Friday, July 14, 2017

Just For Kicks {Spicy Favorites From the Stirring The Pot Kitchen}

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we're celebrating spicy dishes that give either a little bit, or a lot of kick! I'm having company this week and didn't have enough time to throw together a new dish, so I'm recapping with five of my favorite spicy dishes, as well as a shout out to a dish I've mentioned before, that are perfect for the summer months!

Here in the Stirring the Pot household, we love spicy dishes! They are simply are favorites. I've mentioned this dish several times on my blog, but Madhur Jaffrey's Delicious Chicken Bits is hands down our favorite dish I've ever shared on this blog. It's spicy mainly because it has quite a bit of cayenne pepper in it, but also because it is full of other spices like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper, salt, and thyme. It is a celebration of spices and is a must make for fans of spicy food.

And now onto my five favorites, in no particular order: (click on the link to be directed to the original post and recipe)
This whipped cream cheese is heavenly. Chopped up serrano pepper and garlic give it a truly wonderful flavor profile and it is remarkable and addictive on bagels for breakfast. Of course, this cream cheese is wonderful on just about anything. Trust will not last long!

Light and delicious veggie enchiladas with a super-fiery-not-for-the-faint-of-heart habanero salsa to set your mouth on fire! The avocado is not's necessary to cool your mouth down!

This burger is a wonderful mix of flavors: chorizo, chipotles in adobo, poblano chiles, onions, and garlic.....and ooey gooey Monterey jack cheese. A tasty way to enjoy a burger this summer!

A lovely and unique meal for the slow cooker, this chicken is flavored with tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and a splash of jalapeno pickling juice. The chicken is fall off the bone tender and this is a light and fresh meal that is perfect for spring and summer.

 A light and easy tomato sauce made with a hint of garlic and pickled jalapenos is the perfect way to jazz up fish for a nice light summer meal. This was a very pleasant dish and a great way to add a little kick to your regular old weeknight dinner routine. The potatoes really round it out and make it a nice little meal. 

What are some of your spicy favorites?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Potatoes with "Deconstructed Pesto"

My mom is definitely the one with the "green thumb". In fact, for some time, I think my neighbor's thought she was the lady of the house mainly because she was the one outside planting, pruning, watering, and weeding. It's not that I didn't want to be the one with the green thumb. It's more because I wasn't any good at it and the more I tried the more mom came behind me, cleaning up my messes and fixing my mistakes, as moms are prone to do.

Years ago, mom dug a small herb garden off the back porch and she planted chives, oregano, cilantro, basil, and mint. The herbs did well, but over time we widdled it down to chives, basil, and mint, mostly because they thrived the most and we liked them best.

If I ever got real busy and forgot about the herb garden mom always let me know. She would cut huge bouquets of fresh herbs and place them all over the kitchen, and I'd always laugh because it was her way of telling me they needed to be used.

This summer my mom's been sick and she hasn't spent too much time outside in the garden. Just last week the doctor's told us her cancer was terminal. They say we have time, and we are thankful for that, but we are all still in shock and beside ourselves. I've spent many hours staring into space since that day, but the only thing that really helps me is getting in the kitchen.

My mom's always been my blogging buddy. Since the very beginning. The one I cook for. My bravest taste tester. My biggest fan. So this week when I questioned what in the world I could make, I thought of her and what she would do, if only she felt better. I found my answering staring out at the herb garden. It was in need of some love. I started on the basil first and was happy when I found this delicious Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall dish of Potatoes with "Deconstructed Pesto".

It reminded me of another dish I made back in 2011 when the basil went crazy and mom went outside and filled vases upon vases of basil for me to use. The whole house reeked of basil, and we love the scent, but oh boy...there is such a thing as too much and it makes me laugh now thinking about it. That week I think everything I cooked had basil in it. But of all the dishes we tried we tried that week, the one standout was Ina Garten's Basil Potato Puree. We fell in love with those potatoes. In fact, we still talk about that dish from time to time. Mom always calls it a "special dish" and/or "the freshest potatoes ever tasted." I linked that one above, because if I had my pick between the two potato dishes I'd pick that one, but both of these are tasty summer pleasures.

As for me, I'm heading back out into the herb garden. The mint is out of control and I think I got a few more empty vases...

Potatoes with "Deconstructed Pesto"
River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall
Serves 2-4

1 pounds baby potatoes, cut to uniform size if needed
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
good handful of basil, shredded
generous squeeze of lemon juice
good handful of grated Parmesan

 Place uniformly cut (potatoes need to be similar sizes to cut in the same time) into a medium-sized saucepan, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, until tender.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Put the same saucepan back onto the stove top and add the olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste. Allow the garlic to cook for around 1 minute, then add potatoes back into the saucepan and stir in the shredded basil, some lemon juice, and some grated Parmesan cheese. Taste, adjust seasoning (usually potatoes always need more salt) and serve. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Donna Hay's Beef and Chorizo Burgers w/ Chipotle Mayo

Years back, when we were cooking the recipes of Donna Hay, my friend Michelle of Ms.enPlace shared Donna's Beef & Chorizo Burgers and they looked incredible.  The recipe was simple enough, basically just two simple ingredients: beef and chorizo, but we all know how much flavor chorizo imparts, so I knew without a doubt that this recipe would be a winner with my family.

The original recipe calls for a beetroot relish but Michelle opted to make a Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce for her burgers, which I think is perfect! So I'm taking a nod from Michelle, swapping the sour cream for mayo, and making a chipotle mayo.

Now let me tell ya, these burgers are the perfect way to switch up your burger game. I love a good old-fashioned cheeseburger, but in the summer time when burger season is really in high gear, it sure is nice to change it up from time to time. With all that flavor I didn't even miss the cheese! I highly recommend these burgers for one of your upcoming cookouts!

Beef & Chorizo Burgers w/ Chipotle Mayo
Recipe by Donna Hay, found on Ms. enPlace
Serves 4

For the Burgers
1 pound ground beef
6 oz. fresh Mexican chorizo
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
4 hamburger buns
lettuce leaves, or any of top..toppings of your choice

Chipotle Mayo
1/2 cup mayo
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce

For the Chipotle Mayo: In a small bowl place all the mayo ingredients and mix until blended. Chill until ready to use.

For the Burgers: Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and chorizo to a mixing bowl. Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper and gently combine with your hands (try not to overwork it). Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into patties.

Brush both sides of the burgers with olive oil and place on the grill or grill pan. Grill to desired doneness (about 7-8 minutes for medium well). While the burgers cook, brush the inside surfaces of the buns. Place them on the grill when the burgers have just a couple of minutes left.

Dress the burgers with chipotle mayo and or lettuce or toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone who is celebrating!!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart

Our local Whole Foods decided to close their old store and open up a huge, brand-spanking new, double-the-size store right down the road at an upscale shopping center. Now between you and me, I much prefer the older and smaller store, finding it much easier to to get in and out of, but I realize that everything is all about being out with the old and in with the new lately, so, so be it. Focus on the positive, right? The new store, which is double the size, will obviously have double the merchandise and I'm sure I'll like that. Also, big bonus, the old store had a MAJOR sale before they closed, marking everything down to 50% so they could clean their shelves before closing!

Fifty percent off at Whole Foods is exciting news for me so I ready and waiting. When I got there the shelves were already starting to thin out. I was able to find some beautiful Swiss chard, fresh cherries, and grapes. Racing through the hoards of people I made my way to the freezer section to score some gluten free goodies for my son and I found lots of Dufour puff pastry, and since puff pastry can be pricey and Dufour is known to be the best, I grabbed several boxes.  Puff pastry stores well in the freezer and is fabulous to have on hand!

I've always been in awe of Whole Foods artisan chocolate aisle and they did have quite a bit of chocolate left to chose from. I will confess I spent most of my time in the chocolate aisle, looking over all the choices and I must say I ended up with about 15 bars of artisan chocolate in my cart. I mean how can you pass it up when it's 50% off. That's not likely to happen again! At the checkout I scored big on a few $15 cooking magazines, which were also half off, and cheered with delight when my total, which was $250, quickly became $125. Never has my cart at Whole Foods been that full and I was more than pleased with my haul.

On my way home I was brainstorming a way to use both my Swiss Chard and puff pastry and when I came across Hugh's Lettuce, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart I was inspired. I decided to swap his pastry dough for puff pastry (I can't be bothered to make pastry anyway) and also swap the lettuce for the Swiss Chard, and this tart was born.

Flaky puff pastry, colorful Swiss Chard, artisan English Cheddar, a layer of green onions, together with a pinch and a dash of salt and pepper, and this made for one delectable meal. I see many more puff pastry tarts in my future!

Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
Serves 4-6

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon canola/olive oil
1 bunch Swiss Chard, rinsed and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
4 or 5 green onions, rinsed and sliced
4 ozs. or 1/2 cup English Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out thawed puff pastry to 1/8 inch so that it fills a 10" tart pan.  Place it into the tart pan, cut off the excess, and reserve the excess for topping the tart later.  Place the tart pan with the puff pastry, and any excess puff pastry, in the freezer for 10 minutes.
 In the meantime, you will need a sheet of parchment paper and some beans to make a pie weight so that you can place them in the tart pan and keep the pastry from raising while baking. Place the tart, with the pie weight into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Then remove the pie weight and bake for another 5, or until puff pastry is golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Make the filling.  In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of canola or olive oil to the pan, along with the Swiss Chard, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until wilted and tender. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, for flavor. Using a slotted spoon, arrange the Swiss Chard into the tart shell.

Add the sliced green onions to the hot pan and saute for a minute or so.  Layer the green onions over the Swiss Chard, then top the tart with the grated cheese.  

In a medium bowl, beat two eggs, one egg yolk, and the cream and milk.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Carefully pour this mixture into the tart shell (you may not need all of it). Decorate the top of the tart with the remaining puff pastry dough. I cut mine into squares and just arranged them on top, but feel free to make whatever design you like. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Theme: A Pinch Of This, A Dash Of That

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Top Five Asian Dishes!

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are celebrating Asian Dishes this week. This past week my family and I have been gone on family vacation. While we had an absolutely fantastic time visiting both Gettysburg and Hershey, PA we did come home to bad news regarding my mom's health so I wasn't really up to making a new dish this week.  However, I didn't want this week's theme to go by unnoticed because Asian Dishes are some of my family's absolute favorites (plus I needed a distraction)! So, below is a roundup of my family's Top Five Asian Dishes!

(Please click on the recipe name to be directed to the original post)

Madhur Jaffrey's Delicious Chicken Bits is hands down the BIGGEST hit I've ever made on my blog. I have been asked by my family to make these chicken bits over and over again. In fact, if I ask them what they want on the menu they always request this dish. The chicken is spicy and flavorful and perfect with rice and veggies. We lovingly refer to it as Indian Chicken due to all the delicious spices.  I've made this dish more than any other dish on my blog!

These dip-worthy chicken patties are a lot of fun as an appetizer or as part of a main dish.  Loads of fun to eat they are a great hit with anyone!

If the name Most Delicious Meat Cubes doesn't get your attention then think about a crispy flavor-packed exterior and a tender meaty interior. These Most Delicious Meat Cubes are similar to carnitas, but with Indian spices are they are delectable! I urge anyone to try them!

This Chicken with Garlic and Black Pepper reminds me of the Delicious Chicken Bits above, just with a different flavor profile. In fact, while my family enjoys the spicier Indian flavors of the Delicious Chicken Bits the most, I prefer this garlic and black pepper version. Both chicken dishes pack a flavor punch and are quick easy weeknight meals that go well with rice and veggies.

And these babies...well, I didn't mean to post a carnivorous meaty roundup, but sometimes it is all about the meat, especially when it is packed with flavor like these bad boys.  You can actually see all the flavor running through these meatballs like little pieces of confetti. I think the picture is all the convincing you need to whip up a batch. They are dunkalicious!

These are my favorite Asian Dishes. 

I'd love for you to share some of yours!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano

Tortillas keep well in the fridge and I almost always have them on hand.  In fact, it's far more likely for me to have tortillas on hand than actual sliced bread. We use them for wrapping up breakfast burritos, lunch wraps, burritos, tacos, and last but not least, endless varieties of quesadillas.

If you have a tortilla, odds are you have some bits and bobs and some leftover cheese to make a quesadilla with.  I've made plain cheese quesadillas, veggie quesadillas, bean quesadillas, chicken, beef, pork... you name it. I had never made a chorizo quesadilla until today...and I must tell you it was one of our favorites!

These Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano were a hit with the whole family!  Of course, if you've had chorizo before than you know that anytime chorizo is involved, it is a flavor explosion! Pair that with two kinds of creamy ooey-gooey cheese, and a slight kick from the poblano and you have a pairing that is notches above the rest!

Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano Chile
Adapted from What's For Dinner?
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

canola oil
12 ounces fresh Mexican-style chorizo, casings removed
1 poblano chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into long thin strips
salt and pepper, to taste
2-1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
Four 9 inch flour tortillas

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil, then add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a bowl, Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet (mine had pretty much zero fat - add canola oil if needed).

Add the chile to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for around 5-8 minutes, or tender and slightly charred.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Mix the Jack cheese and Mozzarella cheese together. Brush one side of each tortilla with oil (or butter). Turn the tortillas oil side down on the work surface.

For each quesadilla, sprinkle a heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture over the bottom half of a tortilla and top with one-fourth each of the chorizo and chiles, then another heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling and press lightly to compact.

Working in batches, place the quesadillas on the griddle and cook, turning halfway through cooking, for a total of about 6 minutes, or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve hot.

Theme: May Potluck!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cavatappi with Kale Ragu

Stirring the Pot is 9 years old this year, and the last time I checked, I had shared almost 900 recipes over the years! Now, from time to time my husband will many more recipes can you try? Haven't you run out yet?  The answer is always the same: NO!

In fact, from time to time I have been known to have one recurring dream. It's always the same. In my dream I'm running from someone who is trying to kill me and my one request is "No. No. You can't kill me yet. I have way too many recipes left to cook."  Now I've shared this dream with regular everyday people and they look at me like I have two heads, but I know my fellow cooks and food lovers will totally understand. My recipe list is never-ending! My Pinterest boards are exploding and it is quite realistic, even if I live to be 100, that I will never get to all the recipes on my list! 

Of course, saying that, from time to time I will share similar recipes, the same type of dish but by a different chef, or with another variation. I've shared endless versions of mac and cheese and I'm sure they'll be more. I've also shared a couple versions of pot roast, and of course, roast chicken.

I've also shared a very similar version of this Cavatappi with Kale Ragu before. Back in 2010, Mario Batali came out with his Molto Gusto cookbook and in it was the most delicious recipe for Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu.  Having never had a swiss chard ragu before, I was curious and set out to make it straight away! It was love at first bite and when I posted it, I regaled it as one of the most delicious dishes I had made all year! So, when I noticed that Hugh had a similar version for a kale ragu in his River Cottage Veg cookbook, I knew it must be made.

And you know what? This Cavatappi with Kale Ragu was equally delicious!  The recipes were very much the same, with the major difference being just the difference between kale and swiss chard. So, if you're looking for a killer pasta dish, then I would highly suggest either one (click the link to be redirected to the swiss chard recipe). This pasta has texture, incredible flavor, is quite cheesy, and is ultimately comforting! Need more convincing...the whole pot should costs less than $5! A win-win all around! Make it. You won't be sorry!

Cavatappi with Kale Ragu
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Serves 4-6

1 big bunch of kale
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh red chile, or red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, finely slivered
salt and black pepper, to taste
10 ounces Cavatappi or other pasta
butter, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
*1 cup pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta

Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil so that you're ready to cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together. Remove the thick stems from the kale and slice into shreds.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the chile and garlic and some salt and pepper, and continue to cook for 3minutes, until the garlic is no longer raw.

When the onion is almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the greens to the pan about 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. At this point I used a 1 cup measure to ladle out some of the pasta cooking water. I added this water to the kale mixture, along with a good-sized knob of butter and a fair amount of Parmesan cheese to make a creamy mixture.

Drain the pasta and in the pan with the kale until thoroughly mixed. Check for seasoning, adding more pasta water to make it creamier, or perhaps more salt and pepper, and or cheese, if needed.  Serve immediately with lots of grated cheese!

Theme: Escape To River Cottage