Corn Salsa

This is the time of year for corn and we eat it at least once a week during the summer. Sometimes it’s nice to have corn in different ways other than right off the cob. This salsa tastes like the one from chiptole and you can pair it with the cilantro-lime rice I already posted about. You could also use this salsa to go with any grilled meats. It would be great with steak. I cooked the poblano chile pepper on the grill while I grilled chicken. But if you aren’t making this when you were planning to grill, you could easily put the pepper under the broiler. Just be to sure to turn the pepper every couple minutes and watch it closely so it does not burn.

Corn Salsa:

  • 1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the poblano with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.
  2. If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain. (You can use leftover corn and just cut it off the cob without having to re-heat it)
  3. Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve and enjoy

Source: Food Network

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Asparagus and Cheese Tart

This week I will be posting some recipes that will be great to have on Easter. This recipe would be great for an Easter Brunch. I was brainstorming to come up with something that included shaved asparagus and Boursin Cheese since I had both in my refrigerator. I decided to make a tart using puff pastry. This is really easy to make and has only a few ingredients. I was getting very odd looks from my family, as I was explaining what I was doing. But after they tasted it, they knew that mommy knows what she is doing. I hope you enjoy too!

First you will shave the asparagus spears by using a vegetable peeler. Place in a bowl and add the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and set aside.

Lay out a sheet of puff pastry dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. With a pairing knife, lightly score the puff pastry about a 1/2 inch in from the edges.

Carefully spread the cheese in the center of the puff pastry dough. Spread to the edges of where you cut the dough. (Do not go to dough edge)

Add the asparagus to the center. Brush the edges of the dough using the egg wash and a pastry brush. Place in oven and bake.

Enjoy!

Asparagus and Cheese Tart:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed in refrigerator
  • 1lb asparagus, shaved
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 5oz Boursin cheese, room temperature (I used shallot and chives)
  • egg wash (whisk one egg with 1tbs of water)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Carefully shave the asparagus spears using a vegetable peeler. Place in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and set aside.
  3. Lay the puff pastry on the parchment lined baking sheet. Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/2-inch-wide border around the dough. (make sure to not push the knife all the way through) Spread the cheese from the center of the dough to the edges of where you scored the dough. (it’s ok if you don’t use all the cheese) Lay asparagus on top of cheese.
  4. Brush the edges of the dough using the egg wash and a pastry brush. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until dough is light browned and puff and the asparagus is tender. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes before cutting. Slice tart however you would like to serve it and enjoy.

Source: Gina Marie Original

Italian Pasta Salad

I made this pasta salad for the bridal shower I catered several weeks back. I can’t even begin to stress how easy it is to make and how versatile it is. You can put whatever veggies you want in it; asparagus, mushrooms, cucumber, green onions, yellow squash, etc… I made it so it was vegetarian friendly, but you could add diced ham, pepperoni or salami, if you want.  Try feta cheese instead of cheddar or mozzarella. It’s better made a day ahead of when you want to serve it. I like to keep a little extra of the dressing on the side, so when I’m ready to serve, I toss it with a tablespoon or two of the dressing to freshen it up. I also don’t add the tomatoes till ready to serve, if added to early they won’t taste fresh.

This is a basic pasta salad recipe, take it and add what you want to make it your own.

 

Italian Pasta Salad:

  • 2lbs Pasta (any shapes you want)
  • 3 small zucchini, diced small
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, diced small
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 can black olives, drained
  • 1 8oz block cheddar cheese, diced small
  • 1 8oz block mozzarella cheese, diced small

Dressing:

  • 1 package Good Seasons Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbs water
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  1. Boil pasta according to package directions, till Al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking, set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl, whisk together the Good Seasoning, vinegar, water and lemon juice. Continue to whisk and slowly pour the oil, till combined.
  3. Add the pasta and all veggies but the tomatoes, to the bowl with half of the dressing, mix to combine; reserve the leftover dressing.
  4. Once the pasta has cooled down, add the cheese and refrigerate till ready to serve. Before serving, add tomatoes and a tablespoon or two of dressing to freshen up the salad.

Source: Gina Marie

Oven Baked Fries

I am not exaggerating when I say these are the best oven fries I’ve ever had. I’ve had my eye on these babies for awhile. So, when the weather got nice for one day we grilled burgers and I made these fries.  The hardest thing about making your own fries in the oven, is getting them cooked to perfection. Soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. I could never get them to turn out that way. Thankfully the test kitchen at Cook’s Illustrated was able to figure out how to get them cooked perfectly. The ingredients are very simple and there is one important step in creating the perfect oven fries. The step may sound silly, but if not done you won’t have the creamy/crispy fries you long for. Soaking the potatoes in very hot tap water for a good 20 minutes is the key. I learned never to doubt Cook’s Illustrated and once I bit into a fry; I knew they had the winning recipe.

*Important Note* Make sure you use a heavy-duty baking sheet. If you use a lighter baking sheet the heat from the oven could cause it to warp.

Oven Baked Fries:

*Serves 3-4

  • 3 Russet Potatoes (about 8 oz each) peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 even wedges
  • 5 tbs vegetable or peanut oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position; heat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 20 minutes. Meanwhile, coat an 18 by 12 inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 tbs of the oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; set aside.
  2. Drain the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out on a triple thickness of paper towels and pat throughly dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out the now-empty bowl; return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with remaining 1 tbs oil. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen the potatoes from the pan, then flip each wedge, keeping the potatoes in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating the pan as needed if the fries are browning unevenly.
  3. Transfer the fries to a second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Source: The New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Stuffed Mushrooms

Last week I catered a Bridal Shower and served these stuffed mushrooms. I apologize for the photo. After I plated them and put them out, I realized I hadn’t taken a picture. The mushrooms were very popular and before they were gone I had to run out and grab a photo of what was left. I made a double batch and by the time I was able to take a photo these 5 were the only ones left. That just shows you how popular and wonderful they are.

I was very excited to make these, I have had this recipe bookmarked for a long time and was waiting for the right time to make them. My kids and I are the only ones in the family who really like mushrooms, so I don’t usually buy them. After making the mushrooms, I told myself that I will make these again for us, I know my son would go crazy over them.

The Bridal Shower was a success and along with the mushrooms I made chicken salad in phyllo cups, pasta salad, meatballs, stuffed strawberries and cupcakes. I can’t wait to show you the cupcake stand I made. I’ll be posting that later this week.

Stuffed Mushrooms:

  • 24 whole fresh button mushrooms
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or less if you don’t want a big kick
  • 2 tbs Bread crumbs
  • minced herbs, for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully remove the stems from the mushroom caps, setting the caps aside for later.  Add the stems to the bowl of a food processor.  Add the garlic to the food processor as well, and pulse in brief bursts until them mushroom stems and garlic are finely chopped.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped mushroom stems and garlic and cook until all the moisture has disappeared, about 5-7 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Stir in the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and spices.  Stir together until the mixture is smooth and creamy; remove from the heat.  Using a small spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of filling.  Arrange the mushroom caps on the prepared baking sheet. (At this point you can refrigerate the mushrooms till ready, I made them a day in advance)
  3. Top with bread crumbs.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are hot and liquid starts to form under the caps.  Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with fresh herbs if using and serve immediately

Source: Annie’s Eats who adapted from Allrecipes

Spinach Dip

I love spinach and this dip is one of my ultimate favorites. It’s a very popular recipe but I will still post it just in case there are those who have never made it before. One of the things I did change was the amount of mayonnaise used. The original recipe calls for 1 cup but I feel that it gives to much of a mayonnaise taste so I cut it back to 3/4 cup. Other than that, I don’t change up the recipe too much and it’s always a hit. I love to double the recipe so I know I will have leftovers.

 

Spinach Dip:

  • 1 10 ounce pkg chopped frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out (place spinach in towel and squeeze)
  • 1 16 ounce container sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 package Knorr® Vegetable Soup recipe mix
  • 1 8 ounce can water chestnuts, chopped fine
  • 3 green onions, chopped fine
  1. Mix together the Mayo, sour cream and vegetable soup mix.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix till all combined. Place in refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours. Serve with pumpernickel bread, crackers and veggies.

Source: slightly adapted from Knorr

 

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa

I made this salsa when I made the stovetop chicken fajitas. It was a fantastic condiment to serve with the fajitas and I was sad we had no salsa leftover. My husband is looking forward to me making it again and so am I. I’m not a jar salsa fan and would rather have something fresh and crisp to dip my tortilla chips in. It’s easy to put together and the longest part of the process is letting the tomatoes drain. Once that’s done, throw everything together and let sit for a few minutes so the flavors blend together. Enjoy!

Fresh Tomato Salsa:

  • 12 ounces tomatoes (about 2 medium) cored and chopped small
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tbs minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, stemmed and seeded and minced finely (whole if you want it very hot)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice, plus extra to taste
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Sugar
  1. Toss the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt in a colander and let drain for 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the drained tomatoes to a bowl and toss with the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, 1 1/2 tsp of the lime juice and garlic. Season with additional lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. let the salsa sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook