Tag Archives: onion

Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa

Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa

One of our organic farmers, Manuel, had some beautiful black beans available for sale at the market on Saturday and I couldn’t resist buying them. I soaked the whole bag and cooked them the next day with a chopped onion and a generous amount of epazote (to eliminate gas – or at least we always hope so!).

With some of the soaked beans, I made a slightly modified version of a recipe from the New York Times by Mark Bittman, for Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa. I made the soup on the stovetop (not in a pressure cooker), added chopped celery, and did not put the Spanish chorizo in as the recipe called for.

Black Bean Soup With Avocado Salsa

This is a delicious soup and what makes it really special is the generous dollop of Avocado Salsa to garnish. I added a dollop of thick sour cream as well – really nice complement to both the soup and the salsa.

Fresh Organic Strawberries and Blueberries

Our dessert tonight were the beautiful fresh organic strawberries and blueberries that were fresh-picked in nearby Pescadero – unbelievably sweet and delicious!

From Mediocre to Sublime

From Mediocre to Sublime

We were invited over to our friend Monte’s for dinner last week. Monte, Ron and I all love mussels, so I offered to prepare them as our contribution to the meal. One of my missions on this last trip to New York was to enjoy as much seafood as possible, so buying mussels at Cor-J Seafood (a great place for the BEST fresh fish and seafood in the Hamptons) and bringing them to Monte’s fit in well with my plan.

Steamed Mussels

Steamed Mussels

I’ve prepared mussels a few times and was looking for a new and different way to do them. In a large stockpot on Monte’s grill, I browned a quarter pound of porchetta (which Ron and I had purchased at Scotto’s, the local pork store in Hampton Bays), cut in small cubes, in 1 tbsp. olive oil, then added a generous pinch of hot red pepper flakes, a medium onion, diced, and one large clove of garlic, finely minced. When the onion was cooked to translucent, I added a bottle of beer and the fresh mussels (approximately 3 dozen) that had been thoroughly rinsed in cold water in a colander (be sure to tap any mussels that are opened and, if they do not close, throw them out as they are bad and should NOT be eaten). Once the contents of the pot were boiling, I lowered the heat to medium, covered the pot, and simmered for approximately 7 minutes or until the mussels began to open. I turned the heat off and added 2 tbsp. butter (for flavor) and 2 tbsp. of fresh parsley, chopped fine, for color and garnish.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

The mussels prepared this way were fine, but I’ve had better recipes. We had a lot of leftover porchetta/onion/beer/mussel broth left over and I decided to make a Manhattan Clam Chowder the next day to use it up. I found a great recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder by Sam Sifton in the NYT Cooking App and modified it to make the BEST, and I mean the BEST, clam chowder I’ve ever tasted, or certainly made, in the past. Using the broth from the steamed mussels from the night before created the most delicious broth – seriously, like the best bouilabaisse you’ve experienced. Here’s what I did and what I’ll definitely do again:

1). Over medium-low heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter and added 1 large onion, diced, and 2 large cloves of garlic, minced;

2). Once the onion was cooked to translucent, add 4 ribs of celery and 4 large carrots, all diced into small cubes;

3). Stir in 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed, and 1 litre of low sodium chicken broth and bring to a simmer;

4). Add the leftover porchetta/onion/beer/mussel broth from the night before, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. of dried thyme, 1/4 tsp. of black pepper and a generous pinch of hot red pepper flakes;

5). When the potatoes are tender, add 1 – 28 oz. can of Italian whole tomatoes and, using your hands, squeeze the whole tomatoes into large chunks and add to the chowder with all of the juice;

6). Add 2 small (284 g) cans of chopped clams with their juices and allow to simmer for 5 minutes;

7). Remove stock pot from heat, and remove and discard bay leaves;

8). Let the chowder sit to allow the flavors to blend and reheat to serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and garlic toast or, if you’re on the East coast, oyster crackers (traditionally served with chowders and bisques).

Even though the initial mussel recipe wasn’t my favorite, I would make it again in a heartbeat to repeat this Manhattan Clam Chowder. Like any good stew, this chowder got better and better every time we reheated it and was truly delicious!

Dinner With Elaine

We had a chance to visit with Ron’s third sister (he has four of them – lucky man as they are all amazing women!), Elaine, in Los Gatos, CA, on our recent visit in the area. Elaine is a brilliantly talented lady (as are all four of Ron’s sisters), with a burning passion for travel, art, culture, and decorating. Her taste is extraordinary and she is truly a remarkable woman.

She invited us to her new home and we shared a wonderful evening with her and two of her friends: Mary, who she has travelled to Cuba with on several occasions for cultural expeditions, and Nancy, a long-time friend and talented hair stylist. Instead of going out for dinner, Elaine prepared and served a delicious dinner of BBQ grilled salmon, oven-grilled broccoli Romanesco, asparagus, onion and tri-colored carrot, and boiled corn on-the-cob. When we asked what we could bring, she said that we could do the sauce for the salmon.

Ron and I had enjoyed a wonderful chimichurri sauce before we left Cabo, so I immediately thought that would be the perfect accompaniment to the grilled salmon and mixed vegetables. Elaine had all the ingredients and I used this recipe from New York Times Cooking app as my basic guideline: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015299-chimichurri-sauce. Although my picture of my plate doesn’t include the chimichurri, it provided great color and flavor to the salmon and all the vegetables Elaine served. Delicious!

IMG_4866

Leftover chimichurri can be used as the base on toasted baguettes for appetizers, mixed in with beaten eggs for scrambled eggs (green eggs and ham, perhaps?) or omelet, as a pizza or flatbread sauce, or tossed with cooked pasta. It really is a versatile and healthy sauce and I highly recommend you try it! A little taste of Argentina – wherever you are in the world!

Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken

In my last post, I was telling you how much we enjoy Melissa Clark’s recipes and videos. She is an absolute delight and her recipes are fresh, fun and fabulous. The recipe that I’m going to introduce you to here is a prime example of what we’ve come to expect and enjoy from what she’s creating.

Many of the ingredients in this recipe we sourced from our local organic market which is located just half a block up the street from where we live in Cabo and is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings. A fresh, free-range organic chicken, organic lemons, Mandarin oranges, honey, carrots, onion and green onions all combine to make this a truly delicious and flavorful dish. A few steps outside the front door is where I have fresh herbs growing, and I cut some fresh thyme and Italian parsley for the recipe as well.

I highly recommend that you watch Melissa’s video to get a sense of who she is and the fun she’s created with this dish. You can just link to the recipe, but you’ll miss her delightful personality. This dish is described as a “chile-flecked, honey-imbued marinade spiked with fresh citrus juice that gives this chicken its fiery, syrupy character. Dates and carrots give the sauce texture and additional sweetness while a garnish of fresh herbs and pistachio nuts lends freshness and crunch.” This is a really fabulous dish that can be prepared a day in advance, making it perfect to warm up in the oven for a dinner party. Serve with rice or something else to soak up and savor the sauce with. This is absolutely a five-star dish that I highly recommend!