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Pineapple Black Bean Guacamole

Here in New York the April showers have well lingered on for a while and now in June, it has rained 4 days this week.  But, that hasn’t stopped New Yorkers from getting together for barbecues and cook-outs.  This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at one such barbecue – corn, sausages, burgers, chicken, veggies, and lots of lemonade, beer, and appetizers….the list goes on.  Luckily, it didn’t rain and everyone had a blast. 

I made some pineapple black bean guacamole and homemade crackers and took it along – a huge success!  Friends wanted the recipe….hmmm, I told them the recipe was on the Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) website.  And by the way, I was selected as a BHG Recipe Insider a few months ago.  All it means is that BHG often sends me recipes to try out and write reviews and provide feedback – it so happened this guacamole was one such recipe. I give it a 5-star rating *****  I do not try out all recipes – only the easy and quick ones have been tried out so far. I have bookmarked some fabulous layer cakes which are truly special and fit for a grand occasion.  And, not always do I post the recipe because the dish has disappeared and without a single picture to share with the readers.  This picture was taken at the barbecue by a friend, and here I am sharing it with you all.

The BHG recipe was as follows:

Ingredients:

  • medium avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
  • 1/4 cup bottled green salsa (salsa verde)
  • tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2cup finely chopped fresh pineapple or canned crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Tortilla chips (optional)

 Directions:

In a large bowl mash avocados. Stir in salsa and sour cream until combined. Stir in pineapple, beans, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until ready to serve. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. If desired, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

I did make it again but substituted diced fresh mangoes for the pineapple and it was delicious.

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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Recipes, Vegetarian

 

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Roasted Vegetable Tart with Pepper Relish

Summer has arrived early at WordPress with this week’s challenge Summer.  New York City has seen rain all week-long with some very heavy downpours.  But, that hasn’t stopped the loads of zucchini and tomatoes available at roadside vegetable carts in my neighborhood.  I am sure everyone planning a barbecue party tomorrow on Memorial Day is hoping the rains don’t spoil the fun.  I bought a bag each of zucchinis and tomatoes and, of course, had no clue how I was going to use it.  Ratatouille…nah…. soup….nah….zucchini bread?? What about the tomatoes?  So, out came the tart pan and the result was a vegetable tart that looked stunning and tasted even better – just simple and tasty veggies that were delicious with the roasting intensifying the flavors.

What about the pepper relish?  That was an afterthought when I saw the pepper relish sitting on the counter.  That is my latest discovery and I’m addicted to it.  It is a perfect relish for sandwiches and I even added it to a marinade (that recipe is for another time).  I could simply dig the spoon into the jar and enjoy the stuff. I guess I must return to the store and buy all the Pepper Relish I can find before others discover this delicious stuff.

It was very simple to assemble as you can see from the pictures.  I used 2 medium-sized zucchinis, 2 medium-sized tomatoes, 2 onions, and 2 potatoes – all medium-sized.  All the veggies were washed and sliced evenly into rounds.  I thawed a store-bought pie crust and blind baked it for a few minutes and set it aside to cool.  You can assemble them however you like I guess, I just assembled it in circles.  Drizzled extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground coarse black pepper.  Snipped off some fresh herbs from the backyard and threw in a few sprigs of oregano and thyme.  Into a 425-degree oven went the tart pan, and the tart was done in about 45 minutes.

This tart is very light and healthy unlike the cream/milk and cheese laden heavier vegetable tarts.  Of course, this is a basic tart and will work well with mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, etc.

Then, the best part of the tart, Pepper Relish.  I thinned out a few teaspoons of the relish with warm water and drizzled it on the warm roasted veggies. The warm veggies absorbed the peppery goodness.  I did not return the tart to the oven because I thought the pepper may spew hot smoke – and I might have to save the situation.  Well, the tart was delicious and devoured  as soon as it was cool enough to handle.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Baking, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

 

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Stuffed Sweet Peppers

The weather has already turned balmy in NY and spring is in the air, golden yellow daffodils blooming, trees and shrubs flowering, and the pollen causing allergy sufferers to suffer very early in the year.  Yesterday afternoon was particularly warm for March, and I decided to go for a long walk and soak in some gorgeous afternoon sun.  Walking in the neighborhood, these beautiful sweet peppers caught my attention.  I knew I had to take some home with me and wondered what was I going to make with these lovely peppers, they looked too beautiful to leave behind.  So, an hour later, a pile of beautiful red and orange peppers sat on the kitchen counter, waiting to be dressed and served.

Just the other day I had seen Freshly Pressed Sweet Mini Peppers by We Call Him Yes! Chef! and checked it out again.  Hmmm, what else? And suddenly I knew I could stuff them with some cheese and herbs.  As always, the pantry and refrigerator are great inspiration for a recipe.  Are you like me who can stand and stare at the items on the shelves for several minutes?  Nothing new has mysteriously appeared on those shelves, yet I keep looking.  A few minutes of searching and moving cans and other items, I had some feta cheese, black pitted olives, fresh cilantro (had no fresh parsley), scallions, some leftover salami, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese.  After some dicing, mincing, grating, and crumbling, everything went into a bowl.  A quick toss and swirl and the filling was ready.

It took some time to slit the peppers lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds – then they were ready to be filled.

The peppers were stuffed with the filling.  I did not add salt but some freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese was sprinkled on top followed by a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  The peppers went into a 400-degree pre-heated oven until the cheese was melting and gooey. 

It was tasty – olives, cheese, salami, breadcrumbs – can one go wrong with this combo?  It is a perfect appetizer – I know for sure that I’m buying more peppers before the store runs out of it.  Now, let me finish off the last few peppers – why save them when they are delicious warm and toasty?

Salami is optional – sausages would be ideal too.  Or, you could have a vegetarian filling and leave out the salami/sausage.  The next time I would try some other ingredients for a twist on this recipe – any suggestions?

 
10 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Recipes

 

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Lemony Brussels Sprouts with Lima Beans

The most viewed and popular post on my blog is Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts, which I posted a few months ago.  Judging by the post stats, I guess brussels sprouts are gaining in popularity.  Do the readers make it or not, I have not a clue.  Since then, I’ve shredded the sprouts, quartered them, and roasted them.  However, today I was in the mood to try something new, and didn’t know where to begin.  I looked in the freezer for inspiration and saw some baby lima beans.  So, why not, baby lima beans and baby cabbages…

 

Then collected the rest of the ingredients I wanted to use.  Leeks, fresh garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, fresh lemon juice, and salt.

I used 1 cup lima beans, 2 cups brussels sprouts, one leek (coarsely chopped), one clove garlic (minced), fresh lemon juice (use how little or how much you like), red pepper flakes (a pinch is not enough for me), a little cumin seeds, and salt.

Here are the directions to lemony brussels sprouts:

  1. Trimmed and halved the brussels sprouts.  Blanched in salted boiling water for a few minutes, drained and set it aside.  Into the same boiled water I added the lima beans and cooked until done. Drained the beans and set it aside.
  2. Heated some olive oil in a skillet and added the cumin seeds, leeks and crushed garlic clove.  Also added the red pepper flakes and a little more salt.
  3. When the leek was softened, added the brussels sprouts and lima beans and tossed well.
  4. Sprinkled fresh lemon juice and served warm with fried rice.

 

I hope you will make this dish – it was delicious with a contrast of textures.  The crunchy sprouts, creamy lima beans and the occasional bite of a toasted cumin seed – easy and quick to prepare as well.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

 

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Green Plantains: Two Ways – Chips and Stir-Fried

My New York City neighborhood has a lot of variety when it comes to grocery stores. There are fancy gourmet stores, supermarkets, and tiny ethnic grocery stores.  I get very good bargains sometimes and I end up with more stuff than I can use. These green plantain chips and stir-fry were the result of one such barrgain….8 green plantains for a dollar!  How could I pass that offer? So I ended up with a batch of crunchy plantain chips and a simple stir-fry that was ideal for lunch with rice and dal curry.

To make the plantain chips, I peeled and sliced the plantains into thin strips.  I fried the chips in canola oil in a deep wok and sprinkled the hot chips with a mixture of salt, chilli powder and amchur (dried mango powder) as soon as they were off the stove. Amchur powder gives the chips a tanginess that complements the heat from the chilli powder.  It is available in Indian grocery stores.

Yeah, I know fried stuff is bad for you and it clogs your arteries and all that, but never mind, these chips are crunchy, salty, tangy, spicy in one bite. 

Green Plantain Stir-Fry

This stir-fry is simple and easy with very few ingredients.  I used green plantains cut into half lengthwise and then into half-moons. I heated some oil in a pan and added black mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds had popped, I added some thinly sliced onions, a few curry leaves (optional), and one finely chopped green chilli. A pinch of salt and turmeric was sprinkled on the onions.  Then added the sliced bananas and a little water.  I closed the pan and cooked the plantains for about five minutes, then removed the cover and cooked for another five minutes until the water had evaporated and the plantains were cooked.  It is an easy side dish that is ideal for vegans and vegetarians.  I had it for lunch with basmati rice and dal curry (lentil curry).

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

 

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