The Cheesecake Addiction

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Archive for the tag “salsa”

Staycation Tacos

It is that time of year again; the time of the year where I (and many of you, I’m sure) slowly sink into the throws of seasonal affective disorder. It is that time of year where I spend an hour on Facebook, looking at those photos from my trip to Tahiti seven years ago, and long to wait out the winter in the tropics. To snorkel in the crystal clear 80 degree water, eat fish out of coconuts, and watch fire dancers…ah, the life.

Usually, it is around this time that I bounce over to Bath and Body Works and pick up my favorite tropical scented body lotions, candles, and bath salts and give myself a little Island staycation. Well, I haven’t had a chance to fully create the happy, island vibes, but I did manage to get in touch with those warm, Hispanic roots of mine.

Heading south of the border last night, we made veggie tacos for our dinner guest, Geoff.

I thought it would be nice to make a mango salsa-fresh and tropical with a little kick.

Chop up some mango–about 1 cup, diced, with half of a jalapeño, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 diced roma tomato, a few tablespoons of cilantro, and the juice of 1/2 lime. Also, salt and pepper to taste.

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Mix and serve with chips OR as a taco topping! Mmmyum!

Mix and serve with chips OR as a taco topping! Mmmyum!

The rest of the meal was pretty simple. I sautéed three bell peppers and one red onion, thinly sliced. I made white rice and tossed that with cilantro and lime. I mixed up black beans with some black refried beans (and again, lime and cilantro), and sliced up some avocado. We built our plates…

A corn tortilla, topped with beans, peppers, onions, mango salsa, and avocado!

A corn tortilla, topped with beans, peppers, onions, mango salsa, and avocado!

…and had some delightful conversation and we shared many laughs.

Phew. That certainly helped pull me out of my funk. I’ve awakened refreshed, reenergized, and ready to begin again.

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Spring, is that you?

Wow. Hello everyone. It’s been a while, huh? I finished another show, so again, that’s my excuse.

I don’t have an excuse for a lack of pictures for what I made last night. Last night, I made a Mexican birthday feast for Jack, who turned 21. It was alcohol free, as I cooked for the rest of his family, and I have yet to turn the legal age. But anyway, I made my usual white rice that’s flavored with garlic, cilantro and lemon juice (usually I use lime juice which I think is better, but I was saving my limes). I made black beans (by “make” of course I mean I drained two cans of black beans and put them in a sauce pan) flavored with cilantro and lemon juice (again, usually use lime juice). I made a mild salsa that consisted of one red onion, minced, two cloves of minced garlic, 4 (or maybe 5) diced tomatoes, about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, almost a whole jalapeno pepper (it was a big one), salt, pepper, and the juice of two limes. I pan-fried some salt-pepper-cumin spiced chicken and had Jack shred it. PB, Jack’s brother, made a bowl of guac–and some awesome cookie bars (which I’ll have to get the recipe for before sharing it). The night was a total success.

But here’s a few pictures of some things I made in the last few weeks. Excuse the paper plates. The first was a pulled pork sandwich with broccoli cole slaw on the side, served with homemade corn bread. The corn bread had a cup of white sharp cheddar and chopped jalapeno in it. Delish. The second, I baked chicken breasts with a spinach tomato sauce on top. It was really good! On the side, I served a caprese salad.

On another note, have you all felt the call of Spring. I think she’s on her way. We’ve had some lovely warm days in the middle of these “not as cold as it’s been” days. I think the days of citrus and fish and mint and basil and pasta salads are returning, and I couldn’t be more happy. Here comes the sun.

Mexican Comfort Food

Hey guys! Now, I honestly made this food on Saturday, but I had been meaning to tell you about it for a while. I’ve said before that when I’m feeling down or stressed I usually go for foods that remind me of California or Cape Cod. Saturday, I went for California. The pictures I took were not that great, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I made salsa and guacamole along with all the fixins for chicken burritos. The chicken was seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin and then pan fried in a VERY hot and olive-oiled pan. When it was done cooking, my mom shredded it using the two forks method.

For the salsa, I halved A LOT of cherry tomatoes and finely diced one and a half small white onions. In went three or four finely minced cloves of garlic, a couple tablespoons of  chopped cilantro, and half of a jalapeno pepper–de-seeded and diced. About a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, the juice of one and a half limes, and salt and pepper finished off this salsa nicely. Let it sit for about twenty minutes before digging in so the flavors can mingle. The guacamole was made up of four avocados, three cloves of garlic, half of a finely diced white onion (though red onions work really well too), one chopped roma tomato, some chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, and the juice of a lemon. Mash the avocado with a fork, and mix together. Voila.

For the burritos I also made rice, which was seasoned with lime juice, garlic, and cilantro. I made a side of black beans, also seasoned with lime juice and cilantro. Cheese to top it off and it was one helluva comfort meal.

I have a feeling that the next few days will yield a lot of baked goods. Cheers!

It’s Been a While…

Wow! I’ve cooked a lot, but haven’t been blogging about it. School’s been kicking my ass a bit, but it’s spring break now, so we’ll get a few entries this week!

While this week I managed to use a new ingredient, I’ve decided that it’s getting to be a bit pricey–AND stressful to find a new ingredient every week. I’m going to broaden the purpose of this blog. Not just new ingredients, but new recipes, new techniques, or food musings in general. This week (well actually it was last Tuesday), I kicked culinary butt by making walnut crusted chicken with a mango salsa! Now, I’ve had mango salsa before–and there are a lot of things that can be done with it–but I’ve never made it before. Well, actually, I’ve only ever used mango as a fresh fruit with breakfast. The idea for dinner came from the fact that I had been remembering my trips to Hawaii (about five years ago!) and Tahiti (about three years ago). I never felt so wonderful and relaxed and in tune with myself than when I was on those islands. I wanted to recreate some of those island flavors.

Now, Hawaii is known for its Macadamia nuts, but I didn’t happen to have any, so I ran some walnuts through the food processor and then spread them on a baking sheet and toasted them at 350 for about ten minutes. I added salt, pepper, and flour to the ground walnuts and dipped boneless, skinless chicken breasts in some beaten eggs and then coated them with the walnut mixture. In they went on a baking sheet at 350 for about 35 min, turning them once midway through. While those cooked, I chopped up some fresh mango, red onion, half of a jalapeno pepper, and mint. I added a splash of red wine vinegar, the juice of a lime, and a dash of salt and pepper. When the chicken was done, I topped it with the salsa. The chicken was served with some jasmine rice. My secret to rice is to toast it first with melted butter before adding your liquid. When your liquid is added, add in two finely chopped cloves of garlic. It really makes it special.

Pictures to follow! I promise! Expect more tomorrow, because we’re having a Mexican fiesta tonight and I’ll have a few things to say!

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