I love volunteering, because I’m worth every penny they pay me!  Actually, I love volunteering because I can choose my opportunities, and one of my favorites is to work with the Foods students from Bearspaw Christian School, and their teacher, my good friend Carmaine. Once each semester, the senior high school students came into my kitchen to make something interesting.  This time it was Fish Tacos, using some of the recipe ideas from my blog.  Twelve kids, two teachers, and two great Moms made for a pretty full kitchen, but everyone had something to do, and we had a great time.

Everyone got busy making the “fixin’s”.  Most time consuming was finely dicing the tomatoes for Pico de Gallo.  The Slaw took a little time as well, as the cabbage needed to sit with salt on it to wilt for a while.  Guacamole was a snap, and gave us the opportunity to “adjust to taste” with seasoning, as did the Crema.  We treated the fish exactly like my recipe for “Crispy Shrimp”, but we pre-browned the crumbs in a little butter, as sole fillets cook so quickly they wouldn’t have had a chance to brown in the oven.

I had pre-made a bunch of tortilla dough, as it benefits from a little rest to both develop and relax the gluten.  Everybody rolled with enthusiasm – the students’ tortillas were much thinner (and bigger) than mine had been.  We dry-grilled them in frying pans, causing great excitement with the smoke detector!

Here, then, are all the elements we made for our feast.

Fish Tacos — all the elements

Soft Corn and Flour Tortillas


3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups Instant Corn Masa Mix  (NOT the same thing as Masa Harina) (available in Latin Groceries, and specialty aisles of some large grocery stores)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 ½ to 2 cups water (approximate)


Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the oil, stirring it through the flour (it will be lumpy).  Add 1 cup of warm water, and start mixing with your hands.  Continue to add water until the mixture has the consistency of play-dough (Calgary is very dry, so I exceeded the 2 cups by quite a bit).  Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until smooth, about 4 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes (or up to 2 hours, more if refrigerated).  Divide into balls about the size of a billiard ball.  Roll into circles as thinly as possible.  Cook on a hot, dry griddle or thick-bottomed frying pan until slightly bubbled and flecked with brown on each side.  Hold covered or wrapped with foil until ready to eat.  Tortillas can be made ahead and re-warmed in the microwave, or in the oven if well-wrapped with foil.

But seriously, folks – just go buy some tortillas.




Freshly squeezed lime juice

Thinly sliced green onion tops, ¼ cup per avocado

A handful of cilantro, roughly chopped, about ¼ cup per avocado

Clove(s) of garlic, 1 per avocado, finely minced, more if you love it

Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream, 1 Tbsp per avocado

Hot sauce, or cayenne to taste

Salt, to taste


Peel and mash the avocado(s) with a fork on a flat surface, like a plate – it’s just easier that way.  Add everything else, up to the hot sauce and salt.  Taste.  Add SOME hot sauce, and SOME salt.  Taste again.  Add more if you think it needs it.  If you think it tastes flat, it needs more lime juice, and more salt.

Crispy fish

Re-visit my recipe for “Crispy Shrimp” (short story:  coat fillets in mayo, then with Panko crumbs).  If your fish fillets are very thin (we used sole), brown the crumbs in a little butter or oil in a large frying pan.  Remember to turn the browned crumbs out of the hot pan immediately after they turn the color you want, as the hot pan will continue to brown them.

Pico de Gallo (Fresh Tomato Salsa)


Plum tomatoes, the ripest ones you can find

Red onion, or green onion, or both

Fresh garlic clove(s)

Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Lime juice

Jalapeno pepper(s) (Serranos will work, but they’re hotter)



De-seed and finely chop the tomatoes. Measure the volume.  Finely dice about
half as much onion.  Finely mince garlic, at least 1 clove per cup of prepared tomato and onion.  Add the cilantro.  Squeeze the lime juice over everything and give it a stir.  For heat, add finely diced Jalapeno (de-seeded and white membranes removed) for the mildest effect, about 1 whole pepper per 4 cups of tomato mixture.  You can augment the heat with pepper sauce, powdered chipotle, or red pepper flakes, or use any of these in place of the Jalapeno if they’re hard to get where you live.  Taste before adding salt, then taste again to see if it needs more.  Like the guacamole, it will come to life when the salt is perfect – but it shouldn’t taste “salty”.  Remember – you can’t take it out once it’s in, so keep mixing and tasting as you go.

Quick Slaw


Finely shredded cabbage


Finely grated carrot

Thinly-sliced green onion

Whole cilantro leaves

Finely minced Jalapeno pepper (optional)



Lime juice

Salt, pepper, finely minced garlic to


You can use pre-shredded slaw mix, or you can slice your own cabbage very thinly.  We used red cabbage because it’s beautiful.  Slice a little more than you think you need.  Put it in a bowl or a colander and sprinkle it with salt, tossing it through with your hands.  Let the cabbage sit for 15 minutes, until it starts to wilt.  Rinse off the salt, and dry the cabbage thoroughly by squeezing, or using a salad spinner.

Add some grated carrot, some thinly-sliced green onion tops, some whole cilantro leaves, and a little minced Jalapeno pepper (optional).  If you have radishes, I think some finely julienned radishes would be awesome.

For the dressing, combine 1 part honey and 2 parts lime juice.  Season with
salt, pepper, and finely-minced garlic.  Add just enough dressing to coat the vegetables – it’s a good idea to do this with your hands so you can tell when you have added enough.


That’s it in the bottom right hand corner

Mix together equal parts sour cream (or Greek Yogurt) and whipping cream.  Stir in lime juice, about 1 Tablespoon per cup of cream mixture.  The longer this sits, the thicker it will get.

Season with lime zest, one well-chopped  chipotle in adobo (canned) and salt.  Add more of these seasoning elements as required.  Start with a little, adding more until it tastes wonderful.

And now …. we assemble.

Start with a warm tortilla … add some guacamole….

…then a nice piece of fish or two, topped with Pico de Gallo….

…add some slaw, and a good drizzle of Crema…

… crown it with some cilantro, roll it up, and it’s ready to eat!

Nothing makes everyone happier than making it themselves!