Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Recipes for Cinco de Mayo, fresh home-made guacamole, salsa recipe, perfect your knife skills by making guacamole and salsa

Whatcha makin’ for Cinco de Mayo this weekend?  We’re pretty sure your celebration plans include  kicking back with at least some beer, margaritas and chips!  Why not throw in some guacamole and salsa, too?  

We’ve got a really awesome portfolio of technique videos you can use.  Take a look here:  http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/salsaandguacamole

Guacamole
Makes 3 cups
2 ripe avocadoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and small diced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1-2 pinches kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce
In a medium-sized bowl, add the avocado, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, lime juice, scallions and cilantro.  With a large spoon or potato masher, mash the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.  Taste, and season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.Refrigerate until ready to use by placing plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole to prevent the top from turning brown.Serve cold with lots of chips!
Salsa
Makes 2 cups
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bell pepper, small diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and small diced
1 white onion, small diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 pinches kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until everything is mixed together.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, pepper and lime juice if needed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve cold with lots of chips!
Turkey Chili
Serves 4-6
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, or 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen yellow corn kernels
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup water
Garnishes:
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
sliced scallions (green onions)
shredded cheese
sour cream
Heat a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Cook the ground turkey until the meat is brown and crumbly, about 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic for 30 seconds, then place the lid on the dutch oven and lower the heat to medium to sweat the vegetables, about 7 minutes.  Remove the lid and add the beans, tomatoes and corn and saute for another minute.  Add the spices and saute until fragrant, about another 20 seconds.  Add the bouillon cube and water and stir to combine.  Cover and let the chili simmer for 40 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally.Evenly divide the chili among the serving bowls and garnish.  Serve hot.
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I say Stuffing… and you say Dressing

And so the perpetual battle rages on:  Stuffing vs. Dressing.  Which is it?  The customary side dish to the Thanksgiving Turkey really can be either; depending from where you hail.  Most folks from the Northern states call it stuffing.  The Southern states call it dressing.  And those in the Midwest and Western states pretty much just go along with what it was traditionally called down through the generations.  But regardless of where you’re from and whichever you call it, the traditional Turkey Sidekick is almost always a savory recipe prepared with seasoned bread croutons or cornbread and mixed with vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery.  Depending on where you are,  nuts, dried fruits and herbs also make an appearance.

So why call it stuffing or dressing?  Who still stuffs the turkey, anyway?   Is it called dressing if it’s not stuffed inside?  Why do we make a dressing and stuff it inside a turkey, which then becomes a stuffing for the turkey?  Can I make a stuffing without stuffing it into the bird?  Or would that be called dressing?  But didn’t you just ask if the dressing BECOMES the stuffing?   WHY IS THIS SO COMPLICATED? 

Relax, people.  Please.

We call it stuffing (but for those of you who want to think of it as dressing, be our guest) and bake it in a dish to serve with the turkey.  We do not serve anything that’s been stuffed inside a turkey.  Stuffing a turkey  with stuffing/dressing increases the turkey’s cooking time — which might lead to over-cooking the bird (have you ever choked on dry breast meat?) or undercooking the center.  Either way, over-cooked turkey or salmonella-laced stuffing/dressing are two avenues we’d rather avoid this holiday.

Try our cornbread stuffing.  Make the cornbread in a jiffy, using the famous blue and white box!  This heart-warming, food-coma-inducing stuffing recipe is a hands-down winner in our recipe box. The toasty fennel seeds add a spicy sweetness that the tart apple and dried cranberries pick up. Make sure to make extras – there are almost no leftovers from just one dish.

*Be sure to hit the blue links to see the helpful videos we’ve made to guide you through the recipe.  As always,  subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Apple, Fennel Seed and Cornbread Stuffing

Serves 6 to 8

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter for buttering casserole, + 2 tablespoons to saute
2 yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
6 cups prepared cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, optional
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 small pieces for dotting the casserole

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the fennel seeds until they are warm and fragrant, about three minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter the inside of a 13×9-inch gratin dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of butter and sauté the onions over medium heat until translucent, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, celery, apple and fennel seeds and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.

Toss the vegetable mixture with the cornbread, parsley and cranberries in a large bowl.  Season stuffing with salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning to taste as necessary.  Stir in the eggs.  Add as much stock as needed to moisten the stuffing but not make it soggy (you may not need all of the stock).  Place stuffing in prepared gratin dish and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on the top.  Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until warmed through.  Remove foil and continue baking an additional 5 to 10 minutes until top of stuffing is golden brown.

To Make Stuffing Ahead: Bake cornbread 2 days before Thanksgiving.  Assemble stuffing the day before in the baking dish, then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. To bake, remove stuffing from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until warm through.  Remove foil and continue baking an additional 5 to 10 minutes until top of stuffing is golden brown.


Creative Additions:
Add one or more of the following

1 cup chopped chestnuts,

1 cup chopped pecans,

½ cup roasted garlic cloves,

2 tablespoons chopped sage,

½ pound mushrooms, sliced and sautéed,

½ pound cooked bulk Italian sausage, crumbled

2 tablespoons brandy

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Conversation about Crying and Stinking… Onions and Garlic, that is.

The following is an excerpt from a general-composite conversation we’ve had with a number of people over the years.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Perhaps the dialogue has not been transcribed verbatim…but whatever.  You get the gist.

Q:            Hey there, DearMartini, what’s up with the Onion-crying thing and the Garlic-stinking thing?

DM:            Onions and garlic are the most aromatic tools in the culinary world.  They offer flavor and aroma in so many different ways – without them, our lives (and tastebuds) would be terribly bland and boring.

Q:              Why does chopping onions make us cry?

DM:            That’s perhaps the most common cooking-related question in the Culinary Universe — the mystery of how and why onions make us cry… and how can we avoid crying.

Chefs Mia and Terri have taught home cooks like you the basic knife skill techniques for years.  Each time, when we reach that point in class where we have to face the inevitable onion-dicing lesson, we are pelted with a barrage of questions from students.  “How can we stop from crying?”  “OMG, my eyes are burning!  What’s happening to me??”  “Does that method where we chop them under water actually work?”  One of the best answers we have to the most common question, “How do we keep from crying when we chop onions?” is “Get someone else to do it for you.”

OK. All joking aside, if you wear eye protection in the form of goggles, contact lenses or scuba masks, then you’re pretty much out of the woods.  The rest of us, however, have to suffer the intense burning and eye discomfort as we prep for dinner.

So, why do onions make us cry?  The answer is both simple, and complex.

The simple answer is, onions have a natural defense mechanism to keep predators from eating them:  there is a compound in them that releases gases and fumes into the air when their cell walls are broken, which react to the delicate membranes in our eyes and noses that cause the burning reaction.

For a more complex answer, we turn to our most honored and respected food scientist, Harold McGee, who wrote the definitive book on food science, On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen:

“The distinctive flavors of the onion family come from its defensive use of the element sulfur.  The growing plants take up sulfur from the soil and incorporate it into four different kinds of chemical ammunition, which float in the cell fluids while their enzyme trigger is held separately in a storage vacuole.  When the cell is damaged by chopping or chewing, the enzyme escapes and breaks the ammunition molecules in half to produce irritating, strong-smelling sulfurous molecules… One sulfur product is produced in significant quantities only in the onion, shallot, leek, chive and rakkyo:  the “lacrimator,” which causes our eyes to water.  This volatile chemical escapes from the damaged onion into the air, and lands in the onion cutter’s eyes and nose, where it apparently attacks nerve endings directly, then breaks down into hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid.  A very effective molecular bomb!”

Q:            WOW.  TMI.  All we wanted to know is how do we REALLY keep from crying when we chop onions.

DM:            Well, if you really can’t handle wearing your swim goggles in the kitchen, we suggest a couple of things:

1)   Keep your onions as cold as possible – the cold temperature slows down the enzyme, buying you a few more seconds of time before waterworks begin;

2)   Keep your cuts to a minimum – be as efficient as you can with your chopping.  No mincing or mashing, please.  Remember, the more cell walls that are damaged, the more the enzymes have a chance to tango with the compounds;

3)   Keeping your knife as razor-sharp as possible is related to #2 – a super-sharp knife can cut through just enough cell walls that it needs to without mashing, tearing or bruising more (which is what a dull knife would do).

4)   If you have a lot of onions to chop at once, keep your kitchen well-ventilated or light a match over the fumes.

5)   And if all else fails, get someone else to chop the onions for you!

Q:             Ha.  Ha.  Very funny.  Can’t we just buy them pre-chopped?

DM:            Well, you could, but that won’t minimize the effects of crying.  The compounds and volatile fumes only get stronger when they sit for longer periods of time.

Q:            So is that why garlic stinks so badly on our hands after we chop it?

DM:            You could say that…

Q:            Do you have any tips on how to get the garlic smell off our hands?

DM:            Try rubbing your hands with a stainless steel spoon under running water, then washing your hands with soap and water.  The steel reacts to the garlic compounds on your fingers and neutralizes the odor.  It’s always worked for us.

Q:            What if I want to get rid of garlic breath?  Can I rub a spoon all over the inside of my mouth, too?

DM:            Nice try, but no.  Sorry.

SUPERBOWL SNACK IDEAS — AND THEN SOME!

 

Hey Kids – it’s Superbowl Weekend!

Have you thought about your snack line-up yet?  Here are DearMartini, we’re going to sit back and watch the Puppy Bowl before we switch to the real game and enjoy some chips and dips and a steaming bowl of chili.  MMMmmmmmmMMMMmmmmMMMMM……

To give you a hand, we’ll even share our favorite Superbowl Snack recipes with you!  Just hit the hot links to see the bite-sized how-to videos in each recipe if you need some help!

GO GIANTS!

 

 

Guacamole
Makes 3 cups
2 ripe avocadoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and small diced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1-2 pinches kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce

In a medium-sized bowl, add the avocado, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, lime juice, scallions and cilantro.  With a large spoon or potato masher, mash the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.  Taste, and season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Refrigerate until ready to use by placing plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole to prevent the top from turning brown.

Serve cold with lots of chips!

Salsa
Makes 2 cups
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bell pepper, small diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and small diced
1 white onion, small diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 pinches kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until everything is mixed together.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, pepper and lime juice if needed.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve cold with lots of chips!

Vegetarian Chili
Serves 4-6
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, or 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen yellow corn kernels
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup water
Garnishes:
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
sliced scallions (green onions)
shredded cheese
sour cream

Heat a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic for 30 seconds, then place the lid on the dutch oven and lower the heat to medium to sweat the vegetables, about 7 minutes.  Remove the lid and add the beans, tomatoes and corn and saute for another minute.  Add the spices and saute until fragrant, about another 20 seconds.  Add the bouillon cube and water and stir to combine.  Cover and let the chili simmer for 20 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally.

Evenly divide the chili among the serving bowls and garnish.  Serve hot.