October 17, 2013

Chili powder (Recipe: turkey tacos)

First published in August 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. We love this spicy turkey filling in tacos, on salads, or as the topping for a rice bowl with a dollop of guacamole and a big plop of sour cream. 

Super easy turkey tacos.

Some like it hot.

I like it really hot.

I like it hot enough to make my scalp tingle, my sinuses drip, and my eyes water. (Do I need to mention that I'm talking about food now, not the weather?) I wasn't always like this, but a trip to New Orleans years ago started me down the pepper path, and there is no turning back.

Sometimes, though, unadulterated heat isn't the goal. When I want a more complex depth of flavor in Mexican and Southwestern dishes, I often reach for chili powder.

Are you confused by the whole chili/chile thing? Many people are, and product packaging doesn't really help, with the willy-nilly and often interchangeable use of chile, chili, chillie and chilli.

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September 5, 2013

Recipe for roasted shrimp tacos with avocado peach salsa

Roasted shrimp tacos with avocado peach salsa.

Here in New England, summer -- and everything in the garden -- comes crashing down, literally, in the first two weeks of September. Ripe peaches plop from the trees, and we hurry to scoop the last tomatoes off the vines before they fall and rot. No one wants to give up on summer, so if you're in denial, like I am, try these roasted shrimp tacos with ultra-fresh avocado peach salsa. Juicy tomatoes and peaches, and creamy avocado, dribble down your chin, in a way that makes you believe that summer can go on forever. I always have shrimp in my freezer, but if you have scallops or salmon or other mild fresh fish, go ahead and substitute. A few pickled jalapeños on top, or extra cilantro, would be great. Pack these tacos to go, for an end-of-summer beach party or picnic.

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August 27, 2013

Canned black beans (Recipe: vegan black bean cakes with guacamole)

First published in July 2008, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe, which I learned from the chef at a restaurant in my Boston neighborhood many years ago. My taste buds have matured a bit since I first tried this recipe in the mid 1990s, so it's possible I now add a wee bit more cayenne pepper than the recipe specifies.

Vegan black bean cakes with guacamole.

A condensed history of canned black beans and me...

Ages 0-14. No black beans. No beans at all. Seriously. My mother never cooked them.

Ages 15-16. Campbell's Vegetarian Baked Beans (not black). During my brief affair with vegetarianism in my high school days, I'd come home from tennis practice, open a can, grab a spoon, and eat those beans cold, right from the can. Loved, loved, loved them. I don't think Campbell's makes them anymore.

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August 13, 2013

Recipe for lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls {gluten-free}

Lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls.

When I first thought about making lighter lobster rolls in rice paper wrappers, I didn't dare tell anyone. Here in New England, people take lobster rolls seriously. Lobster rolls are served in lightly toasted and buttered hot dog buns. Period. No exceptions. So, these lemon-basil shrimp (or lobster) salad rolls break all the rules. Lemon and basil? Never. Shrimp instead of lobster? Simply not done. Skip the hot dog bun? Don't even think about it. That's the official position, but for me, these salad rolls hit all the high notes. I always have shrimp in my freezer, so that's what I use, but if you're lucky enough to have some leftover steamed lobster, swap that for the shrimp. You can wrap the rolls in lettuce leaves instead of the rice paper, to keep them really light. Just don't call them lobster rolls if you're in my neighborhood; no one will believe you.

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June 2, 2013

Recipe for turkey burgers with chipotle ketchup {gluten-free}

Turkey burgers with chipotle ketchup, perfect for summer grilling.

Truth be told, I love a good hamburger with drippy cheese, oozing and dribbling down my chin. Turkey burgers don't ooze, and that's something I've learned to accept when I opt for healthy eating. However, this chipotle ketchup can drip and dribble with the best. The smoky chipotle flavor here is quite mild, as the recipe calls for the adobo sauce but not the actual chile peppers. If you like your sauces hot, add a bit of chopped chipotle chile (with or without seeds) right into the ketchup mixture. Greek yogurt keeps the burgers moist, so they can cook through without drying out. It's the same trick I use when I make turkey meatballs, and it works every time. You can make the ketchup ahead, even a couple of weeks ahead, and store it in the refrigerator.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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