Posts tagged ‘Blog’

November 19, 2012

Chipotle-Roasted Carrots

I’m thrilled to be hosting Thanksgiving this year! Without a doubt its my favorite holiday. Great food, family, friends and good drinks. What else is there to live for.  It’s a time to give thanks for all that we are grateful for and all that we often take for granted. My daughter lost a grandma this year. She will be missed and in our thoughts this holiday season. Many of us have survived various degrees of Hurricane Sandy’s impact. I know those of us who spent extended time without electricity will be happy to light candles illuminating our Thanksgiving tables, because we want to, not because we have to.

For some reason, the last month has caused the side of my brain that organizes stuff in my life to shut down. I’ve tried to fix it, but it’s not cooperating. I had high hopes of a beautiful photo of a big turkey on my homepage, obviously that didn’t happen.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be weeks of preparation and days of cooking, leaving you exhausted and unable to enjoy the big day. Try to simplify things a little. There are many recipes that you can make ahead or that require little prep with delicious results. I just made these carrots from Food and Wine as a trial run for Thanksgiving and this dish is a keeper! Sweet and spicy from molasses and chipotles, I love how their flavor adds a nice kick to the Thanksgiving plate.

Adapted from Food and Wine, November 2012

INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)

  • 2lbs carrots, peeled and halved on an angle
  • 1 tbsp unsulfured molasses
  • 1 chipotle, minced (from can of chipotle and adobo sauce)
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from the can
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Generous sprinkling of sesame seeds (about 1 tbsp) – toasting is optional, I didn’t
  • Handful of watercress, stems removed (about 2oz)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

On a sheet pan toss the carrots with the minced chipotle, adobo sauce, molasses and olive oil. Spread the carrots out evenly on the pan and roast for about 35-40 minutes until tender. Timing will depend on how thick your carrots are. Check the thickest one on the pan, using a fork, after about 30 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and allow the carrots to cool slightly. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and watercress leaves. Toss to combine and serve.

NOTES: I’ve changed the original recipe to make it even simpler and to reduce the amount of olive oil just a little. The recipe calls for 30 thin baby carrots (2-3 bunches) with the tops discarded. These are the pretty carrots that remind me of Peter Rabbit. I know these can be hard to find, so I made this using a 2lb bag of carrots from the grocery store. It turned out perfect. In addition, this is spicy! I used only one chipotle. The original recipe calls for two. Feel free if you can take the heat. Serve it with some plain greek yogurt or sour cream  if you want to cool it down.

August 7, 2012

Fresh Corn & Charred Pepper Saute

We’re in the middle of summer which means lots of fresh vegetables. Hopefully everyone is taking advantage of the summer’s bounty. Support your local farmers! I haven’t been picking at our farms this season, just buying. People come from near and far to visit our historic little town and its beautiful farms. They come to pick-their-own and will do so joyfully regardless of the temperature. Like them, I relish the splendor of it all. I come home proud of my overflowing baskets of local goodness and stare in bewilderment, thinking – whose going to eat all this? Like last year when I picked 8 quarts of strawberries or the time I picked 13 pounds of apples. This summer you can call me lazy. Schlepping into the fields in the summer heat has just seemed like punishment.

So in the spirit of laziness… I bought some fresh corn at the farm stand and wanted to make something flavorful, healthy and a little more exciting than just plain corn on the cob. There was a nice assortment of fresh peppers at the farmer’s market, so I grabbed a bunch to make this perfect-for-summer side dish. I know 8-10 peppers may seem like a lot, but the peppers I used were small. After they were charred, cleaned and diced, I probably had less than 2 cups.

I made this Mexican style, to serve with fish tacos (recipe coming soon). This would be equally delicious using fresh basil in place of cilantro, omitting the cumin and chili powder. Remember, if you’re using hot peppers the heat is in the seeds and membrane. Keep them if you like it super spicy or stick to bell peppers for a milder flavor.

INGREDIENTS FOR CORN SAUTE (Serves about 6)

  • 8-10 assorted peppers (green, red, poblano, jalapeño… your choice) – charred, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ears fresh corn on the cob, schucked and kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • Juice 1/2 fresh lime
  • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

The first step is charring the peppers…

Fresh from the farm assorted peppers

I used our outdoor grill… Place the whole peppers, no oil needed, directly on the grill, preheated on medium-high. Turn the peppers occasionally until the outsides are nicely blackened and charred. No worries, when you peel them they will be perfect. Once black all over, place the whole peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in the bowl until they are cool enough to touch.

Not so pretty, but perfectly charred peppers.

On a cutting board, remove the black exterior of each pepper – they will peel very easily if you rub them gently with your fingers. Remove the seeds and core, then dice. For this recipe I cut the red pepper into thin strips and diced the others. I thought it looked pretty.

Charred peppers ready to enjoy.

That’s it. If you don’t use all the peppers at once, you can store them covered in olive oil in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Yummy!

TO MAKE THE  CORN SAUTE…

Heat a little oil in a large sauté pan, and add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant, and toss in the corn kernels and diced charred peppers. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin and chipotle chili powder. Stir until combined. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and allow to simmer. The tomatoes will release their juices.

After about 10-15 minutes, taste the corn for seasoning and adjust as needed. Once the corn is tender, add the lime juice, toss in the fresh cilantro and serve. It’s even good cold the next day.

* Feeling lazy or corn on the cob is out of season? Use frozen corn : )

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