I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.
I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware. I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:
- Diamonds are durable - As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
- Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal - Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
- Diamonds are naturally nonstick - One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.
So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.
For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.
You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.
Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream
For each quesadilla:
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
- 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
- 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
- Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
- About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!
- First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
- Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
- Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
- Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.
If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.
Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).
I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.
Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
- 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
- Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
- Cilantro leaves
- Optional add-ins:
- sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
- add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
- Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
- To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).
This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
My friend gave me some cooked bulgur when we went camping together … in a way, I wonder if she gave it to me just so she could see what I would do with it. I brought it home. It sat in the fridge till I was nearly sure it must have gone bad already … and then, suddenly, I was craving Mexican food. Something with black beans and jalapenos and tomatoes and cilantro and onions. And then it occurred to me what to do with the bulgur: give it a KICK! I made this salad one day last week and munched, munched, munched all afternoon.
Last weekend my friend came up to my parents’ place for the first time EVER, with her hubby and youngest son. We ate antelope & venison that my dad cooked on the grill, dad’s garden potatoes mixed with peppers, spices and cheese and my tarragon roasted vegetables. Then the next day we munched on Dad’s fabulous fresh garden melons. I fed them caramel peach bread pudding, chocolate zucchini cake, and sandwiches made from the roasted veggies and grilled meat (yes, in that order).
And after we had eaten all of that, I remembered the bulgur salad. Everyone was stuffed, but I made my friend taste a bite of it anyway, since she had given me the bulgur. She loved it, so I sent it home with her.
I played around a little with stuffing a couple tomatoes with the salad for a pretty presentation … what do you think? (Vegies in the background are stray bounty from my mom & dad’s garden … it’s everywhere!)
Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Fresh Tomato & Avocado
This is a hearty, spicy, flavorful salad that you could serve as a meal all by itself.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur
- 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 or 2 medium fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno (use more or less jalapeno according to how hot & spicy you like it)
- 1/2 – 1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (I only had about 1/2 an avocado, but I think the salad would be tastier with more!)
- Garnish: cilantro or parsley leaves and a slice of fresh lime
- Toss together the cooked bulgur, onion, black beans, and tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, honey, and cilantro (or parsley) until well blended. Gently fold the avocado pieces into the dressing to coat. (This will help keep the avocado from turning black.)
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to mix. Garnish with a twisted slice of lime and some cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.
This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Friday.
I woke up early this morning. There is a chill in the air. It is cool enough to open the windows and to sit on the patio and have a cup of tea. The fresh air smells so wonderful after the stale air conditioned air I’ve been breathing all summer.
There are tomatoes on my little potted tomato plants! Not a lot of them, but enough to give me a little of that wonderful juicy fresh garden tomato taste that you just can’t get from a store. I feel grateful for these beautiful little plants and the pollinators who visited my porch to help create this plump red fruit. I love the soft fuzziness of the vines and the lively fresh tomato scent on my fingers after I touch them.
It’s Friday. We will be seeing my parents tomorrow. I feel happy and content.
I made this pizza for lunch the other day. It is such a good pizza to make this time of year when the harvest starts coming in. If I have just a few cherry tomatoes, then I like to use them on pizza to really highlight their pretty color and juicy flavor.
Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza
The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift from Dofino cheese. It is a creamy, soft, smoky cheese that goes so wonderfully on so many things. I’m not giving amounts here because I was making a little individual-sized pizza, but you can easily scale it up to make a full-size pizza for your family.
- Pizza crust (I used my Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread)
- Smoked Havarti cheese, shredded
- Fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
- Chopped cucumber
- Avocado, pitted, peeled, chopped
- Fresh dill, snipped (or a sprinkle of dried dill would do in a pinch)
Heat the flatbread briefly in the oven at 425, then spread with a thick layer of hummus. Top with the shredded Havarti cheese and the halved cherry tomatoes and then pop it the oven to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Add a tumble of fresh cucumber and avocado, then sprinkle with dill and enjoy!
So in case you haven’t noticed, the ingredient of the week (month?) is zucchini at my house. My sis brought me several zucchini, some beautiful stripey Italian zucchini and some plain green ones, some big, some little. I love zucchini season because it makes me get really creative in the kitchen, trying to think of different ways to use this plentiful, mild-tasting vegetable. Zucchini is so good for adding to so many dishes because it takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with, so it can be sweet or savory, and it can take on many different textures too depending on whether it’s shredded, chunked, sliced, or ribboned, raw or cooked.
For this quesadilla, I used one of the smaller green zucchini, but I think the Italian ones would be nice in a quesadilla too. I was just making a small one for me for lunch, so I didn’t want to cut into one of those big guys. Honestly I really wanted some shredded chicken on this quesadilla, but I didn’t have any on hand and was in a rush to make lunch so I went with a vegie version. I think if you had some leftover chicken around (perhaps from the grill?), you may want to toss that into the mix. Beans would be fun to put on here too. But then again, it’s nice just like this …
Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla
- 17 – 20 thin slices of a small/medium-sized zucchini
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ancho chile (or other hot chile pepper)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1/2 Tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt
- juice from a wedge of fresh lime
- fresh cilantro leaves
- shredded gouda cheese (sorry I forgot to measure how much I used! You can eyeball it, though. Enough to cover the zucchini in a thin layer.)
- 2 medium-sized tortillas (not the tiny taco-sized ones, but not the huge burrito-sized ones either … whole grain/whole wheat is good!)
- For serving: your favorite salsa!
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and lay the zucchini slices on the pan in a single layer. Spray them lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for just a few minutes more until the zucchini rounds are tender.
- While the zucchini are cooking, mash up the avocado in a bowl, then mix with the cream cheese, garlic, yogurt, and lime juice. Take one of the tortillas and spread it with this creamy green mixture, then when the zucchini are done, arrange them on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
- Top with shredded gouda cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer … I like gouda because it has a good flavor and it melts well … and then put the other tortilla on top.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slide the quesadilla carefully onto the skillet, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, checking the bottom frequently to see if it’s golden brown yet.
- When it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip it over to brown the other side. (To help you flip it, you may want to slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a flat cutting board, then flip it over and slide it back into the pan. The bottom side will be crisp, so this isn’t as hard as it may sound.)
- Once both sides are brown and the cheese is melted, slide the quesadilla onto your cutting board, cut it up and serve with salsa.
Why does the idea of smashing a chickpea sound so appealing?
I think it’s for the same reason that hitting something hard at TaeKwonDo feels good. It’s all those little things in life that just make you angry that you will never mention to the person that is bugging you because you’re just too nice to say it or you don’t want to make waves. It’s often better left unsaid … so much better to walk away, not say anything, or let that person find their own truth, their own karma. But still there are these little bits of anger that build up inside of you and you need to let it out somehow.
For me, yoga helps, but it’s not enough. I need to really smash something, something that isn’t going to care if I hurt it. Ah, and even better if I get to eat it in the end!
Come here, little chickpeas! I will smash you into a sandwich … oh and you too, little avocado!
… but seriously, though, this is quite a delicious sandwich. And if you can relieve a few frustrations in the process, that’s even better.
Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod. Makes 2 – 3 sandwiches.
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 Tablespoons sundried tomato ranch dressing (recipe here – or use regular ranch and add a couple finely chopped sundried tomatoes to the mixture)
- 1 tablespoon sweet onion, chopped fine
- Cilantro (a few sprigs if you can gather it … mine is so pathetic all I can get is a few leaves … sigh. )
- 1/2 an avocado
- juice of a wedge of lime
- 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
- lettuce leaves, onion, tomato, whatever you like to put on a sandwich
- In a bowl, using a fork or potato masher, smash the chickpeas and avocado together. Let out your frustrations … really, it’s ok.
- Add in the cilantro, onion, and squeeze the lime over top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Toast your bread, spread both sides with the smashed chickpea/avocado mixture, then put your favorite sandwich toppings inside.
- Enjoy every bite!
Let’s re-define the idea of egg salad, shall we? I mean, who decided that “egg salad” should be a bunch of chopped hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise on bread? Excuse me, but how is that a salad? I don’t mean to knock the traditional egg salad sandwich … there’s a comforting charm in a well-made egg salad sandwich, but I have to tell you, when I think salad, I think greens. To me, a salad really needs greens before it deserves to be called a salad.
Yesterday I redefined the whole concept of “egg salad” in my mind. I put a fried egg on my salad. Really, it’s nothing new, but it’s new to me … it’s been done before … I’ve seen it, but the idea of putting a fried egg on a salad sounded completely crazy to me. A fried egg? on a REAL salad? With greens? Seriously?
It sounded so completely weird to me until I made this sundried tomato ranch dressing. And my friend Melissa said to me: it would be great on eggs. Oh. my. gosh. YES! A fried egg, over easy, with that beautiful bright yellow messy, runny yolk … and toast … and crunchy green salad … oh let’s toss on some avocado too … oh yes! It’s brilliant! I could eat this forever … I made it again today. It’s like the quickest meal ever. And it’s SOooooo goood!
It is the sundried tomato ranch dressing that makes this brilliant. Without it, it’s just eggs oozing all over my greens and yeah not really that exciting at all … but add that dressing and some crunchy toast and I’m happy as a clam.
(Are clams really happy? I sure hope so, cuz otherwise it would make NO sense to say “happy as a clam” … then again, we don’t really know that they are happy, so why do we say that?)
Whatever. This egg salad made me happy. Like giggly from my toes to my nose kinda happy. I will never, ever, think of egg salad the same way again.
Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing
I got so excited talking about the salad I forgot to tell you about the flowers! They are hosta flowers … the flowers of hostas, like hosta leaves, are edible. You probably have some growing in your yard. They taste like salad. And they are insanely beautiful, on or off a salad.
- Mixed spring greens with spinach (or whatever greens you’d like to use …)
- Green bell pepper, chopped
- Sweet onion, sliced and chopped
- Avocado, sliced and/or cut into chunks
- Organic hosta flowers (or other edible organic flowers … totally optional but they look pretty! make sure yours aren’t sprayed with nasty lawn chemicals before eating, though)
- Eggs, 1 for each salad
- Thin slices of french bread or baguette, toasted
- Sundried tomato ranch salad dressing (recipe here)
- First mix up the dressing and set it aside.
- Make a good bed of greens in your salad bowl and tuck in some onion, avocado, and bell pepper. Add a few flowers if you like, around the edge, leaving a good space in the center for the egg.
- Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Crack a fresh egg into the pan and season with Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and freshly ground pepper. Cook it sunny side up or over easy, whatever you prefer.
- Toast the bread while the egg is cooking, then spread the ranch dressing on the bread slices.
- When the egg is done to your liking, set it gently on top of the salad. Top with the ranch (or serve on the side), and serve with the toast.