Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes

Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes

Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes Hatch Chile Pesto PotatoesThey’re coming!!!!!!  The date is now circled on my calendar and I am counting down the days.  You see, my “stash” is almost gone… I feel a little (ok, a lot) like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory with his Wonka bar… I’ve been doling out miserly bits in order to stretch my supply out as long as possible.

So, what exactly am I talking about??? HATCH CHILES!!!! Thanks (or not!) to Melissa’s Produce, I was introduced to these amazing chiles a couple of years ago…. and well, my life has just not been the same since.  After laying in what I thought was a sufficient supply, I was down to one baggie… ONE!!

But as always, Melissa’s Produce came to the rescue!!! I recently attended the launch party for Melissa’s new book – The Hatch Chile Cookbook!!!! Not ONLY did I get to feast on Hatch chiles (ahem… it seems some people are better at planning ahead than I am!!) , get my very own copy of the book,  but I also received a “care package ” to tide me over until the chiles arrived – a fabulous bag of roasted, peeled and frozen Hatch Chiles!!!

Hatch Chile cookbook Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes

Be still my beating heart. Crisis averted.

Hatch Chile Pesto BC1 Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes

Well, the bag is now over half gone… I’ve been putting them into casseroles, eggs, salads and into this Hatch Chile Pesto. Yup, pesto… and according to one taster, it was “the best pesto they’d ever had!!! I don’t know if I’d go that far but I have to tell you it was amazingly good!! So good in fact that I was sneaking small spoonfuls and getting a bit carried away by adding it to sandwiches (divine with roasted chicken), thinning it out for salad dressing (which was a hit with the guys) and tossing it with roasted potatoes!

I know what you are thinking – ” we know you love Hatch Chiles Nancy, but isn’t this going a bit too far??” Nope. Not even close. One of the best kept “secrets” about Hatch chiles is that you can only use them all kinds of dishes – like Hatch Chile Pesto! One of the things I love about Melissa’s Hatch Chile cookbook is that it explores all kinds of delicious uses for Hatch Chiles… everything from Flash Fried Pizza Nibbles to Chicken Lettuce Wraps and even S’Mores!!

In a little over two weeks, Melissa’s will be celebrating with Chile roastings and as soon as I have the schedule I will be posting it here at the Table!

The wait is almost over!!!

Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes
 
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Serves: 4 - 6 servings
Ingredients
  • Pesto
  • 2 cups, packed, fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups, packed, fresh italian parsley leaves
  • 2 scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 - 3 roasted, peeled Hatch Chiles
  • Juice of 1 - 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp. corn oil
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted pepitas
  • 2- 3 Tbsp. grated parmesan
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 lb. Melissa's small dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. corn oil
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes and cut in halves. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Put the potatoes on the pan and toss with the 1 Tbsp. corn oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper or Tajin. Place potatoes in the oven and roast for 20 - 30 minutes or until tender and golden brown.
  2. For the pesto combine the cilantro, parsley, scallions, garlic, 2 Hatch chiles, juice of 1 lime, corn oil and pepitas in the bowl of a food processor. Process until a chunky paste is formed. Taste. Depending upon the heat of the chiles (and your own tastes) you can add another chile is the pesto is not spicy enough. Add more lime juice if desired. Add the parmesan and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. If the pesto is too thick, you can thin it with a little water. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. You can store the pesto for 2 - 3 days in the refrigerator.
  3. Toss ½ of the pesto with the warm potatoes and serve.

 

Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade

Sparking Rosewater Lemonade

Rosewater Sparkling Lemonade Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade

Sometimes I think my refrigerator looks more like the lab of some mad scientist than an actual family refrigerator. There are lots of labeless bottles and jars  sporting homemade sauces, pickles, preserved lemons and liquids of almost every color.I recently added a new specimen bottle to the collection – a lemon syrup  for  my summer  “go to” beverage – Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade!!!

I was first introduced to this refreshing drink by my friend Diana after one of our “field trips” –  a fun filled day spent visiting the world’s largest grower of Tillandsia’s – Rainforest Flora in Torrance. Arriving back in the OC we were parched and in definite need of refreshment. Within minutes Diana handed me this gorgeous, pink, fizzy lemonade – a little tart, a little sweet with this  beautiful floral aroma from the rosewater – truly the perfect spring/summer libation. We drank ours sans liquor –  I know, I know “what were we thinking??? But it wasn’t quite 5 o’clock and after downing one of these  I could easily imagine turning this Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade into a cocktail by adding a little vodka.

Rosewater Sparking Lemonade BC1 Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade

Having a nice supply of lemons from my tree, I juiced those babies up and made a jar full of syrup – a welcome addition to my growing collection of  homemade goodies inhabiting my refrigerator – ready and waiting to quench my thirst at a moment’s notice. With Mother’s Day coming up and the season of bridal showers, baby showers and graduations upon us, this Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade is the perfect beverage to have on hand – and definitely deserving of some of that valuable real estate in your refrigerator!!!

Sparkling Rosewater Lemonade
 
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Depending upon the tartness of your lemons and your own personal preference you may need more sugar for the syrup. Rosewater can be found in some grocery stores and in Middle Eastern markets. It is a clear liquid and has a lovely floral aroma!
Serves: 4 lemonades
Ingredients
  • For the lemon syrup
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (or more) sugar
  • 3 tsp. raspberry preserves (optional)
  • For each lemonade
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon syrup
  • 6 oz. sparkling water
  • 1½ Tbsp. rosewater
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized jar with a wide lid combine the lemon juice and the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Ad the raspberry preserves and stir. Seal the jar and place in the refrigerator.
  2. To make the lemonades, add 3 Tbsp. of the lemon syrup to each glass. Add ice and pour in the rosewater and top with the sparking water.

 

Plum Bites with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

plum-bites

There’s a lot to love about summer… longer lazy days spent at the beach or the pool, vacations  and of course, summer fruit. Stores and stands are positively overflowing with piles of peaches, plums and nectarines.  Recently, I received some absolutely luscious fruit  from Melissa’s Produce – peaches, nectarines and the CUTEST little plums – about the size of a golf ball, these little  Plum Bites proved addictive.

One day when I was munching away on one (okay, it was actually 3 but who’s counting??) I started thinking about what to pack  for a quick little family getaway to the beach that we’ve got planned. Whenever we travel, I always try and find places to stay where I can cook – sometimes that means a full kitchen and other times – well  it doesn’t. This is one of those times – I’ll be cooking over a fire and a campstove… which I love!!! The challenge of creating delicious meals without the luxuries of “command central” is all part of the fun – but it does mean a much smaller  “arsenal” of ingredients – I always try and bring things that you can  do double or triple duty… which got me to thinking.

plum bites 2 Plum Bites with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Obviously, these little plums are the  perfect size to pop into a backpack fora hike or just to eat as a snack.  But I also thought they’d  make a great little appetizer topped with a little goat cheese and some chopped pistachios… and I was right.. sweet, tangy, creamy and salty… and ready in about 5 minutes – no cooking required!

Here are a couple other easy recipes

Plum Bites with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
 
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Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 small plums
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped pistachios
Instructions
  1. Cut plums in half and remove the pit.
  2. Spoon a scant teaspoon of goat cheese onto each plum half. Sprinkle with pistachios.
  3. Serve
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 plum halves

Mexican Pasta Salad

Mexican-Pasta-Salad

One of the things I love most about writing this food blog is that I get to try foods I’ve never had before. So when Hodgson Mill sent me boxes of their new Whole Wheat pasta to experiment with for their Summer Pastabilities contest, I couldn’t wait to start playing with it!

I have to admit that up to this point, I haven’t been a huge fan of  whole grain pastas and I’ve tried quite a few – they were either tough or doughy or just downright unappealing so I was a little skeptical. But this Mexican Pasta Salad  is  different –  tender and flavorful, with just a hint of nuttiness – in short,  it’s delicious!!

After narrowing down my ideas I decided to try my hand at a pasta salad – another dish that isn’t always high on my “favorites” list despite the fact that I  love pasta. My objection? For the most part I’ve found them to be bland and well.. boring, which is a shame, since pasta salads are perfect for summer eating and are a great choice for  picnics, barbeques and potlucks.

Since I love the flavors of chile, lime and tomatoes I thought that would be a great base to start from – and if my “taste testers” are to be believed, I was right. To add a bit more flavor, I roasted corn, tomatoes and peppers  and then added a little avocado and sliced green onion, finishing it all off with a  zesty lime and chile dressing . Now this is a mexican pasta salad!!!

If you like this pasta salad and have a few minutes, I’d truly appreciate it if you’d pop on over to Pinterest and “like” my pasta salad!

Mexican Pasta Salad
 
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Serves: 8 - 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 – 10 oz. box Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pasta – bowtie or medium shells
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cored and cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch dice
  • 3 scallions, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. corn oil
  • Corn Strip garnish (optional_)
  • 2 small corn torillas, cut into ⅛ inch strips (optional)
  • 1 cup canola oil (optional)
  • Dressing:
  • Juice of two limes
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey
  • ½ - 1 jalepeno seeded and minced
  • ¼ tsp. chile powder
  • large pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup corn oil
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the chicken stock and water in a large saucepan or stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir until the water is boiling vigorously. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes until desired tenderness. Drain pasta and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, combine the corn, tomatoes and bell pepper on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle with the 3 Tbsp. corn oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 15 – 20 minutes until vegetables are nicely browned. Remove pan from the oven and set aside.
  4. To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, white wine vinegar, jalepeno, agave nectar, chile powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the corn oil. Set dressing aside.
  5. Corn strip garnish (optional): Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. When oil just begins to simmer, drop one of the tortilla strips in the oil. Cook for 2 minutes until nicely browned. If browning too quickly, reduce heat. Add the tortilla strips in small batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Using a slotted spoon, remove the strips from the oil and drain on several layers of paper towels. Dust with chile powder and salt while still warm. Set aside.
  6. To make the salad, place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables and drizzle the dressing on. Toss to thoroughly mix and taste, adding more dressing if desired.
  7. Gently mix in the avocado, scallions and cilantro. Garnish with the tortilla strips if using.

 

Chicken, Artichoke and Tomato Tartines

Chicken,-Artichoke-and-Sun-Dried-tomato-TartineBC1

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I take “trips” and not “vacations”. We are up and going early – with so much to see and experience we figure we can sleep on the plane home!! Since the weather was cooperating, that meant lunches were generally grabbed in route – and in Paris that means a crusty baguette filled with jambon or perhaps saucisson with cornichons! from the handiest bouloungerie! Alas, on our last full day in Paris it rained – and I am not talking about mist but honest to goodness rain! Undaunted, we continue with our plan of shopping and the first item on the agenda was an umbrella since I’d  opted to leave the  umbrella at home – packing light does have it’s limitations! Fortunately, it’s an easy item to come by in most major cities so we ducked in to the local Monoprix and picked one up!

Rainy day in france Chicken, Artichoke and Tomato Tartines

Sadly, it also rained one day in Provence... but who cares when the towns are so charming!

But the rain did interfere  with our “walking lunch” plans  – but we were forced able to savor a more relaxing meal at lunch, complete with a lovely glass of wine…. I know, I know, the sacrifices one makes to accommodate the weather!  When our stomachs were rumbling (and we needed to dry out!) we ducked into a little cafe in St. Germain. The menu featured soups, salad and tartines (a.k.a. open faced sandwiches). We decided to split a salad and a tartine and ordered the day’s special – chicken, artichokes and tomatoes with melted cheese  piled on wonderful slices of rustic bread.

It was the perfect lunch for a rainy day… and something I definitely wanted to enjoy once I got home! As you can see from the photo, I made a few changes. Since we are on the cusp of summer (at least we are here in Southern California) I decided to omit the melted gruyere cheese. I know, I know blasphemy!! but while warm, melty cheese is welcome on a cool, rainy day, it’s not as appealing when the mercury is hovering around 80 degrees!! I also had another reason for some of the changes. It occurred to me that this little open faced sandwiches would make the perfect picnic fare – just package up all the ingredients and assemble the tartines on site!

Chicken Artichoke Sun Dried Tomato Tartine BC2 Chicken, Artichoke and Tomato Tartines

 

Of course, the possibilities for tartines are almost endless … I would love to hear what combinations come to your mind!

Chicken, Artichoke and Tomato Tartines
 
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As you can see, this recipe leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Feel free to substitute fresh tomatoes for the sun dried ones and canned artichoke hearts for the marinated ones (although I'll admit, I am partial to the marinated ones!). If you are making these for a crowd (or at a picnic!) fill a small squeeze bottle with the mayonnaise/dijon mixture for easy spreading/drizzling!
Serves: 8 slices
Ingredients
  • 1 small loaf of rustic, country style bread
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper ( I used Penzey's Florida Seasoned Pepper)
  • ¼ cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (preferably home made)
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard or whole grain mustard
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with non stick spray or line with aluminum foil.
  2. Sprinkle lemon pepper liberally over the chicken breasts. Roast the chicken breasts for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise with the dijon mustard and stir to combine.
  4. When the chicken is cool, slice the breasts against the grain at a slight angle into slices ⅛ inch thick.
  5. To assemble the tartines. Slice the bread into slices ½ inch thick. Spread a thin layer of the mayo/dijon mixture on the top of the bread slice. Layer slices of chicken on top. Top with the artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and capers. Drizzle with the remaining mayonnaise/dijon mixture.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 tartines