Portabello Mushroom Tacos

Portabello Mushroom Tacos

Ok…so let’s recap.

For our Cinco de Mayo fiesta planning, we’ve covered dips, pickled onions, and margaritas. And now it’s time for tacos.

Tacos, oh tacos…..how glorious you are. Savory goodness topped with fresh veggies and citrus–all wrapped up in a tortilla. Frankly, I haven’t met a taco I didn’t like.

So handy….so delicious….so perfect.

With so many variations, you really can’t go wrong. And might I suggest a few options?

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos & Chavelas

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Avocado Crema

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

And in case you’re looking for a vegetarian option, these Portabello Mushroom Tacos are the perfect thing for you. They’re hearty, flavorful and best of all–super quick to whip up. So instead of slaving in the kitchen during your Cinco de Mayo celebrations, you can make better use of your time such as sipping on margaritas with your loved ones.

But don’t fret folks, I’ve got one last fab dish for you that I’ll be sharing on Monday. Equally as delicious and fast to make….you’ll love it.

Happy Friday Folks!!!

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Portabello Mushroom Tacos
Makes 8-10 tacos

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped white onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1½ pounds portabello mushrooms, roughly chopped
¾ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1½ cups chopped cilantro leaves, more to garnish
8-10 small tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese (pepper jack, Monterey, cheddar- whatever you fancy)
pickled red onions
oven-roasted tomato salsa
lime wedges

In a large cast iron pan or large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until they become translucent but not browned. Add in the minced jalapeno and garlic and sauté for an additional minute.

Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and sauté over the medium heat until they are softened and begin to brown. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, garlic salt, kosher salt, black pepper and scallions. Cook for 1 minute and take the pan off the heat. Fold in the cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Warm the tortillas (in a skillet, over a open flame, or even in the microwave). Begin assembling the tacos by placing a layer of the cheese on a tortilla and top with a few spoonfuls of the mushroom mixture. Top each taco with some picked red onions and cilantro. Serve with salsa and lime wedges.

*The dried spices in this recipe essentially make up the taco seasoning blend I keep on hand at home. However, if you want to make the dish even easier, substitute the dried spices for your preferred taco seasoning blend.

Blended Mango Margaritas

Blended Mango Margaritas

Let’s get one thing straight.

In my book, it’s not a Cinco de Mayo celebration if there aren’t margaritas on hand –whether there’s booze in them or not. A chilled beverage filled with tons of citrus that is the perfect sidekick to spicy salsas, tacos, ceviche, barbacoa….let’s face it–pretty much anything!

 

Blended Mango Margaritas

As we continue on with the Cinco de Mayo plans, it’s only fit to think about what type of margaritas to serve. I usually lean towards my standard classic margarita on the rocks with a heavy salt rim. But if you’re interested in something different, here are a few options:

 

Blood Orange Margaritas

Blood Orange Margaritas

Mint Margaritas

Mint Margaritas


Pomegranate Margaritas

Pomegranate Margaritas

 

Palomas
(not technically a margarita but a fantastic close cousin)

Palomas

 

I managed to get my hands on some deliciously sweet ataulfo mangoes and thought they would be fantastic in a blended margarita. I tossed them into the blender with some booze, fresh citrus, ice and voila— a fiesta in a glass!

Blended Mango Margaritas

If you don’t have fresh mangoes on hand, frozen mangoes could also be used. However, you may want to reduce the amount of ice and add a bit more simple syrup to taste. I also chose to rim the glass with sugar but if you happen to have some chili-lime salt (ie. Tajin) then that would be another fab flavor layer.

Salud!

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Blended Mango Margaritas
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 lime wedge
sugar
2½ cups ripe mangoes
4 ounces premium tequila
2 ounces Cointreau or triple sec
2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce simple syrup (more if you prefer a sweeter cocktail)
1 cup crushed ice
limes slices to garnish

Use the lime wedge and rim the edge of two glasses. Dip/roll the rim into the sugar and coat the edge of each glass.

Place all the remaining items into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the contents into the rimmed glass and garnish with a lime slice. Cheers!

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions

My seester gave me a jar of pickled onions she made and they lasted exactly 376,901 seconds.

Ok…more like a week. But nonetheless, I inhaled those pickled onions. Tart, slightly sweet with a bit of a crunch. They’re the perfect accompaniment to just about anything—

In sammies….

Over salads……

On top of barbecue…..

And my favorite, inside tacos.

Pickled Red Onions

So since I gobbled up the jar she gave me, I had to restock for Cinco de Mayo. My version is quick to make and you can easily add/remove any spice you like. Need some ideas on what to serve these purty Pickled Red Onions with for Cinco de Mayo? How about:

And yes, the bright fucsia color is all natural. Isn’t it lovely?

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Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar (more if you prefer a sweeter pickle)
1/8 teaspoon coriander seeds*
1/8 teaspoon peppercorns*
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 dried bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 pinches kosher salt
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2 circles

In a pot, add all the ingredients except the onions. Place the pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Stir in the onions and cook for 1 minute.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the onions with the liquids in a jar or container and refrigerate. The pickled onions are ready to be enjoyed after a few hours in the refrigerator and can be kept (in the fridge) for a few weeks.

*To release more of the spice flavors, you can use the flat side of a chef’s knife to slightly crush the coriander and peppercorns.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa : Cinco de Mayo Countdown Begins!

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Alrighty Folks, it’s time to get organized because Cinco de Mayo is exactly one week away!

What have y’all got planned? Is the menu set yet?

Because if not–you’re in luck!

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

For the next week I’ll be posting muy delicioso menu ideas to ensure that your Cinco de Mayo festivities will be filled with good eats and thirst quenching cocktails.

To start off a fiesta, you’ve got to have chips and dips. I recommend dunking your crispy tortilla chips into a Roasted Poblano Guacamole, Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo, or this mouth-watering Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Because this gal is ALL about salsas.

I usually make my standard salsa using canned plum tomatoes. It’s super easy to whip together (thank goodness for food processors!) and I smother everything with it. Over grilled proteins (fish, chicken, beef), inside tacos and burritos and of course–with chips.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

I decided to make a small tweak to my go-to salsa recipe by swapping out the canned tomatoes with oven-roasted tomatoes. By roasting the tomatoes in the oven, it concentrates the flavor and adds a different layer to the salsa. It’s still easy to make but it does use a good amount of fresh tomatoes (they shrink through the roasting process) and you need to wait about an hour for them to get their roast on in the oven.

The salsa can be kept in the fridge for about a week and actually tastes even better the day after you make it as the flavors have time to marry. But let’s be honest, you and your peeps will gobble down this salsa so fast that I doubt it will be in the fridge that long.

And with that, let the official countdown to Cinco de Mayo begin!!!!

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Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients:

4 pounds plum tomatoes, cut in half, seeds removed
1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced in half
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
½ small yellow onion, quartered
2 scallions
2 large garlic cloves
1-2 small serrano chile peppers, seeds removed (depending on your preferred heat level)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon chile powder (optional)
2 pinches sugar
zest of one lime
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ bunch cilantro (about 1½ cups)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes and jalapeno in a single layer, cut side up, on baking sheets. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for 60-70 minutes until the tomatoes have become slightly browned and shriveled. Allow them to cool until room temperature.

Put the roasted tomatoes, jalapenos, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and the remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Taste the salsa and add more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. The flavors will intensify as the salsa flavors marry.

Pour the salsa into a container and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

 

Spring Risotto – Spring has Sprung!

Spring Risotto

Spring has sprung–and boy do I have a plateful of deliciousness that screams of spring flavors.

Creamy, cheesy risotto with leeks, peas and asparagus. The whole plate is then showered with parmesan and bright lemon zest.

Mega drools….

Spring Risotto

You could really throw whatever fresh veggies that your local market or farmers’ stands may have available. Zucchinis, mushrooms, chard and spinach would be rad options. As for cooking liquids, I opted to use some white wine and chicken stock in the risotto but if you want to go with a purely vegetarian route, a well flavored vegetable stock would also work well.

Spring Risotto

Have a delectable weekend, Folks!

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Spring Risotto
Serves approximately 4

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks, thoroughly washed and dried
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to garnish
1 cup peas
1 cup blanched asparagus tips
kosher salt
black pepper
fresh lemon zest

Heat the chicken stock in a medum saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until softened and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme leaves, rice and stir quickly until the rice is well coated and opaque—about 1 minute.  Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is nearly all evaporated.

Ladle in 1 cup of the chicken broth into the rice. Simmer and slowly stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy–approximately 25 minutes in total.

Stir in Parmesan cheese until the cheese has melted. Gently fold in the peas and asparagus tips. Check for seasonings and adjust with the kosher salt and pepper.

Spoon the risotto into dishes. Grate additional parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle fresh lemon zest over each dish. Serve immediately.

 

20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach

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When I was in the elevator at work yesterday, I overheard someone saying how they made their grandma’s famous linguine alle vongole for Easter Dinner.

And then it was over.

I craved pasta all day long.

Preferably a pasta that someone’s grandma made but beggers can’t be choosers–I had to settle for something I could wrangle up.

20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach

So as I drove home I did a quick inventory of what I had in the fridge/freezer and decided upon a quick shrimp scampi. I have a delish recipe for Shrimp Scampi on the blog already but I wanted to change it up a bit.

I opted to throw in some fresh spinach leaves at the end for a bit of greens. I had originally played around with the idea of adding peas but went for the spee-natch instead. But who knows, I may throw some peas in next time for some oohs and ahhs.

Peas and thank you!

20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach

The pasta was bright, citrus-y, uber garlicky (vampires beware) and totally satisfying. And the best thing? Despite me calling this a 20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach, you can probably have it done in 15. But why not pour yourself a glass of wine during the process and take the few extra minutes?

Cheers!

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20-Minute Garlicky Shrimp Scampi with Spinach
Serves 2

Ingredients:

kosher salt
4 ounces dry linguine or spaghetti pasta
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to garnish
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 thin slices lemon
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
black pepper
2 handfuls (about 2 cups) spinach leaves
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in heavily salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta boils, mix the shrimp, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and garlic salt together in a bowl. In a large skillet, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the shrimp (with all the garlic and herbs) and lemon slices* to the skillet. Cook the shrimp on both sides until they turn pink—approximately a minute on each side. Remove the shrimp to a clean bowl/plate.

Turn the heat to high and pour the the wine into the skillet. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits. Allow the wine to come to a boil and add the lemon juice. Reduce the liquid for 2-3 minutes on the high heat. Add the butter and whisk/melt it into the reduced wine.

Turn the heat to medium-low and toss in the cooked/drained pasta. Vigorously toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a tablespoon at a time of the pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season the pasta with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Toss in the spinach and plate the pasta with the light sauce.

Top each dish with the cooked shrimp. Sprinkle the top with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

*While plating the pasta, you can remove the cooked lemon slices. Some do not enjoy the slight bitter taste of biting into cooked lemons but I’m all about it.

15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta

15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta

I am ALL about fast meals during the week days. Delicious goodness that can be whipped up in a flash using minimal ingredients and the least amount of dishes.

Because if I haven’t told you before, I absolutely loathe washing dishes. I would pretty much rather wash anything else…….laundry, my car, Bella (my pup)–heck, washing an elephant would be infinitely more enjoyable than doing dishes.

Back to food……….

Pastas are one of my go-to quick fixes where I can throw anything together for a fulfilling meal. This 15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta is so easy to make and can really be modified to whatever you have in the fridge. The end results is a great dish that is rather light and would be perfect for a warm summer night with a glass of pinot grigio in hand. And coming from a carnivorous gal, you won’t even miss the meat while you get down on a big ol’ bowl of this deliciousness.

Have an awesome Friday folks and enjoy your Easter Weekend!

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15-Minute Vegetarian Pasta
Serves 2

Ingredients:           

kosher salt
4 ounces dry linguine or spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped shallots
½ tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup white wine
1½ cups grape tomatoes
3 heaping tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
black pepper
2 handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh arugula leaves

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for 1-2 minutes until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic, chili flakes and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and bring it to a boil. Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes until they begin to burst.

Pour the starchy pasta water into the skillet. Once the liquids start to boil, toss in the pasta and sprinkle in the parmesan. Vigorously toss the cooked pasta to evenly coat it with the sauce. Check for seasonings and adjust with kosher salt and pepper accordingly. Toss in the arugula leaves and plate the pasta to a dish.

Serve immediately.