Sunday, August 29, 2010

Breakfast Burritos

If you happen to have premade Spicy Black Beans in the fridge ready to go, this breakfast can be prepared in a snap. That fact alone is what inspired this meal. I had just returned from a long run and was several miles past hungry. I needed food, and needed it fast. I've written the exact way I made this recipe the first time which cuts corners (ie cooking the eggs and beans in the same pan) in order decrease cooking time and dishes.

Breakfast Burritos
-Makes 2-4 burritos, depending on tortilla size

2 eggs
soft tortillas (I used green chile corn tortillas)
2 cups Spicy Black Beans
cheddar cheese, grated
sour cream
fresh cilantro, stems removed
hot sauce
extra virgin olive oil

-Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add spicy black beans and stir occasionally. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a small bowl, add a splash of cold water, salt, and pepper, and whisk well. When the beans are heated through, pour the egg mixture into the skillet and toss/scramble with the beans using a spatula. When the eggs have cooked through remove pan from the heat and divide the eggs & beans between each tortilla. (If you have extra time, you can wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth and preheat them in a warm oven) Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and hot sauce. Serve.

Spicy Black Beans

This dish is hearty, healthy, spicy, versatile, fast, and reheats well. Use as a side dish, in taco salad, in tacos, in breakfast burritos, and much more. You can add different peppers (sweet bell peppers instead of anaheims) or include other vegetables that you enjoy or have around. I've substituted leeks for onions in the past as well. If you have the time, you could also use dried beans.

Spicy Black Beans

2 14.5 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large green anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo), minced (add to taste)
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
kosher salt

-Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add garlic and chipotle pepper. Add onion and pepper, season with salt, and sautée until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add black beans and continue to cook until the beans are cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Serve.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cucumber, Mango, and Radish Salad

As varied in flavors as it is in colors, this salad combines sweet, tart, spice, bitter and is finished with a satisfying crunch. I cut all the salad components in small pieces so each bite would contain a bit of each element, but left the pieces big enough so each was recognizable. You can peel the cucumber if you please, but I used an English cucumber which tend to have a more tender and thin skin and less seeds. Serve with Mexican food, grilled fish, grilled chicken, or pan-seared scallops-

Cucumber, Mango, and Radish Salad
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 bunch of radishes, diced
1-2 mangoes, diced
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lime

-Combine cucumber, red onion, radishes, mango, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Toss with salt, chili powder, rice vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice. Let salad stand for ~30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Freezing Rosemary

I wouldn't consider excess rosemary a problem, but you still have to store it. If you've bought a bunch of rosemary and only needed a sprig or your rosemary plant is in major need of a prune, freeze it. Simply wash, pat or spin dry, and place the rosemary in airtight bag in the freezer. Once frozen, the rosemary leaves will fall from the stems which you can keep frozen in a small jar. Washed, picked, and ready for any recipe, your frozen rosemary will keep its flavor for at least a year.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chipotle Hummus

Chipotle peppers are not to be taken lightly. I have a reasonably high spice tolerance and love the smokey flavor that Chipotle peppers bring to any dish, but they pack a punch. I've certainly underestimated their spiciness in the past which yielded tasty but painful meals. Be careful!
This recipe is easily adjusted to suit not only your preferred spice level but also your preferred hummus consistency. I use a combination of tahini, olive oil, and the garbanzo bean can liquid to prepare my hummus until it's the consistency I like. Want creamy hummus? Add more tahini and olive oil. Want a healthier/diet friendly hummus? Use a bit more of the can liquid. Adding each liquid slowly will allow you to adjust accordingly without over-adding and ending up with hummus soup. This hummus is not only great with veggies and pita chips, but also is a great addition to any pita sandwich or as a replacement for mayonnaise in bread sandwiches. 

Chipotle Hummus
2 15.5 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
1 chipotle pepper (canned & packed in adobo sauce)*
1 teaspoon adobo sauce *
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil*
1/3 cup tahini*
1 tablespoon lemon juice*
3 teaspoons kosher salt*

* ingredients that are added to taste.

-Combine beans, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and tahini in a food processor work bowl. Blend and slowly add in olive oil/garbanzo bean liquid until the mixture starts to form a consistent, smooth paste. Adjust consistency with additional oil, bean liquid, and tahini until the hummus reaches the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt, lemon juice, (and additional chipotle, if desired).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Orecchiette with Marinated Eggplant, Burrata, and Chiles

Smoky grilled Japanese eggplant, spicy chiles, creamy burrata, and fragrant marjoram work beautifully together in this dish. The eggplant is marinated in red wine vinegar and herb-infused olive oil after it is grilled and is delicious on its own. To speed up the recipe you can grill and marinate the eggplant in advance, just refrigerate until you reheat prior to serving.

Orecchiette with Marniated Eggplant, Burrata, and Chiles

4 large Asian eggplants,  halved lengthwise (quartered lengthwise if they're huge) (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, pressed or very thinly sliced
1 pound orecchiette
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound burrata cheese, halved, creamy filling scooped out *
Zest of 1 lemon
2 oil-packed red chiles, cut into thin strips or chopped (seed the peppers to reduce spice level)
3 marjoram sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons marjoram leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

*I scooped out the creamy filling for the main meal but topped the leftover pasta with the outer shell

-Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the cut sides of the halved eggplants with olive oil and season with salt. Grill the eggplants cut side down over moderate heat until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Turn and continue grilling until just browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.

-Let the eggplant cool. Dice and transfer to a bowl. Pour vinegar over the eggplant and toss well.

-In a small saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil with garlic, marjoram sprigs, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Bring the oil to a simmer, then pour it over the eggplant and toss. Let stand for 1 hour. Discard the marjoram sprigs.

-In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.

-Add the eggplant to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring lightly, until hot, about 1 minute.

-Add the orecchiette and the reserved cooking water and cook, tossing, for about 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the pecorino and parsley.

-Serve pasta and dot with the creamy burrata filling. Garnish with the lemon zest, chile strips and marjoram leaves and serve.

Adapted from Missy Robbins, Food & Wine Magazine