Showing posts with label peppers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peppers. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recipe: Cilantro Fajita Chicken

As some of you may have seen via Facebook and Twitter, we have a truckload of mint growing in our garden this year, all of it "rogue" mint that came up from last year's crop. Preparing our 400-square-foot community garden plot for this year's plantings, we discovered another pleasant surprise: rogue cilantro, also a result of last year's crop. The result is that we're enjoying cilantro much earlier than usual.

We had already made a big batch of mojo, but then Kelli—always the cilantro addict—thought of a great way to put cilantro to another use ... in this fajita sauce. What really makes it notable is not the cilantro marinade for the grilled chicken, but rather the sauce we made with surplus cilantro marinade. By adding soaked, pureed cashews and whipping it all together in a blender, it has a delightful creaminess without having any dairy whatsoever.

Cilantro Fajita Chicken
Makes enough marinade and sauce for 1 pound of chicken

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions (coarsely chopped into large pieces)
1 small jalapeno pepper (coarsely chopped into large pieces)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Juice of 1 lime
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup hot water

1. Combine all ingredients, except cashews and hot water, in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Remove 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.
3. With the remaining marinade, add to a bowl or other container with the pound of chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
4. While grilling the chicken, prepare the sauce: soak the 1/4 cup raw cashews in 1/4 cup hot water for 20 minutes.
5. Add the cashews, soaking water, and reserved 1/4 cup cilantro marinade to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve as a sauce with the grilled chicken.

Serve with grilled peppers and onions, fresh corn tortillas, and whatever else you like with your fajitas!

Degrees of Free-dom
This recipe is: gluten-free, dairy/lactose/casein-free, peanut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, refined-sugar-free, soy-free.



Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Foto: Chipotle BBQ

For a while now, I've been wanting to make a scratch barbeque sauce infused with chipotle flavor; kind of give it a Southwestern or Mexican twist. Recently, I pulled the trigger and made it happen (as usual, over country-style pork delicious). The sauce has a nice balance of sweet, heat, and acid, and the chipotle flavor is surprisingly prominent, without being overpowering. But consider yourself warned: it has some serious kick. If you're sensitive to spicy food, or prefer a milder barbeque sauce, in the recipe below don't be shy about cutting back on the black pepper and the chipotle powder by as much as 50%.

Here's how to make it:

Heavy 1/3 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp chipotle powder

Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Voila! Chipotle BBQ sauce.

If making something like country-style ribs, reserve half the sauce for drizzling over the cooked meat later. Use the other half to marinate the pork and brush while grilling. Makes enough for 4 country-style ribs.


- Pete

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Foto: Stromboli

Gluten-free stromboli, after its first bake in the oven

Continuing my Italian craving theme from earlier this week, today's Friday Foto is of stromboli.  It seems like for months I've been telling Kelli, "I want to make a gluten-free stromboli."  Well, after months of putting off the task, I finally pulled the trigger and did it.  And boy was I happy I did.

There are lots of ways to describe a stromboli.  Some people call it a turnover.  Some say it's a sandwich.  Some liken it to a rolled pizza.  And some compare it to a calzone (minus the pocket).  One thing is for sure: Romano's in Essington, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia) claims to have created the world's first stromboli in 1950.

For me, a stromboli is an incredible melding of flavors.  You get spicy from the use of hot Italian sausage.  Salty from the cured deli meats (ham and pepperoni).  Sweet from the caramelized peppers and onions (and perhaps a side of marinara sauce for dipping).  And savory from the pizza bread dough and the cheese.

As you might expect, there are lots of ways to make a stromboli.  Here's how I make mine:

Twice-baked stromboli after a round in the toaster oven

Plain Pizza Dough

3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups Artisan Gluten-Free Flour blend (plus extra)

1. In a medium bowl, combine the warm water, honey and yeast.
2. When the yeast is foaming and active (about 5 minutes), add the remaining ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
3. Add additional flour, 1 tbsp or so at a time, until the dough is no longer tacky to the touch.
4. Add a small bit of olive oil to the mixing bowl, roll the dough to coat, set aside and let rise.

The Stromboli

1/2 lb hot Italian sausage (either without casings, or with casings removed and crumbled)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 lb deli-sliced ham
1/8-1/4 lb deli-sliced pepperoni
1/3-1/2 lb shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage until cooked-through and browned.  With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and set aside on paper towels.
3. In the rendered sausage fat in the skillet, sauté the peppers and onions until the peppers are soft and the onions are translucent.
4. Add the garlic, basil and oregano, and cook for one minute more.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Lay out plastic wrap on your work surface (two side-by-side sheets, slightly overlapping at the edge), place the pizza dough in the center, and cover with two more sheets of plastic wrap.  Roll out the dough until you've formed a large rectangle.  Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap.
6. Keeping the dough on the bottom sheets of plastic wrap, transfer to a large greased baking sheet (leave the plastic wrap under the will come in handy soon, and don't worry, it'll be removed before you pop the stromboli in the oven!).
7. Spread the cooked sausage in a thin layer on the dough, leaving a small margin of naked dough around the edges.
8. Repeat with the seasoned peppers and onions.
9. The ham is next.  I folded each slice of deli ham in half, and then placed it flat on the fillings.  I repeated with slices of folded ham, butting up their edges, until the entire surface was covered with a single layer of doubled ham.
10. Repeat with the pepperoni, but don't fold them in half.  Simply create a single layer of pepp.
11. Spread the shredded mozzarella.
12. Now comes the finesse part of the process.  Arrange your stromboli (which should be on your baking sheet) so that the long side of the rectangle is at your belly on your work surface.  Starting with the edge closest to you, use the plastic wrap to aid you in beginning to roll the stromboli away from you.  Peel away the plastic wrap as you roll (so that it doesn't get rolled into the stromboli!).
12. Once you've completely rolled the stromboli (and discarded the plastic wrap), arrange it in the center of the baking sheet with the seam side down.  Pinch or crimp the ends, if desired.
13. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.


A few notes:

For the ham, I used Boar's Head Black Forest ham, as well as BH pepperoni.  When finished baking, cut the stromboli into cross-section slices to serve.  Some warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping goes great with this dish.  Finally, I found that baking the sliced stromboli a second time in the toaster oven (primarily to reheat it, but also to cook it a little more) made it taste even better!

- Pete

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Foto: Pine Nut-Roasted Red Pepper Gnocchi

As ever, the recipe for today's Friday Foto is a classic case of necessity as the mother of invention. Lately, Kelli's been feeling a little burned out on red sauces...over pasta, on pizza, whatever. Watching a cooking show recently, though, she felt inspired to make a white sauce. There was just one problem: with Marin largely off of dairy, a creamy white sauce just wouldn't do for her. And therein lay the rub... a craving for pasta, but no red sauce, and no white sauce. What to make? Kelli's delicious response to the dilemma was this pine nut and roasted red pepper gnocchi.

The recipe has two parts: one batch of the gnocchi from our cookbook (page 108), and the sauce. Here's how to make the sauce and assemble the dish:

4 tbsp butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup crushed or chopped pine nuts
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, rough diced
1/4-1/2 cup reserved pasta water (from the gnocchi)

1. Brown the butter in a large skillet or saute pan.
2. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
3. Add the pine nuts and roasted red pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes until the flavors have melded.
4. Add the pasta water and stir.
5. Add the gnocchi and toss to coat.

(Use more pasta water to thin the sauce and make it go farther. Use less pasta water for a more intensely flavored sauce.)


- Pete

Monday, November 30, 2009

Recipe: Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

Happy week-after-Thanksgiving! We hope you had a wonderful and gluten-free matter where or how you celebrated. One thing I love about Thanksgiving (and other similar holidays) is the tradition - the ritual of it all, the familiar and annually-recurring foods, the coming together of family and friends. Sure, some of the minutae change from year to year. But in the grand scheme of things, there's a wonderful constancy to Thanksgiving (especially set against the backdrop of an otherwise ever-changing world).

Of course, one of the huge constants - aside from the holiday itself - is the leftovers. I, for one, have been eating turkey at least once a day every day since Thanksgiving. The end is in sight, but it's still distant. While I haven't yet lost my craving for re-warmed turkey with gravy, there will come a time (likely, very soon) when I'll want to use the leftover turkey in a more creative way that repurposes the remaining tasty meat. Which brings me to today's blog post and recipe: chicken and brown rice soup.

Kelli originally conceived this recipe weeks ago as an alternative or variation to the Chicken Noodle Soup recipe in our cookbook (page 69). But you could also take the following recipe and use turkey in lieu of chicken. More on that in a moment, after the recipe:

5 chicken legs
2 cups GF chicken stock
1/2 onion, diced/chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced/chopped
1/3 cup brown rice
salt and pepper

1. Place the chicken legs, onion, pepper, and chicken stock in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for about two hours.
3. Remove the pot from the heat, and remove the chicken legs from the broth and set aside until they're cool enough to handle.
4. Pick the meat off the legs, discarding any skin, fat or bone. Shred the meat, and return it to the broth in the pot.
5. Add the brown rice to the pot, and simmer for an additional hour, until the rice is tender.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While our original cookbook recipe uses an entire quartered chicken to make the soup, here in this cookbook variation we've used just the legs (which were on sale at our grocer and dirt cheap). To compensate for the lack of a whole chicken carcass, which would impart much of the flavor to the soup, we've "fortified" the broth with the two cups of GF chicken stock.

Now, as for using turkey leftovers... If you have leftover carved meat (white, dark or both) you can substitute it for the chicken legs as well as decrease the initial cooking time, since you don't need to cook raw meat from scratch. However, the flavor of the broth will be more mild without the benefit of the bones and fat that would otherwise simmer for two hours. On the other hand, if you still have your whole turkey carcass, you could put that to good use (and scale up the quantities of other ingredients accordingly) to make a large pot of turkey soup with bolder flavor. Either way, you'll have a tasty way to use up some of the leftover turkey sitting in your fridge!

- Pete

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Foto: Jambalaya

I've long been a fan of jambalaya. The blend of meat and seafood, rice and vegetables, and the way it all comes together in a heap on your plate just does it for me. In college, I'd frequent a place called Maxi's Supper Club in Ithaca, NY, largely because of their jambalaya. Lately, I've been talking to Kelli about making a jambalaya at home, and last we pulled the trigger.

Jambalaya is a dish with strong Louisiana roots, but there is some variability in its preparation, depending on whether your influence is Creole or Cajun. I'm calling this version our Crejun Jambalaya, because it blends the two styles. A strong tomato component is very much in line with the Creole style. But the sausage and spices speak to Cajun influence. Hence, Crejun.

First things first... preparing this dish starts with making a custom jambalaya spice mix:

1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
5 tsp paprika
1 tbsp salt

Mix them together and store them in a spice jar or small, airtight container.

Then comes the recipe itself:

1 pound savory smoked/spicy sausage, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch thick discs
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 green bell peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-oz can no-salt-added peeled and diced tomatoes
1 tbsp + 2 tsp jambalaya seasoning
5 shakes Frank's hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked long grain rice

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat cook the pepper, onion and garlic until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the sausage, 1/2 cup water, the tomatoes, jambalaya seasoning, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Stir well, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add the uncooked rice and 1 cup water. Stir again, and continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes. (For this step, I like to simmer with the pot partially covered...I'll leave the lid slightly askew.)
4. Monitor the cooking. When the rice is al dente, add the shrimp. Again stir, and continue cooking just until the shrimp are done. Then remove from the heat and serve.


* A note about the sausage. For the photos, we used a smoked turkey kielbasa, but you could substitute any savory smoked and/or spicy sausage, such as andouille.

- Pete

Monday, January 5, 2009

Recipe: Asian-Inspired Noodle Bowl

For a good while now, I've been fond of making what I call my Asian-inspired noodle bowl. The dish borrows from Thai, Japanese, and Chinese culinary traditions, and it's a little different every time I make it, depending on available ingredients and my mood on a given day. But it's almost always delicious (unless the ratios in my sauce are way off).

This particular version uses a base of wide rice noodles with chicken and green peppers. It was dinner last night, and unless Kelli beats me to the leftovers, it'll be lunch today, too! Here's how I make it:

Start with one or two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and slice the meat thin. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sautee in a frying pan or wok in olive oil. When the chicken is mostly cooked through, add the juice from one freshly squeezed lime (the citrus brightens the flavor, and you can experiment with using lemon or orange, as well). Set the chicken aside, and sautee one sliced green pepper. Also set aside.

At this point, boil a pot of salted water, and get your rice noodles cooking. Meanwhile, in the fry pan or wok, start to make the sauce. I always make my sauce on the fly, tasting as I go along, so I don't have hard measurements. Estimate. Begin by adding a quarter cup or so of water to the pan, followed by several tablespoons of soy sauce (tamari wheat-free version, of course). Add a spoonfull of red curry paste, another of red chili paste, and several tablespoons of honey. Lastly, dissolve one or two spoonfulls of corn starch in a small amount of cold water, and add that to the pan as well. Mix thoroughly, and bring to a light boil. Important: you want to boil it enough for the corn starch to thicken the sauce, but no so much that you evaporate too much sauce and make the dish overly salty by concentrating the soy sauce.

Turn down the heat to medium-low, and add the chicken and pepper. When the noodles are al dente, strain them and flush under cold water. Add to the sauce, chicken, and pepper. Toss it all together to evenly distribute the sauce, and serve! Enjoy in your favorite noodle bowl, and eat with a pair of chopsticks (not a requirement).

- Pete

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stuffed Peppers...without the peppers?

Don't you love it when inspiration strikes in the kitchen? You think up new recipes, and new combinations of flavors, and the result is fun and exciting. Or, maybe it just means that things didn't go exactly according to plan. The latter was our experience this week!

During our weekly shop, we had picked up a beautiful red bell pepper, and a package of chorizo, with the idea of making stuffed peppers for dinner one night this week. Then our plans took a turn. Earlier this week, we made tacos for dinner, with fresh corn tortillas made from scratch. But rather than use our usual ground turkey for the meat, we made a blend of about two thirds ground turkey, and one third chorizo. On top of that, we made an executive decision to sacrifice most of the red pepper for the sake of making peppers and onions to put on our tacos.

Last night, when it was time for dinner, our decision earlier in the week left us with some chorizo, and almost no pepper to speak of! It was stuffed pepper night, and there wasn't a pepper in the house. Undeterred, Kelli worked her magic in the kitchen. She cooked up some jasmine rice, chorizo, tomatoes (no salt added, diced, peeled), chopped onion, and a blend of herbs and spices. The result was delicious, and the picture above doesn't nearly do the flavor and texture of the dish justice. Stuffed in a pepper and baked in the oven, it's even better - the top gets a nice crunchy texture, while the inside stays nice and moist. Next time...

This weekend, we're off to Steamboat Springs for our fifth anniversary. Have a wonderful weekend! We'll see you next week!

- Pete

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recipe: Fresh Salsa

What to do when you have a surplus of ripe tomatoes that are going to go bad if you don't use them? Make salsa, of course! Such was our "predicament" recently, and here's how we made our salsa:

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
1/3 medium onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/3 bunch cilantro, rough chopped
lime juice (1/2 lime, freshly squeezed)
garlic powder

  • Combine the tomato, onion, pepper and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add as many, or as few, of the jalapeno seeds as you like, depending on how spicy you want to make the salsa (a little jalapeno can go a long judicious!).
  • Add the spices to taste.
  • Enjoy!

- Pete

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recipe: Butter-Garlic-Lime Shrimp with Peppers and Onions over Rice

Last night was grocery shopping night, which meant two things. For one, the refrigerator and the pantry were sparsely stocked. Second, we didn't want to go to the supermarket hungry...that's never a good thing! Dinner, as a result, was what we could pull together with the odds and ends of what was left in the house. Our inventory: leftover Basmati rice from an earlier Indian dinner, a lonely green pepper and yellow onion, and a bag of raw, frozen, de-veined shrimp. Kelli, as usual, worked wonders to make a delicious dinner. Here's her general plan of attack:

1 green pepper, large diced
1 yellow onion, large diced
olive oil
1lb raw, frozen, de-veined shrimp
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 lime

  • Thaw and shell the shrimp, set aside
  • Sautee the pepper and onion in olive oil, set aside
  • In a pan, melt butter and add chopped garlic, salt, pepper (ratios to taste)
  • Sautee the shrimp in the butter-garlic sauce, add the peppers and onions at the end
  • Squeeze fresh lime juice over the shrimp, peppers and onions
  • Reheat rice (in the case of leftovers) or make fresh rice
  • Serve the shrimp, peppers and onions over a bed of rice

As you'll notice, the recipe leaves room for interpretation. Since Kelli was cooking on the fly, she wasn't working off an existing recipe or measuring quantities. Such is the fun of experimenting and creating in the kitchen!

- Pete