Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 39: Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Soup with Bacon

The Recipe
3-4 red peppers
1 avocado, pitted
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
½ lime, juiced
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
½ avocado, diced (to garnish)
Peanuts (to garnish)
7-8 slices of bacon (approx 150g), cut into thin strips

Preheat the oven to 225C. Rinse the bell peppers, and put them on their sides in an oven proof dish. Roast for 20 minutes, turn them over and roast for another 20 minutes. They should be slightly black on top when done - if not, give them a few minutes extra. Chop up the peppers, discarding stem, seeds and as much of the skin as will come off easily.

Place a pot over high heat and cook the bacon until most of the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot, but leave the fat in. Decrease heat to medium and add your garlic and onions, cooking until the onions are translucent.

Then add in your roasted red peppers with broth and coconut milk along with the smoked paprika, paprika, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Once everything has simmered, scoop out the avocado and add to the saucepan along with the lime juice. Use an immersion blender to mix until soup is smooth and creamy.

Top soup with diced avocado, bacon and peanuts.

The Verdict
So, so, so good! One of the best soups I've made in a very long time, and super easy too. I didn't have any smoked paprika, so I just used 2 tbsp regular, and I used chili flakes instead of red pepper flakes. No matter - it was ridiculously delicious. This will definitely become a stable in my menu planning.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 38: Pizzadillas

The Recipe
6 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded mozzarella
30 (approx.) pepperoni slices
1 med. bell pepper
1 small onion
A hand full of olives
6 (approx.) mushrooms
1 can (~15oz) stewed, chopped tomatoes

In a casserole over medium heat, warm up the canned tomatoes until hot and bubbly. Add spices according to taste.

Meanwhile prep the ingredients by thinly slicing all vegetables.

For each pizzadilla: Measure 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Sprinkle half of the cheese over one half of the tortilla, add toppings and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the toppings.

Place the pizzadilla in a prewarmed pan (medium heat) and cook until brown and crispy on the bottom. Carefully flip the pizzadilla over and cook until brown and crispy on the second side. Add a bit of oil to the pan if you want them extra crisp. Once both sides are crisp and the cheese is melted inside, transfer to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest (my skillet was large enough that I could cook 2 at a time). Serve with hot tomato sauce.

The Verdict
Super-easy and a nice alternative to both pizzas and tortillas. Of course you can easily use other "toppings" as well, but this suited our tastes nicely.

DH and I ate 3.5 between the two of us, so this would be suitable for 3 people with average appetites :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 37: Strawberry Buttermilk

The Recipe
125g strawberries
1.5 tbsp sugar
5dl buttermilk
1/2 dl heavy cream (38%)
lemon juice

Put strawberries, sugar and 1/2 of the buttermilk in a blender. Add the rest of the buttermilk until smooth. Mix with the cream and lemon juice according to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

The Verdict
Usually I don't bother making this from scratch, because it's actually cheaper to buy already mixed in the supermarket. However, I had some left-over buttermilk from the Avocado dressing that I knew I wouldn't get around to using otherwise.

But DH and I both agreed - it's a fine way to use buttermilk that would otherwise just be thrown out, but though it's sacrilege we both agreed that we actually prefer storebought to homemade -- at least homemade by THIS recipe. However, there are as many recipes for buttermilk desserts as there are households, so it's probably just a matter of trying another. I picked this one as it seemed suitably easy and only used ingredients I already had.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week 36: BBQ Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing

From Closet Cooking

The Recipe
4 small chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I discovered too late that what I thought was BBQ sauce was in fact BBQ oil! I don't think it made too much of a difference though)
6 cups lettuce, sliced or torn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed (I used chickpeas instead)
4 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
1/4 cup basil, torn
2 pitas - cut into 1" squares

Avocado dressing
1 medium avocado
1 lime, juice
1 green onion
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste

Puree everything for the avocado dressing in a blender until smooth. Store in fridge and finish within a few days.

Cook the bacon until crumbly. Put bacon aside, but keep the juices in the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side basting the chicken in the BBQ sauce as you go.
Let the chicken cool a bit. Meanwhile, roast the pita croutons in the reserved BBQ oil & fats until crispy.

Assemble salad and enjoy!

The Verdict
The Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad was better. I can't say exactly why, but something was missing from this, making it less than perfect. It might have been the chickpeas and that it would have been better with the beans instead. It was good enough for me to want to make it again, but not an instant favourite the way the BDCB salad was.

Oh, and there was FAR too much avocado dressing. I've tried freezing the rest in ice cube trays, not that I know if it'll be any good once they thaw, but I figured I might as well make the attempt and throw them out later rather than sooner :)