Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad

July 22, 2014

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I’ve got a great Summer Salad recipe for you today. Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad is just the perfect dish to enjoy on those hot and steamy days. Served cold it is wonderfully refreshing, and just bursting with fresh summer flavours. Not to mention, this baby has got a bit of a kick to it! With all of those jalapenos, cayenne peppers and red pepper flakes, your taste buds will sit up a take notice! Now I prefer to grill up some corn to use in this recipe. I know it is a bit of extra work, but it is so worth it. Corn is in season right now and there is an abundance of it at all of the local markets. Lovely fresh corn, spiced up with a marinade and fired over a grill just puts that frozen or canned corn to shame!

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This dish is very versatile and works great as a side salad, is very tasty over some greens as a Meatless Monday entrée or makes a delicious salsa served with tortilla chips. I most recently served it along with some Carne Asada Tacos (recipe soon to follow – stand by) and folks went wild! Definitely add this little gem to your summer recipe book of tricks!

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Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad

recipe slightly adapted from: Bowl of Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of fresh grilled corn (scroll down for recipe)
  • 1 -2 jalapenos, diced fine
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 avocados, diced

Directions:

Prepare Spicy Grilled Corn as per the recipe below.

Whisk together olive oil, honey, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes  and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

Add black beans, grilled corn, jalapenos, red pepper cilantro and avocados to bowl. Toss gently to coat with dressing.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

For the Spicy Grilled Corn:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ears of fresh corn in husk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, brown sugar and chili powder in small bowl and whisk together.
Preheat grill.
Peel back the corn husks, discarding all but a couple inner layers. Remove corn silk, then baste with dressing, and recover corn with remaining husk.
Grill on med-high for 20-25 minutes, turning 3-4 times during cooking time.
Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool a few minutes. Once it has cooled enough to handle, cut off stem end, place the flat cut end on bottom of large bowl, and use a corn zipper to strip the kernels from the cob. Or if you don’t have a zipper, run a small sharp knife down the length of the cob, slicing off kernels.

Enjoy!

Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 

 


Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

July 18, 2014

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Summer grilling weather is happening as we speak. Temperatures have certainly soared to a level at which the thought of turning on the stove top, or heaven forbid the oven is ludicrous. Yup…I say don’t do a thing that would encourage that mercury to climb one fraction of an inch higher inside your house. Come supper time, send the husband out into the wilds of the backyard to grill up some meat. A favourite summer grilled entree around here is the humble yet very tasty hot dog. No fuss, no muss! And how in the world could a hot dog get any better? Well there is that bit where you can add some chili and cheese to arrive at the Chili Cheese Dog. Those are pretty special, but I think I’ve found something to add that might even surpass them. Are you ready for it? Wrap them in Bacon!

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Everything is better with bacon and hot dogs are no exception to that rule. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner, but I am so glad that I finally got around to it. The addition of a little strip of bacon makes those dogs seem so much fancier.

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And when you throw in some home-baked Buttery Hot Dog Buns (so much for keeping the oven off 🙂 ) and a delicious condiment like this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema, the simple grilled dog has gone completely over the top…soaring to – dare I say it – gourmet heights! Now I knew that bacon wrapped hot dogs would be fantastic. And I must say, these Buttery Buns are perfection – rich, tender and soft, yet tough enough to stand up to not only a bacon wrapped dog but also all of the toppings you can heap on as well.

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But the big surprize was this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema. I am completely head over heels in love with it. It hits your taste buds with a wonderfully fresh and spicy zing which is quickly followed with a smooth, cooling creaminess. I’m a bit out of control, putting it on everything. I just can’t get enough. I’ve probably whipped up my 4th batch at this point. Now I will warn you, it is spicy! So for those of you with tender tongues, go easy. You have been warned. But for those of you out there like the husband and myself, get ready for a new addiction. So what are you waiting for? Get that grill fired up and make some of these Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema today.

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Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

  • Servings: 5-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

sources: Jalapeno/CilantroCrema sauce inspired by: Milk & Honey , Buttery Hot Dog Buns from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 10 hot dogs (your choice – but I love Hebrew Nationals or Nathans)
  • 10 strips of bacon (not thick cut)
  • 10 Homemade Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe below-or just use store-bought ones if your oven is entirely off-limits!)
  • Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe below)
  • Additional toppings such as: cheese, chopped white onion, mustard, ketchup, coleslaw

Directions:

Bake Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe will follow) and set aside to cool.

Prepare Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe will follow). Pour into squeeze bottle and place in fridge to cool.

Wrap each hot dog with a strip of bacon. You can secure each bacon end into the hot dog with a toothpick if you wish, but I didn’t and the bacon stayed put!  Cook each hot dog on a grill over a medium to low heat. Do not try to turn your dog too soon or the bacon will be more likely to stick to the grill. Gently rotate each bacon wrapped hot dog as they cook so that all sides can be cooked evenly. Remove from the grill when the bacon becomes crispy. 

To get those nice grill marks on your hot dog buns: Brush each side of hot dog rolls with melted butter and place on the grill for 15 -20 seconds before flipping to other side. Set aside and keep warm.

When ready to eat, grab a warm home-made bun, place a bacon wrapped dog in it, squeeze some of that delicious Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema over it and add whatever other toppings you desire!

For the Buttery Hot Dog Buns:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (361 grams) King Arthur Unbleached Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons (35 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup (46 grams) potato flour or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (227 grams) lukewarm water

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients, mixing then kneading to make a smooth dough. Let the dough rise, covered, until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a New England-style hotdog bun pan. (if you don’t have a hot dog pan – see below)

Gently deflate the dough, and stretch it until it’s about 15″ long and 6″ wide. Place the dough into the pan, stretching it to the edges.

Let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it comes to within 1/2″ of the top of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a baking sheet, and place it on top of the risen buns.

Put the covered buns into the oven, weighing the baking sheet down with something heavy and oven-safe; a cast-iron skillet works well.

Bake the buns for 18 minutes, remove the weighted baking sheet, and bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer, if necessary, to brown the buns.

Remove the pan from the oven, and cool the buns in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn them out onto a rack, rounded side up, to cool completely.

Slice each bun down the middle vertically, without cutting through the bottom; then cut between the buns to separate them.

No Hot Dog Pan Option: To make regular (not New England-style) hotdog buns without a pan, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and form each piece into a cylinder 6″ in length. Transfer buns to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the buns slightly (dough rises more in the center, so this will give them gently rounded tops), then allow to rise for 90 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup store-bought pickled sliced jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno brine
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 of a small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sour cream
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 


Summer Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad

October 2, 2013

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Just the other day after a notably chilly dog walking session, I was just thinking that summer was gone. I didn’t really want to say it out loud because I was afraid I would jinx it, but I think I might have murmured something to that effect to the husband. Apparently that was all it took because I see that the temperature will be shooting back up to 85° F (29° C) on Wednesday. That doesn’t really seem to be fitting weather for October if you ask me. But I really don’t like summer weather (as I’m sure those who know me have heard before) and was really looking forward to Fall. There are a couple of things I will miss about summer though. No…not the humidity or the rabid mosquitoes (may their wings freeze off soon…), it is the fresh tomatoes, corn and zucchini. We have really enjoyed eating those veggies this summer. In fact, Jay and I actually took a stab at growing our own tomatoes and herbs this year. Yup, we were “plastic farmers”. (ie. we grew our plants in plastic containers on the deck, rather than planted properly in the ground). It was overall pretty successful.

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Our cherry tomato plants went wild and gave us all we could eat, that is all we could eat that I managed to pluck off the vine before the birds and chipmunks, who were quite fond of them as well, were able to get at them.

Tomato thief!

Tomato thief!

Luckily I had come across this recipe for Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette in Bon Appetit magazine, so I was somewhat ready for our bumper crop of tomatoes. This Vinaigrette is really delicious and so versatile. The majority of the time that I made it, we tossed it with pasta, feta cheese, fresh basil and chives to make a lovely Summer Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad.

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This salad was great warm or room temperature. In fact, I might have seen my husband eat it cold right out of the fridge on the rare occasion that we had any leftovers. But there are lots of other ways to use this vinaigrette, like simply as a tangy salad dressing. Or it is great as a condiment over omelets or grilled steak. We never got tired of it. I certainly will still be making it this winter. Though it won’t be quite as fun using those store-bought tomatoes as it was using the ones we grew ourselves. Make up a batch of this vinaigrette soon and I just bet you’ll be hooked as well!

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Summer Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad

recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. pasta of your choice (I used Gemelli)
  • 1 batch of Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Prepare Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette (without chives). Set aside.

Cook pasta and drain.

Toss Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette and feta cheese with pasta.

Add handful of fresh basil and chives just before serving.

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon (or more to suit your taste) red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions:

Cut half of cherry tomatoes in half. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.

Add halved and whole tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to release juices, 4-6 minutes. Mash some of the tomatoes with a spoon.

Add 1 Tablespoon vinegar and remaining 2 Tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper and add red pepper flakes if you would like to spice it up a bit!  Serve warm or room temperature; add chives just before serving.

*This vinaigrette can be made (without the chives) 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and stir in chives.

Enjoy!


Guacamole

April 30, 2013

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Yuuuuummm! Guacamole!!! I’ve recently been blogging about some great Mexican style dishes in preparation for Cinco de Mayo, which will be here before you know it! First there was the Carnitas Tacos and just a few days ago, I shared my favourite homemade Salsa recipe. Up next is Guacamole, that delicious avocado based sauce. It seems that in addition to Salsa, the Aztecs are also the folks who gave us “ahuaca-mulli” or avocado mix, which we know as Guacamole. Like Salsa, this dish is easy to prepare, with just a small amount of chopping, no food processor is necessary here. The big difference between the two sauces is that Guacamole must be made the day it is to be served. You really can’t refrigerate the stuff long before that yummy vibrant green begins to take on a very unappetizing brown hue. One fun trick I’ve learned is that you can save the three avocado pits and place them on top of your finished Guacamole while you are waiting to serve it. This will actually slow the oxidation which results in the unfortunate color change. The Guacamole recipe that I am sharing today is really more of an El Salvadorian style Guacamole, than Mexican. However, I’m sure you can still serve it on Cinco de Mayo without too many folks getting their panties in a bunch. Though you never know…last year I shared a recipe for one of my favourite dips, Santa Fe Dip and said it would be a great dish to serve at a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Next thing I knew I got a snippity comment informing me that I needed a geography lesson and that Santa Fe was in the United States. Clearly a dish with Santa Fe in the name could NOT be enjoyed on Cinco de Mayo a Mexican holiday!….Really?!! Perhaps we could relax a bit, it’s just a food blog here… Anyway…

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I say this is an El Salvadoran style Guacamole because it has chopped hard-boiled egg in it. I first encountered this type of Guacamole at my favourite Mexican restaurant, DiOGi’s. They serve up amazing latin style cuisine there. If you ever find yourself in Fayetteville, West Virginia, you must pay them a visit! The chef and owner, Oscar Aguilar, is from El Salvador and told us that the egg bit is an El Salvadoran thing. Now don’t scrunch up your nose like that until you try it. It is really good and while pretty subtle it really adds that extra layer of flavour. Bursting with freshness, this Guacamole is great with a basket of tortilla chips, on a taco or even a burger. It easily puts any store-bought cups of green stuff called guacamole to shame. Make a batch up today!

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Guacamole

recipe adapted from: Alton Brown and Oscar Aguilar

Ingredients

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Directions:

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and chopped egg. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Enjoy!


Salsa

April 23, 2013

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Cinco de Mayo isn’t far off and I just shared a great recipe with you for Carnitas Tacos, which I’m sure would be warmly welcomed at any Cinco de Mayo celebration. One of the fixings you will definitely need to have on hand when you make up a bunch of those afore-mentioned Tacos is a spicy fresh salsa. So I thought I’d go ahead and share my favourite salsa recipe with you. Salsa is easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. But even if you don’t, it is still pretty straightforward, just requiring a bit of chopping. And it tastes fantastic. Wonderfully fresh! So different from that stuff you find on supermarket shelves you’ll be wondering what in the world it was that you were eating out of those jars for all those years. Salsa which simply means “sauce” in Spanish has been around for a long time. In the mid 1500’s, Spanish Franciscan missionaries mentioned it in their writings as a dish the Aztecs enjoyed. And it is still being enjoyed today all over the world. As it turns out Americans have been eating a whole lot of Salsa. In 1991 it overtook ketchup as the top-selling condiment here! This homemade version goes along great with any mexican dish or simply on its own with a big old basket of tortilla chips. Make up a batch for any Cinco de Mayo celebration and you will be the talk of the town. But remember, it takes a little while for all of the lovely flavours to come together, so it is best if you can make this salsa at least 12 hours before you want to serve it. I usually make it the day before. So what are you waiting for? Get chopping!

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Salsa

recipe adapted from: Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 seeded and minced jalapeños
  • 1 red bell pepper, fine dice
  • 1/2 red onion, fine chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (We love cilantro, but if you don’t, you may want to reduce this a bit)
  • Chili powder, salt, and pepper, to taste
  • 5 Fresh scallions, chopped

Directions:

Get a large bowl out and set aside. I use my food processor to chop the tomatoes, red pepper, garlic and onion. I process each vegetable individually (with the exception of the garlic and onion which go in together) so that I can get them to the texture I prefer. As you finish chopping each vegetable, add it to the large bowl and then add in the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, scallions and spices. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours for optimum flavour infusion.

Serve with tortilla chips.


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