Time for Fiesta!

¡Hola! In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, I’m reposting links to some of my favorite Mexican recipes. While the outnumbered Mexican army’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 is certainly worth celebrating (unless you’re French, I suppose), any sunny day is good for a Mexican food fiesta. I also included a recipe for my cheater margaritas. They’re not the traditional recipe, but they’re easy to make by the pitcher. (Careful: they’re easy to drink by the pitcher as well!)

Black Bean and Corn Salsa Best black bean salad

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Bacon, Potato and Leek Frittata

 

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Breakfast, lunch or dinner is served! I tossed around some other names for this dish: Leftovers Pie, Crustless Quiche, Make-Ahead Magic for Overnight Guests, Zap-n-Go Anytime Meal Slices. Some of these are better than others, but they all would work. Frittata sounded a little fancier – worthy of the leeks I used in it this time, but it’s not a traditional frittata. It’s also not as heavy as a cream-laden quiche, but I think you get the idea. I’ve made similar versions without the leeks – just a lone, leftover baked potato and some bits from the Christmas ham. That was good too! But leeks work really well here and bring a much-needed glimmer of spring to the table. Continue reading

Pumped Up Cheddar Olive Balls

Spicy cheddar olive balls

Don’t let your Game Day appetizers fall flat! These spicy, cheesy olive balls are pumped full of flavor and go great with beer or cocktails. This retro recipe is all over the internet (and in several of my cookbooks), though usually it calls for paprika instead of cayenne pepper. Boring! Also, all of the recipes I looked at failed to mention the key step of drying the olives before wrapping in the cheese dough. If your olives are wet, your dough will get slimy and sticky. You do not want sticky balls! Continue reading

Better-than-Baked-Brie Bites

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There’s a lot to love about a good baked brie – golden puff pastry wrapped around a wheel of creamy cheese and a secret sweet surprise (jam, brown sugar, nuts, etc.), where the cheese and jam meld together and ooze out of the flaky crust when you first cut into it. That’s Baked Brie’s brief moment of glory, though, so you’d better eat fast. When the cheese cools, the once-elegant pastry/cheese package turns into a congealed blob, with soggy dough that contributes little more than calories. Your party guests deserve better!  Continue reading

A Winning Slow-Cooker Brisket Ragu

brisket raguI mentioned in my last post that I’ve been doing a lot of whining lately. On the road towards positivity, I thought I’d spin that into a win-win, wine-themed post: a fall-apart tender, red wine-enhanced brisket ragu with cellentani (corkscrew) pasta, and a chance to win tickets to the NYC Wine and Food Festival! I’m feeling more upbeat already. Continue reading

Mother’s Day Brunch

Sue + Karen

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Karen! If we didn’t live 2,413 miles apart, I’d have her over for Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow. I’d probably make this tomato tart recipe that she first discovered in a Sara Moulton cookbook, along with a green salad and some extra-lemony lemon bars (she’s a lemon-lover).  This quiche-like tart does involve several steps, but it can be partially (make the crust) or entirely made ahead, and then gently reheated in a low oven.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Best Black Bean Salsa

Best black bean salad

Well – at least I think it’s the best. Love yourself, love your salsa. This salad/salsa/dip/side is in heavy rotation in our house from Cinco de Mayo to the end of tomato season.  If using as a salsa/dip, we like Tostitos Scoops for obvious “scoopability” reasons.

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No-Bake Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

A coconut-covered lamb cake sure would be cute right about now, but guess who’d end up eating most of it? Moi. So this year for our spring entertaining, I’m thinking about making Greek Yogurt panna cotta with raspberry sauce. These are cute in their own way, and so good for you they almost shouldn’t be called a dessert. The milk (nonfat!) mellows out the (nonfat!) Greek yogurt’s tang, and the gelatin transforms it all into a giggly, eggless custard. Top with a zingy raspberry purée, and I don’t think anyone will miss the lamb cake. (But I’ll keep some chocolate bunnies on hand just in case.)

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Sausage and Sun-dried Tomato-stuffed Mushrooms

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Looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer that can also score as a quick weeknight dinner? The extra filling for these addictive stuffed mushrooms can be frozen and later turned into dinner in the 10 minutes it takes to cook a pound of pasta. I’m a big fan of epicurean efficiency.  (And also of all teams from Seattle – Go Seahawks!)

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