• Cherry Almond Cookies

  • Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

  • Whole Wheat Cheese Crackers

  • Berry Pom Smoothies

  • Kale and Lentil Soup

  • Toasted Almond and Farro Salad with Tahini Dressing

  • Bourbon Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Lasagna Bolognese

Spicy Black Bean and Radish Tacos

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My husband is a really good cook. This might blow your mind, but he doesn’t write this blog. However, a majority of these recipes come from his genius mind. One of the things I love about Neil is his vision and ability to execute specific tasks in a unique and beautiful way. For example: tacos. I think, “Great, taco night. Let’s set up a bar of our favorite ingredients and go to town.” Neil, on the other hand, makes THESE. Even if you just make the sauce, it will launch your everyday tacos into orbit. It’s super spicy, so if you can’t handle the heat, just look at the pictures and skip this recipe. If you’re ready for a kick, keep reading.

We found the dried chili peppers at Whole Foods hanging up in the produce section by other dried spices. You can use a variety of peppers, but this time we tried chipotle and ancho peppers and it was a good combo.

Instead of flour, try white corn tortillas.

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Heat them in a small skillet then wrap them in foil to keep them warm at the table.

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I love the radishes in this recipe. The crunch is irresistible, and the zingy flavor pairs well with the spicy sauce.

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Even though the ingredient list for this one is lengthy, it won’t take you too long to make these. Trust me, it’s worth the extra ingredients to make these gluten free wonders. Once you’ve had these tacos, you won’t go back to the ordinary.

Spicy Black Bean and Radish Tacos
Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 25 min.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 dried ancho pepper
2 dried chipotle peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro stems, chopped
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the tacos:

5 radishes, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flake
1 pinch chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
8 small white corn tortillas

Preparation:

Heat four cups of water in a kettle. In a small bowl, pour water over the peppers to rehydrate. After 30 minutes, bring hydrated peppers to a cutting board, but reserve the water. On a cutting board, remove pepper stems, and scrape out seeds. Slice peppers and place in a small food processor.

Add 1/4 cup of the water with the white vinegar, oil, and orange juice and blend in food processor. Scrape sides and add garlic, cilantro stems, salt, pepper, chili powder, and red pepper flake. Continue to blend until smooth. Add more water until it reaches desired consistency. Set sauce aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté red peppers and onion slices for about a minute. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the black beans to the pan, along with the red pepper flake and chili powder. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and 1/4 cup water from the peppers and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.

Bring a separate small skillet to high heat. Add one white corn tortilla shell, and cook for 2 minutes per side until warm and spots are beginning to brown. Or, place on a cookie sheet under the broiler until lightly charred. Place shells in a foil pocket to keep warm at the table.

Serve tortilla shells with fresh cilantro, radishes, black bean mixture, and spicy sauce.

Makes 8 tacos

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Baked Avocado Fries

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Adults need after-school snacks, too. If I’ve had a busy afternoon, around 4:00pm I usually need something to munch on to carry me through dinner. Maybe that’s why happy hour was invented. Kids have after-school snacks… we have happy hour.

I am hooked on these avocado fries. I love the crunchy whole wheat breading paired with the creamy rich avocado.

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These snacks won’t leave you feeling as guilty since they are baked with whole wheat ingredients. It’s easy peasy. First, make an assembly line and bread each avocado slice.

DSC_0001Bake avocados for a quick 20 minutes, finish with course salt and a fresh squeeze of lime and serve warm alongside your favorite beverage.

DSC_0043-682x1024So whether your teen is grazing the pantry for an after-school snack or you and your girlfriends are declaring it happy hour on the back patio, these avocado fries are sure to please.

Baked Avocado Fries
Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 20 min.

Ingredients:

1 large avocado, pitted and sliced thick (into about 8 pieces)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 lime

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°. In one bowl, combine whole wheat flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. In another bowl, mix the whole wheat bread crumbs with the other 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Set up an assembly line, first dredging each piece of avocado in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, followed by a generous coating of bread crumbs.

Transfer avocados onto a wire rack and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, finish with a sprinkle of course salt and fresh lime juice. Serve warm.

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Key Lime Pie

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Warm nights on the patio. A sizzling grill with the smell of BBQ. The faint music of the ice cream man in the distance. Sunburns. Mosquito bites. Although my calendar begs to differ, I officially declare it: summer!!!

Each summer, we try to travel to our most beloved place in the world, Seaside, Florida. My family has been vacationing there since I was three and now that the secret is out, it’s become quite a popular destination. A few summers ago they had a happy hour deal at the local market where slices of pie and glasses of wine were half off in the afternoons. There’s nothing like sitting on the porch with the sea breeze rustling through my hair sipping on wine and eating key lime pie. That’s my kind of vacation.

The key to a good key lime pie is…well…key limes. However, they’re pretty hard to find here in Missouri. Fortunately, most speciality stores here sell key lime juice (we like Nellie & Joe’s), which makes this recipe possible even in this land locked state.

Key Lime Pie
Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 14 min. Chill Time: Overnight

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

15 honey graham cracker sheets
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Filling:

Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup key lime juice
2 egg yolks
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

For the Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, blend all ingredients of the crust until it becomes like fine wet sand. When pinched together, the crumbs should lightly stick together. Add more butter if not sticking together. Pat crumbs evenly into a 9″ pie round. Bake the crust for about 6 minutes until aromatic. Clean food processor while crust is baking.

Blend all ingredients of the filling until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 12-14 minutes, until filling is set around the edges but the middle still jiggles when shook. Remove from oven and cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

To make topping, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until hard peaks form. Pipe topping using a star shaped tip, starting on the outside and working your way in.

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Serve chilled.

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