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Image.PicodeGallo&AvoTostadas

Pico de Gallo & Bean Tostadas (Vegan)

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods, Holidays, Vegetables On May 1, 2017 0 Comments

Thinking of a quick, no-brainer recipe for Cinco de Mayo? Make these organic & delicious vegan tostadas. You’ll probably have to double or triple the recipe because these starters will vanish in no time!

Be sure to use Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans®. This bean product contains meat or animal fat products. Anything you make with these beans will taste wholesome and natural.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (with pulp discarded)
1/2 cup finely-chopped red onion
1 teaspoon finely-chopped Serrano chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (you may add more, to taste)
1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
One 15.4-ounce can Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans®
12 blue or yellow corn, flat tostada shells
Avocado slices (from 1 avocado), optional
1/2 cup grated, dry cheese (Cotija, Parmigiano Reggiano or other variety)

Make Pico de Gallo Salsa:
1. In a 1 to 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, onion, Serrano chile pepper, salt and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust chile pepper & salt levels.

2. Set Pico de Gallo aside, covered.

Warm Up The Refried Beans:
1. Meanwhile, transfer the refried beans to a small saucepot.

2. On medium-high setting, warm up the beans, stirring constantly.

3. As beans warm up, if consistency is too thick or dry, add a little water.

Assemble Tostadas:
1. When beans are hot, spread about 2 tablespoons on each tostada set on a serving platter.

2. Top the beans with 2 tablespoons Pico de Gallo Salsa.

3. If desired add 1 or 2 thin slices avocado, followed by a sprinkle of grated cheese.

4. Serve with Margaritas or Tequila shots – Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Shepherd'sPie

Sherpherd’s Pie

In Fun Foods, Meats On February 27, 2015 0 Comments

Don’t you just love the winter months? This is when we can eat foods that warm the heart and soul. One of my fav’s is Sherpherd’s Pie – our family recipe is made with mashed organic potatoes, corn and ground beef or turkey. Enjoy this one-dish dinner next to a fireplace and let the evening linger with a few glasses of wine…

Prep time: 30 to 40 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds Yukon Gold organic potatoes (or other favorite variety)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound organic ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup finely chopped white or brown onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (optional – for mashed potatoes)
One 15-ounce can organic corn, drained, rinsed & drained once more

Prepare the Mashed Potatoes:

1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into 3-inch chunks.

2. As you cut the potatoes, immediately place them in a 4 to 5-quart sauce pot, covered with cold water (this will avoid blackening of potatoes).

3. After all potatoes have been placed in sauce pot, drain them and cover them with cold water once more.

4. Bring potatoes to a boil.

5. Boil potatoes on medium heat until they are cooked through – about 7 to 10 minutes.

6. After 7 to 10 minutes, test the tenderness of potatoes by piercing one of the chunks with a fork or pointed knife.

7. When potatoes are cooked, drain them in a metal colander.

8. Return potatoes to the sauce pot and mash the potatoes with a masher; stir in the butter or olive oil.

9. Add salt, ground black pepper and the broth, to taste.

10. Cover the mashed potatoes in sauce pot and set them aside.

Prepare the Ground Meat Filling:

1. In a 12-inch skillet and on medium-high setting, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon continuously (this will avoid large clumps).

3. As soon as the meat turns gray, stir in the chopped onion with salt and ground black pepper, to taste.

4. Cook the meat mixture for 5 to 7 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and onions are translucent.

5. When meat is cooked, transfer it to a clean, metal colander to drain over a bowl.

6. Let meat drain for about 5 minutes.

Assemble & Bake the Sherpherd’s Pie:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Oil or butter a 10 X 10-inch baking dish (alternatively, a rectangular or oval dish can be used).

3. Transfer half of the mashed potatoes to the baking dish, spreading the potatoes evenly.

4. Add half of the drained meat mixture, spreading it evenly over the mashed potatoes.

5. Spoon the drained corn over the meat.

6. Top the corn with remaining mashed potatoes.

7. Cover the Sherpherd’s Pie with baking dish cover or with aluminum foil.

8. Set Shepherd’s Pie on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake for 20 minutes.

9. After 20 minutes of baking, uncover the Shepherd’s Pie and place it underneath oven overhead grill.

10. Grill the Shepherd’s Pie for 4 to 5 minutes (stand watch in order to avoid charring).

11. Serve Shepherd’s Pie immediately. If desired, add a little ketchup on the side.

Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon (with ground beef version)
Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio (with ground turkey version)
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

HallowenCakesOct.'14

Halloween R.I.P. Carrot Cakes

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Fun Foods, Holidays On October 18, 2014 0 Comments

This year, for Halloween, I transformed my traditional carrot cake into spooky R.I.P cakes. They’re topped with buttercream frosting and, of course, tombstones.

These Halloween carrot cakes are fun to make, especially if you include the kids. Happy Halloween!

Prep time: 20 minutes (for the cupcakes) and 20 minutes (to mix the frosting and decorate cupcakes)
Bake time: 25 minutes
Makes: 12 cakes* (cupcakes)

Ingredients for Carrot Cakes:
2 cups finely-shredded carrots – do this first and set aside in a bowl
1-1/2 all-purpose, unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Make the Carrot Cakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a 3-cup bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

3. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla.

4. Beat the mixture until it is uniform.

5. Fold in the shredded carrots and walnuts and mix well. The batter will be firm.

6. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake papers and divide the batter evenly among them.

7. Transfer the muffin pan to a rack positioned in center of preheated oven.

8. Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes.

9. After 20 minutes, insert a sharp knife in center of one cake. If knife comes out dry, the cakes are done. If not, bake the cakes for an additional 5 minutes.

10. When the cakes are done, transfer the muffin pan to a kitchen counter; set aside to cool for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream frosting:

Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting:
One package (16-ounces) confectioner’s sugar (this is powdered sugar)
One stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
6 drops red food color
9 drops yellow food color

Prepare the Buttercream Frosting:
1. In a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, cream the sugar, butter and milk together. Alternatively, stand-mixer fitted with a bowl can be used.

2. When the buttercream frosting is creamy and uniform, mix in the food color. This will convert the white frosting into a light orange frosting.

3. When the frosting has turned orange, using a spoon, transfer it to a frosting bag fitted with a star tip.

4. Using a swirling motion, pipe the buttercream frosting onto the cakes.

5. Add a Halloween decoration of your choice to each cake.**

PREPARE CAKES ONE DAY AHEAD: These Halloween cakes can be baked a day ahead, cooked and transferred to a platter. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate them until the next day.

FROST THE CAKES ON THE DAY OF SERVING: Prepare the buttercream and frost the cakes up to 2 hours ahead. Cover them with tented foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Alternatively, you can use a standard loaf pan. This will result in a carrot cake or bread.
**For this recipe, the R.I.P. cupcake kit was purchased at CVS Pharmacy® in Los Angeles.
Text and Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

Halloween Pizza

Halloween Pizza

In Holidays, Pizzas, Savory Tarts & Quiches On October 17, 2012 0 Comments

For this vibrant pizza, you already know that I’m an advocate of pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s® refrigerated section. It’s delicious, fast and easy.

These pizzas are perfect for that Halloween party you’ve been planning. Make a few of these pizzas (by doubling or tripling the recipe) in minutes. You’ll surely please all the spooks and zombies out there.

Have fun and stay safe on Halloween.

Active prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 13 to 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
One 16-ounce Trader Joe’s® plain, refrigerated pizza dough
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 large yellow tomato, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
6 red grape tomatoes, cut in half
6 yellow grape tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 to 12 fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.

2. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, spread the vegetable oil evenly on a 16-inch round  or 12 X 16-inch rectangular baking sheet.

3. Place the dough over the oiled sheet and flatten slightly.

4. Flip the dough over and begin stretching the dough gently with fingertips until it fits into sides of the baking sheet.

5. Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

6. Arrange the shredded mozzarella evenly over pizza dough.

7. Follow with the yellow tomato rounds, red and yellow grape tomatoes.

8. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and remaining olive oil and top the pizza with basil leaves.

9. Place sheet with pizza on a rack positioned in upper third of oven and bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until the crust edges begin to turn light golden.

10. Transfer the pizza to bottom rack and bake an additonal 4 to 5 minutes or until bottom of pizza is golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Wine paring suggestion: Pinot Grigio (white).

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Melon-Tequila Cooler

Melon-Tequila Cooler

In Drinks On July 31, 2012 0 Comments

At poolside this summer, bring your temperature down with this refreshing melon cooler. Blended in minutes, the drink is laced with that wonderful south-of-the border specialty – Tequila.

While swimming, tanning or just lounging around, our Melon-Tequila Cooler will make you feel relaxed in no time.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups cut-up cantaloup melon (cut in 1-inch pieces)
2 to 3 shots Tequila
3-1/2 cups ice cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 lime, sliced (for garnish)
2 sprigs mint leaves (for garnish)

1. In a blender, mix together the melon and Tequila shots.

2. Add 2 cups ice cubes and pulse-blend until slushy.

3. Add 1-1/2 cups more ice cubes and pulse-blend once more. Adjust Tequila level and add sugar, if desired.

4. Divide the drink among two tall glasses and garnish with lime slices and sprigs of mint.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.