Saturday, October 22, 2016

Last Weekend's (Very First) Chubby Vegetarian Book Signing at The Memphis Food and Wine Festival (and the next book signing coming up at Booksellers in Memphis on Thursday, Oct. 27!)

We had such a great time meeting readers at the Booksellers of Laurelwood tent last Saturday evening at the first Memphis Food and Wine Festival! A huge thanks goes out to everyone who stopped by and hung out with us. The festival itself was quite a success, and being a part of it was pretty darn amazing.

Now here's another opportunity this coming week to come see us and grab your copy of TCV in Memphis at Booksellers on Thursday, October 27 at 6:30 p.m. We'll be saying a few words, offering up a little pre-dinner treat for you, holding a drawing for a few prizes, and signing copies of our brand-new second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, 2016). We would love for you to join us and help us celebrate the upcoming release of our book.

(If you haven't seen it, here's our first book that pretty much taught us everything about the process. Maybe soon we'll share a little bit here on the blog about how it was different this time around in some ways, and how we've found what works for us when it comes to putting together a book. We're already pretty excited to brainstorm about what we can do in cookbook #3, so if you have any suggestions, please comment below…)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Marisa Baggett's New Cookbook, Vegetarian Sushi Secrets

GO, MARISA! We are so excited for her new cookbook, Vegetarian Sushi Secrets101 Healthy and Delicious Recipes (Tuttle 2016), which is available right now. We actually wrote the foreword for her, and we were a million percent honored to have been asked to contribute our very first one of all time. (Her first book, Sushi Secrets, has been a mainstay on our cookbook shelf for a long while now.)

Joining forces for an article in the fall issue of Edible Memphis this month, the three of us collaborated on a Sunday dinner at our house in September, and it was a blast talking about our lives in the kitchen, why we cook, and how writing a second book goes. We made her Faux Roe Rolls from the new book while M. chose to put together our Curried Acorn Squash Salad from our own second cookbook (click the previous link to see details about our first public event for the book!). 

Come to Marisa Baggett's book signing at Booksellers in Memphis on Tuesday, October 25, and get your copy of the book that changed the way we make veg sushi!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thai-Style Papaya Salad

Click HERE to order our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, November 2016). The recipe below is featured in the book!

The first time we had the real-deal green papaya salad was at the wonderful Memphis restaurant Chao Praya when it was in the Hickory Hill area of Memphis, and now we're curious to try out the owners' new spot. After a little internet sleuthing and a confirmation phone call, we now believe that we'll be able to order from the old Chao Praya menu at a place called China Dragon out on Hacks Cross. We'll keep you posted! 

This particular papaya salad came about since we always see papayas at the store and wonder what we could do with them. Ripe papayas seem to have more flavor and a better texture for this recipe. We realize it's not traditional, but that's kind of why we like it.

Thai-Style Papaya Salad

1 medium firm, just-ripe papaya (2 1/2 cups shredded)
1 hot pepper (Thai Bird Chili or Serrano Pepper)
1 1-inch knob ginger
1 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 green onion (sliced)
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (chopped)
2 sprigs mint

Sriracha (to taste)
10-12 leaves of romaine lettuce

Peel the papaya and shred the flesh using a serrated peeler or by slicing the flesh into thin matchsticks with a knife. You want to get all the papaya flesh while avoiding the large center cavity that's full of seeds. Set shredded papaya aside and prepare the dressing. 

In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, blend the hot pepper, ginger, cilantro, and garlic. In a large bowl, whisk together the pepper, ginger, cilantro, and garlic mixture with the green onion, lime juice, Braggs, sugar, and chopped peanuts. Add the shredded papaya and toss to coat. 

Serve family-style garnished with mint sprigs and Sriracha with the Romaine leaves on the side. To eat, grab a Romaine leaf and fill it with the spicy papaya salad. Top that with a mint leaf and enjoy. (Serves 2.)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Chubby Vegetarian Cookbook Release

This past Saturday afternoon, we opened the box that contained 2 books from the first printing of our second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, 2016). And then today, we arrived home to find 2 more huge boxes of books waiting for us! We can't wait for you to see our work and to read the beautiful foreword by our friend P. Allen Smith.

The new cookbook will be released November 1, and we have some fun times planned this fall so we can all celebrate together. If you'd like to get a signed copy from us in Memphis, here are some event details:

Book signing at the Memphis Food and Wine FestivalMemphis Botanic Garden, Saturday, October 15, 6-10 p.m.

Book signing at The Booksellers of Laurelwood, Thursday, October 27, 6:30 p.m. This is the first public event for the cookbook's release, and it's nice that it's ahead of the 'real' book release date. The folks at Booksellers were so good to us when our first book hit the shelves in 2013, and we're thrilled to be invited back. We hope to see y'all there!

Book release party at The Second Line, Sunday, November 6, 5:00-7:30 p.m. Stop by and see what the inimitable Chef Kelly English has planned for all of us -- you just might get to sample our TCV Debris Po Boy, which he's had on the menu for a while now, and lately, he's been talking about fixing some BYA Broccoli (in lieu of the usual BYA Shrimp!).

Some other possible food truck, farmers market, store appearance, and cooking class opportunities are in the works throughout the holiday season; we can't wait to let you know what else is coming up on the calendar!

You may pre-order our book from any fine book retailer. It really helps authors like us for you to do that. It's especially helpful if you go into your local bookseller and ask for our title by name. The store will then stock the book and we'll get to let more people know about our particular brand of vegetable-driven cuisine.

Preorder from: Powell's, Booksellers of Laurelwood, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Hudson Booksellers, Books-A-Million, Parnassus, or your local bookstore.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Our Make-Ahead Dishes for IHA's Inspired Home blog

Thank you to the International Housewares Association for partnering with us on this blog post. We were compensated for our time and were thrilled to be able to keep the products we used in creating new recipes for the accompanying article. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own. 

Hey, check out our new piece about 3 great make-ahead dishes for crazy-busy weeknights on The International Housewares Association's Inspired Home blog! We made our favorite enchiladas, a hearty mulligatawny, and a bunch of energy cookies. We loved choosing recipes from our forthcoming second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table, for this. 

Both of us have really appreciated having good stuff in the freezer now that summer's coming to a close and we have less time to cook from scratch each night. We think it's always good to set aside a little time to prepare a few things over the weekend in order to  be able to eat well all week long. We've always meant to be organized enough to plan ahead and do that, so this was a good reason to finally try it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gluten-Free Caprese Pie

Click HERE to order our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, November 2016). The recipe below is featured in the book!

Oh my, this is good! We love making tomato pie in the summer. This version is a mash-up between Southern tomato pie and Italian caprese salad with a nod to margherita pizza, and it's kind of as good as all of those wrapped up. It's a keeper!

This is perfect when tomatoes are in season because there is nothing more perfect than a summer tomato. The cool thing is that if you want to leave out the dairy to make it vegan, you may substitute a drained and sliced block of extra-firm tofu. Believe it of don't, the flavor of fresh Buffalo mozzarella and tofu are very similar. Tofu, as you may or may not know, is actually made using the same process as cheesemaking. So, it makes sense that that share many of the same textures and flavors.

Whichever way you choose to make it, it'll be wonderful! Serve this to dinner guests for an easy make-ahead meal, or enjoy it for dinner soon and keep the leftovers all to yourself. 

Gluten-Free Caprese Pie

1 store-bought gluten-free, frozen pie crust
3 large tomatoes (Beefsteak, Jet Star, or Better Boy) 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (more for garnish)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups basil leaves
12 ounces fresh Buffalo Mozzarella cheese (sliced into 1/4-inch rounds)

Cracked black pepper (to garnish)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the pie crust until golden brown. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes, but please refer to the package instructions for guidance. While the crust is baking, prepare the tomatoes and dressing. 

Core the tomatoes and slice into generous 1/4-inch slices. (You should get 4 to 6 slices per tomato. Layer tomato slices and salt into a large bowl making sure to get a little salt on each slice. Allow salted tomatoes to rest for 20 minutes. You'll notice quite a bit of liquid collected at the bottom of the bowl. Remove tomato slices and place them between two clean kitchen towels until ready to assemble the dish. This process ensures that the pair won't be watery. Discard the tomato water in the bowl.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat add the balsamic and cook until reduced by half. It will become thick and syrupy when ready. Remove from heat and add the olive oil. 

Assemble the pie in the shell by shingling in a tomato slice, basil leaf, and then mozzarella in a circular pattern. Once you get all the way around the pie start another layer on top of that. Using you hands lightly press the tomatoes, basil, and cheese down into the crust. This will make it more compact and easier to cut. Drizzle the top of the pie with the reduced balsamic and olive oil dressing. Serves 4 to 6. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

3 No-Cook Recipes for The Inspired Home

Thank you to the International Housewares Association for partnering with us on this blog post! We were compensated for our time and were thrilled to be able to keep the products we used in creating new recipes for the accompanying article. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own. 

This past Sunday was pretty fun! We walked over to our goddaughter's house to visit in the morning and then stayed home and avoided the heat (it's almost painful, at this point, right?).

We prepared food all afternoon and made 3 new dishes: Tostaguac, Composed Gazpacho, and Date and Peanut Marzipan Candy Bars all without turning on the oven or heating up the stovetop.

Loved seeing our friends and then getting to be creative and have dinner all set -- and no grilling or sautéing was required. We have the recipes HERE for you to check out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Our Second Cookbook! The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table

We're finishing up the last details this summer -- we have a few more photographs to take and another round of editing to finish up, but we're over the moon about how good the current draft looks thanks to the help of Susan Schadt Press and her amazing crew.

Can't wait for you to see what we came up with for you this time! We named it after the blog because it reflects the way we eat everyday and includes some of our favorite recipes, with a focus on cuisines from all over the world. We love Southern food, but when we're figuring out (probably at the last minute) what to make for dinner or for a party, we usually start thinking about a region we want to highlight and go from there.

We have a bunch of fun opportunities in the works to share good food and celebrate the book release in the fall.

Our first book, The Southern Vegetarian, is available on amazon, and the Kindle version is only $4.99 now; if you've been thinking about getting a copy, now's a pretty good time, right?

Friday, June 24, 2016

French Breakfast Radish with Baguette and Honey

Click HERE to order our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, November 2016). The recipe below is featured in the book!

In our first cookbook, Chef John Currence closed his foreword by saying, "Radishes with softened butter are WAY underappreciated." We think about his quote every time we try that beautiful combo!

So we've been looking back at the first book since we've been busy proofreading this week. We're about to be heading toward the finishing-it-all-up stage of our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (November 2016, Susan Schadt Press). We began working on it earlier this year, and haven't stopped for a second because we're both just that crazy and determined. And we're so excited for you to see it this fall.

Early next week, we'll ask for a little help testing some of the recipes that made the cut, so check back here if you're willing to cook something and report back. We'd love to hear how the dishes go for you. Let's eat!

Here, we've switched out softened butter for a buttery soft brie and paired the whole thing with honey to balance out the bite of the spicy radishes. We really did make this for breakfast one day, no joke. It seemed weird at first but ended up being so good. Want to maybe grab some radishes for this at the farmers market this weekend and try it?

French Breakfast Radish with Baguette and Honey

1/2 large gluten-free baguette (sliced into 12 rounds)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 medium French Breakfast radishes (sliced)
1 7-ounce wheel or wedge of double-cream brie
2 tablespoons honey

In a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat, grill baguette slices on one side for 3 minutes or until well-marked by the grill grates. Set aside. In a small bowl mix the salt and pepper. Arrange the bowl of salt and pepper, radishes, baguette, brie, and honey on a cutting board or large plate. To eat, place a slice of brie and a few slices of radish on a baguette round. Drizzle the top with honey and sprinkle with salt the salt and pepper mixture. (Serves 2.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

4th of July Backyard Party Ideas from Us & IHA

Thank you to the International Housewares Association for partnering with us on this blog post! We were compensated for our time and were thrilled to be able to keep the products we used in creating new recipes for the accompanying article. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own. 

Here's all you need to cook and set up a sweet lunch on July 4: make-ahead naan sandwiches with grilled vegetables, a hearty salad that's really easy to put together, and a basil-goat cheese spread that doubles as a dip, you know, for those red, white, and blue chips you impulse-bought at the store. Click here to check out the details of the dishes and the stuff we got to try out to make it all happen in our new post for IHA.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Patatas Bravas in the Air Fryer for IHA Inspired Home

Thank you to the International Housewares Association for partnering with us on this blog post! We were compensated for our time and were thrilled to be able to keep the products we used in creating new recipes for the accompanying article. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own. 

So we've discovered our new favorite appliance: the air fryer. We used it to make a  vegan patatas bravas dish, and it's even better than the regular version and waaaaay better for you. Read more HERE on the IHA Inspired Home Blog about our experience with the fryer and a few other things that helped us create a tapas spread just like we were hanging out in Spain, y'all! Air-fried doughnuts really should be what's coming up next if there's anything that's right and fair in this world

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Click HERE to order our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, November 2016). The recipe below is featured in the book!

Yeah, we make this all the time. Crazy that we're just now sharing the recipe with you! It's really cool to use spaghetti squash as a stand-in for pasta in this dish. We figured out that you need a chunky sauce since the 'noodles' are thin, white beans are a really good, nutritious addition, and whole heads of roasted garlic make for an excellent pseudo-side dish. Oh, and the method we've figured out in the recipe below ensures that you're not going to end up with a watery squash.

Sometimes we add some greens to go on the side. Sometimes we just decide to have regular old pasta because it's quicker. But this, if you have a little extra time to cook one night this weekend, is really worth making.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash 

1 large spaghetti squash

2 large heads garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 large shallot (diced) 
1 medium red pepper (diced)
2 medium carrots (sliced)
2 medium ribs celery (sliced)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (like Penzey's)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (drained)
1 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted diced tomato

2 1-ounce slices provolone cheese
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a large knife and an abundance of caution, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds by scraping them out with a spoon. Discard the seeds. 

Cut the top 1/3 off of each head of garlic. Drizzle the inside of the two halves of the squash and the cut side of the heads of garlic with 1 tablespoon of  the olive oil. Season squash with salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the heads of garlic in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the spaghetti squash cut-side-up next to the foil-wrapped garlic and place it all into the oven. Bake for 3o minutes or until the squash begins to turn golden brown at the edges. While the squash cooks, assemble and cook the sauce. 

Into a large frying pan over hight heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the shallot, red pepper, carrots, and celery. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and wine. Cook until vegetable have softened and wine has reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes. Stir to incorporate and reduce heat to a simmer. The sauce should chunky. This gives the dish some great texture. 

Remove the squash from the oven and scrape the spaghetti squash up with a fork. This is easily done with a cooked squash. You'll notice that as you scrape, the squash comes up in tiny ribbons like pasta, hence the name! Season the squash with salt and pepper. Divide the sauce between the two halves and cover each with a slice of provolone. The heat from the sauce will melt the cheese, but feel free to place it under a broiler for a minute or two on high to get it melty and bubbly. Garnish squash with chopped parsley and serve alongside the roasted garlic. We love to add a few cloves of roasted garlic for extra flavor as we enjoy the dish. (Serves 2.)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sparkling, Spicy Fruit Snack

What sweet, spicy, and sparkling new thing should you try this week? Our favorite new snack, that's what! There's nothing more refreshing or fun to eat than this layered fruit cup. You can sip it and crunch it. It's a spicy soda and a refreshing fruit cup rolled into one. It's got tropical fruit, honey roasted peanuts, dates, and it's topped off with a homemade syrup of honey, raspberries, and a little cayenne. 

We've modeled it after the Mexican tradition of eating fruit with lime and chili pepper, but the best version in Memphis is at a cool place called Las Jarochos on Summer, and the many times we've ordered it there inspired us to make one at home. You should stop by there soon, too! Just go ask Carlos Pavon for 'The Tornado' and thank us later.  

We were assigned to try out and write about the ice cream shop last June, and it amazed us. We've been back to visit often since then. We make our own version at home using local honey and raspberries in place of the traditional chamoy, a sweet and spicy Mexican condiment used mainly as a dip for fruit. Oh, and Happy Cinco De Mayo on Thursday!

Sparkling, Spicy Fruit Snack

1 personal-sized, seedless watermelon (cubed, rind discarded)
1 small jicama (peeled, cubed)
2 large mangos (peeled, cubed)
1 medium pineapple (peeled, cored, cubed)
1 medium English cucumber (cubed)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
4-8 dried medjool dates
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
Spicy Spicy Raspberry Honey (recipe follows)
2 12-ounce cans sparkling water
6 strawberries

Once all the fruit is cut and chilled, sprinkle the fruit cubes with the Kosher salt. This will wake up the flavor. Simply layer in the cubed watermelon, jicama, mango, pineapple, and cucumber into a quart-sized jar. This recipe makes about 2 to 3 quart jars or 3 to 5 pint jars. Thread two or three dates onto each drinking straw and place one in each jar. Top each jar with 1/4 cup of honey-roasted peanuts. Top that with a generous spoonful or two of Spicy Raspberry Honey. Top that off with sparkling water, garnish the rim with strawberries, and grab a fork. (Serves 2.)

Spicy Raspberry Honey Syrup

1/2 cup lime juice (from 4 to 5 medium limes)

1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup raspberries

Into the work bowl of your food processor, place the lime juice, honey, cayenne, Kosher salt and raspberries. Blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use. (Makes 1 1/4 cups.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Picking Strawberries

On Sunday, we went to the Jones Orchard pick-your-own-strawberries patch by the Agricenter and Shelby Farms here in Memphis, and we picked a $5 quart and got the inside scoop that there will be more ripe strawberries mid-week. People have been hitting the fields pretty hard on the weekend, so be strategic, pack your pickin' shoes in the car, and head over after work one afternoon. They're open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We wanted to share a few pretty pics with you to kick off the week! We also learned a new trick from the internets that involves hulling a strawberry with, yes, a straw. Now it's time to make some strawberry beverages, hand pies, and jam. Go!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's National Grilled Cheese Day!

Thank you to the International Housewares Association for partnering with us on this blog post! We were compensated for our time and were thrilled to be able to keep the products we used in creating new recipes for the accompanying article. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own. 

It's National Grilled Cheese Day! Of course we wrote about it and included some new TCV recipes for you to try. Check out our new post on the IHA Inspired Home blog HERE. 

The inspiration for a grilled cheese party came to us after we were invited to dinner at our good friends' house earlier this year. It was so much fun to see all the options for bread and fillings and such on the table and choose how we'd  build our sandwiches. (Yeah, we all secretly thought we each made the BEST one, and we weren't shy about telling that to the group!)

Our IHA post features three new waffle maker grilled cheese recipes that we trotted out last week at our house for a 3-sandwich extravaganza of a weeknight dinner (a dessert sandwich is included, of course!). 

We love it when people cook for us, and we love it when our friends share what they like to make for dinner. If you have any favorite dinners that you'd like us to try here on the blog, let us know in the comments section below!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sweet Potato, Kale, & Black Bean Enchiladas

Enchiladas are easily a once-a-week deal at our house, so it's strange that in the 8 years (wow!) we've been writing The Chubby Vegetarian blog, we've never shared a single recipe for them. It's unexplainable. It may be a good thing, though, because over the years, we've simplified the process and amplified the flavor. This recipe is great just like it is, but feel free to swap out the black beans for refried beans or the sweet potato for mushrooms or the cheddar for goat cheese. There are so many great combinations out there, and we usually just make our enchiladas with what we have on hand.

How very easy these are to make! The cool thing is that the recipe makes a ton, so you're sure to have leftovers (which is kind of our favorite part). These are perfect for breakfast with a fried egg on top, and there's nothing like finding something this delicious in your freezer for a weekday dinner when you're worn out and only have the energy to reheat something, slice an avocado, and pile on the Greek yogurt and hot sauce.

Sweet Potato, Kale, & Black Bean Enchiladas

Chipotle Enchilada Sauce (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 medium sweet potato (peeled and diced, about 2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion (diced, about 1 cup)
2 heaping cups de-stemmed, finely chopped kale 
1 teaspoon cumin
1 13.4-ounce box of black beans
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar 
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

8 small corn tortillas (warmed) 
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

+ Optional toppings like Greek yogurt, chopped avocado, cilantro, sliced radish, chopped green onion, and Mexican hot sauce.

Make Chipotle Enchilada Sauce according to the recipe and keep warm in a saucepan until ready to assemble the enchiladas. 
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and the diced sweet potato. Cook, stirring often, until sweet potato has softened and is beginning to brown (about 10 minutes). Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften. This will be about 5 minutes. Add the kale, cumin, black beans, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cover until heated through and the kale has wilted, about 6 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350. 
Into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, add 3/4 cup of Chipotle Enchilada Sauce and spread it around the bottom in a thin layer. Lay the tortillas out on the counter and divide 1 1/2 cups of the cheese among them while reserving the rest to sprinkle on top. Divide the filling among the tortillas; each tortilla will get about 1/4 cup. Roll tortillas and place seam-side down into the casserole dish. Repeat until all tortillas are wrapped. Top with the remaining Chipotle Enchilada Sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted

Serve topped however you'd like. We love Greek yogurt and chopped avocado, but there's no reason to stop there. Feel free to add cilantro, sliced radish, chopped green onion, or Mexican hot sauceThe leftovers can be placed in a lidded container and frozen for an easy and delicious weeknight dinner. (Makes 4 servings.)

Chipotle Enchilada Sauce

1 large can diced fire-roasted tomatoes 
1 clove garlic
1 chipotle pepper (from a can)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Into a blender or food processor, place the tomatoes,  garlic, chipotle pepper, and sherry vinegar. Blend until smooth. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the Chipotle Enchilada Sauce through and then turn off the heat. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 6 months.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Pimento Cheese Style Carrot Spread

The idea of replacing the cheddar cheese in our pimento cheese with shredded carrots has been with us for a while. I mean, shredded carrots look exactly like shredded cheddar, but who would ever think they could play the part? Back in 2014, a version of this dish got our friend Kelly R.'s seal of approval (which isn't the easiest thing to come by). However, we know that if Kelly likes it, then everyone likes it. It wasn't until recently that we decided to try this recipe with not some, but all of the cheddar replaced by carrots. Whoa! It takes the pimento cheese form and makes it into something familiar yet different and, dare we say, better.

The sweetness of the carrots plays nicely with the acidity of the pickled peppers while the creamy goat cheese and mayo add that old familiar richness. The idea here, as with a lot of our cooking, is to use vegetables in unexpected and exciting ways in order to motivate all of us to eat them more often. The result is a lightened-up pimento cheese that has a ton of flavor and a great texture.  

Pimento Cheese Style Carrot Spread

2 cups shredded carrots
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1/4 cup mayo 
1/2 cup finely diced pickled peppers (We like the marinated sweet peppers you can find on almost any olive bar, but actual pimentos are great, too.)
1/4 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/8 cup minced shallot*
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Place the carrots into a microwave-safe bowl and cover the bowl with a dinner plate. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Uncover -- be careful not to let the steam burn you! -- and allow the carrots to cool. Mix the carrots, goat cheese, mayo, peppers, vinegar, shallot, black pepper, and salt until incorporated. It's as simple as that. Refrigerate and allow the flavors to meld for at least an hour for best results. 

*Mince the shallot then place it into a mesh strainer. You'll only need about a tablespoon. Run the minced shallot under cold water for a few seconds. This will take away any raw onion flavor and keep the shallot from overpowering the dish.