Showing posts with label jalapenos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jalapenos. Show all posts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Spicy Cucumber Chickpea Salad

Chickpeas are fabulous for absorbing seasonings when warm, which adds such flavor to dishes like this spicy cucumber chickpea salad.

Food Lust People Love: Chickpeas are fabulous for absorbing seasonings when warm, which adds such flavor to dishes like this spicy cucumber chickpea salad.

It’s day 6 of my self-imposed Salad Month – a celebration of cold dishes for the heat of August, at least in the northern hemisphere. No one wants lean over a hot stove or oven when it’s sweltering outside so I'm bringing you fresh cool salad recipes all month long.

As for me, I’m on day 7 of a cross-country trip from the east coast to the west coast of the United States. My younger daughter and I started out in Massachusetts on July 30th and made our way to upstate New York (with a last minute side trip to Niagara Falls) and Ohio (with an afternoon at the State Fair),  through a small piece of Pennsylvania and on to Kansas, then Colorado (where we picked up my elder daughter) and finally, Utah. As you read this, we’ll be driving south from Moab towards the Grand Canyon. Still ahead: Las Vegas!

It’s been a heck of a trip so far. As I’ve mentioned before, my Instagram feed is always eclectic but you can check out some highlights of our trip so far there.

Spicy Cucumber Chickpea Salad

Often the simplest set of ingredients make the best recipes. That is certainly true of this salad. Unlike most of my summer salads, this does require turning the stove on but not for long, just enough to soften the garlic, onion and jalapeño for seasoning the chickpeas. It’s great with pan-fried fish or anything grilled. Best of all, it’s fabulous as leftovers so you can double the recipe and take some for lunch the next day.

Ingredients - to serve 4 as a side
1/2 small onion, sliced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 (depending on how spicy you like things) fresh jalapeño, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can (14oz or 400g) chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1/2 teaspoon flakey sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2-3 small cucumbers (about oz or 300g)

Sauté the vegetables in one tablespoon of the olive oil, over a low flame, until softened.

Add the chickpeas and heat until warmed through.

Sprinkle on the salt and pepper.  Add the vinegar and turn the heat up slightly. When the vinegar just begins to bubble, turn the fire off and add the rest of the olive oil.

Leave in the saucepan till cooled.

Meanwhile, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again. Trim the soft seedy middles and discard. (Or feed to your kitchen helper. My pooch loves them.)

Cut the cucumbers into smaller pieces and put them in a bowl. Once the chickpeas are cool, pour the mixture over the cucumbers.

Food Lust People Love: Chickpeas are fabulous for absorbing seasonings when warm, which adds such flavor to dishes like this spicy cucumber chickpea salad.

Stir to combine. Taste for salt, adding a bit more, if needed.

As I mentioned above, this spicy cucumber chickpea salad is great with fish or grilled meats. Or it can make a tasty lunch, just on its own. 

Food Lust People Love: Chickpeas are fabulous for absorbing seasonings when warm, which adds such flavor to dishes like this spicy cucumber chickpea salad.


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Food Lust People Love: Chickpeas are fabulous for absorbing seasonings when warm, which adds such flavor to dishes like this spicy cucumber chickpea salad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jalapeño and Cheddar Bagels #BreadBakers

Spicy fresh jalapeños give these bagels just a little hit of heat, while the sharp cheddar cheese adds both a boost of flavor and extra chewiness most welcome in a bagel. 

Growing up in Houston, Texas, you’d think I wouldn’t know what a New York bagel was. After all, the bagel craze, and the proliferation of chain bakeries selling them, didn’t really gain momentum until I was married and living overseas. But I did. They came from one bakery. It is a family-run business and located in what was a predominately Jewish neighborhood, not far from my elementary school. Nearby is the Jewish Community Center with a great gymnastics program that attracts students from all over the greater Houston area, and just across the bayou, a synagogue. All I know is that, back in those days, before Einstein’s and other chains, and before every supermarket decided to jump on the bagel bandwagon, there were New York Bagels. And they were crispy-outside chewy-inside perfection. The line was out the door every weekend as folks lined up patiently to get their bagels. And I am delighted to say, it still is.

When my regular supply of New York Bagels was cut off, that is, when I moved away from home and was feeling particularly homesick, I had to resort to baking them myself. Steaming up windows of my kitchens in Paris, Balikpapan, Kuala Lumpur, Macaé, to first quickly boil and bake these lovelies, mine never did match the originals but they were still a chewy, yeasty, welcome mouthful of home. When this month’s Bread Bakers host, Heather from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks suggested bagels as the theme for February, I was all in!

My favorite bagel is a toss-up between cinnamon and raisin or jalapeño and cheese. What’s your favorite?

Ingredients for 12 bagels
7 oz or 200g extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 small fresh jalapeños – about 25g or just under 1 oz in weight, stems and all
1 cup or 240ml warm water
1 packet active rapid rise dry yeast (1/4 oz or 7g)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups or 150g wholemeal bread flour
1 1/3 cups or 170g bread flour
1/2 cup or 65g flour, if necessary
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil for oiling bowl

For the water bath: 1 tablespoon sugar

Optional for baking:
1 3/4 oz or 50g extra sharp cheddar, grated

Cut off the stems and mince your jalapeños and cut the cheese for inside the bagels into little cubes. Set aside a tablespoon or so of the minced jalapeños for adding to the top of the bagels before baking.

Add all the bread flour to the bowl of your stand mixer. (You can do this by hand but get ready for some hard labor.) Make a well and add in the yeast and the tablespoon of sugar.

Pour your warm water into the well and wait about 10 minutes.

If the water has gone all bubbly, that means your yeast is active and you may continue. If not, buy some new yeast and start over.

Give the whole thing a good stir then add in your cubed cheddar, the bigger pile of the minced jalapeños and the salt. Stir well.

Using your dough hook, start mixing in the wholemeal bread flour a little at a time. Keep going until all of the wholemeal is incorporated.

If it’s still too sticky, start adding normal flour until the dough is firm and kneadable. I ended up adding 1/2 cup or 65g. You may need less.

Knead for several minutes.

Go, Kenwood, go!

Remove the dough from your bowl and form it into a ball. Drizzle a little olive oil into your bowl. Put the dough back in and turn it around to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave the dough to rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and cut it into 12 equal pieces.

First into four, then the each fourth into three. Easy!
I like to use my kitchen scale to even them out but if you aren't anal, you can skip that step. Each of my dough balls weighed between 65 and 70g. Cover the balls with some cling film and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Make holes in the center of each ball by sticking your thumb through and gently easing the hole open with thumb and fingers.

Cover once again with cling film and leave the the dough to rise again for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat and put it at the ready, next to your stove, with a clean folded kitchen towel nearby. I ended up needing two baking pans because I didn’t want the bagels too close together in case they rose more while baking.

When your second rising time is almost up, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and put a large pot of water (about 2 quarts or just shy of 2 liters) on to boil. Add one tablespoon of sugar to the water.

Here they are after the second rise.

Turn the pot down to a low boil and add the bagels a few at a time. Boil for just a minute or two on each side.

Remove each one with a slotted spoon and rest the spoon gently on the clean towel to absorb the excess water, then transfer the bagel to your prepared baking pan or pans.

Sprinkle the bagels with the grated cheese and the small pile of minced jalapeño. I must admit that I was disappointed that my jalapeño pieces didn’t stay green and decorative but they did add some nice little crispy bits on top.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the bagels are golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Despite their well-plumpedness when rising and boiling, mine fell a little bit while baking. I’ve never had that happen before so I’m going to put it down to the wholemeal bread flour, which was a new experiment in bagel baking for me. They are not rounded pictures of perfection but they were delicious.

My favorite part was actually the bottom of the bagels, which turned out beautifully golden and cheesy and crunchy.

Many thanks to Heather at Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks for hosting this month’s Bread Bakers and for giving me a chance to reminisce about a childhood favorite.

Check out all the fabulous bagels we have for you!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send me an email with your blog URL to

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken is EXACTLY what it sounds like: Jalapeño popper stuffing in chicken breasts, wrapped in bacon and baked to crispy perfection. It's like your favorite appetizer in a dinner-sized portion.

There was a time last year when I was on a serious jalapeño popper kick, starting with this recipe for jalapeño popper chicken chili topped with crispy bacon. It was freaking fantastic! Not just as chili but also as a hot dip with chips.

Then I got the idea that a bacon jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich would be good. And, oh, my mercy me! Was I RIGHT!

Then I made these divine bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper stuffed chicken breasts from Closet Cooking. I was on a roll, folks! But here’s where I failed you. I never did share them.

But seeing as how it’s the beginning of the second week of Bacon Month,  I’m about to rectify that!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken

Flattening chicken breasts helps them cook faster and tenderizes them, but the best part is that, thanks to their increased surface area, you can stuff them with jalapeño popper ingredients and wrap them with bacon before roasting.

3 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:
3 jalapeños
4 oz or 115g grated cheddar cheese
4 oz or 115g cream cheese (at room temperature)

To wrap:
6 slices streaky smoked bacon

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Lay your chicken breasts between two pieces of cling film and gently pound them thin with a rolling pin. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides.

Chop your jalapeños finely and mix them together with your cheddar and cream cheese.

Put one third of your stuffing mix on each chicken breast.

Roll them up, tucking in the sides as you go.

Wrap each roll with two slices of the bacon.

Bake in your preheated oven until the bacon is golden and the chicken is cooked through. This should take about half an hour.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Garlic Mushroom Parmesan Muffins #MuffinMonday

This week’s Muffin Monday ingredient is mushrooms!  I have to admit that when I first got the email, I was taken aback.  As much as I love mushrooms, I wasn’t sure about mushroom muffins.  But I am never at a loss for muffin inspiration for long.  I sautéed the mushrooms with a healthy helping of fresh garlic and butter because mushrooms and garlic and butter are best friends.  And they play nicely with Parmesan as well, so I added some of that to the muffins, along with a small jalapeño that was going begging in my daughter’s refrigerator.  I knew if I left him behind, he would probably never be used and it made me sad to think of Señor Jalapeño all shriveled and finally thrown away.  He gave his short life to make these muffins better.  To him, I say, gracias.

5 oz or 140g  Cremini or other mushrooms
2 large cloves garlic
1 small jalapeño
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 oz or 85g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup or 60ml sunflower or canola oil
3/4 cup or 180ml milk

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your muffin tin by spraying it with non-stick spray or lining it with paper muffin cups or greasing it with a little olive oil or butter.

Slice the mushrooms and set aside 12 cross-sections to add to the top of the muffin batter before baking.  Finely chop the rest of the mushrooms.

Peel and mince your cloves of garlic.  Mince your jalapeño.

Sauté the mushrooms, garlic and jalapeño in the butter until the mushrooms are golden.

They are going to get watery first.

Just keep cooking till they dry up again and brown a little.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile combine your flour, baking powder, Parmesan and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk your eggs with the oil and milk.

Fold your wet ingredients into the dry ones.

Then fold in the sautéed mushrooms, garlic and jalapeño.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.  Top each with the reserved slices of mushroom.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.