Sunday, August 14, 2016

77. Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos!!!

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Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos Collage

This post contains affiliate links to support my blogging addiction!

Well . . . it's been over a month since I've posted anything.  I got a little carried away with summer vacation.  Oops.

The funny thing is . . . I thought it would be easier to blog during the summer.  No.  At least, not for me - so many distractions!  My regular school-year routine was thrown out the window with abandon, and it was hard to figure out where blogging fit into the long, hot, crazy days!  Ha ha.

And . . . I think I just needed a break.  If you have read any of my previous posts, you might have noticed that I have been working on a taco recipe creation project for a little over a year.  Well, it was supposed to be just one year, but I didn't quite make it!  I'm still going to finish my 100 recipes, but it's going to take a little longer.  2 more months?  4 more months?  We'll see.  Once I started questioning whether I should go on vacation or stay home to make tacos, I knew I needed to reassess my priorities!  Ha ha.

So, anyway . . . I made these a few weeks ago.  I wanted to see if I could incorporate the flavors of a jalapeño popper (everyone's favorite spicy bar-food treat, right?) into a taco.  I suppose I could have just made jalapeño poppers, chopped them up, and threw them into some taco shells, but . . . no.  Ha ha.  I felt like the whole thing needed a bit more finesse than that, so I decided to deconstruct/reimagine the typical components of this guilty pleasure and (hopefully) come up with something unique.

I used ground turkey as the base.  I know, that's not typically part of a jalapeño popper filling, but I didn't want to end up with a taco full of nothing but cream cheese.  Ew.  I added bacon to the turkey to give it some flavor (as bacon does happen to be an ingredient that is commonly used in jalapeño poppers).

To incorporate the creamy, cheesy filling, I made a sauce with cream cheese, cheddar, and more peppers!  Finally, I topped the tacos with some crunchy garlic bread crumbs as a nod to the breaded/fried aspect of jalapeño poppers.

Weird, I know.  Well . . . here's the recipe:

Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos!


Serves 3 or 4 (about 8 tacos) 

Ingredients:

For the garlic bread crumbs:


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1 cup panko
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of red hot pepper flakes

For the poblano-cream cheese sauce:


2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
8 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the turkey filling:


2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
1 tbsp. green hot sauce (I used Gringo Bandito.)

Green Hot Sauce for Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

Other things you'll need:


8 large jalapeños, roasted, peeled, and seeded (left whole as much as possible)

Peppers for Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

12 crunchy taco shells (I used Trader Joe's Brand.)

Taco Shells for Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

Chile powder of your choice, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Make the bread crumb topping:  Place the olive oil and the garlic in a medium skillet over low heat.  Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the oil is very warm.  Add the panko, salt, and red pepper and stir to combine.  Cook (stirring occasionally) over low heat until the crumbs are toasty.  Be careful not to burn them - it's easy to get impatient!  Mine took about 25 minutes and ended up looking like this:

Garlic Bread Crumbs for Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

Set the bread crumbs aside to cool.

2.  Make the poblano-cream cheese sauce:  Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, reduce the heat slightly, and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and chiles.  Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until everything is heated through and most of the liquid from the chiles has evaporated.  Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the mixture along with the shredded cheddar cheese.  Cook, stirring often, until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is hot and bubbling.  Add the salt and cilantro and remove from the heat.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  Cover and set aside.

Poblano Cream Cheese Sauce for Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

3.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, reduce the heat slightly, and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook and stir for an additional minute or so.  Add the turkey, salt, and pepper and increase the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring and breaking apart with a spatula, until the turkey is completely done.  Stir in the crumbled bacon and hot sauce.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  Remove from the heat.

Turkey Filling for Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

4.  Assemble the tacos:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take each roasted jalapeño and cut it down one side (if you didn't already do that while seeding them) and lay it out flat.  Place all of the shells in a baking dish that will allow them all to stand upright.  (This was the trickiest part for me - they kept falling over!  It took a few tries to get them all propped up!)  Line each taco shell with a whole jalapeño.  Top with some of the turkey mixture.  Spread on some of the poblano cream-cheese sauce and sprinkle with the garlic bread crumbs.

Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos - Ready to Bake
Oops!  I took this picture before I sprinkled on the bread crumbs!

5.  Bake the tacos:  Place the pan in the oven and bake until all of the taco ingredients are hot and the shells are starting to brown.  Mine took about 15 minutes, but this could vary depending on your oven, so watch them carefully.  The shells can go from browned to burned very quickly!

6.  Sprinkle each taco with a bit of chile powder (if desired) and serve two or three for each person.  If you have nifty little taco holders like the ones below, use them!  They make things easier!  :)



Enjoy!  

Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos

These were definitely a hit.  My husband and I both enjoyed them.  One important thing to mention, though . . . any given taco could be WAY hotter than the others.  The heat level of jalapeños can really vary from pepper to pepper, and since I used a single pepper for each taco, there was no way to gauge the general spiciness of the recipe.  Some tacos were pleasantly spicy.  A couple of them were like death.  Seriously.

My husband started complaining that his taco was too spicy and I actually thought he was being a baby.  At first.  Then I took a bite of that taco and went running for the freezer in search of something cold to put in my mouth.  Ha ha.

It's good to know that going in.  I'd still recommend them, but just be aware you may be playing a kind of Russian roulette with heat!  :)

There is only one thing I would change.  The sauce was a bit on the thick side.  I thought it would thin out during the baking process and I didn't want it oozing out of the tacos and getting all over the place.  It didn't.  The thickness stayed the same even when the tacos were very hot.  It wasn't bad; it just wasn't what I had envisioned.  When I make this again, I'll probably add a couple of tablespoons of liquid to the sauce - maybe heavy cream?  Mmmm.

By the way, the sauce is fantastic.  You will want to put it on EVERYTHING!  You'll probably have some left, and you won't be sorry!  I spread some of it on an breakfast sandwich the next day and was very pleased with the result!

Deconstructed Jalapeño Popper Tacos (2)

Well, I'll be going back to school tomorrow.  Maybe that will bring some normalcy back into my life and I'll be able to post more recipes!  (Actually, I still have a few more that I've already made and need to post!  Oops.)

Small steps.  Recipe number 100, I'm feeling you.  I'll get there.  I'm not one to start a project and not finish it, especially if it's crazy!  Ha ha. 

Please feel free to comment!  Did you try these?  What did you think?  Thanks for reading!  :)

Monday, July 11, 2016

76. Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

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Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa Collage

One of the things that I love about summer is fresh corn on the cob!  It's funny - when I was a kid, I don't remember being able to get corn on the cob during other times of the year (unless it was frozen).  Now, it seems like you can get it almost anytime.  Just because you can, though, doesn't mean you should!  Am I right?  I try to avoid corn on the cob until summer, because it's usually a starchy disappointment.

For this recipe, I had my heart set on featuring a fresh, sweet corn salsa.  I thought shrimp would be the perfect protein to pair with it - shrimp has a lovely, delicate sweetness of its own!  I decided to cook the shrimp in a delicious, creamy roasted garlic sauce!

With all that sweetness and decadence, I needed some contrast.  Pleasantly bitter arugula seemed to be just the thing!  To top it off?  A hint of nutty manchego cheese!  (I know some people don't think seafood and cheese go together.  Well . . . I don't know what to say.  We like the combination every now and then!)

I left the corn raw in this recipe.  If it's in season, I think it's fine.  If you prefer that it be cooked, you can gently saute or microwave the corn before assembling the salsa.  I just didn't think it was necessary!

I'm still on my quest to create 100 taco recipes!  It's . . . going, but I've basically accepted that I will NOT finish this project at the one-year mark.  It might be a year and a month.  I don't know.  I'll finish as soon as I can, but I had no concept of how gargantuan this undertaking was when I started.

O.O

24 more to go!  Whew!  :)

I'm going to keep this introduction short because I need to think of another taco to make for tonight.  Ha ha.  Here's the recipe!  :)

Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa


Serves 3-4 (about 8 tacos), with extra salsa 

Ingredients:
 

For the roasted garlic shrimp:


1 head of garlic
About 20 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined (if desired) and tails removed

Shrimp for Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa
I used the same raw, already peeled and deveined shrimp that I've used for my other shrimp taco recipes.  They're already peeled and deveined - and wild-caught!  :)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling the garlic
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Fresno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the corn, red pepper, and chive salsa:


2 ears of corn
One red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
1 Fresno chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Cholula
1/2 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the dressed arugula:


2 cups baby arugula leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

A few ounces of finely grated manchego cheese

Manchego Cheese for Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

8 to 16 corn tortillas, depending on their size and whether you plan to double them up

Instructions:

1.  Roast the garlic:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slice the top off of the garlic head and place on a sheet of foil.  Lightly drizzle it with olive oil.  Wrap in the foil to cover.

Head of Garlic for Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

Place the foil-wrapped garlic in the oven and roast for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender and golden brown.  Uncover and set aside to cool.

Roasted Garlic for Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa
That green clove looks . . . funky, right?  I didn't use that one.  I'm sure it was probably fine but . . . eew.
When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the whole head of garlic over a small bowl so that the cloves are expelled.  Mash them into a paste, cover, and set aside.  

2.  While the garlic is roasting, make the corn salsa:  Shuck the corn and remove the silk.  Cut the kernels off of the cobs and place in a medium bowl.  Add all of the other salsa ingredients and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and set aside.


Salsa for Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

3.  Prepare the shrimp filling:  Heat the 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and Fresno pepper and reduce the heat slightly.  Cook and stir for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.  Raise the heat to medium-high and add the wine and roasted garlic paste, stirring to combine.  Simmer for about 2 minutes or until slightly reduced.  Add the cream, salt, and pepper, and allow to simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly, around 3 or 4 minutes.

Sauce for Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

Add the shrimp.  Cook and stir until the shrimp is just done, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  (If you wish to reduce the sauce further, remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl, and cover.  Then you can simmer the sauce to your desired consistency.  Afterwards, pour the sauce over the shrimp in the bowl.)

Cooked Shrimp for Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

4.  Prepare the tortillas:  Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, one by one, until browned but still soft, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  As the tortillas are done, stack them on a sheet of foil.  When they are all finished, wrap them in the foil.  You can keep them warm in a 250 degree oven if you wish, but I didn't bother this time as heating the tortillas was almost my last step.

5.  Place the arugula in a small bowl.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sherry vinegar and toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste and toss again.

6.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  Spoon several shrimp (with sauce) down the center of each tortilla.  Top with some of the arugula and then some of the corn salsa.  Finish with a sprinkle of the manchego cheese.  Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

These were very tasty!  I wouldn't change much, but there are a few things to note.

My corn was very sweet.  You can use your own judgement with the honey in the salsa.  Taste it first.  If you wish, you could definitely use a bit less honey or leave it out entirely!

Next time, I might also use a bit less liquid in the sauce for the shrimp.  One cup (with the wine and cream combined) didn't seem like much to me, but I had to spend more time reducing than I anticipated.  You could probably use 1/4 or 1/3 cup of wine and be just fine.  It's really up to you.  The sauce was thin(ish), but I don't like thick, gloppy sauces, anyway!

These pretty much hit the spot!  They made a great summer dinner and left us with a small amount of delicious leftovers.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  

Roasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Arugula, Manchego, and Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salsa

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!  :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

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Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016 Collage

Stitch Fix Review - June/July 2016

Note:  This point contains affiliate links to support my blogging addiction!  :)

Summer is in full swing, and I'm excited to share this latest fix with all of you!  I received some beautiful and colorful items!  One thing that I love about summer is that I can ask my Stitch Fix stylist for things that are NOT work appropriate.  Ha ha.  It's a nice change.  Around the middle of August, I'll be back on campus and my tune will change . . . .I'll enjoy it while I can!

If you're reading this, you're probably familiar with Stitch Fix, but if not, read on for a brief description of my history with Stitch Fix (and a couple of other clothing-by-mail services) and a short explanation of how the whole thing works:

I became a member of Stitch Fix in January of 2015, and I am definitely a fan!  My closet has improved 1000% since then.  I've found that fashion can be addicting, though.  In October of 2015, I tried Golden Tote, another clothing-by-mail service!  I may never see the inside of a mall again!  :)

If you've never heard of Golden Tote, you can follow the links below to any of my reviews and get the scoop on this other great service.  It's a little different than Stitch Fix, but I've found it equally fun!  I've gotten six totes so far, along with a couple of mystery totes.  (Those weren't quite as successful, but what can you do?)  It's addicting!  Anyway, here are my Golden Tote reviews if you're interested!

Golden Tote Review - April 2016
Golden Tote Review - March 2016
Golden Tote Review - February 2016
Golden Tote Review - January Mystery Totes
Golden Tote Review - December 2015
Golden Tote Review - November 2015
Golden Tote Review - October 2015

Before I get on with Stitch Fix, I have to post one more link.  O.o

This is a little embarrassing, but there is another clothing box service called Trunk Club that I recently tried.  Why?  I don't know.  Because it was there.  That's all I can tell you.  Ha ha.  It was fun, though I ended up sending most of the items back.  Here's my review of that experience (this one includes a link-up):

Trunk Club #1 Review and Link-Up - April 2016

I also got a second trunk a few weeks ago, but I'm still editing pictures and putting that post together.  It should be coming soon!

OK.  Back to Stitch Fix!

To get started, you go to their website and fill out your style profile!  That gives you a chance to show your stylist your measurements, usual sizes, how you like things to fit, and the styles that generally appeal to you.  
If you're interested in checking it out, please consider following my link to schedule your first fix!  (I just recently joined Stitch Fix's affiliate program, which means I get a small commission for anyone who signs up using my link.  However, my opinions are always my own and I pay for all of my own fixes!)


When you order a fix, you pay $20.00 to have your own personal stylist look at your style profile and preferences (which can include a Pinterest board).  They will choose five clothing and/or accessory items specifically for you.  They are shipped right to your doorstep!  You have three days to try the items with other things in your own wardrobe and decide if you want to keep them.  The $20.00 styling fee is credited toward any items that you decide to purchase, and you receive a prepaid shipping envelope to return anything that you don't want.  If you happen to keep all five items, you receive a 25% discount on the whole box!  You can choose to receive fixes every month, every few weeks, or only once in a while.  Here are some links to my previous reviews, if you'd like to check them out:

May/June 2016 - #21April 2016 - #20
March 2016 - #19
February 2016 - #18
February 2016 - #17
January 2016 - #16
December 2015 - #15
November 2015 - #14
November 2015 - #13
October 2015 - #12
September 2015 - #11
Stitch Fix Keepers
September 2015 - #10
August 2015 - #9

It is possible to peek (using Stitch Fix's mobile app) at what you're getting in your fix once it has shipped.  I have to admit - in the past, I usually have.  I think I'm over it, though.  It's more fun when I don't peek!  I've gotten pretty good at resisting the temptation!

One of the nice things about Stitch Fix is that they send you a style card with ideas for each of the items that you receive.  If you're clueless about fashion (as I can be sometimes), it's nice to see a couple of different ways to wear a new style.

Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016 - Style Card

Lauren was my stylist again!  :)  I was happy to see that, because I have enjoyed each and every fix that she has styled for me, even I haven't kept everything!  Here's her note to me:

Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016 - Stylist Note

Sounds promising, right?

Well . . . here we go!  Here's what I got:

1. See U Soon Michels Embellished Top - $68.00


See U Soon Michels Embellished Top - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

This top is one that I recently added to my Pinterest board.  I think the black and white makes it a perfect edgy/boho combination - right up my alley!  The beaded embellishment is just beautiful!  

Unfortunately, the fit wasn't quite right for me.  This top had absolutely no stretch to it (obviously, with the beads), so it wasn't very forgiving.  It was super tight in the top and chest.  You can see how the stripe pattern in the front didn't flow nicely.  It got all spread out and weird looking because the top is just too small.  

It is my style.  I emailed Stitch Fix customer service to see if they had a larger size.  They did, and I almost went for it, but there was another problem.    

See U Soon Michels Embellished Top - Back - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

In the pic below, you can see the cut-out in the back.  Cute, but it went down so low that my strapless bra was exposed.  I don't mind wearing a strapless for a cute top, but if that doesn't even work?  Sorry.  I have to wear something!  Ha ha.  I thought there was a good chance that the large would expose the strap even more.  In the end, I thought going for the large would be iffy.  I decided to pass.  Too bad!  It's so cute!  

Verdict:  RETURN

2. Renee C Ventura Keyhole Top - $48.00


Renee C Ventura Keyhole Top - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

Here's another top that I had pinned to my Pinterest board.  Unfortunately, it was also on the small side.  Let me tell you, this fix was not good for my ego.  Ha ha.  Obviously, I tried it on for the picture, but I had a hard time finding an angle for a photo that would not show how small the top is on me.  

Aren't the colors beautiful, though?  I really did love the top, but there was no way I could keep it.  When I emailed Stitch Fix about the See U Soon top, I also asked them about this one.  Luckily, they had a large available!  I was pretty confident that it would work, so I agreed to keep it if they would do the size exchange.  

The next question that came to my mind was . . . should I change my size preferences?  That's a fair question.  Well, I don't think so.  I'm a larger medium, but I think I would have the same issue with large tops.  Some of them would be too big!   ???  I'm just tall and I have very broad shoulders.  I'm glad Stitch Fix is so great with size exchanges.  

I have a confession to make.  I've been dragging my feet a little bit on this blog post.  I've actually already received and worn the large.  It works much better than the medium.  Unfortunately, I only recently noticed that it is 100% rayon.  Those tend to shrink on me!  I love the top, so I'm hoping that if I wash it in cold and hang it to dry (inside; not in the sun), I'll be OK.  After my last fix, I did ask for a note on my profile to state that I wanted to avoid 100% rayon items, but was told that it couldn't be guaranteed.  Well, I should have checked the tag before I decided to keep it.  I'm hoping for the best, though!  :)

Verdict:  KEEP (with a size exchange)

3. Renee C Cassandra Maxi Dress - $68.00


Renee C Cassandra Maxi Dress - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

I have mixed feelings about this maxi dress.  I loved the colors - so beautiful!  Now that I look at the pictures, I almost wish I would have kept it!  (Spoiler - I sent it back!)  It does look better in the pictures than it did in real life, though.  I need to remember that!  :)

I just didn't love how it fit me.  It was OK.  It was strapless bra-friendly, so that was a plus.  However, there were some weird gaps in the back.  You can't really see them in the photos.

It was nice and long.  That's a plus, considering I am on the tall side.  The skirt was lined, though.  "Lined" and "summer" just don't go together for me.  I really think it would have been OK without the liner.  Two layers of fabric are pretty much a no-go right now.

Since joining Stitch Fix, I've been trying to improve my fashion sense, but on a super-hot day in a ridiculously casual town, my attire can easily consist of a brewery t-shirt, denim shorts, and a ball cap.  Ha ha.  I just didn't think I'd wear this dress very often.  I have a couple of cute summer dresses in my closet that I haven't worn yet, so . . . I had to pass.

Renee C Cassandra Maxi Dress - Back - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

Sigh.  Love the colors.  Love the pattern.  I might have made a mistake!  O.o

Verdict:  RETURN

4. Dolce Vita Lettie Cross Strap Wedge - $120.00


Dolce Vita Lettie Cross Strap Wedge - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

I've had pretty good luck with Stitch Fix's shoes!  I've received a couple of great pairs, and I'm always happy to see them in my fix!  On the surface, these seem like a good choice.  I have developed a fondness for wedges.  Coral/orange is my new favorite summer color.

I almost kept these.  I'm picky about shoes, though.  I don't like them to be loose.  The straps around my ankles did not fit tightly enough for me.  There were gaps, and I felt that they would only get worse as I wore these shoes.  Plus, they are expensive!  If they were 30 or 40 dollars, I might have taken my chances and hoped for the best.

I just didn't think I'd wear these enough to justify keeping them!

Dolce Vita Lettie Cross Strap Wedge - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

They're kind of cute, though!  I'll probably have regrets about not keeping these shoes to wear with the maxi dress (that I also didn't keep).  Oh, well.

Verdict:  RETURN

5. Daniel Rainn Feruko Lace Detail Top - $74.00


Daniel Rainn Feruko Lace Detail Top - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

This shirt could have easily worked for me.  I have a couple of other Daniel Rainn tops.  In general, they've been good purchases.  

I love navy.  And lace detail!

The other two Daniel Rainn tops that I own have built-in camisoles.  I feel like this top could have used one.  It's very sheer.  Unless a person happens to have a navy bra/camisole on hand, whatever is worn underneath will stand out.

I wore a white bra and camisole.  Maybe not the best choice.  I get that.  What to wear, though?  I could have worn a strapless bra, but the whole shirt was sheer.  I still would have needed a camisole.  I just didn't feel like I had anything flattering to wear under it.  The white straps peeking through both the front and the back just looked . . . weird.

Plus, the fit was a bit weird.  The arm holes seemed kind of roomy.  I didn't love the top, and it's an expensive one.  I decided to pass.

Daniel Rainn Feruko Lace Detail Top - Back - Stitch Fix #22 Review - June/July 2016

Verdict:  RETURN

Well, there you have it!  I'm happy with the one top that I kept, and I'm really looking forward to my next fix!

I requested to keep Lauren as my stylist for next time!  The weird thing about this fix was that, even though I kept only one thing, I loved everything!  It didn't all work on me, but you never know until you try!

By the way, if you'd like an easy way to see Stitch Fix items that other people have received, you can check out some other great Stitch Fix reviews by clicking on the link below and visiting a great linkup.  It's hosted by Maria of Crazy Together.  I always enjoy seeing her fixes and joining in the fun  with other Stitch Fix fans!  :)

http://crazytogether.com/july-stitch-fix-review-38-giveaway-link/2/


Please comment!  Did I make the right calls?  Have you received any of these items?  What did you think?

Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

Yum

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes Collage

This post contains affiliate links to support my blogging addiction!  

I don't know how you all felt, but I found myself wanting to get a little crazy in the kitchen on the 4th of July.  Holidays are great excuses for indulging - at least in my book!

I try to be healthy . . . most of the time.  I do stay active and I try to cook almost all of our meals so we're not eating junk.  Unfortunately, I have gotten pretty good at making homemade junk.  Ha ha.

Anyway, I had a blast flipping through cookbooks and searching online for the perfect recipes.  I settled on a bison burger recipe from this Bobby Flay cookbook:


I'm definitely a Bobby Flay fan.  I have a few of his cookbooks.  Some of the recipes are pretty labor intensive, but I've almost always loved the results!

To go with the burgers, I decided on a recipe for Hot and Smoky Baked Beans that I found on Epicurious.  I had made it once before, so it knew it was a winner.

To round out the plate, I picked this macaroni salad recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

Yes, I know the plate kind of needs a vegetable.  Well.  It's going to be too full as it is.  There is some slaw on the burger and roasted red pepper in the salad.  How's that?  :)

We've been trying to steer clear of dessert.  We can go through periods where I make baked desserts (like brownies) and we'll have a piece with ice cream every night until it's gone.  O.O  That can't be good.  I figured I could give us a pass on the Fourth of July, though.  Shouldn't we have something American?  Like apple pie?

I was just going to rummage through a cookbook until I found a pie recipe that I liked, but I was still hesitant about having 3/4 of a pie left.  There are only two of us, so pie tends to hang around for a while.  I finally decided to design my own recipe for free-form apple galettes.  What are galettes?  A fancy word for free-form pies, I guess.  That's what I thought.  However, Wikipedia says that a galette is more like a cake.  Well, call it what you want.  Tart?  Mini-Pie?  Galette?  They all work.

I wanted to include some cheddar cheese in the mix.  I saw an apple pie on MasterChef the other day that had a lot of cheese in it.  That one didn't look so good, but I could see how, under the right circumstances and with the right balance of ingredients, it could work.

Anyway, this is a great recipe if you're just serving two or four (though it would be easy to double).  I got four large galettes.  We had two for one night, and two to save for later.  I can deal with that much leftover pie!  :)

These were great - not overly sweet, and with just enough savory cheese flavor in the flaky crust!  Here's the recipe:

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes


Makes 4 galettes

Ingredients:

For the white cheddar crust:


1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter (salted or unsalted, your preference)
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup finely shredded white cheddar cheese

White Cheddar Cheese for Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

4 to 6 tbsp. cold water

For the apple filling:


3 to 4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used a mix of Granny Smith and Jazz.)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
A pinch of salt

1 egg
1 tbsp. whole milk

A tablespoon or two of butter for dotting the finished galettes

Additional brown sugar for sprinkling

Parchment paper

Two large baking sheets

Ice cream of your choice (optional)


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

2.  Make the crust:  Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.  Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to the bowl.  (If you think of it, you can chill the shortening first.  I didn't.  The butter was cold, though.)  Using your fingers, rub the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles large crumbs.  Here's mine:

Pastry Dough for Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

Add the grated cheese and stir with a fork until combined.  Add the cold water, 1 tablepoon at a time,  while stirring, until the dough just begins to come together.  Using your hands, gather the dough together and form a ball.  It should hold together, but it shouldn't be sticky.  Pick it up and knead it a few times.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.

Pastry Dough Wrapped in Plastic for Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes

3.  Prepare the apples.  Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and zest in a medium.  In another small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Add that mixture to the apples and toss everything until well-combined.

4.  Assemble the galettes:  Cut four sheets of parchment paper.  Each one should be at least 10 inches square - big enough to fit the dough for each galette after you roll it out.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into four equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and then place it on one of the parchment pieces.  Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a rough circle around 8 inches square.  (Remember, you're going to have to handle it still, so don't let it get too thin.  Mine was around 1/8 inch thick, or maybe a bit more.)  After all of the dough is rolled out, divide the apples evenly between the dough rounds, leaving a border of 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches.  After I divided the apples, I also divided the small amount of liquid that had collected in the bottom of the bowl by pouring it over each pile of apples!)

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - After Adding the Apples

Fold the edges of the pastry over the apples, leaving a small amount of uncovered filling in the middle.  It's totally fine if it overlaps and looks ragged.  That's part of the charm (and part of the reason why I love to make galettes)!  They don't have to look pretty!  :)  Cut the excess parchment paper away, leaving a border of an inch or two around each galette.  Transfer them (on the paper) to two baking sheets.

5.  After you have formed the galettes, beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl.  Brush the galettes liberally with the egg wash.  Place a few dots of butter in the center of each galette and sprinkle it with a little bit of brown sugar.  

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - After Adding the Egg Wash
Yes, I know.  I was kind of sloppy with the egg wash.  Oops.
6.  Place the galettes in the oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (switching the position of the pans halfway through), or until the pastry is done and the apples are tender.  The time really depends on your oven.  I have a convection oven, so you may need to bake yours a little longer (or bump up the heat by 10 degrees or so).  There's nothing worse than raw pastry, so I lifted one off the paper to make sure it was nice and golden on the bottom!  By that same token, if your oven runs hot, you'll need to keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

7.  Remove from the oven and transfer the galettes to cooling racks and allow to cool.

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - Cooling (Single)
The sugar got a little toasty, but that didn't bother us a bit!  :)

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - Cooling (All Four)

Serve the galettes slightly warm or at room temperature.  If you like, top each one with a scoop of ice cream!  Enjoy!

Individual Apple and White Cheddar Galettes - with Ice Cream
This picture turned out shockingly yellow, for some reason.  Hmmm.  They're not that yellow.  :)
Well, in short, these hit the spot!  They were just what I wanted - something to feed that apple pie and cheese craving, but not leave us with lots of leftovers!  These turned out to be pretty big, though!  I asked my husband if he wanted to split one and he looked at me like I was nuts.  Ha ha.  We got through it, and we're looking forward to polishing off the last two tonight!

Another good thing about this recipe is that it is also pretty easy!  I don't know about you, but I'm not great with pie crusts.  I can make a good pie, but the crust always looks a little . . . rustic.  O.o  Galettes are very forgiving.  And parchment paper can be a lifesaver!  

I could taste the cheese in the pastry.  I used a pretty sharp white cheddar.  I wanted to taste the cheese, so that worked out well for me.  Actually, we both loved the pastry.  It turned out tender and flaky . . . perfect!

When I saw the volume of the sliced apples, I chose to use only three.  I probably will throw in the fourth apple when I do this again (and I will).  They shrink up a little bit anyway, so I think it would have been fine.

It's pretty much impossible for us to have apple pie without ice cream.  I wasn't sure if it would go with the whole cheese thing, but it did.  It was a perfect sweet treat with some nice savory undertones.  I really wanted to use cheesecake ice cream, but I couldn't find any.  We just got French vanilla.  If you can find some kind of cheesecake ice cream or gelato, I think it would be even better!  :)

 Well, that's it.  I hope you enjoy these.  We sure did.  Oh, I almost forgot to post a picture of our dinner!  You know, all those recipes that I mentioned above?  We enjoyed them - I would recommend that you check them all out!  

Bison Burger, Baked Beans, and Macaroni Salad

Please feel free to leave comments!  Did you try these?  How did they turn out for you?  Did you also find the crust to be much easier than pie crust?  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

75. Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

Yum

Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo Collage

This post contains affiliate links to support my blogging addiction!  

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted a taco recipe.  If any of you have been following my posts at all, you might know that I am in the middle of a taco recipe creation project.  It's been interesting.  I've had my ups and downs with it.  I've been putting off posting this recipe (I made the tacos a day or two after my last one), because after I post it, I have to move on.  To the next one.  And the next one.  Ha ha.

I think I just needed a mental break.  I'm just about ready to start up again.  However, it's become clear to me that I am not going to finish in a year.  I have twenty-five more recipes to go, and just over a month left in my original timeline.  That's almost a recipe a day.  I suppose I could finish it if I let it take over my life, but . . . no.

I'm not a quitter, so it annoys me to modify my original plan.  It's funny, though - I came up with the original plan on a whim, and it's amazing to witness the degree to which it has affected our lives.  I have to think back to my original reasons for deciding to take on such an extended project.  I suppose I did it to jump-start my blog.  Well, it's done that.  I've learned a ton in the process.  I don't regret it at all, but we have to reclaim our sanity around here!  Ha ha.  Sometimes I just want to post about . . . other things.

So, consider this the raising of my white flag to the taco gods.  I'll finish my recipes, but it might be a year and a month.  Or something like that.  It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but, hey . . . this is real life.  100 recipes.  In . . . a little over a year.  :)

Oh, right.  I was going to post a recipe!

I won't go on and on about these.  I'll get right to it.  They're very good.  They're vegetarian!  They would be great brunch tacos, though we had them for dinner!  

Here's the recipe:

Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Pico de Gallo Salsa


Serves 3-4 (about 8-12 tacos with extra salsa)

Ingredients:

For the green onion pico de gallo salsa:


2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 to 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
One clove of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)


For the tempeh chorizo mixture :


One 8 oz. package tempeh

Tempeh for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

1 tbsp. olive oil
One clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. New Mexico chile powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika (hot)
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
Juice of 1/2 lime

3 or 4 eggs

Eggs for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

12 high-quality crunchy taco shells (I used Trader Joe's brand.)

Taco Shells for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

A few ounces of finely grated pepper-jack cheese

1.  Make the pico de gallo:  Place all of the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Set aside.

Green Onion Pico de Gallo for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese

2.  Make the tempeh mixture:  Crumble the tempeh into a medium skillet.

Crumbled Tempeh for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

Add enough water to partially cover the tempeh.  Bring to a simmer and gently cook for about 12 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed.  Drain any remaining water.  Add the olive oil and all of the remaining ingredients except the lime juice.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is well-combined, about four to five minutes.  Add a splash or two of water if it gets too dry.  Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  Keep warm.

Tempeh Mixture for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

3.  Cook the eggs:  Scramble the eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium-low heat.  When it is hot, cook and stire the eggs until they reach your desired level of doneness.  We like ours on the soft side!  Set aside and keep warm.

Scrambled Eggs for Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

4.  Heat the shells:  Toast briefly (a minute or two) in a 350 degree oven until hot and fragrant.  Watch them - they can go from toasty to burned pretty quickly!

5.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a taco shell on a plate.  Fill with some of the tempeh mixture.  Top with a small amount of the scrambled eggs and a sprinkle of cheese.  Finish with a spoonful or two of the pico de gallo.  Enjoy!

Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo (2)

These might have made better brunch tacos than dinner tacos, but we didn't care!  They would be good anytime!  :)

The tempeh chorizo mixture was super spicy!  It was fine for us, but if you don't like heat, you might want to cut down on the chile powder, especially the chipotle!

I thought all of this went together really well, and it was a great way to get the effect of chorizo and eggs without all the grease of the "real" version.  Sometimes I forget about tempeh - it's very versatile and makes a great taco filling!

As in the past, my little taco holders helped to make a nice, neat presentation.  Here's a link to some that are similar to mine if want to try them.



It definitely helps if you want to post some taco pics on Instagram to make all of your friends jealous!  :)

Tempeh Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Pepper-Jack Cheese and Green Onion Pico de Gallo

Well . . . on to the next one.  I'm ready!  Only 25 more!

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?  :)

Thanks for reading!