Deconstructed Nachos

Surprise your guests with this deconstructed version of deliciously addictive nachos. The mouthfeel of the individual ingredients is the wow factor.Nachos

Ingredients

1 large bag baked corn tortilla chips

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup sliced pickled jalapenos

2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into a 1/2 –inch dice

1 red onion, diced

8 oz. sour cream

1 recipe chili beef (recipe below)

4 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes

Procedure

On a large serving platter, arrange layers of corn tortilla chips, black beans, sliced jalapenos, tomato, red onion, sour cream, beef chili and cheddar cheese.

Quick Chili Beef

Ingredients

1 T vegetable oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 lb. ground beef

1 clove garlic minced

1 T tomato paste

1 T chili powder

1 t roasted ground cumin

½ t salt

¼ t black pepper

¾ cup water

Procedure

In a nonstick frying pan, sauté onion until softened. Add ground beef and garlic stirring together until meat is browned. Pour off excess fat. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook another two minutes. Add water and cook over medium low heat until water has evaporated, about ten minutes.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

 

 

 

 

More Super Bowl Specials: Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon

Peppers are one of the most versatile veggies out there.  There are so many varieties and cooking with them is fun.  Here is a nice twist to the jalapeno.  Stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this Super Bowl party fare couldn’t be easier to prepare. The spicy jalapenos , tart goat cheese and smoky bacon offer an irresistible contrast of flavors. Your guests will beg for more.

Ingredients:

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)

12 jalapeno peppers

2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure:

Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly. Cut each piece of bacon in half. Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred. Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

Note: Bacon can also be cooked on a grill pan on the stove top and the stuffed and wrapped peppers placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until peppers soften slightly.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary  material without prior approval is prohibited.  If  you have any questions or would like permission I can be contacted via email at sweetpaprika@optonline.net  Feel  free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my blog:  http://www.sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

Grapefruit A-Go-Go

Grapefruit Dazzler
Grapefruit Dazzler

I have developed an uncommon love of grapefruit of late, not that I haven’t always relished its tart sweetness.  But in the midst of a heat wave, its brisk, palate-quenching juiciness seems particularly inviting.

Tangy with an underlying sweetness, grapefruit rivals the ever popular orange that shines with many of the same health promoting benefits. The wonderful flavor of the grapefruit is like paradise as expressed by its Latin name, citrus paradisi.

As a matter of fact, I have been delving into all the delights the grapefruit can lend itself to and coming up a grapefruit dazzler, a luscious sorbet, candied grapefruit peels, and a bright grapefruit salad.  Let’s begin with my

Grapefruit Dazzler

Imagine your guests’ surprise when, instead of offering them a cocktail, you offer them quite possibly the most refreshing pick-me-up they’ve ever had.  If you haven’t tried grapefruit vodka, prepare yourself for a stunner.

So here’s what you do: cut Ruby Red or pink grapefruits in half. Figure one large grapefruit will serve two people. With a small serrated knife, carefully cut the flesh from the grapefruits. Cut into 1-inch chunks.  Place half the chunks in each grapefruit half.  Saturate each half with 1 ½ ounces of grapefruit vodka.

Chill well before serving. Add a spring of mint. Cheers!

(Photo by Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm)

Focaccia with Figs and Prosciutto

If your acquaintance with figs so far has been the familiar Newtons, you’re in for a delicious surprise—fresh figs.  Soon to appear in northeast markets, fresh figs, with their honey sweet flavor and soft texture, are worth seeking out.  Luscious, yet fragile, they should be eaten no more than a couple days after purchase.  They should feel soft to the touch, yet not mushy. Store carefully in refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before eating.

Probably the most popular are the purplish Black Mission figs with light pink flesh.  Calimyrna figs have a yellowish skin with a pale amber flesh.  Kadota figs have green skins with a rosy-colored flesh and are less sweet than other varieties.

This lovely appetizer makes a perfect introduction. (Serves 4)

Ingredients

A 3 1/2 by 7-inch section of focaccia

Large handful of fresh pea shoots

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper

8 fresh figs, rinsed and stems removed

8 oz. prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced

Directions

1. Cut the section of focaccia into two 3 1/2-inch squares.  Cut each in half horizontally. Toast in a 400 degree oven for 2 minutes.

2. Toss pea shoots with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

3. Slice figs vertically into quarters.

4. Place each focaccia square on a small plate.

5. Top each with a small bunch of pea shoots.

6. Arrange 8 fig quarters around pea shoots in a pyramid shape (see photo).

7. Divide prosciutto and arrange around focaccia squares.

Photographer Bill Brady

The Year of the Dragon is Here! How About Some Potstickers?

The Year of the Dragon begins January 23.  What would a Chinese New Year celebration be without some hot and spicy pork fried dumplings, aka potstickers?  I’m not talking about those all too familiar doughy lumps one sometimes finds, but crisp and delicate dumplings redolent with fresh Chinese flavors.  Served alongside a garlicky dipping sauce, they will have your guests craving more.  Not to worry.  Here is a recipe, complete with filling and pleating direction to make a batch of 50.

Ready for frying
Ready to eat

Filling

1 pound ground pork (approx. 80 % lean, 20% fat)

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1 cup finely chopped water chestnuts

1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well just until combined.  Don’t overmix.

50 to 60 round dumpling wrappers

½ cup chicken broth or water for steaming dumplings

Spicy Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chile paste such as Sambal Oelek*

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and serve with potstickers.

*Add another ½ teaspoon if you like it very spicy.

Forming the Potstickers

Buy a package of round dumpling wrappers.* Keep the wrappers covered with a cloth as you work to prevent them from drying out.  Fill them as follows:

Place about 1 ½ to 2 level teaspoons of filling in the center of the dough in a slightly oval shape.  With your finger, very lightly smear a dab of water around the edge of the top half of the wrapper.

Bring up the edges of the dough and pinch together firmly in the center, forming a filled crescent.  Leave each end open.

Make a pleat on the side facing you.

Gather up the balance of the dough on the side away from you, pleating toward the center in 3 or 4 pleats.

Do the same with the other end, pleating toward the center.  This method of sealing the dumpling gives it a broad bottom.

As each dumpling is finished, place it on a lightly floured board and cover with a cloth to prevent drying out.

When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil in a 10 or 11 inch skillet with a tight fitting lid..  When it is hot add the dumplings, bottom side down.  Don’t crowd the dumplings.  You may have to cook them in two batches or use two skillets.  Cover and cook about 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.  Pour ½ cup chicken broth or water all around the dumplings and cover as tightly as possible with the lid.

Cook over medium high heat until the water almost boils away, about 3 minutes, then turn the heat to low.  After about 9 minutes’ total cooking time, potstickers should be done.  If not yet well browned, turn the heat to high briefly.  Watch them closely and do not let them burn.

Transfer the dumplings from the skillet bottom side up onto a serving platter.  Serve spicy dipping sauce on the side.  Yield: about 50 dumplings

*Dumpling wrappers and other ingredients may be purchased at Asian supermarkets and at other well stocked supermarkets.

Photos by sweetpaprika

Puerto Rican “Hot Pockets”–Empanadillas

Empanadillas with Guacamole

Empanadillas are the Puerto Rican version of empanadas, a stuffed pastry popular in Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Philippines.  They are made by folding a thin circular-shaped dough patty over filling creating the typical semicircular shape. Fillings might include beef, ham, chicken, fish, cheese or fruit.  They can be baked or fried.

The name empanada, comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. They are served as an appetizer/tapas, side dish or dessert.  In any form, they’re crisp and delicious.

(Liberally adapted from recipes by Carmen Aboy Valldejuli and Yasmin Hernandez)

Ingredients

Dough:  (Makes 12 empanadillas)

3 cups all purpose flour

½ t baking soda

½ t baking powder

1 t salt

¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil

1 cup warm water

½ t achiotina* (optional for color)

Filling:

2 T olive oil

1 lb ground beef

½ medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ small jalapeno, minced

½ sweet pepper, diced

1/8 cup pimiento stuffed green olives, sliced

2 T sofrito**

1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 T tomato paste

1 pkg. Goya Sazon with annatto

½ t salt

¼ t freshly ground black pepper

Cooking: 4 cups vegetable or peanut oil for deep frying

Procedure (for dough)

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse briefly.  Add vegetable oil and up to 1 cup water until the dough comes together. Remove dough and knead for 2-3 minutes. Let rest in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.  Divide into 12 pieces and then roll into 4-inch round disks.

Filling: Brown ground beef in olive oil.  Drain off excess fat. Add remainder of ingredients and cook for10 minutes over medium heat stirring from time to time.  Let cool. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in each round of dough, fold over and crimp with the tines of a fork to seal tightly.

Deep frying:  Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet to 350 degrees.  Deep fry a few at a time until golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on brown paper or paper towels.  Drain on both sides.  Be sure to bring temperature of oil back up to 350 degrees before adding another batch of empanadillas. Enjoy your special treat!

*achiotina is lard in which a few annatto seeds have been fried and then strained ou

**Basic Sofrito

1 t olive oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

¼ cup chopped tomato

¼ cup chopped onion

3-4 stem and leaves cilantro

1/8 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/8 cup chopped red bell pepper

Grind and pound ingredients in a pilon (mortar and pestle)

(Leftover sofrito can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator).

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon

Peppers are one of the most versatile veggies out there.  There are so many varieties and cooking with them is fun. You can roast peppers on the grill or on a stove top directly on the flame. Once blackened put them in a paper bag to cool. The black char slides right off and you have roasted peppers. Cut them opened and remove the seeds. You can put them in olive oil with chopped garlic and you have a great appetizer.

Another quick preparation for peppers is to stuff them with chopped meat, cheese and rice and baked in the oven covered with tomato sauce. Use the big red peppers, the green ones often are bitter when cooked in this fashion.

Here is a nice twist to the jalapeno.  Stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this backyard barbecue and party fare couldn’t be easier to prepare. The spicy jalapenos , tart goat cheese and smoky bacon offer an irresistible contrast of flavors. Your guests will be back for more.

Ingredients:

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)

12 jalapeno peppers

2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure:

Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly. Cut each piece of bacon in half. Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred. Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

Note: Bacon can also be cooked on a grill pan on the stove top and the stuffed and wrapped peppers placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until peppers soften slightly.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

  • Tes // June 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Reply

    Those chilis photo looks beautiful. I love the recipe. I think jelapeno and becon is a good combination. I can’t wait to try it on my party.

Jessica // June 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Reply

Wow, I really love the way these look and the flavor combination is spot-on. What a beautiful and simple dish to serve during the summer!

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