Saturday, July 9, 2011

RECIPE: Corn and Black Bean Salad

If you know me, you know how grumpy I get in the heat of the summer. However, THIS salad makes it all better! Seriously, it's all better now...

The salad tastes great, comes together quickly and can be made from items in your own garden (if you're into gardening, of course)... here's where I started.

Corn, black beans, sweet red pepper, red onion, cilantro, canola oil and some seasonings for the viniagrette.

I start by mixing together the viniagrette... lime juice, canola oil, onion powder, ground cumin, kosher salt/pepper and at the last minute I also decided to add some dried oregano.

Then I added the red onion to the viniagrette so it could sit for about 15 minutes. I prefer the red onions to be "pickled" a little... letting them sit in the viniagrette for a bit tames them down a bit, just to perfection. But it's here that I also added a few teaspoons of our favorite hot sauce.

After 15 minutes or so I added the corn, black beans, sweet red pepper ...

Oh yeah, and the cilantro... and then it sits for another 30 minutes or so...

This time we served it up with our "house grilled chicken"... yummy! Make this salad this summer ... your loved ones will love you more for it!

Corn and Black bean Salad
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

2 cups frozen corn
1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet red pepper, finely diced
½ red onion, finely diced
¼ cup cilantro, diced
2 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch onion powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
Salt/pepper to taste

In a large bowl make vinaigrette by whisking together lime juice, hot sauce, oil and spices. Add red onion and mix well; set aside. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes.

Add corn kernels, black beans, red pepper and cilantro. Mix well. Allow to sit for another 30 minutes or so, for the tastes to marry. Salt/pepper to taste before serving.

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

RECIPE: Peach Sangria

Oh, how I love sangria!!! (why don't I make it more often?!)

And I'm glad you're here reading about it... because there's a few things you need to know about sangria... it's GOOD, GOOD, GOOD!!! Oh also, it's a great way to utilize excess fruit, the rest of the wine in a bottle that may not get consumed for a few days, and it can either be "red" or "white".

This is what I started with ... a pitcher, a dry white wine, peach schnapps, peaches and simple syrup (not pictured here).

First, pour the whole bottle of wine into the pitcher...

Next, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup peach schnapps... or another complimentary flavor like Grand Marnier...

Next peel your nice fresh peaches, cut them up and add them to the pitcher... I used 5 for this pitcher. (I could have also added diced mango or orange slices too... but there's always next time!)

And did I forget to tell you about the simple syrup?

I make my simple syrup extra sweet... with a ratio of 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water. Bring it to a boil, stir well until it becomes a clear liquid... and allow to cool for a bit before using.

When the simple syrup has cooled a bit you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup to the pitcher... to taste. I added 1/4 cup and it was just sweet enough for me...

And here's the last 2 things you need to know about sangria... 1) make it the day before you plan to partake. The flavors "marry" a bit more the longer they sit. And 2) The last glass poured out of this pitcher is the best drink of the whole deal. So serve your guests first... that's what a good hostess would do! RIGHT?!

Oh yeah, how could I forget... the last thing you need to know is that when I serve up my sangria I top the glass off with a few dashes of sparkly water, er fizzy water. It's just THAT much more refreshing...

How do YOU like sangria? Fizzy? Red? White?

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

RECIPE: An easy stir fry...

Looking for some more easy summer dishes? Here's one that I think will be enjoyed quite often this summer! That's because with stir fry the veggies are cooked at a super high heat, which cooks them very fast! Other than prep time you're hardly spending any time actually "cooking".

And I know you know that I love my short cuts... taking a short cut here we bought a frozen package of stir fry vegetables (from Trader Joe's, but most groceries should have this). It's chocked full of pea pods, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, soybeans, water chestnuts, carrots and mushrooms. And then to that we added fresh broccoli. (Whick veggies do YOU use for a stir fry?)

Next we move on to making our stir fry sauce... it's a combination of soy sauce, chicken stock, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, corn starch and dark sesame oil (not pictured here). Oh, how forgetful am I?! I forgot to buy more when doing this post... so instead I used a touch of canola oil - and of course it didn't quite taste the same. But it worked out alright... next time, there's always next time.

The ingredients were whisked together in a little bowl and the corn starch added.

Here's an interesting fact about corn starch - it thickens when it gets hot. So be prepared for the corn starch to settle at the bottom of the cute little bowl... you can whisk it up again real quick before adding it to the heat.

And we're ready to stir fry... since stir fry is a quick process I've gotten in the habit of lining up all the players so they are ready for use: frozen stir fry vegetable mix, broccoli bites, and our "house chicken" (sliced/cooked - which we'll cover in another blog post)...

Heat the oil up, over medium-high to high heat... and add those veggies. (Please note - after eating this dish I wish I would have cooked the broccoli a little more. So, the recipe below is written to let the broccoli cook for a few minutes by themselves before adding the frozen veggies.)

Isn't that beautiful?! Yes, the pan will sizzle when the veggies are added... that's the sound you're looking for! You want it to be hot, hot, hot... (kind of like it is right now, outside... UNLIKE how it is as I sit inside typing away in my air conditioned house! Ahhh.... )

Keep moving the veggies around the pan, stirring/tossing frequently. They will cook for about 6-8 minutes total...

And then the sauce and the chicken is added... remember, as the sauce heats up it thickens up. It will also soak into the veggies and chicken... and it's oh so yummy!!!

Stir it around... and when the chicken has heated through it's ready to serve up!

We enjoy ours with brown rice, a touch more soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds to top it off.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

¼ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small bite-size pieces (by volume)
8 ounces frozen vegetable stir fry mix (by weight)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 10 oz, cooked and sliced)

In a small bowl whisk together chicken broth, rice vinegar, soy sauce, corn starch, sesame oil and crushed red pepper. Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to hot sauté pan (or wok) over high heat. Add broccoli, sauté for about 2-3 minutes; tossing pan regularly to coat and evenly cook broccoli. Add the vegetable stir fry mix and continue to saute for another 5-6 minutes. (If using fresh vegetables reduce cooking time appropriately.)

Stir broth mixture one more time to make sure corn starch is completely mixed in and add to pan. Simmer for about 30 seconds; add chicken. Reduce heat and stir until chicken is warmed through

Serve with brown rice, a touch more soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.

enjoy your time in the kitchen...


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