Archives for August 2010

Hatch Chile Fever!

Hey ya’ll,
I know I have been neglecting my blog this week but that’s only because I just started my last semester of college this past Monday. Yes, I am super duper excited to finally be graduating!. In any case, this week has been crazy, filled with buying books and serving gallons of coffee to people (by the way as we ease back into the school year, it seems as though people are more likely to be highly caffeinated at all hours of the day…most notably middle school teachers). Not to mention, this week I have already developed a flaming case of “senioritis”, just itching to get out of my “eventful” classes where I listen to my professors jabber on about sports law cases, motor development issues, and somewhere in between all of this…they still have the time to crack old-men jokes to which the class responds unenthusiastically…..crickets. During some of these classes I have taken to daydreaming, which definitely has it’s benefits in that these are the moments where I take off into foodie land and come up with some wild recipes. This week the theme is hatch chiles, which right now, are huge in Austin, Tx. You see, at the end of the summer the grocery stores have about a three-week long period where trucks from New Mexico come in and dump off their in season barrels of hatch green chiles. Now I am only going to say this once, get them while you can because these little suckers go fast! At the local Central Market, Whole Foods, etc. they start to prepare all of their in-house dishes with hatch chiles. While I was at Central Market the other day I saw that they had everything, from hatch chile chicken salad, to hatch chile crab cakes, they even had homemade hand-strung, hatch chile mozzarella, BAM! I immediately thought of the one dish that I love more in this world that has hatch green chiles in it, and that is my Mawmaw’s King Ranch Chicken Casserole. I have dreams about this stuff, I mean it’s delicious: green chiles, ro-tel tomatoes, two kinds of condensed soups, and chicken, layered over corn tortillas, and baked until the cheddar cheese is nicely browned and bubbling on top. Definitely a meal for the royal family! However, instead of doing the traditional casserole, I decided to make it lunch-friendly (since I’m in school I pack my lunch now…everyday), and because I love, love, love chicken salad, this is what I came up with. Hatch Green Chile Chicken Salad (King Ranch Style)! MANGIA!

5 pieces of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (You could use chicken breasts as well)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 4 oz can diced, roasted, hatch green chiles
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
2 TBS. mayonnaise
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the chicken in a large pot and fill the pot halfway with cold water.
2. Place the pot on the stove and boil the chicken over medium-high heat until tender and cooked through (i.e. no pink color anywhere).
3. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
4. Dice the chicken into small pieces (For this part, I just used my hands and shredded the chicken into small pieces).
5. To the bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until fully incorporated with the chicken, salt and pepper to your liking.
6. Place in the fridge and let the chicken salad marinate for a couple of hours, or overnight if you choose.

I know I will be eating this for lunch until I run out, preferably wrapped in a corn tortilla with some cilantro, or tucked away in a store-bought crepe, or alongside some salty Ritz crackers! You choose, the possibilities are endless!

Wordless Wednesday

Hey ya’ll!!! Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days, I have been preparing for my last semester of college…which includes lots of school lunch recipes (that I hope to be sharing with you really soon)! Anyways, I just wanted to make this Wednesday, a “wordless” Wednesday (disregard all of the stuff I am saying now). I hope to share with you many more wordless Wednesday’s as often as I get the chance. Now, for the main event…a dish that alone, speaks for itself in all of it’s beauty, wonder, and simplicity (but of course I will share the recipe with you)! MANGIA!

Baked Zucchini Roll-Ups with Basil and Cheese

2 medium to large zucchini squash
extra virgin olive oil
4 oz plain goat cheese
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, and their juices
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips (I used a knife to cut them, so it wasn’t exactly approximate…but a mandolin would work).
3. Place the zucchini strips onto a cookie sheet and lightly coat with salt and pepper, drizzle with evoo.
4. Place zucchini in oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the zucchini are tender to the touch and are lightly browned.
5. In a small bowl mix together the cheeses, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
6. Place the zucchini strips in a large baking dish and spread the cheesy/herby mixture on one end of each zucchini strip, and gently roll them up.
7. Pour the can of diced tomatoes over the zucchini and season with salt and pepper.
8. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the tomatoes are bubbling.
9. Enjoy as a side dish or main veggie meal (top with Parmesan if desired)!

More Peas, Please!

Okay, so you know how your mother always told you when you were a child to eat your peas? Well, I was the little girl who didn’t. For the longest time I despised peas, I just felt as though they were a useless little green vegetable. However, today I am a changed woman who has decided to give those tasty little green suckers a chance. When I moved to Austin, I became an avid fan of Whole Foods, where each week they have a new hot bar cuisine, full of in-house dishes that they prepare. Anyways…I look forward to their Indian cuisine because they have the most delicious pea side dish that I have ever tasted. I am usually not a fan of Indian food, however these peas take the cake. Just my luck, I was browsing and what do you know? They have the recipe!!! The peas traditionally call for tofu in the dish as well, but this time around I decided to omit the tofu…and save it for later. If you don’t like peas now, believe me this dish will make you worship peas, crediting them for all their worth! MANGIA!

Whole Foods Indian Spiced Peas (with a few adjustments):

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, very thinly sliced
1 Tb finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tb garam masala
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1/4 c. water or vegetable broth ( I used water)
1 10 oz. can green peas (you can also use a 1 pound bag of frozen green peas, thawed)
sea salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat evoo in a large skillet, add onions and ginger and cook, stirring often, until golden brown.
2. Add garam masala and tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add water or broth and peas, reduce heat, cover and gently simmer for 10 minutes or more.
4. Season with sea salt and pepper.

I think this dish would pair nicely alongside a roasted chicken. Also, you might try spooning the peas over some jasmine rice, YUMMY!

Peanut Butter, Jelly Time (Well…maybe just Peanut Butter)

So last night as I was watching the movie Julie and Julia, I suddenly started having a mad craving for peanut butter. I LOVE peanut butter in general, in fact, I think it’s one of the greatest staples God ever created! If it has peanut butter on it, you can be sure I’ll eat it…on a piece of toast with apple butter, with oatmeal, with a banana, without a banana, on a spoon, with an apple, with celery (i mean, c’mon it makes the celery taste 100% better), with a homemade biscuit and jam, any kind of Reese’s product, and finally…my favorite, peanut butter spread between two Ritz crackers and dipped in white chocolate. I love peanut butter so much that my sister actually bought me a bag of huge Reese’s peanut butter cups for my birthday (which just so happens to be close to Valentine’s Day…so I got the special Reese’s Hearts edition). My favorite kind of peanut butter is JIF EXTRA CRUNCHY, but for some reason we only had smooth peanut butter in the cupboard (hmmmm…i wonder who likes smooth pb?) Anyways…I decided to make Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies. This recipe is by far the best peanut butter cookie recipe I have ever tried, and it was so quick and easy. I just wish I had more peanut butter to make a bigger batch…o well! Once they were out of the oven, I couldn’t wait to bite into one…I was eating the peanut butter grease on the cookie sheet using my fingers…so yummy! Well, I devoured my pb cookie with a nice glass of ice cold milk ( of course I just had to drink it out of my signature Reese’s pieces mug that I got from the Hershey’s factory in New York). I hope ya’ll enjoy these cookies just as much as I did…share them with your family and friends! MANGIA!

1 c. Crunchy or Creamy JIF Peanut Butter (you can use another brand, I’m just biased)
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Mexican Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Using a mixer, combine peanut butter and sugars until fully incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the egg, baking soda, Mexican vanilla, and the cinnamon and mix for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Roll the cookies into walnut sized balls ( I used a melon ball scooper to do this…but you can use your hands if you like).
6. Place pb balls on baking sheet and create a cris-cross pattern using a fork.
7. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
8. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for as long as you can stand the torture…then stuff your face!

P.S. Special shout-out to my cousin Parker because I know that he shares an equal obsession with peanut butter, and he would appreciate these cookies just as much as I do. I’ll have a couple of em’ for you Parks! Miss you!

Two Dip Tango!

Okay, so in my family I have always been known as the “dipper” when it comes to food…what can I say? I LOVE any kind of dip…queso, ranch dip, spinach/artichoke dip, onion dip, tzatziki, salsa, bean dip, hummus, honey mustard…you name it…I have probably dipped my food in it. I mean, I can’t even eat my pizza without a side of thousand island dressing (you might think that’s odd, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…it’s sinful)! Anyway, you get the picture! So, today I have taken my chances creating two new dips. The first dip I call my Three Pepper White Bean Dip. I love spicy foods, especially hot peppers. This dish is an homage to Mexican food, using serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, and green chile peppers. Ole! The second dip is a tribute to Italian cuisine: Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Hummus. I got the inspiration for this dish after I bought some sun-dried tomatoes and forgot about them at the back of my fridge. Then, yesterday I was at the farmer’s market and bought some beautiful sweet basil (take a look at the pic above…this basil was colossal in size, and only $2). With tomatoes and basil you just can’t go wrong.

Three Pepper White Bean Dip:

1 19 oz. can Cannellini beans
1 7 oz. can Nacho Style Serrano peppers (my can had carrots in it, I just discarded them)
1 4 oz. can Diced Green Chile’s
1 12 oz. jar Sliced Jalapeno Peppers ( I used Hot, but feel free to use mild or medium peppers)
5 whole cloves of Garlic
juice of 1 Lime
1/2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 T. Cumin
1/2 T. Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients (except spices) into a food processor and process until smooth. Add cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and process. Check for seasoning and adjust to your liking. I would serve this dip with some tortilla chips. You can make homemade tortilla chips using corn and wheat tortillas. Cut each tortilla into small wedges, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper. Place wedges on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Hummus

1 4 oz. bag All-Natural Sun-Dried Tomatoes (you can use tomatoes packed in olive oil, but be sure to discard of the oil and wipe the tomatoes off…I reconstituted my sun-dried tomatoes by soaking them in hot water for 20 minutes, which makes them softer)
1 15 oz. can No Salt Added Garbanzo beans (you can use beans with salt, just give them a quick rinse before you use them)
5 whole cloves of Garlic
1 bunch of Sweet Basil
1 T. Tahini
4 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 c. Water
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients (minus the water and salt and pepper) in a food processor and process until smooth. I found the dip to be extremely chunky, then I added the water and the dip came out much smoother. You can add anywhere from 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. or more, depends on how thick you like the dip. I think 1/2 c. water is a perfect balance. Salt and pepper the dip and re-process. I would serve this dip with a side of pita chips or some raw veggies. Also, you could make your own homemade pita chips. Start by cutting a couple of pieces of pita bread into small wedges. Brush with Italian dressing or olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Place wedges on a cookie sheet in the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

What’s left to say? MANGIA!!!