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Chipotle and Gorgonzola Stuffed Acorn Squash

26 Oct

This dish is so simple to make, but I absolutely loved the combination of flavors.  The sweetness of the caramelized roasted acorn squash is an excellent foil to the spicy, smokey chipotles and pungent and creamy gorgonzola.  The honey adds an extra hint of sweetness.  This would make a bold, interesting side dish alongside something like a steak or lamb and also is substantial enough to make for a light lacto-ovo-vegetarian main course.  The hands on time for this dish is about five minutes max, and the hardest part is cutting open the squash (be careful!).  It also reheats super well, which is great for me, because I bring my lunch to either school or work nearly every single week day.  Basically, the upsides of this dish are ease, super bold flavor, and great reheatability and the downsides are … none.

Chipotle and Gorgonzola Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, carefully sliced lengthwise

2 tbs. butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, roughly chopped/crumbled

1 chiptole in adobo, minced, plus 1 tbs. adobo sauce

1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350º.

Melt butter, either in the microwave for about a minute or on the stove top in a small sauce pan.  Add garlic powder and mix in with a fork.

Place the squash on a baking sheet.  Brush the flesh of the squash with the butter, pouring any excess into the cavity.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the squash flesh side up and bake 30-45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, mix together chipotles, adobo sauce, gorgonzola, and honey.

When squash is tender, spoon the chipotle mixture into the center of the squash.  Transfer back to oven and bake another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chipotle mixture is heated through.  Serve immediately.

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Artichoke Heart Stuffed Peppers

20 Sep

These stuffed red peppers are simple, using only a handful of ingredients and a few minutes of hands on time.  The end result is bold in flavor, with creamy, cheesy provolone, slightly acidic artichoke hearts, and a hint of heat from the green pepper sauce.  To create a hearty dinner, serve this over polenta or rice.  This would also make a nice side accompanying chicken or pork.

I’m always happy when I can coax a lot of flavor from only a few ingredients and very little time – especially so where the dish is a great candidate to freeze.  Simple freeze a single pepper it in a snug-fitting Tupperware, and you can remove it the night before to the refrigerator so it is defrosted by lunch time the next day.  Pop it in the microwave and you have a delicious main component of a lunch.

Artichoke Heart Stuffed Peppers

4 Red Carmen peppers (or other long, narrow, sweet pepper)

1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped

1/3 cup provolone, shredded

2 tbs. mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. green jalapeño pepper sauce, such as Arizona Gunslinger or Tabasco brand (or 1 tbs. minced jalapeño)

1 tbs. garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Add the peppers and spray to coat with non-stick spray.  Place in oven and roast, turning once or twice, about 20 minutes until slightly tender but not fully roasted.

Set aside to let cool, but leave the oven on.

Mix together artichoke hearts, provolone, mayonnaise, pepper sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined.

Once peppers are cool enough to handle, cut through 3/4 of the top to create a “flap.”  Reach in and remove seeds.  Using a spoon (or your hands) stuff the filling into the peppers, leaving about 1/2″ at the top.  Return to the casserole dish, closing the top “flap” of the peppers.

Bake 30-40 minutes until peppers are lightly charred and the filling is heated through.  Serve immediately.

Garlic Parmesan Duck Wings

12 Sep

I’m very lucky to have a husband who does nice things for me.  One of the nice things he does is surprise me by buying some meat, even though he doesn’t eat it.  For the second time, I came home, opened the fridge, and saw a package of duck wings waiting for me.

Now, duck wings are finnicky.  Unlike chickens, ducks actually use their wings – like, a lot.  So they take a lot more cooking to get them tender.  To add to the difficulty, ducks are fatty.  Meaning there is a lot of fat to render from their wings before you can get the skin crispy.  But when done well, man, are they delicious.  I knew I wanted to do a spin off of traditional chicken wings.  Basically, tender meat, crispy skin, and some sort of delicious sauce to tie the whole thing together.  I settle on garlic parmesan sauce, because I had all the ingredients on hand and because I’d already eaten a whole mess of buffalo wings at our moot court fundraiser a few days beforehand.  Plus, I thought it would stand up well to the full-flavored duck without overpowering the unique flavor of the meat.  And, in that, I was right.

As you can see from the picture above, these aren’t typical pick-em up and eat-em wings.  I did a combination of that, but also used a fork to get the meat that literally fell off the bone.  The Parmesan, butter, garlic, and basil flavors of the sauce both complemented and elevated the flavor of the duck, making this a meal to really write home about.

Garlic Parmesan Duck Wings

Duck Wings:

6 duck wings

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. garlic powder

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2-3 cups beef suet, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Liberally season the wings on both sides with salt and pepper.  Season with garlic powder and cayenne pepper.  Wrap very tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate at least overnight or up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 200º.

Over low heat, melt about half of beef suet.  Place half of the unmelted suet on the bottom of an oven proof sauce pan or small Dutch oven that will snugly fit the wings.  Add the wings.  Pour melted suet over the wings, and top with remaining unmelted suet.

Cover and transfer to oven.  Cook 8 hours or until wings are very tender and meat is falling from the bones.

Remove from the oven.

You can either use these immediately or let it cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Remove the wings from the fat.  If you have set it aside and let it cool, reheat over medium heat so the wings can be removed, as the fat will solidify.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Season with oregano, rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.

Lay the duck wings in a casserole dish.  Bake the wings for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until skin is crispy and wings are heated through.

Toss with garlic-parmesan sauce (see below).  Serve immediately.

Garlic Parmesan Sauce:

2 tbs. melted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2-3 tbs. Thai basil, minced

Mix together all ingredients.  Set aside.

Fried Green Tomatoes (Redux)

7 Aug

I love, love, love, love, looooove fried green tomatoes.  They are one of my very favorite things about summer and one of my very favorite things about my parents garden.  The other day, I stopped by to take care of some stuff for our (rapidly approaching) wedding and pick up Roo Bear¹, who had been having a few night sleepover at his “grandparent’s” house.  My dad provided me with two ripe heirloom tomatoes and two green tomatoes – jackpot!

Though I’ve posted a fried green tomatoes recipe on here before, I think this version is a little better (though, of course, it’s all a matter of taste).  So I thought I would post it again, both because I want to spread the word on how awesome fried green tomatoes are and because it’s a slightly improved recipe.  These fried green tomatoes, while intensely flavorful as is from the tart tomato and salty, crunchy, slightly-spicy coating, are also excellent served with a variety of condiments – for instance, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, or, perhaps my favorite, remoulade.

Fried Green Tomatoes

2 large green tomatoes

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup bread crumbs (preferably homemade)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

Slice tomatoes about 1/2″ thick, discarding the ends.  Heavily salt the tomatoes on both sides and let sit for about five minutes.

Whisk together eggs and milk in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper on another plate.

Dip tomatoes in egg/milk mixture.  Let excess drip off.  Coat with flour/cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture.

In a large skillet, pour canola oil.  Heat over medium heat until shimmering.  Fry tomatoes, working in batches if necessary.  Fry about 4-6 minutes per side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

¹  Roo says “Hello!”  And also, “Can’t you guys leave some comments encouraging her to share more of these treats with a vizla?!”

 

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

3 Aug

Thanks to a suggestion in the comments, I remembered I had this recipe bookmarked in my “To Try” list.  I had every ingredient for this except the cilantro (because, hey, fresh herbs do not last that long) and exactly the right amount of ears of corn.  Kismet!  And I am so glad I had that reminder, because this was ridiculously good.

We ate this side dish alongside some simple black bean burritos, eating it as-is and also as a sort of warm “salsa” on the burrito.  Both were extremely good.  The sharp feta contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the warm caramelized corn, and the mayonnaise creates a creamy sauce that is to die for.  The heat from the jalapeños and crushed red pepper flakes works well with the sweet corn and creamy feta and mayonnaise, bolstered by the bright, fresh cilantro, lime, and scallions.  I will definitely be making this again the next time we receive corn in our CSA with no changes other than the fact that I want to double or even triple the recipe.

As an update, I just wanted to acknowledge that I made this dish again with ingredients from Week Four of the CSA.  Because we were bringing it as a side dish to a friend’s house, I decided to serve it cold.  And it was frickin’ delicious both room temperature and cold.  I also added about half a cup of halved cherry tomatoes, which was a great addition that added both color and flavor.

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

From Serious Eats

2 tbs. vegetable oil

4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed

Kosher salt

2 tbs. mayonnaise

2 oz. feta cheese, finely crumbled

1/2 cup scallion greens, finely sliced

1/2 cup cilantro greens, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 lime, juiced

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat until shimmering.  Add corn kernels and season to taste with salt.  Toss once or twice and cook, without moving, until charred on one side, about 2 minutes.

Toss corn, stir, and cook, again without moving, until charred on second side, another 2 minutes.  Continue tossing and charring until well charred all over, for a total of about 8-10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.  Serve immediately.

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