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/.
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.
Yesterday was another dance competition day. Dance competition days are always SO busy … I’m surprised I had time to do anything with food. But I did! While my daughter was getting ready, I had a little time to make myself some lunch. I pulled out a pizza crust from the freezer (one of my sunflower rosemary flatbreads) and started topping it. I went a little crazy with the toppings, but it was fun. And filling. And delicious. A fiesta on a pizza. I had to stop in the middle of it to go help my girl with her hair. Then I had to get my sewing machine out to fix the strap on her costume. But somehow I managed to get my belly happy and full before we left, and that was good.
I even found time to make lunch and a little food care package for my daughter to eat at the competition … they never seem to have any healthy food at dance competitions. I packed her a PB&J on a fresh bun, a package of strawberries and an apple … it was a VERY good thing to have along. Everyone else was eating greasy, over-salted popcorn, donuts, candy, soda and brownies — or fast food they ran out and bought. Some of these dancers were there for over 12 hours. Next time we decided we need to bring a cooler full of food so our kids have something good to eat.
Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Confetti Pizza
Makes one individual-sized pizza. If you want a bigger pizza, double the ‘sauce’
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/4 of a ripe avocado
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of salsa
- 1 pizza crust
- Black beans, cooked
- Corn, cooked
- Red onions, thinly sliced
- Finely chopped jalapeno (or bell pepper, chopped, if you don’t want it so spicy)
- Chopped fresh tomato
- Goat cheese crumbles
- A few slices of sharp cheddar cheese
- Slices of avocado
- Green onions, snipped
- In a small bowl, smash the avocado with a fork, then mix with the cream cheese and salsa. Spread it all over the pizza crust. If you have any left, use it as a dip with corn chips (oh SO good … Or you could just make extra for dip).
- Top with black beans, corn, red onions, jalapeno and tomato.
- Dot the pizza with goat cheese crumbles, then add bits of cheddar cheese here and there.
- Bake (on a pizza stone, if you have one) at 450 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pizza is nice and hot all the way through and the cheddar cheese is melted.
- Top with slices of avocado and green onion … and cilantro, if you have it. I didn’t. I wanted some, but they were all out at the store.
This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Talent Show Tuesdays, Thursday’s Treasures and Recipe of the Week-Secret Ingredient: Corn, Katherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
I don’t know that I even think of this as a recipe … it is one of those throw-it-together kind of lunches, something I could almost do in my sleep. You could add a sauce over the top if you like. My sister has a great recipe for homemade red sauce that would be awesome on these.
I was making my burrito for lunch, so I just wrapped my burrito in a napkin and munched away on it while I worked … but it’s a great quick meal to throw together for a hearty Meatless Monday meal, or if you have some meat you want to toss in, chop it up and add it with the beans and rice.
Cheesy Rice & Black Bean Burritos
Add in other stuff as you please … or leave out anything you don’t like. This is a very forgiving recipe.
- Black beans, cooked and drained
- Cooked rice (I used basmati rice)
- Large flour tortillas (whole wheat or regular … )
- Your favorite salsa (I used my funky kiwi, kumquat, and mango salsa … the salsa you choose is going to really impact the flavor so pick a good one!)
- Optional: chopped jalapenos or green chile
- Chopped onion & avocado
- Shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend + some shredded sharp cheddar)
- Fresh cilantro leaves
First, make sure the black beans and rice are good and hot.
For each burrito, heat a large tortilla in the microwave briefly until it’s warm. (Warm tortillas fold better.) Put a couple spoonfuls of beans in the center of the tortilla in a rectangular-ish shape and mash them roughly with a fork. (You could use refried beans too in place of the black beans … that works well too …) Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa and the rice.
Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and microwave on high for a minute or two until the cheese melts, then toss on some cilantro.
Now fold over the short edges of the burrito and then fold over the long end.
and then just roll it up …
If you were going to add sauce, this would be where you would pour the hot sauce over top, maybe add a little more cheese, then microwave it a bit more to get that cheese on top all melty.
(Instead of microwave-melting the cheese, you could make a bunch of these, put them in a baking pan, cover with sauce and a bit more cheese and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or so or until everything is all hot and bubbly.)
Now for the tag game … I’ve been tagged, so I have to answer the following questions, then tag 5 other bloggers who are supposed to do the same.
Describe yourself in 7 words…
Foodie, Tree Hugger, Geek, Empath, Mother, Dreamer, Friend
What keeps you up at night?
Usually I sleep well, but sometimes I worry. Sometimes I stay up too late talking to my best friend … or out on a date. I’m divorced, yes, so I worry about men and love and where things are going in my life. My mind can also get busy wondering, pondering, fearing for my childrens’ future. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I think of a really good idea for a recipe and I’m so excited to make it. Sometimes I stay up late to finish writing up a blog post. Sometimes I stress over stupid things like how to make an ugly food look good. Once in a while I stress over work.
Who would you like to be?
I want to just be me and not let anybody get in the way of that. Being an empath, that’s hard to do because I feel what other people feel and I care so much about my friends and family. I guess, though, that is who I am.
What scares you?
Global warming and how people take our earth for granted. What’s going to happen in my children’s lifetime … and their childrens’ lifetime. Will our earth be able to recover from what we are doing to it?
Sometimes the thought of being alone scares me too. But since I started this blog, really, I never am alone …
What are the best and worst things about blogging?
The very best thing about blogging is the wonderful friends I have made along the way. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it feels to wake up every morning to this fantastic group of caring, loving people. Foodies are the most generous, sweet, kind people you will ever meet, and having a food blog has brought me friends from all over the world I would never have met or even known of if I didn’t have this blog.
The worst thing about blogging … I suppose it is the time, because it does take a lot of time. But every moment I’m blogging or cooking for the blog is pure joy. I blog because I love it.
What is the last website you looked at?
I went to my sister’s food blog: She Eats Pork and Fishes … to find the recipe for the burrito sauce.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To love and respect myself more. To be kinder and more forgiving to myself. To stand up for myself and say no sometimes, rather than trying to please so many people. To be a stronger, better mother.
Slankets, yes or no?
Seriously? You want to know that? No, really, you don’t care. This is not important … (um, what’s a slanket anyway?)
Tell us something about the person who tagged you…
Samah (Good Cooks) is a mother from Palestine who lives here in the US now. Her photographs and recipes are just phenomenal. She is adventurous and brave in the kitchen and tackles all sorts of different recipes, and although I’ve not met her in person, I am sure that is how she is in real life too. Everything she cooks makes me drool …
Sawsan (Chef in Disguise) is a wonderful cook, a talented photographer and a sweet, sweet person. She is a mother and a doctor, but she is also my friend. She has so many good things to say. I love the variety of foods that she makes–she teaches me about foods I had never heard of. She has a heart of gold.
Tag, you’re it!
Now to pass on this game to five other bloggers … it’s so hard to choose … but I pick:
- Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen
- Cooking with Mel
- Debi at Recipes for my Boys
- Bia at Rich and Sweet
- Melissa at ChinDeep
This is a quick, easy, healthy, delicious and fancy shmancy looking appetizer that could easily morph into a dinner, if you skipped making the little cups and served the shrimp mixture over rice or even rolled it up into a tortilla, burrito-style.
The cups are simply tortilla triangles sprayed with cooking oil and baked.
You could fill the pretty little cups with just about anything your little heart desires … I just happened to have some black beans, shrimp, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice on hand, begging to be used in something delicious …
Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, & Black Bean Bites
- Large flour tortillas (white or whole wheat or whatever flavor you like)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery, leaves reserved
- 2 -3 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
- 2 Tablespoons white wine
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen shrimp
- 1 cup of cooked black beans
- Juice of half a lime
- 1/3 cup of your favorite salsa (I used my kiwi, kumquat, & mango salsa)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Avocado, peeled and cut into little chunks and/or shredded cheese if you like
Cut the flour tortillas into 6 triangles. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and wedge one tortilla triangle into each muffin cup. Spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown and crispy.
Now, make the filling:
- Chop the onion, celery and garlic, reserving the celery leaves for later.
- Spray a cooking pan with cooking spray, heat over medium high heat till hot, then add the onion, garlic and celery and saute briefly. Add the white wine and saute for a few minutes or until the wine dissipates and the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the shrimp and black beans and saute a few minutes longer until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the salsa and lime juice and stir everything together just briefly till it’s all good and hot.
- Stir in the reserved celery leaves and most of the cilantro leaves, reserving some for garnish.
- Spoon a bit of the filling into each tortilla cup, garnishing with avocado, cilantro, and cheese (if desired). I tried it both with and without the cheese and it is good both ways.
You can make the filling ahead of time (like I did) and assemble these babies right before serving.
I suppose it might seem a little odd to be posting a watermelon salsa on December 1st, but believe it or not, I still have some watermelon to use up from my dad’s garden. He had such a huge crop of yellow watermelon this year that they actually donated a trailerfull of them to the local school so they could serve it to the children for lunch! Isn’t that amazing? And then there were still a bunch left! They didn’t have room for all of them in the fridge so they were storing them in the shed. Luckily the weather cooperated and brought cool but not overly chilly temperatures. Last time they came down to visit they brought me 10 watermelon! Each one is small … but still, how do you use 10 watermelon?
I gave six of them away, I made watermelon sorbet, I made some watermelon tequila, and then I made salsa. We are down to half a watermelon which I think will get eaten without any special preparations.
First I made a “plain” watermelon salsa. I think this salsa would be delicious over chicken, fish or pork. It’s fruity, with a light sweetness, spicy, fun. It makes your body feel good inside the same way that a cool watermelon does on a hot summer day. And the colors are just so fantastic too!
Then I remembered how much our friends loved the black bean salsa I made a while back and I thought perhaps I should add some black beans. This black bean watermelon salsa has a bit more substance. The beans add protein and a really nice flavor and texture contrast to the sweet, crunchy watermelon. This black bean version would be great with chips or in a salad. I am also thinking melted cheese on chips with this black bean watermelon salsa spooned over would be such an amazing snack.
Watermelon Salsa Two Ways
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 of a red onion
- 1 1/2 bell peppers
- 2 jalapenos (for a milder salsa, use a smaller amount of jalapeno, or leave it out altogether)
- 2 c. seeded watermelon, cut into very small chunks (I used yellow watermelon, but you can use red)
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a few sprigs of fresh basil, chopped
- a few sprigs of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- juice of half a lime
- 2nd Way: add 2/3 cup or so of black beans
Toss the garlic, onion, and peppers into a handi chopper or food processor and process till finely chopped (or chop them finely with a knife). In a medium bowl, combine the pepper mixture with the watermelon, tomatoes, salt, herbs and lime juice.
If you want a “meatier”, more substantial salsa, stir in the black beans.
I bottled some of the black bean watermelon salsa up to give to our TaeKwonDo instructors. They really love black bean salsa and I think they’re going to LOVE this one.
Yesterday I saw a post at Becky’s Root Cellar for Mexican Style Baked Eggs and it looked so colorful and delicious I immediately wanted to try it. Reviewing the recipe, I just felt it needed one more thing: potatoes.
I substituted several of the ingredients with some of my corn and black bean salsa, which took care of a bunch of things that the recipe called for and I just happened to have some already mixed up in my fridge, like it was just waiting for this dish …
Oh man this is good.
Mexican Style Breakfast Bake … Olé!
Serves 2 – 4. You could easily scale it up to feed a crowd with not too much more effort.
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 2 med-large potatoes, diced
- 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups corn & black bean salsa (recipe here – if you don’t like things too hot, just cut down on the amount of jalapeno)
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 2 strips bacon (optional), cooked & crumbled — but I think some cooked chorizo would be amazing in this!
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- Fresh oregano leaves
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes. Cover and cook, opening and stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and cooked through and lightly browned on the side. Add salt (or Red Robin seasoning) and pepper to taste.
- Add the onion and bell pepper and sautee for a few minutes longer until the onion is translucent.
- Add the salsa, black beans, bacon (if you are using it) and cook a few minutes more until the entire mixture is good and hot.
- Stir in the tomato, oregano and cheese.
- If your pan is oven proof, you can just flatten the mixture, then crack your eggs over top and put it in the oven to bake. My frying pan is not oven proof, so I sprayed my ceramic tortilla warmer with cooking spray, then poured in the mixture, spread it flat, and cracked the eggs on top. (You could also use a 9x9x2 inch baking pan.)
- Bake at 375 until the eggs are set. Becky says it takes 8 – 10 minutes, but mine took considerably longer, more like 20 – 30 minutes (I wasn’t really keeping track … working and cooking at the same time!)
- Sprinkle with a few fresh oregano or cilantro leaves for garnish and serve with hot tortillas and your favorite Mexican condiments (guacamole, sour cream, cilantro leaves, salsa … whatever you fancy!)
This recipe was entered in the November Blog Hop & Giveaway: Favorite Vegetable Recipes on the FaveDiets blog and shared at Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Favorite Breakfast Recipes, and Recipe of the Week: Mexican Cuisine.