Posts Tagged peppers

Cajun-Creole Jambalaya

jambalayaThis can loosely be called the Louisiana version of Paella. The only real difference is that I bake this in the oven to finish it off, as opposed to cooking it on top of the stove. This is a crazy good dish, a complete meal in itself.

Again, I first got turned onto Jambalaya on my travels to New Orleans in the eighties. Although the travels were for business, I never failed to tack on vacation time at the end of my business obligations to enjoy the food and culture of New Orleans. While a lot can be said about New Orleans crime and corruption, the one thing that is absolutely certain is that you will never be served substandard food and drinks in that town.

This recipe calls for Andouille sausage. I have never had a problem finding this in my local supermarket, but Tasso or some other kind of smoked ham is a great substitute here. Alternatively, buffalo chicken sausage is great also.

You will need a pretty deep baking pan for this. If your skillet is big enough and can handle oven cooking, you can simply work with that.

Ingredients

3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)

2 cups Andouille sausage, cut in 1/4 inch pieces then quartered

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup chopped onion, divided

1 cup chopped celery, divided

1 cup chopped green bell peppers, divided

3 tbsp minced garlic

1 28-oz can Italian whole tomatoes, undrained and broken up by hand

1 tsp broken-leaf sage

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 whole bay leaves

3 tbsp olive oil

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups long-grain rice (Basmati works well here)

Tabasco sauce (for the table)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and Andouille sausage, and cook until browned. (The meats do not need to be cooked through.) Remove and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of the olive oil and heat up. Add 1/2 cup each of the celery, onion and peppers, along with the cayenne pepper, sea salt, garlic, sage, basil, oregano and thyme. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now, we move to the pan you’re going to bake in. Add the meats and shrimp. Then add the cooked vegetables and all of the juices that are left from that process. Add the rice, chicken stock, the remaining uncooked half cup of the celery, onions and green pepper. Add the tomatoes and the bay leaves. Stir everything together.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour on 350 degrees.

Serve with a full bottle of Tabasco sauce.

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Good Karma’s Awesome Hummus Recipes

Hummus-Recipe-1There’s nothing quite like Hummus. It’s so versatile, and so tasty, and there are so many ways to serve it. I confess that there are days when I buy Hummus ready made. Sabra makes a great Hummus. But there’s nothing like making your own because you can make as many permutations as you like!

I got turned onto Hummus way back in the 80’s when I spent a lot of time eating at a great restaurant called Grendel’s Den in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was awesome. That’s where I learned you could serve Hummus with more than just pita bread.

We’re going to start here with five recipes for Hummus, but I can guarantee you that I will be posting several more as the winter months progress.

All of these recipes call for roasted garlic. It’s much better when the garlic cloves are roasted before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Garlic is sweeter after roasting, and the flavor isn’t overpowering. It doesn’t take rocket science to roast garlic. Toss the cloves in a 350-degree oven lightly coated with olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on it. It could take less time, it could take more. You want the garlic to be slightly browned and softened, but not burned.

Lemon-Garlic Hummus

Ingredients

1 16-oz can chick peas, drained and liquid reserved

1/4 cup reserved liquid

4 tbsp Tahini paste

5 tbsp lemon juice

5 cloves garlic, roasted

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp olive oil

Olive oil and paprika (for garnish)

Directions

Roast the garlic and set aside. Put all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Remove to a serving bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Place in a serving bowl, make a small well in the center, add some olive oil, and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with pita chips, warm pita bread, cucumbers, petite carrots, pepperoncini, whole pitted Kalamata olives, and red onion slices.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

1 16-oz can chick peas, drained

1/3 cup Tahini paste

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, roasted

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

3/4 cup roasted red peppers

Directions

Roast the garlic and set aside. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with several strips of leftover roasted red peppers. Serve with pita chips, fresh cut red pepper strips, red onion strips, and warm pita bread.

Jalapeno Hummus

Ingredients

1 16-oz can chick peas, drained and liquid reserved

1/4 cup reserved liquid

2 Jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup Tahini paste

3 garlic cloves, roasted

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Directions

Roast the garlic and set aside. Put all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl, create a small well in the middle and add olive oil, garnish with strips of Jalapeno peppers. Serve with warm pita bread, blue corn strips, and Pepperoncini.

Black Bean Hummus

Ingredients

1 16-oz can black beans, drained

1/4 cup Tahini paste

3 garlic cloves, roasted

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground chili powder

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Directions

Roast the garlic and set aside to cool. Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with blue corn chips, warm pita bread, and fresh pepper strips.

Roasted Pine Nut Hummus

Ingredients

1 16-oz can chick peas, drained and liquid reserved

1/4 cup reserved liquid

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts

3 tbsp Tahini paste

3 garlic cloves, roasted

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

Roast both the garlic and pine nuts and set aside. Add all of the ingredients, reserving the 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts for later. Puree until smooth. Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with the reserved 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts. Serve with warm pita bread, red onion strips, pita chips, and fresh red, orange and yellow pepper strips.

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Paella Mixta

Paella MixtaI just perfected my recipe over the weekend. We had a celebration dinner for my sister, who just finished up a grueling schedule of straight chemo and chemo/radiation, so I wanted to make something very special for her and those who have helped her get through this. Paella is the perfect dish because it combines both meat and fish. It originated in the fields of a region of Spain called Valencia, which is on the east coast.

When I went tooling around the web way back when I first started to think about putting this together, I found one person who complained about a recipe being nothing more than “rice with stuff in it.” I started thinking about this and determined that it’s a perfect description for Paella. So, frankly, I don’t know what his problem was. It’s also a great description for Jambalaya (which I promise to add very soon, since I have a great recipe in my head for that).

I would recommend you purchase a Paella pan. You could, of course, use a large all-purpose skillet, but a Paella pan is just perfect and can be used for other things…like Jambalaya!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs. cut in 1-inch pieces

1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz chorizo cut into 1/4-inch slices and peeled

8 oz Serrano ham, diced

1/2 lb squid rings

1/2 lb langostinos (Chilean lobster tails)

20 mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 cup red. yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1.5 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

2.5 cups short-grained rice (Valencia preferred)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp smoked paprika

30 strands of saffron threads

2 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

Place the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of hot water in a bowl and all it it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to steep. Heat oil in a 15-18″ Paella pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, shrimp, ham, squid rings, and chorizo to he pan and cook until brown, remembering to turn occasionally. You don’t want it to burn. Remove the shrimp and squid rings to a plate, leaving the meats in the pan.

Add the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, chopped peppers and onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften. This should take about 6 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, saffron broth and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil over high heat.

Now, add the rice and distribute it evenly with a spoon. Add peas and return the squid rings to the concoction. Cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed a good portion of the liquid. This should take about 12 minutes. Your Paella pan will definitely be bigger than the burner, so it’s important that you turn the pan every couple of minutes to ensure that the rice cooks evenly. Do not worry if the rice “burns” a bit on the bottom. This is perfect. It’s one of the important things that happens with Paella. Adds to the incredible flavor.

Turn the heat down to “low” and add the reserved shrimp. Give the concoction one stir. Nestle the mussels into the liquid (hinge side down). Allow it to cook without stirring until the mussels have opened, the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is al dente. This should take about 5-10 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the burner and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. This is crazy good stuff.

 

 

 

 

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Chicken and White Bean Chili

chicken and white bean chiliIt’s getting pretty chilly outside, and it is definitely “soup weather.” But in our house, it’s also chili weather. This is not what you’d expect for “chili” because it’s made with white beans and chicken, both ground and chicken pieces. However, it is a nice change from the traditional chili (which I also love).

Some of the spices are different. Some are the same as traditional chili. I use a combination of ground chicken and chicken thighs, so there is a variation in consistency that makes this dish very yummy.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces

1 lb ground chicken

2 15 oz cans Cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

3 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp coriander

1 tsp salt, plus more for final seasoning

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp ancho chili powder

3 tbsp garlic, minced

2 cups frozen corn, thawed

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock, divided

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tbsp flour

Fresh-ground black pepper (for seasoning)

Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack Cheese (for serving)

Fresh cilantro sprigs (for garnish)

Directions

Add the olive oil to a large pan or Dutch oven and heat on medium. Then, add the ground chicken, chicken thigh pieces, yellow and orange bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become soft.

Then add about a half cup of the chicken stock, along with the ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and flour. Turn the heat down a bit and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring a few times..

Add the rest of the chicken stock and the rinsed and drained beans, along with the cilantro. Stir to mix everything together.

You could, of course, have this dish completed in about 45 minutes if you cook this on medium-high. However, I recommend that you turn the heat to low and allow the chili to simmer for about one and a half to two hours to really allow the flavors to take hold. About 35 minutes before your chili is done, add the corn so that it heats through.

Serve the chili topped with shredded Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack Cheese. A side of white corn chips adds a nice texture!

Please remember to check the chili while it is cooking and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste!

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Ratatouille

ratatouille-image_1Before we begin, let’s establish that we’re not talking about the Disney movie here. There are a million variations on this particular theme. Make mine a million and one. This French concoction can be a side dish, or it can be a main dish (with rice pilaf), or it can be an appetizer. Pick your poison. Everything that is used in this recipe is roughly chopped…not too big, and not too small. Leave the skin on everything except the red (or Bermuda) onion. I use cilantro here, but you can also use parsley if you’d like. My problem is that I’m not a great lover of parsley, with the exception of specific recipes. I think cilantro (often referred to as Mexican parsley) is a much more interesting taste.

Another basic staple in my house is Balsamic Drizzle or, as some call it, Balsamic Cream. I like to drizzle some on mine but this is entirely optional.

This is a project for sure. Everything cooks in stages initially, and it comes out best if cooked slowly. Cooking it for less time will leave you bigger and more distinct pieces of vegetables. Cooking it for up to 1.5 hours will result in a more blended silky stew. The beauty of this is that it can be served warm or room temperature. And leftovers? Nothing like it. Roll it up in a piece of lavash bread or throw it in a pita pocket, melt some Italian Fontina on it, and have yourself a great lunch. It can also be frozen.

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

8 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 large red (or Bermuda) onion, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped

2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms

6 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 medium-large eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes

3 zucchini, sliced and cut in half

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in strips

10 springs thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Balsamic Drizzle (for serving)

1/4 cup dry white wine (for deglazing the pan)

Directions

Prior to beginning this process, a word about deglazing the Dutch oven. During the cooking process a brown glaze will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep a 1/4 cup of dry white wine on hand for deglazing purposes. You do not want this brown glaze to burn and ruin the flavor of the dish. Add wine a little at a time as necessary and scrape off the bottom of the pan. Add the deglazing liquid to the bowl with the cooked vegetables.

The first thing you have to do is cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Eggplant traditionally retains a lot of water. Cut the eggplant first and place the pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. Prior to this becoming a blended dish, the vegetables will be cooked in stages. Therefore, you want to keep the raw vegetables in separate bowls.

Place 2 tsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (at least 5-1/2 quart) and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, and sauté until they are just beginning to turn brown. This will take about 10 minutes. Then, add the peppers and mushrooms and cook for about another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and put this into a large, clean bowl.

Add another 2 tsp of oil to the Dutch oven and toss in the zucchini. Add another pinch of salt. Cook the zucchini until it begins to brown. This should again be about 5-7 minutes. Remove the zucchini and add it to the other vegetables.

Rinse the eggplant under cold water, and squeeze the pieces to remove as much moisture as possible. Add 2 more teaspoons of olive oil to the pan along with the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant becomes translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove the eggplant and add it to the other vegetables.

Finally, add some more olive oil to the pan and sauté the garlic until it becomes slightly brown and fragrant. Then, add the tomatoes, thyme, cilantro, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. Allow the tomato juice to bubble, and deglaze the pan as it does.

Add all of the cooked vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Stir to mix, and reduce the heat to low. Taste and adjust salt level, and add black pepper to taste. You can cook this for another 30 minutes or up to an hour and a half. Shorter cooking time will result in larger more distinct pieces of vegetables. Longer cooking times will result in a very nice melded stew. The choice is up to you.

Before taking the Ratatouille off the stove, remove the bay leaves and stir in the basil. Serve in bowls, adding a dash of olive oil to the top. You can also offer a drizzle of Balsamic cream as well as some finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

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