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Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Asparagus Salad with a Preserved lemon Garlic Salad dressing mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

Asparagus – what a glorious vegetable!!  Of all the spring vegetables, I have to say it’s my favorite.  Last year, I shared Simply Asparagus,  which is just that – steamed asparagus tossed with a touch of fat and seasoned with salt, pepper and an herb.  This year, I’m sharing my Lemon Garlic Asparagus which makes a delicious cold salad, hot side, or party platter.  As with many asparagus recipes, you can whip this one up in less than 20 minutes.

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Aloo Paratha/Aloo ka Paratha: Potato stuffed flat bread

Indian flatbread stuffed with a spicy potato mixture by Zesty South Indian Kitchen mjskitchen.com

 

Bet some of you are probably thinking – Is MJ taking on Indian Cuisine?.  NO!  I’m going to leave that to the experts, and the expert that made these beautiful parathas (Indian flatbreads) is the lovely Swathi of the Zesty South Indian Kitchen.  I first introduced Swathi to you about a year ago when she asked me to share my Southwestern Pileup on her site.  Now she is doing me the great favor of sharing one of her authentic Indian recipes on my site.  Swathi is from Trivandrum Kerala, India, and currently living in Texas. Her Ph.D. studies in Microbiology allowed her to work in Japan, Sweden and the United States.  As a result of this worldwide exposure, she has a love of ALL foods and her site is full of delicious recipes from all around the world.  For this post I asked her to share a traditional Indian recipe and I was so thrilled when I saw these gorgeous pictures of paratha!!!  I love paratha and am thrilled that she is sharing this recipe you.  I hope you enjoy.

It’s all yours Swathi!
 
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30+ Recipes Using Preserved Lemons

A host of recipes that used preserved lemons mjskitchen.com

 

Do you have a jar of preserved lemons sitting in the refrigerator feeling ignored?  Well, it’s time to quit ignoring it and put those lemons to use.  If you don’t have any preserved lemons, do not fret – one of the following recipes tells you how to make a small batch in just 24 hours.  Following are at least 30 luscious recipes that take advantage of the unique and absolutely divine flavor of preserved lemons.

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Antipasto Style Hors d’oeuvres

An easy antipasto can be made using a lot of what you already have in the pantry and refrigerator. mjskitchen.com

 

The other day I was going through the first recipe book that I started back in the 80′s and found this recipe for an antipasto type hors d’oeuvre.  I remembered making it all of the time for dinner parties and summer backyard parties and it was always a big hit; therefore, I decided to bring it back.  These Antipasto Style Hors d’oeuvres can be served as an antipasto (the first course of a formal meal) or as hors d’oeuvres for a stand-up party.  It has a lot of delicious little bites that can be enjoyed by meat eaters, vegetarians and even vegans.  Just keep the meat and the cheese out of the marinated vegetables and off to the side or even on another plate. That way every one can enjoy them.

What makes this dish special is the dressing. It’s pack with herb deliciousness!  If you have tarragon vinegar, this is a great use for it.  At the house that we lived in during the 80′s I had an tarragon bed with plants 4 feet tall!  Needless to say, I made A LOT of herb vinegar. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some this summer if my tarragon does well.  If you don’t have tarragon vinegar, white wine vinegar is a nice substitute.
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Orange and Cabbage Slaw

A quick and easy slaw made with oranges, cabbage and a simple vinaigrette mjskitchen.com

 

Quality citrus is abundant right now, so time for another delightful citrus salad.  In previous years I have brought you a Sweet and Spicy Citrus Salad and a Citrus Salad with Toasted Seeds and Maple Dressing. This year I’m serving up this Cabbage and Orange Slaw, a easy little salad that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes and served as a side to just about any entree’. It’s especially good with spicy dishes.  We’ve been eating it as a side to Red Chile Chicken Tamales and Red Chile Enchiladas.  The oranges serve as a sweet, cooling mechanism for the spicy chile.  It works much better than the standard New Mexico side of lettuce and tomatoes.

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Red Chile Chicken Tamales

This red chile chicken tamale is a non-traditional tamale that is easy to make and is just as tasty as a traditionally made tamale. mjskitchen.com

 

In New Mexico, making tamales is a holiday tradition where families and friends gather in the kitchen and spend the day cooking, assembling and steaming dozens upon dozen of tamales. It’s a great tradition with a delicious outcome.  There’s really nothing better than a tamale right out of the steamer. So in keeping with tradition, Bobby and I made two different types of tamales for the holidays this year – Corn, Mushroom and Green Chile and these Red Chile Chicken Tamales.

The tamales we make are not the traditional tamales where the masa is made with lard then layered with a pork filling onto a corn husk.  If you saw my corn, mushroom and green chile tamales from last year you may remember that I replace the lard with canola oil and instead of layering the masa and the filling, I mix them together, making the assembly process A LOT easier and faster.  As a friend of mine said “It all comes together in the mouth anyway.” :)

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Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile

A mildly spicy soup with butternut squash, apples and red chile powder

 

It used to be that I loved the onset of cooler weather, and winters – I relished them!  Cross-country skiing in the winter, especially under a full moon was pure joy and COLD.  Now, just thinking about it makes me shiver.  The only thing I relish about cold weather now a days are comfort foods, afternoon Chai lattes, my winter blankets, and hot soups.  This Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Red Chile is one of my favorites and just screams FALL and cold nights. It’s hot, it’s spicy, it’s a touch sweet (determined by the sweetness of the apples), it’s savory, and it’s hearty.  It’s a great soup to serve in a cup and sit by a warm fire.

For this butternut squash soup I used the same process that I used with my Calabacitas Chowder – created a soup base with puréed squash.  It’s a thinner purée than most butternut squash soups, because this isn’t a traditional butternut soup.  This soup uses a generous amount of diced onion and apple, some finely grated cheese and select toppings to create a crunchy, cheesy, comforting dish.  For a little kick, I added some red chile powder, but you already knew that.

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Spiked Poached Pears

Pears poached in apple cider, Cointreau and spice

 

One of the flavors of the fall that I really enjoy is that of a perfectly poached pear.  Poaching transforms an under-ripe, rather tasteless pear into a tender and delicately flavored bite.  This Spiked Poached Pear recipe has been used for many types of pears and the outcome has been the same every time – delicious! The trick with poaching pears is to start with firm, a bit under-ripe pears. A soft pear that is ready to eat should just be eaten and enjoyed.  If you try to poach it, it will turn to mush.  However, if you have some pears that need a day or two before they are ready to bite into, then poach a few of them.  You’ll love the results.

In this recipe the pears are simply peeled and set into a relatively small amount of fruit juice with a touch of sweet liquor and some spices.  The recipe below is a combination of ingredients that we thoroughly enjoy; however, I do change it up a little here and there depending on what ingredients I have available.  For example, the liquor is quite versatile. You can omit is altogether or substitute with another sweet wine or liquor.  The fruit juice – the liquid base – can be just about any fruit juice you have on hand.  And the spices – those are easy to change up.  See the Kitchen Notes for variations.

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Spicy Sweet Red Pepper Soup

A spicy soup make with sweet peppers and spicy red chile peppers

 

For several weeks now I’ve been buying these beautiful organic sweet peppers from the growers’ market and putting them in just about everything along with roasting them and freezing for winter. In addition to these sweet peppers, fresh red chile peppers are now available, and the organic red bell peppers are so abundant that prices have dropped considerably.  Therefore, when the rains came a couple of weeks ago and brought cooler weather, it was a perfect time to make this Spicy Sweet Red Pepper Soup.

This soup is best made with fresh, roasted peppers.  You can use a mix of sweet peppers and red chile peppers, or, if you can’t find fresh red chile, then substitute with a red chile sauce, or red chile powder.  Throw in a nice, big, meaty brandywine tomato, and you have a a comforting soup bursting with flavor.  Make a grilled cheese sandwich as a side and you’ve got a complete meal.
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