Black Bean Tamales with Spicy Mango Sauce

Black Bean Chipotle Tamales with spicy mango sauce #vegan| mjskitchen.com

 

It’s time for another tamale recipe!  I don’t know about you, but I love making tamales. Some people enjoy spending a couple of hours making a cake, but me, I’d rather spend it making tamales.  These Black Bean Chipotle Tamales were made with black beans, a little onion, sweet pepper, and a chipotle seasoned masa.  For this batch, I used canola oil, but I’ve also used melted butter. I quit using lard in my tamales years ago.

If you’ve seen my other tamales recipes you know that I prefer to mix the filling in with the masa rather than apply them separately.  It makes the assembly process much easier and faster. It only takes about an hour to make the filling and the masa, and to assemble the tamales.  Once that’s done, you just place the tamales in a steamer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, and go relax, read a book, have a beer.

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Asian Style Sweet Chile Sauce

A quick and easy sweet and spicy chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

Once you see how easy it is to make an Asian-style sweet chile sauce (aka Thai sweet chili sauce), you’ll never buy it again.  I’ve been buying this for years and have gone through many, many bottles, but after looking through a variety of recipes and seeing how easy it is to make, I decided to give it a try. Using a few standard items from my pantry, the process from start to finish took less than 15 minutes and the result was better than what I have been buying!  By making it from scratch, I was able to adjust the sweetness, the spiciness, the flavor, and thickness to my preferences.

The recipe below makes just short of a cup of chile sauce, is less sweet and thinner than what I buy.  I find the store bought sauce too thick for my needs so I’m always adding water to thin it.  If you like yours thicker, then just add an additional teaspoon of cornstarch to the recipe below.

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Coconut Crusted Tofu and Pineapple Bites

Coconut crusted tofu with pineapple and sweet chili sauce makes a great appetizer | mjskitchen.com

These Coconut Crusted Tofu and Pineapple Bites were inspired by two completely different sources – Soni’s Food’s Coconut Crusted Tofu with Spicy Mango and Cucumber Topping and this very cool Hot and Cold Soapstone Serving Platter from uncommongoods.  Wanting to incorporate more tofu into our diet, I got really excited when I saw Soni’s recipe and just had to give it a try. Unfortunately, the mango I had was not very good, so instead, I zoned in on the fresh pineapple sitting on the counter and started thinking about how I could use it instead.  Literally, a few minutes later this complimentary serving platter was delivered to my door and everything just fell into place.

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Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats

Steet cut oats with cranberries, orange and nuts. It tastes like cranberry bread! | mjskitchen.com

 

These Cranberry Orange steel cut oats were inspired by my favorite Tried and True Cranberry Bread recipe.  Like the bread, three simple ingredients – dried cranberries, orange zest and nuts – transform a boring bowl of oatmeal into a creamy, healthy, nutty, and tasty breakfast.

If you’ve ever made steel cuts, you know they take 30 to 45 minutes to cook, unless, you pre-soak them.  I used to soak them overnight, but since I found myself forgetting most nights, I’ve gone to a pre-soak in the morning.  While I’m steeping my first cup of tea, I boil some water, pour in the oats, cover and let them soak until I get hungry.  It only takes 30 minutes but they can soak as long as you want. Once pre-soaked, the oats only take about 15 minutes to cook up.

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Fajita Style Bean Burritos with Red Chile

A vegetarian burrito with pinto beans and seared peppers and onions, smothered in New Mexico red chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

 

Back in a 2013 post I mentioned there were two dishes that Bobby brought into our kitchen from his college days that have remained dinner staples for over 40 years.  One was a green bean and potato dish and the other was the pinto bean burrito.  Of course both have been enhanced over the years, but they still remain two of our favorite comfort foods.  Bean burritos during our college days were canned pinto beans rolled in a flour tortilla with cheese, sour cream and Rotel green chile tomatoes. Once we moved to New Mexico, the salsa was replaced with a smothering of red chile, the canned beans with pressure cooked dried beans, and the toppings…well that changes on and off because of all of the possibilities.  However, one topping that we repeatedly choose is quick seared onion and sweet peppers.  We call these burritos our Fajita Style Bean Burritos.

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Aji Panca Chile Paste

A rich, smoky, spicy paste made with aji panca chilies from Peru | mjskitchen.com

 

Thanks to my chile loving soul mate, European blogger friend, Sissi of With a Glass, I have now had the privilege of tasting a new chile…the Peruvian Aji Panca chile.  Thank you Sissi!!!!  What a chile!  A few weeks ago, I received a bottomless package of goodies from Sissi that consisted of products from all around the world – biscuits from Switzerland, chocolate from France, spicy seasoning from Japan, and dried aji panca chile from Peru (just to name a few).  Of course I zoned in immediately on the dried chiles.

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Red Chile Strawberry Jam

A quick and easy strawberry jam with red chile flakes and no pectin | mjskitchen.com

 

If you love sweet and spicy then you’re going to love this Red Chile Strawberry Jam! With every bite you get the luscious sweetness of strawberries soon followed by a burst of spicy chile that continues to tickle the tongue long after the jam has moved on. It’s a great jam for toast, biscuits, crackers and our favorite, a soft double cream brie.  But once you taste it, you’ll probably just grab a spoon and eat it right out of the jar.

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Red Beans and Rice with Tasso

A hearty bowl of Red Beans and Rice with Tasso, a spicy Cajun pork | mjskitchen.com

A few weeks ago when we were in Louisiana, we dropped by Bergeron Boudin & Cajun Meats on our way out of Shreveport and picked up some cajun meats to bring back home.  We filled our ice chest with boudin, andouille and tasso, some of which we shared with our New Mexico family and friends. We’ve been using the rest to make some of our favorite Louisiana dishes.  Last weekend Bobby planned to make a pot of red beans and rice with some of the tasso and andouille; however, once he cooked down the beans with the tasso he found that no andouille was needed.  The tasso added both the spicy and the meaty components to the beans while delivering a different, but just as delicious flavor as we get when he uses andouille.  The recipe below is Bobby’s Red Beans and Rice with Tasso.  It is pretty much the same recipe he uses for his regular red beans and rice, so I’ve indicated the differences in my Kitchen Notes. And yes, red beans and rice is Bobby’s dish because he makes it SO GOOD!

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Asparagus with Orange and Kalamata

A simple asparagus with an orange and olive relish | mjskitchen.com

 

Asparagus with orange and kalamata is a light and delightful dish that I love making this time of year when there’s the overlap between good quality citrus and young shoots of fresh asparagus. This dish that can be served as a warm side or cold salad.  For a warm side steamed asparagus is immediately serve with the cold orange kalamata topping.  The contrast of the hot asparagus with the chilled orange is quite enjoyable.  For a cold salad the steamed asparagus and the orange kalamata topping are both chilled at least one hour or over night.  As a cold salad, this makes a mouth calming complement to a spicy entree.

This dish makes an excellent lunch or dinner salad as well as a dinner side for numerous entrees.

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