Grilled Salmon w/ Mango Avocado Salsa

When it comes to favorite summer condiments, salsa is top of the list. For many North Americans, salsa is almost considered a basic food group, and not just as a nutritious dipper for corn chips. Packed with garden-fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables that are easy to get your hands on, it’s as terrific a topping for chicken, beef, or seafood as it is a colorful add-in for pasta, rice and salad. Plus, it requires virtually no cooking, making it the perfect dish to throw together when summer heat and humidity make you feel like you’re melting.

The history of salsa sauce originated with the Inca people. Salsa, which has typically been a combination of chilies, tomatoes and other spices, can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. In recent years, the use of different fruits combined with vegetables makes for a spicy fruit salsa.

Modern North American cooking has become a fusion of traditions, flavors and dishes from virtually every part of the globe. The tradition of eating tomato-based salsa was likely regional until the practice of eating Mexican food spread throughout the continent. Exactly how mango salsa reached North America isn’t really known, but it was likely brought from the Caribbean by travelers. Modern North American salsas are still primarily tomato based, but many people appreciate the sweet, salty, sour and spicy combinations of flavors in a well-balanced mango salsa.

Versatility and adaptability are salsa’s biggest selling point. Chunky or finely diced, spicy or mild, crafted with fruit or vegetables, and sometimes both, salsa is unlimited with possibility.

The salsa that Brion & I are having with our salmon today is an interesting mix of avocado, mango, grape tomatoes & red onion marinated in lime juice. Should be good!

Print Recipe
Grilled Salmon w/ Mango Avocado Salsa
Instructions
Salmon
  1. In a small bowl, mix melted butter & all other salmon ingredients. Rub the spice mix all over salmon in foil ( mainly on the no-skin side but getting a little on the other side as well). Leave at room temperature while the grill heats up. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Salsa
  1. In a bowl, combine salsa ingredients & refrigerate until salmon is ready.
Grilling
  1. Grill the salmon wrapped in foil for about 15 minutes or to your liking. Salmon should flake easily & not be overcooked.
  2. Serve hot on a bed of rice with the mango salsa on top.

Zesty Chicken Wraps

People in Mexico, the Mediterranean, and South Asia  have been eating wraps since around the 1900’s. The wrap in its Western form probably comes from California, as a generalization of the Mexican/Tex-Mex burrito and became popular in the 1990’s.

Wraps have become a popular option in sandwich shops and restaurants, and for good reason. Like all sandwiches, wraps are an outlet for culinary creativity. A wrap can be anything you want it to be – breakfast, lunch, dinner, even a snack!

Wraps offer the same flexibility and creative options as a sandwich, but in a more convenient format all rolled up in a tasty tortilla or flatbread. The usual flatbreads are wheat tortillas, lavash or pita; the filling may include cold sliced meat, poultry, or fish, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, guacamole, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, grilled onions, cheese, and a sauce, such as Ranch dressing or honey mustard.

They are the perfect on-the-go meal. Most wraps can be eaten one-handed, leaving the rest of you free to continue about your day. They’re the perfect meal solution for a busy schedule.

It is remarkably easy to create your own personalized wrap: choose a bread, pick your condiments, layer your fillings, decide whether you want to grill it or not and enjoy. Does it get any better than that!

I have to admit, I absolutely love wraps so I like to fit them in to our meals whenever I can. These zesty chicken wraps are so good !

Print Recipe
Zesty Chicken Wraps
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Course Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Chicken
  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 Tbsp oil, lemon juice & seasonings; add chicken & turn to coat. Cover & refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Filling
  1. In a heavy skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil & sauté zucchini & onions until tender crisp. Remove & keep warm. Drain marinade from chicken & cook in the same skillet until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Return zucchini/onion to pan, heat through.
Assembly
  1. Lightly spread 4 tortillas with a bit of guacamole or sour cream. Spoon filling down the center of tortillas. Add toppings saving a good bit of the cheese for sprinkling over them after they are rolled.
  2. Roll up & place on a microwave safe dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese & microwave only until cheese is melted. Top with sliced green onions & tiny grape tomatoes. Serve extra toppings on the side if you like.

Breakfast Turkey Taquitos

Breakfast taquitos are like the smaller cousin to breakfast burritos. They use smaller corn tortillas and have a filling rolled into center of each tortilla. Taquitos are a great way to get some vegetables into your morning meal, and if you need, you can even take them on the go with you once they’re done. What’s more, they’re easily adaptable to your needs. So, if you prefer different veggies or have some leftover ones to use up, you love breakfast sausage or prefer them meatless, there’s a way to make breakfast taquitos work for you.

What’s more, these taquitos are baked, not fried, so they’re a little less guilt-inducing than you might think. Customize the recipe to your liking, swapping out what you dislike and putting in what you do. Serve breakfast taquitos with some fresh fruit, salsa verde, guacamole or sour cream and green onions.

These tasty taquitos are everything you want in a brunch item. They are hearty, savory, and easy to make. Another bonus is that you can prepare and bake the taquitos. Allow to cool completely and then place in a freezer Ziploc bag. When ready to eat, microwave them until warm. Could breakfast food get more convenient than that?!

Print Recipe
Breakfast Turkey Taquitos
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Course Brunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Filling
  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet on high. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic & cook until soft, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato, cook until the tomato starts to break apart and dissolve into the mixture, approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Add the turkey, cumin, smoked paprika & chili powder; cook until the turkey is cooked through, using a wooden spoon to break the turkey into small pieces. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cilantro & beaten eggs to the mixture & cook until the eggs are cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Heat tortillas for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave before working with them. While the tortillas are warm, divide the filling between them topping with diced avocado & 100 grams of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas & place in the baking pan seam side down.
  5. Top taquitos with salsa & remaining 50 grams shredded cheese.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with oil.
  2. Heat tortillas for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave before working with them. While the tortillas are warm, divide the filling between them topping with diced avocado & 100 grams of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas & place in the baking pan seam side down. Top taquitos with salsa & remaining 50 grams shredded cheese.
  3. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy. Serve immediately.

Chili Cheese Quiche

If you haven’t had quiche lately, it is time to remedy that situation. I could eat quiche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without ever growing tired of it. This recipe takes the classic chili con carne and turns it into a quiche which makes an ideal winter meal, right?

Cornmeal crust is the perfect foil for meaty and cheesy savory pies. Not only is the rustic texture and flavor of cornmeal pastry a nice change, but it also helps if you have something that is super juicy to avoid soggy bottom pies.

If you like quiche and cornbread, you’ll love this. The cornmeal crust gives a sort of cornbread feel while maintaining the flaky composure that any great crust should have. This is one of my favorite crusts to use for savory pies, tarts and galettes.

Print Recipe
Chili Cheese Quiche
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
Eggs/Milk
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
Eggs/Milk
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Press dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, sauté beef, onion & garlic until meat is cooked & any liquid has evaporated. Stir in spices, corn, tomato sauce, beans. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly. Grate cheese.
Eggs/Milk
  1. Whisk together eggs, milk & seasoning.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-inche quiche pan. Place filling mixture in crust; sprinkle with cheese then pour milk mixture over the cheese.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set. Top with more grated cheese if you wish.

Shrimp Quesadillas w/ Guacamole

Quesadillas are basically toasted tortillas with cheese inside. The name in Spanish literally means ‘little cheesy thing’. What constitutes a quesadilla varies greatly between Mexico and its neighboring countries. They agree that the quesadilla and taco or burrito are different; the former being cooked after being filled or stuffed while the later two are filled with pre-cooked ingredients. Also they may be made with flour, corn or wheat tortillas as well as Mexican Masa (tamale version).

The quesadilla originated in central and southern colonial Mexico, beginning as a corn tortilla gently heated until soft enough to fold, then filled with cheese and toasted on both sides until golden and crispy on the outside and gooey with cheese on the inside. Over time, chopped, cooked vegetables and bits of roasted, shredded meat also found their way into these cheesy tortillas.

Influenced by the many micro-cultures of Mexico and Latin America, the quesadilla has been adopted and adapted by chefs and home cooks around the world, especially since the little cheesy things make it so easy to feed vegetarians and meat-eaters at the same table. A vegetarian quesadilla can be as simple as cheese folded into a tortilla. For the meat or seafood lovers, just add some shredded chicken, pulled pork or ‘roasted’ shrimp.

Speaking of shrimp …. to maximize the flavor, don’t sauté them – roast them! Much like roasting meat on the bone, roasting shrimp in their shells gives them a more intense flavor and keeps them from drying out as easily. The flavor from the shells penetrates the flesh, making them even tastier.

Something else I wanted to mention is a suggestion to help make your quesadillas nice and crunchy. Don’t use butter or oil to cook them in, use mayo instead. The fact that mayo contains a bit of sugar will promote browning and also give some extra crispiness.

Print Recipe
Shrimp Quesadillas w/ Guacamole
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, fry bacon to a cooked but not real crisp stage. Remove from pan to paper towel. Sauté mushrooms, zucchini & garlic until most of the moisture evaporates. Cut each shrimp in thirds & add to skillet with seasonings. Cook for another minute or until shrimp begins to turn pink. Remove from heat & add cooked bacon & combine.
  2. Grate cheese. Lightly butter one side each of 4 tortillas. Place on a griddle, & cook until warm & browned slightly. Remove 2 of them & keep warm. To each of the remaining 2, sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese, top each one with 1/2 of the filling then sprinkle with remaining cheese over filling. Place the 2 warm tortillas on top of the filled ones.
  3. Place a lid (or a baking pan) over the griddle for a few minutes to give the cheese a chance to melt.
  4. Remove quesadillas to a cutting board & cut each one into 4 pieces. Serve hot with your choice of toppings.
Recipe Notes
  • As I mentioned in the blog article, roasting the shrimp really intensifies the flavor. If you have the time, try it instead of just sautéing them.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Place the shrimp (shells-on) on a lightly greased baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the seasoning (such as Old Bay) and arrange the shrimp in a single layer. 
  • Bake the shrimp for 8-10 minutes or until just pink and opaque throughout.
  • Remove from oven.

Mexicali Quiche w/ Avocado & Roasted Tomatoes

There are so many great things to make with tortillas. You can load up burritos for breakfast, stuff some quesadillas with shrimp or make tortilla chips and cover them with cheese, guacamole and spicy salsa.

A tortilla quiche combines a classic breakfast quiche and a tortilla tart without having the traditional pastry crust.

Breakfast for supper is always good with Brion & I. Making this meal a day ahead of serving it allows the flavors to become exceptional.

Print Recipe
Mexicali Quiche w/ Avocado & Roasted Tomatoes
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, cook ground pork, onion, mushrooms & garlic. Cook until meat is brown & crumbly & moisture has mostly evaporated from the mushrooms. Stir in corn, beans, chili powder & cumin. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, green chili peppers (if using), salt & pepper. Grate cheese.
  4. Lightly butter bottom of an 8-inch baking dish. Place one of the tortillas on the bottom of dish; sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese & top with half of the pork mixture. Tear other tortilla into pieces & place on top then sprinkle with a bit more cheese & remaining pork mixture.
  5. Carefully pour milk mixture over quiche then top with remaining cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until set.
  6. While the quiche is baking, place cherry tomatoes in a foil lined baking pan, drizzle with olive oil & roast until skins pop.
  7. On a plate, mash avocados; add salt, garlic & lime juice. When quiche is ready, top with avocado mixture & roasted tomatoes. Serve.

Shrimp Chili w/ Cornbread

Cornbread is one of those culinary creations that pairs well with almost anything. Over the years, I have prepared so many cornbread ‘pairings’, I have lost count. Needless to say, I love ‘everything corn’.

When it comes to chili, the version made with ground beef usually comes to mind. Although, Brion & I enjoy the original, this shrimp chili is a nice change up for us seafood lovers.

These little cornbread ‘cakes’ have only a hint of honey. This makes them a good compliment to the spicy chili as opposed to the sweeter, dessert version of cornbread (which, of course is wonderful too!)

March seems like a good month to still enjoy a bowl of chili before our thoughts turn to some lighter meals for the spring & summer.

Print Recipe
Shrimp Chili w/ Cornbread
Votes: 5
Rating: 4.8
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Ingredients
Shrimp Chili
Cornbread
Servings
Ingredients
Shrimp Chili
Cornbread
Votes: 5
Rating: 4.8
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Shrimp Chili
  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms & garlic; cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in zucchini; cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Stir in spices & salt; cook for 20 seconds. Pour in tomatoes with their juice; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in shrimp & cilantro. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Cornbread
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder & salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, oil, egg & honey until smooth. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring only until just moistened.
  3. You can either drop heaping tablespoons of the cornbread batter over the shrimp mixture OR bake it in greased individual pans.
  4. Bake until the cornbread is golden brown (& the filling is bubbling) about 40-45 minutes if baked as a casserole. If your cornbread is baked on its own, test the cakes for doneness after about 15 minutes.
  5. Garnish with grated cheddar & sliced green onions before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • We enjoy the addition of some black beans in this chili as well.

Pulled Pork w/ Roasted Rhubarb Sauce

Slow cooked meat is definitely not a new thing. Truly authentic pulled pork is actually a barbecue dish, cooked for hours over a charcoal pit until it falls apart, ready to be easily shredded or ‘pulled’ apart to serve.

I’m sure most of us have attended a classic Hawaiian Luau at one time or another in our lives. The main course of this Hawaiian feast is always the ‘kalua’ roast pork. Kalua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an ‘Imu’, a type of underground steam oven.

My experience, was that it was definitely pull-apart tender but far too greasy for my liking. It has taken a lot of years for me to want to make even a North American version of this pulled pork idea. To my surprise, it didn’t turn out greasy and was pretty tasty.

The idea that it has to be roasted in an outdoor pit is really not true. It can be made easily in a standard domestic oven. Of course the seasonings, temperatures and serving methods are all open to debate.

Pork shoulder is ideal for pulling purposes, either bone-in or boneless. It has an optimum fat content that yields to create tender, ‘melty‘ meat, but its essential to cook it slowly to allow the protein to break down properly. Using a dry rub will also help create tenderness and flavor.

There are numerous ways you can serve pulled pork such as on some fresh brioche buns, with cornbread or in tacos. We are going to have ours in corn tortillas with some kohlrabi coleslaw and roasted rhubarb sauce.

Print Recipe
Pulled Pork w/ Roasted Rhubarb Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Pork Shoulder
  1. Drizzle pork with 2 Tbsp of oil; sprinkle with spices & orange zest & rub into meat. Place in a plastic zip-lock bag & refrigerate overnight (about 24 hours).
  2. Bring meat to room temperature. Preheat oven to 275 F. Place meat in a roasting pan & bake until thickest part registers 170 F. on a meat thermometer. Basically, roast until it's falling apart. Remove roast from oven & transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks & 'pull' the meat to form shreds. Keep warm until ready to assemble tortillas.
Roasted Rhubarb Sauce
  1. Prepare sauce on the day you START to marinate meat.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil & spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place chopped rhubarb & garlic cloves on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft.
  4. Transfer the rhubarb & garlic to a food processor or blender. Puree with one cup of water until smooth.
  5. Pour the puree into a medium saucepan. Add remaining ingredients & mix well. Add additional water, as needed, until sauce is desired consistency.
  6. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool before pouring into a small glass pitcher. Refrigerate any leftovers when meal is finished.
Kohlrabi Coleslaw
  1. Prepare dressing in a screw-top jar; combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt & pepper. Cover & shake well. In a bowl, combine kohlrabi & carrots; drizzle with dressing.
Assembly
  1. During the roasting time of the meat, prepare kohlrabi coleslaw. When everything is ready, lay out warm tortillas, top with coleslaw & pulled pork shreds. Drizzle with prepared rhubarb sauce. Fold or roll tortilla & enjoy!
Recipe Notes
  • Instead of drizzling the rhubarb sauce, you can put your shredded pork in a bowl with some rhubarb sauce & combine. I find that distributes the sauce more evenly ... just a personal preference.

Avocado Dinner Buns w/ Major Grey’s Mango Chutney

Although, avocados are most traditionally used as a main ingredient in guacamole or to top a salad or sandwich, used in baking they are amazing.

When adding them into yeast bread recipes, you can replace all the butter with equal amounts of room temperature, mashed, ripe avocado. The ripeness of the avocado is very important as it needs to be very soft for it to work perfectly.

In addition to their creamy texture and mild flavor, avocados have a high water content so they can help to make baking softer, chewier and less likely to crumble.

You can freeze mashed, fresh, ripe avocados if you want to have an ’emergency supply’ on hand. To freeze, mash the avocados with a fork or blender. Add some lime juice and mix well. For every avocado use about 1 tablespoon of lime juice to prevent them from browning. Fill a freezer weight zip-lock bag with this puree. Remove the air from the bag, then zip closed and freeze. Best to use frozen avocados within 4-5 months of freezing.

I thought some Major Grey’s mango chutney would be a perfect compliment to these avocado rolls. Major Grey’s chutney is a style of chutney not a brand. The ingredients in Major Grey’s chutney vary both across commercial brands and recipes, but a few elements seem to remain constant like mangoes, raisins, citrus, onions, a sugar of some sort, and warm spices. The chutney is sweet and tangy with a nice ‘kick’ of heat at the end that’s enough to compliment the different layers of flavor without consuming them. You will often see it served with curried dishes or as a compliment to meats and cheeses.

Major Grey’s chutney is considered by many the gold standard of all chutneys. Complete with its own legend of a 19th Century British Army officer who presumably lived in British India and created this unique condiment.

The great part about making your own chutney is that you can tailor the ‘sweet & heat’ balance to your own preferences. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just picking up a jar at the supermarket!!

Print Recipe
Avocado Dinner Buns w/ Major Grey's Mango Chutney
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
ROLLS
Servings
ROLLS
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Avocado Rolls
  1. In a small bowl, place yeast, lukewarm milk & 1 tsp sugar. Stir; cover & set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, mashed avocado, eggs. Add yeast mixture & stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour & salt. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture gradually, combining after each addition. Once all flour has been added, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease the large bowl, place dough in it & cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rest for at least an hour in a draft-free place until dough has doubled in volume.
  5. Punch dough down. Divide into 18 equal pieces in shape into balls. Place into a greased baking dish & cover with plastic wrap/towel. Allow to rise until doubled in volume, about an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls about 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven; cool for just a few minutes then brush with the Tbsp of butter. Serve with Mango Chutney.
Mango Chutney
  1. In a saucepan, combine all chutney ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until reduced & thick. Refrigerate any not used on rolls.

Fajita Chicken w/ Zucchini Noodles

Despite having a fairly short history, Mexican fajitas are one of the most popular dishes in the world today. Apart from the fact that fajitas are incredibly tasty, they are actually very healthy not to mention the ease in cooking and assembling them.

As with many foods, time has changed the contents of the fajita and has evolved slightly from the original simplicity of the ranch worker’s dish, with different cuts of meat being chosen such as chicken or seafood. The vegetables have not changed as much as the meat, with peppers, onions & chilies still being predominant ingredients in the dish.

Probably, the most important thing when making fajitas is the marinade. It not only makes the ingredients incredibly tender but very flavorful.

Fajitas usually require some tortillas. While they are wonderful tasting, using zucchini noodles (or zoodles) as a base for the fajita chicken gives this meal an amazing flavor. Zucchini is perhaps the most popular choice for vegetable noodles. It’s long, thin shape makes it easy to spiralize and its neutral flavor allows it to pair well with almost any sauce or topping. This meal has such eye appeal along with a great taste.

Print Recipe
Fajita Chicken w/ Zucchini Noodles
Instructions
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine oil, lemon juice & seasonings (RESERVE a small bit of seasoning for zucchini noodles); add chicken, seal & turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Wash zucchini & trim off ends. Using a spiralizer, cut zucchini into 'noodles'. Set aside. Prepare peppers & green onion.
  3. When chicken has finished marinating, Add 1 Tbsp oil to a griddle & saute peppers & onion until just tender crisp. set aside & keep warm. Add another Tbsp oil to griddle. Saute zucchini noodles for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with reserved seasoning & keep warm.
  4. Grill marinated chicken strips until cooked through. Divide zucchini between serving plates. Top with peppers, onions & grilled chicken. Sprinkle with grated cheese.