Crispy Spicy Jicama Slaw

This is an easy, pretty, and super-fresh side for the summer – especially when you’re grilling or having tacos, but rice and beans on the side just seem way too heavy.

I was making mexi-pizza* last night, and I wanted something a little more than the usual cabbage and onion on top. And rice and beans, and even calbacitas, just sounded too heavy. So I made a batch of jicama slaw and it hit the spot.  It is so fresh, with a little zing from the vinegar and a little heat from the jalapeno.

*Mexi-pizza – When you spread refrieds between two small flour tortillas and then bake them until brown and crunchy. Like a flat chimichanga. Mmmmm….

Jicama Slaw

2 Tbsp sugar (or agave sweetener, or honey, or…you get the idea)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ small yellow or white onion, cut in ⅛” crescents
½ to 1 fresh jalapeno**, de-seeded and de-veined, sliced in ⅛” crescents
½ c. chopped cilantro
2 c. jicama, in 1” long matchsticks

Whisk together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Then whisk in the oil.  Add the sliced veg, stir and eat. The amount of jalapeno is going to vary depending on the heat of the pepper (because we’ve all been surprised by that one that burns your lips off) and how hot your fam likes their food.

Try this – it’s fast and delicious, and oh so easy and fresh.

**Can you leave out the jalapeno? Of course – this will still be delicious.

Salsa Gringa

Zingy. Garlicky. Spicy.  With a shit ton of Mexican oregano.  That is my favorite kind of salsa. We had some this morning to go with some scrambled eggs, papas con chorizo, and homemade flour tortillas.  
(Don’t be impressed at homemade tortillas- they are REALLY easy to make and pretty quick. Maybe we’ll post those another day.)

So we are munching away and I joke about making a post about the salsa, and himself says, “Why not? That would be great.”  (Still winning best husband ever award.) So, here we go. It’s taken me a long time to figure out “the rules” for flavor combos in fresh red tomato-based salsa making.  Some of the ones that work for me are either lime juice or vinegar, not both. And for the herbaceousness, oregano with vinegar but cilantro with lime – never cilantro and oregano together. And oregano with hot little dry red chilis like chile de arbol or chiltepin or chile pepin, but jalapeno or serrano with cilantro.  I’m sure there are a gazillion exceptions since Mexico has refined salsa pairing the way the French have with wine. But having these ground rules in my head helps me when I’m making some.

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Give this a go; it is really good on eggs, chips, and tacos dorados. With some icy cold cerveza, of course.  And don’t shit at the amount of garlic and oregano until you try it.

Salsa Gringa
INGREDIENTS
1 can diced tomatoes
5 fat cloves of garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed between your hands
1/3 c finely chopped white onion (about a fourth of a large onion)
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper (chiltepin, chile de arbol, etc.)
1 Tbsp. XVOO
2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS
Throw everything in your blender or nutribullet or bowl with a stick blender except half the oregano, half the onion and the S&P. If you don’t like very espicy salsa, start with a smaller quantity of the hot pepper. (If you don’t like at-all-spicy salsa, try another recipe. This ain’t it.) Blend until it’s a homogenous mass. The oil helps it emulsify a little and rounds out the edges of the garlic and acid.

Stir in the remaining oregano, onion, S&P and a few more shots of the vinegar. Give it a taste and adjust as you see fit. It should start out tangy and garlicky then herbaceous, and finally finish with a nice heat that fills your mouth.

Eat this only among friends and family as you will be Dracula-proofed for a while after consuming it

¡ Buen provencho !

Freaking Amazing Cornbread

Woke up craving those green chili corn pancakes today. Made up the batter (with jalpeno), added a little corn meal this time and then I found myself dreading standing in front of the stove cooking pancakes. I started to wonder if I could just bake the batter like a cake or something – I mean, hell, the ingredients are practically the same as for cornbread. And, well, the answer is yes you can. It was deeeelicious. And seriously the most moist and tender corn bread I’ve ever had.

I wanted to call it jalapeno corn breakfast cake, and himself was all, “Pffft. Please. It’s cornbread.” Yeah, fine. FINE. But it is fucking delicious cornbread, dammit. The onion/jalapeno is subtle in this – feel free to double their amounts if you’d like them a little more flavor forward. Also, shredded pepper jack on top would be seriously nerms.

Freaking Amazing Cornbread

INGREDIENTS
THE DRY
1 c. masa harina
¼ c ap flour
¼ c corn meal
3 Tbsp corn starch
2 ½ tsp bkg pwdr
1 tsp salt

THE WET
1 ½ c. buttermilk
2 eggs
¼ c veg oil
½ sm. white onion, grated (about ¼ c.)
½ jalapeno, deveined/deseeded and minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
¾ c. corn kernals, fresh or frozen
½ Mexican grey squash/zucchini, sliced in ¼” discs then quartered (reserve a few slices for the top, if you feel like it.)

Sprinkle of parmesan or cotijo for the top

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375*. Grease an 8” square or round pan.
Get two mid-sized bowls. In one, whisk together the dry ingredients. In the other, the wet.
Pour the wet in to the dry and gently mix together until you have a super-thick batter. Pour it into the pan, level it out. Give the pan a good whack (to pop any oversized bubbles), then top with the optional reserved squash and the cheese.
Bake 25 minutes -ish, until it is golden and a tester comes out clean.

This is begging for a bowl of soup – so guess what’s for lunch???
Try this – it is so tender, you are gonna wanna call it cake, too. Dammit.

Oh! The nutrition information! I almost forgot. If you slice this bad boy in to nine squares, each square has (according to the analyzer at verywellfit.com):
173 cal
8.1g fat
321mg sodium
21.9g carbs (2g fiber, 2.9g sugars)
4.8g protein
Plus, 10% each of your daily calcium and iron, and 17% of your vitamin D. See the site for how they arrived at those percentages.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

We wish you a table bountiful in love and delightful in tastes.
See you in a week-ish.

P.S. You see a face in that pumpkin, right? Himself says no, but it is totally there you guys.

Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette

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I’m ready for something light. The comfort foods of cooler weather just seem heavy and unappetizing now that the days are longer and the sun is shining. Well, that plus the candy fest that seems to run from St. Valentine’s day through Easter. Ugh. No more sugar. Please.
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Shaved squash is all the foodie rage of late, and at first I thought, “uh – no.” But then I tried it. I must confess, it’s tasty. It is actually tender-crisp, mild, and ever so slightly sweet. And with some lemon? YUM! So today’s salad is a super light, marvelously crunchy concoction – it would be great as a big lunch salad, or as a side to some grilled chicken, fish, or tofu.
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There is so much crunchiness going on – the tender crisp of the squash, the moist snap of the celery, the toasted earthy crunch of the toasted walnuts. Combined with the freshness of parsley and lemon, and the tangy creaminess of some fresh goat cheese and you are going to be so happy you made this!
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Shaved Squash Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinagrette
Serves 2 as a side, or one for lunch
Ingredients:
1 c. walnuts, toasted
1 thin zucchini, shaved in to strips.
2 stalks celery, sliced thin at an angle
½ shallot, minced
2 oz. chèvre
¼ c parsley, minced
Zest & juice of half lemon (about 2 Tbsp. juice)
¼ c. (or so) good olive oil
salt & pepper
For the walnuts:
These must be toasted. Heat the oven to 400*. Put the walnut halves on a baking sheet. Put it in the hot oven, and turn the heat off. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes (you should smell toasty nuts.) If they don’t smell toasty, leave them a few minutes more. Let them cool.
For the dressing:
Combine lemon juice, zest, mustard and shallot in a bowl. Whisk these with some salt & pepper until homogenous. Then, whisk in the olive oil just until it emulsifies.
For the salad:
Plate this just before eating it. Arrange the celery, then the squash, parsley,nuts and use a spoon to make little dollops of goat cheese. This might look pretty done Cobb-style with each ingredient in its own row, but I haven’t tried that. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!

Ciambella

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So, we were fast approaching the day when all are Irish. I made soda bread for the first time last year, and it was not anything like I’d expected. It was like a giant scone that you slice. So, since I have that other blog deal now, I did the Irish for that. But that made me think about ciambella – an Italian breakfast cake. Lemony, not too sweet. A little dry so you can schmear it with yummy jam or dip it in your cappucino. It’s like Italian soda bread, really.
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What do I love most about this? The rich buttery taste? The crunchy pearl sugar? The soft, lemony insides? I can never decide. But a hunk of this with some strawberry jam, and I am one happy, crumb-covered monster. This would be amazing with some whipped cream, too. I keep wanting to try it with orange. Or grapefruit. But hey – it’s citrus season. Maybe I’ll do that one next time.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Mario Batali, and the freaking genius uses a food processer.
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I know I’ve been away. I took hiaitus through mid-February. When I tried to come back, I discovered the dark, seedy underbelly of having a blog. My site had been corrupted by some dickweed embedding some malicious code. Hacked through a vulnerability in my theme, and possibly through the recipe plug-in I’d been using. The Yum was flagged. I couldn’t even get in – we tried many different ways over a couple of weeks, but in the end the bastard had us beat. We had to pay our hosting site a fee (that we call a ransom) to remove it. I’m still pissed – feeling that violated, and unable to do anything was beyond maddening. Sooo….yeah. That’s where I’ve been. It’s still not right – look at this ugly theme, for now. But I want to be up and running again, and will tweak the pretties over a little time. In the meanwhile, please enjoy some ciambella.
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Brilliant!
Buon appetito!

2 c. AP flour
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
1 egg
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
¼ c. buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. pearl sugar & 1 tbsp. milk or water
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a shallow tube pan (like a baba au rhum pan), or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the dry ingredients in the food process, pulse to combine.
Add the butter cubes, pulse until it looks like polenta.
Mix everything but the pearl sugar, pour it in the food processor, and pulse until you have dough.
It will be very stiff – like cookie dough. Pull it out, and roll it into a log about 2” thick. You can circle it in to the tube pan, or you can make it look like a giant doughnut on the parchment. You could also shape it in to a loaf about 3” wide and 8” long.
Once it’s shaped, brush it with the milk or water and sprinkle it with the pearl sugar.
Bake about 30-35 mins until golden and a tester comes out clean.
Cool and eat!
SERVINGS – 10
NIciambella

Two Years, 100 Posts, 10,000 views

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I have had creativity-thwarting anxiety about this post for the past month. Everyone in the Foodosphere always does some kind of “Yeah for me! Here’s a picture of my blog’s birthday cake!” But I don’t feel like making a birthday cake. And I don’t want a whole birthday cake in the house. (Hello! Because cake! Do you people not know me?) So I decided fuck it. I’m not making a huge deal.

Let me just say thank you. Having the short attention span that I do, I never thought I’d make it to two years. Let alone a hundred posts. I am proud of what I have accomplished. I just updated the blog’s Pinterest board and thought, “Wow. That’s a lot of content.”  And although I have a slightly better idea what I’m doing, I still have no idea how long this will last.

Life is so weird. Still aimless after leaving the classroom, this blog has kept me grounded.  And always makes me think of Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame, saying:

 Live! Life is a banquet. And most poor suckers are starving to death. 

 Thanks for all the fish, and I’ll see you guys next week. 

 

Stay tuned

 

 

Well, folks. I’m taking a little blog time off – have some projects around the house to finish, and not enough time in a weekend to do them both. (sigh) We’ll be back this summer. See you then!hiaitus

Is it cheating?

Perhaps. But I don’t fucking care.

What are the herbs and spices you use all the time? You know, the go-to-can’t-cook-without-them ones. Your desert island selection.

Besides the obvious kosher salt and fresh black pepper, I think the two straight spices I use ALL the time are freshly grated nutmeg and thyme.  But there are three others that I have come to realize I cannot cook without.

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And, no, I am not on their payroll. Although Himself is always after me to monetize my blog (yeah, right, with all three people who read it…)

But seriously – I use Sunny Paris with eggs, scrambled or poached/en cocotte. It is exquisite: échalotes et fines herbes. Yum.

 And the Buttermilk – besides the obvious (our dairy-free chipotle ranch dressing for taco salads), it is the secret ingredient in my cauli mash, which is our new Bill-friendly version of mashed potatoes that we eat at least twice a week.

But the star, the star of this little triology of corporate happiness is the Tuscan Sunset.   It turns ground turkey and tomatoes in to an absolutely fantastic sauce. Every time.  Brown the meat and some onion. Deglaze with a little wine. Add the TS and some San Marzano tomatoes. Twenty minutes and you’re in heaven. Promise. 

Are these a little spendy – yeah. But they last a ways. And, to have all the ingredients in Tuscany on hand would be more expensive than just getting the jar. 

One of these days I’ll post the how to for the mash and the sauce. In the meantime, ya’ll know I’m a huge proponent of cook it yourself, but we all need a little helper. And these three are mine.