Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sasha's Chile Rubbed Tacos with Peach Salsa and Pico De Gallo

Peaches are one of the best fruits of the summer - that I simply can't live without. A juicy, fresh, local farmers' market peach is just about almost always too good to pass up. And they are not just for pies either. You can make some delicious savory creations with peaches, like my peach salsa, which was a perfect pairing for these simple chile rubbed flank steak tacos. I had received some of ShopRite's salsas for free to try out as part of the ShopRite Potluck Blog Panel, so I added the pico de gallo style salsa. Yum! This recipe is perfect for a busy week night when you still want to eat well. Neither ancho chile or pasilla chile are spicy - but they make the steak plenty smoky and flavorful.

Sasha's Chile Rubbed Tacos with Peach Salsa
1.5 lb (approximate) lean flank steak
1.5 T ancho chile powder
1.5 T pasilla chile powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 white peaches, chopped into chunky bits
4 T red onion, diced
2 T lemon juice
1 T diced cilantro
1/3 diced jalapeno pepper (or less or more to taste)

To prepare the steak, cover with the chile powder mixture and add some pepper and salt to season. The steak should be really well covered with the chile powders. Grill outside or in a grill pan as desired - I like it about medium well. Slice thin using an electric meat knife. To prepare the salsa, combine the sliced peaches, red onion, lemon juice, jalapeno and cilanto and allow to chill for 30 minutes before using to absorb the flavors. Serve the tacos in a corn or flour tortilla, with ShopRite's pico de gallo style salsa, fat free sour cream, lowfat cheddar cheese and a bit of lettuce flavored with lemon juice.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are one of my favorite summer fruits. Lately , I have been getting some pretty fantastic blueberries from the farmers market here in Park Slope. Some went into that blueberry peach pie I posted recently, and there were just too many delicious blueberries not to make some blueberry muffins.  I never make my muffins with butter. Many people do and I am sure they are good, it's just that if I wanted to load them up with butter, I'd just make some cupcakes. Hence, my banana pecan muffins are also butter free. These blueberry muffins were delicious and the recipe I came up with wound up making about one and a half dozen. Use the best blueberries you can find - freshly picked ones from that summer farmers' market are idea. This is a great way to brighten up a sunday morning!

Sasha's Blueberry Muffins
3 cups flour
7 T canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs'
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the baking powder, salt and flour in a bowl with the sugar. Mix in the other ingredients (eggs, canola oil, vanilla, milk and blueberries) and combine well in a bowl. Divide in muffin tins and bake for about 30 minutes until just golden and toothpick clean. Allow to cool and unmold. Eat right away!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Riesling Chicken

I was looking for a new chicken dish and came across this recipe from an old issue of Gourmet that combined chicken with a Riesling sauce. I love Riesling - as I am a fan of slightly sweet white wines from the Finger Lakes and of course Alsace. So, I used one of my favorite reasonably priced Rieslings to prepare this dish - Dr Konstantin Frank's Salmon Run Riesling, one of the Finger Lakes' best Rieslings. The flavor it lent to this dish was delicious - not too sweet but just delicious. The carrots were also especially lovely as part of the dish. I mashed the potatoes, but they were perfect as well. Such a winning dish that certainly doesn't say "boring chicken" but spells out a wonderful, homecooked French countryside dinner!

Chicken In Riesling (based on this recipe)
1 whole chicken, cut up (about 3/2 to 4 lbs)
1 T canola oil
3 T butter
2 T shallots, finely chopped
4 medium leeks (green parts only), finely chopped
4 medium carrots, halved
1 cup Riesling
1 1/2 lb small red potatoes
2 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 creme fraiche
fresh lemon juice to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash the chicken and pat dry, before seasoning with Kosher salt and fresh pepper. Heat 1-2 T of butter in a dutch oven and brown the chicken on all sides over medium high heat, about 10 minutes total per batch. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Cook the shallots, leeks, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 T of butter in the dutch oven until the leeks are pale golden, about five to seven minutes. Add the chicken, carrots and Riesling and bring to a boil, reducing the Riesling by half, about 3-4 minutes. Cover the pot and place in the oven, and braise for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, cover the potatoes in a pot of cold water. Add 1 1/2 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Then simmer about 20-25 minutes. Drain and mash the potatoes with the chopped parsley and a tablespoon or two of additional butter.

Take ut the dutch oven with the chicken and stir in the creme fraiche. Serve hot. Yum!
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