Sauteed Chickpeas with Chorizo or Bacon

Here’s a little touch of Spain that we enjoyed in Havana. Adjust the amount of cumin to your specific taste! Red lettering indicates my changes to the original recipe as always…

Omit the meat if you want a vegan dish!!!

Sautéed Chickpeas with Chorizo

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, skin removed OR bacon chopped
  • 3 1/2 ounces roasted red bell peppers, sliced into 1/4- by 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 can drained chunky tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat; add the shallots and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Cut the chorizo/bacon into small pieces and add to the chickpeas. Continue to cook until the chorizo begins to render out some of the fat, 5 minutes. Add cumin.

3. Add the roasted red peppers to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Toss with the chopped parsley and serve warm with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Yucatan Sopa de Lima

Looking back and I realize that I have never posted this recipe for a wonderful soup made with limes which is a Yucatecan favourite! If you don’t like the heat, omit the chili peppers. Let your guests add their own spice!

Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup
(Sopa de lima)

This is about the best chicken soup that I’ve ever tasted. Plus, it’s good for you. Lime juice is loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C. Chile peppers blast open stuffed sinuses. And garlic acts as an antibiotic. I can’t think of a better remedy for a cold or rainy day.

Makes 4 servings

·         4 corn tortillas (6″ diameter), cut into thin strips (or buy the already baked tortilla strips)

·         1 large tomato, halved crosswise and seeded

·         1 tablespoon olive oil

·         1 medium onion, finely chopped

·         8 cloves garlic, minced

·         1 to 2 Serrano chili peppers, thinly sliced (wear plastic gloves when handling) (OMIT if you don’t want the heat)

·         4 cups Chicken Stock or fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

·         1 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

·         1 bay leaf

·         4 to 6 tablespoons lime juice

·         1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

·         Salt and ground black pepper

1.    Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.    Arrange the tortilla strips on a baking sheet. Bake for 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.

(Skip the two steps above if you can find tortilla strips already baked)

3.    Working over a small bowl, grate each tomato half on the coarse side of a hand grater. Discard the skin.

4.    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and chili peppers. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, stock or broth, chicken, and bay leaf. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the lime juice and the cilantro. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste and add more lime juice, if desired. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle each with some of the tortilla strips. I usually slice a lime and puts some in each bowl before I pour the soup in…

Tomato Ravioli

Costco Dilemma again…what to do with those double sized packages of stuffed ravioli? KISS to the forefront!!!

Tomato Ravioli       http://www.myrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 package of stuffed ravioli from Costco (mine was spinach and chicken)

1 pound of cherry tomatoes

2 shallots cut into wedges (or use green onions)

cooking spray

3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Cut tomatoes in half and spread on a cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray, sprinkling with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Toss. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Watch em!!

Add 2 Tablespoons more oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to the tomatoes and stir. Continue baking 5 to 10 minutes.

Cook ravioli according to the package directions. Drain well. Toss with the roasted tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil. Serve.

NB…you can dress this dish up a notch by cooking  8 to 10 raw shrimp, slicing them in half horizontally and rimming the platter of raviolis…

Seafood Lasagna

For a very special dinner, we like to prepare this seafood lasagna in a white sauce. Yes, it is very rich, but there is never any leftover!!! Use whatever seafood you favour, but I like shrimp, scallops, lobster or crab in any combination. Think New Year’s Eve!!! The recipe can easily be halved…

If seafood isn’t your thing, substitute chicken! Add some slivered almonds to the Parmesan cheese sprinkling….

Seafood Lasagna (Cooks.Com)

8 Tablespoons butter

8 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup cream

1 cup milk

1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

1 package “no-boil” lasagna

10 ounces of spinach (you could use frozen if thawed and drained)

16 ounces of ricotta cheese

8 ounces of mozzarella cheese (I preferred Manchego from Spain)

8 ounces of Provolone cheese

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

2 sliced onions

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tomato, cut and peeled

1 1/2 pounds of seafood

parsley and rosemary to taste

Sauce:

Melt butter and add flour. Take it off the burner, add cream, milk and broth. Put back on burner. Stir constantly.

When everything is mixed, take it off the heat. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Lasagna:

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter and a little oil. Add tomato, parsley and rosemary. Add all of the seafood.

Preparation:

In a greased lasagna pan pour some sauce, place a row of lasagna, followed by 1/2 of the seafood, some mozzarella or Manchego, ricotta (mixed with the spinach), and Provolone. Press it down before adding a second layer. Follow same order as first layer, ending with another layer of lasagna noodles and sauce to cover the noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes. Cover with foil if it is browning to rapidly!!!

It will be rich, so do not give your guests large portions to start with. Serve with a nice fresh salad.

Baked Eggs in Avocado with Bacon, On Toast

Great menu idea for a single person. It’s amazing how good the baked avocado tastes!

Baked Eggs in Avocado with Bacon, on Toast

Yield: Serves 2 Total Time: 30 min Recipe adapted from CA Avocado Commission.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium or large avocado
  • 2 small eggs
  • 2 sliced of bacon, cooked then crumbled (consider using the Ready Cooked bacon)
  • 2 slices of toast
  • sea salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, optional
  • fresh chopped tomatoes, optional
  • cumin (these three items are our friend Naomi’s suggestions)
  • chopped cilantro
  • sour cream

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Crack the eggs in a medium bowl, careful to not puncture the yolks. Set aside.

I used an egg separator to first separate the yolks and whites!

  1. Cut avocado in half and carefully remove seed. Leave it in the skin. Depending on how big the seed is, the hole in the avocado should be big enough for one small egg. But if the hole looks too small, scoop out a little at a time till it matches the amount of egg.
  2. In a medium baking dish, (sprayed with a little oil) try to rest the avocado half inside the edge of the dish so that the avocado doesn’t tilt over. You need to keep the avocado from tilting so that the raw egg does not spill out.
  3. You can crack the egg directly in the avocado, but it might overflow and make a mess. Place the yolks in the avocado first and then add enough whites to fill each hole. Add salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and cumin on top of the eggs, to taste.
  4. Top with bacon pieces…
  5. Gently place the baking dish in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on how much egg you have and how big your avocado is. So keep checking the egg to see if it’s cooked to your desired consistency. My eggs took 20 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.(unless it was baked WITH the bacon). Spread the avocado/egg onto toast. Add addition salt and pepper to taste, chopped tomatoes, hot sauce, sour cream and cilantro if needed. Enjoy!

Coconut Chicken Stew – Thai Style

Coconut Chicken Stew – Food and Drink Magazine
AUTUMN 2007
BY EMILY RICHARDS
1 lb (500 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
½ tsp (2 mL) each Chinese 5-spice powder and Asian garlic chili paste
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, slivered
1 stalk lemon grass, bruised and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces*
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk
3 cups (750 mL) baby spinach leaves
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp (25 mL) fish or soy sauce
Cooked basmati or Thai jasmine rice*
Lime wedgesShredded coconut

*If you don’t have lemongrass, just had some orange and/or lemon juice to the rice when cooking to get the citrus flavour.

1. Chop chicken into bite-size pieces and place in large bowl. Add cumin, Chinese 5-spice powder and chili paste and stir to coat chicken well. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Heat oil over medium heat in large nonstick skillet. Cook garlic, lemon grass and ginger for about 2 minutes or until light golden.

3. Add chicken and increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until browned. Add coconut milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Add spinach, tomatoes and fish sauce and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted and tender.

4. Serve each bowl with basmati rice and lime wedge and some shredded coconut.

Serves 4

Ratatouille on the Run

Ah, too many vegetables and not enough time to eat them all before we go on a little vacation. Eh voila! Epicurious to the rescue…ok…if you skip the cheese it would be great alone…. I served this with a nice rack of lamb….

Ratatouille on the Run (Epicurious.Com)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant (unpeeled), diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cactus pads diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese or Muenster cheese or a mixture of the two, diced (optional)

Preparation

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, zucchini and basil. Sauté 5 minutes. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer until juice thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in vinegar; season to taste with salt and pepper.(Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread ratatouille in 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. ( I added the cheese just before serving). Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.
Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ratatouille-on-the-Run-517#ixzz29wkHJuwF

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Quinoa

This recipe came to me via my friend’s blog “Learning Nutrition with Me“. The link is at the bottom of the page you are viewing.

Since you know we eat a lot of quinoa, and we had the beans and sweet potatoes, I decided to give it a try. It was great!!

As always, my changes are in red!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili with Smoked Chipotle (via LNWM)

Prep time:  10 mins  Cook time:  30 mins Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce ( I just used regular Tabasco since I did not have the chipotle version)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (this made it really thick, so adjust downwards)
  • 2 can black beans (15.5 oz), drained (I left the juice in there)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more to thin if desired
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes

Chipotle Creme:

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce, plus more if desired
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in  a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and salt; saute for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the entire can of tomato sauce to the pot. Next add the black beans, vegetarian broth, all spices, and quinoa. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, add diced sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Make the smoked chipotle yogurt  – combine tabasco sauce, honey, and dijon mustard in a medium bowl.
  4. Spoon chili into bowls and add yogurt sauce on top. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Salsa

Salsa with fresh tortilla chips

This recipe comes courtesy of our friend, Chuck, who prepared this as an appetizer the other night. At the end of the salsa recipe is a suggestion for using it with chicken on tortillas….it was great!!

Watch for next week’s post on brining your Christmas turkey, something I learned from Emeril Lagasse many years ago and always a hit! It has to be done 24 hours in advance, so I want you to have lots of time to prepare it!

Slow Cooker Salsa

Put into a slow cooker:
1.5 cups onion finely diced
1 red sweet pepper finely chopped.
2 jalapenos finely chopped. (Include the seeds if you want a spicy salsa)
15 diced Roma tomatoes (you could use 3 cans of canned tomatoes)
(All can be chopped coarser if you like a chunky salsa)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp each thyme, oregano
2 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter salsa)
1 can tomato paste
1/4-3/4 cup water to add if it cooks down
Red pepper flakes (or not, depending on your taste)

Cook on low for 4 hours.  Add water to keep it boiling if necessary.  Chill and serve. Just before serving you might want to consider chopping up some fresh cilantro on top of the dish to add a crispness to the salsa.

Serving suggestion:
Pan fry chicken breasts, then cool before slicing thinly
Thinly slice 1/2 green pepper
Grate 4 oz of your favorite cheese
Layer a pizza pan with tortilla chips. Arrange the sliced chicken breast and green peppers on top, then cover with cheese.
Broil until cheese bubbles.
Enjoy with the fresh salsa on the side!

Stacked Tomato Salad

With the BBQ season soon upon us, this is a great alternative to the traditional salads…

Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Dressing

Ingredients

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, (beefsteak, yellow, and heirloom), sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds

Tapenade, recipe follows*

1 pound goat cheese, thinly sliced (or use Mozzarella, but goat is better)

Fresh basil leaves and sprigs, for layering and for garnish

Sweet Basil Dressing, recipe follows

Directions

Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Then place a slice of the goat cheese on top, add a few basil leaves, and finish with another tomato slice. You can add another layer to make Napoleon as high as you desire. Top with another small spoonful of the tapenade and then drizzle the Sweet Basil Dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and repeat to make 4 to 6 plates.

Tapenade (Honestly, I buy a small jar at the store…a whole lot easier)

2 cups kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted

3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped

5 anchovy fillets

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine olives, garlic, anchovies and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sweet Basil Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup pure olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (roll the leaves in a little tube shape and slice across the leaves)

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and then stir in the basil.