Foothills Potato Salad

I love potato salad.

Mine that is.

Others? Not so much.

I’m just fussy.

So when I decided to take advantage of several “southwestern” type potato salads, I just had to make it my own of course. And this i what I came up with.

I’ve tried to be specific about the measurements, but frankly, it’s the kind of thing, you just put in what looks about right. So add or subtract or substitute as you decide and vary the amounts to agree with your own tastes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 2 lbs of red potatoes or Yukon, diced into bite-sized pieces, boiled in salted water until barely done, drained and cooled.
  • 3 ears of corn, roasted and stripped from the cob
  • 1 150z can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c diced red sweet pepper
  • 1 -2 jalapeño peppers minced
  • 3-4 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 radishes, diced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/3 c chopped cilantro
  • 2/3 c mayo
  • juice of one lime + 1 tbsp zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 slices bacon, fried and drained

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all the veggies together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and then pour over and mix. (I like the salad to be a bit dry because leftovers aren’t so soupy then)
  3. Scatter the bacon on the top (which will keep it crispy longer)

Serves: 6

NOTES: you can add any veggies you like such as zucchini, broccoli. You can swap out the beans for some other type of course. You can add more heat with Serrano chiles.

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Asparagus and Chickpea Salad

I ran into this recipe from Fifteen Spatulas and we really enjoyed it. My husband especially liked it, and it works nicely with any grilled meat. Perfect for summer meals or fall ones if you live in a warm climate like I do.

I was drawn to it because I love all the ingredients and mostly because it features feta cheese which is one of my favorites and it stands up well as a left-over.

I find that many salads with cheese don’t hold up well after the first day. The cheese short of melts and seems off to me. It’s not the taste but the texture which bothers me, and it makes me feel like it has gone bad which I know can’t be the case. Nevertheless, our tongues guide our taste I find. Feta seems not to have this problem. It stays nice and firm.

This is easy to make so do give it a try.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 1  15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/3 c red onion, diced (or scallions)
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 oz or so of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp a good vinegar–rice wine, white or red wine, balsamic
  • salt and pepper.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take a spear of the asparagus and bend until it snaps. Then line it up with rest of the spears and cut them at the break point. Save these tough pieces for a soup or discard. Cut the remaining spears in bite-sized rings.
  2. Add the chickpeas and the onion. Throw in the parsley and cheese.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, whisk vigorously and then pour over the veggies and mix thoroughly.
  4. This serves up nicely on the spot but also benefits from a little sitting time in the fridge.

Serves: 4

NOTES: substitute any bean you like, especially kidney beans as an alternative. Note that you need not cook the asparagus. It would definitely not improve the dish to do so.

S’Mores Banana Bread

 

 

For reasons known only to my psyche, I was kinda of fixated on banana bread for a while. Quick breads are fun, and easy and taste good, so I guess that’s a good enough reason.

In any case, I ran into this cute recipe and thought it sounded great, since I remember those childhood days of s’mores around the campfire at girl scout outings. This seemed a bit reminiscent of that, so it seemed a good idea.

It turned out well, though I never found the “Kraft Marshmallow bits”, I simply used miniature marshmallows and they worked fine.

So do up a batch, especially if you have kids who will no doubt love the surprise in the center!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 TBSP softened butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/ c sour cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c miniature marshmallows
  • 2 full sheets of graham crackers
  • 2 lg Hershey bars

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray or grease it generously.
  2. Put butter and sugar in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the egg, bananas and sour cream, and mix well.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and powder. Add to the mixer and just mix until combined.
  5. Add the marshmallows and stir in gently.
  6. Pour half into the loaf pan. Cover that with the graham cracker layer and then a layer of the Hershey bars.
  7. Pour the rest of the batter into the loaf pan.
  8. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until done.

Serves: 12 slices or so

Note: Recipe is from Picky Palate. This is a nice recipe to make with kids. Drizzle with some melted chocolate and some plain glaze colored with orange food coloring and you have a nice Halloween looking dessert they will enjoy.

 

 

Double Chocolate Gooey

 

 

Okay, it’s a brownie.

It’s a brownie for when you want (no make that need) to bathe yourself in chocolate.

It’s chocolate upon chocolate, upon chocolate.

No nuts to spoil it.

Just chocolate. The best you can afford to buy.

Do a favor to your tongue and serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Don’t speak while you eat. Engross ever mental synapse in the pure decadence of the experience.

I’m only slightly mad. Forgive me and do try this.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 tbsp butter, cut up into pieces
  • 6 oz of the best bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped up
  • 1/4 c best quality dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c flour

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line an 8 x 8 square pan with foil and spray with cooking oil, or grease.
  2. Place butter in a saucepan, melt and then add the chocolate pieces and cooking over low heat, melt. Take off the heat and add the cocoa powder, whisking it in.
  3. Let mixture cool until you can safely add the eggs without fear of curdling. Add them one at a time and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add the sugar, vanilla and the flour, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Put batter in the pan and spread smooth.
  6. Bake at 375° about 35-40 minutes or until done. These are gooey so don’t expect cake crumbs when you poke with a toothpick.
  7. Cool on a rack.

GLAZE

  1. Melt 8 oz high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate which has been chopped in a heat tolerant bowl over low simmering water.
  2. When melted, add 1 cup heavy cream and stir until combined.
  3. Cool until the frosting thickens a bit, but still pourable.
  4. Pour over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate to continue thickening up and setting as a frosting.

Serves: you know it depends on how big a oinker you are. but at least 9

NOTE: you can of course add nuts if you desire. I think for this I would not use walnuts but rather sliced almonds. But really it doesn’t need any embellishment.

 

Spicy Corny Dip

Oh corn, I do love thee.

So finding a great recipe that uses corn as a chip/veggie dip is simply divine. This is that recipe. I got it from a site called A Communal Table. I’ve taken a few liberties with it to fit my own tastes.

If possible use fresh corn, but frozen is fine and so is canned if you desire. As with many of my recipes, being able to swap out some of the ingredients to fit what you have on hand, or have a taste for is available here too. Do that surely with the cheese–whatever flips your skirt. And of course you can add or subtract heat as you desire.

So give it a go if you want to munch on something during the Sunday football games.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 ears of corn, roasted and then cut from the cob. (2 cups or so)
  • 1 cup of onions, diced (I used red onion)
  • 1 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 lg jalapeño, minced (more if you desire or use other chiles)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c mayo
  • 2 c total shredded cheese (I used a combo of jack cheese and swiss because that’s what I had opened)
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper 1 tsp

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Spray a 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Prepare the corn.
  4. Put the sweet pepper and onion in a saute pan with a bit of oil or butter and saute until softened. Add the jalapeño and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add this mixture to the corn.  Let cool.
  5. In a separate bowl, add the mayo, cayenne, salt and pepper and  1/2 cheese, mix until integrated and then add to the corn mixture and stir until blended.
  6. Pour into the baking dish and cover with the remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly 10-12 minutes.

Serves: 6

NOTES: as I said, you can vary the cheese with just about anything. And experiment with the heat. Think chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (1 tbsp). Or omit the heat and add chile powder instead. Pepper jack would be great.

Pork Chops with Prosciutto Sauced UP

 

 

All the lovely pork chop. For reasons unknown to me, bone-in pork chops have to almost be requested at the grocery store here. Which is a real shame. Bone-in is to be preferred folks, as much as possible.

You think you are getting more for your money by getting boneless! NO. You are paying for them to cut it out, and the flavor you get from the bone is so worth it. Bring back the 7-bone pot roast!

Okay, end of rant. Now on to the recipe, which is so delightful. Cream sauces are so succulent and who can go wrong with gorgeous prosciutto? This is a fast recipe, so don’t shy away. Give yourself and yours a treat this week.

(I have found this recipe exactly as follows on a couple of sites, so I don’t know exactly who to give credit to, but I found this one at Cassie Craves. And by the way, this passed the husband test, who having grown up in Iowa, knows his pork!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 loin chops, thicker rather than thin. At least a 1/2 inch.
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 oz prosciutto
  • 2 TBSP fresh sage (dried will do for this as well–reduce to about a tsp if dried)
  • 1 small red onion ( or white), chopped
  • 2 TBSP chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or use cherry tomatoes chopped)
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the pork which has been salted and peppered on both sides. Cook until nicely browned, turn and do the same on the other side. Don’t worry about cooking through. Remove to a plate, cover.
  2. Add the prosciutto, (cut in 1″ pieces), onion and sage. Cook until onion is tender. Add fresh tomatoes at this point. If using the sun-dried, wait until you have cooked up the onion a bit.
  3. Scrape up the bottom and then add the wine, simmering enough to let the wine reduce. Then add the cream and stir. Add the chops back in, along with any juices, and simmer about 15 minutes, until pork is done and the cream has thickened up. Add a bit more butter at the end, if the sauce seems too thin to you.

Serves: 4

NOTE: I served this with mashed potatoes. Noodles would also be excellent. I try to give you some alternatives here so you can work with what you may have on hand. Bacon could substitute of course for the prosciutto but you will miss the unique taste. Also, you can brine your pork chops before hand. Cover with water add 1/4 c of salt or so, place in fridge for about 4 hours or so before using. Pat dry before cooking.

 

Grilled Cilantro Chicken

 

In all honesty, I thought this was gonna be a recipe that appealed to a small demographic, not including my husband who is affectionately known as the Contrarian. He doesn’t care for avocados and tolerates the cilantro in Mexican dishes.

But this dish is based on BATHING the chicken in cilantro. I figured he wouldn’t like it, but I wanted to try this recipe, so I figured, hey, he can dislike it and I’ll put it on the rarely made burner.

But, instead of being awful (from his point of view) or just okay, it turned out to be utterly marvelously grandly WONDERFUL. In other words, we both loved it. It’s not hard to put together, and the taste is just terrific. So do give it a try.

This is almost verbatim from RecipeGirl.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 2 lbs or so of chicken thighs or any pieces you like. I like to use one cut only because it all cooks evenly.
  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 1/4 minced garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 c sweet spicy chili sauce (I used a Thai sauce that was just perfect–you want something somewhat hot, but sweet

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put the chicken in a ziplock bag.
  2. Put all the rest of the stuff, minus the chili sauce in a blender and whir up until it’s smooth.
  3. Pour this in the bag and massage the chicken, covering thoroughly. Put in the fridge for a few hours at least, overnight if you can.
  4. Heat up the grill, and place the chicken pieces on, and cook 4-5 minutes per side until done
  5. Baste with the chili sauce and continue grilling, just until it starts to char.
  6. Remove and serve.

Serves: 4

NOTE: this is really easy if you remember than nothing is particularly sacrosanct in terms of measurement. I used like 5 chicken thighs. I threw in a bunch of cilantro (a good bunch, but it depends on how big the bunches are doesn’t it?), three large cloves of garlic and enough EVOO to emulsify. So don’t worry about measuring everything out. Just follow your instincts as to how garlicky you like it, and how much olive oil is need to smooth it out.