Cowboy Caviar

My daughter was absolutely obsessed with making cowboy caviar this summer. This recipe made a large volume. The leftovers were perfect to have available to eat as a side, a dip, or over salad greens. Everyone loved it.

This version was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Margaux Laskey. We ate it with tortilla chips and grilled chicken sausages for dinner. ­čÖé I served the diced mango as an additional topping on the side to please everyone in my crowd.

Yield: 8 cups

  • 5 T olive oil
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lime juice or red wine vinegar
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 beefsteak tomato, seeded, cored, and diced plus 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or any combination of tomatoes resulting about 1 cup diced)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 to 4 cobs) or thawed, drained frozen sweet corn (about 8 ounces)(I used kernels from 3 ears of corn)
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 jalape├▒o, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • 1 avocado, diced, optional
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled, optional
  • 1 mango, diced, optional
  • 1-2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped, for garnish, optional
  • tortilla chips, for serving
  1. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to combine.
  2. Cut the corn kernels off the cob directly into the bowl with the dressing.
  3. Add the tomatoes, red onion, black beans, pinto/black-eyed peas, bell pepper, jalape├▒o and cilantro. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
  5. To serve, toss well and season to taste. Add the diced avocado, crumbled feta, and diced mango, if using.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with scallions and serve with tortilla chips. (Alternatively, the avocado can also be served over the top.)

One-Pot Turkey Chili with Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits

We ate this wonderful one-pot dish during the Super Bowl this year. The chili and biscuit dough can be made in advance, even several hours in advance, so it was perfect for the occasion. It also complemented our mandatory game day guacamole.

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the proportions to serve 8 people- so that we would have leftovers! ­čśë I reheated the chili, topped it with the biscuit dough and placed it in the oven just before serving. Great.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Cornmeal Biscuits:

  • 1┬ácup/120 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2/3┬ácup/92 grams fine yellow cornmeal
  • 2┬átsp baking powder
  • 1┬átsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2┬átsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4┬átsp baking soda
  • 8┬áT/113 grams cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4┬ácup/177 ml buttermilk or plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1┬áscallion, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • milk, more buttermilk, or yogurt, for finishing
  • 3+┬átablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano, for finishing

For the Turkey Chili:

  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4┬ápounds ground turkey
  • 1┬ávery large or 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1-2┬ájalape├▒os, seeded (if desired) and diced (I used 1 1/2 jalape├▒os)
  • 6┬ágarlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
  • 1┬á1/2 T chili powder
  • 2 1/4┬áteaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste, divided
  • 1 1/2┬áteaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2┬áteaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2┬áteaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1┬á(28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices (I used San Marzano)
  • 3┬á(15-ounce) cans pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2┬ácup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  • sliced or pickled jalape├▒os, for serving, optional

To Prepare the Biscuit Dough:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda.
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or your hands), cut (or rub) in the butter until mixture resembles rolled oats.
  3. Fold in the buttermilk and scallion slices.
  4. Gently stir mixture until it comes together in a moist, sticky mass. Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. (This can be done a day in advance.)
  5. Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.

To Prepare the Turkey Chili:

  1. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until it thins. (I used an enameled cast iron pan. A cast iron skillet would also be great.)
  2. Stir in turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until itÔÇÖs no longer pink with some browned bits, about 7 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and add onion and jalape├▒o, and cook until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic, chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, oregano, cumin, and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
  5. Using kitchen shears (or your hands), break up tomatoes and add them, along with the juices, to the pan. (I cut the tomatoes while they are still in the can.)
  6. Add beans and remaining 3/4 teaspoons salt, and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture seems very dry, add a few tablespoons water. It should be juicy-looking but not wet.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Divide biscuit dough into 8 equal balls. Use your palm to flatten each ball into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Arrange on top of turkey chili.
  2. Brush biscuits lightly with buttermilk, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  3. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until biscuits are golden at the edges, 20 to 30 minutes. (I cooked mine for 22 minutes on convection.)
  4. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro and scallions, if desired. Serve with sour cream and sliced or pickled jalape├▒os.

Poblano, Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

Recently, my friend gave me beautiful cast iron baking dishes. I knew that I wanted to make enchiladas in them right away! Our Cinco de Mayo feast was the perfect occasion. Our meal also included chips and guacamole, of course. ­čśë

The recipe for these hearty, vegetarian enchiladas was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I modified the proportions and method. We ate them garnished with sour cream, red onion, avocado, and cilantro with refried beans and rice on the side. We topped off our festive meal with a Tres Leches Cake. Perfect.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (I used a food processor)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving, optional
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups coarsely grated mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 10 to 12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s corn & wheat tortillas)
  • fresh cilantro leaves and stems, for serving
  • sliced avocado, for serving, optional
  • diced white or red onion, for serving, optional
  • rice and refried beans, for serving, optional
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. (I used the convection setting.)
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onions and chopped poblano chile; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and charred in spots, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cumin and minced garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer half the vegetable mixture to a blender; add the tomatoes, chili powder and chipotle chile. (I used a Vitamix.) Blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If your blender isnÔÇÖt particularly strong and the sauce looks more like a chunky pur├ęe, add 1/4 cup sour cream and blend again until smooth.)(I omitted the sour cream in the sauce.)
  5. Add the black beans and 1/2 cup cheese to the remaining vegetables in the skillet and stir to combine. Some canned beans are already salted, so taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer (or on a plate) covered with a damp paper towel. Cover and microwave for 1 minute, or until warm and pliable.
  7. If using individual dishes, spread a few spoonfuls of sauce over the bottom of each dish. (I used 5 dishes.) Alternatively, pour enough enchilada sauce to lightly coat the base of a medium casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread it to cover the bottom of the dish(es).
  8. Line up the filling, tortillas and baking dish in a row. Place a heaping 1/4 cup of the bean mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place in the casserole dish(es), seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (I placed 2 enchiladas per individual dish.)
  9. Spoon or pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cheese, to taste. (I used 1/2 cup cheese per dish.)
  11. Place the baking dish(es) on a rimmed baking sheet and tent with foil. Bake for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove foil and continue to bake until the cheese has melted and has browned in spots, about 10 additional minutes.
  13. Top with sour cream, avocado slices, diced onion, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Note: The sauce and the black bean mixture (without the cheese) can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The spice level in the sauce can be easily modified by adjusting the amount of chili powder.

Rich Turkey Chili with Bacon, Dark Beer & Chocolate

My daughter and I really enjoy watching Queer Eye on Netflix together. It is so positive and full of love. She is particularly a fan of Antoni, the chef. We were excited to check out his cookbook! ­čÖé

This fabulous chili recipe was adapted from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. I modified the proportions. It was rich, full-flavored, and hearty. We ate it with lots of toppings, cornbread muffins and green salad. I’m planning to make it again to serve on a really chilly evening. Everyone loved it.

Super Bowl 2021 Update: This chili was absolutely delicious served with beer bread.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Chili:

  • 1/3 to 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (4-5 slices)
  • 1 3/4 to 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium or 1 1/2 large onions, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into small cubes
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 5 to 8┬álarge garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, seeded (if desired), finely chopped, plus 1 to 2 T adobo sauce (I didn’t seed the chile)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 (15-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle dark beer (such as Guiness or Negra Modelo)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (scant 1/2 cup) (I used 72% cacao)
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses or dark brown sugar

For the Toppings:

  • sliced avocado
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • grated cheddar
  • diced red or white onion
  • pickled jalape├▒os
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • lime wedges
  1. In a large Dutch oven or other wide heavy pot with a lid, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a large bowl.
  2. Cook the turkey in the remaining bacon fat over high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat into small bits with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season turkey with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, then transfer and any juices to the bowl with the bacon.
  4. Heat the oil in the same pot over medium to medium-high heat.
  5. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the onions are golden, about 8 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then stir in the chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the beans, crushed tomatoes, beer, stock, chocolate, and turkey-bacon mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chili is deeply flavorful, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vinegar and molasses or brown sugar.
  9. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve hot with toppings, as desired.

Duck Tacos with Refried Black Beans

I usually think of duck meat as being too fatty to agree with me. ­čśë After seeing Sara Moulton make these tacos, she convinced me to give it another chance. In this dish, the fatty skin is removed and the shredded duck meat was very moist and flavorful.

I often see the vacuum-sealed, cooked rotisserie duck at Costco. On my last visit, when most the fresh poultry was out of stock and the rotisserie chicken was limited to one per visit, there was plenty of rotisserie duck available. ­čÖé These tacos could also be made with rotisserie chicken, of course, but this was a nice change. My son thought that they were “next-level.”

This recipe was adapted from Sara’s Weeknight Meals, via SaraMolton.com. I doubled the original recipe to use the entire rotisserie duck and added additional toppings. The leftover filling was just as delicious reheated and served with fresh toppings and taco shells. The healthy and quick refried black beans were fabulous too.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Spice Blend:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

For the Filling & Toppings:

  • 1 half of a cooked rotisserie duck
  • 1 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 3 T water
  • 12 ready-to-eat regular-size taco shells, warmed according to package directions
  • chopped or shredded iceberg lettuce or finely-shredded cabbage, for serving
  • chopped tomatoes (I used chopped grape tomatoes)m for serving
  • shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend, to taste, for serving
  • prepared salsa, for serving
  • light sour cream, for serving
  • cilantro, for serving
  • diced avocado, for serving
  • canned diced chilies, for serving
  • hot sauce, for serving (I used Chipotle Cholula)
  • rice, for serving, optional
  • Refried beans, recipe below

To Make the Spice Blend:

  1. Add the ingredients to a bowl and stir well to combine.

To Make the Fillings, Toppings, & To Serve:

  1. Remove the skin from the duck meat. Shred enough meat from one half of a rotisserie cooked duck to yield 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the shredded duck and spice blend and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in the water and cook, covered, for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Divide the filling among the taco shells.
  6. Top with the lettuce and tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese.  Top with cilantro, avocado, diced chiles, and hot sauce, as desired. Spoon on the salsa and sour cream, if using.
  7. Serve immediately with refried beans on the side. (The refried beans can be used as an additional taco filling, if desired.)

For the Refried Beans:

  • 2 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (I used 1 large yellow onion when I doubled the recipe)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups thoroughly cooked black beans or one 15.5 oz can┬áblack beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Stir in the cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the beans and chicken stock, cover, and cook until the beans are very soft and the flavors are well blended, about 5 minutes.
  6. Use a fork or potato masher to coarsely mash the beans.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Note: Cooked, rotisserie duck can be purchased online @Maple Leaf Farms.com.

Shortcut Vegetarian Enchiladas with Butternut Squash & Black Beans

This crowd-pleasing casserole uses store bought enchilada sauce as a shortcut. I peeled and cut a butternut squash, but using pre-cut squash would be another easy shortcut. It was a wonderful vegetarian dish.

This recipe was adapted from Skinnytaste.com. I modified the proportions, used Monterey Jack cheese, and substituted corn tortillas for flour tortillas. I served the enchiladas with brown Basmati rice, refried beans, and Trader Joe’s Mexican street corn. Great!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 oz bottle of enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1┬áT extra-virgin┬áolive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut 1/2-inch-dice
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1┬ámedium yellow┬áonion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 10 oz can “original” Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2┬ácup water
  • 12 corn tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup┬áshredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 scallions, sliced,┬áfor garnish
  • sour cream, for serving, optional (low-fat okay)
  • brown Basmati rice and refried beans, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 400┬░F, preferably on convection.
  2. Place 1/4 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish. (I used a ceramic 9×13-inch baking dish.)
  3. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large skillet. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook 2-3 minutes until onions become translucent and garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add cubed butternut squash, Rotel tomatoes, black beans, water, cilantro, cumin and chili powder and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. (Add more water if the mixture looks dry.)
  5. At the end of the cooking time for the filling, steam the tortillas. Place the corn tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a plate and place a damp paper towel on top. Cover tightly (using plastic wrap if using a plate), and microwave for approximately 1 minute, or until they are warm and pliable. Keep covered until ready to fill.
  6. Place a generous 1/4 cup filling in the center of each tortilla and roll to close, placing in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with the remaining filling. (I used a dry measuring cup to ration the filling.)
  7. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and shredded cheese.
  8. Bake, covered with foil until the sauce is bubbling and hot and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Top with scallions and cilantro. Serve with sour cream, rice, and/or refried beans, as desired.

One-Pot Chicken Thighs with Black Beans, Rice & Chiles

The New York Times recently posted a list of “The 13 Best Cookbooks of Fall 2019” along with one recipe from each book. Such a wonderful peek. ­čÖé

Baked chicken and rice dishes are an absolute favorite in my house, so I was immediately drawn to this dish adapted from Diana Henry’s From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes that Look After Themselves, contributed to The New York Times by Margaux Laskey.

This Mexican-inspired dish was incredibly flavorful. I loved serving it with all of the garnishes as well. We ate it with saut├ęed greens on the side. Fabulous!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 8 to 10┬á(5 pounds)┬ábone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1 large yellow, Vidalia or white onion, chopped
  • 2 green or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced (I used my CSA long green peppers)
  • 2 ┬Ż cups chicken stock
  • 2 red Fresno chiles or jalape├▒os, halved, seeded and chopped, plus one sliced chile for garnish
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 6 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup white Basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear
  • 3┬áT┬áchopped cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and sliced avocado, for serving, as desired
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch (or larger) ovenproof skillet (the pan size is very important) over medium-high. (I used a large and wide enameled cast iron pan.)
  4. In two batches, brown the chicken on both sides to give it good color, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Add the onion and bell peppers to the pan and saut├ę until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
  7. Meanwhile, add the chiles, cinnamon, garlic and cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the black beans and cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle the rice on top in an even layer. (ItÔÇÖs important that the black beans are beneath the rice and chicken. The rice will burn otherwise.)
  10. Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.
  11. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The chicken should be lovely and golden, the stock should be absorbed and the rice should be tender.
  12. Sprinkle with the cilantro.
  13. Serve with lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and avocado (squeeze some lime juice over the avocados in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper), as desired.

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