Ribeye Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Criolla

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

With all the summer fun I’ve been having this year I’ve missed a few more weeks of posting here than I’d like.  After two years of saving up my vacation days, I told myself to say yes to any opportunities that came my way and to follow through on promises to visit friends that I’ve been putting off for years.  A partially off-the-grid trip to the mountains in Lassen County, followed by a girls getaway weekend to Pismo Beach has left me feeling relaxed and fulfilled in life, but definitely left this blog by the wayside.  So, before I jet off to New York to visit one of my oldest friends tomorrow I leave you with these grilled ribeye lettuce wraps with salsa criolla.

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

This recipe is a sort of California spin on Argentinian favorites and is, in my humble opinion, a perfect balance between the two.  In college I got to spend a month in Bueno Aires on a summer study abroad and ate and drank my weight in choripanes, steaks, french fries, and red wine.  Typical Argentine food is definitely not light or delicate in any way, but boy is it good if you like meat and potatoes.  The french fries there are beyond comparison by the way, but that’s a topic for another post (psst..I think the secret is sunflower oil).

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

This recipe takes a ribeye, a fattier cut you might save for a special occasion, and not only lightens it up, but stretches it further so you don’t feel so guilty dropping $15 on a good quality one.  Grilling a good steak is the way to go and most of the restaurants in Buenos Aires cook their beef over wood charcoal, providing intense heat and char.  We’ll stick with our normal home grills for this one…

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

These lettuce wraps have two sauces that you can mix and match.  The first is salsa criolla, Argentina’s answer to pico de gallo, made with tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar, and oregano.  We let it marinate so that the tomatoes soften and release their juices and all the flavors meld.  The second is a california version of chimichurri.  Any porteño would be appalled that I’ve added cilantro, but it brightens the flavor and is a damn good addition if I do say so myself.  If you haven’t noticed, I love cilantro and add it to nearly everything, but if you’re a cilantro hater just use all parsley or a combination of parsley and fresh oregano.  Bonus points if you pick up a fresh baguette to dip in the chimichurri.  It’s highly addictive and you’re going to want to put it on everything, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dog agrees…

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Criolla
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ribeye steak
  2. Lettuce, washed and leaves separated
  3. Flake salt to garnish (optional)
Marinade
  1. ¼ c. soy sauce
  2. 3 T. olive oil
  3. Juice of ½ large lemon
  4. 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 2 t. red pepper flakes
  6. 2 t. dried oregano
  7. 2 t. black pepper
  8. Splash of red wine (optional)
Chimichurri
  1. ½ c. parsley, stems removed and chopped
  2. ½ c. cilantro, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  4. ⅓ c. red wine vinegar
  5. ½ c. olive oil
  6. Red pepper flakes
  7. Kosher salt & pepper
Salsa Criolla
  1. 2 tomatoes
  2. 1 shallot
  3. 3 T. chimichurri
  4. 1 T. red wine vinegar
  5. ¼ t. dried oregano
  6. Kosher salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by making the marinade. Add the soy sauce, olive oil and lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Using a microplane, grate the garlic into the liquids. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano and black pepper. Add the steak to a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over, smooshing to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature while you’re making the sauces, or refrigerate up to a day.
  2. To make the chimichurri add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar and olive oil to a blender or food processor. Blend until herbs and garlic are minced, about 30 seconds. If you're having any trouble blending add more olive oil or vinegar at your discretion. Remove to a bowl, add the red pepper flakes and season liberally with salt & pepper.
  3. To make the salsa dice the tomatoes, mince the shallot, and add both to a bowl. Season with chimichurri, vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have released some of their juices.
  4. When you’re ready to make the steak, heat your grill to high (or light a chimney of charcoal briquettes). Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place the steaks on the grill and cook to medium rare - about 4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temp reaches 130°. Of course, if you like your steak more done, feel free to cook it to your liking!
  5. Remove steaks to a cutting board and let rest ~10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with lettuce and both sauces.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

A couple weeks ago I finally got the opportunity to try a spicy shrimp taco that I had read about in Saveur over 2 years ago.  The article was about a taco eating trip down highway 99 in California with stops mostly in agricultural areas with larger mexican populations.  I was busy with school and too far away from the restaurants at the time, but I love Mexican food so the article sat in the back of my mind, added onto the running list of food anecdotes and meal ideas I keep in a dark corner somewhere in there.  When I found myself in Fresno recently I somehow unearthed the article from the depths of my subconscious and hopped on Yelp to make sure they were still open.

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

The tacos.  Were.  Great.  There’s no shortage of delicious tacos in California, and especially not in Fresno, but these stood out as different than what I would usually get.  A flour tortilla holds rice, cheese, guacamole and shrimp bathed in a hot sauce.  They were so filling I could barely finish my second one, but I wanted more of those shrimp.  

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites
For my own adaptation I kept the best parts of the taco and ditched the rice and cheese.  These shrimp nacho bites are crunchy and loaded with freshly made guacamole and shrimp.  Avocados and shrimp can be what I call “quiet” flavors in their plain state, but with so many other fresh flavors and spices, the end product is super flavorful and the perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, fresh and spicy.

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 3 6” corn tortillas or 12 thick tortilla chips
  2. 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  3. 1 t. garlic powder
  4. ¼ t. smoked paprika
  5. ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  6. ⅛ red onion
  7. 2 avocados
  8. ½ serrano pepper
  9. 2 T chopped cilantro
  10. 2-3 limes
  11. 2 ½ t. kosher salt, divided
  12. 12 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  13. Salt
  14. Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Begin heating ½” of vegetable or other neutral tasting oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Stack your tortillas and cut them into quarters. Check the heat by dipping a corner of the tortilla into the oil and if it begins bubbling rapidly the oil is ready. Add as many of the chips as can fit in the pan without any of them overlapping and cook, flipping occasionally until golden brown and bubbling has nearly subsided. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle immediately with salt. Continue to cook the rest of the chips in the same manner. If making ahead, allow to completely cool and then store in an airtight container.
  2. Chop the shrimp into bite sized pieces and combine in a bowl with the garlic, paprika, cayenne, 2 t. salt, and 1 t. oil. Slice the red onion thinly lengthwise and set aside. Cut 1 lime into wedges.
  3. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash slightly with a fork, adding ½ t. kosher salt. Dice the serrano pepper and add to the avocado along with the cilantro and the juice of 1 lime. Continue to mash the guacamole to the consistency you prefer, then taste to see if it needs more salt or lime juice and adjust as needed.
  4. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to hold all the shrimp in a single layer. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, until the shrimp has just turned pink. Remove from heat and begin assembling nachos. Add a dollop of guacamole on top of each chip, followed by a spoonful of shrimp a few slices of red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with an extra squeeze of lime juice from the wedges you cut earlier.
Notes
  1. While you can make some components of this dish ahead of time, they must be assembled right before serving to avoid sogginess. If you're making these for a party and want to make as much ahead of time as possible, I would suggest making the chips and chopping and marinating the shrimp 1-2 days ahead of time. The guacamole can be made in the morning and stored in a bowl in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed directly on top so that it doesn't have contact with any air.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Buttermilk Granola

Buttermilk Granola | Cravings & Crumbs

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about and been inspired by peaches and cream.  For the Fourth of July I made a fresh peach tart with a graham cracker crust and a light pastry cream.  Next week I’ll be making a peach cake with vanilla ice cream for a family gathering, and for everyday i’ve been eating lightly sweetened Greek yogurt with fresh peaches.  So good, especially since I’ve been waiting about 10 months for good peaches to come back.  

Buttermilk Granola | Cravings & Crumbs

To give my morning yogurt more substance and a little crunch I whipped up a batch of homemade granola last weekend.  I followed a recipe posted recently by Stella Parks on Serious Eats that intrigued me.  She uses buttermilk to soften the oats, then adds the sugar and allows it to dissolve.  It seems counterintuitive to wet your oats just to dehydrate them again in the oven, but trust me the results are worth it.  What you end up with is granola that is a lighter and crispier than you would normally get with an even coating of sweetness.  I prefer my granola with only nuts, but feel free to add any dried fruit as the granola cools after baking.

Buttermilk Granola
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Ingredients
  1. 3 ½ c. old fashioned rolled oats
  2. ⅓ c. wheat germ (optional)
  3. 1 c. buttermilk
  4. 1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter, melted
  5. 1 c. granulated sugar
  6. ½ t. kosher salt
  7. 1 t. ground cinnamon
  8. ¼ t. ground allspice
  9. ½ c. whole raw almonds
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine rolled oats, wheat germ, buttermilk and melted butter. Stir to combine and let sit for 20 mins for the buttermilk to soak into the oats.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and allow to sit for 30 mins for the sugar to dissolve and coat the oats. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread granola mixture evenly onto lined pan. Place in oven and cook for about an hour and 20 mins, stirring every 20 mins, making sure to move the granola from the edges toward the center so they get evenly cooked.
  4. Once granola is golden brown and cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool on the sheet pan for at least 30 mins. Add any dried fruits or other add-ins while the granola cools. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Feel free to change the spices and granola additions to your liking. This recipe is only a template!
Adapted from Stella Parks via Serious Eats
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Grilled Zucchini Crostini

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Summer is here and with it comes a bounty of produce.  Although my zucchini plant is just at the blossoming stage now, I know that one day i’ll blink my eyes and suddenly i’ll have more squash than I know what to do with.  So, before we get to that desperate stage when we have zucchini coming out our ears, I present to you this simple and delicious grilled zucchini crostini.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

These crostini are are great as a party snack and are particularly delicious with salty olives and a glass of wine.  We start by slicing the zucchini into ribbons and grilling them to get a little char and smokiness.  This can be done on the grill if you already have it lit, but I cooked mine in a grill pan on the stove and they were great.  Once the zucchini are cooked we briefly marinate them in balsamic vinegar to add sweetness and tang.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Picking our bread is important here since not only is it the base of our entire dish, but since there are so few ingredients we want to pick each one with care.  Any good bread that you like will work, but try to pick one that will be nicely crunchy once toasted, so stay away from whole wheat and sandwich loaves.  A country style loaf or focaccia would be particularly nice here.  I used a rosemary focaccia for an extra layer of flavor.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Once we have our zucchini cooked and bread toasted, we’re ready to assemble the crostini.  Drizzle the toasts with a good quality olive oil — or may I suggest the oil from garlic confit?  Then layer some torn fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add a few zucchini ribbons on top and season with another small pinch of salt and some red pepper flakes.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Zucchini and fresh mozzarella have delicate flavors, so if you want you can add a leaf of fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for an extra pop.  You should also feel free use any cheese or other toppings you like.  I think goat cheese and prosciutto would be a welcome spin here.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Grilled Zucchini Crostini
Yields 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3 zucchini (about 1 lb)
  2. Olive oil
  3. 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Red pepper flakes
  7. 4 oz fresh mozzarella
  8. 1 clove garlic
  9. Good bread such as country loaf or focaccia
Instructions
  1. Slice zucchini lengthwise into strips about ½ cm thick. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or grill over high heat and sear zucchini until it slightly chars on the edges, flipping halfway through. Remove to a plate or bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar.
  2. Slice bread into appetizer sized portions (about 2” x 2”). Toast until just golden brown on the edges and immediately rub with the cut side of a halved garlic clove.
  3. Drizzle the toasts with olive oil, layer some hand torn mozzarella, season with a sprinkle of salt, then top with 2 folded over zucchini strips. Season with another sprinkle of salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
Notes
  1. Feel free to get creative with the toppings - different cheeses, charcuterie, fresh herbs and extra vinegar would be all be great here.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes | Cravings & Crumbs

If you were to open my pantry cupboards you’d find, like most people, different bags and boxes of pasta, various types of canned beans, and canisters full of bags with small amounts of assorted grains, dried legumes, and nuts bought from the bulk section at the grocery store.  I just can’t resist the fact that I can buy as much or as little as I want.  I’m like a kid in a candy store, filling bags with a little of this and a little of that, some old favorites, and some that I’m not sure I like yet, but I want to try out.  The favorites usually get eaten first and the others left to languish, waiting for a spark of inspiration.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes | Cravings & Crumbs

That’s how I ended up with a small bag of hazelnuts – just enough, I thought, for an early March salad of roasted beets and gorgonzola.  Well, I got busy and forgot about the beets at the bottom of the fridge drawer and once I remembered I just didn’t feel like eating them.  I did however feel like eating chocolate cupcakes, and so I did, topping them with the toasted and chopped hazelnuts that narrowly escaped their healthy fate.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes | Cravings & Crumbs

Chocolate and hazelnuts are a classic combination.  We’ve all had a crepe smeared with Nutella or a box of Ferrero Rocher during the holidays, but these cupcakes are just a little more festive, can be made ahead, and combine the best of both the creamy rich frosting and the crunch of the hazelnuts.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes | Cravings & Crumbs

These cupcakes use an adaptation of one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes as the base.  It only uses one bowl and doesn’t require softened butter so it can easily be made with little to no advanced planning.  The best part is that even when using regular cocoa powder, the boiling water “blooms” the cocoa to deepen the chocolatey flavor.  So go ahead, save the good stuff for the frosting where it will really shine.  

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes | Cravings & Crumbs

Biting into one of these you’ll find a light and moist cake, a rich and creamy chocolate frosting, accented by the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts.  Perfection.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes
Yields 12
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Cupcakes
  1. 1 c. sugar
  2. 1 c. all-purpose flour
  3. ¼ c. + 2 T. cocoa powder
  4. ¾ t. baking soda
  5. ¾ t. baking powder
  6. ½ t. salt
  7. 1 egg
  8. ½ c. milk
  9. ¼ c. vegetable oil
  10. 1 t. vanilla extract
  11. ½ c. boiling water
Frosting
  1. ½ c. butter, softened
  2. 1 ¾ c. powdered sugar
  3. ¼ c. cocoa powder
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 2 T. milk or heavy cream
  6. 2 oz. raw hazelnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Sift sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add egg, milk and vegetable oil and whisk to combine. Add boiling water and vanilla and whisk again to combine. The batter will be very thin.
  3. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full with batter and bake for 22-25 minutes.
  4. Add hazelnuts to a small pan and bake along with the cupcakes for 10-15 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn. You want the hazelnuts to be toasted and fragrant.
  5. While cupcakes and hazelnuts are cooling make your frosting. Combine all ingredients except the milk to a bowl and beat using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add milk a little bit at a time until your frosting is the consistency you want.
  6. Lay out a clean dish towel and pour the hazelnuts on top. Fold over the sides to cover and rub/roll the hazelnuts around to remove most of their skins. Remove to a cutting board and chop.
  7. To assemble smear a thin layer of frosting on the cupcakes, then either sprinkle the hazelnuts on top or press the frosting directly in the hazelnuts for a thicker coating.
Notes
  1. The frosting recipe makes more than you’ll need for only a dozen cupcakes, but trying to whip less than a half cup of butter gets tricky. If you want, the cupcake recipe easily doubles to match the quantity of frosting.
  2. Pro tip - cocoa powder has a tendency to clump, so if you don’t want to bother with sifting just add the egg and milk first, whisking/stirring into a thick paste to break up the little lumps, then add vegetable oil and proceed as normal.
Adapted from Hershey's
Adapted from Hershey's
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

I have a thing for summer food.  What do I mean by “a thing”?  Well soups, stews, and roasts are great, but what I really want year round is to be able to eat something light, flavorful, and that hopefully was grilled outside.  This summer salad hits all the marks.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

This is no wimpy salad with greens so underdressed they choke you on the way down.  This is a crisp and filling salad that uses up the leftovers from your summer barbeque so well you’ll start making extra just so you can have it.  It has all the good parts of a salad – flavor, fresh veggies, croutons, and an awesome homemade dressing (!) and none of the bad.  For those that don’t like salads, this is how to make one you’ll actually enjoy eating!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

The dressing is made with roasted poblano peppers for a slightly smoky and spicy kick and blended with cilantro and garlic to keep with the southwestern/mexican flair.  It’s made creamy with a little mayo, but mostly greek yogurt to keep it on the healthier side.  Let me just tell you – this stuff is good.  The recipe makes more than you’ll need for one salad, but that’s a good thing.  If I leave this out I find myself dipping all sorts of things in it – tortilla chips, veggies, a piece of popcorn…seriously…

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

The second best part of this salad (besides the dressing) is that it’s chock full of contrasting flavors and textures.  Crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, salty parmesan, sweet corn, sharp onion, tender chicken, and of course creamy avocado.  There’s nothing worse than eating an unsatisfying salad and so when I make one I put all the toppings.  And, you know, if you’re looking for a great homemade crouton recipe, I happen to have one right over here.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing
Serves 2
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For the dressing
  1. 2 medium poblano peppers
  2. Small handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  3. 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  4. 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  5. ½ c. whole milk plain greek yogurt
  6. ¼ c. mayo
  7. 1 T. lime juice
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the salad
  1. Sturdy lettuce (romaine, red leaf, butter, etc.)
  2. 1 ear corn on the cob
  3. Leftover barbecue chicken
  4. Cherry tomatoes
  5. Red onion
  6. ½ avocado
  7. Parmesan or other salty cheese
  8. Croutons
Instructions
  1. If you have a gas stove turn your burner to high and balance the peppers right over the flames. Allow to roast, turning as needed, until the skins are almost completely blackened. If you don’t have a gas stove you can achieve the same effect by using your oven’s broiler. Remove to a plastic bag or covered bowl to allow to steam as they cool down.
  2. Once poblanos have been resting for about 15 minutes, remove to a cutting board. Remove as much of the charred skin as you can (if you’re having trouble use a paper towel to help you get better grip) as well as the seeds and stem. Roughly chop the peppers and add them to the base of a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Bring a shallow pan of water large enough to lay the corn in to a simmer. Remove husk and silk from corn and add to the pan. Simmer for about 2 minutes, flipping so all sides get cooked. Remove and allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Shred or slice chicken, halve cherry tomatoes, cube avocado, and use a vegetable peeler to shave strips of parmesan. Halve red onion through the end, then cut thin slices crosswise. Slice kernels off of corn cob.
  5. Assemble the salad using as much of each ingredients as you like and toss with the dressing.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

We all have those few food that we love to eat.  The foods that, no matter the day, time, or place, if it’s there we’ll eat it.  The foods that we fall silent while eating because we’re just enjoying the moment – no need for distraction by conversation.  Corn on the cob is one of those foods for me.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is simple, soul satisfying food.  There’s no polite way to eat one – you have to use your hands and you’ll probably have to floss afterwards.  There’s no way around it.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Growing up I always had my corn boiled with a little bit of butter and salt.  Simple, summer perfection.  One time I went to a sleepover at my guatemalan friend’s house and the neighborhood she lived in had an elote man who sold to the kids after school.  She and her cousins were so excited to get their elotes con mayonesa…me, not so much.  I wasn’t a fan of mayonnaise at the time and couldn’t imagine who would think up such a foul combination.  I’ve since come to my senses and will gladly wait in a line 30+ minutes at the flea market for my elote with mayo, cotija, chile, and lime.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

This corn is slightly inspired by my recent recipe for Chile Lime Popcorn and I say only slightly because chiles and lime aren’t anything new, just a classic flavor combination that I like to do in different ways.  Here, the smokiness of chipotles underscores the roasted flavor of the corn and the lime perks up the entire flavor profile.  If you remember, in my recent grilled cheese recipe i wrote about my discovery of the existence of dry jack cheese.  Well, I got my hands on a chunk and I’m here to report that it’s really nothing earth shattering.  I used it here since I had it, but parmesan, pecorino, or cotija would all be equally good, and maybe even a little bit more flavorful.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

This corn recipe would be great with anything else you might be cooking on the grill this summer, especially anything with a mexican flavor profile – grilled chicken, carne asada, ribs…tell me when to stop…

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ears corn
  2. 4 t. olive oil
  3. 4 T. butter
  4. 2 chipotle chiles en adobo
  5. Juice of 1 large lime
  6. Dry jack, parmesan, or cotija cheese
  7. Salt
Instructions
  1. Light coals or, if using gas, turn grill to medium-high and allow to preheat.
  2. Shuck the corn, drizzle each ear with 1 t. olive oil, sprinkle with salt and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Nestle the ears in the coals or place on grill over the hot side. Cook for about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small bowl. Mince the chipotles and add to the butter.
  4. When corn is ready, unwrap from the foil and brush each ear with the chipotle butter. Season with salt and garnish with grated cheese. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Garlic Confit (Roasted Garlic Oil)

Roasted garlic oil is somewhat of a secret weapon in my refrigerator.  You know when you read cookbooks written by restaurant chefs and all the recipes have like 3 sub recipes for different sauces?  Well this is my sub recipe – the one that takes over an hour to prepare, but makes anything you put it on taste so much more complex.  Even if it’s just spreading it on a piece of toast, this garlic confit elevates quick, everyday meals.  Once you have it in your fridge you’ll suddenly find so many ways to use it.

We’re using the french technique of confit here, which was traditionally used as a preservation technique.  What that means is that we cook whatever we want to preserve covered in oil for a long time at a low temperature.  By confiting garlic cloves, we end up with extremely tender, sweet, almost caramelized cloves and a lightly garlic flavored olive oil.  The cloves can be easily mashed with a fork, or left whole if you want to use the garlic separately from the oil.  The only thing you need to be careful with is to store the garlic oil in the fridge.  Garlic is a low acid food and when stored without oxygen and at room temperature, a toxin can develop what causes Botulism, a form of food poisoning that can be fatal.  However, if you store your garlic oil covered in the fridge it will keep for months.

8 things I used my last batch of garlic confit for:

  1. In a marinade for chicken with lemon juice, rosemary and parsley
  2. Vinaigrettes
  3. Sautéed vegetables
  4. Croutons
  5. Cloves spread on a sandwich with fresh mozzarella, salami, and arugula
  6. Poured over mixed olives and warmed
  7. Roasted potatoes
  8. Garlic bread
Garlic Confit
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Ingredients
  1. 1 c. (4 oz.) garlic cloves, peeled (from about 2 small or 1 ½ large heads)
  2. 2 c. olive oil
  3. ¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
  4. ¼ t. dried oregano
  5. 1 small sprig rosemary
  6. 1 t. kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Add all ingredients to a glass or ceramic baking dish large enough to allow the garlic cloves to rest in a single layer.
  3. Cover with tin foil and poke a few holes in the top.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour, until garlic cloves are golden brown and fully tender. Allow oil to cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°.
  6. Add all ingredients to a glass or ceramic baking dish large enough to allow the garlic cloves to rest in a single layer.
  7. Cover with tin foil and poke a few holes in the top.
  8. Bake for about 1 hour, until garlic cloves are golden brown and fully tender. Allow oil to cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. Store the confit covered in the refrigerator.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Shaved Asparagus Brunch Salad

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

With asparagus in season, so flavorful and plentiful, I’ve been buying so much I’ve been forced to come up with new ways to use it all!  I’m definitely not complaining though, as the necessity led to this brunch salad.  

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

A salad for brunch might seem strange, but hear me out.  Brunch is usually a pretty heavy meal, which is a great, but eat too much and you can count on hours of feeling sluggish and sleepy.  This breakfast is light and healthy, with just enough richness to keep you satisfied until lunch.  Since you’ll feel great after eating it, you’ll have all the energy to go take a hike, explore a new flea market, or whatever other fun plans you have for the day!  For those of you who think it’s not really brunch unless there are mimosas, well, there’s champagne here, it’s just in vinegar form in the dressing…

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

The dressing is based off of a warm bacon dressing you would normally put on a spinach salad.  Personally, a leafy salad isn’t appetizing for me first thing in the morning, but the shaved asparagus is tender with a little bite – perfect.  Add pancetta to the mix for that classic breakfast flavor combo, so feel free to substitute bacon.  The poached egg on top adds the final layer of creaminess to the salad as the yolk mixes with the dressing.  

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Poached eggs have a reputation for being intimidating, but they shouldn’t be.  At home there’s no need for adding vinegar or constantly swirling your water.  An old friend taught me a trick of boiling water, talking it off the heat, immediately dropping the egg in and covering the pan for 5 or so minutes.  That’s the method I use in the recipe below, but there are lots of other great methods to poach an egg.  If you want more guidance, I found this video by Kenji Lopez-Alt to be really helpful, although I don’t follow all his suggestions.  If you want to cook your eggs in the shell, but still want a perfectly runny yolk, use David Chang’s 5:10 method:  Bring a pot of water to a boil, take an egg straight from the refrigerator and put it in the water and boil for exactly 5 minutes and 10 seconds.  The fact that refrigerators are all within a few degree of each other and water boils at 212°F removes any variation in starting temperature so you can get a perfect egg every time without the guesswork.

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Shaved Asparagus Brunch Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 5 fat asparagus spears
  2. 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  3. ⅓ of a medium red onion, peeled and slivered
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 2 heaping T diced pancetta
  6. 2 T champagne vinegar
  7. 1 T olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Crushed red pepper flakes
  10. 1-2 slices of your favorite toast (mine is Acme pain au levain)
Instructions
  1. Using a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus into ribbons, saving the tops. The easiest way to do this is to keep the spear flat on a cutting board or countertop as you shave. Place the shavings on whatever bowl or plate you’ll use to serve, and save the tops for later.
  2. Begin bringing a small pot of water to a boil and simultaneously preheat a small frying pan over medium heat on a separate burner. Crack your egg into a small cup or ramekin. Once the water is rapidly boiling, remove the pan from the heat and immediately drop the egg into the water and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Into the frying pan add the pancetta, asparagus tops, and half the slivered onions. Saute until pancetta is just starting to get crispy and the asparagus tops are tender, about 4 mins.
  4. When your timer rings, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg from the water. The white of the egg should be taught, the yolk should not feel firm, and overall the egg shouldn’t be too jiggly, which would indicate that the whites aren’t fully cooked. When your egg is done remove to a paper towel.
  5. Turn your attention back to the frying pan and add the vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of salt and the remaining onion slivers. Cook briefly, about 30 seconds. (Note: if you substituted bacon omit the olive oil, as bacon has more natural grease than pancetta.) Pour the hot vinaigrette over the shaved asparagus and toss to coat. Add the poached egg on top and season the entire dish with another sprinkling of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with toast.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/

Lemon and Blackberry Mascarpone Cake

Lemon Blackberry Cake | Cravings & Crumbs

Guys, I’m really excited about this cake.  Why?  For so many reasons!  First off, it was ridiculously easy – so easy I can barely even remember making it the next day.  Second, the taste is amazing.  This cake is all sorts of quintessential spring dessert – there’s lemon and fresh berries, the mascarpone is rich, but the cake is light.  Not to mention, it’s beautiful in it’s simplicity.  Just like the daffodil that blooms next to a mud puddle, this cake has a natural beauty, but the bare cut edges of the cake bring you back to reality.  And that’s another thing I love about it – I don’t believe in stuffy food.  Nothing and nobody should be perfect all the time, or even try to be.  I prefer life to be a little rough around the edges – it’s better that way.

Lemon Blackberry Cake | Cravings & Crumbs

This cake was inspired by my simultaneous need to use up buttermilk and a clamshell container of fresh blackberries.  I know we’ve all been there with the buttermilk.  If you buy it for one recipe you’re inevitably left with at least half a carton.  This cake helps, but just a little bit.  The recipe came together little by little, following a trail of breadcrumbs of inspiration.

Lemon Blackberry Cake | Cravings & Crumbs

Here the buttermilk lends a very moist and delicate crumb, which makes it delightful to eat, but hard to get a clean cut.  Refrigerating the cake for 30 minutes should help if you want nice clean edges, but I think this cake has more personality with crumbs and slightly jagged edges.  Once you get the cake filled and the layers stacked, you definitely won’t be able to cut a perfect piece, so don’t plan on serving this if you’re trying to impress with perfect slices.  I promise though, people will ask you for the recipe.  It’s that good.

Lemon Blackberry Cake | Cravings & Crumbs

Flavorwise, this cake is a real winner.  Blackberries, lemon, cream and vanilla are a hard combo to say no to.  It’s simple and delicious.  

Lemon Blackberry Cake | Cravings & CrumbsThe cake batter is based, very loosely, on one from the New York Times, which adapted it from the Joy of Cooking.  I started out making a full batch in a jelly roll pan, but once I started stacking the layers I realized if I went any higher than two my cake would probably topple over.  In accordance, the recipe below has been halved.  I also swapped the cake flour for all-purpose without any noticeable difference in texture.  I wanted this to be a fancy sort of everyday cake – the kind you just whip up – and everyday cakes shouldn’t use anything but all-purpose.

Lemon Blackberry Cake | Cravings & Crumbs

Lemon and Blackberry Cake with Mascarpone
Serves 6
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Cake
  1. 1 c. + 2 t. all-purpose flour
  2. ¾ t. baking powder
  3. ¼ t. baking soda
  4. ¼ t. salt
  5. 3 T. unsalted butter, softened
  6. ⅔ c. granulated sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. ½ c. full fat buttermilk
  9. ½ t. vanilla
  10. Zest of 1 medium lemon
Filling
  1. 1 cup (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  2. ¼ c. granulated sugar
  3. ½ t. vanilla
  4. 5 t. lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
  5. ¼ c. milk
  6. 12 oz. container blackberries
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x9 square baking pan.
  2. Mix together dry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Add softened butter and sugar to a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, cream the butter and sugar until completely combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture in three parts, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon zest with the final buttermilk addition.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to make sure it’s distributed evenly. Bake for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool at least 15 minutes in the pan. The cake will pull away from the sides as it cools.
Filling and assembly
  1. Add the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and milk to a bowl. Using an electric hand beater or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a pastry bag or the corner of a gallon ziploc with the tip cut off.
  2. Cut the cake in half to create two rectangles and trim the edges so all sides are exposed, just like how you would cut the crusts off of toast.
  3. Place the first layer on your serving platter. Using the pastry bag, pipe dots or a ruffled line around the perimeter of the cake to create a decorative edge. Fill in the center with a thin layer of the filling. Place rows of blackberries across the short way, leaving a little space in between each row to make it easier to cut slices later.
  4. Place the second layer on top and, following the same steps for decorating, pipe a decorative perimeter and place rows of blackberries. Pipe dots in between the blackberries to fill in the top.
  5. Refrigerate if not serving right away. This cake should hold up well in the fridge, although I can only attest to one day, as that’s how long it lasted in my house.
Notes
  1. To get a cleaner cut on the cake layers, refrigerate for about 30 minutes prior to cutting. Use a paper towel with a little vegetable oil to coat both sides of your knife before each cut.
  2. This cake easily doubles and can be baked in a 12x17 jelly roll pan. In fact I halved the recipe after my first round of testing. However, if you double the recipe be sure not to go any higher than two layers. Lining the pan with parchment is a good idea to be able to lift it out of the pan.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/