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Ropa Vieja with Arepas Moving from Florida to Texas opens up a whole new world of barbeque and tex-mex, but we do miss the wonderful Cuban food from back at school. This classic dish of slow braised beef over masa arepas satisfies that craving and has become a regular on our recipe rotation. Cooking spray
2 (1-pound) flank steaks, trimmed or other cut of roast beef
3 cups thinly vertically sliced onion
2 cups red bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
2 cups green bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons thinly sliced pitted green olives
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 steak to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steak from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining steak.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic to pan; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in olives and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in vinegar, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Add steaks; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until steaks are very tender. Discard bay leaves.

Remove steaks from pan; shred with two forks. Stir shredded beef and cilantro into pan.

original recipe

Arepas

1 1/4 cup white or yellow arepa flour (masarepa)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups hot water
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying

Stir salt into arepa flour. Add hot water and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the melted butter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.Separate dough into four pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
Place each ball in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or two ziplock bags and flatten gently with the bottom of a pot. Arepas should be about 4 inches in diameter and almost an ¾ inch thick. Use your fingers to smooth out any cracks along the edges.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in cast iron skillet on medium heat.
Cook arepas about 5 minutes on each side until a slightly brown crust forms. They should look like an english muffin. If they are browning too fast, lower the heat. Add more butter or oil for subsequent batches as needed.
Place arepas on a cookie sheet and heat for 10 minutes in the oven to finish cooking.


Black Bean and Corn Salsa Easy, delicious, and the perfect side dish with Cuban or Mexican food. 1 can black beans 1 can corn 1 pepper, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 1 bunch chives (optional) 1 tbs. chopped jalapeno ½ tsp. cumin 1/3 c. fresh cilantro (optional) ¼ c. lime juice 1 tbs. olive oil salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients
Chicken-Penne Salad with Green Beans Fresh and cool for summer, this makes a perfect packed lunch or light dinner with lots of vegetables, a light fresh herb dressing, and shredded chicken. 2 cups uncooked penne (tube-shaped) pasta
2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/2 pound)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
2 tbs. chopped fresh basil or oregano
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell pepper, drained and cut into thin strips
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper

Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes. Add green beans; cook 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
Combine pasta mixture, chicken, onion, basil, parsley, and bell pepper in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine.
Combine oil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.

Original recipe
Veggie Peanut Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens A hearty, satisfying vegetarian curry with tons of vegetables - red pepper, potato, sweet potato, tomatoes, chickpeas, and (a new one for me) collard greens. All in a wonderful not-from-a-mix peanut curry sauce that tastes kind of Thai, kind of Indian. Can be served over rice or as a stew with pita or naan bread.

2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (optional: I omitted it)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. whole mustard seeds
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground tumeric
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 14-ounce can lite coconut milk, or more to taste
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it's hot, add the onion and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add all the spices and cook for another minute, then add the red pepper, the potatoes, the sweet potato, and the tomatoes.  Cover and let simmer over medium-low, until the potatoes have cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter.  Add the collard greens and the chickpeas and stir well to combine.  Cook until the collard greens have wilted down enough to be soft, about 15 minutes.  If the curry seems to thick, add more coconut milk or water to thin it. Great with: pita or naan.

Original recipe
roasted_salsa_mexican_casserole.jpgThis is definitely best Mexican casserole I have ever had. Fresh summer corn, zucchini, and red pepper are sauteed in green enchilada sauce with precooked shredded chicken, layered with corn tortillas and homemade smoky tomato salsa, then topped with a mix of cheeses and baked until the flavors meld. It is, however, also a lot of work - and although the casserole is well worth the effort, but I do advise planning ahead before tackling it. I think we ate at around 9:30pm the night I decided to make it. But it makes a ton - would be great for feeding a crowd, and has so many veggies that it doesn't leave you feeling greasy like most cheese and sour cream casseroles.

Salsa:
8  plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
3  garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1  small onion, peeled and chopped
1  seeded jalapeño pepper, quartered
Cooking spray
1/3  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
3  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
Casserole:
1  cup  chopped onion
1  cup  fresh or frozen corn kernels
1  cup  diced zucchini
1  cup  chopped red bell pepper
3  cups  shredded cooked chicken breast
1  tablespoon  minced garlic
2  teaspoons  chili powder
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  (10-ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce
1  (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
12  (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2  cup  (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
1/2  cup  (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco

Preheat broiler.

To prepare salsa, combine first 4 ingredients on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 20 minutes or until charred, stirring once. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Place tomato mixture in a food processor; add cilantro, lime juice, and pepper. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare casserole, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 cup onion, corn, zucchini, and bell pepper; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Add chicken and next 5 ingredients (through green chiles); sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa over the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of tortillas over salsa. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture evenly over tortillas. Top with 3/4 cup salsa. Repeat layers, starting with remaining tortillas. Finally, sprinkle the cheeses on top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes until bubbly

Original recipe

kale_slaw_with_peanut_dressing.jpgKale is one of my new favorite vegetables, thanks in no small part to more frequent visits to farmer's markets and recipes like this pasta. This recipe is a lighter, salad-like approach where the greens are just wilted, then tossed with red bell pepper and carrots in a slightly sweet peanut dressing. Excellent when served with grilled meat.

1 large bunches curly or lacinato kale, about 2 pounds
1 red bell peppers, cleaned and cut into fine strips
1 large carrot, peeled
1/4 + 2 tbs cup roasted, salted peanuts, divided
2 tbs vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Fold each leaf of kale in half lengthwise and slice out the center rib. Discard ribs. Roll a stack of the leaves up and slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into very fine ribbons. Wash and rinse thoroughly in a salad spinner.Heat a little oil in a pan, and add the kale. Cook, stirring frequently, until kale is wilted but still not soft.

Toss the kale with the sliced bell peppers. Slice the carrot very thin. Toss with the kale, red pepper, and 2 tbs of the peanuts.

In a chopper or small food processor, briefly puree the remaining 1/4 cup peanuts, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper flakes. Pulse it just a few times; the peanuts should be partially pureed, but with some nibs and nubs still left in the dressing. (The texture difference between the whole peanuts, ground peanuts, and pureed peanuts in the sauce is one of the things that makes this slaw so wonderful.)

Toss the dressing with the slaw and let it sit for at least a few minutes before serving.

Original recipe


summer_veg_sm.jpgThis is not so much a recipe as an outline, since it consisted mostly of whatever vegetables I had in the fridge at the time. But it came out very well, so by here it is by popular request (from Daniel):

3-4 zucchini, sliced into  ~1/4" thick half-rounds
the kernels from 2 ears fresh corn
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
olive oil
salt
Heat a little olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, add zucchini, sprinkle with salt and/or seasoning. Cook ~5 minutes or until just starting to turn soft, add corn and bell pepper. Saute until desired degree of tenderness. Season to taste
turkey_kale_soup_sm.jpgThis soup was ad-libbed into existence through so many substitutions and tweaks to a recipe that it was completely different at the end. But the final result, I think, is better than the original.  The slightly bitter kale is nicely balanced by the sweet potatoes and red pepper, and the ground turkey pushes it over into the category of comfort food. Ingredient amounts and cooking times are approximate.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch (or more) kale (or other leafy green such as chard), stems and large veins discarded, leaves chopped into bite size pieces
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth (low sodium)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and chopped into bite-size cubes
salt, pepper
herbs (suggestions: oregano, basil, sage, rosemary)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tender but not mushy.

Saute ground turkey in large soup pot until cooked through. Remove, drain. Heat a little olive oil in the same pot over medium heat, add onion, saute until soft and transparent. Add red pepper and kale, cook until kale is well wilted and pepper is tender. Add turkey, tomatoes, broth, and herbs. Simmer 10 minutes or so to allow flavors to meld. Add sweet potatoes, cook a couple minutes until heated through.
Like most stir fry style dishes, feel free to vary the choice of vegetables. The peanut sauce is addictive with tofu and also works well as a dipping sauce for eggrolls. Can be served over rice instead of pasta.

8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 pound firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 cup (2-inch) sliced green onions
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
Sauce:
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chile paste with garlic
4 garlic cloves, minced
Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Sauté or bake tofu until browned on all sides. Remove from pan, sauté vegetables until tender. Add sauce; stir to coat.
Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Place pasta mixture in a large bowl. Top with vegetable/tofu mixture.

Nutritional Information (for 2 c. serving)
Calories: 465
Fat:14.5g

Original recipe

southwestpastasalad.jpg

A fresh tasting pasta salad with roasted southwestern flavors. Double the dressing to add a bit more flavor. Add chopped cooked chicken or steak for a full meal.

2  poblano peppers
2  red bell peppers
2  ears shucked corn
4  cups  hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
2  cups  halved grape tomatoes
1  cup  finely chopped onion (optional)
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
1  chopped peeled avocado
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) queso fresco
Dressing:
2-4  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
1-2  tablespoon  extra virgin olive oil
1  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  garlic clove, minced

Preheat broiler.

Cut poblano and bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Add corn to baking sheet. Broil 18 minutes or until peppers are blackened and corn is lightly browned, turning corn occasionally. Place peppers in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop. Cut kernels from ears of corn.

Combine juice, oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, and garlic in a large bowl; stir. Add peppers, corn, pasta, and remaining ingredients except cheese; toss. Top with cheese.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese)
Calories: 234 (29% from fat)
Fat: 7.5g (sat 1.6g,mono 4.1g,poly 1g)
Original recipe

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