Friday, September 20, 2013

Mango, Avocado and Arugula Salad

This salad is probably more appropriate for the summer months, but it's still quite delicious for the fall months, too. It's a very colorful salad thanks to the mango, avocados, and the red onions. I really enjoyed the spicy dressing, as well. It gave the salad a nice kick to go along with the peppery arugula. I found this recipe from Laylita's Recipes. Give this recipe a try no matter the time of year, and I think you will love it!

  • For the Salad:
  • 6 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into long slices
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs lime juice

  • Spicy Vinaigrette Dressing:
  • 1 tbs champagne vinegar
  • 4 tbs orange juice, about ½ orange
  • 2 tbs lime juice, about ½ lime
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 red chili or hot pepper, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
First, take out a small bowl and toss in the onions. Add in some warm water, a dash of salt, and the lime juice. Let marinate for 10 minutes. While the onions are marinating; let's make the dressing. Take out a mason jar (or something with a lid) and combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Shake well. Set aside. Next, take out a large bowl, and add the arugula, the sliced mangoes, the sliced avocado, and the red onions. Give the dressing one last good shake and pour over the salad. Give the salad a good toss and serve immediately. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chipotle Rosemary Sweet Potato Soup

I know I've said time and time again how much I dislike cold weather. But, it's so nice sometimes to make warm and comforting foods during this time of the year. I had a bunch of sweet potatoes sitting in my fridge begging me to do something with them. I did some handy-dandy googling, and came across this recipe from Tasty Trials for sweet potato soup. This soup was very good. I liked the smokiness that the chipotle provided, and I'm always looking for a way to use up some of my rosemary. The bacon added a nice touch as well. I will definitely make this soup again, and try to use up my sweet potatoes a lot quicker next time.

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 pound carrots
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp cumin, divided
2 tsp chopped rosemary, divided
3 strips of bacon, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 c dry white wine
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Grated Cheese, optional

First pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees, and then peel and chop the sweet potatoes and the carrots. Doesn't have to be pretty. Pour the sweet potatoes and the carrots into a glass baking dish (9x13) and sprinkle with olive oil (a couple teaspoons). Add in 1/2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or when they're fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pot, crisp up the bacon and set on a paper towel for later use. In the same pot, add in the leeks and the chopped shallots. Saute over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until they caramelize. Then, add in the remaining cumin and rosemary, garlic, and chipotle puree. Stir, and let cook for a couple minutes. Add in the wine, and let reduce for a couple minutes. Then toss in the sweet potato mixture. Stir well. Add the chicken stock and simmer covered for 10 to 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or a regular ol' blender) and puree the mixture till smooth. Next, stir in the heavy cream and if necessary season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls topped with the reserved bacon. Throw in some cheese if you are using. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pickled Jalapenos

If you’ve read this blog at all (have you?) then you know that I love spicy food. I pretty much want everything to have a little heat to it, or else it just feels like something is missing. So when I came across this recipe for Pickled Jalapenos on Steph Chows, it was sort of like falling in love for this first time. First of all, I love pickles. Secondly—spicy! Yes. Yes. Let’s do this. And, by the way, pickling is stupid easy. I love pickles that you get at the store, including pickled jalapenos, but there is something about pickling your own that is so much fresher and more delicious. So grab a jar (or two or three) and a handful of jalapenos and get to pickling!

10 jalapenos, whole or sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic, lightly pounded
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp sugar

The first step is to slice up your jalapenos (unless you want to pickle them whole but I think sliced is better). Cut them into rings, not too thin but not too thick either. You could take the seeds out if you want them to be less spicy but if that’s the case, what the heck are you doing pickling jalapenos anyway? Sheesh. Put the sliced jalapenos in a canning jar. I actually used three small jars because that’s what I had on hand.

Next combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. You want to bring it to a simmer, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. You may also want to stir it some to help the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove and toss the bay leaves, then pour the hot liquid over the jalapenos in the jar. Seal it up and let it cool. I let it cool outside of the fridge, not for any particular reason that I know of, but it just seems like the right thing to do. After about 5-7 hours, you can try your jalapenos. They will be very crisp at this point, and not so pickled, but some people like that. Or you could wait a few days and they will be more pickled and less crisp. Either way, they are really spicy but also nice and vinegary and salty and just plain awesome.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cheesy Corn & Orzo Stuffed Poblanos

The Hubs was not enthused about this dish at first. He has this thing about meals without meat. To him, anything that doesn’t have meat in it is a side dish. So when I informed him that we were making this stuffed poblano recipe that I found on Chattavore, he did not have high hopes. Well, he changed his tune after trying them. In fact, his exact words were: “These are actually good!” Shocker! Well, he was right. The cheesy corn orzo was tasty, and the poblano was nice, although I wish we had gotten spicier peppers. The real surprise to this dish for me was two fold. First, the crumbled feta on top added a great burst of flavor. I didn’t think it would work so well but it was one of my favorite parts. And then the lime sour cream sauce was a must have. It was tart but not overpowering. Instead it just really brought all the flavors together. There are a few steps to this recipe, but I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re trying to convert a doubtful eater to try something veggie-friendly!

6oz cooked orzo
6 poblanos
½ small onion, diced
1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
½ jalapeño, diced
1 ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
4oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
salt and pepper
2oz crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup sour cream
juice of one lime

Start by charring the poblanos on your grill or gas flame, or even under the broiler. Make sure you get good dark color on all sides. Once they are charred, put them in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let them sit for 15 minutes. Then comes the tough part—you need to peel the charred skin off the peppers, then either cut the peppers in half, or just slit one side to remove the seeds, ribs and stem (this is what I did, and it was kind of a mess but it turned out good).

Cook the orzo (according to the box) and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and then sauté the onion and jalapeno for 4-6 minutes. Next, whisk in the flour and cook for a minute before whisking in the milk a little at a time to make a roux. Cook until it’s thick, which shouldn’t take long if you added the milk slowly, and then add in the cheese a bit at a time until it’s melted. Then stir in the orzo and the corn. We used frozen corn and it was totally fine, so don’t hate. Make sure to taste and season with salt and pepper.

To stuff the peppers, we laid out the peppers in a baking dish and scooped the orzo mixture into each one. It was less of a stuffing and more like a… scoop and wrap. But it works. Then sprinkle the tops with crumbled feta (or queso fresco) and bake for around 25 minutes. Our cheese didn’t get browned like the instructions said but it looked good to us.

To make the sauce, just mix the lime and sour cream. Add a little bit of salt to taste. It will definitely be very tart, but it works well with the full meal. When the peppers have finished baking, top them with the sauce, and sprinkle with a little cilantro. And get ready to blow some minds!