No Recipe Required: Fresh Sweet Corn with Avocado and Cilantro

July 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, No recipe required, Quick and Easy, Vegetables | 34 Comments
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  • Fresh sweet corn from three ears of corn
  • Place in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a pat of butter
  • Microwave for one minute
  • Top with sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Fresh Sweet Corn with Avocado and Cilantro….It’s What’s for a Summer Side Dish.

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Jalapeno Steak Sauce Burger with Grilled Vegetables

April 27, 2011 at 8:38 am | Posted in Beef, Vegetables | 40 Comments
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What are your favorite flavor additions to spruce up plain old grilled burgers?  We’ve been experimenting and with warmer weather, our grill  has officially come out of hibernation.

As you know, with a Christmas gift of a grilling class at a local cooking school, we now have another cook in the house.  Bob has been experimenting with different grilled hamburger recipes and when talking with friend Shera she quickly shared her husband’s  favorite recipe.  Sounded so delicious and we had to give it a try. Let’s take a look:

Continue Reading Jalapeno Steak Sauce Burger with Grilled Vegetables…

Endives Apples and Grapes

December 5, 2010 at 6:50 am | Posted in Vegetables | 33 Comments
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It’s Sunday and over a week has went by since you’ve heard from me. I wanted to write a blog post this morning that simply read “I got nothing for ya”.  I can’t remember the last time I was so busy at work that I couldn’t find time to cook dinner for this many days in a row. If  it hadn’t been for a big pan of  Turkey Tetrazzini and a box of DOTS, we might have all starved to death around here.  

So, let’s talk about a side dish I made before Thanksgiving, Endives, Apples and Grapes.

My mom is here for the holidays. Her visits are always a great excuse to whip up exotic dishes containing  ingredients that she can’t find in the middle of Kansas…dishes containing things like pancetta or any type of cheese other than Velveeta. Yes, I’m making fun of Kansas. But on one trip back  home I wanted to prepare Chicken Picatta and spent the better part of an afternoon going to every Dillons store  in Reno County  looking for capers. Store managers looked at me like I had two heads …” Capers???”, they’d ask. The next trip home a bottle of capers made the 400-mile trip with us from Denver to Hutchinson just so I could make Chicken Picatta.

I want to make this dish again this week, since she’d probably have to make the five- hour drive to Kansas City to find endive.

I’ve already mentioned this, but a couple of weeks ago, I won this WONderful cookbook, Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan,  from Barbara over at Movable Feasts.  Love..love…love…this book.  Thanks again Barbara for this great gift.

This recipe caught my eye because I had a counter full of Gala Apples that I needed to use up.

And our grocery stores have had a supply of some unseasonably delicious green grapes. Where they’re coming from I don’t know. With all that said, let’s take a look at this recipe.

In a skillet melt about two tablespoons of salted butter over low heat. Take two plump heads of endive and split length wise. Quarter and core two apples. Place the endive flat side down, apples skin side down, sprinkle in some grapes and sprigs of rosemary and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes. Gently turn everything over and cook for another 20 minutes. Voila…done and delicious.

You end up with this wonderful flavor combination of sweet oozy crunchy carmelized goodness.  The bitter endive retains its flavor and the grapes and apples become even sweeter. Throw in the flavor of Rosemary and you look like a gourmand.  As Ina would say “How Easy Is That?”

Endives, Apples and Grapes…A Beautiful and Exotic Side Dish.

Coyote Corn and Buffalo Bill Steaks

November 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Beef, Vegetables | 35 Comments
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This Coyote Corn is so good that once you serve it to the pack, they’ll be howling for more.

First of all, I’d like to take a poll on how you pronounce the word coyote. There always seems to be a bit of controversy. Do you say coyot (2 syllables) or coyotEE? (three syllables) I’m convinced it should be the latter. I think they sound more rascally with that long E at the end.  I don’t know about where you live, but here in Colorado we live amongst packs of coyotes.  They reside comfortably in our neighborhoods and roam our yards nightly hunting for rabbits, cats or small dogs.  They can easily jump our 6 foot privacy fences and if they see you looking at them they glare back with a menacing grin.  They always seem to look guilty.

For this recipe I used Colorado sweet corn that I had tucked away in the freezer, a  combination of Silver Queen and Super Sweet varieties purchased from the farmer’s market. It was an impressive year for our sweet corn and it shined in this flavorful dish. 

The combination of flavors wrap around each other with creamy help from the melted butter and starch from the corn. Bold and earthy sun-dried tomatoes surprise themselves by complimenting the sweetness of the corn and pickles, the jalapenos bring the excitement and the sliced green onions are a natural lively and crunchy addition. The cilantro topping is the icing on the cake for us.

Coyote Corn served as a fabulous Fall side dish for a bison steak dinner. We’ve had beautiful weather in Denver, warm and perfect for hanging out on the deck drinking fiery Mexican Micheladas with steaks searing on a hot grill.  This Buffalo Bill Steak combines Bison New York Strip Steaks resting on a bed of sautéed red and orange bell peppers and onions and seasoned with salt and pepper and zesty grained mustard. Mouthwateringly delicious. Let’s take a look at the recipes:

CoyotE Corn

  • 2 T. Butter
  • 3 C. fresh corn kernels
  • 4 whole sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water at least 15 minutes, drained and chopped
  • 3 T. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 C. chopped green onions, including tops
  • 1 – 2 T. chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 T. chopped bread and butter pickles (a spicy brand is better)
  • A garnish of cilantro is a must

In a medium skillet, heat butter over medium high heat until foam subsides. Add corn and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently for about four minutes. Add jalapeno peppers and pickles. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a serving bowl and toss in basil and green onions.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves four.

Buffalo Bill Steaks

  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 T. coarse grain mustard
  • 1/2 C. water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Bison New York Strip Steaks, 1 inch thick

Preheat grill to medium. In large skillet, heat two teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently for about five minutes. Add bell peppers and cook until onion is golden, about ten minutes. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little water.  In a small bowl whisk mustard with water and add to onion and pepper mixture and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat and cover. Brush steaks lightly with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill about three minutes per side for medium-rare. To serve spoon the onion and pepper mixture onto a platter and top with steaks. At the dinner table spoon mixture over steaks and enjoy.

Keep in mind, bison contains less fat than regular beef, requires less cooking time, and will be dry if over-cooked.

Both recipes adapted from Colorado Collage, however, I altered the corn recipe quite abit, does that make it mine?

Coyote Corn and Buffalo Bill Steaks…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Pete Polombo’s Roadside Market

September 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Vegetables | 14 Comments
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I must say that even though Denver has got some great little neighborhood Farmer’s Markets, they’re just not the same as a trip to Pete’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love out little street markets which offer up a few vegetable vendors, always a good variety of Western Slope Peaches and Rocky Ford Cantaloupe, and home to lots of local product vendors offering bbq and pasta sauces, pestos, gourmet dog foods and not to mention the long lines at the Danish Bakery stand.  But again, there’s no place like Pete’s.

For over 20 years,  the late summer/early fall season highlight for me has been taking the 40 minute drive north from Highlands Ranch out to Brighton and to Pete Polombo’s Roadside Market.  Folks, this is the real deal!  A market chock full of a huge selection of fresh Colorado grown fruits and vegetables.

The area northeast of Denver contains miles and miles, acres and acres of large vegetable “truck farms” and is also home to many smaller organic growers. The trip is always a fun guessing game to identify the variety of vegetable growing in the large planted fields along the roads.

The area is rich in agricultural history with sheep, cattle and vegetable growers settling to the area in the late 1800’s. If you’ve ever seen the mini-series Centennial, it highlights the trials and tribulations, feuds and partnerships that transpired during the pioneer settlement to this part of our state.

Join me for a little tour.

I must say that the flat-bed trailers that hold mountains of sweet corn is always the best I’ve ever tasted! THE BEST! You’re always guaranteed corn that is picked that day and it’s always a treat to get home and slather butter over an ear of corn that just came off the stalk a few hours earlier. Nothing better in the world. I usually favor his “Super Sweet Yellow” variety, but the white Silver Queen and the bi-colored Peaches and Cream may have been even sweeter this year. I brought home five dozen and within two hours had them shucked, blanched, kernels cut from the cob and in the freezer for a winter stash.

I bought this handy little tool last summer at a beautiful little kitchen store in downtown McMinnville, Oregon. It made quick work of removing kernels and freezing all that corn. It’s one of those kitchen gadgets that actually works.

This time of year the roasters are in full swing, and the aroma of peppers wafting through the air as you browse the market is purely intoxicating. 

Each year my trunk is loaded to the gills with a variety of Colorado Produce. 

Stick around and enjoy the slide show.

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Crab Cake Croquettes and Creamed Corn Appetizer

September 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Seafood, Vegetables | 26 Comments
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Next time I have a dinner party I’ll most certainly be serving up this great little appetizer idea.  Mini crab cakes floating on top of some sinfully delicious creamed corn. 

First of all, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Tony’s Flat chickens.  Several of you asked about the terminology and what made them “flat”.  Thanks to Chef Mick for responding with this explanation. “I didn’t give Lea Ann all the details, here goes…the chicken is properly butterflied – the backbone and sternum ‘keel bone’ are removed, leaving the two halves attached at the breast and allowing it to lay flat (aka spatchcocked) but we take it further, we also remove the breast and thigh bones for even quicker cooking and ease of eating. The bird is then packaged in a variety of marinades. It’s ideal for grilling or roasting in quick order. A lot of folks sear first to brown and slow down the cooking – this assures browning but makes burning less likely. I hope this gets all the questions…thanks for supporting local shop owners and cheers!”

On to the crab cakes and creamed corn. What you see pictured above is a larger variation of the mini crab cakes that Chef Mick Rosacci turned out in the video below.  He takes one full-sized crab cake, cuts it in into 6 pieces, forms them into croquettes, fries them and places them in little bowls nestled on the creamed corn.  Add a sprinkle of fresh diced tomato and green onion and it’s divine.  I had taken two bites of out of my dish and realized I had forgotten that part…so no photo with the color.  :-/

I let Tony’s do the work and bought pre-made crab cakes from their seafood counter.  I used a super sweet variety of Colorado grown corn from the Farmer’s Market for the corn recipe. It was out of this world. And with a  little kick from the cayenne…great recipe. Take a look:

Crab Croquettes and Creamed Corn

8 large ears Colorado Sweet Corn
1 cup half and half – separated
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp cayenne
white pepper and sea salt to taste

2-3 Tony’s prepared Crab Cakes – or crab cake recipe follows
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
butter, olive oil or a combination – for sautéing

Garnish: 1/2 bunch green onions, minced; one tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped

Creamed Corn:
Cut kernels from corn. Using the back of a knife, scrape the cob to extract the milk and add to the corn. Divide corn into two batches. Puree two cups of the corn with 1/2 cup half and half. Melt butter in a saute pan, add pureed corn, remaining corn kernels, cream, remaining half and half, cayenne, and salt to taste. Simmer until thickened.

Crab Croquettes:
Reshape Tony’s Crab Cakes into 6-8 small croquettes or patties and roll in panko crumbs – or make crab cake recipe and shape into small croquettes, rolling in panko breadcrumbs. Saute in a heavy skillet with butter, olive oil or a combination – cooking until nicely browned on each side.

Assembly:
Separate creamed corn into 6-8 attractive bowls, topping each with a browned Crab Croquette. Garnish with chopped green onion and tomatoes.
Serve with a brisk, fruity to off-dry white wine. Also delicious with seared scallops, salmon, or halibut. – Chef Mick (Michaelangelo) Rosacci, http://www.TonysMarket.comhttp://www.TonyRosacciCatering.com

Crab Cake Recipe
2 slices dried bread, crusts removed
2 TBS milk
1 TBS mayonnaise
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS Parsley Flakes
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp Old Bay brand seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound fresh lump crab meat

Break bread into small pieces and moisten with milk. Add remaining ingredients and combine well.

Tony’s Crab Cakes And Homemade Creamed Corn

It’s What’s For Dinner (and my next dinner party appetizer)

Ancho Chili Sauce for Pork Chops and Salmon

September 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Posted in pork, Vegetables | 21 Comments
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This was a great little meal with the star being this sweet and earthy ancho chili sauce.  A sauce that worked beautifully over both pork chops and grilled salmon.

First let’s talk about that relleno. An idea so simple that when I looked at the photo in Bon Appetit I said “why didn’t I think of that”? A poblano pepper stuffed with cheddar cheese smashed potatoes. Ridiculously simple and a great idea. 

Let’s get started.

For the poblano peppers: Grill or broil the peppers until charred. Place in a plastic bag for about ten minutes. Remove and peel the peppers.  Meanwhile boil some new little red potatoes until tender. Smash them with a drizzle of cream, salt and pepper and lots of grated cheddar cheese. Make a slit in the chilis and oh so gently stuff the peppers with the potatoes.

For the Ancho Chili Sauce: In a saucepan add 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1 cup of chicken broth, 5 teaspoons of good quality ancho chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and cooked down a bit to intensify flavor.  Slather over your grilled pork chops.

For the Pork Chops:  I have cooked up my fair share of dry chewy pork chops in my lifetime. Frustrating. I finally found that a thin cut center loin chop has been my “pork chops for dummies” savior. About two minutes per side on the grill and voila….a thin piece of meat full of juicy flavor. It’s a relief to no longer shy away from pork chop dishes.

For the corn on the cob:  In a casserole pan pour one can of coconut milk. Add salt and pepper and a good sprinkling of ancho chili powder. Add the fresh corn and marinate for at least six hours, turning once every hour to coat the corn. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

The ancho chili sauce turned out to be a delicious compliment for the pork chop. The cheddar cheese potato chili relleno was a natural combination of yumminess. I’m a purist when it comes to fresh corn on the cob. Even though this was delicious, I found myself wishing for the simple cob slathered in butter, salt and pepper.

We thought the leftover ancho sauce worked just as well the next evening over grilled salmon. Served along side bruschetta, a fresh vinaigrette drenched tossed salad and no-frills corn on the cob. 

Ancho Chili Sauce Over Grilled Meats…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Tony’s Flat Chickens

August 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Chicken, Vegetables | 22 Comments
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I went to work for a new employer and have been engaged in long product training sessions clear across town all week, which has thrown a monkey wrench into my cooking and blogging time.  

Most evenings were quick thrown-together 10 minute meals like cooked ground chicken breast mixed in with dirty rice from a package, or scrambled eggs with italian sausage, onion and red bell pepper, chinese take-out one night…hotdogs another. 

You’ve heard me mention my favorite local specialty store, Tony’s Meats about a gadzillion times and thanks to their pre-marinated meats department, I was able to plate at least one impressive meal this week.

A couple of weeks ago, they advertised their marinated flat chickens as one of their “two for one” sale offerings.  Having never tried them, I headed over to my Tony’s on Dry Creek and took advantage of the sale and threw two packages in the freezer.

The selection was difficult, so many good flavor combinations. The one pictured is marinated lemon herb. Didn’t hear about the sale?  Better become a Culinary Club Member. You’ll receive email notifications for great recipes and hot deals.

Here’s what to do (what I did).  Simply heat up the grill to 550 and then turn it down to 350.  Throw the chicken on and reserve the extra marinade from the bag  in a bowl. Every 15 minutes turn the chicken and baste with the reserved marinade. Really no fuss at all. In about an  hour your chicken will be perfect. Could it get any easier?  In between bastings, you have time to change clothes, sip wine, watch Jeopardy, and prepare your side dishes.

My vegetable choice was fried okra. I trimmed both ends of the okra and then soaked in salted water for about 15 minutes. I then drained it well, sliced it up, and coated in corn meal that was seasoned with a Cajun spice and then fried it up in some Crisco. Thanks to Larry over at Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings  for the soaking and Crisco tip.  I thought it worked like a charm, plus the hub went crazy over it. No more heavy floured fried okra for this Yankee.

Served along side a fresh garden salad with your favorite vinaigrette and you’ve got a beautiful and delicious summer meal, even on a busy day.  Best part about this, I had enough chicken left over for the next night.  Yum!

Tony’s Marinated Flat Chicken…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Baked Zucchini and Tomato

August 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Vegetables | 13 Comments
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We’re almost into the 2nd week of August and I can guarantee in a few days I’ll be hearing people say  “where has the summer gone???”.

So better get out there and do some of those wacky summery things that you dream about when you’re cooped up and the snow is flying.  Like

  • Taking a walk at midnight
  • Riding a ferris wheel
  • Floating out into the middle of a lake in an inflatable boat
  • Eating popsicles
  • Playing in a public fountain
  • Laying out on the grass and looking up at the stars
  • Slip and sliding in the front yard
  • Streaking the outfield at a major league baseball ballgame (nationally televised game of course)
  • Eating fresh tomatoes and zucchini out of the garden…

…you know…summer stuff.

Let’s make sure that last one is covered. 

Take a look at this easy and delicious dish that my Colorado blogging buddy Kirsten over at My Kitchen In The Rockies posted. This made its way onto our dinner table within a week of reading her post.  

How much easier does it get than scrubbing and slicing a couple of zucchini, slicing up a fresh tomato and the fanning them out in a casserole dish. A sprinkle of salt and pepper.

And for some wacky hot summer fun, I added some hot red pepper flakes. 

Pop it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, drizzled with olive oil and topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and you look like a pro.

Thanks for this recipe Kirsten, it will be my go-to zucchini side dish.

Baked Zucchini, Summer Squash and Tomato…

It’s What’s For A Summer Side Dish.

Green Beans Bolognese

July 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Vegetables | 14 Comments
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Swimming in fresh green beans? Already out of new ideas on how to prepare them? Hopefully this will be a new-ish take on a green bean side dish for your repertoire.

Remember my recent post about that fabulous specialty store in my neighborhood, Tony’s? Well not only do they have the best shopping experience around, they also have a wonderful website chock full of meal ideas and recipes. I am a Culinary Club member so receive weekly updates about sales and meal planning via email. Love this service. This green been recipe came over the wires last week, gave it a try and loved it. 

What’s so special about this recipe? The addition of the meat goes without saying, I’ve been adding bacon to beans forever. But with the addition of the broth and uncovering of the pot and boiling off the liquid to concentrate the flavors, gives you a nice carmelized coating on the beans, not to mention that special hint of clove flavor for a very tasty end result.

I usually think of Bolognese as a meat based tomato sauce for pasta.  However, Wikipedia tells us: Bolognese sauce (ragù alla bolognese in Italian, also known by its French name sauce bolognaise) is a meat-based sauce for pasta originating in Bologna, Italy. Bolognese sauce is sometimes taken to be a tomato sauce, but authentic recipes have only a small amount of tomato concentrate. 

I think the next time I make this I’ll add a chopped ripe tomato from the garden at the end…why not, I’ve been known to do wilder things than that.

Thanks to Lynne Rossetto Kasper for her take on turning Green Beans into a Bolognese and to Chef Mick from Tony’s for bringing us this recipe.  Which by the way, if you’re not familiar with Lynne Rossetto Kasper you’re missing out.  She has a show on Public Radio, The Splendid Table and some cookbooks that are wonderful.  Vickie in Montana sent me “How To Eat Supper” as a gift and it’s a wonderful cookbook. 

Green Beans Bolognese:

2-3 TBS olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 pound green beans, halved crosswise
2 oz. Italian mortadella, thin fingers (I used cubed applewood smoked ham that I needed to use up)
1 cup chicken stock
pinch of ground cloves
salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add the onion and saute over medium high heat 4 minutes, or until wilted. Then add the beans and cook over high heat for 8 minutes, or until the onions are a deep golden brown, stirring frequently.

Stir in the mortadella, stock, and cloves, and bring to a gentle bubble over medium low heat. Cover and cook 15 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Watch for sticking and if the beans threaten to scorch, stir in 1/4 cup water.

Concentrate the flavors by uncovering the pot and boiling off all the liquid, turning and stirring to protect from sticking. Once reduced to a thick sauce, turn into a warmed bowl.      -Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Green Beans Bolognese,

It’s How To Dress Up Those Summer Green Beans!

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