Monday, April 23, 2012

Guacamole Salsa



Guacamole is an excellent appetizer/side dish to serve especially once the warm weather comes around. I think what makes this dish so popular is that it’s easy to prepare and made with fresh ingredients. And may I add the perfect pair to an ice cold beer. JI know I have said this before, but it’s amazing what simple and fresh ingredients can create! The last couple of weeks, I have played around with a couple of guacamole recipes. Although I plan on sharing the other two, this ‘guacamole salsa recipe’ is in the lead for being my favorite! There are three things I love about this recipe: For one, there are two steps to making this recipe and then it’s ready to serve. Also, this guacamole salsa can be served with chips, over tacos, and even as a topping on your favorite burger. Additionally, while traditional guacamole can brown quite quickly, this recipe holds up pretty well for a couple of days. Blending the avocados with romaine lettuce leaves not only gives the guacamole awesome color, but texture. Personally, had I had spinach leaves in my fridge at the time, I would have thrown that in there too! Can you imagine the color and all the nutrients you’d get from adding spinach?! I hate to admit this, but I ate this guacamole all week. And I was quite disappointed when it was all gone. It was that good!

Guacamole Salsa
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large avocados
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeño pepper, cut length wise and remove seeds
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 romaine lettuce leaves
1 7oz can green pickled jalapeños
½ teaspoon olive oil

Directions:
  1. Cut and remove the seed from both avocados. Also, spoon out avocados into blender.
  2. Add in garlic clove, jalapeño, salt, lime juice, lettuce leaves, and olive oil into the blender. Slowly add in half of the liquid from the 7oz can of green pickled jalapeños into the blender.  Blend for 4 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended together. 
 Tip: When choosing avocados, pick them semi-hard and place them inside a paper bag. Leave the avocados inside the paper bag and outside of the refrigerator for 2 days, 3 days max, before use.

Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy Original.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mascarpone Mushroom Tart



I got the idea for creating this next recipe from one of my favorite pasta dishes. I figured I love the combination of mushrooms and caramelized onions in pasta; why not find a way to use them in another dish?! As I was cooking with these ingredients, a variety of other dishes using the same ingredients came to mind. And there is no need to worry because I have jotted these ideas in my cooking journal and plan on sharing them soon! For this recipe, I used mascarpone cheese, an Italian cheese compared to a cream cheese, mushrooms, onions, parmesan cheese, and puff pastry to create a simple yet flavorful dish. Personally, I would serve this tart with a salad or as an appetizer and warm for best taste. Even though I’m sure your guests will love this dish, it’s filled with very rich ingredients; therefore, serving it in smaller portions will allow you and your guests to enjoy without having that feeling of overindulging. I hope you have been inspired to not only re-create this recipe, but some of your very own. And if you do, please be sure to come back and share!

 
 
Mascarpone Mushroom Tart
Serves 5, as a side dish

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry
8 oz mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, leave ¼ cup aside
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ lbs white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
½  an onion, sliced
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon black pepper
¼  teaspoon parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add in the onions to
cook. Cook the onions until they start to caramelize then add the
mushrooms, parsley, and garlic to the pan. (add a splash of olive oil if needed)
3. Roll out puff pastry onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and prick
all over with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Set
aside to cool when done.
4. In a bowl, mix mascarpone cheese with shredded parmesan cheese and
a pinch of salt. Set aside.
5. Once puff pastry has completely cooled, take mascarpone mix and spread all over puff pastry.
6. Spoon mushroom mix onto puff pastry. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese over tart and bake for 15 minutes.




Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy Original.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cucumber Water

I guarantee after today you will never look at cucumbers the same way.  For most of us, cucumbers are used in a variety of dishes or eaten as snacks. However, what I have for you today is not a dish, but a delicious drink. In Mexican cuisine, various fruits and vegetables are blended with water to create what is known in Spanish as, Agua Fresca. I originally was inspired to create my own recipe for this refreshing drink from my older sister, Lorena, and my mother-in-law. My sister makes a drink very similar to this one by making limeade and adding in chopped cucumbers. However, my mother-in-law doesn’t make a limeade base, but simply blends cucumbers together for color and flavor. Personally, I like both drinks, but I wanted to create my own recipe. The first time I made this drink, it was delicious, but I couldn’t taste the flavor from the ten million limes I felt I squeezed in. Then a light bulb went off inside my head and I thought, “make a simple syrup.” I ended up making a simple syrup and added in the zest of the lime to infuse it with lime flavor, which ended up giving my drink the flavor I was looking for. This drink is perfect to serve on a hot day. It’s delicious, sweet, and refreshing. Now….I am not only giving you this recipe for a great spring/summer beverage, but giving you a tip on how to turn it into a great cocktail as well. The idea of this cocktail came to me this morning, which is weird because I don’t normally think of drinking or creating cocktails at ten in the morning, and I must say….. it’s pretty frikin’ good! This drink is filled with sweet and refreshing flavors from the cucumber water, yet the salty flavor that lingers on the palate is quite enjoyable too. Next time you make this beverage, you too will be asking yourself if it’s five o’clock somewhere!

Cucumber Water
Source: L.Chavez. Inspired by L.Armenta and H.Sandoval.
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cumbers, washed and sliced
9 cups water total, set one aside
1 cup sugar
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 1 lime

Directions:
  1. In a small pot, bring together one cup of water, sugar, and the zest of one lime. Let ingredients come to a simmer and turn off.
  2. Meanwhile, fill blender with 4 cups of water and 1 of the 2 cucumbers and blend for 2 minutes. Pour liquid through a strainer into a pitcher. Repeat step with second cucumber.
  3. Once all ingredients have been blended, strained, and poured into the pitcher, add in lime juice and lime flavored simple syrup.  Add in as much simple syrup as you’d like. (I added in about ¾ of syrup into the pitcher I prepared.)
  4. Serve drink with ice.




Southern Chavez

Ingredients:
6 ounces of cucumber water
Juice of 1 lime
½-1 shot of any white tequila
Margarita salt for rim

Directions:
  1. Rim a rocks glass with lime and dip into margarita salt.
  2. Pour ice into rocks glass.
  3. In a shaker, combine cucumber water, lime juice, and tequila. Shake and pour drink into rimmed rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with lime
Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy Original.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chipotle Citrus Chicken



I came up with the following recipe after having one of my mother’s pork tenderloin recipes. Although I loved her dinner, I knew I had to modify her recipe because I don’t cook pork often in my home. I figured I would use chicken instead of pork and create a sauce that would be sweet, savory, and spicy. Sound familiar?! Prior to getting down to business in my kitchen, I wrote down a list of ingredients that I could possibly mix together. Let me tell you….experimenting in the kitchen can turn out to be exspensive! But after all said and done, I feel that I created what is a kickin’ sauce! You’re going to love this sauce for two reasons: for one, the sauce can be made and frozen for later use and this dish is even better the second time around. Imagine that! A dish so good, it’s even better as leftovers!! And may I add that it presents itself quite beautifully. Enjoy!


Chipotle Citrus Chicken
Serves 4

1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 red pepper, sliced
½ onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dry parsley
1 teaspoon organic chicken broth seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breasts
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
3 carrots, peeled and cut on an angle

Directions:

  1. In a blender, combine orange juice, ketchup, parsley, chicken broth seasoning, salt, and chipotle pepper and blend for 3 minutes. (Sauce should taste sweet and savory. If sauce is too spicy, add in a little more orange juice.) Set sauce aside.
  2. Preheat olive oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Brown chicken breast for about 2 minutes on each side and remove from heat.
  3. In the same pot cook the sliced onions until a light brown color. Add in the minced garlic and the sliced red pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Place chicken breast back into pot and pour sauce over all over. Cover and turn heat down to low and simmer for an hour.
  5.  Add in potatoes and carrots to the pot after the chicken has cooked for an hour. Cover and simmer for an extra 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork tender.


Note:  Dish can also be cooked in the oven. Place seasoned chicken breast, onion and pepper slices, potatoes, carrots, and sauce in a baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 375 for an hour and a half.
Place remaining chipotle peppers in small zip lock bags and freeze for later use.

Source: L.Chavez. Inspired by E.Martinez