Ok, I’ll admit it, one of my very favorite parts about Fall is cooking with pumpkin. I love pumpkin everything and love trying new pumpkin foods. I will try adding pumpkin to just about everything. Not only does it taste amazing but it gives the foods a beautiful orange color….perfect for the Fall season. These pancakes are easy and are always a huge hit. The mild pumpkin flavor is delightful. They remind me of pumpkin pie and really, I ask you, who doesn’t want pumpkin pie for breakfast? I typically serve these pancakes with butter and pure maple syrup. I also serve them with apple butter or fresh whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon for something different.
But…..my absolute favorite topping for these pancakes and so many other things is cinnamon honey butter. What?! Yep, it’s as delicious as it sounds. And it’s incredibly easy, here’s the method:
Mix 3/4 cup room temperature butter and 1/4 cup honey until smooth and creamy. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of course sea salt or Kosher salt. it’s that easy and it’s amazing on biscuits, bagels and toast.
It’s been a crazy week here and I’m being pulled in what feels like endless directions. It’s just the time to take one evening and make a big batch of comfort food that can get me through the week. Ground turkey was on sale at the market so enter turkey sloppy joes. This is one of my favorite Fall dishes as it’s comforting and super easy to prepare. I always make a double batch as it saves well in the refrigerator for a few days and also freezes well. I like sloppy joes served in different ways. Of course there’s the traditional way on a toasted whole wheat or pretzel bun but I really like it in warmed corn tortillas. I also serve it over brown rice or whole grain pasta like a meat sauce. I’ve even made an outside-the-box taco salad with it which is great with some roasted squash and baked tortilla chips. But two of my favorite ways to serve this mixture is over roasted spaghetti squash and inside the cavities of roasted acorn squash halves. Wow, now that’s a great big serving of Fall on a dinner plate! Enjoy and be sure to let me know your creative ideas for serving sloppy joes.
I use a medium dice on the bell peppers and a small dice on the onion which seems to be the right texture for the sloppy joes. I always use a variety of colors with the peppers as it looks so nice and fall-like. Yellow and orange seem to be the prettiest.
I told you quite awhile ago that I’m working on new ways to use all these tomatoes I have in the garden. While my tomatoes are still growing on the vine my ideas seem to be running short. The creative juices just don’t seem to be flowing for me lately.
Truthfully, the ending of summer is really hitting me particularly hard this year. Summer just felt so short and chilly this year. I’m longing to taste a fresh juicy watermelon one more time, lie by the pool and tend to my flower pots. In an attempt to embrace the Fall season I stopped to look at all the fall and Halloween décor at my local gift shop; typically one of my favorite things to do. Even that just seemed to make me feel rather blue.
Alas, I will eventually embrace Fall and all of the wonderful flavors that go along with it. Squashes, pumpkin anything, apples and pears and homemade chili will soon be gracing my kitchen and I must say, the thought of them does make me smile.
So, in the tomato spirit, this is a layered tomato salad that I’ve stuffed with a chicken pasta salad. A pretty presentation I thought; it’s even wearing a little hat!
This is a simple tomato tossed salad. I love tomatoes in many ways but my favorite is still slicing or chopping a tomato and eating it on it’s own sprinkled with some Kosher salt or on top of a mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette.
There’s not one person I know who doesn’t love Mexican cuisine. It seems as though it has something for everybody. My personal favorite is fajitas. You get all the good stuff on that accessory plate; pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce and cheese. It’s like a miniature buffet just for me! That’s how I feel about these mini tostadas. They’re layered with lots of great ingredients that taste amazing together. The vessel itself is an oven baked corn tortilla. So, no deep fried tortilla chip guilt!! The last time I was in Mexico I was blown away by the street food vendors called “antojitos” which translates to little cravings.
Mexico has one of the most extensive street food cultures in Latin America. They are primarily present in the morning and evening as they’re not intended as the formal meal of the day which is in the mid-afternoon. The majority of the food these food vendors serve is centered around corn products and talk about authentic. It’s really a sight to see and a taste to try. I hope you enjoy these mini tostadas, the oven baked corn tortilla chips are great for taco salad and served with guacamole, salsa, or refried beans as an appetizer. Serve them with a homemade margarita and your friends might never leave!
These mini tostadas are made with oven baked corn tortillas and layered with delicious and colorful ingredients. They're great as an appetizer or a min dish.
Recipe type: appetizer, what's for dinner
4 corn tortillas - cut into fourths
refried beans (see recipe link above)
guacamole(see recipe link above)
sour cream or crème fraiche
1 diced tomato
jalapeno slices - from a jar, I used the mild variety
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Place the tortillas on a baking sheet.
Spray with non stick cooking spray and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Bake for approximately 6 minutes until browned and beginning to get crispy.
Turn the tortillas over and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes until browned and crispy.
Note - cooking times are approximate depending on your oven. These take a bit of practice and careful watching so they do not get overdone. But, once you get it you'll know the exact amount of time needed to cook them for the next time you make the dish.
Build the tostadas by layering the refried beans, guacamole, tomato, sour cream and jalapeno in that order.
Ole'. You're well on your way to a Mexican fiesta!!
Comfort food, as defined by urban dictionary, is a food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it. These tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association. I really can’t link taco salad to a specific person or place but it’s definitely one of my comfort foods. I also love experimenting with my taco salads adding new and unique ingredients. It’s not just meat, cheese, lettuce and chips these days. I feel this one is a true summer taco salad. I browned some ground turkey, seasoning it with my homemade taco seasoning blendand grilled some bell peppers and Vidalia onion on the grill until they get tender with good grill marks. The chipotle ranch dressing is, in a word, fabulous. All the creaminess of ranch dressing with the addition of a smoky, mildly spicy flavor from the chipotle pepper. Experiment with your own ingredients as add-ons. I like avocado, thin sliced radishes, cojita cheese and of course, a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.
Grilled Pepper and Onion Taco Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing
I’ve more than made peace with kale; I’m actually enjoying it and not just because its a nutritional powerhouse but because it’s delicious. It’s delicious in these recipes anyway! I still live by the belief that people who eat kale are beautiful. The “kale glow” if you will. Click on the photos below for the recipes. I hope you enjoy them and here’s to you developing a new love……for kale.
I came across a recipe for a chilled carrot soup but I am just not a fan of chilled soups, even in the summer. I think you can still have a summer soup but have it be served hot. This one has a nice bright flavor with the ginger and cilantro and it’s a beautiful color that compliments almost anything you choose to serve with it.
2 pounds of carrots - peeled and sliced into rounds
6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 large or 2 small onions - chopped
1 handful of cilantro (leaves and stems) - rough chopped
1 jalapeno - ribs and seeds removed - diced
2 Tablespoons ginger - grated (I use the microplane)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the olive oil to a soup pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and jalapeno to the pot and sautee until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the ginger and the cumin and sautee until combined into the onion mixture, 1 minute.
Add the carrots and the broth to the pan.
Bring the soup to a boil and turn the heat down to cook at a strong simmer until the carrots are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Stir the cilantro into the soup.
Use the immersion blender to blend the soup until it is a smooth consistency.
Stir the yogurt or sour cream into the soup.
Let the soup cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the soup in batches to the blender and puree until smooth.
Transfer the soup back to the pot.
Stir the yogurt or sour cream into the soup.
Heat to desired temperature.
Serve in bowls, garnishing with a dollop of yogurt/sour cream and cilantro.
NOTE - Be careful when blending hot liquids. Fill the blender only ½ way and raise one corner of the lid to let the heat escape. Place a towel over the blender and pulse a few times to release the heat. Blend until smooth.
The first Saturday in August is our friends’ annual corn roast at their cottage. Corn roast you ask? The answer is yes and they really do it right. They grill a ton of ears of corn on a grill made from cement blocks that hold a huge grate with a mound of charcoal underneath. It’s truly a cool setup. The corn is shucked by the chef (yes Mark that’s you) and then dunked in a vat of melted butter. A little salt and wow; it is so sweet and so delicious. I look forward to it each year!
So what do you do after a corn roast? You eat leftover corn. This recipe was put together using the leftover corn that I cut off the cobbs. You could absolutely use frozen roasted corn and it will still be great.
I think this would also be great as a salsa; just dice the tomatoes.
Lime pepperseasoning pops up again in this recipe. Click on the link for info on lime pepper and where to buy it. Lemon pepper is a fine substitution and still tastes bright and fresh.
I have two preferred methods of cooking vegetables depending on the season. In the fall and winter it’s roasting; in the spring and summer is grilling. The peppers and beets in this salad were grilled. Yes, beets; like little circles of purple perfection!!
The steak is a flank steak. Flank steak is an economical cut of steak as compared to prime rib, T-bone and ribeye. It’s typically not as tender of a cut so using a marinade or rub is recommended but not imperative. I’ve included a simple marinade in the recipe that I enjoy.
Boston (butter) lettuce, or romaine, or your favorite mix of lettuce - chopped
2 beets - peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2-3 bell peppers - cut into 2 inch wide strips
4 Hungarian/banana/cubanelle peppers - sliced into 1 inch wide strips
½ to 1 pint of grape tomatoes - sliced in half lengthwise, I used yellow and red and a heirloom variety called black krim (the 2 tone ones in the picture)
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake the jar until mixed. Or mix all ingredients in a bowl using a wire whisk.
Pour the marinade into a zip-top plastic bag.
Add the steak to the bag and place in a baking pan in the refrigerator. This will prevent a mess in your refrigerator if the bag should leak.
ALTERNATE METHOD: Place the steak into a baking pan, pour the marinade over the steak and turn the steak around with tongs so coated all over with the marinade. Cover the top of the pan with foil or plastic wrap.
Let the meat marinate for at least an hour before cooking.
Heat 1 side of your grill to high and keep the other side off (no direct heat).
Brush the grill grates with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Place the steak on the grill on the high heat side. Sear the steak for 3 minutes on each side until nice and browned.
Transfer the steak to the non-heat side of the grill and grill for an additional 3-5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 125-130 degrees for medium rare. Move the steak to a plate with aluminum foil tented over it.
Let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting it.
Place the veggies on the high heat side of the grill and cook until nice grill marks appear then turn the veggies over again until grill marks form and the veggies are tender. Approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
Remove the veggies from the grill
Place the lettuce in the bowls.
Slice the steak against the grain. That is, perpendicular to the long, fibrous muscle fibers running along the meat.
Top your lettuce with the grilled veggies, tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese.
We went to an annual picnic at our friends’ cottage this past weekend and these crostinis were a major hit. I made 40 pieces and they barely made it out to the appetizer table. Adults and kids just gobbled them up! I was asked many times “what’s the green stuff?” You tell them “kale pesto” and you’ll look like a total rockstar for using such a unique ingredient!
They are simple especially if you make the kale pestoahead of time. You can prebake the baguette rounds and store them in an airtight container until ready to use them.