Saturday, July 21, 2018

Spicy Veggie Chili with Summer Squash #soupswappers

Today I was challenged to prepare a soup or chili that required me to use a slow cooker.  That means the dish had to be one that would stand up to our summer...for me, that is a chili and one that features veggies.  Using a slow cooker during the summer is so much better than using an oven! And, it is a garden veggie time of the year! 

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Soup is hosted by Karen at Karen's Kitchen StoriesThank you for reminding me that the slow cooker is a great summer appliance.

The Saturday Soup Swappers is a group of bloggers brought together by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. The group gets together on the third Saturday of the month to share soups or stews based on a theme selected by one of the members. If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!


This chili is a winner!  It lives by its name, it is spicy and the flavor is wonderful!  We loved it and neither of us can wait for lunch tomorrow!




Spicy Veggie Chili with Summer Squash

adapted from Dina Cheney, Fine Cooking

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup scallions, white, light green and some dark green parts (4 onions)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced jalapeno (1/2 medium)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp kosher salt, divided, 
5 grinds fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp oregano flakes
2 cups frozen corn
2 yellow squash, quarter lengthwise, then cut into thick slices
1 zucchini squash, quarter lengthwise, then cut into thick slices
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp minced chipotle chiles or use just the adobo sauce
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 28-oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Garnish:  Tortilla chips, sour cream, chopped avocado

In a 10-inch skillet, heat half of the oil on medium-high.  Add the bell peppers, scallions, garlic, jalapeno, half of the salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and oregano.  Saute about six minutes, just until the vegetables soften.  Add the squash and the corn and saute an additional three minutes.  Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the beans and mix well.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil, tomato paste, chipotle chiles or adobo sauce, and flour.  Cook until the mixture is thickened and the flour disappears.  Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes with their juices, vegetable stock, lime juice, and the remaining salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring well for about 3 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.  Mix well.  Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.  Stir in the cilantro.  Serve with chips, sour cream and avocado.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I wasn't really certain how the squash would do in a slow cooker so upon thought, I decided that they should be cut into thick slices and quartered.  They stood up to the heat really well.  This was truly a tasty recipe.  If you aren't a fan of really spicy chili, I would suggest cutting back to one Tablespoon of adobo sauce.  


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Don't Throw Out the Pickle Juice!

There is a first time for everything, for me, it is using pickle juice.  I know that it is a regular thing for many cooks to use pickle juice in their potato salad.  Until recently, I had always made my own oil and vinegar mixture for marinating the potatoes and seemed to be stuck in my ways.  That is why when I was presented with this recipe, I just had to "follow directions".  Just what has cooks singing pickle juice praises was something I wanted to know.

I tossed my fresh cooked potatoes with the pickle juice, just as directed.  What I learned is that pickle juice offers up a smooth tangy flavor with just a hint of sweet.  This was a flavor that makes potato salad dance!  It was delicious....


All-American Potato Salad
adapted from The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook

Yield: 8-10 servings

3 large eggs
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 Tbsp dill pickle juice, plus 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 small red onion, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
1/4 tsp paprika, for garnish

Bring the eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and one quart of water to a boil in a saucepan.  When it reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and let cool for about five minutes, then peel and coarsely chop the eggs.  Set aside.

Place potatoes in a large pot.  Add enough cold water to cover them by an inch.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add one teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low.  Allow the potatoes to simmer until they are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Drain and spread the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet.

Mix two Tablespoons pickle juice and mustard together in a small bowl,drizzle the mixture over the hot potatoes and toss until coated evenly.  Refrigerate until cooled, about half an hour.

Mix the remaining Tablespoon of pickle juice, chopped pickles, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, celery seed, mayonnaise, sour cream, red onion, and celery in a large bowl.  Add the cooled potatoes and toss.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.  Just before serving fold in the chopped eggs.  Sprinkle the mixture with the paprika and the chopped parsley prior to serving.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


This met the taste test.  I will definitely make it again.  Will I give up the usual way that I marinate warm potatoes?  No.  I have just added another choice to the repertoire!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Mac and Cheese Salad with Chipotle

We eat our fill of macaroni salad and potato salad during the warm months.  There is just something about it that says tasty!  I love the tanginess of the two salads and since they are a cold dish, I can think "cool"!

I recently prepared a Macaroni Salad with Cheese and Chipotle for a gathering of friends.  It was a new recipe but friends do not mind being guinea pigs!  The only thing I was nervous about was that the recipe called for three tablespoons of chipotle....you know that was destined to be a super spicy hot side dish!  Since I didn't want to run my friends off, I decided to add the chipotle a tablespoon at a time and taste test in between.  It seemed the prudent thing to do.

There was one little thing that happened....at least, I thought it had happened....I was squeezing my lemon juice into the salad when I heard a pop.  Thought about it and kept on mixing.  It kept niggling at me.  Upon investigation I noticed that one screw on the lemon juicer was missing...hmmmm....had it already been missing and I hadn't noticed, or, did it just then pop into the macaroni salad?

I poked around in the salad with a fork and didn't find anything...but, this was a ton of salad and the screw was tiny.  Since I really didn't want anybody to break a tooth, an additional search was necessary.  So, a spoonful at a time was removed from the bowl and checked for a screw!  While one was not found, I did give fair warning to friends, just in case!

This wasn't a king cake, nobody got the prize for finding something strange in the salad!


Macaroni Salad with Cheddar and Chiptole
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Yield:  12-15 servings

1 1/2 pounds large elbow macaroni
1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
3 Tbsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 cup minced red onion
3 ribs celery, minced
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 Tbsp lemon juice
5 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups mayonnaise

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta plus 1 1/2 Tbsp salt and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until cool.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the cheddar, onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder and cayenne.  Add the chipotle a tablespoon at a time, taste testing in between.  Or, if you are brave, add all three tablespoons at once.  Let the mixture sit until the flavors are absorbed.

Stir in the mayonnaise and allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes while the may is absorbed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The Test Kitchen says that the salad may be refrigerated for up to a day.  They recommend mixing in 1 Tablespoon of hot water at a time to refresh the salad prior to serving.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


We decided that we would definitely make this again.  There was something about the sharp cheddar and the tang of the chipotle.  Delicious!

You will be happy to know that I am the proud owner of a new lemon juicer!