Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs

green figs 5

One night last week Jeff came home from work and handed me a bag from his clinic. I thought, "Yes! More free anti-wrinkle cream!" (Having a dermatologist as a husband does have its advantages). When I peeked inside the bag, however, I discovered something even better than antioxidant cream: a dozen plump, brilliant green figs that were beginning to split from ripeness. "Wow! Where did you get the fresh figs?" I asked. "Adel gave them to me from the tree in her yard," he said.

Adel, who works with Jeff, told him, "Last year my tree produced three figs. One for me, one for my husband, and one for the birds." Fortunately she's having a bumper crop this season, and we're two of the lucky beneficiaries.

fig risotto bonny

To celebrate fall's arrival, I'm sharing a recipe for Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs. Arborio rice, which is used to make risotto, makes the most luxurious rice pudding imaginable: it's plump, tender, and creamy. Topping it with perfumed, wine-poached figs adds elegance and sweetness, resulting in a remarkably velvety, rich pudding.

Just don't wait too long to try this recipe because, sadly, fresh fig season will be over soon. Though my inclination is to lament their passing, I've decided to be more practical this year. I've turned my attention to fall's upcoming stars: persimmons and Medjool dates. I already feel better.

Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

Poached Figs:
2 cups Muscata wine (or other sweet dessert wine of your choice)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean split down the middle
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 whole orange peel from a fresh orange
8 fresh Brown Turkish Turkey or Black Mission figs, quartered

1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios, for garnish
Orange zest curls, for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, add wine, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange peel, and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce becomes slightly syrupy.

Removes the stems from the figs and cut into quarters. Add to the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add rice, water, milk, and sugar to a medium, shallow, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir well, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, letting the rice bubble gently for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, the rice will be plump, and the pudding will be thick and creamy. Give it a taste--the rice should be fully cooked yet maintain a slight firmness.

Allow to cool slightly before placing in individual serving dishes. Top with a spoonful of poached figs and drizzle the sauce over the pudding. Garnish with chopped pistachios and orange zest curls. Pudding can be served warm or at room temperature.

You might also like:

KW SRusso pumpkin pie risotto

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest
I was saddened to learn that Gina De Palma, author of the splendid cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and executive pastry chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC,has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of Gina, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (via and to partake in their O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest. Interested? Here's what you need to do (this is from Sara's blog):

1. Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;


2. If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.


3. Then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you've made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.

We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.

  • 1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;
  • 1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.


From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
  • In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
and help spread the word!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Healthy Muffins That Taste Good. Really.

healthy muffins tin close up

The problem with "healthy" muffins is that they're usually bland, rubbery, or dry. I wanted to make a healthy muffin that actually tasted great. One you would want to eat. Turns out, that isn't so easy.

Healthy Muffins Take 1:

I hand Jeff a muffin to taste.

Me: "So what do you think?"

Jeff: Chewing, with a furrowed brow. "Well, they're a little bland. How much sugar did you put?"

Me: "Oh, no! I forgot to add the sugar!"

Healthy Muffins Take 2:

I hand Jeff a muffin to taste.

Me: "Are these better? I didn't forget the sugar this time."

Jeff: Chewing a lot and very, very slowly. "Well, they taste like they're good for you."

Healthy Muffins Take 3:

I hand Jeff a muffin to taste.

Me: With fingers crossed. "Well?"

Jeff: "These are healthy? Wow! They don't taste like it."

Me: "Yes!"

The third time really is the charmer.

healthy muffins plate and tin

After much experimentation, these "healthy" muffins really are winners. They get their nutritional kick from a few sources: whole wheat flour has extra calcium and protein; flax seeds are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Egg whites lower the cholesterol in the recipe without lowering the protein; and low-fat buttermilk and Smart Balance reduce fat and cholesterol while helping maintain moistness. Raisins, walnuts, and sunflower seeds provide fiber, omega-3's, calcium, and protein.

Just to be sure it wasn't me, I sent a batch to Jeff's office. The plate came back empty, except for a thank you note with a smiley face. See, they really do taste good.

healthy muffins tin centered

Healthy Muffins

Makes 12 regular size muffins.
Print recipe only here.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons flax seed (or flaxseed meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons smart balance butter substitute, melted
1 large egg and 2 egg whites
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, divided

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12 mold regular size muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine flours, flax seeds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl, and stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, sugar, smart balance, and eggs, and whisk well. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in raisins, walnuts, and half of the sunflower seeds.

Spoon the batter evenly into the into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle remaining sunflower seeds on top of muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

Note: I tried variations with less sugar and found them to be too bland. However, if you'd like to reduce the sugar in these, feel free. They're still packed with lots of good-for-you ingredients.

You might also like these low-fat breakfast dishes:

Fresh Apricot Muffins

Ginger-y Cranberry Walnut Scones (Heart Healthy & Low Fat!)

Pancakes with Fresh Raspberry-Strawberry Sauce

I'm sending lovely Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen some muffins since she has chose whole grains for this month's Weekend Breakfast Blogging created by Nandita of Saffron Trail.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Edible Red Corn On The Cob

red corn

Notice anything unusual about this corn? No, it's not some nifty Photo-Shop-Curves technique. It's real red you're seeing. That's no ordinary ear of corn. That's an ear of edible red corn.

In the U.S. we typically refer to colored corn as "Indian corn" since Native Americans were the first people to grow corn in the New World. When European colonists came to the New World, they referred to corn of all colors as "Indian corn" to differentiate it from other grains such as wheat and rice. Over time, white, yellow, and bi-color corn replaced colored corn in people's diet, and colored corn became ornamental.

red corn

So what makes red corn red? Like red pomegranates and purple grapes, red corn derives its color from anthocyanins, or health-promoting antioxidants. This means that it's both more visually appealing and healthier than traditional corn.

As for texture and taste, red corn has slightly crunchier kernels and an earthier flavor. That's why in this recipe for Red Corn with Cilantro and Cotija Anejo Cheese, I added a touch of sugar. Acidic lime, salty Mexican cheese, and savory cilantro add complexity without masking the corn's unique flavor.

This red corn is from Henry's Marketplace, a popular market here in Southern California, but you might find heirloom varieties of corn at organic markets such as Whole Foods or online. If you ever find it, I definitely recommend trying it. And if you don't like it, then just dry it and hang it on your front door.

red corn with cilantro and Cotija Anejo Cheese

Red Corn with Cilantro and Cotija Anejo Cheese
Serves 2
Print recipe only here.

2 ears of red corn, kernels removed from the cob
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled cotija anejo cheese**
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Cut off the corn kernels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt olive oil. Add corn and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add lime juice and salt & pepper. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. The corn should be cooked through yet still firm. Sprinkle with cotija anejo cheese and cilantro and toss gently until well combined and serve immediately.

** Cotija anejo, a mild-flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture, can be found in Mexican markets or in the refrigerator section of most major supermarkets. Queso fresco, another mild Mexican cheese, is a good substitute and also can be found in most major supermarkets.

Note: This dish can be made with traditional white, yellow, or bi-color corn, though you many want to omit the sugar.

Click here for a quick tutorial on safely and easily removing corn kernels from the cob.

You might also like:

Elote, or Mexican Grilled Corn

Sweet Corn and Honey Muffins

Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad

I am sending my red corn to Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, this week's host of Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

The 3 Winners of Kona Kampachi Fish Are....

I will contact the winners so you can send me your name and mailing address.

Thanks to everyone who commented, and special thanks to Kelly from Kona Blue for her generosity!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to Make Lobster Fra Diavolo

lobster back view

Lobster's back.

First there was creamy lobster risotto. Now it's Lobster Fra Diavolo, a treasured Italian-American dish characterized by a spicy sauce for pasta or seafood. Fra Diavolo, was the king of pasta in the 1990's. (I know this because it was Jeff's favorite entree to order at a "nice" restaurant when we were dating.)

The last time Jeff ate lobster fra diavolo, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was a number one hit. Though Jeff will always love lobster fra diavolo, he doesn't feel similarly toward Whitney, so I decided not to invite her to our lobster dinner. I asked Frank, our oldest and dearest crooner, to come instead, because Italian food always tastes better with ol' blue eyes.

lobster fra right 2

Lobster Fra Diavolo
Serves 2
Print recipe only here.

1 (1.25 pound) live lobster
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt, to taste
1/4 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot (big enough to submerge the lobster completely) of salted water to a boil. To kill the lobster, hold a butcher knife over its head, about an inch behind its eyes; puncture and slice forward in one motion. Plunge the lobster head first into the boiling water for 7-8 minutes. The shell should be bright red, though the meat will finish cooking in the risotto. Remove the lobster from the pot, rinse, and allow to cool.

To remove the meat, twist off the claws; crack them open with nut crackers, and extract the meat. Bend the lobster's body back from the tail until it cracks; remove it. Then push the tail meat out. Crack the lobster body open and break off the legs; use a skewer to push the meat out of the legs.

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine and crushed red pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook spaghetti in salted water for 10 minutes, or until al dente, fully cooked yet firm to the bite.

Add the lobster meat to the sauce and toss well. Heat through 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss well. Turn off heat. Stir in the fresh herbs and season with salt. Garnish with additional fresh herbs and serve immediately.

You might also like:

Grilled Lobster (there's a video!)

Individual Pesto Lasagnas

Penne with Fresh Ricotta and Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

Penne with Italian-American "Gravy," Meatballs, and Sausage

Hey! Today is the last day to enter for your chance to win FREE Kona Kampachi fish from Hawaii!
here for details.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sweet Corn and Honey Muffins That Taste Like Home

corn muffins

Each of us has those foods that magically evoke feelings and thoughts from our childhood. One of mine is corn muffins, which are wonderfully homey. In fact, this recipe is adapted from an original that my mom has been using for over 40 years.

corn muffins drizzled with honey

When I was mixing the batter, I added some sticky sweet honey and plump, fresh corn kernels, which I wasn't sure Mom would like. Last week she made this new version and called me declaring: "Oh, Susan, those corn muffins are even better than the mine!" Well, there you have it, folks -- the best endorsement a food blogga could ask for.

To capture that old-fashioned chewy texture that I love, I used medium coarse rather than fine cornmeal. The result: golden, crisp muffin tops give way to soft, moist, honey-laced centers that are only enhanced when topped with a pat of butter and drizzled with warm honey.

corn muffins eating

The aroma of freshly baked muffins and a little nostalgia -- it doesn't get much better than that.

Sweet Corn and Honey Muffins
Makes 12 regular size muffins.
Print recipe only here.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup medium coarse stone-ground cornmeal
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup fresh corn kernels

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12 mold regular size muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, butter, buttermilk, eggs, and honey. Add to the flour mixture and stir quickly until well combined. Fold in the corn kernels. Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 molds.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

You might also like:
  • My article, "You Can't Judge a Corn By Its Color," on NPR's Kitchen Window with recipes for Mexican Grilled Corn; Corn-Scallion-Cheddar Biscuits with Cilantro Butter; Sauteed Corn with Ginger, Mint and Lemon; and Roasted Corn and Tomatillo Salsa
  • Looking to preserve the flavor of summer sweet corn all winter long? Then check out my article "How to Freeze Corn for the Winter" on Fit Fare. It's easy!

Hey! Don't forget to submit a comment by this
Thursdsay, September 18th for your chance to win free
Kona Kampachi fish! Click
here for details.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

eggplant red pepper tapenade

I don't know where I went wrong. Three years of high school French and one graduate school semester of reading French, and I can still barely string together an intelligible sentence. C'est terrible!

I have accepted the fact that a French pre-schooler could speak circles around me, but as long as I can say some words, like aubergine, I'm content.

Aubergine doesn't look or sound anything like its English counterpart "eggplant." But, oh, how I wish it did. Let's be honest, could there be a less appealing name than "eggplant"? I mean, it's not an egg or a plant. Plus, phonetically, it's just not pleasing; it's harsh and flat.

, however, flows elegantly out of one's mouth. I daresay it's almost too attractive a word for the vegetable is signifies. (In botanical terms, an eggplant is actually a fruit, but it's cooked and eaten like a vegetable).

Fortunately I'm mature enough to look beyond such petty issues and appreciate eggplant's attributes. A heavy, firm, eggplant with a glossy purple-black skin borders on the regal. And its flesh, though just an unassuming off-white color, becomes enticingly rich and creamy when cooked. Like a chameleon, eggplant has the ability to transform itself: when grilled, it is appetizingly smoky flavored and tender; when fried, it is irresistibly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

My current favorite is Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade. (Here's how to make roasted red peppers.)

The wonderful charred flavor of the eggplant is only enhanced with a boldly flavorful tapenade of savory roasted red peppers, salty olives, and fragrant fresh herbs. Since the flavors of this tapenade improve with time, you can make it a day ahead, then bring it to room temperature before serving. It makes an ideal appetizer for a party since it's easy to assemble and makes an attractive presentation.


I'm bringing a big plate of my Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade to Susan's Blogiversary Party over at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy. I just know that girl is gonna be the life of the party!

Also, I'll be sharing some with dear Simona of Briciole who has chosen eggplants, melanzane, for the current round of Fresh Produce of the Month created by Marta of An Italian in the US. First aubergine, now melanzana. It's just too much.

Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
Serves 8
Print recipe only here.

2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 16-20 slices)
enough olive oil for brushing each slice on both sides


1/2 cup finely chopped homemade roasted peppers (or bottled peppers)
1/2 cup finely chopped mixed olives (such as Kalamata and Cerignola)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, mint, oregano, and parsley)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste

4 tablespoons feta or goat cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
additional herbs, for optional garnish
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Mix all of the tapenade ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. (This can be made a day ahead.)

Preheat a grill to high. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the eggplant slices. Grill the eggplant for about 7-8 minutes per side, or until grill marks form and the flesh becomes tender.

Place eggplant slices on a serving dish and top each with a dollop of tapenade. Sprinkle with cheese, toasted pine nuts, and additional herbs. Just before serving, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.

Note: If you don't have a grill, then you can broil the eggplant slices in the oven instead.

You might also like these other party-friendly dishes:

Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad

Spinach, Nutmeg, and Ricotta Pie

Fresh Pineapple, Banana, and Pistachio Cake with Rum Icing

Almond Biscotti

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kona Kampachi Give Away!

Last week Kelly from Kona Blue emailed to let me know that my recipe along with several other bloggers' recipes were now up on their site. I was pretty excited. You will be too because you, my dear readers, have a chance of receiving your own Kona Kampachi fish!

Kona Kampachi with Meyer Lemon

Kona Kampachi® is a sushi-grade Hawaiian yellowtail that is sustainably raised off the coast of Hawaii. Since it has no detectable levels of mercury and has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids -- which have been linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease -- Kona Kampachi is both exceptionally flavorful and healthy for you. It can be eaten raw or lightly cooked, which renders a thick, tender, snowy white fish.

Though I would recommend going to Hawaii to eat some Kona Kampachi, you won't have to because Kona Blue has generously offered to send a whole fish to three lucky Food Blogga readers!

Here's what you have to do to win:

Leave a comment below explaining why you'd like to receive the fish. That's it.

The deadline to submit is
Thursday, September 18th.

Then three winners will be randomly selected and announced in a future post that week, so please check back. Winners will need to provide their real names and mailing addresses.

My apologies to all of my international readers. Because Kona Kampachi is packed in ice, the winners will have to be limited to US residents only.

Good luck, everybody!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Would a Chicken, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Quesadilla (and a cold beer) Make Tom Brady Feel Better?

chicken quesadillas

I have had better weeks.

First, on Tuesday, I chipped a tooth. Then on Thursday, our car died and needed to be resuscitated. But it was still OK until today, when Tom Brady of the New England Patriots went down in the first quarter of the first game of the season with a gimp left leg.


In case you didn't know, I like football, but I love football when Tom Brady is playing. Tom was assisted off the field and never returned. I, like millions of other Patriots fans, have fallen into despair.

Fortunately I was able to distract myself by eating a Chicken, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Quesadilla with Chipotle BBQ Sauce for dipping (being a Foodie does have its perks). These are easy to make, fun to eat, and filling. I made and photographed them during half time and still had time to eat them without missing a single touchdown (something for which I am notorious).

enjoying chicken quesadillas with tom brady

So, please, Tom, for me, and for your millions and millions of fans out there, get well soon! And let me know what your favorite pre-game football food is so I can make if for you when you come here to San Diego in 34 days, 21 hours, and 35 minutes. I'm a really good cook.

Oh, my email is Foodblogga {at} Thanks.

Chicken, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Quesadillas with Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Makes 4 quesadillas
Print recipe only here.

4 teaspoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced (the more seeds, the hotter the flavor)
salt, to taste

1 pound of chicken cutlets, cut into strips
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
8 (6-7-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup ketchup, preferably Heinz
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1-2 tablespoons of adobo sauce**

To make the bbq sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 4 teaspoons olive oil. Add onions, sprinkle evenly with sugar, and toss until well coated. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat to low, and continue cooking until onions are fully caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Add jalapeno slices and some salt, stir well, and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, season chicken strips with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken and saute 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Set aside.

Place 1 tortilla on a clean cutting board. Sprinkle with a little shredded cheese, top with 1/4 of the chicken, 1/4 of the onion mixture, 1/4 of the cilantro, then add a little more cheese. Top with another tortilla, and press lightly with your hand. Continue with remaining tortillas and filling until you complete 4 quesadillas.

Heat a large, nonstick, dry skillet over medium heat. Add 1 quesadilla. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in a warm oven (200-300 degrees F) until ready to serve. (Or eat 'em as you make 'em.) Repeat with remaining 3 quesadillas.

Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with bbq sauce for dipping. Oh, and don't forget the cold beer.

You might also like these other football friendly foods:

Fish Tacos

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa

New England Clam Chowder

Potato, Rosemary, and Gorgonzola Pizza

Fennel Sausage and Rapini Pizza

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Skillet Boneless Pork Chops with Rosemary Peaches

boneless pork chops with rosemary peaches

I have always associated peaches with July and August. That is until a few years ago when I discovered the most succulent peaches I ever tasted -- in September.

Peach season in California is long and abundant; it runs from May to October and peaks from July through September. In general, peaches are picked early to withstand shipping and to have a longer shelf life. The problem is when you take home many of these peaches, they are as hard as a rock (and taste like one too). That's why buying locally grown peaches is a better option when possible.

A couple of years ago at a local farmers' market I discovered Summerset peaches, which peak in September. Like a California sunset, these fruits are a dazzling blend brilliant reds, warm oranges, and golden yellows. In addition to being visually beautiful, they emit a delicate floral aroma and are amazingly juicy and succulent, as if warmed by the sun.

Of course, you don't need Summerset peaches to enjoy this recipe; there are plenty of late summer varieties from which to choose. And though peaches are delightful eaten out of hand or in desserts, they are surprisingly delicious in savory dishes. They pair brilliantly with arugula and prosciutto and are wonderful grilled and filled with savory cheeses and herbs.

My favorite way to enjoy them though is by sauteeing them on the stove with some tangy honey and woodsy rosemary. The sweet, acidic, and earthy flavors blend harmoniously to make a remarkable companion to pork for an easy yet stylish weeknight dinner.

boneless pork chops with rosemary peaches

Skillet Boneless Pork Chops with Rosemary Peaches
Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

4 boneless pork chops (about 4-6 ounces each)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter

Rosemary Peaches:
4 teaspoons butter
4 ripe yet still firm yellow peaches, sliced with the skins on
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Trim any fat off of the pork chops. Season well with salt and black pepper and let rest for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil and butter. Add pork chops. Cook 4-5 minutes, then flip once, and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until the outside is browned and crisp and the inside is cooked through yet still tender.

Meanwhile, to make the peaches, heat 4 teaspoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peach slices and cook 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, rosemary, and salt and pepper, and stir. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to bubble up and thicken. Spoon peaches and sauce atop hot pork chops, garnish with additional chopped rosemary, if desired, and serve immediately.

You might also like:

Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry-Mango Salsa

Boneless Pork Chops with Persimmon and Pomegranate Salsa

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa

Dhanggit's Lemon, Rosemary and Honey Roast Pork
Lydia's Pork Tenderloin with Lavender Grilled Peaches
Rachel's Island Pineapple Pulled Pork

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