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Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Side Dishes

Grilled Pumpkin Steaks with Black Beans and Jalapeño Pesto

November 15, 2017
Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

I can tell it is starting to get cooler out when I start wearing a blanket like an elongated tube top around the house. I guess the shorter daylight hours just doesn’t give the sun enough time during the day to warm things up in here. It’s still not cold enough to turn the heat on, (I believe it was after Thanksgiving when that happened last year if I remember correctly), but still a slight chill in need of a blanket.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

I was in touch with some friends back in North Dakota over the weekend and they filled me in on their recent snowfall. Comparatively I have nothing to complain about, just an observation that subtle seasonal changes do occur, even here in Southern California.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

Aside from snowy, long distance texts, this past weekend was filled with eating up our Halloween Jack-O-Lantern before it got too old and moldy to do something with. It goes without saying that I’m my spirit-decade is the Great Depression and I can’t bear to throw anything remotely edible and I remembered this idea from when I was the Pastry Chef at Firefly Restaurant in San Francisco. These grilled pumpkin steaks were a staple on their fall menu and I always thought it was such a genius idea.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

They are good with any type of winter squash— kabocha, butternut, sugar pie pumpkin—but in my opinion if you are going to eat a big, honkin’ Jack-O-Lantern, there’s no other way. You see, normally, those bigger pumpkins are super stringy and watery and really not that good to eat, but throwing them straight on the grill, uses that extra water to their advantage. As it cooks over the hot, direct heat the water bubbles up inside the flesh of the pumpkin, evaporating from the surface as it cooks and intensifying its flavor, while making it tender at the same time.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

Dealing with a big pumpkin is a tad bit cumbersome, but we’ve all carved one at some point and this is much easier than that. You need a sharp, heavy knife and just slice it open. Scoop out the seeds and use a Y peeler to peel off as much skin as you can. I find it’s easier to cut the pumpkin into 4-inch “steaks” first, then peel. Don’t worry if every bit of skin doesn’t come off. Pumpkin skin is actually pretty thin and edible.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

Then on the grill it goes. Thirty minutes is all it takes for a delicious vegan main or the pumpkin with the pesto sauce would make a lovely Thanksgiving side dish. Give it a try!

Grilled Pumpkin Steaks with Black Beans and Jalapeño Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
For the pesto:
  • 3 jalapeños
  • ¾ cup packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup packed cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1 lemon
For the pumpkin steaks:
  • 4 pounds pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
  • salt and pepper
For the black beans:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground arbol chile
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans black beans
Instructions
For the pesto:
  1. Heat a dry skillet over high heat. Add jalapeños and char, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then remove stem, seeds, and charred skin. Chop and transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
  2. Add mint, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic, salt, and blend. With the processor running add olive oil and lemon juice. Stop blade a few times to scrape down the sides. Blend until very smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. If pesto is very thick add a tablespoon or two of hot water to thin out. You want to be able to spoon it over the pumpkin.
For the pumpkin:
  1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Remove as much peel as you can from the pumpkin with a Y-style vegetable peeler. It's okay if not all of it comes off, pumpkin skin is actually pretty thin and edible. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill about 30 minutes or until pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork and is charred on the outside. Turn pumpkin about every 10 minutes or so.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the beans. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño. Season with salt and let cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and ground arbol chile, and cook a minute more. Add black beans, juices and all and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher until about ½ of the beans are broken up. Taste and add more salt if needed.
To Serve: Spoon black beans on plates and top with a pumpkin steak. Drizzle pesto over the top and sprinkle with more toasted pumpkin seeds and mint. Dig in!
Notes
To toast your own pumpkin seeds, heat a generous teaspoon of oil in a hot frying pan. Add raw pumpkin seeds and toss in the oil. Cook until starting to pop and golden, stirring often. Season with salt and remove from heat.

 


Menu

La Bruja Cocktails (aka Tamarind Margaritas)

Pumpkin Steaks with Black Beans and Jalapeño Pesto

Grilled Achiote-Lime Chicken

Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Raspberries and Whipped Cream

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One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Comida Latina, Drinks, Recipes, Sweets

Ginger Cardamom Rompope

November 7, 2017
Rompope is the Mexican version of eggnog, the creamy, sweet Christmas drink. This non-alcoholic version is made with cardamom, nutmeg, and fresh ginger.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Toma Leche. All opinions are 100% mine.

The holidays are here! Let the fun begin with this non-alcoholic Rompope flavored with fresh ginger, cardamom, and canela. A perfect way for kids and adults alike to Toma Leche this holiday season!

I am kinda-sorta thrilled that the holidays are around the corner. I really wish I could stop time this part of the year and have enough hours in the day to get all the necessary stuff done and have time for all the things that make this season so special. Picking the perfect gift! Christmas cookies! Luxurious evenings by the fire!(if we had a fireplace, that is).

In fact the thing I think I love the most about the holidays is it gives us all an excuse to be a kid again and especially relive those sweet moments that have made this time of year so special.

Rompope is the Mexican version of eggnog, the creamy, sweet Christmas drink. This non-alcoholic version is made with cardamom, nutmeg, and fresh ginger.

From now until New Years I try to keep that magical glow in the house and in this case milk is my fairy dust of choice. Ever since I was a kid, the first sign of the holidays has always been a milky, ice-cold cup of eggnog or in this case the Mexican version, rompope.

Rompope is the Mexican version of eggnog, the creamy, sweet Christmas drink. This non-alcoholic version is made with cardamom, nutmeg, and fresh ginger.

If you’ve never had rompope it is very similar in flavor to eggnog but so, so much easier to make at home. While traditional eggnog can take up to three weeks to cure, rompope takes little more than 30-40 minutes on the stove and a couple hours to chill in the fridge.

Rompope is the Mexican version of eggnog, the creamy, sweet Christmas drink. This non-alcoholic version is made with cardamom, nutmeg, and fresh ginger.

My version is sweet and creamy with a tickle of heat from fresh pieces of ginger and the warm glow of cardamom, nutmeg, and fragrant canela or Mexican cinnamon.

Fresh whole milk is essential to making the best rompope and when asked me for fun ways to drink milk, I immediately thought there is nothing better than an icy cup of rompope. It goes perfect with the most wonderful time of the year!

Ginger Cardamom Rompope
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rompope is the Mexican version of eggnog, the creamy, sweet Christmas drink. This non-alcoholic version is made with cardamom, nutmeg, and fresh ginger.
Author: Kate
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick canela (Mexican cinnamon)
  • 5 pods cardamom
  • ¼ piece whole nutmeg
  • 2 inch piece ginger, sliced
  • 6 egg yolks
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, sugar, canela, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger in a large saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, careful the milk will try to boil over, just remove from the heat for a moment, let it bubble back down, then return to heat and continue to boil gently.
  3. Let cook, untouched, until it reduces to about 2½-3 cups, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth and fill another large bowl halfway with ice and water (in other words, make an ice bath).
  5. Slowly whisk hot milk into egg yolks then place bowl over a small pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir constantly until mixture is slightly thickened and the temperature reaches 175°F, about 5 minutes.
  6. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and place bowl in the ice bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally.
  7. Transfer to a tightly-sealed container and refrigerate until cold.

Christmas Cookie Swap Menu

Cardamom Ginger Rompope

Mega Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ginger-Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Cranberry Lime Cookies

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One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

 

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Comida Latina, Recipes, Sweets

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Dulce de Leche and Brown Butter Frosting

October 31, 2017
Pumpkin Layer Cake; Triple decker, rum-spiked pumpkin cake filled with dulce de leche and covered with brown butter-cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted pecans.

The kids and I spent all last week in Des Moines and it was lovely to be home. Crisp fall air, crunchy leaves, and the vivid colors bring back so many wonderful memories; it was nice to pause and take it all in. We even got a spattering of SNOW on Friday! Which for us California transplants was just perfect— especially since we got to leave the next day and come home to 70 degrees and sunny.

Pumpkin Layer Cake; Triple decker, rum-spiked pumpkin cake filled with dulce de leche and covered with brown butter-cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted pecans.

Now I’m back home, rested and ready to think about my favorite subject—the holidays! From now until eternity (or January, actually) it will be a non-stop holiday bonanza filled with recipes you are going to want to make at one point or another over the next couple months.

Pumpkin Layer Cake; Triple decker, rum-spiked pumpkin cake filled with dulce de leche and covered with brown butter-cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted pecans.

This celebration cake is the perfect way to kick it all off! If you are super ambitious or just have nothing better to do tonight, I encourage you to make this cake for the Dia de los Muertos festivities tomorrow and Wednesday. If not, keep it in mind as a spectacular way to end Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a holiday dinner party.

Pumpkin Layer Cake; Triple decker, rum-spiked pumpkin cake filled with dulce de leche and covered with brown butter-cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted pecans.

The lovely thing about this cake is it can be frozen—frosting and all— and keeps lovely in the freezer for up to a month! Make the cake and stick in the freezer uncovered until hard. Wrap tightly and freeze. Unwrap and defrost at room temperature for about 2 hours or so when you are ready to serve.

The layers of this cake are the essence of fall; pumpkin, warm spices, and a good dose of dark rum. Stacked tall in three layers they make a beautiful, enormous sandwich filled with milky dulce de leche caramel, and a brown butter-cream cheese frosting that is whoa, over-the-top good.

Pumpkin Layer Cake; Triple decker, rum-spiked pumpkin cake filled with dulce de leche and covered with brown butter-cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted pecans.

On top goes a one-sided blanket of toasted, chopped pecans that ups the level of sophistication to super-sheek.

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Dulce de Leche and Brown Butter Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pumpkin Layer Cake; Triple decker rum-spiked pumpkin cake filled with dulce de leche and covered with brown butter-cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted pecans.
Author:
Serves: 12 to 14 servings
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup dark rum
  • 2½ cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (13.4-ounce) can dulce de leche
  • 8 ounces pecans, toasted and chopped
For the Frosting:
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces (2 eight-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
Make the cakes:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in the middle. Grease 3 (10in-by-2in) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, rum, brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Add pumpkin mixture to the dry mixture an whisk until blended and smooth. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and smooth tops.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, until cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling racks and let cool 15-20 minutes. Remove cakes from pan, discard parchment and let cool completely.
Make the frosting:
  1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium pan over medium heat until fragrant and dark golden brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add sugar, cream and salt, gently whisking until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a mixer bowl, and let cool.
  3. With machine running, add remaining butter, a few pieces at a time, and beat on low until incorporated. Raise speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes.
  4. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium-high until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add brown-butter mixture to cream cheese, and beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Trim tops of 2 cake layers and top and bottom of third (this will be the middle) to create flat even surfaces.
  2. Place a large piece of parchment paper on a cake stand and spread ¼ cup dulce de leche over the tops of each cake layer.
  3. Lay the bottom layer on the parchment-lined stand and spread ½ cup frosting on top, then place middle layer on top (dulce de leche side down). Spread ½ cup frosting on middle layer, then place third layer on top (dulce de leche side down). Spread 1 cup of frosting on top and sides of cake and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Press chopped pecans on one side. Use the straight line of a piece of parchment paper to get and even edge.
  5. Slide parchment from the bottom of the cake and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Notes
The cake will need to chill in the refrigerator for about 6 hours in-between layers and before serving, plus plenty of time to cool so plan accordingly.


A Late Fall Fancy Dinner Party Menu

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Pick Your Poison Horchata Bar for Halloween

October 24, 2017
Make this fun horchata bar that is a hit with kids and adults alike for this year's Halloween party. Using syrups means everyone can make their own flavor!

Halloween is right around the corner and you might be thinking of gathering with friends for a little trick-or-treat bash. I partnered up with Torani Syrups for a fun horchata bar idea that is a hit with both ghouls and goblins.

Everyone gets to “Pick Their Poison” if you will, adding a shot of their favorite flavor to a homemade horchata base. For adults I like to stock the bar with some dark rum as well—adults can handle a little actual poison every once in a while.

As far as the syrups go, Torani has so many to choose from, and sugar-free ones too if you’ve got some health conscious folks in your midst. For Halloween I like to stock my horchata bar with fall flavors. Some of my favorites include:

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!!


Pick Your Poison Horchata Bar for Halloween
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Make this fun horchata bar that is a hit with kids and adults alike for this year's Halloween party. Using syrups means everyone can make their own flavor!
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup long grain rice, like jasmine
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups rice milk
  • Your favorite Torani Syrup (I like to choose fall flavors like Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Buttered Rum, and Salted Caramel)
  • Dark Rum, optional
  • cinnamon sticks, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine almonds and rice in a blender. Add boiling water and let sit 15 minutes.
  2. Cover loosely with a paper towel and blend on high 1 minute, or until smooth. Strain into a pitcher and stir in rice milk. Chill until cold.
  3. To serve, place bottles of syrup, horchata, glasses, ice, rum (if using), and cinnamon sticks on the bar.
  4. Let your guests make their own horchata flavor by filling a glass with ice, filling with horchata, and adding a shot (about 1 tablespoon) of syrup and a shot of rum (for adults), stir to combine with a cinnamon stick.

P.S. Torani is offering 10% off and free shipping for ¡Hola! Jalapeño readers! Sign-up for their newsletter to get your discount!

P.P.S. Other fun Halloween Party Recipes

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

And Lastly, this post was not sponsored by Torani Syrups, but I’m partnering with them on other projects. Thank you for supporting the brands that support ¡Hola! Jalapeño. 

 

 

Comida Latina, Mains, Pasta and Noodles, Recipes

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chipotle Cream

October 17, 2017
Baked spaghetti squash takes on a whole new meaning when draped in fiery chipotle cream sauce and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs and Cotija cheese.

We had a couple of crisp days last week. Well as crisp as the air gets in early October in Southern California, let’s just say I needed a sweater…a light sweater.

Anyway, during those slightly chilly evenings I got the urge for all things rich and creamy and belly warming. I rarely do cream-based things around here due to the fact that I’m the only one who likes it and/or can eat it, but when the urge strikes, I find it’s best to just go with it before it becomes unwieldy and wildly out of control and the next thing you know you’ve eaten a pound of pasta covered in straight cream, parmesan, and butter—not that I’ve ever done that, I’m just saying, it could happen.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, right. So I wanted something rich and creamy, but also spicy and soul-satisfying so I turned to my favorite thing about fall, squash, and got to work. Do you have a favorite fall fruit/vegetable? The thing you wait all year for? Mine is absolutely the hard-skinned squashes of fall..all of them.

Baked spaghetti squash is much lighter in texture than other varieties so it was the perfect vehicle for the smoky, spicy chipotle cream sauce. Baked spaghetti squash is super easy to pull off, the hardest part is cutting the darn thing open—a heavy, sharp knife is essential. Then just scoop out the seeds, rub with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and let the oven do the work.

While the squash is baking, sweat some onions and garlic and chopped chipotles en adobo in olive oil until soft and sweet, add the cream and thin a little with veggie broth so the cream isn’t overwhelming. If you don’t mind about keeping it veggie, you could use any kind of broth you want, also a little white wine would be nice here too. Once the sauce has simmered a little bit, you can blend it nice and smooth if you’d like. Leaving it as is, is just fine too.

Shred the squash into thin strands with a fork and gently mix with the sauce. Sprinkle each dish with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs, thin slices of scallion and a crumbling of sharp Cotija or grated Parmesan would be nice here too. Also cilantro, if you’re into to that kind of thing.

There you go. A dinner for when you need a little hug in the form of cream, spice, and cheese.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chipotle Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2-3 pounds
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 chipotles en adobo, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle the cut sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake in oven until knife tender and shreds easily with a fork, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chipotles and cook a minute more. Add cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Blend with a stick blender until smooth. Add teaspoon of salt, taste and add more salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until toasted and golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. To serve: Shred squash into strands, add to cream sauce and gently fold to coat in sauce. Divide between four plates, top with toasted breadcrumbs, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and Cotija cheese.

MENU

Seeded Pull-Apart Rolls

Roasted Beet and Green Olive Salad

Sweet Molasses Apple Pie

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

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