Cavatelli with Vegetables and Olive Oil

On August 30, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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cappelitte

Cavatelli is an often forgotten pasta. You probably don’t recall what it looks like when you see it on a menu, but when you see it you go “oh yes, I’ve had that before.”  It doesn’t have a familiar shape like bowtie, fusilli, or penne pasta. Cavatelli is great for sauces that are oil based, like this simple pasta dish that makes for a great lunch or quick dinner on any weekday.

Cavatelli with Vegetables and Olive Oil
Serves 4

1 lb Cavatelli pasta
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 bell pepper, small bite-size diced pieces
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper to taste

Parmigiano Reggiano, additional to add to pasta for serving

Cook the cavatelli pasta in a pot of boiling water.  If using fresh, cook for 2-3 minutes. If cooking dried, follow the instructions on the package. Drain pasta when finished.

Pour half of the olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Add the red onion, garlic, and bell pepper cook for 3 minutes. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan, remaining olive oil, grape tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano then cook for a minute more.  Before serving add the Italian parsley and pepper.

Sprinkle each dish with Parmigiano Reggiano, if you desire, and serve with a piece of sourdough bread.

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Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

On August 7, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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IMG_3746

We are on vacation in Michigan enjoying not going out for every meal, so I’ve been making quick, easy vegetarian dishes that help us enjoy vacation even more.  Eating good, healthy food helps too.  This salad is a great example of something easy to make with just a few ingredients.

This morning was the Northport Farmer’s Market where I found some great purple kale for this salad and the bread too!

Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 
Serves 4

1 bunch purple kale
1 apple, diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Chop kale into thin strips and place in bowl along with the diced apple and red onion. Meanwhile heat a saute pan on medium heat with the olive oil in the pan. Add the pine nuts and sugar and let it cook for a couple minutes just before they begin to brown. Remove from heat and add to bowl with kale.

To make the dressing combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup in a bowl and add the olive oil a couple tablespoons at a time whisking each time to combine.  Continue until all olive oil is added and then season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you are good with the mix. If too acidic, add some more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the kale salad and mix to coat.  Serve with some fresh bread.

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Coppa Street Tacos

On October 7, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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coppatacos

Last weekend I had a chance to stop by my favorite LA butcher, Lindy & Grundy.  They carry a selection of local, pasture raised, and organic meats. Unlike most visits, I didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to buy and found a cut of boneless pork shoulder, coppa, next to my typical bone-in pork butt that I normally put into my smoker.

Coppa is a cut I wasn’t familiar with, or at least wasn’t used to seeing it at meat counter in its raw form.  That’s what is so great about visiting Lindy & Grundy, I learn about different cuts one usually doesn’t find; although, when I arrived at home with my Coppa in hand, I looked up the cut on Google and learned it most often used to make one of my favorite cuts of cured meat – Capocollo.

I had bought the meat to make some tacos so I decided to marinate the Coppa and smoke it the next day.

The tacos worked in the end. The smoked Coppa had a smoked, bacon-like, flavor that went well with the corn tortillas, onions, cilantro, squeezed lime and Tapatio hot sauce.

Coppa Street Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of Coppa, boneless pork shoulder
2 oranges, juice only
1 bottle brown ale, such as New Castle
4 garlic cloves, sliced in half

12 corn tortillas
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes, quartered
hot sauce

The night before cooking marinate the Coppa in a bowl mixing the orange juice, ale and garlic cloves. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare a smoker. Discard the marinade. I used some Almond Wood and smoked the Coppa at 225 degrees for 7 hours letting it reach 160 degrees.

Once the Coppa is cooked in the smoker, it can be refrigerated and used the next day or diced into small chunks and served.

Heat the corn tortillas in a saute pan on medium-high with a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil.  Let the oil get hot and using tongs heat each side of the tortilla for about 10 seconds and then place on some paper towel to remove the grease. Repeat with each tortilla.

Add Coppa, onions and cilantro to each tortilla and serve with cut limes and hot sauce.

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Street Tacos al Pastor for #SundaySupper

On September 16, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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September 16th is Día de Independencia in Mexico (Mexico’s Independence Day) and to celebrate the group of bloggers from #SundaySupper decided to feature Mexican dishes.  As someone who has another blog entirely dedicated to my favorite Mexican food — Tacos — I was excited to try making something I have always wanted to attempt.

Tacos al Pastor is my go to taco when I am out doing taco reviews on GasStationTacos.com.  It’s my test to see if the taqueria is sub par, average or amazing. If you have never enjoyed an al pastor taco, you are in for a treat provided you find a place (or recipe) that is at least average and hopefully amazing.

I’ve had amazing a few times.  The most memorable is from this gas station in Dallas, Texas:

They make it on a vertical spit something most home cooks don’t own, myself included. Sadly this recipe isn’t a match for some of the amazing pastor tacos in my history, but that doesn’t mean you should stop reading or ignore this recipe.  It just means the recipe here is above average and is a solid choice for homemade al pastor.  Granted I’ll probably try some other things next time, like increasing or modifying the chiles used as I prefer a bit more spice.

My wife really liked this recipe and thought the tacos were really good. Note this was her first time having al pastor tacos, because she will not eat at the gas stations or taco trucks I like to frequent.  Her loss.

So here is my virgin attempt at al pastor.

You will need to find a Mexican market as you’ll need a coupe things you probably won’t find at the typical grocery store.  Achiote paste and dried guajillos chiles are two things I had to find after striking out here in LA at Whole Foods.

Tacos al Pastor
Serves 4

16 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil
2 lbs pork butt, trimmed of some of the outer fat and cut into 1″ “steaks”
1/2 pineapple
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, diced
4 limes, cut into quarters
salt

Anchiote Marinade
2 oranges, juice only
1/2 cup anchiote paste
10 dry guajillos chiles
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the marinade by soaking the dried gualjillos chiles in hot water for about 10 minutes.  Add the softened chiles to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined.  Pour the marinade over the pork butt, cut into 1″ thick “steaks” and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Heat your grill and add the pork.  Cook the pork for about 20 minutes turning halfway through and pounding the pork with some grill tongs. You want to soften the pork and thin it while it is cooking.  For the last 5 minutes of grilling add some rounds of pineapple.

While waiting for everything to grill, soften the tortillas by heating some oil in a saute pan on the stove.  Quickly add the tortillas for just a second on each side and place on papper towel patting them to remove any excess oil.

Remove the pork and pineapple.  Chop the pork and cut the pineapple into small pieces mixing all of it together.  In a separate bowl mix the red onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime and salt.

Prepare 3 to 4 tacos per plate and place some pork and pineapple mixture onto each tortilla and top with the onion and cilantro mixture.

Serve with some hot sauce and fresh limes.


For more ways to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day checkout the other #SundaySupper recipes this week:

Join us around the family table this week for our #SundaySupper Mexican Fiesta – it’s a party that you won’t want to miss. We hope to inspire you with these mouthwatering recipes from our talented contributors. We will be sharing them all day long and would love for you to share your favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired recipes during our #SundaySupper live chat at 7pm (Eastern).

Sopas (Soups), Ensaladas (Salads), and Entremeses (Starters)

La Comida (the food)

Postres (desserts)

Bebidas (beverages)

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite recipes for a Mexican Fiesta! All you have to do is follow the#SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your Mexican Fiesta recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers! And feel free to leave links to your favorite Mexican or Mexican-inspired recipes in the comment section of this post – I’d love to see them!

Sundaysupper-clear

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It’s been 90 plus degrees all weekend in Dallas meaning the time is now for some summer recipes.

A new one I found last week is a simple salad that brings together watermelon and feta. I added some chicken and a few drops of fig balsamic vinegar to the source recipe from the Savory Sweet Life blog.

I pan seared a couple boneless, skinless chicken beasts with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  A half a chicken breast per person should be enough so plan accordingly.

Full Recipe: Watermelon Feta Mixed Green Salad

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Vegan Curried Sweet Potato with Herbs

On October 28, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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The sweet potatoes at the farmer’s markets are looking great. It’s also the perfect time of the season, even if it is still 80 degrees in Texas. It’s fall and fall foods like squash, pumpkin, potatoes, and root vegetables are perfect ingredients to add to your October cooking plan.

One recipe that caught my interest comes from a blog I’m a new reader of. I was initially attracted to it because of our recent VitaMix blender purchase, but I’m also finding some great vegan and vegetarian recipes. Plus you have to love the design of the blog. Healthy Blender Recipes from Tess Masters is a blog worth checking out.

Earlier this week I made the Vegan Curried Sweet Potato with Fresh Herbs dish that turned out pretty good. The only part I didn’t like about it was my forgetting I had the sweet potatoes boiling in hot water and forgot to set a timer so they ended up a bit mushy and more like a sweet potato mash, but that was all my issue not the blog’s.

For the Recipe: Healthy Blender Recipes – Vegan Curried Sweet Potato With Fresh Herbs