Summer Nachos with Mango & Nectarine salsa

I love fruity salsas and now that summer is in full swing, it is the perfect excuse to make it with all the wonderful produce out there. This is a vegetarian recipe which can easily be made vegan if you skip on the sour cream.  You can either fry or bake the tortilla chips. I ended up doing half of them baked and the other half of them fried, since I had a little problem with my oven.

For the tortillas:

About 12 tortillas (I used 3 different colors)

Vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

For the mango & nectarine salsa:

1 medium mango, very finely chopped

1 nectarine, very finely chopped

1 medium red onion, very finely chopped

1 medium jalapeño, very finely chopped (without seeds)

1 medium red chili, very finely chopped (without seeds)

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Extra toppings:

The kernels of one ear of corn, cooked

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 avocado, thinly sliced

Extra jalapeño slices

Extra red chili slices

125grs of sour cream

 

You can either bake or fry your tortilla chips.

If you bake them, preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush each tortilla with a bit of vegetable oil. Then using kitchen scissors or a knife, cut each tortilla into small triangles. Spread the small pieces of tortilla in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle a bit of salt. Bake them for about 10-12 minutes, till crispy. Repeat for the rest.

If you fry your tortilla chips, place about ½ cup of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Fry the pieces of tortilla till golden on both sides. Do it in batches without overcrowding the pan. This will only take about a minute or two, so keep an eye on them. Once fried, place them in a plate lined with some paper towels and sprinkle them with a bit of salt.

To make the salsa, just mix the finely chopped mango and nectarine with the remaining ingredients. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Set it aside.

To assemble the nachos, first place the tortillas in a sheet pan or plate. Add small dollops or quenelles of sour cream all over. Then spread the mango & nectarine salsa. Sprinkle the corn kernels over the chips. Top with some slices of radishes, avocado, jalapeño and chili. Serve right away and enjoy!

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Clam Chowder Spaghetti

I love clams and I should definitely eat them more often. They are so easy and quick to cook. To keep the cooking time short for this recipe, I used fresh pasta and dried spices. So no cutting onions and garlic. You can skip on the bacon if you are vegetarian and use a bit of smoked paprika for extra flavor. Perfect comfort food for a lazy day.

Ingredients:

500grs of scrubbed cockles, clams or vongole

250grs of fresh spaghetti or the pasta of your choice

150gr of chopped bacon

200grs of crème fraiche

200ml of cream

3/4 teaspoon of onion powder

3/4 teaspoon of garlic

3/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of cayenne

Kernels of 2 corns on the cob

100grs of baby spinach

5 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Rinse the clams under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Place the chopped bacon in a large pan over medium heat. Stir from time to time until it is fully cooked. Then add the crème fraiche, cream and spices

Mix well until the crème fraiche has dissolved into a sauce.

In the meanwhile, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Add the corn and clams to the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid until the clams open. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Discard of any that didn’t open. Then add the spinach, cover it with a lid for 1 extra minute so that it wilts faster. Mix well and then add the cooked pasta.

Mix well so that the pasta is covered in the sauce. Taste for salt. Serve straight away and enjoy!

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Peanut Butter & Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn

The other day we had unexpected friends over and while they started opening some beers in the kitchen, I made some kettle corn to snack on. This is what I love about popcorn, it’s so easy and quick to make. The variety of flavors you can add to it is basically endless. And this Peanut butter popcorn is such a divine combo! I’ve partnered with Calve Peanut Butter to create this recipe. It’s crunchy, salty, sweet and addictive. The perfect snack for movie night and it also makes a nice edible gift.

This recipe makes 1 large bowl of popcorn.

Ingredients:

For the popcorn:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

105grs of popcorn kernels (1/2 a cup)

For the Peanut butter & sea salt caramel sauce:

100grs of sugar (3/4 cup)

45grs of butter tablespoons of butter (3 tablespoons)

105grs of water (¾ cup)

75grs of Calve smooth peanut butter (1/3 of a cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of baking soda

Brush one very large bowl with vegetable oil. If you don’t have one large enough, grease two medium ones. Keep in mind that you need to have enough space to coat all the popcorn in the caramel.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large pan with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn, cover and keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to the greased bowl. Remove any unpopped kernels.

Add the sugar, water and butter to a medium pan. Cook over medium heat until it becomes a light golden color. This will take about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan from time to time.

Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly add the peanut butter, sea salt and baking soda. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is all well combined.

Pour the peanut butter caramel sauce over the popcorn and mix well. Spread the popcorn over the prepared baking tray. Allow it to cool down. Once cooled, you can break them apart into smaller chunks. It will keep in an air-tight container till the next day. Enjoy!

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Fresh Corn Fritter Tacos with Feta & Jalapeño/Cucumber Salsa

FullSizeRenderI love corn season and how versatile corn is. Love it in a Peruvian ceviche, love the Mexican street corn and I actually can’t think of any dish which had it that I didn’t like. This time I made it into fritters and stuffed them in tortillas. So delicious and super simple to make. This dish can be made in under 30 minutes. So if you don’t know what to cook today, give these a try. It is #tacotuesday after all!

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This recipe makes 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the salsa:

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 cucumber, finely chopped (without the core/seeds)

2 jalapeños or more to taste, finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the corn fritters:

Kernels of 3 corns

1/3 cup of yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

2 eggs

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of onion powder

Salt

Pepper

Extras:

12 small tortillas

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying the fritters

100grs of crumbled feta

 

First prepare the jalapeño/cucumber salsa. Just mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set it aside until ready to serve.

To make the corn fritters, place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk them with a fork. Then add the cornmeal, flour, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix and finally add the corn kernels and chives. Mix well. Then use an immersion blender or pour the mixture into a normal blender. Pulse just a couple of times just to blend some of the corn, so that fritters are easier to shape. You still want to have whole kernels in there so don’t overdo it.

Then pour some vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, start frying the fritters in batches. I made them small, using about 1 tablespoon of batter. Fry until golden on both sides. About 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side.

Once all the fritters are cooked, warm up the tortillas.

Serve the tacos with some crumbled feta, the corn fritters and the salsa. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche & Caramel Corn

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I had a chocolate cake craving the other night. But I was too tired to make something, so the next day I made these. The pumpkin pure keeps these cupcakes moist. Dulce de leche is the delicious glue to the crunchy caramel corn. A really indulgent treat!

This recipe makes 10 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg

¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons of buttermilk

¾ cup of pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

125gr butter, at room temperature

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup white sugar

3 eggs

For the caramel corn:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

½ cup popcorn kernels

¾ cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda

¾ cup of water

Extras:

400gr of dulce de leche

 

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Mix all of the dry ingredients except for the sugar. In a different bowl, mix the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until it becomes fluffy.  Then add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the eggs, until it is all mixed through.

Place the paper cupcake liners into the cupcake pan.  Spoon the batter evenly and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Once they are baked, allow them to cool down for 5 minutes in the cupcake pan.  Then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool down completely on a wire rack.

To make the popcorn:

Brush a large bowl and two wooden spoons or rubber spatulas with vegetable oil (you can also use cooking spray).  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn, cover and keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped. Transfer to the greased bowl. Remove any unpopped kernel.

In a medium pan, combine the butter, sugar, salt and ¾ cup of water. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture becomes a light golden color, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly.  Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda.  Be careful because the baking soda will make the mixture bubble up.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and working very quickly, mix it all through.

Spread the popcorn into the baking sheet and try to make chunks about the size of the cupcake tops. Allow to cool at room temperature. Make the caramel corn once you are ready to serve the cupcakes, or make it and store it in an airtight container and decorate the cupcakes once you are ready to serve them. Otherwise the caramel in the corn will get soggy.

When you are ready to serve, spread some dulce de leche on top of each cupcake, this will glue in the caramel corn. Top with a big chunk of caramel corn and enjoy!

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Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Corn & Miso Butter Galette

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I had an issue with my laptop early last week and I had to have it repaired. I finally got it back, so I can post a new recipe again. I made this galette a few days ago for dinner. Taking advantage of summer produce, I got more heirloom tomatoes. For some sweetness I added corn to the filling. But not just corn, I cooked it in miso butter. The miso butter goes very well with the corn. And while baking, it chars a bit which gives it another level of flavor.

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This recipe makes 2 medium galettes.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

½ cup of cornmeal

½ cup of buckwheat flour

150gr of cold butter

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup of cold water

For the filling:

7 heirloom tomatoes

2 ears of corn

2 tablespoons of butter

2 teaspoons of aka miso

Extras:

About 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan

Egg wash

 

You can make the crust using a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. I used the stand mixer. Add the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, buckwheat flour, salt, parmesan and cold butter. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the egg yolk and water, mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Make each piece into a ball and then flatten it with the palm of your hands. Wrap them in plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, slice the tomatoes. Don’t make them too thin otherwise they will break too easily while cooking them. Place the slices in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Let it cook for 1 minute per side and then place them on a rack with a plate underneath to catch all the liquid. Let them drip until the dough is ready. This is important, otherwise they will make the crust soggy while baking.

About 4 minutes before the dough is ready, slice the kernels off the cob. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the miso and stir to mix it. Then add the corn. Cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Transfer the miso corn into a plate and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.

Take out the dough from the fridge. Place a sheet of parchment paper on your working area. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment paper and start rolling out the dough in the shape of a circle of about 22cm. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle, just make sure it’s not too thick. Add a bit of the corn, leaving a 3cm border. Then add half of the tomato slices and finish with some more corn. Fold the edges over the filling, pressing to secure them. Repeat for the other galette. I didn’t add any salt to the filling, because for me the miso was salty enough.

Brush the edges of the crust with the egg wash and bake for 10 minutes.

Then lower the heat to 180C/350F. Remove the galette from the oven. Brush the edges again with some egg wash and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the edges. Finish baking for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges are golden.

Let it cool down for about 10 minutes before serving. You can serve it with a bit of chopped chives for some extra color.

 

 

Corn Pie with Beef (Pastel de Choclo con Carne)

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Living abroad I miss my family of course. But the second thing I miss the most is the food. I realize now, how spoiled (in terms of food) I was growing up. By that I mean; Peru is such a rich agricultural country. I grew up eating a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, seafood, etc. If there is something all Peruvians have in common is pride in our cuisine. I love to cook so of course, I find myself not missing everything. The things I can recreate here, I do make. But things like eating a fresh mango or making a truly Peruvian ceviche, I can’t. The mangos that you find here are shipped still green and of course you can taste the difference. And a ceviche without the very sour Peruvian lime, can be nice, but is not amazing. I remember when I was taking a cooking course in Lyon, one of the French chefs told me he smuggled some Peruvian lime in his suitcase.

One of the things I miss is our corn. The texture and flavor is very different to the yellow one you find everywhere else in the world. I miss eating it just boiled with some chili sauce on top. This is what it looks like:

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This corn pie is very popular in Chile and Peru. I loved eating it for the ‘lonche’ (tea time). Since in Peru you have dinner quite late.  I used to have dinner at around 9pm. Now whenever we are in Lima. We want to eat earlier, since here we eat at 6pm. My mom always jokes and calls me a granny for eating so early.  At least we beat the crowds whenever we are there and we want to dine out.

I have been making this recipe for years and if I make it in Peru, I don’t need to add the corn meal. The texture of the Peruvian corn is dense enough to hold the rest of the ingredients. But here, using the yellow corn, I do need to add some corn meal, otherwise the mixture is too soggy. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, cook the meat mixture in a pan and then assemble the dish like a shepherd’s pie in an oven dish. The filling is usually made with minced meat. But it is nicer to make it with steak if you can.

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Ingredients:

For the beef filling:

450gr beef steak, diced

1 red onion, chopped

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 teaspoon of sugar

¼ cup raisins

2 boiled eggs, chopped

Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

For the corn mixture:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 white onion, chopped

4 fresh corns on the cob

250ml cream

10 tablespoons of corn meal

1 tablespoon of sriracha sauce

40gr grated Parmesan

1 egg

Salt

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, sear the meat. Then add the onions, tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the minced garlic, raisins, olives, sugar, boiled eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is mixed. Then turn off the heat and set aside.

Remove the corn kernels from the cob. Place the kernels in a blender along with the cream and corn meal.  Blend it until everything is combined.

In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Over medium heat, cook the white onion until translucent. Add the corn mixture, sriracha and salt. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You want it to thicken and to dry a bit. After the 4 minutes are done, turn off the heat. Off the heat, add the egg and parmesan. Stir until everything is combined.

Pour the corn mixture over the meat in the skillet. Make sure to spread it out so it covers the whole surface of the skillet. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm.