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The Perfect Mai Tai

I went thru a lot of product testing to come up with this recipe. For hours I slaved, tasting batch after batch to ensure a perfect drink experience. The things I go thru for you. Really. I wanted something island-y that would harken me back to days spent curling my toes in warm soft sandy beaches.  I fell in love with Mai Tais at the same time I discovered fish tacos. Ahhhh, Maui – heaven. Mai Tais on the island are full of fruity deliciousness. However, I didn’t want it to be so fru-fru that you’d need to drink an entire pitcher to have a buzz. These are grand. Sure to provide a truly tropical feeling right in your own backyard. Try them. You’ll see. They are perfection.

The Perfect Mai Tai
makes 1 gallon

2 cups light rum
2 cup dark rum
1 cup Triple Sec
1 cup Amaretto
1 cup simple syrup
10 limes, juiced
4 cups orange juice
4 cups pineapple juice

Directions

In a large jar or drink cooler, combine the light rum, Triple Sec, Amaretto, simple syrup, lime juice, orange juice and pineapple juice. Do not use grenadine if you want the true Mai Tai! Serve in 8 to 12 ounce glasses with ice. Top each glass with a floater of dark rum for a pretty presentation, or add the dark rum and combine for use as a punch.

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Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

My first experience with fish tacos was in Maui. My husband and I went to a little dive in Kihei and drank Mai Tais and enjoyed numerous fish tacos. It was bliss. I was hooked (ha-ha-ha) at first bite (ok, I’ll stop now). Since returning from our second honeymoon, I’ve tried recreating the delicious spice and zest of the original tacos I fell in love with, but never quite got it right. Until these. Oh, baby.

First of all, let me calm your fears. Fish tacos are not hard. In fact, they are super simple. And absolutely incredibly delicious. Flaky light fish drenched in a spicy marinade gets grilled up and topped with fresh veggies and a creamy cilantro lime sour cream. I totally forgot to bring the avocado to my mom’s BBQ and these were still gobbled down by everyone I shared with.

The fish is so flavorful with just the right heat. Topped with a cool but BOMB dressing — oooh they are just divine. For a truly Hawaiian experience, I served these with Mai Tais. More on those tomorrow! I highly recommend corn tortillas for these – and, heat them up over the grill! Yuuuuumy!

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cream
adapted from Allrecipes.com

Marinade
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks

Dressing
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Toppings
1 (10 ounce) package tortillas
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 avocado, cubed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded (or a bag of coleslaw mix)
Salsa (optional)
Shredded cheese (optional)
2 limes, cut in wedges

Directions

  1. To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
  4. Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes. Or, bake in a 350° oven for 9-11 minutes.
  5. Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges.
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