Raspberry Jalapeno Jam

We had a mimosa mocktail potluck at the office on New Year’s eve, and I wound up taking home two half-pints of raspberries that didn’t get used. They’ve been sitting the fridge for a week and today was clean out the fridge day. I couldn’t bring myself to toss them, and decided to use them up in some jam. This is yummy – nice raspberry-forward with a little heat at the finish. This is going to be awesome on some grilled chicken kebabs, layered on some goat cheese in a savory-sweet crostata, or on a grilled cheese (if you’re lucky enough to eat cheese.)
Bon apetit!

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam
Yield: two 4-oz jars.

12 oz fresh raspberries
12 oz sugar
2 medium jalapenos, sliced into ⅛” crescents
1/4c water
½ juicy lime

Toss everything but the lime in to a saucepan on low. (You need the water at first to keep things from burning until the berries release their juices.) Simmer about 20-ish minutes until it passes the spoon test. When it’s almost done, squeeze in the juice of half a lime and stir (should be about 2 Tbsp.) and heat up/sterilize your jars – drain out the water and fill them with the jam. Lid them and either water bath them to can, or let them cool and keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Cranberry Cornmeal Coffee Cake with Orange Drizzle

There’s not a lot of narration with this one. I’ve been wanting to make cranberry orange muffins for a few weeks, and when I got up this morning I thought cornbread – so this is a smoosh. We couldn’t come up with a really catchy name. But the coffee cake? Oh, man – that is really yummy. Not too sweet (unless you go nuts with the glaze.) Nice tooth and corny flavor from the cornmeal, pretty red bits from the fresh cranberries along with their unmistakable zing. Then some nice orange to round it out. This one’s a keeper. I’m thinking this flavor profile would make some really good corn shortbread cookies – just need to develop a recipe.

Stay well out there, peeps – and have some cake.

Cranberry Cornmeal Coffee Cake with Orange Drizzle
This will make two 8” round cakes, or one 9”x13” rectangular cake. So, one for you and one for the neighbors – or just cut the recipe in half for a nice little breakfast cake.

Cake:
1.5 c AP flour
0.75 c yellow corn meal
2 Tb corn starch
1.25 c sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp orange zest (about half an orange’s worth)
0.5 c butter, room temp
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

Drizzle:
2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. orange zest (so, the other half…)
Juice of the orange

Grease or line your pan(s). Preheat your oven to 375*.
In the bowl of your mixer, mix together the dry. Add the butter and beat with your paddle attachment until the mixture looks like fine crumbs (about 2 minutes). Add the wet, change to the whisk attachment and beat on high for about three minutes until it looks lighter in color and a bit fluffier than when you began. Stir in ¾ of the chopped cranberries (we’ll sprinkle the rest on top) and pour into your prepared pans. Bake about 30 min until a tester comes out clean (for the rounds; for the oblong, start checking at about 40 min).

Once cool, mix your drizzle. Put the sugar and zest in a bowl, and slowly squeeze in enough juice to make a thick icing. You want to almost so think you could use it as a frosting. This way it will hold it’s shape nicely when you zig-zag it across the cake. (Can you make it thinner? Why not? You’re a adult, do whatchuwant.) Pop it in a piping bag or a quart ziplock, snip the corner and go to town.

Tamales de Jamaica con Chipotle

I’ve attempted making red chile with jamaica once before, and it was an EPIC disaster.  Oh, lawdee lawd – so gross.
Then a few weeks back, there was an article in the NY Times about a vegan chef in LA, and how she makes carnitas and al pastor tacos using jackfruit and jamaica.  I ordered her cookbook then and there. (Check it out – she is forking brilliant!!)

I wanted a red chile style filling for tamales, and alas that recipe is not included – but her techniques are, so I cobbled together a few things and this turned out pretty tasty. This is one of those recipe in many steps – I did it over a couple days.  And, I gotta confess, I just bought the damn masa preparada – my local meximart makes a vegan one, and it is pretty good.  So, I boiled the jamaica one day (and used that for aqua fresca) and then stuck the cooked flowers in the fridge, and then got them out today to finish.

And – heads up!  I’m not going to go in to tamale fabrication steps here – the interwebs is chock full.  This is more about how to make that vegan filling. Just know that in all seriousness, if you were to cook these in the Instant pot, you could have home made fresh tamales ready in an hour.  No shit, bro. For reals.

Ingredients:

The Tamales
Corn husks, soaked in hot water and drained
Green olives – about 16
4# masa preparada para tamales

The Filling:
1 c. dried jamaica/hibiscus flowers that have been boiled and drained twice, then chopped. This will yield about 3 c. final product.
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ a 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, or one big red tomato, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ c. chipotles en adobo
½ c. prepared red chili paste (see the barbacoa post for the recipe – I make it in batches and freeze ½ c. portions in otter pop zippies in the freezer)
½ c. water
1 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano leaves
¼ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika

Ok, in a saute pan cook the olive oil, garlic and tomato on medium-low for about ten minutes – until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic is cooked. Puree that mix along with the chipotles en adobo.  Return that mix to the pan, and add the rest of the ingredients except the jamaica.  Simmer on medium about five minutes to let everything cook together.  While that’s going, coarsely chop the jamaica.  When the time’s up, stir the jamaica in to the red chile sauce and remove from the heat.  That’s it.  You’re ready to assemble.

Assemble and steam for about 45m. stove top (or follow the directions for your instant pot). And enjoy!

I got sixteen tamales out of this batch. But honestly, they started to get a little fat at the end there – so if I’d been more consistent I would have had 18 or 20. Try to make them all the same size, btw, so they cook evenly and are all done at the same time. My heavy-handedness cost me additional cooking time.
Either way, though, your reward is this:

OMG these are so good. And yes, indulgent – but we both commented on how they were not as heavy as the meat kind. Which is dangerous, because then maybe you think you can eat four in one sitting instead of just two.

Salsa Verde

Hello, my lovelies.  I’ve finally come across something new and worthy enough to share.  I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my Spanish listening skills and learning how to make traditional Mexican recipes.  I had nothing new of my own worth sharing for a bit. It didn’t make sense to post what I’d been cooking when there was a recipe/video already out there, and I hadn’t developed the recipe myself.  Add to that a forceful internal debate going about entitlement and cultural appropriation, and it just wasn’t the right time. Yet. But then I did some tweaking on a couple recipes I’ve been trying and was ecstatic with the results.  The gals at the office loved it.  One tried the recipe at home and her husband loved it.  Actually, she was really kind – she said he loved it so much it inspired them to do a big asada for dinner.  (S! You made my day!) So, time to share.

Salsa verde had never been my favorite -there is something off-putting to me about the cooked tomatillos. They’re not exactly slimy, but they have this certain viscousy mucus quality (especially the jarred kind) and that olive green color that just are not appetizing to me. I want something more vibrant and fresh. 
In my journeys with my new YouTube friends and The Google, I discovered that tomatillo salsas fall into three main categories where the ingredients are either cruda/raw, charred, or boiled.

Not exactly attractive as it cools off. But just wait!

I was ecstatic when I found the first raw recipe – finally! Yes! But……..no. it was way too acidic.  Then I started to think – why do I have to follow the rules? Who says I can’t blend a couple techniques?  I prefer the tomatillos cooked, but the garlic and cilantro raw in terms of flavor – what if I just barely poached the tomatillos, and some of the other ingredients were raw? Would that fix what I didn’t like? The answer was a resounding yes.  This is spicy. And garlicky. And truly outstanding on carne asada, fish and chicken – hell, even eggs with avocado.  It’s really good – and I hope you make it and love it, too.

Ready for the boat motor – my Mueller stick blender that is so powerful I can use it to make cashew cream.
Oh, yeah! Power tools!
Oh, my inner obsessive was so pleased – exactly 16 ounces. One perfect jar to take to the office Monday! And then Himself says, “Why the office? None for here? I like this salsa!” And this, my betches, is why I love him.

Salsa Verde
Put the following in a saucepan, and cover with water:
Fresh tomatillos, with the cascara (husk)* removed and washed (this is about 8 small, [a little bigger than a ping pong ball.] They should fill the pan.)
1 large jalapeno, pierced (or two if you like things REALLY hot)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
Bring just to a boil, then remove the heat and let them sit in the water and cool down til they’re just warm.
The tomatillos will go to a drab green color.

In your blender or food processor, put:
2-3 fat cloves raw garlic
1/2 a small white onion (about 1/3 c. worth)
a handful of cilantro(remove most of the stems)
1/2 tsp salt
The cooked tomatillos, garlic and jalapeno (but trim the stem first)

Puree until mostly smooth.  Add some of the cooking water from the saucepan to thin it out if needed.
You can add lime if you want, but the tomatillos are pretty acidic already.  This is garlicky and spicy – but not inedible. It’s that good kind of hot that warms your mouth and makes you want to keep eating it.
That’s it.  Munch away!

*In case you’ve never removed the husk of a tomatillo, be aware that the fruit are sticky under the husk.  You need to wash them really well with water after removing the husk to remove those sticky plant juices. 

Love that fresh color from the cilantro – much better than solid olive green!

Verduras en Escabeche

I know, I know – there’s already a carrot escabeche recipe on the blog. But the other day at the office, J. was saying that her grandpa put potatoes in his and of course I had to research that because wha-what??

And – surprise! – she was not crazy. It’s a real thing. And it sounded delicious – I love potato salad with vinegar instead of mayo, and this would be vinegary potatoes that were espicy! Sign me up!

Yesterday we were at El Super, and I got the veggies I needed to give this a whirl. But damn, jalapenos this time of year are sooooo forking hot. Ay! Just out of the pan this was delicious, and it got better the next day. We had us some yummmyyyyy crunchies this week at the office, y’all! This made a half-gallon, and my office mates and I had it essentially gone in a day and a half. But – funny story- what was left was a cup or so of those super-hot jalapenos. Not even some of my fire-tolerant co-workers took those puppies on. But man, the rest was SOOOOO good.

Verduras en Escabeche

Adapted from this recipe at TuriMexico.com.

2 large waxy potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 fat carrots, peeled and in ¼” diagonal coins
3 garlic cloves, sliced in half
2 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
5 fat jalapenos, in ¼” coins
1 big white onion, wedged in to 8
3 bay leaves
½ tsp. Black peppercorns
1 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
1 tsp. Soy sauce
1 tsp. Worsteshire sauce

Wash and boil the potatoes until tender. Slice in half, then wedges  – about ½”. Should be about 12 per spudnik.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the carrots garlic and oregano, toss and saute a minute or two, just until you start to smell the garlic and oregano.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except the potatoes), return to the heat just until you start to see a boil. Turn it off, take the pan off the heat. (Now, you can boil that mix a little longer than I do, but I like my veggies to stay as crunchy as possible.  Cook ‘em how you like ‘em.) Lay in the potato slices and allow to cool.

Keep in a couple big glass jars in the fridge. It should stay delicious for several weeks, but I cannot attest to that as I can never get escabeche to last longer than a few days in my house.

¡Buen provencho!

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.

Triple Triple Blondies

Triple chips. Triple nuts. Triple nerms. These blondies leave behind the walnuts and butterscotch chips, and have cashew, almond, and pecan along with (wait for it) caramel chips. What what???? I know, right? Well, let me tell you a story….

Wandering in the grocery a couple weeks back, I discovered that Ghiradelli makes a caramel chip. So of course I bought them, along with some dark and white chocolate ones.  I was thinking that they would be awesome in some blondies.

We’re going on a little hike and picnic today – probably one of the last days it will be enjoyable to be outside at this elevation for a while. So, along with the muffaletta, pasta salad and aranciata, we will need some blondies.  They are Himself’s favorite treat. I’ve given up trying to recreate a flavor from his memory and just bake what I think sounds yummy. And this definitely fit the bill.

These are really rich, so slice ‘em small. After I wrapped up ours for the picnic (Himself: “Wait. You’re packing only two? What if we have a blondie emergency?” He is such a dork.), I wrapped the rest and put them in a zippie bag in the freezer.  They’ll last a couple months that way, and a quick zap in the micro-onda and it’s instant deliciousness (perhaps with a scoop of vanilla [non-dairy] ice cream…) Plus, having them safely in the freezer keeps a tray of blondies whispering your name every time you walk past the kitchen counter. A win/win, so to say.

These are super. Super easy. Super fast. Super delicious.  And a one-bowl, one-spoon wonder, to boot. Give ‘em a whirl!

Triple Triple Blondies

INGREDIENTS
1 stick unsalted butter (½ c.)
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. AP flour
1 tsp.Vanilla
½ tsp. Salt
⅓ c. each white, dark, and caramel chips (total 1 c.)
¾ c. nut mix (almonds/pecan/cashew)
(Opt) Kosher salt & sparkle sugar to dust the top

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 8” square pan and lay in an Alton Brown-style parchment brownie sling.
Use a medium microwave safe bowl, and melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine.  Stir in the egg. Set aside a half-handful of the chips and nuts, and add the rest along with the flour to the bowl and stir it vigorously (you want to develop a little bit of that gluten to get some chewiness).
Pour and smooth the batter in the pan, sprinkle with the reserved chips/nuts (and some flake salt and sparkle sugar, if you like). And bake 25-ish minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Don’t over bake – you want them just this side of cooked. Cool completely, then lift out the sling and slice in to at least 16 squares. Snarf ‘em right then and there, or wrap ‘em up and freeze ‘em.

Bon appetit!

Nutritional Information from VeryWellfit.com’s calculator, based on 16 blondies.  Each blondie has:
211 cal
13.1 . fat
150mg sodium
21.8g carbs (fiber 1.1g, sugar 14.5g)
2.5 g protein

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.

Cheddar & Spring Onion Scones

It’s funny where inspiration can come from. A friend mentioned a local home tour that’s a fundraiser for a local historic preservation society.  I’ve been trying to force myself out of my comfort zone homebody-ness, and decided to join the group. It would be an all-day affair on the far side of town, and I thought – hey! It would be nice to have snacks.  We got our tickets for an 8:45am start time. Hey…..that’s kinda early. Guess I’ll need to do breakfasty things. Finger food. And of course, scones immediately came to mind. My friend D. loves cheese. As in, if he could marry cheese and coat himself in it daily, he would.  So, okay – cheese scones. Then I remembered this forking deelish scallion corn muffin recipe I’d found, and thought yes! That’s it – scallions and cheese! And D. is from New Mexico and knows good green chile- so scallion, green chile and cheddar. Angel choir. Idea is born. The night before arrives, and…….I only have the hot green chile left in the freezer.  Hmm…. D. and I will love it, but the other four folks coming are unknowns….ok, back to onion and cheddar. And then of course, because I can only eat the cheese if I take a shit ton of cheese pills, some cranberry orange ones, as well. But we’ll save those for another day.

Whew! Such a long tale. The next step was the preparation – I’d read from either Jamie Oliver or Nigella to put scones in the freezer for half an hour before baking (which is awesome, btw) and started to wonder if I could make them up the night before and then just bake them in the morning. Because, you know, twenty more minutes of sleep is ALWAYS a good thing.  So, the short answer is yes. It is totally possible, and has completely changed myscone game forever. Buh-bye, buttcrack of dawn. Hello, prep at night and bake while I’m in the shower. I like this!
Alrighty, shall we play?  You’re gonna LOVE these. They were a HUGE hit with my home-tour friends.

Ingredients:
The Dry:
2 c. AP flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
½ c. Butter, icy cold and cubed
The Add-Ins:
½ c. Sharp cheddar, cut in to ¼” cubes.  Yes, really. Do not shred, do not cube larger.
4 Spring onions/scallions sliced in ¼” rondelles.
The Wet:
¾ c. Buttermilk.
The Egg Wash (optional)
Whisk one egg with 2 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

The night before, In a bowl, mix the dry except the butter. Then toss in the butter, and with a pastry cutter smoosh and twist until the butter is a little smaller than peas.  Do not get to the crumb-stage; if you do, your scones will be more Englishy cake-like and not have the biscuit-like flaky layers of American scones.
Stir in the Add-Ins, then the buttermilk. Combine with your hands until you have a firm slightly sticky dough.  It is okay if you overwork it a little, as it is going to rest overnight in the fridge. (Is this not the most awesome part of this or what????)  Scrape the dough on to the dusted parchment. Dust your hands with flour (You might need to scrape/wash them off first.), and shape the dough in to either one 1” tall 8” diameter circle, or two ½” tall 6” diameter circles.  Fold it up in the parchment and put it in the fridge. Nighty-night, Felicia!
In the morning, preheat your oven to 400*.  Take out the dough and slice up your scones.   Either eight with the big circle, or twelve (six each) with the little ones.  Place on the parchment on a cooking tray. Brush with the egg wash (or milk or cream), and bake until puffed-up and golden – about 22-25 minutes for the big’uns, and 18-20 for the little’uns.
That’s it. Enjoy. These are really, really yummy. And would be really, really good with a bowl of chili. Or just shoveled in your mouth hot out of the oven. These are that yummy.

Do you have to wait overnight? Of course not – you could pop these in the oven right way. You’ll just need to be biscuit-gentle with that dough.

Bon apetit, y’all. I’d love to hear how yours turn out!


Black Bean Soup with Chimolata

This is our current favorite soup, finally knocking posole out of the position it’s held for years. It is extremely easy and will be ready in a little over half an hour. Perfect on a cold afternoon, or after a long day at work.

My inner Martha always chastises me for not starting with home-cooked beans. But ya know, real life people.

This soup is good, but what really makes it fabulous is the citrusy-herby dollop of sauce you add to the bowl. I still don’t know what the hell to call it – it’s like a gremolata or a chimichurri in a Sonoran Southwest kind of way. Cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, lime zest and juice. Unlike a blob of sour cream that would make this soup feel heavier, the heat, zing, and herbaceousness of this chimolata (hmm…I like that one) really lift this up. It makes the soup hearty, but not heavy. And really dense in flavor.

Himself likes this with tortilla chips. Corn bread or a grilled cheez (or cheese, if you are not dairy-impaired as we are) along with a salad will make this an awesome and easy meal – something we can all use as end of year busyness overtakes our lives.

Make it and enjoy.

This is enough for four. So, dinner and leftovers lunch for two.

Black Bean Soup with Chimolata

Ingredients for the soup:
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. Ground cumin
2 Tbsp. chipotle relish, or one whole chipotle en adobo and 1 tsp. of the adobo
3 14.5-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Broth (vegetable or chicken, about a quart)

Ingredients for the chimolata:
Handful of washed fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
½ tsp. Lime zest
½ tsp. Red pepper flakes
Fresh lime juice

For the soup:
In a large soup pot on medium, add about ¼ c. of water and the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften around the edges. Add the remaining ingredients except the broth. Give it a stir, then pour just enough broth over everything to just cover. Too much broth and you’ll have a thin soup.
Simmer for ½ hour or until the veg are tender. Before serving, take the immersion blender to it and blend it all up. I like to leave mine with some chunks of the veg, but do yours how you like.

While the soup is cooking, make the chimolata:
Mince superfine the cilantro and the garlic. Fine, as in almost to a paste.
Add them to a small bowl with the red pepper and lime zest, then add just enough lime juice to actually make it in to a paste. That’s it. (This is going to taste REALLY strong – don’t eat it by itself. Or do, I guess. I’m not the boss of you.)

When the soup’s done, Serve with a dollop of the chimolata. Serious nerms, peeps.

I’ve been forgetting to include the nutritional info of late. Here we go! According to caloriecount.about.com, each of the four servings has:

363 calories
4.2g fat
851 mg. sodium
57.1 g. carbohydrate
17.9g fiber
4.8g sugar
24.1g protein
Plus 17% of your daily calcium, 35% for iron and 26% for potassium.