Perfect Corn Muffins

20170113_113631-1600x1200Amazon tempted me with one of their lightning deals on some silicone muffin trays.  I’m pretty easy.  These corn muffins from smittenkitchen looked like a good way to test drive them.20170113_110542-1600x1200The method was interesting, 1/2 cup of cornmeal was simmered in the milk until it started to look like porridge, then cooled slightly in a bowl in which the rest of the ingredients were added in their turn.  The cup of sour cream was a nice touch.20170113_110711-1600x1200Two eggs were the last of the wet ingredients added before the dry mixture was folded in.20170113_111538-1600x1200The resulting batter was pretty stiff.  The cookie dough scoop worked great in portioning between the dozen cups.  It wasn’t the perfect size so I did have to top off the cups by eye.20170113_113323-1600x1200I’m not sure how long these were in because I forgot to set  a timer.  These passed the toothpick test.20170113_114006-1600x1200Mmm… red beans cooked with a smoked ham hock – a perfect way to enjoy these perfect corn muffins.

Tidbits

DSC02956 (1600x1200)The in-laws gifted us these two fig tree cuttings and sent over a small bowl of figs from the tree they were cut from.  Tasty!  I hadn’t ever eaten a fresh fig before, my only exposure to figs of any sort was by way of those Newton cookies and the occasional holiday candied treat.  They didn’t provide too much info on them except to say they were Italian fig trees.  They say they will grow to six feet and bear fruit in the second year.  Any luck and we won’t kill them before that. DSC_1242 (1600x1060)This is my second try at baking slider buns and I think I’m on the right path.  Those black specks are bits of garlic that I flavored the melted butter with for the pre-bake brushing.  I didn’t worry about them when it went on but I should have known they were going to char in the oven.  It looks like one KA recipe will make 20 appropriately sized buns – 2-1/2 to 3 inches each.DSC_5429 (1600x1060)Bea was in the pot with the jalapenos when I looked out the window but by the time I had my camera in hand she was out of it and back into her usual spot.DSC_1245 (1600x1060)We had chicken enchiladas for dinner today, nothing special – tomatillo sauce, roasted poblanos, and Monterey jack.  I made the corn/black bean salad I’ve done before but new to the table is the hominy/sweet corn/red bean salad.  Both salads have onions and green peppers in a rice vinegar dressing.DSC_5424 (1600x1060)Bitsy is taking her turn in the catnip pot.  They are all just crazy for that stuff.

Ready for Fall and Practicing My Soup-Fu

DSC_0969 (1600x1060)I ransacked the cupboard for dark red kidney beans in a can to make three bean salad yesterday and found none.  I thought maybe I could soak some dried beans and cook them to use.  I started them but decided to just go back to town and buy some in the can.  Mrs J said she was thinking bean soup and cornbread would be good since we had a start on that and, like any right thinking man, I agreed with her.DSC_0970 (1600x1060)Here’s that three bean salad.  I’ve always seen it made with kidney beans, green beans, and yellow (wax) beans but when I did a recipe search to find a good dressing I was surprised to see all kinds of beans included: white beans, brown beans, black beans and garbanzos.  Probably others that I am forgetting.

Anyway, the dressing I went with was 1/4 cup Splenda, 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, and about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Whisk the vinegar with a little Dijon mustard as an emulsifier while drizzling in the oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  It’s best the next day after refrigerating overnight.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Santa Fe Wraps and Enchiladas

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I live within walking distance of one of the best family owned Mexican restaurants around, they have some of my favorite green chile sauce ever, so I rarely go to all the trouble of making a Mexican style meal.

But JeffreyW is always making some yummy south of the border treat. He was burning up the blog with some great recipes this week, so I’m going to highlight those tonight. Then the featured recipe is a simple and tasty wrap I often make for a casual meal when I have company.

First up, JeffreyW makes some excellent Chimichurri that I can’t wait to try.

Chimichurri is a  green sauce used for grilled meat, originally from Argentina. It is based on finely-chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar.

Photos and recipes here and here (he changes things up a bit the second time around).

Pictured above are JeffreyW’s Chicken Enchiladas, recipe and more photos here.

For a quick kid-friendly dinner, I make a fun and popular with the kids Burrito Pie, recipe here.

What’s cookin’ this weekend? Anything fresh from the garden making it to your table yet? Hit the comments and don’t forget to share some of your favorite recipes, you guys have been great at giving me new recipes to try.

The featured recipe tonight is one of my quick and easy meals that works great when I have a house full and I want a casual build-your-own main course.

Santa Fe Wraps

(There is a full dinner menu at this link).

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin, London broil, or flank steak thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 red pepper*
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (maybe try a flavored style)

2 saucepans, skillet and 4 serving bowls

In saucepan, add rice, 2 cups water and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. In other saucepan, add beans & heat on med-low until heated through. In 300° oven, place tortilla shells between two pieces of foil and warm. In skillet, heat oil, sauté onion & pepper add steak, cook 5 minutes, reduce heat & add tomatoes, taco seasoning and simmer an additional 5 minutes on medium. Put rice, beans, cheese and meat mixture in separate serving bowls, let everyone assemble their own wrap at the table.

*Go wild, use a couple of different colors for added flavor and a pretty presentation.

Also, please note my friend who lived in Santa Fe says it needs chopped green chiles to be authentic. So add as desired.

That’s it for this week….happy Friday the 13th.  – TaMara

 

Dinner Menu: Santa Fe Wraps

I know this late, but I got hit with a nasty bug and about all I could accomplish this week was work. The cold weather has stayed around longer than they predicted, though except for a day, it was nothing like anywhere else was experiencing.

I thought about doing soup for the menu tonight, but I’m tired of cold weather food (sigh, and it’s only January) so I decided to go for something that seemed a little fresher. I was in the store and passed by the flavored tortillas: sun dried tomato basil; jalapeno cheddar; garlic herb; and spinach and knew what I wanted to do. These are extra large and I really like the flavors. I like this recipe for company, you can make it all ahead of time, keep it warm and put it on the table and let everyone assemble their own.

On the board tonight:

  1. Santa Fe Wraps
  2. Salad w/Creamy Cucumber Dressing
  3. Grapes

Santa Fe Wraps

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 red pepper*
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (maybe try a flavored style)

2 saucepans, skillet and 4 serving bowls

In saucepan, add rice, 2 cups water and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. In other saucepan, add beans & heat on med-low until heated through. In 300° oven, place tortilla shells between two pieces of foil and warm. In skillet, heat oil, sauté onion & pepper add steak, cook 5 minutes, reduce heat & add tomatoes, taco seasoning and cook 5 minutes on medium. Put rice, beans, cheese and meat mixture in separate serving bowls, let everyone assemble their own wrap at the table.

*There are a lot of peppers at my grocers, so go wild, use a couple of different colors for some added flavor.

Also, please note my friend who lived in Santa Fe says it needs green chilis to be authentic.

Salad w/Creamy Cucumber Dressing

  • 12 oz bag spring greens
  • ½ head green leaf lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

serving bowl

Mix all ingredients together in serving bowl.

Dressing:

  • 8 oz plain yogurt (low fat ok)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled & chopped (seeded opt)**
  • ¼ Miracle Whip style salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 4 green onions, chopped (or use the remaining yellow onion)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

small bowl

Mix ingredients together and toss with salad greens.  **I really like the English cucumbers (those are the long, thin ones, usually wrapped in plastic).

Shopping List:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can red beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil
  • 1 red pepper (don’t stop there, add a yellow and orange, too)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 12 oz shredded Jack Cheese
  • 4-8 burrito size flour tortillas (be daring, try a flavored one)
  • green chilis, opt.
  • 12 oz bag spring greens
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 oz plain yogurt (low fat ok)
  • 2 cucumbers (I like English)
  • 4 green onions (or use the remaining yellow onion)

Also: Miracle Whip style salad dressing or mayonnaise, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, dill

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Red Beans and Rice with Pickled Pork

We usually watch recorded episodes of cooking shows while we are eating dinner.  We have a small TV on a counter hooked up to a “nettop” computer and also to a Dish DVR.  The computer is great for looking up recipes online, and the DVR has forever ruined me for watching broadcast TV.  Anyway, the other day we had an old Alton Brown show playing when he started in on pickling pork for red beans and rice.  I’m pretty sure I’d never heard about such a thing but he made it sound good enough to try.  I cut up some pork,assembled the pickling solution, and boiled it for the few minutes the recipe specified.Then it was just a matter of letting the brine do its work for three days.  Longer would be fine but two weeks seems to be all Alton was comfortable with before use or draining and freezing the meat.  This meat has had the three days and has been drained and briefly rinsed to wash off the odd mustard seed:They are just a tad larger than the inch cubes the recipe wanted, I cut them down a bit before stirring them into the pot.Bring everything to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer, give them a couple of hours covered then remove the lid and raise the heat a little so the liquid reduces to where you want it to be.  Serve over rice with a side of cheddar cornbread.  Add extra hot sauce as desired.

Chili Beans

Been having fun canning tomato sauces so I decided to branch out just a little bit.  Took a couple of pounds of dried beans, a pound each of red and black beans, and set them to simmering.  When they got soft I dumped most of the water and started ladling in tomato juice from the latest bucket of tomatoes.  Added garlic and chili powder, ancho sauce and some adobo sauce, some red pepper flakes, a touch of ground cayenne, some black pepper and some salt.  That’s been on a low flame all afternoon with the occasional addition of another ladle full of the ever thickening tomato juice.  Last thing to go in was a good amount of sliced pickled jalapenos.  When the quart jars are done in the dishwasher I’ll spoon the beans into them and fire up the pressure canner.