If you have some leftover salsa, here’s an idea for what to do with it. Pour it over a couple of boneless chicken breasts and roast at about 400 degrees until done. For a richer sauce, combine the salsa with ¼ cup or so heavy cream. Easy, quick and delicious! Roast another vegetable in the same oven with the chicken for a complete meal (I served roasted asparagus, which my 2-year-old loved).
Tag Archives: Latin
I have already seen 3 stories this morning on the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatricians to redesign the hot dog so that it doesn’t pose a choking hazard for kids. On each story, the comments come in two flavors: parents are to blame when their children choke on hot dogs for not watching them closely enough, and parents who want to redesign hot dogs are overprotective helicopter parents who won’t let their kids have a real childhood.
As a relatively new parent, all I can say is: We just can’t win. We’re either not protective enough or we’re overprotective. We’re at fault for everything our kids do and everything that happens to them, but we have to stop smothering them. No wonder most parents I know, including myself, feel like we’re slowly going insane. My solution: Use common sense when dealing with your own kids and ignore everything that anyone else has to say about it.
As for the hot dog issue, I think perhaps some parents aren’t aware of the hazards they pose. Or choking incidents may occur when kids are in the care of others. Contrary to popular Internet commenter belief, parents do not, should not and cannot watch their children 24 hours a day.
Enough ranting. Last night for dinner, I made a strange but tasty pureed potato soup. I started from a recipe but quickly veered into the unknown. The base was roasted peppers, onions, garlic and tomatillos, spiced with cilantro and adobe seasoning. To that I added mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes. I simmered until the potatoes were tender, pureed the soup and topped with crumbled bacon. It was very tasty for a dish that mostly served to use up all the odds and ends in the refrigerator.
But the real revelation was the edamame, or green soybeans, I cooked as a snack for the baby and me. Instead of simply boiling and salting them, I just covered them with water and added some olive oil, garlic salt and dried herbs. I simmered them for 20 minutes. They were extremely tasty and could serve as a substitute for cocktail peanuts as a before-dinner nibble. I also think they would be good mashed a little and spread on crusty bread with some grated salty cheese. Stored in their cooking liquid, they should keep for a few days. I will definitely keep frozen soybeans on hand now for snacking.
I have been making croquettes — or little fried cakes — for a long time now. They are always popular, and for me they are comfort food. I usually make them with mashed potatoes or beans. It didn’t occur to me that I could use another vegetable until I found Mark Bittman’s recipe for spinach croquettes. But then I realized that the basic croquette is a versatile recipe that can be adapted quite freely. And since it requires cooked vegetables, it is the perfect vehicle for using up leftovers.
Last night I made croquettes with leftover cooked kale. They were surprisingly good, and even the baby ate three small ones. I would also try making them with other greens, artichoke hearts, broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, sweet potatoes or winter squash.
I served them dry, though, which I would amend for next time. Croquettes really need some kind of sauce to be complete. My husband suggested hollandaise sauce, which would be quite decadent and delicious. But even something as simple as a pesto, salsa or aioli would work. But even without the sauce, they are yummy and very quick to make. If you have time to chill them beforehand, all the better.
Yields: about 6 croquettes
- 2 cups cooked vegetable, either mashed or chopped fine
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup cheese, grated
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs, plus more for cooking
- seasonings of your choice: chopped onion, fresh herbs, seasoning mix, etc. plus salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp. oil
- ¼ lb. cooked, flaked fish or ground meat (optional)
- Hollandaise sauce, pesto, salsa, aioli, or other mayonnaise or dipping sauce to serve
Combine the vegetable, eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs and seasonings in a bowl, and mix well. Add the meat, if using — these will make the cakes more of an entree than a side dish. If the cakes aren’t holding together, add more breadcrumbs. If they are too dry, add more beaten egg to bind.
Form the croquettes into cakes. You should have at least 6, or you can make mini-cakes to get more. Lay on a sheet of wax paper on a plate and cover with wax paper. Chill for at least half an hour and up to a day.
Heat the oil over medium-high. Dredge the cakes in breadcrumbs. When the oil is shimmering, fry the cakes until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. You may have to cook the cakes in batches depending on the size of your pan.
Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
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Whatever it is, it hit me on Wednesday like a tornado, knocked me flat, and I am only just now beginning to recover. I spent two full days ensconced on the sofa with my Kleenex, Tylenol, cough syrup, VapoRub, books, laptop and TV tuned to the Food Network, HGTV and a marathon of Top Design on Bravo. Of course, I missed the brief respite from February — two sunny days of 60+ temperatures! I will spare you the gory details, but instead muse on those foods we crave when we’re sick.
“Feed a cold, starve a fever,” is the aphorism, and the one thing I don’t have is a fever. But when I’m sick, I don’t have much of an appetite either. I crave bland, filling, basic, comfort foods, foods that aren’t too difficult to make in my bleary-eyed condition. Foods like:
- Toast with butter and honey
- Cinnamon toast
- Soft-boiled eggs and English muffins
- And of course, that old standby, chicken soup
Is it any coincidence that such foods hearken back to my childhood, when Mom would bring a tray to me in bed or on the couch with a hot mug of tea? Of course not.
The following tea is not quite like what Mom used to make — as far as I know, lemongrass wasn’t readily available back then, at least not around these parts. But this is a dynamite recipe for when you’re sick. It’s easy to make, it makes the house smell terrific, and you can get therapeutic value just by standing over the pot and breathing in the steam. I keep a pot on low for most of the day.
Combine in a saucepan:
- 5 cups water
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 3-4 tbsp. honey
Bring to a simmer. Let simmer gently over medium-low for 20 minutes. (Recipe from Healthy Latin Cooking.)
Simple recipes like this one come in handy this time of year. They’re easy to make, easy to keep, and equally appropriate for the unexpected drop-in, cocktail party, antipasto tray or a homemade gift. Be sure to experiment with different nuts and spices.
Time to make: ~20 minutes
- 2 cups unsalted nuts (any kind or a mixture)
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1-2 tbsp. sugar (depending on how sweet you’d like them)
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 1 tsp. seasoning mix (such as baking spices, curry powder or southwestern seasoning)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet. Toast the nuts for 8 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
In a pot, combine the water, brown sugar and butter, and bring to a boil. Toss the nuts in this mixture until coated and the liquid has evaporated.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, salt and seasonings. Toss the nuts in the spices until well coated.
Let cool. Store up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a covered container, or freeze.