Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sweet Cumin Radish Pickles

I really struggled over what to call these beauties. 

Pickled Radishes?                                                                                  Too simple.

Radical Radishes?                                                                                  Too dumb.

Cumin Scented Sweet and Sour Bread and Butter Radish Pickles              Too long.

The Purdiest Pickled Radishes?                                                              Possibly an overstatement.

I went with the aforementioned title because it was halfway between descriptive and simple, but I'm not sold. I even threw the question out to you guys for assistance and my favorites were Tall Dark and Spicy and Rad-iculous Radishes. Thanks guys, you're amazing.

The thing is these radishes consist of many wonderful qualities; they are a little sweet, a little tart, crunchy as all get out, laced with cumin and cilantro, really easy to make, get pickled in the refrigerator, and are amazing on tacos. So which one of those would you choose? I don't know either.

Here's some more pickled radish nonsense, a spicier kimchi kind of version and these beautiful beauties from Cookie and Kate.

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Sweet Cumin Radish Pickles
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Makes 1 quart

1 pound radishes, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt

1. Combine radishes and cilantro in a heatproof quart container or large bowl.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve.

3. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour over radishes. Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle. Cover tightly with a lid and refrigerate for 1 day before using.

4. Radishes will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grilled Green Mole Pork Chops

I feel a little silly writing a recipe for this. I mean there are only 2 ingredients, well 4 if you count salt and pepper.

I swear to you things like prepared mole verde in my fridge make all the difference between a real meal and cereal for dinner some nights. I know this might seem strange due to the content on this blog but in the summertime, come 6 o'clock I am in no mood to cook. I just want to relax with a salt-rimmed margarita (extra tequila please) and return to the days of irresponsible summers gone by.

But alas, I have children who depend on me to feed them (whose idea was this anyway?!) so I pick up my jar of Doña Maria and get to work. I start the grill, spread some of the oily paste on each side of some meaty chops and by the time the charcoal is glowing the pork chops are ready to go on. They grill up in mere minutes and I grill some vegetables to go with. All of the sudden my bad attitude is starting to lift as the charred chile smell wafts off the grill.

Dinner is served. And it is delicious.

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Grilled Green Mole Pork Chops
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Makes 4 servings

4 thick-cut, bone-in pork chops
1/4 cup prepared green mole paste (mole verde)

1. Slather both sides of each pork chop with the mole paste and season generously with salt and pepper. Let marinate at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grates with oil and grill the pork chops until browned one one side, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes on the other side.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cilantro Pesto

I leave you this week with a simple recipe for an incredibly versatile condiment. I do this for you, my dear friends, because I know that we (you and I) have entered into that state of being I like to call Garden Guilt.

Garden Guilt is what happens when you've been waiting eight or nine months for food to start growing footsteps away from your backdoor and then finally it does, in such massive amounts that you rush the Jehovah's Witnesses who have come to deliver the Word of God and beg them to please, please take some lettuce.

You gaze out there at said yard with a guilty conscious, you can't bare to let anything wilt or wither or go to waste because you know in a fleeting moment it will all be gone and the ground that is, at present, so bountiful will soon be covered in deep, deep, deep, deep snow. So you gather all that is about to burst into seed form and wash and chop and can and freeze until the wee hours of the night.

You know I'm doing it. I know you're doing it too. If you are like me you have so much cilantro you could supply all the Chipotle's in the contiguous United States (did you know they serve margaritas?!!!). So expect to see some serious cilantro business coming from this here website in the next few weeks—who am I kidding? Months! 

Don't worry if you are knee deep in basil, that will work here just fine. Same goes for parsley, chives, arugula, chard, kale, or beet greens too. Once you've got your pesto made you can slather it on toast, toss it with pasta, stir it into risotto, or use it as a marinade for anything about to hit the grill. You can even put it in a freezer-safe container, cover it with a layer of oil, then seal and freeze for up to 6 months. No doubt you will enjoy the fruits of your labor come mid-winter.

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Cilantro Pesto {Dairy Free}
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Makes 1 1/4 cups

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
4 cups packed cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
3/4 cup olive oil

1. Combine pumpkin seeds, cilantro, garlic, salt, and chile flakes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to blend.

2. With the machine running slowly add the olive oil until all has been added and a smooth puree has formed. Taste and add more salt if needed.

3. Use immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mid-July's Garden

This picture perfectly represents my garden; towering slate-colored cauliflower leaves with swatches of cilantro peaking through. I let my cilantro go to seed last year and it did a perfectly good job of replanting itself......everywhere.

My backyard is broken up into four patches. Above is the largest patch with the tomatoes and winter squashes. Below was where I planted my first garden four years ago that now holds the melons, potatoes, corn, and a few other things.

I also planted a few strawberry plants in another patch this year that hopefully will give us some berries in the years to come.

And the fourth patch was my impromptu attempt to fend off pesky ants which tend to invade our house every summer. Apparently they don't like the smell of lavender or mint so I planted a few plants close to the house, which hopefully will grown and I can transplant next summer. Here's some other shots of what a North Dakota garden looks like in Mid-July.

Want more comida for your vida? Follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or bloglovin. If you have a cooking question (or any other kind of question) leave me a comment below, they kind of make my day! xo

Monday, July 21, 2014

Soy Sriracha Chicken Fajitas

As much as I love throwing a party and feeding all my friends I have to be honest—it kind of stresses me out. I try to remind myself that people will help and it doesn't have to be perfect, but deep down I still want it to be. I do not try to be Martha Stewart but, okay, maybe I do....just a little.

To help me retain some degree of composure come party time I try to make food that tastes amazing but is super easy. Fajitas and tacos are my go to foods for summer entertaining. All the magic happens in the marinade which is done hours or even a day in advance then come party time you just hang out by the grill, chit chatting, drinking a nice cocktail and ideally not burning the meat.

These Soy Sriracha Chicken Fajitas were inspired by the good people at Kikkoman who asked me to come up with a favorite family recipe using their meticulously brewed soy sauce. It took me about two seconds to decide which of our favorites to hack because grilled chicken and soy are universal besties.

I really had a hard time not eating all the chicken as I was slicing it to bring to the table—it was that good. But because I love my family and had invited people over to my house with the promise of feeding them I resisted. Next time I'll just make an extra thigh or two for the chef (me, I'm talking about me here).

This post was sponsored by Kikkoman and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions however are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies who help make this blog possible. 

Want more comida for your vida? Follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or bloglovin. If you have a cooking question (or any other kind of question) leave me a comment below, they kind of make my day! xo

Soy Sriracha Chicken Fajitas
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Makes 4 servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 bell peppers (preferably red, orange, or yellow)
1 tablespoon olive oil
warm tortillas, to serve

Other optional garnishes:
grilled zucchini
grilled jalapeños
lime wedges

1. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Mix soy, lime juice, cilantro, Sriracha, and lime zest together in a small bowl. Pour over chicken and toss in the marinade until evenly coated. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 8 hours.

2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Cut peppers into wedges and toss with olive oil. Season with salt a pepper. If you want to do zucchini, jalapeños, or any other vegetables on the grill you can add them to the peppers.

3. Brush the grates of the grill with oil and remove the chicken from the marinade letting any excess drip back into the bag. Grill chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Remove to a clean platter, cover and keep warm.

4. Grill the vegetables until lightly charred and tender, about 10 minutes. Slice the chicken and vegetables into thin slices and serve with warm tortillas and optional garnishes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mexican Rarebit

I have a thing for going to bad antique stores. 

Does it smell like a nursing home? You'll find me there.

Are they selling decrepit plastic fruit from the 1950's? Count me in.

I found myself in just such a place a couple weeks ago perusing through an Irish Pub cookbook from the 80's. Why was this in an antique store? More importantly, why was I looking at it? I turned to a recipe for Welsh rarebit, a recipe that on any other day I would've passed off as another toasted cheese sandwich but this one called for pickles and there is something about that cheesy-pickle combination that stops me in my tracks every time .

It's been going 'round and 'round in my head ever since and I've finally come up with something that feels closer to home and even more decadent with stringy chihuahua cheese, Pacifico, and thick slices of cornbread as the base. I loaded it not with pickles, but pickled jalapeños. Bring. It. On.

While I was making this my husband asked me what I was doing. When I told him I was making a Mexican version of a Welsh rarebit he gave me a look like "Oh no you didn" but his opinion is neither here nor there since he can't even eat it. I'm almost positive any other Latin person would totally approve. Maybe I've developed the next hottest food trend; Welsh-Mex. Maybe 30 years from now you'll find my Welsh-Mex cookbook at some broke-ass antique store...... time will tell.

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Mexican Rarebit
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Makes 4-6 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups shredded chihuahua cheese
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup Mexican pilsner-style beer, such as Pacifico
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 loaf Easy Cornbread
Pickled jalapeño slices, for garnish
Chopped tomato, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Heat broiler to high and arrange a rack about 5 inches away from the heat.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add cheese, milk, and beer and cook until cheese is melted. Add pickle juice and cumin and stir until smooth. Remove from heat, add season with salt and pepper as needed. Cover to keep warm.

4. Slice cornbread into thick slices and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toast cornbread under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cover each slice with cheese sauce. Return to the broiler to until cheese is golden, about 2 minutes more.

5. Top with pickled jalapeño slices, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Paletas

I missed popsicle week. I must've been busy scrubbing the hard water stains off my shower or googling "washer and dryer best deal." I could've also been listening to Let It Go Radio  or setting a date with my husband to clean the basement because those are the kind of dates we go on now. But that's okay because I didn't make popsicles, I made paletas (just kidding—same thing).

These swelteringly sour paletas are great for when you are eating outside not because you are enjoying some al fresco dining but because you don't want your kids to know you are eating a popsicle at ten in the morning.

The rhubarb I foraged from my friend Holly's neighbor who had an abundant bush growing by her garbage cans in the alley. There was also some milkweed and dandelions but I guarantee you neither of those would've made paletas as beautiful or delicious as these.

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Paletas
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Makes 8 small paletas

5 cups chopped rhubarb (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3/4 cup tangerine juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries

1. Combine rhubarb, juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is very soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Pour mixture into a blender and cover with a dish towel (don't put the lid on, the mixture is too hot and the lid might blow off when you turn on the machine). Hold the dish towel over the blender and blend until smooth.

3. Strain rhubarb mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press down on the solids to extract all the juice. You can also just make the paletas with the unstrained mixture, they won't be a clear pink color but you probably will get an extra paleta or two. If you do strain it you can save the rhubarb pulp (which at this point is really more like a sauce) and spread it on toast, mix into oatmeal, or spoon over ice cream.

4. Place a few strawberry slices in the bottom of each paleta mold, evenly distribute the rhubarb mixture between the molds, insert the popsicle sticks and freeze at least 4 hours or until solid.