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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.

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

 

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Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes

Red Lentil Picnic Salad with Sweet Cider Dressing

June 27, 2017
This Red Lentil Picnic Salad is a no-cook salad that won't wilt and is hearty enough to eat on it's own but also an excellent side for picnics or barbecues.

Summer is the time for picnics and barbecues. It is not the time for standing over a hot stove, sweat beading on your brow. This is where the magic of ultra-tender split red lentils come in. Did you know you don’t even have to cook them?!!

I got this idea when I was experimenting with lentils back in April. It was my first attempts at sprouting lentils that lead to the discovery that the red ones didn’t really need to be cooked at all! When I tried to sprout them they instantly became soft and mushy, just a good soaking in water was all it took to turn them from hard seeds to beans so soft you could smash them between your fingers.

Then I thought what if I soaked them briefly, in boiling water. I bet they would be the perfect consistency for a nice crunchy salad, with just enough give to add great texture while still maintaining all their peppery flavor. Not to mention, eating them virtually raw like this keeps their nutrient level high, making them a powerhouse of a meal without the calories or fat of meat or other foods with similar amounts of protein.

Thus this picnic salad was born. I love make-ahead salads to bring to barbecues or picnics that don’t require any last-minute fussiness. Because all the components of this salad are hardy enough to handle a long marinade in the sweet ginger and cider vinegar dressing you don’t need to worry about them wilting or getting water logged by the time you get to where you’re going. That being said, the baby arugula will wilt a bit on especially long road trips so if this is a bother to you, you can always add it right before serving.


Red Lentil Picnic Salad with Sweet Cider Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • ¼ cup minced scallions or spring onions
  • 1 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ small head red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Pour lentils into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad, or at least 30-40 minutes until they are tender but still maintain a slight bite.
  2. Combine scallions, ginger, salt, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking continuously until incorporated.
  3. Combine broccoli, cabbage, arugula, radishes, cherries, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Drain lentils and add to the vegetables. Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt if needed.

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!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lentils.org. The opinions and text are all mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! Follow the hashtag #LetsLentil for great recipes all summer long!

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Apps, Condiments and Salsas, Recipes, Snacks

Spring Asparagus and New Potatoes with Harissa Goat Cheese Dip

June 5, 2017
Learn how to make homemade harissa then use it in this creamy Harissa Goat Cheese Dip; perfect for tender asparagus spears and summer's first new potatoes.

** Click here to enter THE ULTIMATE BRIDAL SHOWER GIVEAWAY worth over $1000!!**

It always intrigues me how cuisines from one culture can be worlds apart physically yet be exact replicas in almost every other way. The Tunisian spice paste harissa and the mole pastes of Mexico are a perfect example.

I hadn’t really thought too much about their similarities until last week when I decided to make harissa from scratch for the first time. Dried chiles got toasted and soaked, whole spices were warmed filling the entire house with their fragrance, vegetables were charred under an open flame until their skins crackled and blackened. The entire process felt like second nature, incredibly familiar to one I’ve done many times making homemade mole sauces and ground chile salsas.

My inclinations probably gave my harissa more of a Mexican flavor than is traditional—smoked morita chiles and charred tomatoes I don’t think are authentic. But it made a lovely dip on it’s own and when mixed with soft chèvre goat cheese and a little bit of cream cheese to ensure lusciousness in a harissa goat cheese dip.

I made this creepingly spicy dip for gently blanched asparagus and new potatoes; a very special seasonal crudite-style platter I brought to the Friends Who Fete Bridal Shower Meg and I threw for Aida over Memorial Day weekend.  Any leftover harissa goat cheese dip was quickly consumed with tortilla chips and as a drizzle over a big plate of carne asada, grilled vegetables, and rice.

All the party details will be coming out this week so make sure you follow along the #FriendsWhoFete hashtag for lots of effortlessly elegant party tips!


Spring Asparagus and New Potatoes with Harissa Goat Cheese Dip
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
For the Harissa:
  • 4 dried morita chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 1 serrano chile
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Dip:
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
For the Veggies:
  • 1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
Instructions
To Make the Harissa:
  1. Heat broiler to high. Place dried chiles, red bell pepper, serrano chile, and cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet.
  2. Place baking sheet directly under the broiler and char the vegetables. Watch the dried chiles carefully as they will toast first, turn them occasionally until they are darkened on all sides, then remove and let the remaining vegetables broil.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the baking sheet as their skins char on all sides, the cherry tomatoes will be done next followed by the serrano and red bell pepper which could take up to 10 minutes.
  4. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the toasted dried chiles and let soak at least 15 minutes.
  5. Combine cumin, coriander, and caraway in a small frying pan and toast, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until fragrant and starting to brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, let cool, then grind into a powder. This can also be done in a clean coffee grinder.
  6. Once the charred veggies are cool enough to handle, remove all charred skin and the stem of the serrano chile. Remove the serrano seeds too if you don't want it very spicy.
  7. Drain the dried chiles and combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until very smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed. Harissa can be made up to 3 days in advance. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 1½ cups of sauce.
To Make the Dip:
  1. Combine harissa, goat cheese, cream cheese, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until smooth and well combined. Taste and add salt as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Dip can be made up to a day in advance, covered in the refrigerator.
To prepare the Veggies:
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, whole and cook at a gentle boil until just tender when poked with the tip of a knife. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  2. Add asparagus to the boiling water and cook until vibrant green and just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half or quarters if they are big.
  4. Arrange the vegetables on a tray with the dip and serve.
Notes
Substitute store-bought harissa for the homemade if you'd like; you will need 1½ cups for this recipe but don't add it all at once. Because the flavor of store-bought will be different you might need more or less depending on the brand and how spicy it is.

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!

A big thanks goes out to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for the beautiful photography and to Melissa’s for supplying the fresh produce!

Apps, Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks

Salsa de Cacahuate {Creamy Peanut and Chile Salsa}

May 5, 2017
Salsa de Cacahuate is a creamy, spicy salsa made from ground peanuts, arbol chiles, charred tomatoes, garlic, & onions. Goes amazing with margaritas!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

I couldn’t leave you with nothing to nibble on! This peanut salsa is exactly what you want to go with your Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita.

Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita

It is a spicy little number, full of dried arbol chiles but creamy with ground peanuts to calm the heat.  I like to add a couple of charred tomatoes to add some smoke and make it just thick enough to coat a salty tortilla chip but not so gloppy it just runs right off.

The sweet margarita calms the spice from the salsa de cacahuate and it is an incredible pairing with blanco tequila bringing out the darker, earthier flavors in the spirit.

Salsa de Cacahuate

Have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo and be sure to check out the over 60 Margarita-inspired recipes we have on the Margarita Week page!!

Salsa de Cacahuate {Creamy Peanut and Chile Salsa}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Salsa de Cacahuate is a creamy, spicy salsa made from ground peanuts, arbol chiles, charred tomatoes, garlic, & onions. Goes amazing with margaritas!
Author:
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 small tomatoes, cored
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup raw peanuts, plus ¼ cup toasted and chopped, for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 dried arbol chiles, stems removed
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Place tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves in a dry comal or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. The garlic will cook sooner than the other vegetables, remove them as they are done cooking.
  2. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the garlic and place in the blender with the other vegetables. Blend on high until smooth and keep in blender.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ½ cup peanuts, oregano, chiles, peppercorns, and cloves. Fry, stirring occasionally, until peanuts are toasted and chiles are fragrant. Let cool slightly.
  4. Add peanut mixture to blender with the tomato mixture and the lime juice and salt and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt as needed. Top with remaining chopped peanuts.

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!

Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Mains, Recipes

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sprouted Lentil Tacos

April 18, 2017
Sweet potato and lentil tacos made with roasted sweet potatoes, DIY sprouted lentils, & jalapeño yogurt salsa wrapped in homemade sprouted lentil tortillas.

{This #SpringCleanse post is sponsored by Lentils.org}

If spring is all about renewal than spring cooking should reflect that in some ways too. There is a freshness and light in the air and that feeling has made its way into my kitchen.

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

I love lentils and traditionally have used them in heartier cooking—soups, stews, with sausage, and so forth but this time I wanted lentils to add lightness and a tender bite to what I was cooking. I’ve read a lot about making your own sprouts from beans and seeds and such but had never actually tried it at home. The added nutrient boost was reason enough to get me excited; lentils are naturally loaded with protein but sprouted lentils also have antioxidant benefits as well as being excellent for digestive health. But it really wasn’t until I realized how easy they are that I decided there was no excuse not to try.

How to Sprout Lentils

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

You can buy all sorts of fancy equipment to sprout with, which might be handy when sprouting smaller seeds, but sprouting lentils is so easy all I used was a colander. The lentils have to be soaked overnight then I strained them through a large colander, spreading the lentils out as much as possible and cover the colander with a kitchen towel. I left them on my counter and rinsed them a few times a day to keep them from drying out. After a couple of days, little sprouts emerged and they were tender enough to eat. You can keep going for up to five days to get the sprouts to grow bigger but I used mine after three. I’ve used the sprouted lentils in all kinds of things—tossed in salads, in sandwiches, I’ve even been topping my eggs in the morning with a handful of lentils. Their texture is just addictive and they have a subtle sweet, earthy flavor that is delicious with just about anything. It was these tacos though that got me really excited.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Tacos

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

Sweet potato and lentil tacos are one of my favorite veggie taco combinations. The lovely thing about these tacos however, are the sprouted lentils don’t need to be cooked, they add a wonderful crunch to the tender roasted sweet potatoes and soft tortilla. As for these homemade tortillas they really take the idea of spring cleanse to a whole other level. Corn tortillas are pretty good for you but a soft homemade corn tortilla spiced with turmeric and sprouted lentils are something you can feel good about eating two times over. I know homemade tortillas aren’t something you’re going to whip out after gymnastics practice on a Tuesday night but when you have the time, I encourage you to give them a try. Get the recipe and all the details on how to make them and just think about it.

Jalapeno Yogurt Salsa

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

This salsa is like a breath of fresh (if not pretty spicy) air. It pulls all the flavors of these tacos together; creamy but still very light, made with yogurt instead of the more traditional sour cream. With the leftovers I added a bit more olive oil and vinegar and made a fiery salad dressing that was great on a sprouted lentil, radish, apple, dried currant, and arugula salad—uses for these lentils are just sprouting up everywhere (pun fully intended)!

Let Lentils.org inspire you to clean up your act this spring and enter the #SpringCleanse Canadian Lentil Sweepstakes! Check out the details below.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sprouted Lentil Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sweet potato and lentil tacos made with roasted sweet potatoes, DIY sprouted lentils, & jalapeño yogurt salsa wrapped in homemade sprouted lentil turmeric tortillas.
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
For the sprouted lentils:
  • ½ cup whole dried lentils
For the sweet potatoes:
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the salsa:
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the tacos:
Instructions
To sprout the lentils:
  1. Start at least 3 days in advance; cover lentils with about an inch of water and let sit overnight.
  2. The next day strain and spread lentils out in the strainer, giving them as much room as possible. Set the strainer over a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Leave at room temperature.
  3. Rinse lentils at least 3 times a day for at least 2 days or until they start to sprout. Continue rinsing and leave them covered at room temperature for up to 5 days, depending on how large you'd like the sprouts to be.
  4. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate. Sprouted lentils will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
For the tacos:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F and arrange rack in the upper third.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, and spices in a large bowl. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Place jalapeños and unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry comal or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until charred on all sides (garlic will take less time so remove that first).
  4. Remove garlic peel and the stems from the jalapeños. Cut jalapeños in half and remove seeds if you'd like it less spicy.
  5. Place charred vegetables in a blender with yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed.
  6. To serve, toss sweet potatoes with cilantro and sliced spring onions then divide between the warm tortillas and top with sprouted lentils. Drizzle with salsa and enjoy!
Notes
Sprouting your own lentils is super easy but it does take some planning. The lentils take at least 3 days to sprout so plan ahead.

Serving these tacos in homemade tortillas make them extra special but store-bought corn tortillas also work here.

 

#SpringCleanse Canadian Lentils Sweepstakes

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! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lentils.org. The opinions and text are all mine.

Breakfast, Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Mains, Recipes

8 Delicious Ways to Use Tomatillos + Huevos Divorciados

March 24, 2017
Huevos Divorciados Recipe from @holajalapeno

This post was sponsored by Ralphs, all opinions however are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! 

If you have a weakness for green salsa, you may be a tomatillo lover and not even know it.  Tomatillos are essential to Mexican cooking and were first cultivated by the Aztecs centuries ago. The name might not be familiar but I’m sure you have seen them, they are the green (or sometimes purple) tomato-looking fruit that are wrapped in a crinkly paper husk. Tomatillos—while they may look like a tomato—have actually nothing to do with tomatoes but are in the same family as the cape gooseberry and have the tartness to prove it.

8 Ways to Cook with Tomatillos from @holajalapeno

How To Buy and Prep Tomatillos

When buying tomatillos, look for firm-fleshed fruit with no bruises or browned spots. The best tomatillos are on the smaller side, about the size of a ping pong ball, the bigger they are the more bitter they tend to be. Ralphs always has a beautiful selection of tomatillos as well as cilantro, jalapeños, and everything else I need to make my favorite Mexican recipes.

To cook with tomatillos, remove the papery husk and give them a rinse under cold water.  They don’t need to be peeled or seeded and can be eaten raw or cooked. Their tart flavor can be used to bring a tangy zing to everything from salsas to soups and slowly braised meat dishes. Here are my favorite ways to cook with tomatillos:

8 easy recipes for tomatillos from @holajalapeno

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

In Salsa

 

8 Easy Recipes For Tomatillos from @holajalapeno

In Soup

8 Easy Recipes for Tomatillos from @holajalapeno

Green Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs

For Breakfast

8 Easy Recipe for Tomatillos from @holajalapeno

Slow Cooker Carne Adobada

For Dinner

Another Mexican classic that relies heavily on tomatillos are Huevos Divorciados or Divorced Eggs. The two eggs are usually separated by a sea of green (tomatillo) salsa and a smooth red salsa but I’m tapping into my love affair with beets and made a roasted beet relish instead. It’s still green and red, the huevos have in no way gotten back together and we all get to pack a few more veggies into breakfast—Yay for us!!

Huevos Divorciados Recipe from @holajalapeno

This tomatillo salsa is a bit different from the other versions mentioned above. The addition of Greek yogurt takes it to a completely different place,  it adds a creaminess that is such a perfect counterpoint to the tart nature of tomatillos that I can’t believe I have never made tomatillos salsa like this before.

I piled the whole thing on a plate of fried tahini breakfast potatoes which are a creation of my friend Susana. A spoonful of tahini melts into the potatoes as they fry, coating them in a glorious sesame bath. The extra oil makes them super crispy and golden.

Huevos Divorciados Recipe by @holajalapeno

Huevos Divorciados with Creamy Tomatillo Salsa & Roasted Beet Relish
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Huevos Divorciados: 2 eggs smothered in creamy tomatillo salsa & roasted beet relish on fried tahini breakfast potatoes.
Author:
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
For the Tomatillo Salsa:
  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2-3 jalapeños, stemmed and cut in half (add as many or few jalapeños as you like depending on how spicy you want the salsa to be)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
For the Beet Relish:
  • 4-6 small beets, trimmed and washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and minced (seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Tahini Potatoes:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 4 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
For the Eggs:
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 large eggs
  • Crumbled queso fresco, optional
Instructions
To Make the Tomatillo Salsa:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F and arrange rack in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Combine tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeños on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Toss to coat.
  3. Roast veggies until softened and brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer veggies to a blender (removing the skin from the garlic first), add cilantro and yogurt and season with salt (I used 2 teaspoons) and blend until smooth. You might need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your blender.
  5. This will make a lot more salsa than you'll need but extra salsa is never a bad problem to have.
  6. Keep oven on to roast the beets.
For the Beet Relish:
  1. Place beets in a baking dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and cover with foil. Roast beets until they can be easily pierced with a knife, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Peel beets by rubbing the skin off with a paper towel or a pairing knife then cut into small dice.
  3. Combine beets with remaining relish ingredients and toss to combine. Season with salt to taste.
For the Potatoes:
  1. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and potatoes and season with salt.
  2. Cook, undisturbed a few minutes then add remaining potato ingredients and stir until tahini has coated the potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered.
For the Eggs:
  1. I like to fry my eggs one at a time. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil per egg in a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering crack the egg into the middle of the oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn off heat and let cook, undisturbed 1-2 minutes. Flip if you want an over easy egg and finish cooking to your liking. Repeat with remaining eggs.
To Serve:
  1. Divide potatoes between 2-4 plates, depending on how many you are serving. Place 2 eggs on each plate and top each egg with the different salsas. Sprinkle a little queso fresco over the top if you want, serve immediately.
Notes
To make both salsas at the same time, roast the tomatillo salsa vegetables on one rack and the beets on another rack in the oven simultaneously.

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! Knowing that this recipe worked for you 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!

Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Sandwiches

Chicken Milanesa Sandwiches with Basil-Lime Mayo

February 1, 2017
Chicken Milanesa Sandwich with Lime-Basil Mayo Recipe

One of my husband’s favorite things in the whole entire world (besides me of course, right?) is milanesa. Pork, beef, chicken milanesa, he loves it all. And most of all when we hit up a good torta or Mexican sandwich spot, a milanesa torta is always on order.

Chicken Milanesa Sandwich with Basil-Lime Mayo Recipe

Now a classic torta de milanesa this is not, but that’s okay, that’s not what I really do anyway—you know me. You won’t find the bun slathered with creamy beans and we are using a thin piece of chicken breast, not steak but I guarantee this sandwich is no less terrific and the sentiment of soft bun, creamy spread, crispy, pan-fried meat is all still there.

Chicken Milanesa Sandwich with Basil-Lime Mayo Recipe

Make a Pickle

Instead of a sharp slice of red onion I’ve added crunch in the form of sweet and sour fennel and carrot pickles. This recipe is based on my favorite way to make pickles which is as easy as boiling a few ingredients that I know you already have in your cupboard, pouring it over some vegetables (this recipe can be used to pickle anything from radishes to avocados—yes, really), and sticking the whole shebang in the fridge. Let them sit at least overnight in the refrigerator if you can to help the veggies really soak up the flavors.

Chicken Milanesa Sandwich with Basil-Lime Mayo Recipe

These pickles are so delicious I found myself making a pile of them on my plate so I could eat a salad-like forkful with every bite of chicken milanese sandwich. I am a sucker for crunch so that might have something to do with it, but still, very good. So try it!!

A Couple of Tips

As for breading the chicken (and in my opinion anything that is going to be fried) I am a Panko girl til I die. Armando makes fun of me for buying Panko by the case at Costco but it is the far superior in the crispy-crunch department and we’ve already discussed how happy that makes me.

Chicken Milanesa Sandwich with Basil-Lime Mayo Recipe

Sometimes you can find thin chicken breast filets ready to go but if not follow the instructions in the recipe to get them thin and ready for breading. You might only need two chicken breast to make four servings if they are super huge. Cutting them in half horizontally will make it easier to pound out thin, then cut them into 4 pieces trying to make the pieces the same size as your bread rolls so you don’t end up with a dry hunk of chicken-less bread at the end.
Chicken Milanesa Sandwich with Basil-Lime Mayo Recipe

Chicken Milanese Sandwiches with Basil-Lime Mayo
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Crispy Panko-breaded chicken milanesa tucked inside a fluffy roll with pickled fennel and carrots and swathed in a creamy basil and lime mayonnaise.
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Fennel-Carrot Pickles
  • 1 large head fennel (about 1 pound), bruised outer pieces removed
  • 3 small carrots (about ½ pound), peeled and trimmed
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
For the Basil-Lime Mayo
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Chicken:
  • 14 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, for frying
For the Sandwich:
  • 4 bolillo or hoagie buns
  • baby spinach
Instructions
To Make the Fennel-Carrot Pickles:
  1. Slice all the vegetables paper-thin using a mandolin if you have one, or sharp knife. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Place cumin seeds in a small saucepan and toast over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, water, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Pour over vegetables and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to a container with a tight-sealing lid and refrigerate overnight. Pickles will keep refrigerated for 2 months.
For the Basil-Lime Mayo:
  1. Combine basil leaves, mayonnaise, lime juice, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
For the Chicken:
  1. Heat oven to 300°F.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally. Place one half on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound chicken until it is ½-inch thick using a meat mallet or anything else heavy (rolling pin or wine bottle would also work). Repeat with remaining chicken.
  3. Cut the pounded chicken into 4 equal pieces if you do not have 4 already.
  4. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Place Panko in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper and add lime zest. Mix seasoning into Panko.
  6. Crack egg into a separate shallow dish. Add 1 tablespoon of water, season with salt and pepper and whisk until smooth.
  7. Place flour in a third shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Place one or two chicken pieces in the flour mixture and coat on all sides.
  8. Transfer floured chicken to the egg wash and turn to coat. Now place in the Panko mixture and press to coat with Panko on all sides. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  9. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  10. Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, test with a pinch of Panko. If the oil is hot enough the Panko should sizzle immediately.
  11. Slide 1 or 2 Panko-coated chicken breast into the hot oil (don't crowd) and let cook, undisturbed until deep golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes more.
  12. Transfer chicken to the baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the chicken. You can place the rolls in the oven too if you want them toasted a little bit.
  13. If most of the oil has been used in the pan add a couple more tablespoons of oil to cook the rest of the chicken pieces.
To Make the Sandwiches:
  1. Slice each roll in half and spread some basil-lime mayo on the top and bottom of the rolls. Put a bit of baby spinach on the bottom half then top with a piece of chicken. Pile some pickles on top and cover with the top bun.

Did you love this recipe? 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!

All ceramics by W/R/F Lab

Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Salads

Chili-Lime Broiled Salmon Salad

January 25, 2017
Chili-Lime Salmon Salad @holajalapeno

Hello dear hearts! What’s for dinner? Oh, that again. Here’s a constant dinner companion that I have up my sleeve for when I do not want to think about dinner but I must because I decided about 9 years ago to feed and protect. Salmon salad.

It sounds simple enough, and it is, but is also a genius solution because it can be basically anything you want. Follow along below if you’d like to make this exact recipe but you really only need a fillet of salmon, some lettuce, and dressing to make salmon salad for dinner.

Chili-Lime Salmon Salad @holajalapeno

This is a standard at Casa Ramos because there are only a handful of dinner options that all four of us get excited about and salmon salad is one of them.

Spaghetti and meatballs is another although Louisa only eats the meatballs and Hiro only eats the pasta. Roasted chicken is another, but honestly Louisa’s not a huge fan. But salmon salad that’s a winner. Both kids love the salmon, lettuce, and if I add tomatoes, or cucumbers well they REALLY love that but even more of a bonus is I can add roasted butternut squash or potatoes and just put them on the plates that want them. I can also try something new, like these fresh garbanzo beans, and the kids will be so happy about the other stuff happening on their plates that they don’t complain one iota.

chili-lime salmon salad recipe @holajalapeno

Speaking of these garbanzo beans they are delicate and delicious raw versions of the dried or canned chick peas you are familiar with.

I picked some up last weekend at the Mexican market even though I had no idea what to do with them. There was a scrum of overzealous women hoarding the pile of fuzzy green pods and shoveling them into bags with such fervor that I knew they were something not be missed.

Chili-Lime Salmon Salad @holajalapeno

After asking around on Instagram I realized they are best eaten charred, skin and all, on the comal with a little butter and salt and then the beans are finagled out with your teeth edamame style—a street snack eaten in Mexico AND Israel!

For the salad, I removed the beans from the shell and roasted them along with the salmon to get the same toasty effect but one you could eat with a fork. If you can’t find fresh garbanzo beans you can substitute canned beans, drained and rinsed, tossed with a little olive oil, salt and some of the chili-lime mixture you use for the salmon. Cook them the same as the fresh beans, broiled with the salmon fillet.

Chili-Lime Salmon Salad Recipe

Chili-Lime Broiled Salmon Salad Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A main-course salmon salad with roasted butternut squash, pepitas, crunchy Romaine lettuce, broiled chili-lime salmon and fresh garbanzo beans.
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Vinaigrette:
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions (green part only)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Chili-Lime Mixture
  • 3 limes zested
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
For the Butternut Squash:
  • 2 pounds peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Salmon:
  • 1½ pounds salmon fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and pin bones removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Salad:
  • 1 pound fresh garbanzo beans, peeled
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried thoroughly, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
Instructions
To Make the Vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
To Make the Chili-Lime Mixture:
  1. Combine lime zest and chili powder in a small bowl.
To Make the Butternut Squash:
  1. Heat oven to 450°F and arrange rack in the upper third.
  2. Toss squash slices with oil, salt, and 3 teaspoons of the chili-lime mixture. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast until just tender when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes.
To Make the Salmon:
  1. Heat broiler to high.
  2. Lay salmon on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and remaining chili-lime mixture. Rub everything over the salmon so the flesh is seasoned all over.
  3. Toss fresh garbanzos with a teaspoon or so of oil and a pinch of salt and arrange around the salmon. Cut one of the limes you zested in half and squeeze the lime halves over everything.
  4. Broil salmon and beans until salmon is done to your likeness. This is going to depend on the thickness of your salmon, start checking after 4 minutes. Salmon should feel firm to the touch, but not hard and opaque. This could take anywhere from 4-10 minutes.
For the salad:
  1. Toss Romaine, pepitas, squash, cilantro leaves, and garbanzo beans with about half of the vinaigrette. Arrange on plates and divide the salmon on top of the salad. Pass remaining dressing on the table.

Did you love this recipe? 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!

Apps, Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Piñata Chicken Wings Recipe

January 10, 2017
Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

Thanks to Gourmesso Coffee for sponsoring this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.

We had our week of healthy right? (Not like I participated.) And I’m pretty sure we are ready to head full swing into America’s great winter pastime—watching stuff on TV and eating finger food! With the Super Bowl, award season, and many other very important television events coming up (does the inauguration count?) it is time to get our chicken wings on.

Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

I’m going to go ahead and admit now that I am not a chicken wings person, not really, not until now. I made these for Armando who is most definitely a chicken wings person. A person who regularly will order only chicken wings when we go out. A person who’s terrible wife never makes chicken wings at home, except that this time I did and they are really, really, really good! So good I had to stop myself from eating the whole lot of them after I shot the photographs so there would be some leftover when he got home and realized I’d finally, after all these years, made chicken wings.

Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

I really don’t know what my hangup was, not only are chicken wings excellent party snacks but they also make the ultimate weeknight dinner. In the time it takes to bake the wings the sauce will be ready and then all you have to do is toss them with the sauce, bake them a few minutes more, and watch your five-year old and husband fight over who gets the last one.

Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

Kitchen Tip

The most complicated part is cutting the chicken wings into three pieces, which if you have a sharp knife and take a gander at the picture below, is not really complicated at all. Cut off the pointy tip and save for chicken stock, then cut into two pieces at the second joint.

Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

One More Kitchen Tip

Coffee makes a lot of things taste better. I know it sounds crazy but I’m not going out on a limb to say adding coffee to anything chocolaty, smoky, spicy, or sweet will inevitably boost the flavor. Try it! I’ve been loving these Fair Trade Gourmesso coffee capsules to get my morning coffee fix and for adding a little something-something to recipes. They work in any Nespresso machine and are 30% cheaper than the Nespresso capsules—I believe that’s what you call a win-win.

Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

Case in my coffee-point is this sauce; caramelized sweet onions, dark undertones from coffee, smoky heat from chipotle chiles, with just the right amount of sweet fruitiness from raspberry jam. They’re Piñata Wings!! Absolutely full of surprises.

Piñata Chicken Wings from @holajalapeno

Did you love this recipe? 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!

Piñata Chicken Wings
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Oven-baked chicken wings tossed in a smoky-sweet barbecue sauce made with caramelized onions, chipotle chiles, raspberry jam, and a jolt of coffee.
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ large red onion
  • ⅔ cup brewed coffee
  • 2 chipotles en adobo
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ground black pepper, to taste
For the Wings:
  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning
Optional Garnishes:
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Sliced scallions and jalapeños
  • Finely chopped parsley and cilantro
Instructions
For the sauce:
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat so they don’t burn.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are very tender and sauce has reduced a bit, about 15 minutes more.
  3. Use a stick blender, or transfer sauce to a blender and blend on high until smooth. If you are using a blender hold a dish towel you don’t mind getting stained over the top of the blender instead of the lid. The hot sauce can cause the lid to pop off sending hot liquid all over the place.
  4. Taste sauce and add more salt or vinegar if needed. Set aside.
For the wings:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil, or a Silpat.
  3. Cut wings into 3 pieces; save the wing tips for stock. Toss wings with oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake wings for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. Toss wings with half the sauce and bake 10 minutes more. Toss wings with remaining sauce and serve with garnishes and lots of napkins
Notes
Depending on your love of chicken wings this recipe could make enough for 2 people or 4. Double the amount of chicken wings and bake on 2 baking sheets if you want to make a larger batch. The recipe makes enough sauce for 4 pounds of wings.