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!

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Salsa Verde Dip

Bok Choy and Tofu Noodle Bowl

 

This simple and delicious recipe comes from the pages of Sunset MagazineServe with a side of steamed edamame and voila! asian flavors night.  I used buckwheat noodles, but udon noodles would be delicious (doughy noodles that really soak up the sauce).  I used beef broth since we had some on hand, but if keeping with vegetarian fare, use vegetable broth.  You could also saute thin slices of beef instead of tofu…I imagine shrimp would be good with this as well.  James and I both thought it needed a little spice, so I recommend adding red pepper flakes or serving with sriracha sauce.  Happy 2012…Enjoy dear friends!

1 pkg. (7 oz.) udon or other Asian noodle

2 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

1 cup vegetable or beef broth

1 pkg. (14 oz.) firm tofu

2 TBSP vegetable oil, divided

1 TBSP each minced fresh ginger and garlic

4 baby bok choy, bottoms trimmed & leaves separated

4 green onion, trimmed and sliced

 Cook noodles as package directs.  Drain and divide among 4 bowls.  Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, and broth and set aside.

Drain tofu and press gently to remove excess liquid (I wrap tofu in a kitchen towel and press with a plate).  Cut tofu lengthwise into 3 pieces.  Cut crosswise into 1/2 in. sticks and blot dry.  Heat 1 TBSP oil in large frying pan (or wok, if you have it) over high heat.  Brown tofu (don’t stir), approx. 4 minutes each side.  Set on noodles

Add remaining 1 TBSP oil to same pan over medium-high heat.  Cook ginger and garlic until fragrant (approx. 30 seconds), making sure garlic doesn’t burn.  Add bok choy and cook until wilted, 5 minutes.  Add reserved broth mixture and cook until hot, about 1 minute. 

Spoon over noodles and tofu and sprinkle with onions.  Salud!

Bok Choy and Tofu Noodle Bowl

Edamame salad

This delicious creation was inspired by a pricy salad I saw in the Fresh Market display, and it has become a favorite for a quick lunch or light dinner. The measurements are rough estimates – change them up to match your preferences.

Mix together:

  • One package of steam-in-bag edamame (about three cups)
  • 1/3 c. feta cheese, smaller pieces (use a fork to break up big chunks)
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Enjoy!

Edamame salad

SWEET CORN+BREAD

I have always loved the taste of cornbread, but usually end up feeling like I’m being choked to death after several bites…I know your thinking “And that’s why I don’t like cornbread.”  Trust me, this recipe will change your mind.

After discovering Whole Foods’  cornbread, I was determined to make my own.  The recipe was found here, but I’ve posted it as well since I modified it a bit.  It is a moist, soft, cake-like bread that is great with jam and honey or alongside spicy chili. I halved the recipe with no problem.

SWEET CORN+BREAD (Serves 12-16)

1 cup cornmeal
3 cups all-purpose flour
1  1/3 cup sugar
2 TBSP. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup melted butter
2 TBSP honey
4 eggs, beaten
2  1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels (not optional in my opinion…)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish (I use a large cast iron skillet when halving the recipe).

In a large mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, milk and frozen corn kernels; stir just until moistened.

Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until cornbread is golden brown and beginning to crack.

My mouth is now watering…enjoy mis amigas!

SWEET CORN+BREAD

Lovely Lentils.

I just LOVE this recipe.  I modified this recipe according to the “cooking lentils” instructions.  It is so versatile, delicious and good for you.  You can add just about anything to the mix you think would pair well with lentils.  It can be served as a vegetarian main dish, side dish with chicken (or other protein), or made into a lentil-chicken stew/soup.  Salud a mis amigas!

LOVELY LENTILS (serves 2-4)

1 cup lentils, rinsed (I use green, but you could use red or yellow)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 onion or 1 leek (rinsed, drained and dried)
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 red potatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp. ground coriander
1 – 1 1/2 tsp. curry (optional)
salt and peppper to taste

Saute onions/leeks and carrots in olive oil until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and saute one minute.  Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Add rinsed lentils, broth, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, and curry (if using).  Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes until potatoes and lentils are soft.  If adding raw chicken, add when bringing lentils to boil and let cook with all ingredients.

Once lentils are cooked, you can adjust seasonings as needed.  I like to serve with roasted tofu or just on its own.  You can fold in greens (mustard, collard, or spinach) until wilted and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  I’ve thrown in a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley.  Delicious with a crusty bread and a dry chardonnay (the oakiness pairs well with the flavor of lentils and the parm.)  Enjoy!

Lovely Lentils.

Not my mama’s French Toast.

Growing up, my mom made French toast and I thought for the longest time I just didn’t like French toast…until I had Austin’s Chez Zee’s stuffed French toast.  So I tried my hand last weekend at my own and it was a success.  Super simple, easy to put together on a weekend morning.  The only thing missing was a Mimosa.

Better Homes and Gardens recipe

Serves 4

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

2 TBSP sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. orange liqueur (I used orange juice)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg 

8  1/2-inch slices bread (I used my cinnamon oatmeal bread, but you could use challah, brioche, croissants, etc.)

2 TBSP butter (also, a non-stick skillet and cooking spray can cut on this if you are concerned)

Real maple syrup or honey

1. In a shallow mixing bowl (think baking dish or pie plate), beat together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, orange liqueur/juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Dip bread slices in egg mixture and let soak until bread appears saturated (you want all the flavors to permeate the bread).

2. In a skillet or on a griddle, melt 1 TBSP butter over medium heat; add as many bread slices as will fit and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining butter and bread slices.  Serve warm with syrup.  I garnished my french toast with toasted Seguin pecans (pops sent us 5 lbs.) and sliced bananas.  It rocked.

Salud!

Not my mama’s French Toast.

Chile Relleno Casserole

Another jewel from the St. Andrew’s Cookbook.  This is my godmother, Tia Melody’s, recipe, but Mama Kay submitted it to the cookbook.  Whole green chiles are key — the diced ones will not work.  For non-Texans, this is a problem.  Wal-Mart is (unfortunately) the only place I’ve been able to find them in North Carolina, but the perk is they do come in one pound cans (pictured left).  In Texas I usually buy 5-6 of the tiny Old El Paso cans.  I like the casserole most at room temperature, but it’s also good cold.

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Chile Relleno Casserole