Monday, May 25, 2015

Red Snapper Veracruzana

I love Mexican food.  So usually on Cinco de Mayo, I whip up a batch of creamy cheesy enchiladas, but this year I wanted to make something different.  Something a little bit healthier.  Yet still in keeping with my favorite flavors.  I stumbled upon an entire menu in a cookbook I've had for ages but haven't really sampled.  I knew I had to try it.  This dish is not complicated, but it also isn't something that comes together in five minutes.  Give yourself a little time to babysit the fish and you won't regret it!!  Enjoy!

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 jalapeƱos, seeded and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes and juices
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
8 4-ounce red snapper filets (or use another firm fish, like mahi!)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, onions, and jalapeƱos.  Saute until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the wine and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Stir in tomatoes, sugar, cilantro, and bay leaves.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place each filet on the sauce and spoon additional sauce over the top side.  Cover and cook 8-10 minutes.

Serve, garnished with additional cilantro and lime wedges if you'd like.

Serves 8.

Recipe adapted from The Comfort Table, by Katie Lee.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cilantro Lime Rice

It's hard to imagine a Mexican fiesta without rice.  This tasty twist on a classic is perfect.  I used a rice blend, so the contrast of white rice with bright green cilantro is more subtle, but it was a healthier carb choice for me.  Use whatever kind of rice you have on hand, and serve up this tasty rice with your favorite south of the border dishes!  If you'd like, you can even mix your rice in with these beans for a one-hit wonder!  Ole!

4 cups water
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups rice
3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring water, lime juice, and salt to a boil.  Add rice, place the lid on the pot, lower heat to simmer, and allow to cook until the moisture is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and stir in the cilantro.

Recipe adapted from The Comfort Table, by Katie Lee.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spicy Black Beans

We're continuing our Cinco de Mayo celebration with some spicy black beans this week!  These beans pack a punch, so proceed with caution, but they are worth every fiery bite!  Serve them alongside your favorite Mexican dishes, use them as a taco or burrito topping, or even add them to a fiesta soup to add tons of flavor.  Beans are versatile, so play around with the spice blend and pepper choices according to your tastes!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 bay leaf
2 14-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup water

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper.  Saute until translucent.  Stir in the spices and bay leaf and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Add the beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and water.  Bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes.

Serves 6-8.

Recipe adapted from The Comfort Table, by Katie Lee.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ruby Red Grapefruit Margaritas

It's Cinco de Mayo, and that means it's margarita time!!  I'm a big fan.  Especially of the variety my dad used to make.  But his recipe is a closely-guarded family secret, so I can't divulge.  However, I cam across this recipe and had to try it.  It didn't disappoint, and that is coming from the gal who normally doesn't like a 'rita on the rocks!  This drink is refreshing, pretty, and strong!  It'll knock your socks off (literally!) and I just know you'll love it as much as I do.  Mix up a pitcher for your next fiesta!

2 limes, cut into wedges
salt, in a shallow bowl or plate
1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups triple sec
2 cups tequila
crushed ice

Rub the lime wedge around the rim of a margarita glass to moisten.  Dip and roll the glass in the dish of salt so that the rim is completely covered.

Mix juice, sugar, triple sec, and tequila in a large pitcher.  Stir to combine well and ensure the sugar is dissolved.

Place crushed ice in each glass.  Pour margarita over ice and  garnish with additional lime wedges.

Friday, May 1, 2015

This Month: Cinco de Mayo

Even though summer doesn't officially begin until late June, warm weather celebrations are abundant in May!  Derby Day, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and Cinco de Mayo!  As if I really need another excuse to throw a party!  The warmer weather has rejuvenated my need to cook.  Sort of like when fall creeps up and I get excited to wear my sweaters and boots again...only this time it's flip flops and tank tops.  And cilantro and citrus.  I love warm weather food, I love Mexican food, and I love a good theme party.  Here's a little something different from your typical taco dinner to celebrate Cinco de Mayo...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lemon-Poppyseed Scones

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (or more) whole milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Position rack in top third of oven.  Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, lemon peel, and salt in processor.  Add butter and cut in, pulsing, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg and lemon juice in medium bowl to blend. Add to flour mixture. Pulse until moist clumps form.  Add 1/3 cup milk. Pulse just until dough comes together, adding more milk if dough seems dry.  Using floured hands, gather dough into ball.  Flatten into 8-inch round.  Cut round into 8 wedges.  Transfer scones to large baking sheet; brush with milk.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake until scones are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Quiche Lorraine

Last year when I invited my mom to our house for Easter and told her I was thinking about serving quiche, she nearly had a heart attack!  Growing up, I never liked quiche and adamantly refused to eat it on the (many) occasions my mom served it.  Imagine Mom's surprise when I told her I was going to completely change my typical East brunch menu to feature a dish I claimed to hate.  My mom had a great recipe at her house, but since that was three hours away, we combined was she could recall from the recipe with a basic quiche from Julia Child.  The result was a hit.  And I ate two helpings!  Now, this quiche is becoming an Easter tradition!

1 9-inch piecrust, frozen or homemade
6 strips bacon
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place piecrust in a pie pan and bake 5 minutes.  Leave the oven on.

Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces.  Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from skillet and let drain on a paper-towel lined plate.  Pour off all but two tablespoons bacon drippings remaining in skillet.  Saute onion in drippings until translucent.

When the piecrust is done, layer the bacon, onion, and cheeses over the partly baked pie crust.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour over the cheese mixture in the pie crust.

Bake the quiche for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350, and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage