Tag Archives: spicy

spicy sweet potato “fries”

spicy sweet potato fries

Who doesn’t love a good sweet potato fry?  I know that given the choice at a restaurant, I will never pick regular ol’ fries over sweet potatoes fries. They’re just so irresistible!  They’re sweet, salty, and oh so addictive.

chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, salt, black pepper

This recipe takes sweet potato fries to the next level.  Now, I have to warn you, they are spicy.  I have a relatively high tolerance for heat and these had me sweating a little bit!  But sweet, salty, and spicy?  These are way too good to pass up!

cut sweet potatoes

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joseph’s turkey burger du jour

Spicy Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Fries

I was vegetarian for several years and ate enough veggie burgers to keep Gardenburger and Boca in business.  Then, when I was eating poultry again, I went on a business trip to Atlanta and a coworker ordered a turkey burger.  I was sort of shocked by the idea (turkey??), but since after about 10 years of nothing but veggie burgers, I was intrigued and ordered one as well.  I loved it.  My coworker told me about some good turkey burgers back in DC, but I kind of forgot about it by the time I got home.  It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and starting ordering turkey burgers at Sunset Grill that I became completely hooked.

oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder

Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, and hot sauces

But with Joseph working full time on his PhD at Tufts, well, suffice it to say, we don’t eat out a whole lot.  I was looking for healthy recipes and found this turkey burger recipe from the Mayo Clinic.  Totally healthy!  Even though Joseph was still vegetarian, he made me these turkey burgers for our first Super Bowl in Boston and several times since.  Eventually he got tired of making these awesome burgers and having a veggie burger and he starting eating them too.  He’s modified the recipe several times and this is the most current version.  I’m sure that a month or two from now it’ll be different again. Continue reading


chipotle chilaquiles

chilaquiles

We concluded our week of Rick Bayless recipes with the recipe that first introduced us to the genius of Rick Bayless: chipotle chilaquiles.  I didn’t even know what chilaquiles were until we went to dinner with our friends, Christina and Adam, about a year ago.  They made served us this spectacular green stuff unlike anything that I had ever had before that I just loved: chilaquiles.  I begged for the recipe and Christina replied that it was ridiculously easy.  You basically take a jar of salsa (they had used salsa verde) and cook it with some tortilla chips.  It couldn’t be any easier and it was so tasty!

chipotle peppers, tomatos, garlic, onions

I googled chilaquiles when we got home and we decided that we could try making the sauce ourselves.  We were already aware of and really liked Rick Bayless from Top Chef Masters and when I saw his recipe on foodandwine.com, I figured, hey why not?  Little did I know the impact it would have.  We loved it so much that we began to make it nearly weekly.  Then we bought his cookbook, Everyday Mexican, and began cooking our way through it.

tortilla chips

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creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

The next recipe in the lineup from our week-long celebration of Rick Bayless is a wonderful, creamy corn soup.  In the recipe, Bayless says that you can use either chicken or ham and ham just seemed like an obvious choice to me.  Of course chicken would work wonderfully, but I really liked the idea of some yummy, well-seasoned ham with the mellower corn flavor.

fire roasted poblano

My favorite part of this soup, however, is not the ham, it’s the poblano chile.  It gives the soup a lovely mild spice that hits at the back of your tongue.  You roast the chile first, giving it a smoky kick. Spice-phobes need not be afraid – it has a very mild kick.

cubed ham

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smoky chipotle salsa with pan-roasted tomatillos

chipotle salsa

I LOVE this salsa.  It’s amazing how 4 little ingredients make something so good.  The chipotle chiles give it a smokiness, the tomatillo lends it some tang, and then the roasted garlic…well, it’s roasted garlic!!  Fantastic.  I poured it all over my red chile chicken and rice with black beans, it would be great over eggs, with chips, in a burrito, really, with just about anything.

tomatillos

sliced tomatillo

Not only is it delicious, but it’s really easy to make.  Just husk the tomatillos, cut them in half and throw them in a skillet with the garlic to brown on both sides.  You don’t even need to mince the garlic!  Then you just throw it all in a blender with a couple chipotle peppers, whirl it around, toss in some salt, pour it in a bowl and you’re good to go! Continue reading


red chile chicken and rice with black beans

For as long as I can remember, black beans and rice has been one of my favorite dishes.  I went to this awesome bilingual daycare in DC when I was really little and every Friday we got black beans and rice.  I lived for those black beans and rice….

When I was 19, I spent a couple months living with a host family in Honduras while volunteering with Amigos de las Americas and we often got beans and rice for dinner, but they were never mixed together.  My host mom watched in amazement as I excitedly stirred them together on my plate.  After a few weeks I no longer had black beans on my plate.  When I asked, I was told there were none left, they were out of season. I didn’t know that could happen! I was devastated.  But then a couple of days before I left, my host mom served me lunch with a huge grin on her face.  She had gotten some black beans and had already mixed them in with the rice for me. I ate those rice and beans with every meal until I headed back to the States a couple days later.

sautéing rice onion and spices

Once I was cooking on my own for the first time, black beans and rice became a staple for me.  When I was in college, I would cook up a huge pot of black beans and rice and eat it all week long, adding in another veggie or two every couple of days to make it a little different.  It was cheap, it was healthy, it was easy, and I loved it.

ancho powder

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chipotle shrimp

chipotle shrimp on rice

This is a Rick Bayless week for us.  On Sunday we sat down to figure out what we wanted to make for the week before heading to the grocery and we surrounded ourselves with a bunch of cookbooks. Somehow every single recipe we decided on ended up being from Bayless.  I guess because it’s been freezing cold and snowy here in Boston and some nice hot, spicy food just sounds really appealing, not to mention the fact that we haven’t made a Rick Bayless recipe that we haven’t loved.

wild maine shrimp

While I had seen this shrimp recipe (and drooled over the succulent shrimp in the picture), it didn’t make our list and I forgot all about it.  But when we got to the store and saw that they had a great deal on wild Maine shrimp, we couldn’t pass it up, though we didn’t have any plans for it.  When Joseph picked me up from work on Monday, he said he already had a plan for the shrimp and we already had all of the ingredients.  He had found the recipe in Everyday Mexican and it just so happened to be the very recipe for the picture that I had been drooling over the night before.  It was meant to be!  That’s my husband — knowing what I want even when I’ve already forgotten all about it!

chipotle in adobo, cilantro, garlic, and broth

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spicy garlicky cashew chicken and chilled sesame spinach

There are some recipes that you know you’re going to love just by a quick glance at the ingredients.  This is one of those recipes.  Cashews, with their rich, creamy, salty nuttiness are one of my favorite nuts, I love cilantro and I love, love, love garlic.  And if you ask me, almost any dish can be improved with a kick from jalapeños.  So when Joseph asked if I would be interested in trying the recipe, I ran to get my coat so we could hop in the car to get to the grocery.

essential new york times cookbook

 

Joseph found the recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century, which he got  for Christmas.  And it was, just as I had predicted, an awesome recipe. You start off by blending the cilantro, lime, cashews, garlic, brown sugar and oil and then marinate the chicken in that heavenly mixture.  What’s not to love?

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spicy cauliflower soup

Like I’ve said before, I think cauliflower gets a bad rap but it can be quite deliscious when prepared well.  I was excited to see a cauliflower soup recipe in Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food because soup weather is in full swing and how can you go wrong with Alice?

For the first few years of our relationship, Joseph wasn’t really into soups.  He was fine with it as an appetizer before dinner, but it was never really enough for him as a meal on its own.  Or so he thought.  Something has changed this fall and we’ve been making a lot of soups and Joseph’s getting pretty into it. Which makes me happy because I love a simple dinner of soup and fresh baked bread and it’s even better when they’re so easy to make, like this one. Continue reading


thai basil chicken

My boss got me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated last Christmas and I love it.  The first recipe that we made from the magazine was this Thai basil chicken dish and we’ve made it many, many times since then.  It’s juicy, it’s spicy, it’s garlicy, and it has Thai basil.

I first fell in love with thai basil when I was maybe 13 or so when I got some panang curry at a Thai restaurant in Bethesda.  I had never heard of it before and I just fell in love with its distinctive flavor.  It’s known for having a clove and anise-like flavor, but if you’re not an anise fan don’t let that deter you.  I’ve never been an anise fan myself and, not to beat the horse any more or anything, but I love Thai basil. Continue reading