thursday things – mystery doritos, blue tomatoes, and southwestern tabbouleh

It’s Thursday! What you are seeing above is a glorious pineapple-coconut margarita (aka: “Nectar of the Gods”) from Blanco Tacos & Tequila in Arizona. Thursdays are great margarita days, in case you didn’t know. Helps to take the edge off the week and prepare you for the weekend…

I tried all the new Doritos flavors and can confidently recommend that you save your dollars and not buy them. My notes are below – if you have tried them, please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Yellow has almost a honey-mustard flavor, but then it has lime. It is like sweet-salty-limey flavor that I am not quite sure what they are going for. The only thing I can think of that is sweet, salty, and limey is a margarita, but it doesn’t taste like a margarita. I did actually think of something else it could be the other night but I already forgot. Maybe they’re just going for “zesty lime” in which case they hit the nail on the head, I guess. If they were going for “Mountain Dew” (which the internet seems to think) then, sorry guys. You missed the target (you are slightly closer to the target if you were aiming for “salty Mountain Dew” lol). Red I would describe as “hot as f**k” with a hint of cheddar. Every flavor I would assume they were going for already exists (buffalo wing? hot sauce? tabasco? but they already have “Tapatio” Doitos so… I dunno…) I mean, it takes a LOT of heat for something to make my mouth uncomfortably hot but this one did the trick. Actually, it wasn’t so much my mouth that suffered but every bite sent the spicy powder into my sinuses which then tried to murder me from the inside. If you are into fiery murder, go for it. These are your chips. Blue is definitely a molé flavor – It’s a bit smokey, a bit spicy, and a bit chocolatey, but somehow the flavors combine and cancel each other out making them almost bland with a hint of lingering spice that builds as you continue eating them.

I also found a new favorite snack. They are crunchy and delicious and I can pretend they are good for me because they are made with lentils. I’ve also tried the wasabi ranch flavor (more wasabi than ranch) and the caesar flavor (not the best) and the “lightly salted” (which were also really good) but the tomato basil is my favorite. They are almost always on sale for super cheap at our grocery store so my curiosity finally got the better of me and I picked up a few.

lentil snaps

In other news…

All you dog people can EAT IT because this cat proves that they are just as effective as dogs are at protecting you

Dominique Ansel is at it again with nutella-filled cronut holes… because that’s necessary.

Trader Joes released their Top 25 Products from 2013 and I’ve purchased woefully few of them. Triple ginger snaps, I’m coming for you this weekend!

So apparently I can stop my search for pineberries and grow my own, along with some indigo tomatoes (did you know those were a thing?)…. if I can just conquer this awful curse of killing every plant I touch…. Seriously, I have the equivalent of a plant graveyard on the side of the house.

Confused about whether to use light or dark brown sugar? Serious Eats to the rescue (as usual) – I usually split the difference and use “Golden Brown” sugar… seems like a good choice, right ?

Arizona’s Restaurant Week is this week so if you’re local be sure to check out your options.

Also, when I made my quinoa tabbouleh the other day I also made a “southwest” version. Because I had cilantro and it sounded like fun. It’s basically the same recipe but swap cilantro for the parsley, swap lime for the lemon, and add some avocado. The “official” recipe is below but I stand by my “adjust to your own preferences” recommendation. The recipe is VERY forgiving.

southwest tabbouleh pin

southwestern tabbouleh

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

    For quinoa
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For tabbouleh
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (or substitute one small shallot for more "pico" flavor)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 4 cups cilantro, loosely packed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

    Cook quinoa
  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until gently toasted. Add water (I use a 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water) and heat to a boil. Cook according to time stated on package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the tabbouleh
  3. Chop tomatoes and avocado to desired size and slice green onions (or shallots); set aside
  4. In a food processor, pulse cilantro leafs until finely-chopped but stop before it reaches a paste. Add a drizzle of olive oil and lime juice (sometimes I'll add my onion and tomato here too, just to chop them up a bit more) and pulse a couple seconds more to distribute.
  5. Transfer cilantro to a large bowl, add tomato, avocado, and green onions/shallot. Toss to combine.
  6. Add desired amount of quinoa, distributing evenly throughout.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Notes

You can adjust the rations of vegetables/herbs/quinoa to your liking. I usually don't use all of the quinoa but if you want to give yours more bulk, feel free!

This makes a great side or filling for taco night!

http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/15/thursday-things-mystery-doritos-blue-tomatoes-and-southwestern-tabbouleh/

quinoa tabbouleh

quinoa tabbouli 1312I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you guys for a while now, but I’ve been selfish. Every time I make it, I gobble it up just as fast and next thing I know there is none left and not a single picture has been taken.

My efforts were also hindered by my refusal to measure things. You see, baking requires measuring, so it’s easy to share baking recipes. Tabbouleh though?  Everyone has their own preferences, and I prefer a much higher veggie to grain ratio than many others I know. If you prefer to bulk yours up with more grains, feel free!

I enjoyed my tabbouleh with pita and hummus, but it’s great with chips, as a filling for a sandwich, or even on its own.

quinoa tabbouli 4354

quinoa tabbouleh

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    For quinoa
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For tabbouleh
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, finely diced
  • 4 cups parsley, loosely packed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

    Cook quinoa
  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until gently toasted. Add water (I use a 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water) and heat to a boil. Cook according to time stated on package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the tabbouleh
  3. Chop tomatoes and cucumber to desired size and slice green onions; set aside
  4. In a food processor, pulse parsley leafs until finely-chopped but stop before it reaches a paste. Add a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and pulse a couple seconds more to distribute.
  5. Transfer parsley to a large bowl, add tomato, cucumber, and green onions. Toss to combine.
  6. Add desired amount of quinoa, distributing evenly throughout.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Notes

You can adjust the rations of vegetables/herbs/quinoa to your liking. I usually don't use all of the quinoa but if you want to give yours more bulk, feel free!

http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/13/quinoa-tabbouleh/

quinoa tabbouleh - wee-eats.com

 

chipotle steak salad

steak saladThree words:

Chipotle.

Steak.

Salad.

Yum.

(OK I guess that’s four words)

Doesn’t matter, only one word really matters: “chipotle”….

I don’t know if it was feeling bad about holiday binges, maybe that mixed with low iron or something…. I have been really into two things lately: steak and salad. I know, they seem kinda like opposites, right? Either I’m ruining a perfectly healthy salad with a giant chunk of steak, or ruining a giant chunk of juicy steak with a rabbit salad.

Guess what? Don’t care. It’s delicious. Besides, flank steak is actually one of the leaner cuts of meat, and what good is having the ability to grill all year long if I don’t actually use the grill all year?

This salad was muy excelente.

We even used the leftover steak for tacos later in the week. Flippin delicious.

The “dressing” is just my usual chipotle spread that I thinned out a little bit to make it salad-worthy. You can make extra and keep it on hand to dip your fries in, put on sandwiches, etc etc… it’s basically like chipotle gold. Yes, we all know my deep love for chipotle, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely biased (BF loves it too).

Chipotle Steak Salad

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the steak:

  • 1 whole Flank Steak
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon adobo (from can)
  • Salt & Pepper

For the dressing and salad:

  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (in adobo)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Milk (if necessary to thin – this will shorten the shelf life, though)
  • Salt and pepper (bit of each)
  • Salad greens & veggies

1. Mix the oil, Worcestershire, garlic, adobo, cumin, oregano, and honey. Marinate in mixture for 1 hour (or up to overnight).  Remove from fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Right before grilling, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Either use a food processor (or just finely mince ingredients, if you can) to mix the mayo, oil, chipotles, and garlic. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper. If you’re doing this by hand, your mixture will look clotted when you first add the oil, just keep mixing until smooth.

If it’s still thicker than you want it, you can thin it out with more oil or with milk (or buttermilk) and keep mixing. Mine was still a little thick, but I just used a Ziploc with the corner cut off to drizzle it over my salad. Once you have the consistency you want, refrigerate until it’s time to use (best to do it at least an hour ahead of time to give the flavors time to mingle).

3. Set steak out to come to room temp about 30 minutes before grilling. 15 minutes before grilling, preheat your grill. You will want to cook over high heat for just a few minutes each side. Grills and steaks vary, I grill mine for about 3 to 6 minutes per side, depending on if I want it more rare or well-done.

asian steak salad

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So, despite my last post being insanely delicious, I’m told that it is the start of a “new year” and that some people have things called “resolutions” and that in these “resolutions” some people, so I’m told, are trying to be more healthful. Silly me. Ruining your diets before you even start them. How dare I.

So, in your honor, those of you who have what’s called “self control” and are trying to be more healthful, I give you a (relatively) “light” meal. All the benefits of salad – being full of healthy veggies and having lots of greens to fill you up, with the added taste of a nice (LEAN) juicy steak right on top.

Now, please do not make the same error I made. Do not walk away from the grill with no concept of what time it is and allow your steak to just cook and cook away. Is it a big deal? Not really, but this steak really should have been medium-rare to medium. So be a good girl (or boy) and cook your steak over high heat for about 5 – 6 minutes per side, then tent it with foil and let it rest about 10 minutes afterward. Slice against the grain and lay atop your bed of greens.

Asian Steak Salad

[ Printable Version ]

For the meat:

  •     2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  •     2 Tablespoons oil (olive oil or vegetable will do)
  •     1 Tablespoon red wine
  •     3 cloves garlic, minced
  •     2 teaspsoons brown sugar
  •     1 1-pound flank steak

For the dressing:

  •     2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  •     2 Tablespoons oil
  •     2 Tablespoons sugar
  •     1 Tablespoon lime juice
  •     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •     1 Tablespoon ginger
  •     1 scallion, finely diced

For the salad:

  • Salad greens
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced

1. Marinate your meat by mixing together the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, wine, and garlic. Pour over meat and let marinate at least 30 minutes. (I do this while it’s coming to room temperature)

2. While the meat is marinating, make your dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients, including the scallion, mixing well. Taste and adjust, if it tastes flat try a dash of vinegar.

3. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to get cookin’, turn on your grill. Heat to high heat (about 550 degrees F). Cook the flank steak to medium-rare (about 5-6 minutes each side). Once done, transfer steak to plate and tent with foil for ten minutes while it rests.

4. Once the steak is done resting, cut against the grain into thin slices. For more even distribution, you can toss your salad with some of the dressing before plating, then place the steak over your salad veggies and drizzle with additional dressing if necessary.

Eat & enjoy… maybe think about using the left over steak for stir fry tomorrow… now that you think about it, that marinade would probably make a pretty good stir fry sauce… Let’s use brown rice instead of white, in the interest of being “healthful”. 😉

garlic basil chicken with caprese salsa

garlic chicken main

When it’s hot out, sometimes you just want something light and refreshing. Something that will fill you up without weighing you down. I realize it’s cooling down for the rest of the world, but here in AZ we’re still breaking triple-digit records. In fact, we just had the hottest August on record (go us).  This  dish fits the bill perfectly – the mozzarella salsa is simple and refreshing and tastes great alongside its basil chicken companion. I should have taken pictures of the dish assembled, or at least better pictures of the individual items, but it was an especially hectic day when we had this for dinner. Honestly, I am surprised I was able to snap any pictures at all.

Mom saw this recipe in Sunset magazine, and doggy-eared it for us to make together. I planned to pick mom up, stop by the store, and get to work cooking. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan. Mom decided she would meet at my house, so I went to the store solo after work. When I arrived home from the store, BF needed a ride to the car shop to pick up his car. When I called mom to tell her, turns out her hubby needed a ride to the Harley shop over there as well. So it turned into more of a pick BF up, pick mom’s hubby up, drop at respective shops, get home and then get to work… Oh crap, someone go pick up mom!

When I finally started cooking, I was already famished. I threw together a quick meat and cheese platter for me everyone to snack on while preparing dinner, since it was much later than we were used to eating. Thank goodness this meal came together so easily. It was surprisingly flavorful and filling, but without feeling heavy.

I halved the recipe because there were only four of us, and swapped boneless skinless chicken for the bone-in/skin-on that the original recipe called for. Also, since I was delusional with hunger, I only cut a few of the tomatoes and left the rest of them whole. Serve the salsa on top of (or under) the chicken, it’d also make a great caprese salad side all on its own.

Garlic Basil Chicken with Caprese Salsa
[Printable Version]
For the chicken:

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the “Salsa”

  • 1 qt. mixed colors cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (12 oz. drained) fresh mozzarella balls (or torn mozza if you can’t find them)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Make rub for chicken: Pulse basil, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor until roughly chopped and rub all over chicken. Let sit about 30 minutes (or just while you make your salsa).
  1. Make “salsa”: Stir together tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to combine; let stand 30 minutes.
  1. Grill chicken over med-high heat until cooked through (about 10 – 15 minutes) and transfer chicken to a platter. Tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve chicken on top of or covered in salsa.

[ Adapted from Sunset Magazine, July 2011 ]