I am by and large an autumn person. I'm usually all about the fall months, but right now, I'm definitely having a summah... What has brought about this mysterious change you ask? I'm not too sure myself, but I think it may have something to do with nectarines. I realize this entry is completely void of any nectarinesque photos/desserts/sauces, etc., but that's because, well...I usually eat them before I can make anything out of them. I used to be a little up in the air about fruit. I like fruit and all but I've never had a favorite...until yesterday. I had washed a nectarine and took my first bite, and it was pretty much one of the best things I've ever had. So juicy that I had to stand over the sink. I felt (and looked) like a hyena devouring a zebra. I felt like all fruit should be eaten this way...in private, without any onlookers to detract from the annihilation. When it was gone, I actually sucked on the pit for a while as to extract any remaining goodness. I can foresee this being a problem, like I am going to have a real problem when the season is over.
Another sign of summer for us has been eating a lot more vegetarian dishes (with the exception of that big, beautiful t-bone, there). With produce in such great supply right now, it's so easy to make great food (the veggies do all of the work for you). Pics up above are Thai-style stir fried veggies (super easy, just stir fry chosen veg in oil and then add some oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, hoisin, and a little stock until it thickens up a bit.) next pic is a t-bone with grilled potato chips and braised collards. Also made some awesome yellow curry that we threw some leftover chicken in (this is a great way to use up leftover grilled or roasted meats). The last dish is one that I promised I would post and that I can't quite get enough of. In it's simplest form, it is just a roasted potato and bean tostada, but one bite will have you thinking it's anything but simple. there are a lot of flavors going on here that just seem to work really well together. now, if you don't constantly have a summer supply of homemade pico de gallo and guacamole on hand, this may take you a little longer, but never fear, I have recipes for both. For the guacamole, just see the last post and watch the vid...easy.
the pico is just about as easy and can probably be made in the time it takes to watch how to make the guacamole.
pico de gallo
2 nice sized tomatoes, diced (4-5 if using romas)
1/2 -1 onion, diced small
1-2 jalps (i cut mine into quarters and de-seed most of them, leaving one or two quarters seeded, and dice super small. /i reserve the seeds and membranes and then add them in to taste, later.
juice of 1 lime
handful cilantro, minced
salt to taste
combine all of this stuff in a bowl and mix thoroughly. now, this is basically just a guideline, I probably make this a little bit different every time, so just taste it and tweak it however you like. I like to eat this with corn chips (obviously), but is a great topper for grilled meats, and any mexican foods.
the potatoes: this is easy, see the tates in the pic up above? you want to cut them into that size, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and just lay out on a pan and roast them at 400F until they are tender and start to turn golden brown. set aside...you can eat one though, just to check...I said one, not a quarter of the pan (this is a note to myself...have no self control with potatoes...in any form)
ok, onto the other stuff:
Roasted potato and bean tostadas: (this is from memory, so might need a little tweaking:)
you will need:
olive oil (drizzles and glugs)
1 large onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, small dice (can de-seed/de-vein, if desired)
2 poblano (pasilla) peppers, diced, could use green/red bells if you like, I prefer the poblano for the flavor it gives
large handful minced cilantro
3 tomatillos, diced
2 potatoes thinly sliced and roasted (see above for details)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
2 cans (8 0z.) tom. sauce
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. cumin seed
(it is a good idea to heat up your oven while you are prepping all of the ingredients so you can have your potatoes roasting and finished by the time everything else is ready. also, when the potatoes are done, it would be a good time to toast your tostada shells (in oven at same temp, I'd even use the same pan as the potatoes, just make sure you have taken the potatoes off the pan:), they only take a few minutes, set a timer or you will forget, at least, i always do:)
start roasting your potatoes.
in a large saute pan over med-high heat, saute the onion, garlic, and peppers in olive oil until just getting some color, about 5 mins. add the cilantro, tomatillos, and spices (including a good pinch of salt and pepper) and saute for a couple minutes more. add the tomato sauce and fill both empty cans with water. pour one of the cans in, and reserve the other. stir until the mixture starts to thicken, then add the drained/rinsed beans. turn your heat down a little and let the mixture thicken again, add the rest of the water, stir and let thicken one last time (seems like a lot of reducing/thickening, but I do this because when you reduce/thicken things, the flavors get really concentrated, leading to a better end-product.) you want the beans to be pretty thick so they stay on the tostada. turn to low/warm. now it's time to assemble. I usually do a layer of potatoes, then the bean mixture, some guacamole, then pico, and sometimes i will add some cheese (usually feta or cotija) and finish with some minced cilantro. this recipe serves quite a few hungrys.
recommended garnishes are guac, pico, cilantro, crumbly cheese, or any other salsas you might like. this recipe leaves itself wide open for interpretation, so have fun with it and play around until you find your perfect summah combo!
ps:I realize there is corn in the tostada pic up above. if you want to add some to the mix, I just used one ear's worth, and added it when I added the beans.
DISH recommends: a Molcajete. yeah, you can make guacamole using something else, but I warn you, it pales in comparison. something about that lava rock...this is the cheapest one I could find on amazon. unless you live in lincoln...and want to take on the task of seasoning your own. If so, go to la Mexicana, 15 bucks, but I don't recommend it, it's worth the extra money just to get already seasoned (speaking from experience:)