Wednesday, January 30

Jalapeño Corn Salsa

I am a huge fan of Mexican style food. I love trying all sorts of sauces, salsas, and dips. One of my favorite salsas is corn salsa, I love how thick and chunky it is. I also love how the sweet corn balances out with a delicate hint of spice.

Several people I know tell me that Chipotle Mexican Grill's Jalapeño and Corn Salsa is the best out there. I gave it a whirl and it is pretty good I gave to admit, funny thing is, mine tastes just like it. The only difference is I usually add a splash of cumin. So here is a great recipe to replicate Chipolte's.

Full time: 15 minutes (plus 1 hr chill time although you could technically eat it right away)
Serves 4-6

You will need:

1 lime
1 green onion, finely diced
1 cup frozen sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp jalapeño, finely diced
1/2 tsp salt
*1/4 tsp cumin (if you want my flavor instead if Chipolte's)

Let us begin:

In a colander place frozen corn. Run under cool water (not cold) for 2-3 minutes.

Let drain in sink for 5-10 minutes.

Move thawed, drained corn to mixing bowl.

Add in jalapeño, cilantro, onion, and salt (cumin). Mix well to fully incorporate.

Cut lime in half and squeeze in the juice if one half.

Mix and taste. Adjust salt if needed. If you can taste a slight hint of lime than you are all set, if not add in juice of second half. You want about 1 -11/2 tsp lime juice.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator to meld, for minimum 1 hour.

Remove from refrigerator, give a good stir and serve, enjoy!

Monday, January 28

"Super-bite" S'Mores Bites

The S'more, a classic campfire favorite of everyone. The ooey gooey melted chocolate sandwiched next to a toasty marshmallow, so very tasty. Sadly s'mores tend to need to be eaten as you make them and do not store well, although I have never tried?

Anyway, I created this recipe when I was chocolate dipping marshmallows. I asked why not put a crust on the bottom and get a lovely s'more out of your one bite treat?

Full time: 3 hours (includes 1 1/2 hardening time)
Makes 60-70 bites

You will need:

18 graham crackers (roughly 2 sleeves), get the non-cinnamon/sugar coated ones
2 bags marshmallows
4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butter, melted
4 tbsp vegetable shortening

Candy sprinkles

Let us begin:

Place graham crackers in a large zip top bag.

Mash bag with rolling pin or other hard flat intensil. This will make graham cracker crumbs.

In a large bowl place the melted butter and add in graham cracker crumbs.

Stir using a fork until a crumbly dough is formed.

Line a sided cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Pour graham cracker dough onto cookie sheet.

Press down firmly to form a solid firm layer.

I like to place a piece of wax paper over the top and roll it with a rolling pin.

Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Using a small round cookie cutter, the same size as marshmallow. Cut out dough.

If you keep it really tight you can get 70 cuts from one sheet, bare in mind some may crumble.

Pile them up and set aside.

In a small bowl combine 1 cup chocolate chips with 1 tbsp shortening.

Microwave this in 30 second increments, stirring vigorously after each. You will probably need to do this 2 or 3 times.

You should end up with a smooth chocolate dip.

Dip just the bottom of a marshmallow into the chocolate.

Stick on a piece of graham cracker and place back on baking tray.

When all marshmallows are done, return to refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Repeat chocolate melting process with the remaining 3 cups chips and 3 tbsp shortening. It will take 3-4 times to get it smooth in the microwave.

Dunk marshmallow, graham cracker side first, half way in the chocolate.

Place on baking sheet.

Sprinkle over with candy sprinkles. I recommend dipping 6 and sprinkling them at a time. Your chocolate will not be to cold to stick to sprinkles and it saves time.

You may need to occasional stir chocolate if it seams to be getting hard, or microwave for 10 seconds.

Once all marshmallows are dipped and sprinkled, return to refrigerator for 30 minutes or until chocolate it fully hardened.

Move to serving plate and enjoy!

Saturday, January 26

Egyptian Dukkah Crusted Salmon

What is Dukkah? Dukkah is a tradition blend of chopped nuts, seeds, and spice originating from Egypt. A common mixture is toasted hazelnuts, sesame, coriander seeds, and cumin. I stubbed across Dukkah while in Turkey and have often used its savory blend for quick weeknight dinners.

Full time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

You will need:

2 salmon filets, roughly 1/3 lb. each
1/4 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground sea salt

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place fillets on tray.

Lightly spray fillets with olive oil cooking spray.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Coat top of fish with mixture.

Bake in oven 15-18 minutes or until desired temperature has been reached.

Plate up and serve immediately, enjoy!

What is Dukkah? How to make Dukkah?

Dukkah is a tradition blend of chopped nuts, seeds, and spice originating from Egypt. A common mixture is toasted hazelnuts, sesame, coriander seeds, and cumin. Various spices are often blended into this mixture.

Most commonly eaten as a dip. Pita wedges are dunked into olive oil and then into the Dukkah, Dukkah is also often used as a seasoning or a crust for meats/fish. You can also add it to vegetable such as green beans when sautéing for a great flavor. I stubbed across Dukkah while in Turkey and have often used its savory blend for quick weeknight dinners.

Full time: 5 minutes
Serves 8-10

You will need:

1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp flaked sea salt

Let us begin:

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Stir well and enjoy!

Thursday, January 24

HOW TO: Oven Bake English Sweet Potato or Potato Chips (Steak Fries)

Chips are a classic side dish in England, they have been being served since the 1680s. There is speculation about their origins some argue it was Belgium, some say Spain, and other claim a farther ancestry of Galicia origins. Regardless of their beginning, we all know how wonderful they can be.

The traditional English chip is thicker and more wedge like, commonly referred to as "steak fries". These chips are easy to make, cook up quickly, and when baked will help cut down on excess fat/oil. You can also have fun with your potato, using white or sweet or a combination of both. Try your hand at making a great side dish which is fun and healthier to eat!

Full time: 40-45 minutes
Serves 3-4

You will need:

3-4 medium potatoes (white or sweet, I am using a combination)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
*1 tbsp parsley or oregano or basil-optional

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 400, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Wash potatoes well and dry off.

Using a sharp knife, cut potato in half length wise.

Now slice each half in half.

Slice each of the four halves in half, ending with a total if 8 wedges.

Place wedges into a bowl.

Pour over olive oil.

Toss lightly to completely coat each wedge.

Lay out on a baking tray in a single layer.

Season with salt and optional herb.

Place in oven for 15 minutes.

Carefully rotate tray and flip wedges if needed.

Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until the outside has turned golden, but potato is easily pierced with a fork.

Remove from oven to serving platter and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23

Creamy Caesar Dressing (Newman's Own inspired)

Traditional Caesar dressing is made with eggs but, I prefer the eggless creamy version of this classic dressing. When made this version can be stored for up to 3 months in your refrigerator!

Full time: 10-15 minutes (not including chill time in refrigerator min. 3 hours)
Makes 1 1/2 cup dressing

You will need:

1 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp dried oregano

Let us begin:

In a blender combine all ingredients.

Blend 30 seconds.

Move to airtight storage container.

Let chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours prior to use, enjoy!