Roasted a whole chicken is a perfect meat for tacos because it is tender, flavorful and easy to shred. I chose a basic spice blend of smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and oregano for the chicken. Then I baked it in the oven for a few hours which gave me enough time to make some fresh Pico de Gallo and shredded manchego cheese. Manchego is a great cheese for tacos because it has the creaminess of queso fresco but with a little more tartness. The tacos turned out really well! The smoky flavor of the chicken worked nicely with the manchego and creamy avocado. The recipe for the chicken is pretty versatile so I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with different salsas and condiments next time!
What better way to make a slow transition into fall than with an apple rhubarb crisp? I am a little reluctant to acknowledge the fact that fall is coming so it’s nice to bring the two seasons together in a dessert! I saw a lot of recipes for apple rhubarb crisp that called for green apples but I thought sweet red apples would be a good choice since rhubarb is so tart. To compensate on the apples’ sweetness I just cut the sugar a bit and it turned out great! The recipe is similar to the other rhubarb crisp recipe and just as delicious! I liked the combination of the sweet apples, tart rhubarb and crunchy crust. Whipped cream and vanilla ice cream are the perfect accompaniment for this dessert!
One of my favorite summer dishes is caprese salad. Sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and balsamic vinegar offer the perfect combination of flavors. It also turns out these ingredients are a perfect grilled cheese in the making! The one issue was the balsamic vinegar–how to incorporate a liquid ingredient on a sandwich that isn’t a dressing? My solution was to simply roast the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar in the oven which infused the flavor of the balsamic into the tomato. I chose sourdough for the bread which worked nicely with the other ingredients. The sandwich was really tasty and not hard to make at all. It was a great way to turn a caprese salad appetizer into the main course!
What better way to try out a tasty new salsa than to serve it with tacos? I picked out a skirt steak for these tacos because you can get a great sear on the outside and I figured it would go well with the salsa. I went simple and just seasoned the steak with a little cumin and smoked paprika. The salsa, steak and onions went really nicely together. Caramelized onions are so good on tacos so I add them in whenever possible. I caramelized the onions in the leftover adobo sauce which added a smokiness that wasn’t too sweet. Then for a little texture and crunch I added some red cabbage on top. A little crumbled queso fresco added creaminess (sour cream would probably work fine too.) All together, this was a really delicious taco and I look forward to having it again sometime.
When making Vietnamese Pho I noticed that the condiments and garnishes play a big roll in the way you eat the dish. With pho, the condiments are added methodically (usually one at a time) as you eat the soup. This salad applies that rule as well, with the platter of condiments on the side of the plate. Carrots, fresh mint, bean sprouts, red chilies, lime slices, and basil wait to be mixed in with the noodles or dipped into two bowls of dipping sauces. If any of you “played with your food” as a kid you might enjoy the process of mixing and dipping involved with this dish.
One way I would describe this dish is clean and refreshing. It really is a perfect spring or summer meal just due to the freshness of the ingredients. The grilled chicken is marinated in lemongrass paste, garlic, ginger and red chilies. The chicken was so good and the flavors were sweet and a little spicy. I loved the way all the condiments blended together with the rice noodles and chicken. I dipped the chicken in the Nuoc Cham and Cashew Butter sauces. I was generous with the sauces and poured them over the noodles and condiments which tasted great as well. I will be making this dish again soon!
There’s this great Mexican restaurant nearby that serves black bean salsa with corn chips before the main course. I have been wanting to recreate this salsa because it’s hard to stop eating it. The salsa is easy to throw together and has great flavor. It works nicely as a condiment for chips or in tacos, burritos, tostadas, etc. The spiciness can be dialed down by adding fewer jalapenos and cayenne or increased by adding serrano peppers which are quite a bit spicier. The corn provides an element of sweetness and the white and green onions a good amount of texture and crunch. I think the recreation of the restaurant’s salsa was a success because once again it was hard to put the bowl down and save room for dinner!
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a great way to use up leftovers from other dishes. I had some queso fresco, jalapenos and avocados from previous meals and I didn’t want them to go to waste. I decided to make a sandwich out of them and what better sandwich than grilled cheese? I never realized queso fresco was such a great melted cheese since I had only eaten it crumbled. It turns out it slices really well and melts perfectly on sandwiches. I was worried that all those jalapenos would overpower the other flavors so I roasted them in the oven until they were just starting to char. This mellowed the heat but concentrated the flavor of the peppers. To make things easier I added the avocado slices after grilling the sandwich because they tend to fall out. The sandwich was really tasty so I might have to start buying the ingredients instead of waiting until I have leftovers!
For Cinco de Mayo I have been trying some tex-mex dishes with an injection of Korean flavors. So far I have been enjoying these recipes a lot. This recipe is all about the combination of spicy and sour flavors. The grilled chicken and salsa bring the spiciness while the cucumber relish brings the sour and sweet. The creamy avocado and queso fresco mellow everything out and the result is a really tasty burrito. It wasn’t hard to assemble but prepping the fillings beforehand does take time. To make it easier, I made the red salsa days earlier which shortened the prep time by an hour or so. I would recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours before grilling so the flavors can come together. Garnishing the burrito with a little lime juice at the end helps prevent the avocado slices from browning.
I was one of the weird kids who actually liked brussel sprouts (and beets and tofu!) For the majority of kids who grew into adulthood never liking brussel sprouts this recipe might change your mind. It’s a simple preparation of tossing the sprouts in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic. The garlic roasts and becomes from fragrant while the balsamic vinegar caramelizes the brussel sprouts. The outside should be a tiny bit crunchy, not soft. The result is savory and delicious. The recipe would work great with pine nuts, walnuts, or parmesan cheese as well.
Crab cakes are delicious on their own and even better on a sandwich. I cooked the crab cakes Louisiana-style with a creole seasoning spice blend and tangy creole mustard. For the sauce I went with a traditional Remoulade which is great on seafood. Remoulade is easy to make and the primary ingredients are mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish and lemon juice. The flavors of the remoulade were really tasty with the flavors of the crab cake. The buns were buttered and toasted for several minutes on the broil setting in the oven. I served the crab cake on a bun with lettuce and tomato and plenty of the remoulade.