Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Green Chile-Ancho Vinaigrette

We recently returned from a trip to Santa Fe, which happens to be my favorite place on earth.  It was 4 magical days of eating some of the best cuisine America has to offer.  If you haven't tried adding green chile to your diet, then you have been missing out.  Last summer I was lucky enough to to stumble across a bottle of green chile-infused olive oil from Chile.  We use it on just about everything.  My only regret is not buying an entire case.  My brother-in-law is a chef in Denver, and when he heard we were going to be in Santa Fe he asked us to find some "chile salt" for him.  On our last day in Santa Fe, we wandered into the neatest store called Oleaceae because the Himalayan salt blocks in the window caught our eye, and we knew we could find the aforementioned chile salt.  Not only did the store have dozens of salts on hand, they had urn upon urn of infused oils and vinegars to sample as well.  My favorite was the Ancho Chile Vinegar.  It's light, almost sweet, and full of peppery flavor.  I couldn't wait to get back home to the kitchen and experiment with it.  With the green chile olive oil on hand, a vinaigrette seemed like the obvious choice.  We often make our own sauces and dressings here, and I have to say this is my new favorite.  It's slightly tangy, with just a hint of kick from the green chile and ancho pepper.  All the flavors of the Southwest, right on your salad!

The flavors of the Southwest, captured on a salad!

Olave Extra Virgin Olive Oil Green Chili:
Oleaceae Ancho Fruit Vinegar-Artisan Crafted:

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend a visit to the Oleaceae Shop in Santa Fe.
If you are planning a trip, send me an email.  I'd love to share our favorite places with you!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nacho Bake Casserole

Yesterday Mr. Devilish Dish sent me a text message that read, "What's for dinner?" so I replied, "I'm making a casserole."  His response was, "Yum.  I'm looking forward to it."  So I said, "How can you be looking forward to it?  You don't even know what kind of casserole it is.  It could be a turd casserole.  Are you still looking forward to it?"  I guess he knows me pretty well because he responded with, "Odds are it's some kind of Mexican casserole so I know I'll like it."  So I told him it was called, "Nacho Bake."  Everybody's a comedian so he replied with, "If it's not my bake then whose bake is it?"  Hardy Har Har.  And that's how you stay married for 20 years.  Never a dull moment.  And never a dull meal.  Give this one a try.  Even if no one cracks any "Nacho" jokes around the table, you are sure to crack some smiles at least!
Nacho Bake
It's Nacho Bake, It's my Bake!
Nacho Bake Casserole

Nacho Bake

1 cup chopped poblano pepper
1 cup chopped white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 can Ranch Style Beans
1 can Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles, drained
1 cup sour cream
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups tortilla chips, crushed
1 package shredded Mexican cheese blend
salsa, optional for garnish
sour cream, optional for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute poblano peppers, onions, garlic and ground beef until meat is brown and crumbly and no pink remains.  Add beans, drained tomatoes, sour cream, corn and chili powder.  Stir until well combined.  Place half of meat mixture into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with half of the tortilla chips.  Cover with remaining meat mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil, top with remaining tortilla chips and package of cheese.  Return to oven and bake, uncovered for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve garnished with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 30 minutes

Thursday, February 20, 2014

National Cherry Pie Day: Cherry Pocket Pies

A while back, my dear friend Michaela over at An Affair From The Heart sent me the cutest little pocket pie maker.  I've been dying to use it.  This morning she sent me a message wishing me a Happy National Cherry Pie Day with a YouTube link to Warrant's, "Cherry Pie." A little later I was running around the grocery store like a mad woman, because we just got back from vacation and I haven't been to the store in a while.  Literally out of paper towels, shampoo, laundry detergent and most importantly Diet Coke.  I happened to see Michaela's post today, Cherry Heart Shaped Hand Pies , and I remembered my little pocket pie maker she gave me.  I decided on the fly that we would be having little cherry pies for dessert and grabbed a package of refrigerated pie dough, and a can of pie filling.  As you can see, they turned out quite cute.  Thanks again to Michaela for the pocket pie maker AND the inspiration.  She's my cherry pie!
Happy National Cherry Pie Day!
(That sweet little cherry pin belonged to my Nana!)

Cherry Pocket Pies

1 package refrigerated pie dough (enough for two-crusts)
1 can cherry pie filling
1 egg, beaten
granulated sugar for sprinkling

I followed the directions on the pocket pie maker:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Use the pocket press to cut out heart-shapes in the dough.  If you are careful you can cut 6 hearts out of each circle of dough, enough for 3 pies total.  Place a heart-shaped piece of dough onto each half of the pie press.  Press the dough down slightly in the center.  Fill with approximately 2 tablespoons of pie filling.  Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and press pocket pie maker together to close and create a little heart-shaped pocket.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Serve to someone you love!

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 20 minutes

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread

A while back I made Butter Chicken and Homemade Naan Bread for dinner.  Both recipes call for plain yogurt.  Unless we are having it for breakfast with granola, plain yogurt isn't something I normally keep on hand.  I bought a bunch of bananas thinking I would use the remaining yogurt to make Homemade Frosty Paws for the dog.  And I had the best intentions, but of course I never got around to it, much to Baby Ruth's chagrin.  Which is why I never buy bananas.  Because one gets eaten and the others turn brown.  And go in the freezer with the best intentions of making banana bread.  Last week, my friend Michaela, from An Affair from the Heart was on a banana bread baking frenzy.  She made a Cinnamon-Streusel Banana Bread, and a S'Mores Banana Bread that looked amazing.  Hopefully she will blog those recipes soon an share them with all of us.  I can only imagine how good her kitchen must have smelled that day.  Inspired by all of her banana bread baking, I decided to pull those too-ripe bananas out of my freezer and try some Blueberry Banana Bread. The results were amazing.  The tartness from the blueberries, really compliments this sweet bread.  And there's just a short list of ingredients so your kitchen will be smelling amazing in no time!
Blueberry Banana Bread...
Looks and smells yummy!
And TASTES great too!
Here's the golden brown bread, fresh from the oven...
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