lime-cilantro pasta salad

Lime-Cilantro Pasta Salad

As a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that I am particularly fond of sugar and butter, which, unfortunately, is not good for me nor my waistline. That’s why I am excited to find recipes as healthy and tasty as this pasta salad.  With luscious mangoes, creamy avocados, sweet tomatoes and bell peppers, I’ve found a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

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bacon jalapeño and cheddar cheese biscuits

I love finding more and more ways to use my cast iron skillet.  I know this isn’t a new idea, but I had never thought to use it for biscuits before. What a wonderful way to bake biscuits because they turn out beautifully brown on all sides, with slightly crisp bottoms.  Plus, the biscuits sucked up all the flavor from the drippings of the bacon, which I had cooked in the pan beforehand. Continue reading

pork meatball bánh mì sandwich

pork meatball bánh mì sandwich
The result of the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine is very evident in the bánh mì sandwich.  Usually served on a baguette and slathered with spicy aioli that is borrowed from French cuisine, this sandwich is then filled with meat and other ingredients that are decidedly more Vietnamese –  vegetable slaw made with pickled carrots and daikon radishes, sliced jalapeños, and fresh cilantro.  Other typical fillings include barbecue or roast pork, pâté, sliced ham and other deli meats, and even tofu. Continue reading

chinese salt and pepper squid


Most Chinese restaurants often have “salt and pepper” items on the menu.  Pork chops, shrimp, cubes of tofu, chicken wings, or squid are usually battered and deep-fried and served with a mound of chilli peppers and green onions.  I made my version with squid, using both the body and the tentacles (my favorite part!).  I didn’t want a thick batter so I found this recipe which coated the squid with a dry mixture of cornstarch and flour. Since I don’t like super spicy foods, I used the milder jalapeño peppers instead of Serrano or Thai chillies.  I’m not sure how authentically Chinese this dish is, but as the fragrant aroma of the garlic, jalapeños, and green onions filled my kitchen, I knew this dish was going to be good. Continue reading

tri-tip with romesco sauce


I was watching the Cooking Channel last weekend and saw Mark Bittman prepare this recipe on his cooking show, The Minimalist.  His enthusiasm for this recipe and the simplicity of his version of the sauce made me want to try it.  I had never heard of the romesco sauce and I found the combination of almonds and tomatoes intriguing.  Since I had a surplus of tomatoes and jalapeños and I have the pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika, in the pantry I decided to give it a try.

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jalapeño cheese bread

You will all be relieved to hear that there will be no jalapeño posts for awhile since we have used up the few remaining peppers to make this bread and some salsa. To be honest, I only bought the jalapeño seedlings because I thought the little peppers were “cute.” I had no idea that I would harvest more than 50 peppers from them this summer. Through my enjoyable gardening experience, I discovered that I like the flavor of jalapeños, but I am running out of ideas on how to use them. Of all the jalapeño recipes I’ve tried, this one’s my favorite. I had a slice right out of the oven with some butter and it was fantastic!

Jalapeño Cheese Bread
Yields 1 loaf

Ingredients:
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more if needed
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1 cup (or more, to taste) jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese (or more, to taste), grated

Method:
Mix together the yeast and water in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg and buttermilk and add to yeast and water. Add the salt, sugar and bread flour to the liquids and mix well. Then incorporate the semolina flour to the dough. If the dough is too wet, gradually add more bread flour 1/4 cup at a time. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for five to ten minutes until dough is smooth. Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl greased with butter. Cover the bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size—about an hour.

Turn out dough on a floured surface, and slowly knead into the dough the jalapenos and cheese, a little bit at a time. (I used the “lazy swirl method” I described yesterday since I really didn’t want to knead the dough again, hence, the swirly appearance.) When cheese and jalapenos are incorporated into the dough, place dough into a greased bread loaf pan. You can also sprinkle semolina in the bread pan for additional friction. Cover the pan and let dough rise until doubled in size (it should be at the top or a bit over the top of the pan)—about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 40-45 minutes on a center rack (when you thump the top and it sounds hollow, the bread is done). Let cool for ten minutes, and then slide it out of the pan, slice and enjoy!

Adapted from HomesickTexan

© Daisy’s World, 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

So far this summer, I have harvested about 2 1/2 pounds of jalapeños.  Pickling these medium-hot peppers in vinegar is a fast and easy way to preserve them.  These are much better than the canned ones that are found at grocery stores.  To retain their crisp texture,  jalapeños are picked once they turn a shiny dark green color.  If left on the plant, the peppers will eventually turn red.  It is best to pickle jalapeños before they change colors because fully-ripe red ones, while sweeter, end up softer than the green ones.

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cheddar cheese dip with jalapeños

trader joe's pub cheese with jalapeños

Since I’ve got a ready supply of jalapeños at the moment, I’m always looking for ways to use them.  Chris recently discovered Trader Joe’s Pub Cheese, a “gourmet spreadable cheese,” reminiscent of Velveeta, but with more flavor.  It comes in three flavors: Sharp Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar with Jalapeños, and Sharp Cheddar with Horseradish.  For our new favorite dip, I melt the cheese, add a tablespoon or two of drained salsa, and some sliced jalapeños.  It is so simple and easy, yet very tasty.  Next time, I might make nachos by adding Ortega chiles, canned no-bean chili, diced tomatoes to the melted cheese and then spooning all that gooey cheese over tortilla chips.  Yum!!

© Daisy’s World. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

the tomatoes are coming!

Tomatoes on the Vine

Today, I picked the first two tomatoes (the two reddest ones on the left) on my Sweet 100 tomato plant.  A few more are going to be ready in a couple of days.  There are lots of flowers and small fruits growing on this plant and in a week or so, I’ll be harvesting many more.  My other tomato plant, a Yellow Pear, is loaded with about 75 fruit, but it is taking its time in ripening.  It probably won’t be ready for harvesting until early August.  I can’t wait to eat homegrown tomatoes that are sweet, juicy, and flavorful.

Jalapenos

In addition to the tomatoes, I also harvested another 7 jalapeños for Chris to pickle in vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, coriander seeds, sugar, salt and pepper.  This brings our total harvest count to: 14 jalapeños and 2 cherry tomatoes.

© Daisy’s World. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

harvesting jalapeños

Jalapeño Poppers

Today, only 49 days after planting the little seedlings (see May 22 entry), I harvested seven jalapeño peppers.  With ample water and sunlight, the scrawny plants have now grown to about 2 feet, with minimum care.  The ripe jalapeños were about 3-inches long with a bright shiny green color.  There are still about 10-15 peppers ready to be harvested, and many more blossoms.  I will harvest more in a couple of days, but leave some of them on the plant until they turn red.  The red jalapeño peppers are sweeter and not quite as hot.

Since I don’t use jalapeño peppers regularly, I need to figure out what to do with all these peppers since I don’t want them to go to waste.  I can probably freeze or pickle them, preserve them in olive oil, or add them to homemade salsa.  In the meantime, we sliced the peppers for Southwest burgers, stuffed them with goat cheese for poppers, and added to some pub cheese (another good buy from Trader Joe’s) for nachos.  None of our dishes were very original or creative, but they were all very tasty!

Southwest Burger with Jalapeño

© Daisy’s World, 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

my edible garden

As you can probably guess, I’m obsessed with gardening at the moment.  I’ve been enjoying my flower garden for the last month so now I turned my attention to my edible garden.   I like the convenience of growing and cooking with fresh herbs.  They grow with little care and attention.  However, I’ve neglected them for the last year and I needed a herb garden makeover.  The rosemary, oregano, and lemon thyme were repotted to plastic containers and moved to the corner alongside my beloved meyer lemon tree.  The pineapple sage was saved from the chopping block and repotted since I couldn’t part with the sweet scent of its leaves.  Plus during the summer, it has lots of little red flowers.   I added a small cilantro plant and some chives.  This year, I am also trying my hand at growing jalapeño peppers and two varieties of tomatoes – Sweet 100s and Yellow Pears.  If everything goes well, I should be able to start harvesting tomatoes in late July through the fall.
Could this be the beginning of my own locavore movement?  At least, I have the makings of some fresh organic salsa with the jalapeños, cilantro, and tomatoes.

Meyer Lemon

I’ve had this meyer lemon tree for about 5 years.  The first couple of years, it produced about 10-15 lemons total.  Once I started to apply some citrus food, it was happy and started to produce more and more fruit.  I’ve harvested about 75 lemons from each of the past few growing seasons.  I juice the lemons and store them in one-cup increments in a ziploc bag in the freezer.  It’s never been easier to make lemon curd and lemon bars.

Jalapeño Peppers

I planted a six-pack flat of jalapeño peppers I bought at Lowe’s for $1.98.  I wasn’t sure how this endeavor would turn out as the tall, gangly seedlings were barely able to stand on its own.  Now, four weeks later, I can see some buds forming.  I hope it develops into actual edible peppers.

Tomato

It looks a little silly to put a big huge cage over two little itty bitty tomato plants, but hopefully they’ll just shoot up and bear little clusters of edible fruit in a couple of months.  It’s so exciting to grow my own tomatoes instead of buying mealy tasteless ones from the grocery store.  I read online that growing basil next to tomatoes makes it taste better, although it was unclear if the article was referring to the tomatoes or the basil.  I think I need to make another trip to Lowe’s for basil.

© Daisy’s World. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daisy’s World with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.