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Sweet Pepper Stew (aka Peperonata)

A peperonata stew with sweet peppers, tomatoes, capers | mjskitchen.com

 

Sweet Pepper Stew is a version of the Italian dish – Peperonata – that is normally made in the fall when there is an abundance of different colored sweet peppers. However, several years ago Bobby made this lovely dish for me for Valentine’s Day and it’s been our traditional Valentine’s Day dinner every since.

Buying organic fresh sweet peppers this time a year is not cheap, but this dish is well worth the price. To the peppers we add frozen tomatoes and basil from our summer garden, along with a few capers.  After resting in the refrigerator overnight, this sweet pepper stew becomes quite “juicy” from the tomatoes and flavorful from the melding of all of the wonderful ingredients.  You can eat it by itself, or serve it with a nice baguette or homemade bread.  It’s also quite good over creamy polenta.  Finish your meal off with a Coffee Scented Chocolate Pot for a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day home dining experience.

What is your traditional Valentine’s Day meal?

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Grits with Red Chile and Cheese

Grits with red chile paste, roasted red chile and cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

As many of you already know, grits and chile is one of my all time favorite breakfasts.  At least once a week I’m cooking up a pot of grits and in the cooler months, we could be eating them 2 to 3 times a week.  With all of the great chiles out there it is pretty easy to keep our grits exciting by changing up the flavor with different chiles and cheese.  In previous years, I’ve shared my chipotle, feta and grits and my grits and green chile.  Now it’s time for Grits with Red Chile and Cheese.  These grits are just as easy to make as all of the others and can be made in less than 20 minutes; however, you do need some kind of red chile paste and either some roasted red chile or roasted red bell peppers.

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Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup

Pumpkin Beer Cheese soup with Zamorano and Parrano cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

This Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup was inspired by my Conversation with a Cheesemonger (Derrick Sanders).  During this conversation I asked Derrick for a cheese that could be used as a topping on my Roasted Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup, a sweet and savory, spicy soup.  After looking at the recipe, he recommended a “hard, salty grating cheese: Piave, Parrano, Podda, Capra sarda, and Zamorano.”  All of these cheeses sounded so good, and gave me the inspiration to start from scratch and come up with another pumpkin soup that was still sweet, savory and spicy, but also, deliciously cheesy.

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Black Bean Mole’

Black beans cooked with a deconstructed black mole | mjskitchen.com

 

The first time I tasted Oaxacan Black Molé (Molé Negro) was about 30 years ago when I had the privilege of eating Molé Negro Chicken made by a Oaxacan immigrant. Each bite produced a flavor sensation that I still relish to this day.  Years later I found a recipe for Oaxacan Black Molé in Diana Kennedy’s Book, The Art of Mexican Cooking and decided to give it a try. The result was heavenly but it took many hours of work and 2 days.  So when I decided that I wanted to make this Black Bean Molé dish I chose to make a deconstructed molé instead of making the sauce separately.  It saved quite a bit of time and simplified the process tremendously.

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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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Green Chile Home Fries with Leeks and Carrots

A spicy stovetop winner with country fried potatoes, leeks, carrots and New Mexico green chile. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

It is personally a challenge for me to make a potato dish without adding green chile especially during green chile season, and a challenge for which I gladly accept failure.  Potatoes and green chile are two ingredients that are just meant for each other and that’s all there is to it.

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Grilled Portabello Tacos with Red Chile-Yogurt Sauce

Vegetarian tacos with grilled portabello, sauteed summer squash and red chile / yogurt sauce. mjskitchen.com

 

These Grilled Portabello Tacos with Red Chile-Yogurt Sauce were inspired by some Beer-Marinated Grilled Mushroom Tacos that I saw over at Oh My Veggies when I was searching for meatless main ideas.   Kiersten’s tacos looked delicious, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I improvised (a great deal actually) with what I had on hand.  The result was outstanding.  Bobby and I enjoyed them so much that when we went to Pagosa Springs with some friends, this was the meal we chose to dish up on our night to cook.  I had to increase the recipe a bit in order to serve 9 people, and in doing so, found that it is a very easy recipe to make for a small dinner party.

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Green Chile Pathiri with Pinon Nuts and Queso Fresco

Green chile stacked with crepes (Pathiri), pine nuts (pinon) and queso fresco. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

This Green Chile Pathiri is a dish that I have had in my head and have been wanting to make for a very long time, so I was thrilled when I saw that April’s Daring Cook’s Challenge was to make a savory Pathiri.

What is Pathiri?  Pathiri is an Indian dish that is made by alternating crepes with a sweet or savory filling.  The crepes are normally made with rice flour and dipped in coconut milk or brushed with ghee during assembly.  This process is very similar to the one I use for stacked enchiladas, just different ingredients.  For enchiladas instead of rice flour crepes, corn tortillas are dipped in green or red chile sauce and alternated with a savory filling and cheese.

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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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