Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

These Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs are so good. That’s all you need to know. Make them.

Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 slices of bacon, cooked
2 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1 – 2 tablespoon(s) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon brown mustard (or Dijon)
2 fresh jalapeños, 1 minced (remove seeds first), 1 sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Gently spoon the yolks out into a bowl and then mash them with a fork. Set the egg whites aside. Add the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, and mustard to the mashed egg yolks and mix well. If you would like a creamier consistency, add the additional tablespoon of mayonnaise. Crumble 2 slices of the bacon and fold into the yolk mixture. Add the minced jalapeño to the mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Break the last piece of bacon into 12 pieces. Garnish each deviled egg with a piece of bacon and a jalapeño slice.


Summer Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart

This is an easy tart to utilize all those summer vegetables. If you have a small eggplant, that would be a nice addition in the roasted vegetable mixture. A balsamic reduction would be excellent drizzled over the finished tart.

Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart

1 sheet puff pastry dough, defrosted
1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into strips (or rings)
1 large zucchini, ends removed and sliced
8 ounce package mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas), cleaned and sliced
olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon capers
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sliced onion, red bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Line the baking sheet with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle (try not to get it too thin). Place the puff pastry on the lined baking sheet.

Place the roasted vegetables on the puff pastry, leaving a border. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese, capers, and torn basil over the roasted vegetables. Drizzle the tart with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Summer Vegetable Tart (before baking)

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is golden. Serve warm.


Creamy Chile con Queso

Creamy Chile con Queso

A processed cheese product (like Velveta) is often used in making Queso because it melts more smoothly. Using evaporated milk in this recipe helps the “real” cheese melt smoother and makes for a creamier consistency. The results are pretty fantastic. You can use your favorite milder, harder cheese (like Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, or a Mexican cheese blend) in this recipe, but don’t use cheeses like Mozzarella, Brie, Swiss, or Goat Cheese (or obviously, Bleu Cheese).

This Queso keeps well for several days in the fridge. It reheats very well too. You can just zap it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until warmed through.

A simple dish of Chile con Queso with tortilla chips is wonderful, but you can take it to greater heights with the addition of toppings. Queso can be serious business. One of my favorite restaurants in Austin, Texas is Magnolia Café. They have the best Queso ever. Their Mag Queso is topped with avocado and Pico de Gallo. It’s amazing! The Kerbey Queso at Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin is great too. I have also had Queso with shredded BBQ brisket, refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, and Pico that was delicious. There are no limits.

Chile con Queso

Creamy Chile con Queso

2 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 -2 jalapenos, to taste, seeds removed, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (mild Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mexican cheese blend, etc…)
1/2 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
salt, to taste
dash garlic powder
1 – 4 tablespoons milk, if necessary

tortilla chips

Possible Toppings:
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh onion, chopped
fresh avocado, diced (or guacamole)
fresh tomatoes, diced
pickled jalapeno slices
Pico de Gallo
sour cream
black beans, warmed
refried beans
shredded brisket, chicken, pork
cooked ground beef or sausage

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the evaporated milk a little at a time, whisking well to dissolve flour lumps. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the shredded cheese, a little at a time. Continue to whisk until all of the cheese is added and the Queso is smooth. Add the drained diced tomatoes, salt, and garlic powder. If the Queso is too thick, you can add a little milk, about a tablespoon at a time, to thin to desired consistency. Serve the Queso warm, topped with desired toppings (I like fresh avocado, cilantro, pickled jalapenos, and chopped tomatoes) alongside tortilla chips.

 

 

 


Carrot Hummus

Carrot Hummus

I let my 5 year old pull the remainder of the carrots in the garden to make room for something else. I decided to use them to make carrot hummus. My carrots were lighter orange than the ones you typically find in a grocery store. My hummus is not as vibrant of an orange color as I assume using more deeply colored carrots would produce.  No matter, the overall result is a tasty variation of hummus and would be a colorful addition to any table of food.

Carrots

I adapted this recipe from one found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light. This issue has 7 variations of hummus and they all look interesting.

Carrot Hummus

1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
shredded carrots
sliced almonds (optional)
paprika

Place the chopped carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Save the water to add to the hummus.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, cumin, and cooked carrots. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water the carrots cooked in and process, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time, until smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes. Spread carrot hummus in the serving dish and top with shredded carrots and sliced almonds (if using). Sprinkle with paprika.


Beet Hummus with Bleu Cheese and Pecans

Beet Hummus

I’ve been experimenting with some different hummus recipes lately. So far, this one has been my favorite. The color is gorgeous and the beet flavor is subtle. The addition of the bleu cheese and pecans brings this hummus to a new level. I think goat cheese instead of bleu cheese would rock too. I adapted this recipe from one I found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light.

Beet Hummus with Bleu Cheese and Pecans

1 beet, peeled and chopped
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
bleu cheese
pecans pieces

Place the chopped beet in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the beet is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Save the water the beet cooked in to add to the hummus.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, and cooked beet. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water the beets cooked in and process, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time, until smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes. Spread beet hummus in the serving dish and top with crumbled bleu cheese and pecans.


Hot Cheesesteak Dip

Hot Cheesesteak Dip

I made this hot dip to take to a New Year’s Eve party. It’s super rich and loaded with beef and cheese. Paired with toasted baguette slices, it tastes just like a cheesesteak sandwich, although not exactly like the cheesesteaks we had in Philadelphia. Cheez Whiz, not provolone, was the “cheese” on the cheesesteaks we had in Philly.  I’m glad I took this to a party and shared it with other people. I could easily see myself eating the whole thing.

Hot Cheesesteak Dip 2

Hot Cheesesteak Dip

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups provolone or a mix of provolone and mozzarella, shredded (I found a shredded provolone and mozzarella mix at Target)
8 ounces roast beef (from the grocery store’s deli), sliced thin (not shaved, but not too thick)
salt and pepper, to taste

Baguettes, sliced (and toasted if you like)

Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the sliced onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender and starting to caramelize. There will be browned spots on the vegetables and that’s fine. Add the minced garlic and cook one minute more. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the dip.

In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, provolone cheese together. Season with salt and pepper (I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper). Mix in the cooked onion and pepper mixture. Coarsely chop the roast beef and add to the dip. Mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into a small baking dish that has been lightly coasted with cooking spray.

Bake at 375° F. for 20 minutes, or until heated through and slightly browned around the edges. Serve with toasted sliced baguette.

You can prepare this dip up to a day in advance. Cover the dish with foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.


Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

This is a delicious spin on a classic spinach and artichoke dip. I may even like the collards version better. Collards and artichokes are both nutrient dense foods, so I feel less guilty about indulging in this rich dip. I don’t think that using low-fat cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream would alter the taste much.

This dip is also wonderful as a sandwich spread. I smeared some leftover dip on a piece of baguette and sprinkled shredded carrots (pulled from my garden) on top. Yum.

Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

1 smallish bunch of collards, washed well
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Remove the stems and tough ribs from the collards and slice thin. In a pot of salted water, cook the thinly sliced collards until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Squeeze the remaining liquid from the collards and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, and garlic powder together. Mix in the prepared collards and chopped artichoke hearts. Pour mixture into a small baking dish that has been lightly coasted with cooking spray.

Bake at 375° F. for 20 minutes, or until heated through and slightly browned around the edges. Serve with toasted sliced baguette, toasted pita bread, or crackers.

You can prepare this dip up to a day in advance. Cover the dish with foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.