May 2015

southwest-spaghetti-squas

When someone first told me about spaghetti squash, I felt confused. WTF. There’s no way a squash can do that. And that confusion festered over the next year or so and prevented me from ever really acknowledging the squash’s existence.  Then I was eating at True Food Kitchen a few weeks ago and ordered the spaghetti squash casserole. And guess what? SQUASH CAN DO THAT. AND IT DOES IT WELL. And now I’ve been making something with spaghetti squash at least once a week. As it turns out, there’s not much that spaghetti squash CAN’T do

This has been my favorite to date – a southwestern twist complements the flavor and texture of the squash perfectly.

Recipe

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced and seeds removed (or more jalapeno for added heat)
  • 2/3 cup black beans
  • 1 cup corn
  • Tad minced garlic (jar)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1.5-2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • ~3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)
  • Avocado and sour cream, for topping

Start by roasting the squash.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt, then place face down (skin side up) on a baking dish.  Roast for 35-40 minutes, until it can easily be poked with a fork.  Let cool.

In a large pan, saute the onions and jalapeno in a bit of olive oil – about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, beans, corn, and tomatoes.  Stir in the seasonings and turn off the heat.

Scrape out the spaghetti squash using a fork (YES – it really is that easy) into a large colander and let the excess liquid drain out.  Then, mix the corn mixture with the spaghetti, and add the hot sauce and  sour cream if you like (I liked the creaminess).  Pour the mixture back into the squash halves, top with cheese, and broil until warm and slightly browned.  Serve with avocado and sour cream.

 

spring-pea-pesto-risotto

In case you think I will ever run out of ways to make
risotto, let me assure you: I won’t.
Everything goes well in risotto. Everything.

This past weekend I made my standard risotto recipe, but
instead of mushrooms and asparagus I added frozen peas and store bought
pesto.  You could probably add all of the
above and make your own variation. Risotto doesn’t discriminate.
Recipe
  • Risotto Recipe
  • ~ Half bag frozen peas
  • ~1/4-1/2 cup prepared pesto (more or less to taste)
  • Balsamic reduction/syrup (optional)
Prepare the risotto, and before adding the Parmesan cheese
(mozzarella might be good too!), stir in the peas and allow to cook for a few
minutes.  Add the cheese and allow to
melt. Swirl in the pesto, then serve and drizzle with balsamic reduction
(optional).

 

My guacamole….

my-guacamole

…is GOOD. Finally, my guacamole is GOOD.  I’ve spent years making guacamole for different festivities, and finally decided that I never liked it as much as the store bought kind. But then, I decided that I didn’t like a lot of store bought kinds because they had too many red onions. So, with my back up against a wall (so to speak), my hand was forced. I had to give it another whirl.  And guess what? I will never eat another guacamole again. This is simple – really simple, and I guess that’s how I like my guacamole.

And, it’s Cinco de Mayo so I thought I should blog about guacamole!! What better way to celebrate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory against Napoleon’s French army in the 1800s than a good ol’ bowl of guacamole.****

Recipe

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped tomatoes (seeds removed and patted dry)
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped SWEET onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
  • Several dashes hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt
  • Pepper to taste

And….mash it all together. I like it a little chunky, so I don’t over-mash. Serve with bite-size Tostitos, THE BEST TORTILLA CHIPS OF ALL TIME.

****Did you think Cinco de Mayo was Mexico’s independence day? It’s not.
****Do you think Cinco de Mayo is a huge holiday in Mexico? It’s not. In fact, they barely celebrate cinco de mayo at all!

Grilled Fish Tacos

grilled-fish-tacos

I apologize for my food styling skills. I don’t have them, unless I really take a lot of time and focus all my effort. And even then, I think I probably get a B-. I blame my fatal combination of a lack of artistic ability with my inherent desire to eat whatever I cook immediately. I can’t wait, I’m sorry.

Anyway, I could eat fish tacos every day of my life. I love them – grilled, fried, blackened, hard shells, soft shells, corn shells….

But grilled (or pan seared) is my favorite, on a corn tortilla, with a smoky flavored sauce. Or slaw. Here, I made an ancho chile sauce, then mixed it with shredded cabbage to make a perfectly flavored crunchy slaw.  I kept some of the sauce separate on one taco, and used slaw on the other.

Recipe

  • 2 Tilapia fillets, grilled or pan seared
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Ancho chile sauce/slaw (recipe below)

Recipe for Ancho Chile Sauce/Slaw

  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons Ancho Chile powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons Adobo sauce (from the chipotles in adobo sauce jar)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • Shredded cabbage for slaw (optional)

Start by making the slaw, if you’re going for it. Slaw is best served several hours after mixing.  Make the sauce by mixing together the mayo, sour cream, spices, adobo sauce (just the sauce – not the chipotles), sugar, and milk. In a separate bowl, mix together about 6 cups shredded cabbage and about 3/4 cup of the sauce. Use the remaining sauce for serving. Refrigerate.

Grill or pan sear the tilapia. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with S&P, and grill for about 8-10 minutes.  I actually usually use a nonstick skillet or grill pan (rather than straight up grill), because tilapia breaks apart so easily.  Heat your corn tortillas in a skillet or over a gas flame, and top with fish, slaw or sauce, and your salsa of choice.

marinated-grilled-vegetables
 Once in a while I can make my food look good rather than just taste good.  This is one of those moments, and I hope everyone can recognize that.  Because tomorrow I am going to post some terrible looking but delicious tasting fish tacos.

Grilled vegetables are a summer staple at our house (and it officially feels like summer in Texas).  And sometimes, we marinate them first.  This combo was particularly good!

Recipe
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ¾ cup balsamic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Lemon pepper or pepper
  • Mixed vegetables of choice
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together (all except the lemon pepper and mixed veggies).  Slice your vegetables of choice and place in two large
Ziploc bags (I had two full bags of eggplant, red bell pepper, zucchini, onions, and
asparagus).  Season with lemon pepper or pepper, marinate for several hours,
then remove from bags and grill 20-30 minutes over medium-high grill. Yay nice weather!