Monday, June 23, 2014

Mango-Honey Chipotle Grilled Chicken


So it's almost literally raining mangoes everywhere in South Florida! That's a good thing because my dear friend Lili has a tree and she has been graciously providing me with a healthy supply of those golden sweet beauties.

Having those mangoes and a big bag of chipotle peppers, that my sister-in-law Maria brought over from San Francisco, can only mean one thing.  Time to make a great BBQ sauce! Smokey, sweet and with just the right amount of a kick, my mango-honey chipotle sauce is perfect for grilling chicken.

Start by making a brine to keep your chicken moist as it grills, then coat the chicken in the sauce, slap it on the grill and you are just minutes away from truly juicy, flavorful chicken. Serve with a big green salad, ice-cold beer and an extra side of mango-honey chipotle sauce for dipping - dinner is done!

Serves 4

6 - 8 pieces of chicken boneless skinless - breasts and/or thighs
Brine solution: 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, dissovled in 1 quart of water
Salt & pepper

  • Brine chicken from 2-8 hours, as time permits. Remove from and discard brine solution. Rinse chicken and pat thoroughly dry with paper towel. Salt and pepper each side.
  • Place chicken in a wide, shallow bowl, add ½ cup of the Mango-Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce (recipe follows). Mix well to coat all pieces. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes while the grill heats up.
  • Heat grill over high heat for 15 - 20 minutes. Place chicken pieces over hot grates and cook 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness of chicken. Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with additional sauce on the side for dipping and ice cold beer.

Mango-Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce

2-4 dried chipotle pepper (Use more or less depending on how much heat you want)
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 oz tomato paste
4 tablespoon honey
¾ cup of pepper soaking liquid
1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 mangoes, diced
1/3 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • Place dried peppers in 3 cups boiling water, allow to soften for about 30 minutes. remove from water and set water aside. Remove stem, seed and ribs from peppers and discard. Chop finely. Warning: be very careful to not touch your eyes or lips and clean your hand thoroughly afterwards.
  • Heat pan over medium heat, add onions and cook 5-7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Spoon in the tomato paste and honey, stir to incorporate into onions and garlic.  Cook until paste begins to caramelize.
  • Add the pepper water to deglaze the pan and then add all the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on low for 20 minutes or until thickened.
  • Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend through until thick and smooth.  You can strain through a sieve if you prefer a very smooth sauce.

Take off heat and allow to cool, store in airtight container, best in a mason jar. Keep refrigerated. Keeps for a month, makes about 2 cups.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spicy Southwestern Stuffed Peppers


Tonight I was inspired to cook something a little different. My boyfriend enjoys peppers, so I decided to make stuffed peppers. I have made stuffed peppers before but with an Italian twist. This time I chose to go with a southwestern flavor profile. The ingredients are reminiscent of Mexican flavors thus the Southwest title.

As you will notice I only chose to add one jalapeno to this dish but you can certainly add as much heat as you'd like, such as more jalapeno, a hot salsa, red pepper flakes or hot sauce. This recipe can be customized to anyone's taste preference and it's fun to make. I felt very accomplished looking at how pretty my stuffed peppers looked when they were all filled and covered with melted cheese. They were devoured. Now this dish was enough for my boyfriend and I to enjoy on it's own, it's basically a casserole/one-pot dish in a pepper... the peppers being the individual casserole dish! You can pair this dish with roasted corn, a side salad, roasted potatoes, etc.. Have fun with this dish creating your own fillings, but also enjoy this one!

Serves 4 - 6

A Wednesdays
with Eryka Recipe
6 multi-colored peppers
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cooked white rice
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
1 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon adobo seasonings*
salt and pepper to taste
Mexican blend shredded cheese*

1. Prepare the peppers by chopping the top off and removing the rib. Place on a greased baking dish.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. In a pan on medium heat, cook ground beef, onion and garlic until cooked through. Add the jalapeno.

4. Add the beans, corn, rice and salsa. Heat through then season with cumin, adobo and salt and pepper to taste (I added only a pinch of each).

5. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese into the mixture. Stir until gooey.

6. Spoon the beef mixture evenly into all the peppers. Top with their appropriate tops.

7. Bake for 20 minutes then remove tops of the peppers to add the shredded cheese. Top again with their tops and bake for 10 more minutes until cheese is melted and peppers are soft.


Recipe Notes:
*The cheese blend I used contained Monterrey jack, cheddar, queso quesadilla, asadero cheese. You can use whatever Mexican cheese blend you prefer.
*Adobo seasoning is a blend of onion and garlic powder, black pepper, Mexican oregano, cayenne pepper and cumin. Mix together an 1/8 teaspoon of each ingredient if you can't find it locally.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lemon-Sage Tuna Steaks


Lately, The Hub and I are "trying" to eat in a mindful manner.

Not exactly a "diet" but more of an awareness of how much we eat (less) of certain body expanding and detrimental foods.

We are eating healthier proteins like fish, other sea-foods, chicken and leaner cuts of pork and "trying" (there's that word again) to  limit our beef consumption to once a week. Easy for me, much harder for The Hub. Why? He's Nicaraguan and in Nicaragua beef is king.

We are also attempting to reduce our ("unhealthy") carb intake.  Attempting ... haha. This is hard for both of us. I am convinced we are genetically hard-wired to consume vast amounts of rice with each and every meal. Yes, sometimes even breakfast!

But we are striving, churning towards "trying" and "attempting" and because of this I put together this recipe for yummy Lemon-Sage Tuna Steaks. Yes it has butter, but it's just  a touch of butter, and of course a splash of white wine. Wine, I hear, is good for the heart.

What did The Hub think of the Tuna Steaks? His typical reply "this **** is good!".
That's always an honor.

Serves 2 - 4

4 tuna steaks
Kosher salt
Onion powder
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium lemon - zested and juiced
1/4 cup white wine
5 fresh large sage leaves

  1. Season each side of the tuna steaks with salt, pepper and onion powder to taste.
  2. To a large flat bottomed skillet or grill pan, over low heat, add the oil and butter. 
  3. Once butter melts, add the lemon zest and slowly cook to infuse the flavor into the oil about 2 minutes. The edges of the lemon should start to caramelize.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and add the sage leaves to crisp up. Once crisped remove sage and lemon zests from oil, set aside and allow to drain on paper towel.
  5. Crank up the heat of the pan and once sizzling add tuna steaks. Cook, per side for 1 to 1/2 minutes for medium rare center, 2 minutes for medium center, 3+ minutes to cook through. Remove from pan at desired doneness and set aside.
  6. Remove all but one tablespoon of oil/butter from the pan. Deglaze with lemon juice and white wine. Allow to reduce by half, remove from heat.
To serve, place tuna steak on plate, spoon lemon-sage wine reduction sauce over each steak and sprinkle with lemon zest and crisped sage over top of each steak.

Serve with roasted vegetables and a glass of white wine. ENJOY!