Monthly Archives: August 2010

Summertime Salsa Scoops

It’s August, and summertime entertaining is in full swing. Are you looking for an easy appetizer to bring to a party or barbecue? Perhaps one that does not require heating up the kitchen? Here’s a recipe that could not be easier—and it’s a crowd pleaser! Start with Tostito’s White Corn Scoops and fill them with our zesty black bean and corn salsa. Sure takes the risk out of any of your guests “double dipping!”

as photographed by our team, alacartepartners

Black Bean and Corn Salsa Scoops
(makes about 2 cups salsa)

1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (7 oz.) corn, drained
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
salt and pepper to taste
Tostitos Scoops

– In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients except Scoops; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

– Just before serving, and using a small spoon, fill Scoops with salsa or let guests scoop as they go!

Tips

-Other fillings include mango salsa, fresh tomato salsa or your most favorite salsa—as long as it is not too watery.

-Fill just before serving time; otherwise the “Scoops” will get soggy.

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2 Comments

Filed under Appetizer, Corn, Entertaining, Rice and Beans

Blueberry-Ginger Cobbler Cake

As a kid growing up, I spent many summers in West Virginia where we picked bucket after bucket of fresh berries. My Grandma Arnold made excellent cobbler, but there were  days when it was just too hot to consider working with pastry dough. That’s when Grandma made her quick cobbler, a cake-mix based recipe

that could be assembled in minutes and put in to bake before supper. I enjoyed countless evenings on Grandma’s front porch, eating cobbler for dessert and watching the cars go by. Although we usually had blackberries, raspberries or huckleberries in the Blue Ridge mountains, I now live in New England where we have excellent blueberries. Try this coffee-cake style cobbler for breakfast or brunch with some sweetened whipped cream and a cup of good strong coffee. Thanks for the inspiration, Grandma!

Blueberry-Ginger Cobbler Cake

3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
1 pkg. (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

– Preheat oven to 350°.

– Pick over blueberries, removing any stems. Rinse with cold water and drain in colander.

– In large bowl, stir together sugar, crystallized ginger and cinnamon. Add blueberries and stir gently to coat with sugar mixture.

– Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding the vanilla and ground ginger.

– Spread blueberries evenly in bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour cake mix over blueberries. Bake 35 minutes or until wooden pick    inserted into cake (not blueberry layer) comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.

– When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Heather

9 Comments

Filed under Berries, Breakfast, Cake, Dessert, Sweets

A Chili Summer

Ask people how they like their chili and you’ll get a variety of answers. Mild or caliente, vegetarian or con carne, everyone has an opinion. Chili brings out our experimental side, and almost anything can be thrown into the pot; as evidenced by the many chili cook-offs occurring across the country each summer.

One such cook-off that I’ve frequented over the years is the summer chili cook-off at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.  Come August at the Spa, it’s High Society  and horses in the paddock, and folding chairs & coolers behind the grandstand.  Saratoga’s 40-day summer meet is the crème de la crème of thoroughbred racing, boasting a stakes race each and every day.  The historic grandstand & race course has even been named one of the worlds great sporting venues by Sports Illustrated magazine.

So if you’re looking for one last day-trip to your never ending summer, set a course for upstate New York, where the horses will be running through Labor Day.  Can’t get to the Spa…  then try my summer chili recipe.  It takes me back there everytime !

as photographed by our team, à la Carte Partners

Joe’s Slow-Cooker Chili
makes about 12 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
1 bottle (12 oz) beer
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder (more for spicy)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1  package (10 oz.) frozen corn
1  package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can (15 oz.) red pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

– In large skillet brown ground beef and sausage; drain and spoon into Crock-Pot.
– Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours.

Tips

– Leftovers can be frozen.
Any combination of beans can be used.
– Seasoning can be adjusted to your taste buds.
– To make a vegetarian version, remove the beef and sausage  and add your favorite vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, butternut squash,  bell peppers, etc.

-Joe


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Filed under Beef, Chili, Crock-Pot, Sausage

Hard-Boiled Eggs or Hard-Cooked Eggs? That is the question!

as photographed by our team, alacartepartners

We recently shot these farm-fresh brown eggs while on location, and it reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to mention. The term “Hard-Boiled Eggs” is a big “no-no” according to Mildred Ying, retired Food Editor of Good Housekeeping Magazine. When I worked for her as an Assistant Food Editor back in the ’80’s, it was one of the first things I learned. The correct term is “Hard-Cooked Eggs.”

The secret to a perfect hard-cooked egg is not to boil them! Here’s the formula: Place eggs in a pot. Cover with cold water. Heat water just to a boil. Immediately remove pot from heat. Cover and let stand 12 minutes. Mmmmm – egg-cellent!…a beautifully cooked yellow yolk every time.

During your travels this summer, take advantage of farm fresh eggs. If you are lucky, you can purchase them locally all year round.

Okay, since I am shelling out tidbits on eggs, here is another one. Is there a difference between brown eggs and white eggs? According to my research, there is one major difference between brown eggs and white eggs. Brown eggs are brown and white eggs are white! That’s it! Just the colors of the shells. There is no difference in nutrition and taste. Brown eggs come from hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. White eggs come from hens with white feathers and white ear lobes.

Now that you are more egg-ucated on the subject of eggs, I am going to sign off before I make another bad pun!

Cathy

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Filed under eggs