Roasted Padron Peppers

These are delectable little peppers from Spain.  The Padrons are an heirloom pepper, they are a combination of sweet, nutty & peppery and only very occasionally a little spicy.  They are a delicious, simple and easy tapas snack, simply roast, sprinkle with salt and eat. YUMMMeeee…

Simple-Roasted-Podron-Peppers  My friend Beto turned me on to these little gems!  Beto and his girlfriend Jill were lucky enough to live in San Sebastian Spain for 1 1/2 years learning all about the Spanish cuisine.  The crazy thing about these peppers are that for the most part they are very mild but every once in a while you can get a really hot one, it’s part of the fun don’t you think?

Try these with a nice glass of Verdejo, white Rioja or Sauvignon Blanc

Roasted-Podron-Peppers

Recipe - 2 Servings

  • 1 Basket Padron Peppers
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Maldron Salt to taste

Instructions:

Wash and dry the peppers well, you don’t want them to have water on them or they will splatter in the oil

Add about 3 tablespoons of  olive oil in a cast iron skillet or on a stovetop grill on med-high heat for 6 -8 minutes, stirring frequently

When the peppers are browning and blistered sprinkle a little Maldon salt over them

Serve them with a small dish on the side for the stems

Health benefits:

Padron Peppers contain calcium, iron, protein, vitamin A, B1, B2, C as well as capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation, help the digestive system and promote weight loss. They improve the blood circulation areduce high blood pressure.  They also help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and promote healthy cholesterol.

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Roasted Poblano Cilantro Pesto Kale Salad

This is unique full of flavor salad and the best part is it’s what I had on hand which means you can add or subtract ingredients that you have or like better, keeping to the Mexican theme of it.  A couple ideas would be corn, red bell peppers, avocado and jicama.  What else would you use?

Roasted-Poblano-and-Cilantro-Kale-Salad

 This weekend was a beautiful one to say the least. Everyone assumes California is always sunny but that isn’t true here in northern California, actually we have more sun in the winter than the summer most the time. Don’t get me wrong we do have nice summer days but we have a lot of foggy days too. Since it was a beach day I made this salad to bring, along with some roasted poblano cilantro pesto, P’ tit Basque cheese, Mahon cheese, raw walnuts and almonds, Fuji apples, grapes and some Albarino wine. There is nothing better than a picnic in my opinion!

Roasted-Poblano-Cilantro-Pesto-Kale-Salad

 I enjoyed this salad with Albarino wine but it would also go well with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, White Rioja or a Rose.

Roasted-Poblano-Cilantro-Kale-Salad Recipe – 4 – 6 Servings

  • 1 Head of Kale
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups cooked Black Beans
  • 3/4 Cup Roasted Poblano Cilantro Pesto
  • 2 Large Tomatoes (I used yellow)
  • 1 Roasted Poblano Pepper
  • 1/4 Red Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro (optional)
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeno Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Instructions:

Start the black beans, while they are cooking make the pesto and roast the poblano (all can be done the day ahead)

Wash the kale and tear off main rib by holding the end of the stem and sliding off the leaves then chop in to thin strips

Put the kale in a large bowl with the olive oil and massage the oil in to the kale

Dice in to small piece the onion, poblano and red cabbage and measure , then add to kale

Mince the jalapeno and add to kale

Chop the tomatoes and set aside

Mix together the pesto, vinegar and salt add to kale and mix well then drain the beans and add along with the tomatoes

*You can also mix the dressing with the kale and mix everything else in a bowl and top on individual servings of the kale.

Health benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)    More on kale 

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value. They are great for your immune system; poblanos help reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes), which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

Cilantro is an immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins (one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K) and dietary fiber.

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The Phoenix Cocktail

The Phoenix Cocktail is a local bartenders creation; it’s a fabulous hot summer day drink with fresh grapefruit, a hint of rosemary and the slight spice of the black pepper. It is an amazing culinary cocktail creation.

Robert Porter is a house mixologist at the Jade Bar at Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  Check out Robert Porter’s Interview with me coming to Cali-Zona soon; I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime check out Foodable TV Across the Bar with Paul Barron featuring Robert Porter at Jade Bar

Phoenix-CocktailRoasted Tomatillo, Poblano and Jalopeno Pesto

His inspiration for the cocktail is from being raised here in the Valley of the Sun where he grew up. The pepper in the drink adds a little spice and looks like the ashes that the bird of fire is reborn from.  He likes to flame the grapefruit peel oil on the garnish with a match, adding a fire element to process.

Phoenix-Cocktail--

Recipe: Makes 1 Martini            Profile: Fresh ~ Original by Phoenix bartender Robert Porter

  • 2 oz Aviation Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Freshly Pressed Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2 Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 Clover Honey Syrup (1/2 Warm Water 1/2 Honey)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 10 Fresh Rosemary Sprig Pieces

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake for 8 seconds with large cubes.  Double strain into a martini glass.

Glass:

Martini Glass or a Coupe      Garnish: Grapefruit disc with a rosemary sprig through the middle

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Roasted Poblano Cilantro Pesto

What a great flavor combination this pesto has!  You can make the best tasting sandwiches without using mayonnaise or just dip some chips in to it.  There are endless ways to use pestos and this one is no exception.  How would you use it?

Roasted-Poblano-and-Cilantro-Pesto

I just adore poblanos and cilantro, put the two together and it’s magic!  Cilantro is one of the healthiest herbs and a culinary delight as well.  There was a time when I didn’t like cilantro at all, I can’t even imagine my life without it now!

Roasted-Poblano-and-Cilantro-Pesto

This is the best with dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, Rioja, Albarino or a bubbly like a Cava or Txakoli.  Try it with a red Rioja or a Mexican beer.

Cilantro-and-Roasted-Poblano-Pesto

Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 1 Cups Cilantro
  • 1 Poblano Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Manchego Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Cloves
  • 1  to 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1/4 + 1/8 Teaspoons Sea Salt (or to taste)

Instructions:

Roast the poblano peppers, remove the stem and seeds, finely grate the cheese, juice the lime and measure everything and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture

Health Benefits:

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value. They are great for your immune system; poblanos help reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes), which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

Cilantro is an immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins (one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K) and dietary fiber.

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Strawberry Basil Hand Pies with a Hazelnut Crust

These are little delightful pieces of heaven with just the right amount of sweetness!  There is just a hint of basil giving the strawberries a nice boost of flavor and the crust is very flaky with the addition of ground hazelnuts!  They are especially yummy topped with my Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce for extra goodness.

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-and-Hazelnut-Crust

Robby and I had such a great time with our friends Maggie and Lydell who were visiting from Maui for the 4th of July.  Maggie is a life long friend of both of ours, and was my partner in crime when we were teenagers, so needless to say I was over the moon to have them stay with us!  We had a nice falafel dinner when they arrived and took a walk on the beach and to our surprise we got to see a great firework show.  It was said there weren’t to be any this year due to the drought and they would fine anyone who did, oh well that didn’t happen : ) After our walk we chatted on our deck and finished watching the fireworks from there.

We took them to Henry Cowell state park to see the biggest redwoods ever! We had a great lunch at Casa Nostra a great Italian restaurant in Ben Lomond, and then off to downtown Santa Cruz to the museum of arts for a local vendor craft fair, wine tasting, and then a nice walk to the west cliffs to see Steamers Lane and the surf museum. After all that we went to dinner at another great restaurant called West End Tap $ Kitchen.  We had a fun filled packed couple of days!

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-with-a-Hazelnut-Crust

I love these with a nice jasmine tea or coffee but also with a Cava, Prosecco or Ang’s Strawberry Thyme Mimosa.

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-with-Hazelnut-Crust

Recipe: 12 – 3 inch hand pies

Filling

  • 2 Cup Diced Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Beet Sugar or Sucanat
  • 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot powder

Crust

  • 2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or White)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Beet Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Hazelnut Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Ice Water or until it sticks together (don’t over do it)

Filling instructions:

Dice the strawberries into small pieces, mince the basil, measure everything and mix together well and set aside

Crust instructions:

 Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor in to small crumb size

In a mixer or food processor combine the flour, hazelnuts, sugar & salt

And 1/4 inch piece of butter and mix/pulse a few times to evenly break up the butter then add ice water slowly as you pulse, until it resembles a coarse meal with tiny pieces of butter

 It should be slightly crumbly and hold together when squeezed with your fingers

 Do not over process you want the little pieces of butter, thats what makes it flaky

Form dough into 2 3/4-inch-thick disks and wrap in plastic then refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or over night

On a piece of parchment paper roll out one of the disks of dough about 1/4 inch thick and add a bit of flour on top so it wont stick and pinch together any cracks then with a 3 inch circle cookie cutter cut out the circles and place 12 on to a parchment lined baking sheet

The other 12 flatten ever so slightly with the rolling pin so it will fit over the filling better (you don’t have to do this part but if it cracks just pinch the cracks together) If any cracks do happen pinch together the best you can.  Its ok for the filling to ooz a little.

With a pastry brush or your fingers spread a little water on the edge of one and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the filling then cover and press together with a fork to make the design

Cut decorative holes on top with a knife to let steam escape then sprinkle with sugar if you wish

Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden

Serve with a Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce

 

Health Benefits:

Strawberries are packed with nutrience and antioxidants. Just one cup gives you 100 percent.” of the daily value of Vitamin C which is a great immune buster, helps improve the eyes and it produces collagen in the skin, that helps keep wrinkles at bay. The antioxidants and phytochemicals also help to reduce joints inflammation. They are high potassium and fiber making them great for your heart.

Fresh Basil has anti-aginganti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce

I love this versatile sauce, it’s kind of like a fresh jam and the strawberries and basil just go together really well.  It’s really good on buttered toast, topped on some Greek yogurt or ice cream and there are so many other ways it can be used.

Chunky-Strawberry-Basil-Sauce

Strawberries are everywhere right now and Robby brought home a half of a flat he picked up from a local organic vendor on the side of a street on the way to our house, so convenient!  These happen to be extremely sweet so I didn’t have to add so much sugar.

Strawberry-Basil-Sauce

This sauce goes great with a nice bubbly Prosecco or Ang’s Strawberry Thyme Mimosa

Chunky-Strawberry-and-Basil-Sauce

 Recipe: Approx. 3 Cups

  • 3 Cups Diced strawberries
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons  Beet Sugar or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons  Arrowroot Powder

Instructions:

In a sauce pan add the add the maple syrup, water and sugar then stir on med low heat until sugar desolves

Next stir in the arrowroot powder and then the strawberries and basil for about a minute or until it has thickened

Health Benefits:

Strawberries are packed with nutrience and antioxidants. Just one cup gives you 100 percent.” of the daily value of Vitamin C which is a great immune buster, helps improve the eyes and it produces collagen in the skin, which helps keep wrinkles at bay. The antioxidants and phytochemicals also help to reduce joints inflammation. They are high potassium and fiber making them great for your heart.

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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Blood Orange Lime Wine Spritzer

This is such a refreshing summer drink and it has a lot of character with its slight fizz, tasty, pretty blood orange and just enough sour from the lime. Mmm… mmm… good!

Blood-Orange-Lime-Wine-Spritzer

I love this drink for socializing because with a glass of just wine I tend to drink more, this way I can enjoy something to drink without getting too buzzed too fast : D

Here is what Wikipedia has to say “The word comes from the German spritzen “spatter, squirt, spray, sprinkle”, i.e. adding water and thus diluting the wine so that it can be consumed in larger, thirst-quenching amounts.”

Blood-Orange-Wine-Spritzer

Recipe: 1 Glass

  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine (I used white Rioja)
  • 1/2 Cup Sparkling Water (I used Pellegrino)
  • 1/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • Blood Orange Slice For Garnish
  • Ice (Optional)

Instructions:

Juice the blood orange with an orange juicer into a small bowl and the lime in another small bowl

Put an ice cube into your glass and measure out all the ingredients into your glass and top with a slice of the blood orange

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Steamed Artichoke topped with Italian Style Tomato Salsa Verde

This is such an awesome way to start a meal or really an awesome meal all its own!  The sauce is a perfect match for an artichoke and a heated up sour dough baguette to soak up the oily tomato goodness.

Artichoke-Topped-With-Italian-Style-Tomato-Salsa-Verde

Artichokes are actually the buds of a purple flower and they can grow over 3 feet tall.  I happen to live very close to artichoke land where most of the artichokes are grown.  The Spanish settlers brought the artichoke to California and in the early 1920s California grew its first artichoke fields south of San Francisco near Half Moon Bay.

 I have always loved artichokes, my mom would make them for me when I was little but then I wasn’t very fond of the hearts like I am now.  My mom was stoked because she got to eat it!  Now there never seems to be enough!

Artichoke-Topped-With-Italian-Style-Salsa-Verde

This is excellent with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Sancerre (made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes in France).

It is also goes great with a Chardonnay, I prefer it unoaked!

Artichoke-With-Italian-Style-Tomato-Salsa-Verde

Recipe – 2 Artichokes

  • 2 Large Artichokes

Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Tomato (about 1)
  • 1/4 Cup Asiago Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Parsley
  • 1/2  Cup Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Mint (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chives
  • 1/4 + 2 Tablespoons Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic
  • 1 Shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • 1  Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Artichokes

Cut off the stem and about 1 1/2 inches of the top, then with scissors cut the tips of each leaf.

Place them in a large pot of boiling water and place a wet towel on top to keep them wet and immersed during cooking.

 Boil for about 35 – 50 minutes, depending on the size. Don’t cover or they can become bitter.  Test a leaf to see if it’s ready, it should pull out easily. You don’t want to over cook.

While artichokes are cooking make the sauce

Sauce

Mince the tomato in to tiny pieces, finely shred the Asiago, coarsely chop herbs and capers, mince the shallots, chop garlic very fine , with a lemon juicer juice the lemon and measure all ingredients and add to a bowl then mix well.  Let sit a bit to incorporate flavors

I often make a double batch of sauce to enjoy later with a nice loaf of bread!

Assembly

Serve them on a plate and slightly spread the leaves apart and drizzle some sauce on top.  The sauce will go inside the leaves so when you eat it there will be sauce already for you.  You can also just serve the sauce on the side, it it less messy that way.

Health Benefits: 

Artichokes are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is great for the colon and heart. The bitter compounds contribute to cholesterol reduction in the blood. They contain good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin-C and other anti-oxidants that protect the body from harmful free radical. It is also rich in B-complex group. They are one of the vegetable sources of vitamin K that is good for bone and brain health. Artichokes have a powerful liver protectant called flavonoid silymarin making it a powerful detoxifier.

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