of summer. Thank you for sharing it and congrats from a fellow rescue-cat owner on the launch of your new series. It looks adorable!

    ~ Cleo

  6. Thanks, ladies! By the way, if you're not a cilantro fan, I know people who put jalapenos (without the seeds) into their guacamole. And Krista, the pictures are great - they make me want to eat this all over again :) And Eddie, the real-life version of the bookmobile cat, is currently flopped on my legs, making it impossible for me to move...

  7. I'm glad the pictures passed inspection, Laura. It was delish! And as easy as you claim.

    Thanks for visiting us today!


  8. I love fish tacos. I had my first taste when I was in California.

    Congrats on the new series.

  9. Not a fan of fish tacos but I am a fan of your cozies. Keep up the great writing.

  10. great rolling!! haha looks pretty good!!