Queso with Turkey Chorizo

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I’m just going to break it to you now: this appetizer is definitely not healthy. Like, not even remotely. As in, I-bought-Velveeta-for-the-first-time-in-my-life-for-this-recipe levels of unhealthy.

But it’s worth it. I mean, there’s nothing quite like semi-food Velveeta to keep your queso at a smooth, dip-able consistency even after it’s cooled. A liberal sprinkling of turkey chorizo (don’t @ me, it’s actually really good) rounds things out with another layer of crumbly texture and warm spice.

After the chips are gone, you’ll be licking the bowl with this one.

Queso with Turkey Chorizo

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 ounces fresh turkey or chicken chorizo
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound sharp cheddar, grated
2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and crisp, 8–10 minutes; set aside.

2. Heat half-and-half and Velveeta in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until Velveeta is melted, 6–8 minutes. Add Monterey Jack and cheddar; cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth. Mix in chipotle chiles, salt, and chile powders.

3. Transfer queso to a warm bowl and top with chorizo.

Celery-Spiked Guacamole

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Remember the Great Guacamole-gate of 2015? I do. The New York Times suggested adding peas to your guacamole, and a near all-out war ensued. And understandably so. Peas do not belong in guacamole. Ever.

Nor does celery, or so I thought. I sort of hate myself for even making this recipe, but it’s really, really good. The celery adds an addictive crunch without overwhelming the avocado-lime-onion trifecta of flavor that makes guacamole, well, guacamole.

Just try it. Sorry not sorry.

Celery-spiked guacamole

Ingredients:

4 avocados, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 serrano chiles, seeds removed if desired, finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus leaves for serving
Salt

1. Mash avocados, celery, chiles, garlic, lime juice, onion, and cilantro in a bowl to desired consistency; season with salt. Top guacamole with remaining cilantro leaves.

Japanese Garlic Chive-Scrambled Eggs

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I probably make these scrambled eggs at least once a month. Easy, healthy, and delicious, they make a perfect breakfast (who am I kidding, I make this for dinner all the time too). You can serve this atop rice, but I prefer these soft and warm eggs by themselves.

Make sure to get Asian garlic chives for these, as the flavor and texture are completely different than your standard grocery store chives.

Japanese garlic chive-scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

1 small bunch garlic chives (about 1/2 pound), cleaned and chopped into 1-inch lengths
4 eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant dashi granules (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and dashi together until blended.

2. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic chives, sauteing for a couple of minutes until they’re bright green and wilted.

3. Pour the eggs into the pan and turn down the heat to low. Let the eggs cook, undisturbed, until you see the bottom of the eggs turn opaque.

4. Give the eggs a gentle stir, scraping the cooked egg up from the edges off the bottom of the pan, and allowing the raw egg at the top to run underneath. Let this cook until the bottom layer turns opaque and stir again.

5. Repeat step 4 until the eggs have reached your desired doneness (I like for much of the eggs to remain soft and opaque). Remember that the eggs will continue to cook a little after you turn off the heat. Serve warm.

Green Beans with Anchovy-Parmesan Dressing

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I don’t like green bean casserole. There, I said it. Every Thanksgiving, I’d steer clear of the green beans on the table, feeling guilty for allotting less real estate for vegetables on my plate but hey, mashed potatoes count, right?

This year, though, I’m turning a new leaf. This green bean dish is electrified with a bright, piquant dressing that has me converted. Think Caesar salad meets green beans. It might just be my new favorite Thanksgiving side dish — and it’s versatile enough to serve all year.

Green beans with anchovy-Parmesan dressing

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
3 cups baby spinach
3 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Salted toasted sunflower seeds, for garnish

1. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to an ice bath to cool; drain well. Place the beans in a bowl.

2. In a blender, pulse the parsley with the spinach, anchovies, cheese and mustard. With the machine on, drizzle in 4 tablespoons of water and oils and blend until combined. Season with salt.

3. Add the dressing to the beans and toss to coat. Garnish with sunflower seeds.

Kimchi-Fried Bulgur

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You know a food trend has arrived when you see frozen bags of it at Trader Joe’s (no disrespect to Trader Joe’s, purveyor of all things delicious, whimsical, and well-priced). So once I started seeing frozen kimchi fried rice in their aisles, I wondered how else I could riff on one of my favorite weeknight dishes. Enter alt grains.

Why not kimchi-fried bulgur? A little Middle Eastern-East Asian mashup, if you will. It’s just as easy as kimchi fried rice, but more filling, and pretty guilt-free. Put an egg on it and you’ve got yourself a complete meal.

Kimchi-fried bulgur

1/2 cup kimchi, plus 3 tablespoons juice from jar
4 green onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
Salt
1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
3 cups cooked bulgur
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 sheet nori seaweed, shredded
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Chop kimchi; set aside. Cut green tops from green onions and thinly slice; set aside. Thinly slice white and pale green parts and set those aside too.

2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Crack eggs into pan; season with salt. Cook until whites are golden and crisp around edges and puffing up and set near yolks, about 4 minutes. Transfer eggs to a plate.

3. Return skillet with oil to medium-high heat, add carrot, and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved white and pale green parts of green onions and kimchi and cook, stirring often, until scallions are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add grains, soy sauce, sesame oil, and reserved kimchi juices; cook, stirring, until grains are slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt; divide between 2 plates. Top with eggs, then nori, sesame seeds, and reserved scallion tops.