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Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread

A slightly sweet quick bread flavored with lemon and tarragon | mjskitchen.com

 

The first time I made this Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread was out of curiosity.  I saw it over at From My Sweet Heart, and after reading the list of ingredients I just couldn’t imagine how a bread with tarragon, lemon and black pepper would taste, so I had to make it.  Well…it was love at first bite!  Over the past year or so, I’ve made this bread several times, with a couple of minor changes to the original recipe, but nothing that affects the final flavor of the bread. The changes are noted in the Kitchen Notes.

If you love tarragon like I do, then you are going to love this bread. Not only does it just taste good, it’s so easy to make. You can have it in the oven within 20 minutes from the start, and, even with an ingredient change now and then, it never fails. It always comes out perfect and delicious.  It’s not a tall quick bread, but it’s not dense either.  It’s light and moist with a touch of sweetness, making it a wonderful breakfast bread as well as a nice complement for your afternoon tea.

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Roasted Red Chile Spread

Roasted red chile spread - use as a sandwich spread, for pasta, seasoning for soups and other dishes | mjskitchen.com #redchile

 

It’s October which brings about the last of the green chile season but the beginning of the short, and oh so sweet, fresh red chile season.  Toward the end of chile season, farmers let some of the green chile stay on the bushes allowing them to turn red.  When the red chile is picked, it is either strung into ristras or sold just like green chile. Here in my area of New Mexico, the amount of fresh red chile sold at the market is limited, so one needs to keep a careful eye out for its arrival and buy it quickly. It will be gone within a couple of weeks.  Normally, mild, medium, and hot chile are all available, but this year I could only find hot and mild. The mild was quite mild, but was still meaty with that amazing roasted red chile flavor; and the hot…same sweet flavor, but HOT.  If you haven’t tried roasted red chile, then it’s something you need to try.  There’s really nothing like it.

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Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers and Chipotle

 with pickled peppers and chipotle flakes | mjskitchen.com #salsa

 

Last week I showed you how to make Quick and Easy Pickled Peppers.  This week a few of those pickled peppers came together with some fresh garden tomatoes and chipotle flakes to make a delightfully tasty pico de gallo.  Bobby and I have eaten three batches of this in the past few days because it’s so addicting and we wanted to get the seasoning just right.  Lucky us. :)

Pico de Gallo with Pickled Peppers can be used as a dip or a topping for tacos, tostadas, burritos or a nice bowl of pinto beans.

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Grilled Cheese with Urfa Biber Chile

Urfa Biber chile and toasted pinon (pine) nuts make a great grilled cheese sandwich | mjskitchen.com #grilledcheese #urfabiber

 

Recently, I read an article about grilled cheese sandwiches and after reading the article I skimmed through the comments where it became quickly apparent that there are a number of people that think it’s sacrilege to add anything to a grilled cheese other than cheese.  Well, I’m not one of them. :)  Personally, I find a grilled cheese sandwich with ONLY cheese to be rather boring. However, it doesn’t take much to change that. One or two additional ingredients can take a grilled cheese from boring to downright exciting.  And downright exciting is what you get with this grilled cheese with roasted urfa biber chile and toasted pinon nuts.

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Persimmon Cranberry Parfait

A simple persimmon parfait made with granola and yogurt. Nothing fancy, just good.

 

Next time you get a craving for something sweet and healthy, delicious and easy to make, give these Persimmon Cranberry Parfaits a try.  They’re nothing fancy but they definitely will make you feel like you’re eating something fancy.  Fresh persimmons and dried cranberries are heated in orange juice and a splash of liquor, then layered with yogurt, granola and a few chopped nuts.  A delicious little treat in less than 15 minutes!

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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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Red Chile Garlic Bread with Manchego Cheese

A red chile focaccia type bread

 

Last summer when we were going through a kitchen remodel, one of the item we replaced was our 1980’s microwave.  In its place we put a combination microwave convection oven.  Let me tell you folks, this is now one of my favorite appliances, second only to my stovetop.  Here it is the end of June and I’m baking!!!  In the past, I never baked in the summer because I refused to use the oven.  It’s just too hot; however, the amount of heat that this little convection oven puts out is negligible in comparison to our regular oven.  Because of this I’ve been able to bake a few loaves of this delicious Red Chile Garlic Bread even with 95°+ outside temperatures. Talk about a life changing experience – homemade bread in June!

Obviously I’m very excited about being able to make bread in the summer, but I’m just as excited about making THIS bread.  I’ve made a few loaves already this month and each one has disappeared faster than it took me to make it.  This red chile loaf is very similar to a focaccia in that it’s flat and I poke holes in the dough to place chunks of Manchego cheese.  But that’s where the similarities stop.  There are no herbs nor olive oil and it’s definitely not Italian.  Instead there are three types of chile powders, some roasted garlic, and chile infused oil that are all combined into a paste.  This paste is then incorporated into the dough, and right before placing in the oven, cubes of cheese are pressed into the dough.  It’s SO good and SO easy to make!  You can make it by hand or use your Mixmaster with a dough hook.

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Chile de Arbol Salsa

A tomato based salsa made with chile de arbol peppers

 

In my pinto beans post I mentioned that I had received a great package of goodies from Diaz Farms in southern New Mexico.  Along with the pinto beans, there was a bag of dried chile de arbol peppers with a request for a recipe for the Diaz Farms website.  Having never used chile de arbol before, I was quite excited about the challenge.  However, before we talk about the Chile de Arbol Salsa recipe, let’s talk about the pepper.

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A Simple Snack with Apples, Walnuts and Raisins

An easy snack made with apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon

 

Now for something completely different…

In the late 80’s Bobby and I spent a week with some friends on a houseboat on Lake Powell, a lake on the Colorado River in the southwestern U.S. During this trip we were introduced to this wonderful little snack of apples, walnuts, raisins and a touch of cinnamon. Thank you Donna! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve made this snack over the years. I always had a bag of it in my backpack at the start of a backpacking trip.  We’ve taken it camping, on road trips, and on numerous hikes. Because it only takes 5 minutes to throw together, it’s perfect for your lunch bag or an afternoon snack. Aside for the fact that it is just downright delicious, it also keeps for a couple of days with or without refrigeration, making it a snack that you can take just about anywhere and never get tired of eating.

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