Showing posts with label trader joe's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trader joe's. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: Quick Chipotle Taqueria Style Salsa

The beauty of this last minute quick and easy salsa is that there is no hard and fast rule.. Tailor to your taste buds. I like my salsas smooth and spicy, but also a little sweet and salty! I made this one based off of a smokey salsa negra my friend Nicolette made for a dinner party a couple of months ago. *Of course roasting your own chilis would make it even more special, this is merely a quick alternative for those times you're SO bogged down frying your handmade chips and stuffing masa into cornhusks with guests on the way that you just CAN'T begin fire-roasting so late in the game! ;)

In a food processor (or blender) combine:
• 1 onion, coarsely chopped
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• lime juice
• cilantro
• fresh jalepenos
• green chilies (canned)
• can of tomatoes (I use a new TJ's product of fire-roasted tomatoes and green chilis, canned together)
• 2-3 chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce, canned; in Mexican grocery aisle)

Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Add chili powder to desired spiciness...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: Beet Cake!

I wanted to bake my best friend a special and unique cake for his birthday. When I heard about curious beet cake, I thought "I have no idea how that will turn out but YES that's IT!" I was not disappointed! For lovers of carrot cake and zuccini bread - but slightly more sublime, and accessible for straight cake-lovers and well. The beets add moisture and depth of flavor (though not the expected red hue - that bakes out into a mellow gold color). Beware: the orange zest flecked cream cheese frosting is good enough to eat with a spoon!

Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound beets (or 2 boxes of peeled baby beets from TJs)
Cooking spray
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, chilled
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, peel beets using a vegetable peeler. Grate beets, using the large holes of a grater (I used my food processor with grate blade), to measure 2 cups.
Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add beets; beat well. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper, and cool cake completely on wire racks.To prepare frosting, beat orange rind, vanilla, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle nuts over top of cake if desired. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

Beet Icing
(I whipped up a small batch of this for decorating)

1 cup powdered white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons beet juice (reserve from package, or grate one medium raw beet into coarse shreds and then squeeze out juice with your fist.)

Mix together the sugar, butter, and salt. Add the vanilla. Then beat in the beet juice, adding a little at a time, until desired color and consistency is reached.

Decorate, display and serve proudly!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Buvare: Lambrusco

I have to admit, I wasn't hip to the Lambrusco revival trend until a few months ago, when I decided to blindly try the wire-corked Le Grotte Reggiano Lambrusco NV Rosso Dolce at Trader Joe's. Impressed by the lively complexity of this $4.99 frizzante "soft red wine", I began my research, first coming upon a New York Times article bearing a tight-lipped, winking headline "Lambrusco, No joke!"
Dismissed by wine enthusiasts as a cloying fad of the Carter-Regan era (when sickeningly-sweet Riunite Lambrusco was the top selling export wine in the US), Lambrusco is making a serious comeback, and not just in suburban parlors.
Produced in four Lambrusco D.O.C’s (or denominazione di origine controllatas): three in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardia (more specifically in the area extending from Reggio Emilia, through Modena, to Bologna, and up to Mantova) and dating back to ancient Rome and the Etruscans, the Lambrusco grape (now with some 60 varieties) has a rather complex heritage. The best of its wines are fizzy reds meant to be drunk young, produced dry (secco), amabile (slightly sweet) or dolce (sweet). Lambrusco is characteristically light and low in alchohol (8.5% ABV), without much in the way of tannins or body. But it is a rare thirst-quenching wine, pleasantly fizzy with a floral bouquet and tart bite - An ideal picnic wine. On the tongue, most Lambrusco are vibrantly juicy but finish dry, with lots of dark berry flavors, violet, and a bit of earthiness. I was amused by one Lambrusco wine reviewed simply by the Kinks lyric "Drink Champagne and it tastes just like Coca Cola; c-o-l-a cola..."
Because it's so à propos.
Due to the acidicity, Lambrusco wines pair wonderfully with salty Italian aperitivi (Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma) and are a perfect complement to pizza. It is also an inexpensive wine (most are under $20), a said "red counterpart to Prosecco."
So step beyond sparkling, and impress your friends at the next Spring dinner party alfresco, and pop a cork on a slightly chilled bottle of liquid velvet Lambrusco.

image via the internet

Monday, February 16, 2009