Monday, December 31, 2012

happy new year

saw this on facebook today (thanks gigi) and thought it accurately summed up my goals for 2013.  wishing each of you a very happy, healthy and inspirational new year.  thank you so much for supporting napa farmhouse 1885 during the past 4 plus years.  we will be celebrating our 5th anniversary in february.  i so appreciate your comments, emails, facebook posts, tweets and support!

my best,
napa farmhouse 1885
red or green

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

brussels sprouts with vinegar & cranberries

sadly, it is food network's last food fest of the year.  we started early in july with summerfest...focusing each week on fresh in-season fruit and vegetables (featuring a different item each week) and moved into fall fest late september.  i will miss the weekly recap of recipes from my favorite food network chefs and food bloggers.

we end the year with brussels of my favorite winter vegetables.  this recipe requires searing the sprouts in a hot cast iron pan which caramelizes, sweetens and eliminates any bitterness.  paired with onions, pecans, cranberries and topped with seasoned rice vinegar, this is a perfect side dish for your holiday table.  give it a try...i predict even brussels sprouts haters will eat every bite.

thanks food has been a terrific year.  see you next summer!

brussels sprouts with vinegar & cranberries
1 lb brussels sprouts, halved with stems cut off 
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

heat a cast skillet over med-high heat. (cast iron is preferred for this recipe)  when hot add 2 tbsp olive oil and the brussels sprouts, cut side down.  cook without stirring for 5 minutes. the sprouts should be deep brown and caramelized.  season with a pinch each salt and pepper.  add onions and stir.  cook for another 2-3 minutes or until onions begin to soften.  add remaining olive oil, pecans and cranberries and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  add vinegar.  taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  cook an additional minute.  serve.

it is brussels sprouts week at food network's fall fest. check out all the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Almonds, Manchego and Pimenton Vinaigrette
Cooking With Elise: Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Brussels Sprouts With Vinegar and Cranberries
Red or Green?: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
And Love It Too: Lemon-Infused Brussels
Virtually Homemade: Fried Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Parsley and Parmesan
Thursday Night Dinner: Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan and Breadcrumbs
Devour: Our Best Pork-Filled Brussels Sprouts Recipes for the Holidays
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: Simple Brussels Sprouts Recipes


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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

pasta with fresh broccoli & spicy cashew pesto


aahh pesto!  i am such a fan.  of course i love the basil, pine nut, extra virgin olive oil and parmigiano reggiano cheese version, but almost any herb and nut combination works.  this means you can make pesto year round using local, in season ingredients.... try my spinach and peanut butter recipe from earlier this year for an idea.

i even love nut based using just the nut butter as the sauce and flavored with spices and vegetables.  a perfect example is this pasta dish with fresh broccoli and spicy cashew butter.  fast, easy and so good for you....full of fiber from the vegetables and whole wheat pasta;  healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil & cashews and vitamins from the broccoli, cilantro, scallion and red pepper.  best of all...this dish is delicious!

it is broccoli week at food network's fall fest, so you are getting a 2 for 1 recipe from me this week.  many of you know that i recently launched a new blog red or green?  emphasizing hot & spicy food from all over the world.  the broccoli for today's recipe is listed on the new blog....a spicy garlic and red chile flakes take on a popular puglian dish.  the finished dish is then tossed into hot pasta and  mixed with prepared cashew butter which, when combined with a bit of the pasta water, melts into a creamy, delicious sauce.  you gotta give this one a try!

pasta with broccoli & spicy cashew pesto
1 batch broccoli with garlic & chile, puglian style
1 lb whole wheat pasta, penne or fusilli
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 green onion, chopped (white and green parts)
6 oz prepared cashew butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely minced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
red pepper flakes (optional)
freshly shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional)

prepare broccoli per the recipe posted on the red or green? website.  bring large pot of water to a boil, add 2 handfuls of salt and the pasta. cook according to package directions. drain, reserving the pasta water.

meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.  add green onion and saute for 1 minute.  add cashew butter, lemon zest and 1 ladle full of pasta water, stir until creamy. (add additional pasta water if needed) add prepared broccoli, pinch each sea salt and black pepper and stir to combine.  taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  cook an additional minute.  serve garnished with cilantro and additional red pepper flakes and parmigiano cheese if desired.

additional broccoli recipes you may enjoy:
broccoli salad
roasted broccoli and garlic

it is winter squash week at food network's fall fest. check out all the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Easy Stir-Fry Broccoli and Red Bell Peppers
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta With Fresh Broccoli and Spicy Cashew Pesto
Red or Green?: Broccoli With Garlic and Chile, Puglian-Style
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Broccoli
Virtually Homemade: Broccolini With Walnuts and Sweet Soy Sauce
Thursday Night Dinner: Soy, Sesame and Ginger Broccoli
FN Dish: Six Broccoli Mains


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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

roasted winter squash muffins with honey and molasses

i made a big pot of beans and these muffins for dinner yesterday.  the beans bubbled all day while cooking on the stove, the scent of the roasting winter squash and then baking muffins filled the air.  what a welcoming, homey way to celebrate a late fall sunday.
roasting the winter squash tenderizes the vegetable and brings out the sweetness.  the resulting puree delivers incredibly moist muffins.  i used spelt flour for fiber, taste and because it is tolerable for many people with gluten sensitivities (although it is NOT gluten free so unsuitable for those with celiac disease).  you could use whole wheat flour or unbleached white flour if your prefer. in comparison to most muffins, these are very low in oil and sweeteners...a guilt free treat perhaps?

roasted winter squash muffins with honey & molasses

1 winter squash, halved and seeded (i usually use acorn, kobacha or sweet dumpling)

extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp honey

2 organic eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from the dairy section, not canned)

extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

1 3/4 cup spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp chinese 5 spice powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

large pinch sea salt

preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  line a 12 cup muffin pan with parchment muffin liners. spray with non aerosol organic olive oil spray.

line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  place squash halves cut side up on pan.  drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp honey over each squash half and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt.  roast in oven until squash flesh is easily pierced with a sharp knife (45 minutes to 1 hour).  remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

when squash is cool enough to touch, use a sharp knife and cut 4-5 lines lengthwise into squash pulp being careful not to cut into the skin.  repeat for each half.  then, using the same technique, cut 4-5 lines width wise.  you will be left with small cubes.  use a spoon to scoop out the squares.  they should be very soft. add to a small bowl and mash with a potato masher or puree in blender or food processor.  measure out 1 cup of squash.
meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add eggs , coconut milk and 3 tbsp olive oil.  whisk until eggs are frothy.  add the honey, molasses, 1 cup pureed squash and whisk until blended.  add spelt flour, baking powder and spices.  using a wooden spoon, stir until just mixed. (do not overmix).

add batter equally to each cup.  (i use an ice cream scoop).  Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  serve warm.

some additional winter squash recipes you might enjoy:
fusilli with roasted delicata squash & fresh sage brown butter
roasted red kuri squash
stuffed acorn squash with wild rice, pecans and cranberries

it is winter squash week at food network's fall fest.  check out all the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:

Feed Me Phoebe: African Peanut Stew With Shrimp and Butternut Squash
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Spicy Thai Coconut Winter Squash Noodle Soup
The Heritage Cook: Spaghetti Squash Two Ways
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Winter Squash Muffins With Honey and Molasses
Virtually Homemade: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese With Sage and Bacon Breadcrumbs
Red or Green?: Spicy Twice-Baked Stuffer Winter Squash
Devour: Rachael Ray's Easy Pumpkin and Winter Squash Lasagna
Thursday Night Dinner: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
FN Dish: 5 Light Squash Recipes


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Soup With Chile & Garlic

This soup is perfect for cold winter nights.  Roasting the cauliflower and garlic sweetens the vegetables. You get a bit of heat from new Mexican red chile powder and spices.  Creamy coconut milk balances everything out.  Be sure to serve with delicious bread or rolls to dip in the bowls of soup.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup With Chile & Garlic
1 large head cauliflower
extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 white onion, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp New Mexican red chile powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 baking potato, unpeeled and diced
1 qt plus 4 oz vegetable stock
3/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened**
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare cauliflower by first washing and removing leaves. (chop leaves and save for later in the recipe). Cut off the stem and then cut cauliflower in half lengthwise and then again into quarters. Place one of the cut sides down on cutting board and...with the knife at an angle...cut off the stem. Repeat with remaining three pieces. Break cauliflower into bite sized florets. Chop half of the florets into small pieces.

Place prepared cauliflower florets (not chopped ones) on a rimmed parchment lined baking sheet. Run four passes of olive oil bottle over the pan and, using your hands, roll cauliflower in oil ensuring evenly covered. Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add garlic and another two passes of e.v.o.o. Stir and sprinkle large pinch each salt and peppers over vegetables. Return to pan and roast for another 10 minutes. Keep roasting until the cauliflower is beginning to brown and caramelize.  Remove from oven.

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to large pot and gently heat.  Add onion, jalapeno, and reserved cauliflower greens and cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft. ( about 6 minutes).  Add chile powder and cayenne pepper, stir and cook for an additional minute.  Add potato, chopped cauliflower and quart of vegetable stock.  Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, reduce heat back to medium and simmer for 25 minutes. (vegetables should be very soft.  If not, continue simmering for an additional 5-10 minutes.).  Add the roasted cauliflower, stir and heat for an additional minute.

Using a stick blender***, puree the soup until well mixed and fairly smooth.  (note, this soup has texture from the potato peel and greens which I like.  If you want a very smooth soup, pass through a strainer or food mill).  Add the coconut milk, small pinch of salt and one of pepper and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add additional vegetable broth if too thick.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  Serve in large bowls, each drizzled with a bit of olive oil, a pinch more of the red chile powder and a sprinkling of cilantro. 

** Use the coconut milk in cartons in the dairy section...not the canned version
*** If you don't have a stick blender you can use a regular blender.  Do this in two batches and be very careful...soup is HOT.  See Amazon ad below for an example of an immersion stick blender.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

It is cauliflower week at food networks' fall fest. Check out the delicious sounding recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:
Red or Green?: Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic
Devour: 6 New Ways to Use Cauliflower
Thursday Night Dinner: Quick Cauliflower Curry
Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Cauliflower and Fennel Salad With Endive and Radicchio
FN Dish: 10 Standout Cauliflower Recipes
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Cauliflower


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

spicy twiced baked sweet potatoes for thanksgiving

we are celebrating thanksgiving in taos this first ever away from california. i decided to tweak the menu a bit...combining some of our traditional dishes with new ones designed to take advantage of local ingredients.  so, my smashed potatoes will make an appearance...but they will sit next to the spicy, chorizo/tortilla/cornbread dressing i told you about last week.  we have to have the roasted brussels sprouts ....and turkey of course (i found a beautiful organic one from embudo valley organics.  their motto: humanely raised, free range, field grazed on the banks of the northern rio grande. love discovering the organic local food producers in the area)...but i am adding spicy twice baked sweet potatoes instead of the more typical sweet & spiced casserole. 

i love sweet potatoes, but am not of fan of the versions which call for added sugars albeit maple syrup, brown sugar or honey.  and marshmallows?  ick!  i usually roast them until they are beginning to caramelize with just sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and sometimes cayenne pepper.   this twice baked version uses the same seasonings with a bit of balsamic vinegar and smoked paprika to add just a hint of smokiness.  delicious.  and perfect for thanksgiving in taos.

spicy twice baked sweet potatoes
(serves 6)
6 medium sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
extra virgin olive oil
coarse grey salt
4 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
4 tbsp mayonnaise (or vegenaise)*
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
sea salt

preheat oven to 425 degrees.  prick potatoes numerous times with a small sharp knife to create small slits (this allows steam to escape resulting in baked potatoes not steamed).  place on parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  using your hands, rub oil all over potatoes ensuring they are coated.  sprinkle grey salt over top of potatoes. place on center rack in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.  test to see if potatoes are cooked by piercing one with a sharp knife.  knife should slide in easily without any resistance.  if not, continue cooking, checking every 10 minutes, until done.  remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.  keep the baking sheet handy as you will reuse later.

reduce heat to 375 degrees.  cut off the top 8th of each potato. (these tops are the cooks treat!).  carefully scoop out the flesh from each potato ensuring you do not cut into the skin.  (i score the edges with a dinner knife and then use a spoon to scoop)  add the flesh to a large bowl.  mash with a potato masher or 2 forks.  add the onions, mayo, vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika and a pinch each salt and pepper.  stir.  taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  i usually add a bit more salt and cayenne pepper, but do this to your taste.  the potatoes should be creamy so add a bit more olive oil if needed.

mound the potatoes back into the skins and place on the reserved baking sheet.  drizzle tops with additional olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.  add back to oven and bake until hot with tops lightly browned (20-30 minutes)
* i use vegenaise to keep it vegan.  i think it is delicious but mayonnaise is just as good.

visit my other food blog red or green chile? to see my bolitas bean salad recipe.
now check out the delicious sounding thanksgiving sides recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:

Feed Me Phoebe: Five Spice Winter Squash Soup
Chez Us: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Virtually Homemade: Brussels Sprouts Salad With Avocado and a Tangerine Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Red or Green?: Bolitas Bean Salad
And Love It, Too: Potatoes Au Gratin (Gluten and Dairy-Free)
Devour: Thanksgiving Yam and Sweet Potato Sides That Are Almost Desserts
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing or Dressing
Cooking With Books: Rosemary and Pear Potato Salad
FN Dish: Old School Sweet Potato Soufflé

happy thanksgiving everyone!

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Friday, November 2, 2012

roasted carrots with chile & agave

i love roasted carrots and frequently experiment by trying different seasonings.  there were beautiful baby carrots at the farmers' market on saturday...the last market of the year. i bought bunches (literally) and tried a number of flavor combinations.  my favorite, hands down, was a mixture of new mexican red chile powder and organic, raw agave syrup.   delicious!

this is one of those recipes that is so easy you can make it often.  using the baby carrots means it will take only 30 minutes to roast....maybe this can even be a weeknight option? can use carrots of any size you like...larger ones will just take longer to roast.  check them frequently to ensure you do not overcook.

one note about baby carrots.  i do NOT mean the packaged ones in the grocery store.  these are actually regular sized carrots cut down to size...what a waste!  true baby carrots are picked when they are still small...very sweet and tender.  i roast them with part of the stem attached because i think it makes a pretty presentation.

enjoy the carrots!

roasted carrots with chile & agave
small bunch baby carrots, unpeeled and washed with most of the green tops cut off...leave about 2 inches
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp organic, raw agave syrup
1 tsp new mexican red chile powder
1 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper
sea salt
black pepper

preheat oven to 375 degrees (use roast setting if you have the option).  line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil on sheet.  add the prepared carrots to the sheet and, using your hands, roll them in the oil until coated.  roast in oven for 10 minutes.  remove from oven and pour agave over carrots.  sprinkle chile powder, jalapenos, pinch each salt & pepper over agave.  add back to oven and roast an additional 20 minutes or until tender.  serve immediately.

now check out the delicious sounding carrots recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers. fall fest begins at noon on wednesdays:

Feed Me Phoebe: Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Carrots With Chile and Agave
Haute Apple Pie: Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
And Love It Too: Vegan Carrot Cake Coconut Macaroons
Virtually Homemade: The Silver Palate's Carrot Orange Soup
From My Corner of Saratoga: Copper Pennies aka Glazed Carrots
The Heritage Cook: Maple Roasted Carrots, Apples and Onions
Made By Michelle: Carrots and Caramelized Onions
Thursday Night Dinner: Braised Carrots
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Carrots
FN Dish: Best Carrot Sides for Thanksgiving

have a good week!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

chorizo, cornbread & tortilla dressing

traditions are important, but sometimes mixing it up a bit can keep life interesting.  we are spending thanksgiving this year at our home in taos so i have decided to add a few new southwestern inspired dishes to my regular menu.  my favorite?  a cornbread dressing infused with chorizo, new mexican red chile powder and corn tortilla chips?  really different...amazingly good.

i made a 1/2 batch for this story which is why it is baked in a pie will use a 9 x 13 inch baking dish for the recipe.
i make this as a dressing which means it is baked in a casserole, not stuffed in the turkey.  i do this for two reasons: 1.  i can keep it vegetarian this way so all of my guests can partake (i use soyrizo instead of chorizo) and 2.  baking the dressing crisps up the cornbread and tortilla chips resulting in a wonderful crunch.  i made a "test" batch this weekend so i could photograph for this story.  served with baked chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed broccolini and garlic, it was a perfect fall dinner.  now i cannot wait for thanksgiving to make it again. (and eat it) want something different for your t-day table this year?  give this dressing a try.

i am so happy to announce that, for the second year in a row in honor of thanksgiving, food network is getting the entire food community together to celebrate a virtual thanksgiving, called the communal table (hashtag #pullupachair) on wednesday, november 14th at noon EST. they have invited me to cool is that?

here's how it works....bloggers from all over the country, as well as the food network gang, will each  create a post/article on their respective sites sharing one of their favorite thanksgiving recipes. each blog will also contain links to all the other blogs so readers can see what everyone is “bringing to the table.” just think...a one stop place to view loads of delicious sounding recipes and plan your thanksgiving menu.  with two weeks before the big day, we will all have plenty of time to finalize our menus.  happy planning everyone!

chorizo, cornbread and tortilla dressing
1 yellow onion, diced
extra virgin oil oil
1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 jalapeño, seeded, deveined, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp new mexican red chile powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
chorizo broth (recipe below)
6 cups cornbread, crumbled (either homemade or store bought)
1/2 lb corn tortilla chips (either homemade or store bought)

in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat 2 tbsp olive oil to shimmering.  add the diced yellow onion and cook over medium heat until translucent.  add the green onion, celery, carrots, green pepper, and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently,  until vegetables are softened (about 5 minutes).  add the sage, cilantro, chile powder, a pinch of salt and one of pepper and cook for an additional minute. 

add the cornbread and tortilla chips to a large bowl.  pour the vegetable mixture over the cornbread/chips and stir to combine.  pour the chorizo broth over the cornbread and gently stir to combine.  allow to sit for 15 minutes.  stir again and pour into an oiled 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  cover with foil and bake at a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until hot.  remove foil, drizzle top with 3 passes of the olive oil bottle and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes, or until the top is crispy and brown.  serve immediately.

chorizo broth
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 12 oz package soyrizo, crumbled (or regular mexican chorizo)*
6 cups vegetable broth
12 oz crushed corn tortilla chips
sea salt
black pepper

in a large saucepan, sauté the onion  in the olive oil over medium heat until softened.  add the garlic and soyrizo and cook until soyrizo is crispy on the edges (about 7 minutes).  add the vegetable broth and tortilla chips and bring to a boil.  reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 20 minutes.  season to taste with salt and pepper.

* feel free to use regular chorizo if you wish...just switch the recipe a bit to ensure you thoroughly cook the chorizo first and then drain before you sauté the onions and garlic.

now check out the delicious recipes from my fellow bloggers:

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:
Haute Apple Pie: Apple Jack
Cooking With Books: Spiced Couscous and Walnut Salad
Mooshu Jenne: Honey Bacon Potato Pops
Food For My Family: Roasted Beet and Lacinato Kale Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Super Seeded Cornbread

FN Dish: Black Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey

Sides: Feed Me Phoebe: Cornbread and Wild Rice Stuffing With Hazelnuts and Cranberries
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chorizo, Cornbread and Tortilla Dressing
Sweet Life: Apple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
And Love It, Too: Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Sweet Spiced Winter Squash Casserole
Red or Green?: Corn, Peppers and Onion Saute
Simple Bites: Honey Pomegranate Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Virtually Homemade: Fresh Orange and Cranberry Sauce With Toasted Walnuts
What's Gaby Cooking: Sweet Potato Gratin
The Heritage Cook: Cauliflower Gratin
Creative Culinary: Creamy Mushroom Bake With Parmesan and Panko
Bacon and Souffle: Spicy Carnival Squash

I Am Baker: Pumpkin Bars in a Jar
Add a Pinch: Caramel Pie
Chez Us: Pumpkin Cheesecake With Chocolate Swirls

have a good week!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

spicy pickled peppers

happy halloween everyone!  it is pepper week at food network's fall fest and i thought i would share one of my favorite ways to preserve fresh peppers for use during the fall season...spicy pickled peppers.

peppers are abundant during harvest here in new mexico.  farmers' markets are packed with numerous, medium and mild....roadside stands pop up everywhere, neighbors give away bushels full and the smell of roasting chiles permeates the town.  for a chile lover like me, life is pretty good.  this recipe allows me to satisfy my peppers cravings for a few months after they are out of season.  i make a number of batches at the end of october (happily pepper week coincides with my preserving) and keep them in the fridge for use throughout november and december.  the peppers are spicy but the pickling tames them just a bit. 

i use the peppers to top sandwiches (wonderful on turkey the day after thanksgiving), add them to scrambled eggs, chop them up and add to pasta sauces, soups, chilies, stews.  they are delicious added to a cheese plate, stir-frys and vegetable salads. nachos anyone?  try them on hamburgers and hot dogs.  or be like me and just eat them as a snack.  get creative...and please let me know how you use the peppers.  happy peppers week everyone!

spicy pickled peppers
1/2 lb fresh jalapeños
1/2 lb fresh new mexican or anaheim peppers
1 large fresh poblano pepper (sometimes called pasilla pepper)
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sea salt
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp black peppercorns
8 whole garlic cloves (peeled)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp cilantro leaves

wash the peppers.  cut 4 large slits in each jalapeño.  slice anaheim and poblano peppers widthwise into large rings.

add vinegar, honey, salt and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring until salt dissolves.  turn off heat and leave pan on burner.

add half the peppers to quart sized canning jar. pack them down tightly.  add the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf, chili flakes and cilantro leaves.  add the remaining peppers.  again, pack them down tightly.  pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers ensuring they are covered. (note, you may have some liquid left over.  discard.) close jar tightly with lid.  set aside until peppers cool.  place in refrigerator and allow to sit for 2 weeks.   can be refrigerated for up to 8 weeks.

other peppers recipes to try:
roasted pepper relish
italian sausage and peppers pasta
spicy roasted red pepper dip

and check out my newest blog red or green chile? to see my spicy roasted peppers recipe.  yes, i have a theme :)

now check out the delicious sounding peppers recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers.  fall fest begins at noon on wednesdays during fall.  please come back then to see the other recipes. ***note, due to sandy this week's fallfest is being delayed...will keep you updated...

have a good week!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

roasted pumpkin & black bean stew with chorizo and pepitas

it is pumpkin week at food network's fall fest and i decided to forgo a sweet recipe to share.  with cold weather and the holiday season fast approaching, i will be baking plenty of pumpkin pies, muffins, cookies and cupcakes during the next few months.  don't get me wrong i love pumpkin desserts, but for today's submission i thought i would post something savory...and spicy...and warm...and filling...and a bit different.  how does roasted pumpkin with black beans, chorizo and vegetables sound?  what about if they were stewed in a riff on mole sauce?

i am in taos, new mexico right now (more on that in another post) and there are pumpkins the farmers' market, at roadside stands, growing  in neighbors' yards...everywhere.  i bought a few large jack-o-lantern ones for decorating and a bunch of the smaller sugar pumpkins for eating.   these are the ones you want to use in cooking or baking.  the large ones are really tough and just for halloween.  but the sugar ones...sometimes called "pie" pumpkins...are sweet and tender when cooked.  this recipes calls for you to first roast the pumpkin before adding to the stew.  here is a tip....taste a few pieces of the roasted pumpkin.   you will fall in love!  i roast double the amount i need just to have some to snack on.  you can use as a side dish in place of the more typical squash whenever you like.

i used soyrizo instead of chorizo in my stew.  it is healthier, has less fat, no cholesterol and keeps the dish vegetarian as i have lots of veg friends and family members.  to be honest, no one has ever been able to tell the difference. feel free to use regular chorizo if you wish...just switch the recipe a bit to ensure you thoroughly cook the chorizo first and then drain before you sauté the onions, garlic and pepper.  one last note...the cinnamon, chocolate and chile powder may sound me, don't leave these ingredients out of the stew.  you won't be able to taste any of them individually, but together they meld  to add depth to the finished dish.  if you can't find true new mexican red chile powder skip not substitute regular chili powder.   ok...enough of the notes and tips....try this stew.  my family finds it addictive! (me too)

roasted pumpkin & black bean stew with chorizo and pepitas
4 lb sugar pumpkin (sometimes called pie pumpkin)
extra virgin olive oil
12 oz "soyrizo" or chorizo, remove casing and chop
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 oz. dark chocolate
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp new mexican red chile powder, optional
2 15.oz cans unsalted black beans, rinsed
1 bunch cilantro
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
pepitas (from pumpkin)

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  prepare the pumpkin:  with a sharp serrated knife, cut the pumpkin in half.  scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers. (i use a heavy metal spoon for this)  reserve the seeds for making pepitas*.  cut the pumpkin in wedges.  carefully cut the peel from the flesh following this process:  using a very sharp knife, place the blade between the flesh and the peel.  for safety, place your free hand on top of the pumpkin flesh to keep it from sliding.  run the knife between the peel and the flesh, like you were preparing cantaloupe.  cut the pumpkin into 2 inch cubes.  place on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet.  drizzle olive oil over...3-4 passes of the bottle...and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  roast in oven for 20 minutes.  remove from oven, stir and add back to oven.  roast an additional 10-15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender with a caramelized crust.  set aside.

prepare the stew:  add 2 tbsp olive oil and onion to stockpot.  sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  add garlic, green pepper and soyrizo.  cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and soyrizo is crispy on the sides.  add broth and chocolate, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.  reduce to high simmer, add cinnamon, chile powder if using, 2 tbsp. cilantro and beans.  cook for an additional 20 minutes or until liquid has thickened and reduced by half. add roasted pumpkin and salt & pepper to taste. cook for an additional 5 minutes.  serve topped with cilantro and pepitas.

pepitas recipe
(thanks to the farmers at the taos market for providing this worked!)
add the pepitas and the pulp to a large pot.  cover with water and, using your hands, swirl the pulp around in the water.  scoop out all the loosened seeds and add to a small saucepan,  continue the swirling and scooping process until all seeds are free.  you may need to pull some directly from the pulp to get them all.  cover the seeds with water and 2 tsp salt.  bring to a boil.  boil for 5 minutes. drain and add to a small rimmed roasting pan.  roast 5 minutes at 400 degrees.  stir and roast and additional 5-15 minutes until pepitas are toasted and crunchy.  do not roast for longer than 20 minutes to preserve nutrients.  *note...for this stew i like the pepitas plain.  but for other uses you can add any kind of seasoning or spices you like during the last 5 minutes of roasting.  i particularly like the ground new mexican red chile mentioned earlier.

another pumpkin recipe you might enjoy:
pizza with spicy pumpkin sauce, black beans and fresh corn

check out the delicious sounding pumpkin recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Chez Us: Pull Apart Pumpkin-Pecan Bread With Maple Bourbon Frosting
And Love It Too: Vanilla Pumpkin Swirl Cake With Vanilla Palm Sugar Glaze
Haute Apple Pie: Creamy Pumpkin Penne With Italian Sausage
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Pumpkins
From My Corner of Saratoga: Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake
Made By Michelle: Pumpkin Scones
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Pumpkin and Black Bean Stew With Chorizo and Pepitas
Devour: 5 Delicious Ways to Use Pumpkins After Carving
Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Pancakes With Maple Cream and Candied Vanilla Pecans
The Heritage Cook: Gingery Pumpkin Mousse With Whipped Ginger Cream
Thursday Night Dinner: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie
Cooking With Books: Pumpkin-Bacon Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: Primping Up Pumpkin
Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Pumpkin Wedges With Chili, Lime and Cotija

have a good week!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

mashed turnips with caramelized onions and balsamic

i really appreciate food network's fall fest this week as we focus on turnips!  i confess that i do not prepare turnips, parsnips or rutabagas very often and when i do i usually roast or mash them.  i like them...i just forget about them most of the time.  so i can't wait to read all the creative recipes from my wonderful and talented fellow bloggers.

i used purple topped turnips for this dish  (photo courtesy raw
i am sharing a different take on mashed turnips for my contribution.  i wanted to sweeten them up and add a bit more complexity to the dish so i experimented by caramelizing onions in a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce and then added the combination to the mashed turnips.  a tiny bit of maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil added more sweetness and body.  i then finished it off with a drizzle of method tradizionale aged balsamic...(the good stuff!)  you know what?  i really, really like the finished result. perfect with roasted meats or poultry and a wonderful salad.  i made roasted chicken, stir-fried broccolini, the turnips and a green salad with pear, cranberries and toasted walnuts for dinner. perfect for fall or winter.   give the turnips a try and please let me know what you think. 
happy turnips week everyone!

mashed turnips with caramelized onions and balsamic
2 lbs turnips
1/2 white onion, diced
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp italian parsley, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
aged balsamic vinegar (method tradizionale...the good stuff!) for drizzling (optional)

peel the turnips and cut into 1-inch pieces. place them in a large saucepan with water to cover and a large pinch of salt. bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until easily pierced by a knife, about 35 minutes. drain.

while turnips are cooking, sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until deep golden brown. (about 15 minutes).  add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until vinegar begins to thicken.  add the maple syrup and a pinch each salt and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes.  remove from heat.

add the drained turnips to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. (alternatively, you could use the pulse motion on a food processor).  add the onion mixture and half the parsley.  stir to combine.  add additional olive oil (up to 1/4 cup) if the mixture appears dry.  taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.  mound on a serving platter and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar over top.  sprinkle remaining parsley over turnips and serve immediately.

other turnips recipes you may enjoy:
pan fried turnips in extra virgin olive oil
roasted root vegetable casserole
southern greens, napa farmhouse style

check out the delicious sounding turnips recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Chinese Turnip Cake
Cooking With Elise: Balsamic Roasted Turnips and Thyme
Virtually Homemade: Roasted Vegetable Soup With Chimichurri

Feed Me Phoebe: Turnip Hash With Basil Vinaigrette
Thursday Night Dinner: Honey Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
Made By Michelle: Roasted Turnips and Carrots
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Turnips
FN Dish: Fall Into Turnips

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

whole wheat pasta with spicy spinach & peanut butter pesto

this is one of those "happy accident" recipes.  one day last fall i was craving pesto...but basil season was over.  i had spinach growing in the garden and, since i often use different kinds of greens in pesto, decided to use what was on hand.  i had all the ingredients required except one crucial item...nuts.  now i usually have many different kinds of nuts in the pantry (or freezer)...walnuts, pecans, almonds and pine nuts are staples in my home.  that day i was out of everything and just did not feel like a trip to the market.  i realized i had some organic peanut butter and decided to give that combination a try.

i loved the result.  i added garlic, extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  the pesto reminds me a bit of spicy peanut sauce and is really delicious on whole wheat pasta.  i also spread it on  baguette slices and grill, top chicken sandwiches, stir into cheese dip, add a dollop to crostini for soups....there are so many options.  when fresh tomatoes are out of season use the sun dried ones packed in olive oil.  i have also added streamed green beans, roasted butternut squash and/or broccoli and these options are are really, really good.

it is spinach week at food network's fall fest and the perfect time of year to make this pesto dish. my baby spinach is ready to pick and heirloom tomatoes are still in season.  give it a try and please let me know what you think.  happy october everyone!

whole wheat pasta with spicy spinach & peanut butter pesto
1 lb whole wheat pasta, penne or fusilli
3 large handfuls baby spinach leaves (about 6 oz)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
pinch (or 2 for spicy) red pepper flakes
1 red heirloom tomato, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 spinach leaves cut in chiffonade as garnish (optional)

bring large pot of water to boil.  salt generously and add pasta.  cook according to package directions.  cook to al dente. do not overcook.

meanwhile add spinach, garlic and peanut butter to bowl of food processor.  process until smooth.  add 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, pinch of salt and pinch of pepper to spinach mixture.  pulse just until mixed.  taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

remove pasta from pot with spider strainer or slotted spoon.  do not shake off all the water.  place pasta in large bowl.  add pesto to pasta and stir to combine.  add tomato and green onion and gently stir.  taste and add additional salt or pepper if desired.  plate and drizzle with additional olive oil. top with chiffonade spinach and serve.

check out the delicious sounding kale recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Skinny Hot Spinach Dip
Feed Me Phoebe: October Evening Lentil Soup With Spinach
And Love It Too: Grain-Free Spinach Pie
Cooking With Elise: Baby Spinach Salad With Cranberries, Spiced Pecans and a Maple Vinaigrette
Virtually Homemade: Three Onion Dip With Spinach
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Spinach
Thursday Night Dinner: Spinach Ice Cream
Cooking Channel: Fresh Spinach in Indian Recipes
Daily*Dishin: Spinach-Sausage Saute With Pan-Fried Gnocchi
Delicious Lean: Spinach Leaf Roll Ups
Bacon and Souffle: Baby Spinach Pizza With Sopressata and Sriracha
FN Dish: Stuff It With Spinach

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