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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Tale of Two Salads

If all you are required to bring to your hosts’ house for Thanksgiving this year is a salad to add to the menu, consider preparing one of these beautiful versions that celebrate the most amazing flavors fall has to offer.

One serves as a hearty first-course salad; the other a nice palate-cleanser.

Remember this great vinaigrette video?  It certainly comes in handy for these salads!

*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!

Spinach with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves 4 to 6

4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon stone-ground mustard

¼ teaspoon minced shallot

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Granny Smith Apple, diced

1 cup walnut halves, toasted

¼ cup dried cranberries

4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry

¼ cup crumbled bleu cheese

Cook the bacon:  In a medium skillet over medium flame, cook the bacon until crispy.  Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Make the vinaigrette:  Pour as much of the bacon grease into a clean glass measuring cup and add additional olive oil to make up ¾ cup.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, shallot, vinegar and thyme.  Add a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Pour the oil mixture in a thin, steady stream as you whisk the vinegar mixture together.  Alternatively, you can add all of the ingredients into a jar and shake vigorously.

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss together the bacon, diced apple, walnuts, dried cranberries and spinach with a drizzle of the vinaigrette. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad evenly among the serving plates and top with the bleu cheese.

Frisee with Orange and Pomegranate and Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4 to 6

¼ cup sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon minced shallot

¼ teaspoon minced thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshy ground black pepper

½ cup hazelnut oil

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 head frisee lettuce, trimmed

2 navel oranges, segmented

½ cup pomegranate seeds

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

Make the vinaigrette:  In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, shallot, thyme and salt and pepper.  Mix together until smooth.  In a slow, steady stream, pour in the oils while whisking constantly until the vinaigrette is thickened.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the frisee, orange segments and half the pomegranate seeds.  Toss with ¼ cup of the dressing and salt and pepper.  Evenly divide the salad among the serving plates and top with the remaining pomegranate seeds and the hazelnuts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner!

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner

As a follow-up to our blog post on pan-seared steak, and for the folks who are more inclined to have chicken for dinner, this is for YOU!

In this episode, we feature the pan-seared chicken breast and a garlic-rosemary pan sauce.  If you watch closely, you’ll see that the elements and techniques for this chicken recipe are almost exactly the same as the methods for the steak recipe.  In fact, it’s DESIGNED to be similar – once you master the basic techniques, you can apply them to virtually anything as long as you understand heat management and flavor profile.  And those two foundations of cooking only come with experience – the more you cook and taste your own food, the more you’ll figure out where to add a little here, push it a little there…  you’ll be on your way to eventually cooking WITHOUT recipes!

Here’s a great base recipe to follow and make your own.

Pan-seared Chicken Breast with Garlic-Rosemary Pan Sauce

Serves 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 half chicken breasts, boneless, skin-on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Make a beurre manié:  In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the butter and flour until it forms a paste.  Roll the paste together into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sear the chicken breasts:  Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge, unwrap and set them on a large plate.  Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and set aside until they come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before cooking.

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high flame and add the grapeseed oil.  When you see the oil shimmering, place the chicken breasts in the middle of the pan, skin-side down and sear for 4 minutes.  Check after 4 minutes – if the skin is still sticking to the pan, leave it alone.  It’s not ready to be flipped yet.  If the chicken lifts up with no problem, check the color – the skin should be golden and crispy.  Flip the breasts to the other side and sear for another 4 minutes.

Transfer the entire pan to the oven and roast for another 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°.  Remove the breasts from the pan to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest.  In the time it takes for the breasts to rest, you can make a tasty pan sauce with the pan drippings that are left in the pan!

Make the Pan Sauce:  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan and return the pan to medium-flame.  Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until it is fragrant.  Pour a small amount of chicken stock in the pan and use a wooden spoon to rub and scrape up the hardened pan drippings from the bottom of the pan.   This step not only cleans the pan, but also dissolves the pan drippings (or fond) back into the sauce, boosting the sauce’s flavor.  Add the remainder of the chicken stock and rosemary and increase the heat to high.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by a third.   Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter and flour mixture, gently stirring to melt the butter.  As the butter melts, the sauce will thicken slightly.  Remove the garlic and rosemary or strain the sauce.  Taste and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Stir in a couple of drops of lemon juice if you feel the sauce needs some acidity.  Keep warm.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch thick slices across the grain and drizzle the sauce over.  Serve hot with a side of pasta tossed with minced garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes, and some vegetables, like blanched peas.

As always, you can check out the video collections on our Vimeo Channel!

Steak… with Benefits

It’s a universal truth that all cooks have to know how to properly sear a steak.  And yet only a few well-trained cooks know that properly searing a steak pays off dividends in the end.  Our preferred cut of steak is the New York; also known as the strip steak, the club steak or the  Kansas City, this particular cut of steak is flavorful and tender so there is no need to marinate.   The dividend?  When pan searing steaks, you can use the pan drippings to make a quick sauce.  In the time it takes for the steaks to rest, you can make a delicious light pan sauce.  It’s a benefit you should really take advantage and try.

Pan-Seared New York Steak with Red-Wine Pan Sauce

Serves 4

2 (10-ounce) New York strip steaks, cut 1-½ inches thick
Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
1-½ tablespoons clarified butter
1 shallot, minced
½ cup dry red wine
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup low-sodium beef  or chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and frozen until ready to use

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.  Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, when hot, add the clarified butter and sear steaks 3 minutes on both sides.

Transfer pan to the oven and roast until medium-rare (a thermometer inserted into the center of the steak will register 127˚F), approximately 7 minutes or roast to desired doneness. Remove steaks from the oven and transfer to a clean plate. Tent steaks with foil to keep warm and let rest for 10 minutes while preparing the pan sauce.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots to the pan and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme and stock to the pan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half; about 7 to 8 minutes.  Add any accumulated beef juices from the resting steaks to the pan; simmer another minute.  Turn the heat off and swirl in the cold butter a couple pieces at a time until blended into the sauce.  Taste and season sauce with salt and pepper if needed.  Strain sauce (optional) and transfer to a small serving pitcher.

Slice steaks against the grain into 1/3-inch thick slices and serve with sauce.

*Cook’s note:  This Red-Wine pan sauce is an example of a simple sauce lightened and slightly thickened by swirling in a couple of tablespoons of butter.  The consistency of this sauce is light and not thick like traditional gravy.  It’s just a quick little sauce you can drizzle over your steaks.

The Nicoise Salad

The Nicoise Salad.

Ahi tuna Nicoise Salad

There is so much going on it might look like it’s got everything but the kitchen sink; but break that down and examine what it’s offering:  soft, sweet greens…  a meaty tuna steak (pure protein)… ripe cherry tomatoes (nature’s candy, at the peak of their season, it’s a little red garden kiss)… crunchy green beans… soft, satisfying potatoes that soak up the vinaigrette… vinegary fruity olives… creamy hard-cooked eggs… all pulled together with a vinaigrette made with the best olive oil you can afford.  This is the Salad of all salads, folks.  It’s the best of everything — all on one plate.

At the risk of making you think I’ve gone over the deep end, I believe Aristotle might have had the Nicoise Salad in mind when he said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”  It’s a marriage of the best quality ingredients and execution of technique.  If ever you wanted to improve your cooking skills, make this salad a few times this month.  Each component for this salad requires a technique.  The better you are at mastering each technique, the more amazing this salad becomes. And the best part of using this salad to practice your skills:  you get to eat your efforts!  Rip open a crusty baguette and open a bottle of wine (a dry rosé would be perfect, by the way).  Think of us when you do.  Cheers!

Nicoise Salad

Serves 2

  • prepare each ingredient separately and keep chilled in the fridge, then assemble the salad as described below in the instructions
  • We have provided a technique video for each of the components of this salad.  The complete video portfolio can be viewed on Vimeo:  http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/nicoise-salad

½ cup vinaigrette, recipe follows

2 large handfuls of salad greens, washed and spun dry (we prefer baby romaine)

4 hard boiled eggs, chilled and peeled

1 cup haricots vert, blanched and chilled

6 small potatoes, boiled and chilled (red or Yukon Gold)

1 cup ripe cherry tomtatoes, halved

¼ cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, pitted

1 (8-ounce) sashimi-grade Ahi tuna steak, seared and rested

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A.  Prepare the salad components:

  1. Place a large serving dish or platter in your fridge to chill.
  2. Make a batch of vinaigrette and set aside.
  3. Prepare the salad greens keep covered in the fridge with a damp paper towel.
  4. Make the hard-cooked eggs.  Peel and chill them.
  5. Trim and blanch the haricots vert.  Drain from the ice bath and keep chilled.
  6. Boil the potatoes and toss in a separate bowl with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.  Set aside.
  7. Halve the cherry tomatoes and set aside.
  8. To sear the tuna, heat a stainless steel pan over high flame.  As the pan is heating, generously season both sides of the tuna with salt and pepper. The pan will be heated properly when water beads as it’s sprinkled into the pan.  Let the water evaporate from the pan before adding the oil.  Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and place the tuna on the pan to sear one side for 45 seconds.  Carefully lift the tuna and flip to the other side and sear for another 45 seconds on the other side.  Immediately remove the tuna from the pan onto a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes.

B.  Assemble the salad:

  • in this composition, the sliced tuna steak will take center stage.  The rest of the components will surround the tuna around the edges of the platter.
  • Use the same bowl to toss each separate component with vinaigrette.
  1. Lightly toss the salad greens with salt, pepper and vinaigrette and arrange on the platter.
  2. Peel the hard-cooked eggs.  Cut them in half and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Lightly drizzle with a teaspoon of vinaigrette.  Arrange them on the platter.
  3. Cut the potatoes in half and toss with more vinaigrette.  Arrange them on the platter.
  4. Toss the haricots vert with salt, pepper and vinaigrette.  Arrange them on the platter.
  5. Toss the cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette and arrange them on the platter.
  6. Arrange the olives on the platter.
  7. Slice the tuna in ¼-inch slices across the grain and arrange in the center of the platter.
  8. Drizzle some more vinaigrette over the top of the salad and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Serve immediately.

C.  Vinaigrette for Nicoise Salad — ah yes, remember this one?

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/44209569″>Vinaigrette</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/dearmartini”>Dear Martini</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Makes 1 cup

¼ cup Champagne vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard

generous pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon minced shallot

2 teaspoons minced parsley

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all of the ingredients into a clean jar (preferably one that is 12 – 16 ounces in capacity).  Make sure the lid is on tight and shake to combine.  Keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Vinaigrette

 

Every cook should be able to make a vinaigrette in his or her sleep.  Why?  It’s a versatile sauce that can be used on salad and veggies, works equally well on cold meat and fish dishes, and can even substitute for a marinade.  It’s a sauce that is quick and easy to make and stores well in the fridge for up to two weeks. Vinaigrette is also the sauce where you can let your creativity run wild with the possibility of dozens (hundreds) of variations once you understand the basics.

Basic Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh herbs
  •  1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper with the vinegar until smooth.  Continue to whisk while slowly pouring in a thin, steady stream, the olive oil.  The mixture will gradually thicken.

Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if needed.  (Vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks)

What to stock your pantry with:

Aromatics

Mustard

Helps to keep the emulsion from separating.  A little goes a long way.

  • Dijon
  • Stoneground

Salt & Pepper

Now is the time to breakout that fancy salt you’ve been saving…

  • Kosher salt
  • Sea salt
  • Seasoned salt (truffle salt for example)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (our favorite  — Tellicherry peppercorns)

Herbs

Fresh herbs are the stars of vinaigrette.  It’s what sets a homemade vinaigrette apart from the store bought stuff!

Vinegars

  • Traditional balsamic or white balsamic (If you haven’t tried white balsamic you’re missing out! Think of it as the less acidic, doesn’t turn your salad muddy and dark cousin of traditional balsamic)
  • Champagne, red or white wine, sherry, cider
  • Herb infused vinegars
  • Fruit infused vinegars – raspberry, pomegranate, and mango
  • Rice vinegar – plain or sweetened
  • Distilled white vinegar best for cleaning not for vinaigrettes

Juice

Substitute a portion or all of the vinegar with juice

  • Fruit juice – pomegranate, white grape juice, guava
  • Citrus juice – lemon, lime, orange, blood orange, grapefruit, AND all citrus zest

Oils

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • Substitute ¼ cup of the extra-virgin olive with walnut, hazelnut, almond or sesame

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.