Make ceviche, panna cotta

Published 12:05 am Saturday, July 11, 2015

The big trip out west is over for the year. Yes, we did the long drive to Tucson to pick up items to take to Houston for our daughter. It was such a quick trip I barely remember being there. I do remember being in the car for hours!

We ate at some of our favorite haunts, like La Gloria in San Antonio. It was as good as last year. We had our favorite posole (a Mexican soup) in Las Cruses; in fact we ate there coming and going! One posole was so hot I could not finish the bowl. They checked with the kitchen and a new batch of chilies had come in and they were somewhat hotter than usual. On the way back we stopped in Fredericksburg, Texas, a really nice town in the Hill Country. We ate at a restaurant called Crossroads, (there was not much open at 8:30 p.m.) but we hit it just right with it being steak night. Also, wine was half price. They had a great band going and we were invited to stay and dance, but after a long day we went back to the hotel. Next year!

The best treat on this trip is the Arizona Inn in Tucson. This resort was built in the 1930s by Arizona’s first congresswoman and still family owned and run. The story of Isabella Greenway’s life is fascinating including the fact that she was a bridesmaid in Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt’s wedding. I did not get my fill of this place. We have been there four years in a row and each time we find it lovely and welcoming. And rates are really good in the summer. The food there is also very good so we ate breakfast there and one evening meal. We did eat at another restaurant called Feast for the last night in Tucson. We bought frozen tamales from the famous Tucson Tamale Company and brought them back in a cooler to eat upon returning. They take it up a notch from the usual.

I had some good ceviche at La Gloria and came home and got some fresh, white fish and made some. There is nothing more refreshing in the summer than a cold spicy ceviche. Try to get the freshest fish available and make the ceviche the day you buy the fish. Remember the lemon and lime ‘cook’ the fish and it only needs to sit for a few hours, so a simple delicious dish.




2 lbs. of firm, fresh fish (snapper is excellent but I used cod) cut into ½ inch pieces, completely deboned

½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

½ red onion, finely diced

1 cup of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes

1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced

2 teaspoons salt

Dash of ground oregano

Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper



Tortillas or tortilla chips

In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juice. Let sit for hours; giving time for the flavors to blend.

Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.

At the Arizona Inn, we had an appetizer that was new to me. It was a goat cheese panna cotta served with balsamic Brussels sprouts. The Brussels sprouts I have done in the past, but never had them served with goat cheese panna cotta. But it was good. Most of you know how to roast Brussels sprouts, so at the end of the roasting period add several tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and roast for 5 minutes more. This will give you a caramelized finish on the Brussels sprouts. The recipe for the goat cheese panna cotta is easy. Just unmold the panna cotta and arrange the Brussels sprouts on the dish. A great appetizer.

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Serves 4

Four ramekins

½ cup milk

1 ¼ tsp. unflavored gelatin

2/3 cup plain, whole milk yogurt

½ cup goat cheese

Ground white pepper

Kosher salt

Brush the ramekins with a good extra virgin olive oil.

In a medium saucepan, warm the milk over medium high heat. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk.

Let gelatin stand until softened, about 5 minutes.

Rewarm the milk over low heat for about 1-2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the gelatin.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the goat cheese and yogurt, stirring until all is fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

Evenly divide the mixture between the ramekins. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

To serve, run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the ramekin and invert onto a plate. Arrange sprouts on the dish and serve. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil if desired.