Really, this is “The PERFECT scratch margarita”

Classic-Margaritas-with-Casa-Noble-Crystal-from-Miss-in-the-Kitchen
 

Taken again from my vegan cookbook, you don’t have to be vegan, or even close to it, to appreciate this delicious and quite perfect rita.  This is my go-to recipe for a rita nearly anytime the Tex-Mex bug bites…and that happens nearly once a week in our house.

INGREDIENTS:

Kosher salt, as needed
Lime wedges for wetting glasses and garnish
Lots of crushed ice (or just ice) for serving
4 oz. decent tequila (I use Patron Reposado…trust me on this one)
3 oz. Cointreau
3 oz. freshly squeezed limes (about 3-5 limes)
2 TBSP agave nectar
 

If you’re mouth is already watering, quickly, here is what you do:

Place a small mound of kosher salt on plate and wet the edges with lime wedge.  Roll the wet end of glasses in salt and fill them with crushed ice.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a shaker with small amount of ice, shake, and pour into the prepared glasses.  Garnish with lime wedge.

Makes TWO sneakily potent margaritas.

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Really, this is “The PERFECT scratch margarita”

Sourdough Kale Strata

kale-strata

I have become a BIG fan of strata dishes over the last couple of years.  They are easy, delicious and can be served breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I also love kale, so this dish was a happy marriage in my world.  I easily halved the recipe and it came out beautifully.  Leftovers are delicious, so it may be worth making the full recipe to have for lunch later in the week.

Sourdough Kale Strata (serves 8):

2 TBSP olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 bunch of kale, washed, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
10 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
4 cups sourdough bread, torn into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese, divided

……….

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes.  Add kale and salt and cook for another 2 minutes.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and pepper in large bowl.

Coat a 9×13 (or equivalent) baking dish with cooking spray.  Add kale mixture, torn bread and 1 cup cheese.  Toss together and spread evenly over pan.

Pour egg mixture into dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Cover strata with aluminum foil and let stand 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F (if refrigerated, let dish warm to room temperature BEFORE placing in oven).  Bake 35 minutes, remove foil and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown around edges.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Salud mis amigas!  ¡Felíz nuevo año!

Sourdough Kale Strata

Fall Flavors: Tailgate Potato Salad

I discovered this delicious potato salad in one of my favorite cookbooks and quite frankly, this salad makes me giddy.  The combination of flavors embodies the season of fall and makes my heart (and taste buds) sing.  This is no ordinary potato salad.

The original recipe calls for baking the sweet potato, cooling, peeling, then cubing.  Boiling the potatoes, cooling, peeling, cubing and the same for the squash.  It takes a bit more time and I’m not sure it changes the texture of the potatoes.  Knock yourself out if you want to go that route; however, I’ve modified the recipe to be a little more time-friendly.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

1/2 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cubed bite size

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold or new potatoes, cubed bite size

1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed bite size

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries

1/4 chopped parsley

1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted

Dressing:

1/2 cup sugar (or less)

1 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

2 TBSP. grated yellow onion

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup to 1 cup canola oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add cubed sweet potatoes and potatoes and boil for 10 minutes.  Add cubed butternut squash and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes or until all veggies are just fork tender (too tender and they will just fall apart in the salad).  Drain veggies and set aside.

While potatoes cook, prepare dressing.  Combine sugar, mustard, salt, grated onion and 2 TBSP of cider vinegar.  Gradually add canola oil and remaining vinegar until well combined (you may consider reducing the amount of sugar here…it ends up being a very sweet dressing).

Place slightly cooled potatoes in large serving bowl along with chopped parsley.  Pour dressing over mixture and add the red onion, cranberries and walnuts.  Toss gently, cover and refrigerate about one hour.  Bring to room temperature to serve.  The salad keeps in the fridge for several days.

Serving Suggestion: Personally, I skip the refrigeration step and serve the salad warm over a bed of arugula and spinach, along with shaved Pecorino or other shaved hard cheese.  It goes splendidly with a glass of Chardonnay or dry Riesling.  Happy Fall dear friends!

Fall Flavors: Tailgate Potato Salad

Front Range Peach Pancakes

Peaches are at their peak in Colorado this time of year and while delicious and perfectly peachy all on their own, this is a yummy way to start any day with ripe, in-season peaches as the star.  Because the peaches are cooked into the pancake, they get a nice carmelization that just makes the peaches sing – it’s like peach cobbler for breakfast!  You can use your favorite pancake recipe to start (I usually make my own), but for this recipe, I used Bisquick.  Alongside a good cup of coffee, fresh fruit and maybe a mimosa (or two), this makes a great breakfast or brunch!

Front Range Peach Pancakes

(Serves 4-6, depending on pancake size)

2 cups Bisquick mix

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 TBSP sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

2 TBSP lemon juice

2 to 3 fresh peaches, thinly sliced

cinnamon, to taste

toasted sliced almonds or pecans

real maple syrup

Heat griddle or cast iron skillet to medium heat.  Warm oven to 200°F to keep cooked pancakes warm as you continue to cook.  Warm maple syrup over low heat.

Combine lemon juice and milk and let stand for a few minutes while you combine remaining ingredients.  Combine bisquick mix, sugar and baking powder.  Add beaten eggs to milk mixture and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just moistened (you want to see a few lumps and bumps in the mixture). 

Grease skillet using cooking spray or butter and pour about 1/4 cup pancake batter (or preferred size) onto preheated skillet.  Arrange a few peach slices on top of pancake batter while the underside cooks.  Sprinkle a few toasted almonds or pecans and cinnamon on top of peaches.  Once edges begin to dry, flip pancake over to continue cooking peach side.  Transfer pancake to warm oven and continue with remainder of batter.

I like to serve mine with a dollop of greek yogurt and a drizzle of real maple syrup.  A ricotta cheese mixture would also make magic in your mouth alongside this pancake.  ¡Buenos dias, amigas!

Front Range Peach Pancakes

Herbed Goat Cheese Pasta

The original recipe is from The Herb Companion magazine.  I made this pasta for our girls’ weekend in Boulder in early June and again when James’ parents were visiting.  So delicious.  So simple.  Serve with a side salad and life is complete (at least for dinner).  Leftovers are just as good.

Herbed Goat Cheese Pasta

Serves 4-6

1 lb. pasta (any type will do: fettuccine, rigatoni, penne, etc.)

3-4 oz. goat cheese

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 TBSP. unsalted butter, melted

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped soft-leaved herbs (I use parsley and basil)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper

Boil pasta according to directions and reserve one cup pasta water.  In a large serving bowl, combine cheeses, melted butter, herbs, salt and pepper; add reserved pasta water to help thin the sauce.  Add pasta to mixture and toss gently to coat.  Serve warm.  Salud!

Variations:  I usually add some type of roasted vegetable to round out the pasta.  During summer when veggies are fresh and at their peak, I often throw in a mix of roasted mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and shredded rotisserie chicken.  Cherry tomatoes, peas, and spinach are also fabulous.  I’ve also made the dish without the ricotta and it was equally delicious.  The pasta is great with or without these additions.

Herbed Goat Cheese Pasta

Salsa Verde Dip

This recipe originally comes from Rick Bayless (I’ve tweeked it a bit) and is SO delicious and ridiculously easy.  I get requests for it all the time.  I do a mixture of cream cheese and feta, but have also tried it with goat cheese.  I prefer the salty bite of the feta, but either is really delicious.  Really great alongside fish tacos and a good beer.

Salsa Verde Dip

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, chopped pecans or walnuts

5-6 oz. cream cheese, softened

2-3 oz. feta or goat cheese

1 cup salsa verde

1/2 avocado, chopped

cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine the toasted pine nuts and cheeses in an oven proof dish.  Form mixture into a disk and top with salsa.  Bake in oven 5-7 minutes, or until heated through.  Garnish with avocado and cilantro and serve with blue corn tortilla chips or raw veggies.  Salud a mis amigas!

Salsa Verde Dip

Enchiladas Verdes

SO YUMMY and just as easy as Amy’s recipe, but a little spicier.  I adapted the original recipe from Martha Stewart, lightening it with light sour cream instead of heavy cream and substituting rotisserie chicken (or leftover chicken if you have it).  Hands down, James’ favorite dish and great for a crowd.  I made this over Christmas for the now 13-person Colvin family and we had leftovers.  Goes well with cumin-spiced black beans, avocado and cilantro.

Enchiladas Verdes (Serves 6)

1 rotisserie chicken, breast and thigh meat shredded

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 (16 oz.) jars salsa verde (I like Herdez)

1 cup light sour cream

12 corn tortillas

2-3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (or similar Mexican cheese)

1 bunch cilantro

1-2 avocados, sliced

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a large casserole dish or cast iron skillet.

In large bowl, combine shredded chicken and garlic cloves.  In a separate bowl, combine salsa and 1/4 – 1/2 cup sour cream (depending on how creamy you prefer).  Add a 1/3 cup salsa mixture to chicken mixture and combine to moisten.

Heat tortillas to soften and prevent from breaking.  To assemble enchiladas, dip a tortilla in the salsa mixture, lay flat in prepared dish, add 1/4 cup chicken mixture, roll and place to one side in dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas, salsa and chicken.  You want the tortillas tucked in closely so they maintain their shape while baking.  Pour remaining salsa mixture over rolled tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes until bubbling and cheese is golden brown.  Serve with avocado, sour cream and cilantro.  Salud a mis amigas!

Enchiladas Verdes