October 21, 2014

Can you handle the heat? I’d like to think that I can…on most occasions at least! I have always seemed to have a fondness for spicy food, which led me to create today’s Thai Chili Pepper Sauce.

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Remember last week when I posed a question about Thai chiles? I had a bag of them from my local market that I was contemplating what to do with. After I threw a few diced Thai chiles into some stir fry and about burned Justin’s tastebuds off, I decided that I should maybe just keep the chiles to myself and create a condiment instead. Something I can use for my own purposes without scorching my poor husband’s mouth with capsaicin.

I’ve always wondered how hard it would be to make my own sriracha sauce. Me and the rooster bottle are seriously good friends. I put it in my ketchup, on my eggs, in stir fry, drizzled in soup. You name it…I like to add sriracha into it. I had a feeling that if I created my own spicy sauce it would taste even better than the prepackaged variety.

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Now, the initial idea was to create a sriracha-like sauce. However, after adding some ingredients into my food processor, it was clear that I wasn’t going to make a replica. Instead, I decided to embrace the experiment and added a few things here and there until I ended up with a sauce that is spicy, sweet, and will definitely satisfy the spice lover. To me, it was a success. I was able to create a dish with another ingredient I hadn’t previously used in my kitchen, and I just might have to create some more spicy condiments by scratch in the future!

Have you ever made your own hot sauce?

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Thai Chili Pepper Sauce

Ingredients

  • 35 Thai chiles (about 1 inch long each)
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. First, cut the stems off of the Thai chiles and then slice the peppers in half. Add them to a food processor and blend.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, then blend on high until completely incorporated and no large chunks are remaining.
  3. Scoop the puree into a small pot and simmer on the stove over medium heat until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy the heat!
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October 14, 2014

Remember when I said I was going to start incorporating new to me ingredients (or ingredients I’ve tried but never used in my kitchen)? This week, the experiment moved to Thai chilis (also known as bird’s eye chilis).

Are you a fan of spicy food? For me, bring on the heat! I am always up for trying out a new pepper, sauce, or the like. My local market had these bags filled with Thai chilis for 99 cents each, so I figured I’d take the plunge and pick some up and experiment.

Thai Chilis

First use: my stir fry. These Thai chilis are about one inch in length – so they are not large in size But even though they are small in stature, they pack a huge punch. I kind of learned this out the hard way. I sliced up only 4 of these bad boys and threw them into my stir fry…and inadvertently made the dish so spicy my husband was sweating. Who would think that 4 little chili peppers would induce so much heat? I felt bad as I watched Justin struggle through our dinner…sweat beading on his forehead. Oooooops.

So….maybe I’ll be leaving the chilis out of communal dishes. Instead – perhaps these chilis are destined for another purpose. A sauce, perhaps? I can tell you right now…they have been combined with a few ingredients, processed, and cooked down to a homemade super spicy sauce that I can’t wait to try as part of a meal in the future. The recipe is forthcoming, but I’m curious to know –

What would you create with a bag of Thai chilis????

October 12, 2014

It’s time to break out the slow cooker! Fall and winter seem to be the ultimate slow cooker seasons, so I’m going to do my best to take advantage. So today, I present to you a three bean, butternut, and quinoa vegetarian chili! It was the perfect recipe to whip up in honor of Sunday Supper’s weekly theme: slow cooker recipes!

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

As I was creating this chili in my kitchen, it dawned on me that I am seriously underutilizing my slow cooker. I very very rarely break it out, and I am not sure why. It’s a magical kitchen gadget! I have to admit I love that I can pop in ingredients, turn the dial, and walk away for a few hours until my meal is complete. Um. Can someone please figure out why I haven’t used mine in so long? I am baffled.

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

After creating this vegetarian chili, I have a feeling many more batches of slow cooker creations are on the horizon for our household. This was my first venture into the world of vegetarian chili, and I think it was a great success. The combination of three different beans, the sweetness of butternut squash, and the texture of the quinoa added into the mix made it all a very hearty and flavorful dish. And one that yielded a huge amount of leftovers for us – two more dinners’ worth!

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

Although this chili is great on its own, when it is topped with shredded cheese, or….my personal suggestion: guacamole, it makes it even better. I love the contrast of the cool and creamy guacamole against the spice in the chili. So yummy. And I honestly use any excuse to whip up a batch of guacamole that I can get.

I’m curious though: how do you like your chili? Loaded with meat? All bean? A mixture of both? What are your favorite toppings? It is cool to see how diverse the world of chili can be….

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

Three Bean, Butternut, and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced (about 1/2 of a medium onion)
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • 1 15.25 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15.5 ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced (or 1 14.5 ounce can)
  • 1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic, red onion, and bell pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, until onions turn translucent and are fragrant.
  2. Add the onion/pepper mixture to a large slow cooker. Add the butternut squash, corn, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, quinoa, chili powder, cumin, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Stir ingredients together, cover, and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8. Stir before serving. Top with fresh cilantro leaves for garnish, as well as with some shredded cheese or guacamole - enjoy!
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Make sure you check out all of the awesome recipes to make in your slow cooker…created by the Sunday Supper family!

Satiating Soups

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)

Satisfying Sides

Scintillating Sweets

Savory Baking

Sips and Spreads

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October 9, 2014

Moment of honesty here: not all of the recipes I make end up appearing on the blog. Some of them end up not being blog worthy…some of them just don’t thrill me…sometimes I’m too lazy…and some of them don’t appear because the recipe disappears too fast for me to document. This pumpkin, chocolate chip, and banana snack cake wasn’t any of those things though: it was an accident.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

So – Justin and I usually each eat a banana in the morning on weekdays. For some reason, we both neglected to eat one of our “daily bananas” last week and I was left with two overripe bananas on Saturday. It happens. And what do you do when you have overripe bananas? You make banana bread. Justin actually requested that I make a loaf for us to enjoy – a slice topped with ice cream for dessert, and then slices for breakfast.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

The only thing was: I didn’t feel like getting out the loaf pans. I have to hand wash them, and it’s two pans to clean. It was Saturday and I was lazy. But: what about a 9×9 inch baking pan? Would it work? I can place that particular pan in the dishwasher, so the cleanup would be a breeze. Ok. Why not try it out and see what happens?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

Annnnnd the end result? I’m not going to lie: it was pretty darn great. I’m not sure if it was because I swapped my all-purpose flour for cake flour, or if it was because of the spread out 9×9 inch pan, or if it was a combination of the two, but this “snack cake” as I’m calling it, was pretty freaking scrumptious. In all honesty, I was just whipping this dish up for us to have as a nice little dessert over the weekend, but I think it was actually meant to be documented. It’s moist, flavorful, and packed with chocolate goodness (and nuts too if you want them!).

So there you have it: a quick recipe I threw together over the weekend…that you definitely should try out the next time you have a few overripe bananas sitting around. I mean it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Snack Cake

Pumpkin, Chocolate Chip, Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together to mix. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, combine sugar and butter. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until softened butter and sugar are incorporated. Add the egg, then mix well. Then, add the mashed banana, pumpkin, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fully combined.
  4. Turn your mixer to low speed, then begin adding the flour mixture by heaping spoonful to the wet mixture. Continue adding scoops of the flour gradually until all is used and the batter is thick.
  5. Turn off the mixer and gently fold in chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts if desired.
  6. Pour batter into a 9x9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray, then bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
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