Mexican Rice with Tomatoes and Jalapenos

This tomato-based red rice is a popular side to serve with many Mexican dishes. It’s very easy to make ahead and reheat when you need to serve it.

Mexican Rice with Tomatoes and Jalapenos

  • 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes (if the tomatoes are in season use a couple of big ones, peeled and seeded – also add 1 tbsp. tomato paste)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup neutral cooking oil such as canola
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 jalapenos, seeded and minced (save 1 jalapeno to mix in right before serving)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • cilantro/parsley
  • garnish with fresh (or pickled) jalapeno slices and cilantro or parsley
  • limes wedges for serving

Using a food processor or blender process the tomatoes and onion until smooth. Transfer 2 cups of the tomato mixture to a medium saucepan. Reserve excess for another use. Stir in the stock, salt and cumin – bring to a boil.

If they are in season and the tomatoes are very ripe and juicy use 2 big ones or more; peeled and diced. Also add 1 tbsp. tomato paste for extra flavor and color.

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Once the oil is sizzling add the rice and saute, stirring frequently until lightly toasted and golden about 6-8 minutes. Add the 2 jalapenos and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an addition minute.

Pour the boiling tomato mixture over the rice and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and cook, covered, until the liquid has evaporated and rice is done, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for an additional 10 minutes. Add cilantro (optional) and the 1 jalapeno that is not cooked. Fluff gently with a fork, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lime wedges.

Comment: I found that cooking on top of the stove did not quite cook all of the rice.  I would suggest baking the rice in a 350°F oven, covered,  for about 30 minutes; stir after 15 minutes. Cook longer if needed.

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/03/09/mexican-rice-restaurant-style/ 

Linking to Angie @ Fiesta Friday#221 and Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Served with Spicy Mexican Refried Beans and Chicken Chimichangas – Baked

Sourdough Cheese Crackers With Rosemary

These cheesy crackers  are another perfect way to use my sourdough starter discard. An easy recipe which requires no rising and involves two steps, maybe three if you need to get your starter ready for baking. Just make the dough and then let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

You can see the bits of cheese and rosemary – maybe not “Cheese-Its” but a good cracker anyways. Great to serve with cocktails or just to munch on!

My kitchen smelled wonderful with the aroma of fresh rosemary baking… The dough is so easy to work with and freezes beautifully – so double the recipe to make sure you have plenty for now and later.

This recipe comes from a magazine called Bake From Scratch, published 6 times a year. If you are looking for an informative and fun read on baking this is really a great choice. I adapted this recipe slightly – I used whole wheat flour instead of white whole wheat flour. By mistake – grabbed the wrong container! I think the crackers were great and will try the white whole wheat flour the next time.

Luckily the two flours are basically the same nutritionally except the white whole wheat flour has a milder flavor and the color is lighter.

See also cheese straws with sesame or poppy seeds

Sourdough Cheese Crackers with Rosemary, Adapted

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I did use whole wheat flour by mistake – see comment)
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 cup sourdough starter discard, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated on the fine side of a box grater (I chose Tillamook)

Combine the two flours, rosemary, baking soda, onion powder, mustard, salt and garlic powder in a medium bowl. In another bowl stir the sourdough discard to make it smooth. Add the melted and cooled  butter, stirring until well combined; stir in cheese. Add flour mixture to discard mixture and knead until well combined. You won’t need any more flour…

I divided the dough in half and formed them into two discs. Place dough in resealable plastic bags and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Let dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, 1/8 to 1/16-inch thick. The thinner you roll it the more crackers you will get. Cut into snacking crackers, separate and place back on the parchment. I used a 1-1/4-inch cutter. Either use a salad fork tine to make holes in the top of each cracker or use a small diameter wooden skewer to make one hole.

Slide parchment onto baking sheets. Lightly spray top of crackers with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with salt – don’t overdue the salt. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating and turning pans halfway through baking. Turn oven off and let crackers stand in oven with door closed for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. You want them golden brown, stiff and crispy. Let cool completely on pans.

The baking time will depend on your oven (gas or electric), rack height, front or back of your oven, hotspots and how thin your crackers are… you just need to watch! It’s also a good idea to preheat your oven for 30 minutes to  obtain the best heat possible throughout your oven.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

Comment: Whole wheat flour is made from hard red spring or winter wheat, which has a nutty, hearty taste. White whole wheat flour is made from hard white spring or winter wheat and has a milder flavor and paler color. They do have the same nutritional value!

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com

Rosebud is bubbly and ready for a recipe…

Linking to Angie @ Fiesta Friday #218 and the two co-hosts Ginger @ Ginger & Bread and Julianna @ Foodie on Board

Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes

Doesn’t this combination sound good? These latkes are both savory and sweet  and served with a tangy buttermilk sauce, creamy sriracha sauce or a horseradish cocktail sauce.

When I was growing up my Dad made potato pancakes out of a box (would you believe) to go with Sauerbraten and all the fixins’. Now, I not only make potato pancakes (with real potatoes) but with some interesting ingredients such as my sauerkraut apple latkes and now these with sweet potatoes. I’m sure if my Dad was here he would approve and love them!

This recipe comes from Louisiana Cookin’… I added a couple of additional sauces.

Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes

  • 1 cup Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 3 cups sweet potato, peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 2 tbsp. onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • fresh sage, chopped to garnish

Using a clean dishtowel or paper towels, place the shredded apple and sweet potatoes and squeeze until liquid is released. In a bowl, combine the apple, sweet potato, onion, flour, sage, paprika, salt and pepper, and egg and mix well.

If you own a “salad shooter” by all means use it to shred the potatoes especially. The apple is a little too soft.

In a non-stick skillet heat 2 tbsp. oil.  Make each latke using 1/4 cup scoop and flatten with a spatula to 1/2-inch thick. I like to form them in my hands. Cook a couple minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the mixture is used. Garnish with sage if desired and serve with one of the sauces below.

Tangy Buttermilk Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Combine above ingredients up to 3 days ahead. You can use low fat buttermilk and sour cream.

Creamy Sriracha Sauce (Comeback Sauce) – Quinn Caudill @ http://dadwhats4dinner.com/apple-crack-slaw-egg-rolls/

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. Sriracha
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

Combine above ingredients and refrigerate until serving.

Horseradish Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. cocktail sauce

Combine above ingredients and refrigerate until serving.

Makes 10-12 latkes

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/03/04/sweet-potato-and-apple-latkes/ 

Linking to Fiesta Friday #218 and the two co-hosts Ginger @ Ginger & Bread and Julianna @ Foodie on Board 

Hugging Easter Bunny Cookies

Happy Easter! What better way to celebrate than to make a batch of these cute hugging Easter bunny cookies. These rabbit cookies can hug M&M peanuts – my favorite (Easter colors), raw natural whole almonds (Jordan almonds would be good too), sugar-free mini jelly beans and carrot sugar decorations – cutest. You could also use other nuts such as cashews or pecans and any candy that will not melt. Jelly beans have a tendency to “bleed” a little and some of the M&M’s did crack slightly.

All you have to do is make your cookie dough, roll it out and cut into desired shapes. Place a piece of candy or nut in the middle of the cookie where the arms will meet. Gently fold over the arms and press – try to show some of the candy/nut. Decorate each cookie as desired!

The cookies in my Mom’s recipe only bake for 6 minutes. Longer cooking times might have different results. I have to admit I did use Betty Crocker’s Icing in a tube and the decorating tips. My icing and tips would have been a little neater but I only made a few cookies (Easter is a few days away) and I didn’t want to make a big batch of icing (see recipes below).I just wanted to show you what a cute idea this is (at least I think so).

I also have a squirrel cookie cutter that can hold a nut. I’m not crazy about this plastic cutter as the “ears” stuck to the cutter (no, I did not dip the cutter in flour first).I only made one cookie as this is an “Easter” post and I will experiment more in the Fall when I make a bunch of them. Plastic just does not give a clean and sharp cut so I will have to work on it…

He’s still cute even without his ears!

For my Christmas Gingerbread cookies I used mini Teddy graham crackers.

Mom's Christmas Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • food coloring if you want to tint your cookies say red or green for Christmas or orange for Halloween, and so on

Mix butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and almond.  Blend in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.   Divide dough in half  and form into two disks; wrap tightly in Saran wrap and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

Using one disk of dough at a time, roll it out about 1/4-inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes.   Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  If you want to use egg paint (see recipe below) do this before baking.   Bake 6-8 minutes (closer to 6 in my gas stove) or until there is a hint of light brown.  Watch very carefully as they can overcook very quickly

Egg Paint:  Beat together 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp. water.  Add desired food coloring and decorate unbaked cookie.

Icing:  Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar, 2 tsp. milk, 2 tsp. Karo syrup.  Add desired food coloring to this white icing.  (adjust the ingredients to achieve a good decorating consistency)

Chocolate Icing:  I make cookies using a football shaped cookie cutter on college football Saturdays and then ice them with the chocolate icing.   Save a little icing before you add the baking cocoa to form football laces.  Combine 2 cups confectioners sugar, 4-5 tbsp. hot water and 3-4 tsp. baking cocoa.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com  

Royal Icing

  • 3 tbsp. meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • l lb. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • food coloring
  • flavored oils such as lemon or almond (optional) for a different flavor

Combine meringue powder, confectioners’ sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla.  Add 1 to 2 tbsp. water at a time and beat as above.  You want the icing to be of glazing/piping consistency.  To decorate the chocolate skeletons I used almost 3 tbsp. less water in the 1/2 cup of water.

Tint the icing as desired adding a little at a time until you get the color you want.  Piping icing (outline or adding details) will be stiff.  Flooding icing has been thinned out  to cover the body of a cookie.  Add water gradually until it resembles heavy cream.  I like to use squeeze bottles for decorating with this type of icing.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com  

Sharing my Mom’s cookie recipe (my oldest recipe, let’s just say over 50 years old) using hugging bunny cookie cutters with Abbey @ Three Cats and a Girl  and Angie @ Fiesta Friday.

Unfortunately, I had to delete most of the comments, both from bloggers and myself due to some “likes” to comments that were made. Because these offensive sites “liked” a comment I had to delete that comment to get rid of their “like”. I apologize to those who took the time to comment but I did not want, even likes, by these kind of sites! This is a food blog and not a place to advertise objectionable material that are against my principles. I mean really, this was a cookie recipe – an Easter cookie!

 

Sourdough Bacon Cheddar Muffins

These muffins are another great way to use your “throwaway starter”. I made these muffins twice to get the flavor and texture I wanted. The first recipe came from Genius Kitchen and I was not happy with it – too dry, not enough flavor and maybe they could rise more. The Genius Kitchen recipe peaked on one side versus having a nice rounded top with my second attempt.

Improvements: the muffins were not dry, had a slight bacon flavor, rose a little more and had rounded tops. Trust me, these are good muffins!

While researching this muffin I came across the original recipe from The Sourdough Cookbook by Rita Davenport originally published in 1977 – that is over 40 years ago! GK changed the recipe  and not for the best in my opinion. This is quite a cookbook with over 75 recipes using your sourdough starter. I just had to order a copy…

I followed the 1977 recipe but used buttermilk instead of milk and also chose to use bacon grease for  more of a bacon flavor.

These are a perfect muffin to serve alongside your eggs in the morning or later on with a salad or soup. Chili was on the menu that night and was a perfect dish  to serve with these savory muffins.

Sourdough Bacon Cheddar Muffins, Adapted

  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup good quality cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese)
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used whole buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed – perfect way to use “throwaway” starter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease (I used the grease from 12 slices of bacon)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease 12 wells in a regular sized muffin pan or you could line with cupcake papers. Cook the bacon, reserve the drippings, drain, crumble and set the bacon aside.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; stir in the cheese and distribute it well throughout the flour mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, sourdough starter and oil, or bacon grease. Add this to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened; then fold in the bacon pieces.

Fill each muffin well 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. These muffins were moist and lightly flavored with bacon and the pieces of bacon added a nice little crunch. Very good savory muffin to enjoy any time of the day!

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/03/05/sourdough-bacon-muffins/ 

Frying bacon and my starter is bubbly and ready for a recipe.

Rosebud (yes, you should name your starter), daughter of Selma’s Twinkle has contributed to many sourdough recipes including a chocolate cake and cinnamon rolls. Just search “sourdough” for more recipes.

The 1/2 cup of “throwaway” starter is thick and bubbly and ready to be combined with the rest of the ingredients.

   

I served these tender muffins with bowls of homemade Michigan chili

Linking to Fiesta Friday #219 and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Library of Cookbooks – My Reading Passion

I frequently mention a cookbook I have when posting a recipe. I’m from the old-fashioned school as I like books; I like to hold them and flip through the pages and marvel at the pictures. I learn about the author, the cuisine and frequently stories about the region.  Maybe because I have always loved books is why I probably  became a teacher/librarian (retired).

My office is full of “cookbooks” and other interests such as gardening, autobiographies of women, odds and ends… Having just moved 9 months ago I did a lot of “cleaning” and donated a number of books to local agencies or there would be a lot more.

My kitchen library with a few of my favorites…

I like to decorate with books…

Overflow – not much space left. Note the container on bottom shelf – full of recipes to try. Oh, and I have a file drawer too of recipes I would like to make, organized by holiday and subject!

Reading material for guests – you won’t find many novels, fiction, thrillers and such.

Yes, I do use the internet but it will never replace my love for books. Things are too easy for people now with all the media sources such as Pinterest and the internet. Me, lean back in a comfortable chair, maybe with a cup of coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and enjoy reading one of my many cookbooks. The weather is turning nicer and there is nothing better than enjoying the sun while reading about faraway cultures and all the good recipes I could make 🙂

Linking to Fiesta Friday #215 and the two co-hosts  Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Alex @ Turks Who Eat

Colcannon Potatoes for St. Paddy’s Day

Colcannon comes from the Gaelic term “cal ceannann” which means white-headed cabbage. The Irish tradition is to serve this as the main dish for Halloween festivities and is known as “Colcannon Night”. The introduction of this classic potato and cabbage dish in America has been served more commonly on St. Patrick’s Day.

I looked at a number of “colcannon” recipes in my cookbooks and online. These potatoes can vary in the ingredients used such as savoy versus green cabbage or even spinach and kale, red and russet versus Yukon gold, leek versus green onion and any seasonings. I love to compare recipes and often will pick out ingredients I like, and not necessarily traditional, whatever that is!

I decided on two sources fiestafriday.net and the kitchn.com. The kitchn used 2 kinds of potatoes (the russets peeled and the reds unpeeled); also I thought I would give savoy cabbage a try. It seems I always lean towards green cabbage and wanted to try something new – it’s prettier too with its crinkly leaves. Fiestafriday included bacon and I am all about bacon! They both used browned butter – how good is that!!! I chose to use a leek instead of green onions just for a change as it seems I use green onions in so many recipes.

I obviously loaded up the colcannon, just add the ingredients you like to taste!

Colcannon Potatoes for St. Paddy's Day, Adapted

  • 1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • kosher salt
  • 2-4 slices Applewood bacon, optional
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded and chopped (try to use the tender part of the cabbage and not the hard core)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced and separated or 1 small leek, white and light green sliced and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (might need more), heated
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • parsley to garnish

Place the two potato varieties in a saucepan with a little salt. Bring  to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return them to the cooking pot. Add the milk and mash – you want a few lumps for texture. I used a potato masher and not my electric mixer because I left the peel on the red potatoes.

Cook the 4 slices of bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside.

Brown the butter in a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until it browns lightly and smells nutty, about 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully and tilt the pan to see the color. Pour off 1/4 cup of the browned butter and set aside.

Return the pan with the remaining browned butter to medium heat and add the cabbage,  whites of the scallions and or leek. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the chicken broth to the cabbage pan and cook until the broth has reduced, about 3 minutes.

Combine the cabbage, greens of the scallions (or leek) and crumbled bacon if using,  to the mashed potatoes. Move to a large serving bowl and make a well in the middle of the potatoes. Pour the reserved 1/4 cup brown butter into the well and  serve. Serve extra butter on the side…

Comment: I saved the  bacon grease and used it to cook some “bangers” and onions to go along with the  colcannon; a shortened version of Dublin Coddle. I was going to make a corned beef and decided on these sausages instead…

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/02/25/colcannon-or-iri…toes-and-cabbage/

Here are some other St. Patrick’s Day recipes:

  1. Irish Lamb Stew
  2. Cabbage and Noodles
  3. Irish Coffee
  4. Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Liqueur Cupcakes
  5. St. Patrick’s Day Pistachio Cookies
  6. Weight Watcher’s Corned Beef and Cabbage
  7. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Weight Watcher’s Version
  8. St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast Casserole
  9. Irish Soda Bread with Apples, Guinness and Cheddar
  10. Shamrock Pesto Puff Pastry
  11. Dublin Coddle
  12. Stuffed Cabbage  Rolls – Slow Cooker
  13. Weight Watcher’s Kielbasa, Cabbage and Potato Stew
  14. Corned Beef Hash
  15. Reuben Panini

Savoy cabbage on the left and green cabbage on the right…

 

Linking to Angie @ Fiesta Friday #215 and the two co-hosts  Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Alex @ Turks Who Eat

 

Spicy Mexican Refried Beans with Onions, Garlic and Jalapenos

All good Mexican meals need a side of refried beans, not just from the can but “kicked up”. This recipe originally came from Chef Rick Bayless (whose specialty is Mexican), and then adapted from fellow cook Josette @ thebrookcook. I further adapted Josette’s recipe and you can go here https://thebrookcook.wordpress.com/?s=refried+beans    for her original recipe.

This dish can be made as spicy as you want. I used spicy refried beans and also added a jalapeno to add more great flavor. It is delicious and a sure winner with your next Mexican meal!

Spicy Mexican Refried Beans with Onions, Garlic and Jalapenos

  • 1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil or bacon grease
  • 1 onion, chopped small (to taste)
  • 1-2 jalapenos, minced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
  • 4 cups undrained, seasoned cooked beans (I chose Rosarita Organic Refried Pinto Beans Spicy Jalapeno with coconut oil),  2 (16 oz.) cans
  • 1/2 cup (or more – I love cheese) crumbled queso fresco for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish, (optional – I used parsley)

In a large nonstick skillet heat the oil; add the onion (and jalapeno if using – I highly recommend) and cook for about 5-10 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute or two.

Add the refried beans and cook until heated through. If needed, mash the beans. Add just enough water  to have a rather thick consistency.

Sprinkle the queso fresco and cilantro/parsley if desired. Not being a cilantro fan I use parsley.

You can keep the beans warm in a slow cooker – check consistency and stir in a little water, if necessary.

Serve a bowl of queso fresco on the side.

Comment: You can use canned pinto beans (or any bean you choose) and mash the beans good, adding water as needed. Then you can season the beans to your liking!

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/03/05/spicy-mexican-fr…nions-and-garlic/ 

 

Za-atar Chicken Cutlets and Lemon-Parsley Salad

What a delightful and tasty salad  and one I enjoyed a few times. When I am trying new ingredients I often will cut a recipe in half, or even thirds, just in case I don’t like it. No problem with this recipe – the chicken was so flavorful with a  za’atar/Aleppo pepper/flour mixture rubbed on the thin breasts before frying. Then the salad was topped off with a light lemony and parsley dressing. A lovely pomegranate molasses was drizzled  over each salad and garnished with toasted walnuts – delicious!

Za-atar is a new spice blend for me that I have seen in a number of Middle Eastern recipes. It can mean a couple of things; a dried herb as well as an herb blend that contains it. The blend can differ from area to area but most varieties contain the za’atar herb as well as spices such as sumac, which I happen to love.

The best source for me was to go online and see what’s available. This is where it gets confusing but I chose a product from Israel. You just have to do a little research as I am certainly not an expert on this. The ingredients: hyssop (Majorana Syiriacal), sesame, Elm-leaved sumac, lemon acid and salt.

I found another version and you can see the difference between the two when you first look at them. The one from Israel definitely has more sesame seeds and the blend gave a green tint to the chicken. The Spice Way blend contains: hyssop, sesame seeds, sumac, olive oil, lemon salt and canola oil.

I’ve heard that it is much easier and better to make your own blend – I’ve added two recipes for homemade za’atar even though I have not made it before.

Another ingredient that I just love is pomegranate molasses.

Narsh which is a product of Azerbaijan contains concentrated pomegranate, sugar and salt. It has a darker color, a red tint to it, thicker and is a tad sweeter. Since the molasses was drizzled over the salad I prefer this brand with the added sugar and salt. If the molasses was mixed together with other ingredients I might use the 100% pomegranate juice – kind of depends on the recipe.

Al Wadi Al Akhdar pomegranate molasses is a Lebanese product and is 100% all natural pomegranate juice without any additions. Obviously, this is the healthier product…

This recipe comes from Christopher Kimball’s (America’s Test Kitchen) new magazine “Milk Street”.

Za-atar Chicken Cutlets and Lemon-Parsley Salad, Adapted

  • 1-1/2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken breasts; 4 cutlets pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
  • kosher salt (look at your za-atar ingredients as there might be plenty of salt and you can avoid adding more)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. za’atar, divided
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper – the heat can vary (you could substitute a few pinches of paprika and cayenne)
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, drizzled (more to taste – for this salad I preferred the Narsh brand which does have a little sugar added to it)
  • 3 tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped – I toasted them; Candied Pecans or Walnuts would be delicious too!

Season the chicken liberally with kosher salt; place in a shallow baking dish. Combine 1/4 cup of za’atar, flour, and Aleppo pepper and rub into the chicken breasts.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a skillet (I used a cast iron but the author suggested using stainless steel) and add the cutlets; cook about 3 minutes per side depending on the thickness, turning once.

In a small bowl combine the parsley, scallions, lemon zest and juice, 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt; toss to coat. A really light, nice dressing…

Drizzle the molasses over the chicken, then mound the greens over the cutlets. Sprinkle with walnuts and 1 tsp. za-atar.

The Spruce Za’atar:

  • 1/4 cup sumac
  • 2 tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, roasted
  • 2 tbsp. marjoram
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt

Combine the above ingredients in a spice blender.

Fine Cooking Za’atar:

  • 3 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ground sumac
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Combine above ingredients in a spice blender.

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/03/01/za-atar-chicken-…on-parsley-salad/  

 

Homemade Edible Bread Spoons for Appetizers

One good thing when you downsize and move you discover things you forgot you had. Even though it has been nine months since I moved I still have boxes I have not unpacked – basement kitchen overflow. These edible bread spoons are fun to make and fill!

The Oscars are tomorrow night and I’ve provided a unique way to serve a bunch of different appetizers. There are links to 12 different toppings that would be perfect for these tasting spoons made out of bread. No waste and nothing to clean!

This nice little kit comes with 12 tasting spoons, a spoon mold cutter, simple instructions and suggestions for serving. Also, it is made in the UK @ ediblespoons.co.uk  I bought this quite awhile ago and I checked and the company is still around!

Of course you can find other “tasting” spoons online to use as molds (they need to be ovenproof)  and if you have a creative “Jack of all Trades husband”  he can make you a form to fit your spoons 🙂 My hubby would have welcomed the challenge!

There are numerous options for filling the bread spoons – see links below. I decided to  make shrimp cocktail, caramelized onions and blue cheese, potato chorizo with guacamole, fruit appetizers and pico de gallo to give you an idea of how they look when filled.

Homemade Edible Bread Spoons for Appetizers

  • metal spoons and spoon cutter kit
  • slices of white bread (I used a thin white sandwich bread – Pepperidge Farms)
  • heavy duty rolling pin
  • toppings for your appetizers (see my suggestions and links to recipes)

Roll out each bread slice with a rolling pin using lots of pressure, turn and repeat the action to get a thin slice. The fresher the bread the thinner it can be rolled out. Use the cutter to cut out spoon shapes. You need to press very hard to cut through the bread – I had to use a sharp knife in some places. I was able to get 2 spoons out of each slice.

After you have made each bread spoon place each on a former and press well in the bowl part and handle so that they are molded in.  Place bread spoons on a baking sheet.  If you would like an extra crispy finish brush with a little olive oil before baking – not really needed.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly brown. I took the spoons out after 10 minutes so watch carefully that they don’t overbrown!

Use the leftovers to make breadcrumbs. The spoons will keep for a few weeks unfilled – just keep in a covered container.

The following are some examples of what you can serve on these edible bread spoons. Be creative as the possibilities are endless…

  1. Shrimp cocktail with seafood sauce
  2. Caramelized onions with blue cheese (or goat cheese) and a drizzle of honey
  3. Ricotta Vegetable Carpaccio
  4. Fruit appetizers with an orange/cream cheese base and your choice of fruit, small dice
  5. Potato Chorizo with Guacamole or Avocado Crema
  6. Tomato bruschetta with red onions
  7. Bacon Jam with Applewood smoked bacon and maple syrup
  8. Cold veggie pizza bites with a cream cheese base and your choice of veggies, small dice
  9. Marinated goat or feta cheese with fresh herbs
  10. Mango Salsa with red and jalapeno peppers
  11. Pico de Gallo with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and lime
  12. Queso Dips Nine Ways

https://cookingwithauntjuju.com/2018/03/03/homemade-edible-…s-for-appetizers/ 

Linking to Fiesta Friday