My talented friend over at One Little Star posted the other day her favorite Fall things. One was Cookie Butter she had gotten at Trader Joe’s. I was excited for this one because it got me thinking of a great opportunity for teacher, co-worker, neighbor gifts. I could make pretzel bites and give them with cookie dip for the holidays. But this idea did not leave my head and I started craving pretzel bites with some dip. So….
We received chicken breasts and peppers as part of our USA, urban supported ag, pick up this week. Instantly I started thinking of the fajita dish my husband makes. I intended for us to enjoy it on Sunday, but we ended up at a minor league baseball game to support our local library. So Monday it was and without my husband as he is never home for dinner on days he works. Bummer. That fajita dish is really awesome.
I started rummaging through the pantry and fridge for my own ideas for our Mexican flavored fiesta tonight. Then I remembered the new cookbook I had received had a homemade tortilla recipe. Perfect, since I have needed to start cooking some out of it in order to review it. Tortillas are so simple to make and the homemade ones are sooooooooooo much tastier than store bought. Really try it once! The kids will love making them too! The recipe in ”Homemade Pantry“ was different than my usual recipe- which I got from Uncle Julio’s when my son fell in love with them.
My kitchen timing went as follows:
Get chicken, cucumbers, blueberries, onions- leftover and already sliced, peppers, butter, and lard out of the fridge, flour and rice out of the pantry, some tomatoes off the counter and arrange them on counter into their different dish sections.
First, I put the rice on to cook then turned my focus to the tortillas. I mixed up the dough and then let it rest. In the meantime I blackened a pepper on the stovetop and while that was snapping and crackling I made the marinade for the chicken- diced onion, diced chilis, lemon zest from a lemon rind I had in the freezer, olive oil, splash of apple cider vinegar and chicken breasts cut into smaller strips. Mixed all that up in a covered container and set aside. Rotated the pepper a few times as necessary and placed that in a paper bag. Wash hands.
Then sprinkled some flour on the counter and separated the tortilla dough into four balls. Let it rest for a few minutes while I put a skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and chopped the cucumbers and tomatoes. Most of the cucumbers went into what would be our side salad of cucumbers and blueberries topped with honey and the rest went in with the tomatoes add in the remaining diced chilis and onions that didn’t go into the marinade, salt, and since I was out of lime for juice I used a splash of fresh squeezed lemonade.
Skillet now hot and tortillas ready to be rolled out, I rolled out the first to approximately 8 inch diameter and threw it in the skillet for 1 minute per side. While one cooked I rolled out the next and repeated until all 4 were cooked. Then my pan still being hot I wiped out the excess flour that was in the pan, added some olive oil to warm. Then it was on to cooking the chicken. Keeping the tortillas warm in the oven. Taking the rice off the heat and letting rest until the chicken was complete.
The kid set the table while I finished with the chicken and in 40 minutes we had a completely cooked from scratch, delicious meal. In which my son asked if I would make this every day. I said no, if we ate it all the time it wouldn’t be fun. He replied well, then we’ll just eat it for every dinner.
Tortilla Recipe from “Homemade Pantry” easily modified to reduce portion, as I did. The following recipe makes 16 8-inch tortillas.
4 c all-purpose flour, plus additonal for counter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 T nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening or lard, cut into small pieces
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening, and rub them into the flour mixture with your hands until you have pea-size lumps. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of warm water to the mixture, tossing with your hands as you go. Add an additional 1 tablespoon of water at a time, but no more than 4 additional tablespoons, until you have a slightly sticky dough. Lay a clean, damp dish towel over the bowl. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Flour the counter and divide the dough into 16 balls, each about 3 inches in diameter. Cover the balls with damp towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Start heating a dry skillet on the stove over medium high heat.
Use the rolling pin to roll out your first tortilla to 8 inches in diameter and 1/16 inch thick. Put it in the skillet and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until it bubbly and starting to brown. Use the spatula to remove the tortilla from the pan. Repeat with the other balls of dough. Serve immediately, or store, covered, in a warm oven or under a warm, damp cloth until ready to serve.
1 pkg hot dogs
2 48 oz containers chicken broth
1 1/2 cup chopped chives
any vegetables i.e. carrots, celery, potato, zucchini, etc chopped
Bring broth, chives, and vegetables to a boil in a large pot. While pot comes to a boil cut hot dogs.
Cut hot dogs in half, then cut lengthwise from cut end up, leaving about an inch at the top for the octopus head, into quarters. Cut each “leg” in half- totallying 8 legs.
Add hot dogs to pot when broth has come to a boil and cook for 5 minutes more. The legs will curl. Serve placing octopus in the middle of the bowl.
Pork Chops and Sweet Potato Fries
6 pork chops
2 T steak seasoning
1 12oz bottle beer
1 18oz bottle of your favorite bbq sauce
2 onions, sliced
Sprinkle pork chops with steak seasoning and brown in a dutch oven. Once browned, remove from pan.
Pour into dutch oven beer, CAREFULLY! pan is hot. Stir beer scrapping all pork chop bits up. Add in bbq sauce, stir. Add back in pork chops. Add onions. Cover and simmer on low for at least 1 hour and up to 2. When pork is fork tender dinner is ready!
Sweet Potato Fries
heat oven to 425 degrees.
peel potatoes. cut potato into wedges. toss with olive oil. salt and pepper. put on a single layer on a baking sheet. cook 10 minutes a side.
Sweet and Sour Chicken with Steamed Broccoli and Rice
rice (wild, brown, or white), cooked
chicken tenders, cooked
2 T cornstarch
1/2 c water
1 8oz can drained pineapple, reserve juice
1/4 c apple cider vineagar
1 cup sugar
1/2 c crushed tomatoes
2 medium carrots, chopped
Stir reserved pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, tomatoes into a saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Whisk cornstarch and water in a bowl until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Stir into pineapple mixture.
Stir in pineapple and carrots into sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Use sauce for dipping or poured over cooked chicken. This sauce is great over rice and broccoli.
*My kid only likes the broccoli stems, if your kid only likes the stems cut off florets for you and let them dunk stem into sauce.
Parmesan Tilapia and Steamed Peas
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c butter, softened
3 T egg free mayonnaise
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp chopped basil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets
Preheat broiler and grease or cover with alumnium foil your broiler pan.
In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together and set aside.
In a single layer arrange fillets on broiler pan. Broil for 1-2 minutes per side then remove. On top side cover with mixture and broil for 1 minute more. Careful not to overcook the fish!
Serve with steamed peas.
Sooooooo easy. Sooooooo delicious.
Slice some summer squash. Above is pattypans and summer squash, but zucchini would be find too, or any squash kissed with the summer sun. Saute it in some olive oil. While that is cooking puree, food processor, whatever some garlic scapes, green onion (green only), honey, salt, basil, and drizzle olive oil in while it blends. It can still be chunky. I make large batches and keep in my fridge and/or freezer. Slice and dice some tomato, put in a bowl and lightly drizzle some balsamic vinegar over and fresh ground pepper. Let rest. Grab a handful of arugula. Now to assemble just put squash down in heap first on plate, then arugula, then tomatoes, then top with a light drizzle of the puree. Serve. It would be great over angel hair pasta also, but sometimes pasta is just too heavy in the summer.
For the granita….4 cups of berries pureed then strained to remove seeds. Add to 1 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar dissolved. For the above I used 3 cups raspberries and 1 cup blueberries. The raspberries give it the beautiful color. Using a large plastic container, pour in mixture and let freeze for an hour. Take a fork and make circle motions through the mixture, make sure your scrape down the sides. Continue to do this every half hour until mixture is frozen and formed ice crystals. The finer shave the prettier it is, so don’t forget about it! I make peach, apple, and fruit can be made into a granita. And soooooo good. I even eat it for breakfast on really hot days.
Sunday Pork Tenderloins with Madeira-Fig Gravy
Monday Tuscan White Bean Burger with Cucumber, Tomato, Okra Salad
Tuesday Steamed Eggplant with Chickpeas and Herbed Yogurt
Wednesday Fresh Tuna Salad with Green Beans
Thursday Mushroom and Okra Perlo
Friday Pasta and Peas
Saturday Zucchini Blossoms with Microgreens
2 pounds pork tenderloins
1 pound tuna steak
4 oz slice prosciutto
2 large shallots
4 yellow onions
1 bunch scallions
1 pound fresh figs
1 cup kalamata olives
1 pound okra
1 large cucumber
1 large Japanese eggplant
1/2 pound green beans
2 bunches arugula
8 oz cremini mushrooms
3 poblano peppers
10 oz baby peas
20 zucchini blossoms
Red Wine Vinegar*
All Purpose Flour*
Self Rising Flour
1 can navy beans
1 can chickpeas
Red chile flakes*
2/3 cup plain yogurt*
1 c Medeira
1/4 c pistachios*
dry white wine
*marks ingredients from previous grocery lists. check stock levels.
Carmelize onion and roast garlic for Monday night’s dinner. 4 hard boiled eggs and blanch green beans for Wednesday night’s dinner.
Don’t forget to keep your tails for stock!
Pork Tenderloins with Madeira-Fig Gravy
1 c dry Madeira
1/4 c red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
12 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 pounds pork tenderloins
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp pepper
3 T unsalted butter
2 lg shallots, finely diced
1 tsp sifted flour
1 pound fresh figs, trimmed and quartered
Pour Madeira and vinegar into a gallon size locking food storage bag, add the garlic, thyme, and 1 tsp salt. Seal bag and agitate to combine. Add pork tenderloins, reseal with as little air inside as possible, and turn several times to coate. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, turning bag every 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 450 and position rack in top third of oven.
Transfer tenderloins to a cutting bard, reserving marinade, and pat meat dry with paper towel. Brush tenderloin with 1 tsp of oil, and season with 1 tsp of salt and pepper. Heat remaining tsp oil in large skillet over high heat until it shimmers. add tenderloins and sear turning occasionaly until nicely browned, about 5-6 minutes.
Transfer tenderloins to a plate and pour off any remain oil in the pan. Add the butter and shallots to pan, stirring until butter has completely melted, and the add remaining 1/2 tsp salt and flour. Cook until shallots have softened and are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add figs and reserved marinade , and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low. Add tenderloins to skillet, and nestle among figs. Transfer skillet to oven and roast, turning meat once, for about 12 minutes for medium rare or 16 minutes for well done.
Remove the skillet fom oven and let tenderloins rest on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil for 5 minutes. Then slice tenderloins into 1/2 inch thick medallions and arrange 4-6 medallions per plate. Spoon a ladleful of the fig gravy over each serving.
Tuscan White Bean Burger with Cucumber, Tomato, Okra Salad
1 onion, peeled
4 T 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 head garlic
1 can navy beans
3 sage leaves, minced
1/2 c sliced, pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 c toasted bread crumbs
salt and pepper
8oz okra, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick rounds
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T 1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 lg cucumber, peeled, trimmed, and cut into large matchsticks
3 T finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
*Cut the onion in half through the stem and then slice in 1/8 inch thick half rings. Heat 2 T olive oil in saute pan over medium low heat and add onion, turning to coat. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat if onion begins to burn, until carmelized, about 30 minutes.
*Meanwhile, roast the garlic. Break head of garlic into cloves, Toss in 1/2 tsp of oil and spread on baking sheet. Roast at 300 for 25 to 30 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Cool and peel.
Preheat oven to 375.
In food processor, puree 1/2 c of beans w half of garlic, half of onion, egg, and half of sage.
Chopp remaining onion and garlic coarsely and place in a mixing bowl. Add remaining beans and coarsely mash with a fork or potato masher. Fold in pureed bean-egg mixture, remaining sage, olives, and lemon juice. Fold in bread crumbs. It will be a wet mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into 4 patties. In a skillet heat 2 T oil over medium high heat. When hot, add patties and cook until browned on each side, 6-10 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake 12-15 minutes, until slightly firmed and cooked through.
Scatter the okra in a single layer in a large skillet. Cook over medium high heat, moving pieces frequently, until okra is just browning around the edges, about 8 minutes.Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl, and sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt over it. Set aside.
Set a strainer over medium bowl. Core tomatoes, cut them in half widthwise, and using finger tease seeds out of cavaties letting them drop into strainer. Discard seeds. Chop tomatoes.
Add the mustard, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to tomato water, and whisk until mustard is completely incorporated. Add olive oil in a thin stream whisking constantly until the ingredients are thoroughly emulsified, thick consistency.
In a large bowl, toss cucumber with tomatoes, scallions, black pepper until combined. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss until evenly coated. Season to taste.
Divide out salad and sprinkle a handful of toasted okra over each portion.
Serve beside burger.
Steamed Eggplant with Chickpeas and Herbed Yogurt
1 eggplant, peeled lengthwise in stripes and cut crosswise in 1/2 inch slices
2/3 c yogurt
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 T chopped dill
1 T chopped mint
1 tsp lemon zest
2-3 tsp lemon juice
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 c pistachios
In a steamer basket set over (not in) boiling water, cook egglplant until just tneder but not falling apart, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt, oil, salt, lemon zest. Fold in dill and mint. Fold in chickpeas. Add lemon juice to taste.
While eggplant is warm, add it to yogurt mixture, tossing to coat.
Serve chilled with 1/4 c chopped pistachios over the top.
Fresh Tuna Salad with Green Beans
2 bunches arugula, remove stems and wash/dry
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into quarters
1- 1 pound tuna steak
7 T olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 pound green beans, blanched
1/2 c Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced, soaked in 2 T olive oil
Prepare grill with medium high heat.
Put arugula in a large salad bowl with plenty of room fo tossing. Arrange tomatoe wedges in greens. Arrange eggs on top of salad.
Brush tuna with olive oil and grill tuna for 3 minutes per side.
Slice tuna into thin strips and arrange on salad. Add vinegar to olives and mix, season. Then poor over salad. Toass and serve immediately.
Mushroom and Okra Perlo
8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
8 oz okra, stems trimmed, pods sliced in half lengthwise
3 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced
2 tsp salt
3 T vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 c basmati rice, rinsed and drained
3 T chopped garlic
2 tomatoes, diced, with liquid
1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1/4 c dry white wine
2 c vegetable broth
Heat oven to 375 with rack in top third of oven.
Toss mushrooms, okra, poblanos and 1 tsp salt together in a mixxing bowl. Set aside.
Pour oil into heavy bottomed dutch oven or ovenproof pot, over medium high heat. When oil shimmers andd onions and 1 tsp salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until begin to become golden in color, about 6 minutes. Add rice and garlic and stir constantly for 2 minutes, until rice smells toasty and garlic begins to brown. Add tomatoes with liquid, chile flakes, thyme, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir constantly for 2 minutes, utnil tomatoes are well incorporated and beginning to dissolbe. Add wine and broth.
In thirds, gently fold mushrooms, okra, and poblanos into pot. When liquid returns to a simmer, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the door.
Transfer pot to a trivet, but leave it covered (DON’T PEEK!) and undisturbed for 10 minutes.
Pasta and Peas
4 T butter
4 oz slice prosciutto, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 onion, chopped
10 oz baby peas
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 pound pasta
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan, to serve
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add prosciutto and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add peas and cook just long enough to cook them through. Add parsley and season to taste.
Boil dried pasta according to package.
Drain pasta and transfer to bowl. Toss with pea mixture. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.
Zucchini Blossoms with Micro Greens
2/3 c self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 T olive oil, plus more for frying
1 egg, beaten
1 c ice water
20 zucchini blossoms
salt and pepper
lemon wedges, for serving
Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl and add 1 T olive oil and egg. Stir in enough water to make a batter with consistency of heavy cream. Season to taste
Pour a shallow layer of olive oil into a large skillet and heat over high heat until very hot. Dip zucchini blossoms briefly into batter then add to oil and cook, in batches, for 2-4 minutes, until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately over microgreens, sprinkled with a bit of salt and lemon wedges.