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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Originally I came up with this recipe for New Year’s Day but I think it would be a great anytime appetizer. And well, there is a big appetizer “holiday” coming up, you know. It’s called the Super Bowl! And it’s only two weeks away.

We don’t “celebrate” the Super Bowl but I think this would be a great addition to anyone’s lineup this year. And of course this makes a great New Year’s Day “good luck” dish too, since it contains black-eyed peas. (Which is how this recipe originally came about, I was looking for a new way to eat our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas.) I think pinto beans would also be great and even more “New Mexican”!

New Mexican Bean Dip

Inspired by Pioneer Woman

1 – 14 oz can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed *

1 small onion, diced

1/4 cup roasted and diced green chile

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

chopped tomato and cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place beans in a mixing bowl and mash lightly with a fork. Stir in the onion and green chile. Add sour cream, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper and cheese. Mix well. Spread into 8″ square baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and beginning to brown on top. Top with chopped tomato and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Notes:

* Any kind of beans would work; pinto beans would be especially New Mexican!

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Last week’s meal plan got derailed by a trip to the Farmer’s Market as well as time to finally make something we’d been wanting to make for a while now – tamales!!! About a year ago we bought the book, Tamales 101 by Alice Guadalupe Tapp. We have both read through it multiple times and drooled over the recipes. Last Christmas, we thought we might make them but I don’t have a stand mixer and the mixing of the masa by hand was a bit intimidating. But I knew that other people make them without, it was just an excuse for a mixer! But still I refrained from buying one and so we didn’t make them. Finally, when my in-laws were here a couple of weeks back we thought we might make them then since four pairs of hands seemed better than two. But we ran out of time.

So this weekend, my husband was determined. We made two kinds, Green Chile and Cheese (vegetarian) tamales and a dessert tamale, Raspberry Chocolate pecan. They were both wonderful!!! Both recipes were from Tamales 101. It’s a great book. And it isn’t really very hard, once you get the hang of it. My handy-dandy hand mixer also managed the challenge just fine. Here are some photos for your drooling pleasure.

A giant bowl of masa.

The mess of assembly.

Green Chile and Cheese tamales steaming in the pot.

Green Chile and Cheese on the left and the Raspberry Chocolate Pecan on the right.

Between that and  trying to take care of the things in the frig that needed to be eaten or ‘dealt’ with and impulse-buying at the farmer’s market, I really don’t need to buy much at the grocery tomorrow.

Also, this week, the Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted by Celiac Family and the theme is tomatoes! Who isn’t eating tomatoes right now? It’s prime time. Last week I made white bean gazpacho with some of my tomatoes. I wish I had more tomatoes coming on than I do but we have been struggling with pests this year and both of my big, beautiful San Marzano paste tomato plants are slowly dying. But our Black Russian and Stupice varieties are beginning to come on. So we’re still hoping for more tomatoes, I just wish it was the San Marzanos.

At the farmer’s market I picked up some more beets, some okra, oyster mushrooms, leeks, tomatillos, three different kinds of fingerling potatoes and some cute little Japanese shishito peppers.

So, for the meal plan:

Mushroom and Leek Pasta with Salad – we made this tonight and it was delicious. I used the oyster mushrooms and leeks I picked up at the farmer’s market. Thanks for a wonderful recipe, Jenn!

Cucumber and Avocado Soup, Sauteed Fingerling Potatoes, Oven Roasted Okra – the soup never got made last week as my avocados were not ripe. But I still have plenty of cucumbers! And thanks to Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free for the idea of roasting the okra.

Our very own tamales with shishito peppers and tomatillo salsa – I will fry the peppers in very hot oil and sprinkle with salt. And we will roast the tomatillos with some garlic and onions and make a salsa out of them. Great for dipping the tamales in!

Sesame Maple Roasted Tofu with roasted beets and stir-fried sugar snap peas

And lots of leftovers!

As for desert this week, we still have homemade vanilla frozen yogurt, David Lebovitz’s cherries in red wine sauce, Shirley’s honey cinnamon ice cream and of course, the raspberry chocolate pecan tamales. So there is probably no need for additional ice cream this week.

If you are looking for any more meal ideas, be sure to check out OrgJunkie and all the ideas over there (most are not gluten free or vegetarian).

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Now there are lots of ways to make a taco salad. But it is fun to switch it up a bit based upon what you have on hand. This time we had almost everything to make a perfect taco salad; beans, peppers, roasted corn, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes.

The taco salad I grew up eating had a dressing that went with it, instead of just having salsa and sour cream on top. It was made from Thousand Island salad dressing, salsa and sugar. My mom used ground beef and crumbled up Fritos on top of the salad. You could use 1/2 pound of ground beef and one can of beans if you wanted. We use all beans. This is our version of taco salad.

Taco Salad

1 Tbsp oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 pkg taco seasoning *

2/3 cup water

2 – 15 oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed *

1/2 cup Thousand Island salad dressing

2 Tbsp salsa

2 Tbsp sugar

Lettuce

Cheese, shredded

Tomatoes, chopped

Roasted corn *

Cilantro

Avocado, diced

Salsa *

Sour cream

Corn chips, crumbled

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add onions and peppers. Saute until they are beginning to get soft. Stir in the seasoning packet and cook for 1 minute. Add in beans and water. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.

Mix together the salad dressing, salsa and sugar.

Top lettuce with warm bean mixture and shredded cheese. Add some dressing and whatever else you desire.

Notes:

* Be sure the ingredients are gluten free. I like to use a low-sodium version.

* Use any type of beans; kidney, black, pinto, etc. This time I used one can of pinto and one can of white kidney beans.

* Trader Joe’s has frozen roasted corn. I cooked up a small portion in the microwave.

* Salsa – I made Pioneer Woman’s Restaurant Style Salsa today and loved it. So easy. But I made it with what I had on hand. I used one 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, one 10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes with Green Chiles, a very small onion, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 sugar, 1/4 tsp cumin and a couple handfuls of cilantro. No jalapenos on hand so I didn’t add them. The green chiles in the Rotel tomatoes give it a little bit of a spicy kick.

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The Gluten Intolerance Group recently announced that The Melting Pot had joined the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) and launched a gluten free menu. Conveniently, last week was my birthday, so we decided to go for my birthday dinner since neither of us had ever been there.

Initially I was a little hesitant as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a guinea pig while they got ramped up on their gluten free services. But then I figured someone had to be first and decided to go for it. I made our reservation through their free online system and made a note that I required the gluten free menu. A couple of days prior the manager called to confirm the reservation and the need for a gluten free meal.

When we arrived, they noted again that we needed a gluten free menu* and took us to our secluded table for two. This table had only one burner for one pot of fondue at a time, which should usually suffice for the normal party of two. But after discussing our needs with our server, they decided to move us to a larger table so we could have two burners. The main reason for this was so we could each have our own separate entrée. As I have mentioned, I am not a total vegetarian but more of a flexitarian and thus I generally eat meat when I go out, but rarely cook it at home. My husband is a lacto-ovo vegetarian. And while their vegetarian option is great, when the gluten containing items are removed there isn’t much variety left and I wanted my husband to be able to have the full experience too. So they graciously provided us with a larger, two-burner table.

Shortly after we were seated at our new table, the manager, Tony, stopped by to check on me. We had a nice conversation about the new menu and how excited he was about it. He also told me that the next time we made a reservation to just mention that we needed a two burner table and they would accommodate us. I also mentioned to him that I had brought my own bread for dipping (shoved in my practically empty purse) and he said that was great and that they are looking into providing gluten free bread but are waiting until they see how the new menu goes over. He said the logistics of providing gluten free bread are difficult as they don’t know how much they would need and don’t want to leave it sitting in the freezer for a long period of time, waiting on the next gluten free customer, but that it may be an option in the future.

For our cheese course we shared the Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue with cauliflower, celery, carrots and apples. (As noted on the menu, you should request that it be made with cornstarch instead of flour.) I had also brought along some of my own bread and we dipped that as well. It was heavenly! The next course was the salads. We both had the California Salad and it was super yummy (although heavy on the dressing).

For our entrée, I ordered the Signature Selection and my husband got The Vegetarian. The Signature Selection typically comes with filet mignon, shrimp, teriyaki sirloin, chicken breast and salmon. It is noted on the gluten free menu that you should request a substitute for the teriyaki sirloin and so I requested scallops. We cooked each in our own separate fondue pots to avoid gluten contamination in my pot as well as meat contamination in the vegetarian pot. The dipping sauces they provide are also gluten free except for the teriyaki.

For desert, we chose The Original, which is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. The chocolate fondues usually come with a lot of gluten filled items for dipping (cake, brownie bites, Rice Krispy Treats) and I wanted my husband to be able to have all the other goodies, so the manager suggested that we could order one dessert but place it in two separate pots, one for me and one for my husband, thus eliminating the cross-contamination issue. It was wonderful! They brought me strawberries, cherries and bananas for dipping and I had also brought along some cubes of lemon pound cake that I had made at home. The menu says that they will provide plain marshmallows and pineapple also, but they didn’t give us those items, and I was so happy with the strawberries and bananas that I didn’t miss them. In fact, I asked for more bananas because they tasted so good with the chocolate and peanut butter fondue.

All in all, it was wonderful! And as far as I can tell, I was not contaminated. Our server, Les, was very conscientious and in fact, he had a shellfish allergy so he seemed to understand allergies and noted that he did not want to get me sick. My husband and I were both completely stuffed and loved it so I am sure we will be going back another time. If you plan on going, be sure to join Club Fondue through their website for special offers and a free chocolate fondue for two.

Kudos to The Melting Pot and especially Tony and Les at the Albuquerque location!

* One side note – in order to view the menu on the website, you need to type in a zip code to get the restaurant  nearest you and from there you can click on the ‘menu’ button to see the different menus. The gluten free menu is listed separately. It initially took me a bit to figure this out.

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