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Grilled Tomato Salsa with Ancho Chili

Grilled Ancho Chili Tomato Salsa

August 19, 2014

The best salsa you will ever have…

  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt

Mix the tomatoes with the oil and salt in a bowl. Grill the tomatoes in a grilling pan on medium heat for about 30 minutes till tomatoes are soft. Process the tomatoes in a food processor till smooth. Pour into a serving bowl and cool off.

  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

Add the cilantro, lemon juice, salt and ancho chili powder to the tomato sauce. Mix well and check for seasonings. Serve with tortilla chips or as a sauce for steak, chicken or fish.

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Poblano Corn Salsa

Poblano Corn Salsa

August 18, 2014

This is a very simple, yet delicious salad I have been making this summer- definitely a crowd pleaser!

  • 6 ears of corn, grilled, off the cob
  • 2 poblano peppers, grilled, skin off and chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl. Let sit for at least an hour before serving.

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Lime Ancho Grilled Skirt Steak

Lime Ancho Grilled Skirt Steak

August 17, 2014

This is a yummy summer recipe…

  • 2 to 3 pound piece of skirt steak, cut into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Lemon wedges

Mix the orange juice, lime juice, oil, garlic, ancho powder and salt in a small bowl. Transfer the steak to a ziplock bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and marinate for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight. Take out of fridge half an hour before grilling.

Grill steak to about medium. Transfer steak to large plate, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut against the grain garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.

  • Bag of small tortillas
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • Salt
  • Juice of one lime

Heat the tortillas and wrap in aluminum foil.

Transfer the diced avocados in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and drizzle with lime juice.

Serve the cut up steak with the warmed tortillas and diced avocados.

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Strawberry Tea Bread

Strawberry Bread

August 13, 2014

Number 4!

I love, love this tea bread. We were invited to a friends house for a barbecue and I offered to bring dessert. I wanted to make a summer cake using a quintessential summer fruit and of course strawberries came to mind.

I did a bit of research and came up with this fabulous recipe.

I got all the ingredients together- which, by the way are all that you normally have on hand.

It didn’t take me very long to put together and baking in the oven. Once it came out, my daughter was hovering around it like a dog on a bone. I cut a slice for her and she immediately complained about taking this cake to someone’s house and not having any for us. I promised her I would make another one for her soon- and honestly I haven’t yet. As I write this, I have already decided to bake one this evening. She will be thrilled.

So, if you want to be equally thrilled, make this delicious strawberry bread this summer…

  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (pureed in a blender)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan and keep aside.
Beat the sugar and olive oil for 2-3 minutes on high. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between. Add the pureed strawberries and keep aside.
In the meantime, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Mix well and pour into the loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or till the bread is done. Invert onto a platter and top with confectioners sugar.

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Cherry Almond Duffins

Cherry Almond Duffins

August 12, 2014

Dessert number 3! Use fresh or frozen cherries for this one… yummy!

  • ¾ cup raw sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 cup pitted fresh or frozen cherries, chopped

Topping

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ cup fine raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease a 12 muffin tin with a bit of oil in each cup.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg till light and fluffy. Pour in vegetable oil, milk, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix to combine.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into the egg mixture and stir well. Fold the cherries into the batter and mix to incorporate.

Divide batter evenly into the muffin cups, filling about ½ full.

Bake for 15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While duffins are baking, melt butter in a small bowl. Pour ½ cup sugar into a medium bowl.

Once the duffins are done, lightly brush the top with melted butter, remove from the pan and roll in the sugar, coating all parts of the duffin.

 

 

 

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Time To Say GoodBye To Belfast & Dublin..

August 11, 2014

We had a just a couple of days in Dublin.. I have been here before with my husband a few years ago. I really enjoy being in Dublin.. love the walkable city, food and the people. We took a 1 PM train from Belfast and got to Dublin around 3:15PM. It was raining and we quickly found a cab and made our way to the hotel which was not very far away. After unpacking a bit, we decided to venture out with our umbrellas in tow. The problem with venturing out is that you need to know where to go.. I am quite directionally challenged and have trouble with maps, although Belfast was quite straightforward. Dublin on the other hand is very complicated, with tiny streets going in all directions. Luckily I was able to use the GPS on my phone which was a life saver!! We walked around and reacquainted myself with the lovely city.

We stopped for a cappuccino and hot chocolate early during our walk as it was quite chilly and wet. The sun peeked out every half an hour or so… My daughter wanted something other than Irish food for dinner so we ventured out and found an Asian restaurant and ordered some noodle dishes- the food was okay, nothing special. We then walked around some more and finally found a gelato place, which my daughter was desperately searching for. I had a delicious scope of passion fruit cream gelato topped with a dollop of whipped cream. I love coming to Ireland for the delicious butter, cream and yogurt and of course cheese! It is all so delicious!

The next morning, we had a yummy Irish breakfast and ventured out for a historic Dublin walking tour. It was really good and walking for two and half hours prompted us to head to Queen of Tarts, a cafe and dessert place with delicious desserts and lunch. I ordered a bunch ofFB_IMG_1407760748010 madeleines served with raspberry compote and fresh whipped cream! All my favorite things on one plate. I washed it down with a delicious glass of pinot grigio. We lingered there for a while and read our books and enjoyed the delicious aromas coming out of the kitchen.

We then walked to the Stephen Green area, which is a beautiful green area with a lake and lovely walking paths. We walked around a bit and headed back to the hotel for a rest before heading out for our last dinner in Dublin!

It was raining, yet again and so we decided not too walk very far for dinner. Hairy Lemon it was! A highly rated Irish pub around the corner from our hotel! It was packed as we walked in but we managed to get a table for 2. I ordered a glass of cabernet as I was planning on getting the burger. Although this place was famous for it’s stew, I just wanted a juicy burger- and it was great, with bacon, cheddar, tomato and arugula! It was yum! We didn’t have any dessert as I had seen an ice cream place the night before called Murphy’s Ice Cream made in Dingle. 20140811_184900 Now, Dingle is a place on the west coast of Ireland, in county Kerry that I had visited and fallen in love with a good 8 years ago. I was thrilled to see a reference and wanted to eat their ice cream.. plus they had some very different sounding flavors like caramelized brown bread ice cream, brown butter ice cream… I indulged in one scoop each of the caramelized brown bread and Irish coffee… both of which were spectacular… a perfect end to a great trip.20140811_193102

We are back home tomorrow, just in time for me to get back to exercising and not eating everything in sight!!!

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20140809_171410-2

Last Couple of Days in Beautiful Northern Ireland!

August 10, 2014

The next morning started with a bit of rain and a bit of sun- I guess it is typical of Irish weather.. my daughter is longing to get back to the hot and humid weather back home.. I think I can wait for another few days.. As we got ready for the day, I was looking online to find a good breakfast place close to our hotel… well, I found a really funky, bohemian cafe called Harlem. We walked in there and the vibe immediately made me happy. I could smell the delicious espresso smell… we sat down onto unmatched chairs and ate the most delicious breakfast consisting of a cinnamon scone and a bacon sandwich! I can’t speak enough of the yummy butter I have been consuming!20140808_104123 We lingered there for a while and walked back to the hotel to catch our hop on hop off bus to get the Crumlin prison tour- my daughter was very keen on it. Luckily it poured like crazy as we were indoors… after a few hours we came outside and it was beginning to clear up. We caught the bus back to city center and made our way to city hall where they were setting up for a movie in the park! We bought an apple and cinnamon crepe and sat down for some lovely black and white, silent short films. As I was watching, I started to look at dinner options close by and came up with a restaurant called Home which was very highly rated, apparently they serve farm to table with sustainable ingredients. We had walked past many times but didn’t really pay attention… but there menu seemed very simple but really good! I got very excited as we walked over. As we approached, we saw a sign saying they were closed for a private party but will reopen at 7:30, that was in half an hour. We decided to walk around because that burger on their menu was really calling me plus I loved their ambiance… After walking around, we came in and asked for a table .. but were told they were fully booked! What?? How about tomorrow evening, I asked.. thinking we had a whole day tour  of the countryside but would be back around 7 or so… I was told they were fully booked but that I should try to just walk in tomorrow. Hmm, I didn’t like the sound of that.. In the meantime, he recommended a few other places in the area for dinner. We ended up at a place called Allotment. The guy was really nice and welcomed us in.. by that time the restaurant was getting crowded so we sat down and decided to order. I asked for a glass of wine and found out they were BYO.. what?? I have never ever been to a place in Europe that is a BYO.. anyway, he suggested we order and he can give me directions to a liquor store around the corner. I ordered a rib eye steak for myself with chilie fries.. I know what you are thinking- she is really indulging! Well, yes I am .. and why not, I work hard enough when I am home..

Anyway, I bought a yummy cabernet to go with my steak and settled down to eat my steak which was delicious!20140808_200758 The wine was yummy as well.. but I felt we needed to have dessert to complete the meal, so I ordered the sticky toffee pudding and my daughter indulged in a mess, which is a mixture of whipped cream, meringues and fresh strawberries.. yum!

20140808_204617

20140808_204626 It was a great meal but I was still thinking of the other place we couldn’t get into…so I went back to our hotel and asked the concierge to try. Once I got back to our room, I went online to the restaurant’s website and tried to reserve online. The next morning I got a message from the restaurant saying they had a reservations for us at 8 PM.. yay, persistence paid off!

The next morning was super early with a quick cappuccino and scone. We got onto a coach bus and made our way to the Northern Ireland countryside including the Giant’s Causeway. The weather really cooperated and we had an amazing sunny day for our excursion and the countryside was absolutely gorgeous- a great reason to come to Ireland!!!

We got back around 7:45, just in time for our reservations. We quickly ran to our room to freshen up and walked over to the restaurant.. a good reason to find a hotel with a great location that is walking distance to a lot of good eateries. Trip Advisor is what I use to find fabulous restaurants! We got there exactly at 8 and were seated right away. All I wanted was the burger- so we ordered right away as we were starving. I washed it down with a yummy Rose and it was a lovely meal. The burger was enveloped with a delicious Irish cheddar, there were sautéed onions at the bottom and a corn and jalapeño relish on the side. The burger was juicy and delicious! 20140809_202435 After a perfect burger, I thought some dessert was in order.. so we ordered the buttermilk panna cotta, which was topped with strawberries and delicious as well! Overall a great day… we are off to Dublin tomorrow. It was been lovely visiting Belfast, great attractions, yummy food and super friendly people! What more could you ask for??? Will report back from Dublin!

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