Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

My friend Julia celebrated her birthday recently and I took the opportunity to bake some cupcakes for the occasion. She told me she liked anything chocolate. When I went to the grocery store the strawberries were 2 for $4 so I decided to incorporate a strawberry filling into the cupcakes I was planning.

For those of you who know me, you know it’s my dream to open my own bakery one day.¬† I love everything about baking. The preciseness, the artistry, and the tasty finished products. A couple of my new friends in Minneapolis upon tasting these cupcakes told me they’d be seed investors in my bakery. I’d have to agree, they turned out pretty damn tasty. Anyone else out there looking to invest in a bakery? ūüôā

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk (you could use whole of 2% too)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Directions:
1. Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Heat oven to 350*F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.
4. Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
5. Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.
7. Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
Strawberry Whipped Cream Filling
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 7 tablespoons chopped/processed strawberries
    1. Chop strawberries in food processor just until they look thick and saucelike. I used really large strawberries and it took 7 to make 7 Tablespoons.
    2. Beat whipping cream, and vanilla until it starts to thicken.
    3. Mix in sugar.
    4. Fold in strawberries.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • ¬Ĺ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¬Ĺ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  1. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and mix for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
  4. Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. I used 3 tablespoons, but you can add more if needed.
  5. Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  6. Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

14 medium/small  strawberries

Melt your chocolate chips over a double boiler. Dip your strawberries in the chocolate to cover 3/4ths of the berry. Place on parchment paper and allow chocolate to harden for at least 15 minutes.

To assemble the cupcakes:

1. Once your cupcakes are cooled, cut a small portion out of the top of each cupcake (you’ll want to save this extra cake).

2. Put about 2 tablespoons of your strawberry filling in the top of the cupcakes and replace with the cake you cut out.

3. Using a pasty bag, pipe your frosting onto each cupcake.

4. Top with sliced strawberry or chocolate covered strawberry.

Cupcakes pre-frosting

 

I ran out of the cream cheese frosting (probably because I like a lot of frosting), so I frosted some of the cupcakes with the strawberry whipped cream  mixture and drizzled the extra chocolate from the chocolate covered strawberries on top.

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Homemade Tomato Sauce

My No Processed Foods challenge led me to try to make things that I usually just reach for a jar or can of in my pantry. My Dad has always made his own pasta sauce, so I figured I should try making some too! It was actually really easy and it made enough that I had leftovers for the week. The beauty of a good red sauce is that you should make it your own. Do you like it a little spicy? Add a little more red pepper flakes. Really like garlic? Throw another clove in.

Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flake, or to taste
  • 1 28 oz. cans crushed tomato
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Warm olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once you see the oil shimmering, add the chopped onion and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the minced garlic and pinch of red pepper flake then continue to sauté until onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add crushed tomato, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, a few pinches of kosher salt and several turns of freshly ground black pepper, stirring to combine. I also like to fill the empty can of tomato paste with water then add that to the sauce (6 oz.). Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to low then simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour (1.5 to 2 hours is best if you have the time).
  3. To finish the sauce, stir in a handful of chopped parsley. Season to taste with additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Serve this sauce with your favorite pasta.

I chose to serve the sauce of pappardelle pasta and added some chicken sausage and a nice handful of Parmesan cheese.

And of course a fat slice of my Homemade Italian bread. ūüôā

Quinoa Salad with Pears, Almonds, Cranberries and Spinach

Have you tried Quinoa yet? No? What are you waiting for!? This ancient grain packs some serious protein, is easy to make, and is very tasty. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s also gluten-free, and cholestorl free, and is almost always organic.¬† I’ve been making it on Sundays and then packing it in a couple of Tupperware¬† containers and then presto, easy lunches for the week. You can get really creative with quinoa and throw in whatever you have in your pantry or refrigerator. It’s really your blank canvas to make into whatever you’d like.

Ingredients:

1 cup organic quinoa
Sea salt
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Sea salt, to taste
1/2 cup sliced almonds

For the Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions:

Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

Add the baby spinach, pear, cranberries, and almonds  to the quinoa and fluff.

Whisk together the vinaigrette, pour it over the quinoa salad and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with a little bit of salt.

Zucchini Cakes with Tomatillo Salsa

I’ve been a blog slacker, I freely admit it. Life at work got really busy and so instead of cooking tasty things I was stuck working on PowerPoint presentations. Not fun. I’m glad to say work has leveled off again, so I can now catch you up on the last of my creations for No Processed Foods month. I will admit that when June 1st came I was pretty excited to go back to cereal and frozen Trader Joe’s food. Cooking every meal for 31 days was tough work! While I’m not going to abide by such strict rules moving forward, I have vowed to myself that I’ll cook more often and try not to take the “easy” way out by just popping dinner in the microwave.The month of May definitely made me much more aware of what goes on my plate and in my mouth and I think we could all benefit from a heightened awareness about our food.

I’ve always liked zucchini. And when you add cheese and call it a “cake” I like it even more. This dinner was a nice alternative to making a meat main dish. I had leftover tomatillo salsa from the shrimp tacos I made here, so I decided to top the cakes off with some. Delish!

Zucchini Cakes with Tomatillo Salsa

Makes about 10 cakes

Ingredients:

2 small zucchini (about 1 cup), shredded
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup corn (I used frozen)
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, finely diced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil


Directions:
1. Shred you zucchini using a food processor, drain on several layers of paper towels, patting dry with more paper towels. You want to get as much water out as possible.
2. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, cheese, flour, red onions, peppers, cumin, oregano, pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in zucchini and corn.
3.In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil to medium heat/hight heat.  Form cakes, roughly 1/4 cup and drop them in the oil. Use a spatula to flatten. Cook for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain onto paper towels.


Avocado Tomatillo Salsa:

  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 3/4¬† avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth (unless you like it chunky).

Strawberry Rhubarb Buckwheat Crumble

My apologies, readers, for slacking on posts other than food as of late. ¬†Now that “school’s out for summer,” I hope to pick up the slack. ¬†The last few weeks of school are really hard. ¬†The kids, after taking their SOL tests, think that they are done. ¬†However, our administration feels otherwise and expects us to teach every minute of those last three weeks. ¬†Thus, the last two weeks of school results in an emotional standoff between teachers and students. It’s a psyche-draining, hair-graying, tooth-pulling, emotional suck. ¬†One of the things that gets me through this period, is sweet treats. ¬†What can I say, I’m a bit of an emotional eater. ¬†Pair my need for a sugary pacifier with fresh strawberries and rhubarb from my garden and you have a psyche, hair, and teeth saving recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Buckwheat Crumble.

Unfortunately, I have been waging a war this year against the slugs/snails for my big, juicy strawberries. ¬†(Beer traps? ¬†Check.) ¬†So, I only had enough strawberries for 1/2 my usual recipe. ¬†Stupid, slimy mollusks….you will die! ¬†You’ll probably be drunk when you do (you’re welcome), but you will die. ¬†Anyhow, some strawberries is better than no strawberries. ¬†Let’s get started. ¬†Here’s what you’ll need:

For the filling:

  • 2 medium stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups of strawberries, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ¬†salt

For the Crumble Topping:

  • 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into bits
  • Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then, cut up the rhubarb and strawberries into a medium sized bowl.

Strawberries & Rhubarb

Add in the sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.

The delicious mix!

Nest, mix up the ingredients, and then distribute the filling between four ramekins. ¬†Don’t worry if it looks soupy — the cornstarch will thicken it right up!

Distribute the filling amongst ramekins.

Next, in a separate bowl, mix the crumble ingredients — buckwheat, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Crumble topping

Then, distribute this yummy topping onto the ramekins.  Make sure you breathe in that yummy, sugary smell as you spoon!

Ready for the oven!

Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes on 375. ¬†Resist the urge to pull it out of the oven when you start to smell the cooking strawberries and rhubarb — it will be hard. ¬†When, your timer goes off, pull them out of the oven, let them cool briefly or you’ll melt your tongue off, and then enjoy! ¬†Even better with vanilla bean ice cream!

Let them cool for a bit before digging in.

Dig in and enjoy!

 

 

Coconut Chicken Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Can a salad ever really be craveable? I have my doubts. Cupcakes are craveable. Salads are something you eat so that you can eat a cupcake and not feel as guilty. I whipped up a salad this week that really is craveable.¬† First, start with coconut chicken which immediately makes me feel like I should be on a tropical island. Then I added some mandarin oranges and blueberries because I’m a fan of fruit in my salad.¬† Then I whipped up a tangy, sweet honey Dijon vinaigrette. Craveable I’m telling ya.

Coconut Chicken Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 portions

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts

1 egg

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 tsp of salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 bag of mixed greens

1 can of Madarin Oranges

1/4 cup of blueberries

2 Tbsp of slivered almonds

handful of baby carrots, chopped

Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey dijon mustard

STEP 1: Cut off any extra fat  from your chicken breasts. Cut each breast into strips to allow for faster cooking.

STEP 2: Prepare your breading station by gathering three bowls. In the first bowl combine the flour and salt. In the second bowl, add the egg and whisk.  In the third bowl, stir together the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut.

STEP 3: Place the vegetable oil in a large heavy duty skillet and heat over medium/high heat until it is just below smoking. You can test the heat by throwing in a little bit of flour. When it is hot enough, the flour will sizzle and create a lot of bubbles.

STEP 4: While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken strips. First, coat each strip in the flour and salt mixture. Then dip each into the egg and finally coat each in panko and shredded coconut. It’s easiest to do all pieces in one bowl before moving onto the next or else your fingers will get pretty messy.

STEP 5: After breading the strips, the oil should be hot enough. Place about 4 strips in the pan at once. There should only be one layer in the pan and there should be about an inch between each strip. If you over crowd the pan it will get too cold and the strips will soak up a lot of oil instead of frying. Fry the strips for 2-3 minutes on each side (longer if needed) or until they are golden brown and crispy. Place them on a plate with paper towel to drain and move on to the next batch.  You may need to add a little extra oil to the pan.

STEP 6: Whisk together your honey, balsamic vinegar, honey dijon mustard and olive oil to make the vinaigrette.

STEP 7: Wash your greens and then add the carrots, blueberries, oranges and almonds. Plate up two portions and then top with your coconut chicken strips and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Italian Flank Steak with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

My month of no processed foods has really made me realize just what a hard job it is to be a homemaker. Growing up, my mom stayed at home with me and my two older sisters. Every night she put a nutritious, often delicious (yep that’s right I said often) meal on the table that she mostly made from scratch. Sure, there were nights were we got a treat and had pizza or something fast, but more often than not she served us vegetables from her garden, homemade bread, etc.¬† It may sound silly, but this month has really made me realize just how much she did for us.¬† I remember being quite a brat many a nights complaining, “ugh, leftovers.” Meal planning is a lot of work, especially if you don’t want to waste a lot of food. I’ve found it tough to not buy a ton of stuff that I can’t use up in my next week’s worth of recipes. And leftovers, yea I’ve been eating a lot of those ūüôā

Flank steak is good if you want red meat, but you don’t want a huge heavy steak. By slicing it up you can have just a little bit and still be satisfied.

Italian Flank Steak with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Recipe adapted from Family Spice

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS basil, fresh, chopped
  • 3 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning, dried
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS Italian parsley,¬† chopped
  • 1¬† lb beef flank steak
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved & seeded

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together:
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 3 garlic cloves , crushed
    • 2 TBS Italian parsley , chopped
    • 1 TBS basil, fresh , chopped
  2. Pour this mixture into a large ziploc bag and add the flank steak:
  3. Place  in the refrigerator and let meat marinate 4-6 hours
  4. Remove meat 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  5. Preheat oven to 400¬ļF.
  6. Preheat grill pan outside grill on high heat.
  7. In a small bowl whisk together:
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
    • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning , dried
  8. Half and seed your cheery tomatoes
  9. Pour your mixture over the tomatoes making sure it coats them evenly.
  10. Pour onto a baking sheet and roast in the hot oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Remove meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
  12. Spray the grill with cooking spray before placing meat on it.
  13. Place steaks on hot grill and cook until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes for medium rare on each side.  Flank steak is best served medium-rare, as it can toughen if over-cooked.
  14. Cover steak with foil, and let steaks rest 5 minutes before serving.
  15. Prior to serving, slice the meat on a bias. Top with roasted tomatoes and serve hot.

Crazy Half-Marathon Carrot Cake

A few weeks ago, my friend, Gwen, and I headed to the outer banks to run a 1/2 marathon. ¬†We were so excited to have found the race. ¬†It was at the beach. ¬†It would be warm and beautiful and flat. ¬†What more could two girls ask for? ¬†Let’s just say that none of those things turned out to be true in the Flying Pirate 2012 1/2 marathon. ¬†It was not warm. ¬†It was, in fact, very cold and windy. ¬†It was not beautiful. ¬†It was, in fact, driving rain. ¬†And, it was not flat. ¬†It was, in fact, hilly — and of course, those hills began at mile 9. ¬†Who knew there could be so many dang hills on the Outer Banks? ¬†Just to prove to you how bad it was, let me show you two pictures. ¬†The first is what I imagined I would look like, except female.

How happy is this guy?

On the day of, with wind, rain, and pits of mud (and despair)….this is what I actually looked like.

Look away. I’m hideous.

As you can see, I was not a happy camper.  I still think that it was my rage that actually got me through the race.  I was SO angry.  So angry, in fact, that my time was actually not that far off my best 1/2 marathon time.  Nothing like a little cold rain and rage to motivate you to run your personal best.  So after checking the weather on Friday afternoon, I knew that we were going to need a delicious treat to come home to after the race.  What could fit the bill better than a carrot cake?  I mean it has vegetables in it.

Thankfully, my Grangi’s recipe box had just such a recipe!

The recipe.

Unfortunately, I think this recipe used to have another card with it because this one doesn’t list the steps. ¬†So, I’ll be listing those as I go. ¬†I also decided not to do the whipped cream frosting, in lieu of a traditional cream cream cheese frosting. ¬†Here is my recipe for the cream cheese frosting:

8 oz. of cream cheese

1 c. of confectioner’s sugar

2 T of maple syrup

1 stick of butter

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Carrot cake ingredients

So first things first, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  Next, I greased a 9-inch springform pan.  I only used spring form because it was the only thing I could find in the beach house.  (Normally, you would use two 9-inch pans so that you can cook both layers at one time Рoh beach house!)  Then, I lined the bottom with wax paper and coated the bottom with flour, making sure to tap out any extra.

Prepped spring form pan, complete with floured wax paper

Next, I combined all the dry ingredients in one bowl and mixed them well with a fork.

Mix dry ingredients together

Then, beat the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl until well blended.

Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together.

I, then, added the flour mixture bit by bit and stirred until evenly blended.  Then, I added the grated carrot.

Add the flour and blend until smooth

I poured half of the batter into the pan and put it in the oven and baked it for roughly 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle came out smooth.  I repeated the process with the second layer.

Then, I was ready to make the icing.  I just combined all of the ingredients for the frosting and used a hand blender to mix them to the correct consistency.  Make sure you test it along the way for the appropriate amount of maple flavoring Рdelicious!

After my cake layers had sufficiently cooled, I did a crumb layer.

I stuck it in the fridge to let it firm up for about 15 minutes, and then finished icing it.  The last touch, was to sprinkle chopped pecans on the top.

Sprinkled chopped pecans on the top

I have a feeling that in the next five years, someone is going to release a study showing that carrot cake it the perfect post-race recovery food.  One slice of this baby and I was feeling better already!

A little slice of heaven!

Curried Chickpea Burgers with Home Fries

Both of my older sisters are vegetarians, which has lead me to not be a big meat eater myself. When I was in elementary school I remember loving hamburgers, but one day I bit down on a piece of gristle and was completely disgusted. Ever since then I won’t eat ground meat. There is just something about the consistency that freaks me out. The ironic part is I still like a good steak, but grind it up and NO THANKS. Irrational, yes. And now that pink slime and meat glue have been all over the food news I’m quite glad I do not eat ground meat, just saying.

At our work cafeteria they were offering curried chickpea burgers for awhile and I became obsessed. They were so good and filling and then don’t you know they stopped offering them. Those jerks! My no processed food challenge led me to try to make them for myself and the result was pretty good.¬† I’m going to experiment some more with this recipe.

Curried Chickpea Burgers

Total Time needed: 50 minutes  Yield 4 patties

  • 2 cans of canned chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 2 carrots (about 3/4 of a cup of baby carrots if you are lazy like me)
  • 1 1/2¬†tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grind your oats in a food processor until fine. Then add chickpeas and carrots and stream in your olive oil while pulsing your food processor. You want the mixture to stick together so add a little more olive oil if it’s not doing that. Add in your spices and then pulse the food processor again to make sure they are incorporated.

Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Form 4 patties out of your mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, flip the “burgers” and bake for another 20 minutes.

Now what did I decide to eat my chickpea burgers with? French fries of course. Except I made the healthy home fries that my Mom always made growing up. They are pretty easy and almost as tasty as their fried cousin.

Home Fries

4 Large Russet Potatoes

1/4 cup Olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Onion powder

1 teaspoon of Paprika

Preheat oven to 350. Wash your potatoes and cut them into small wedges. In a bowl combine your olive oil and spices. Toss the potatoes so that they are covered with the mixture. Add more spices if it doesn’t look like enough to you. Arrange the wedges on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

I’m happy to report that no processed foods May is still going well. I’ve been cooking up a storm, which means I will have lots of good recipe posts upcoming.

Since Cinco de Mayo was on Saturday and I love Mexican food, tomatillo shrip tacos were on the menu. While I’m a little after the fact blogging about them, they were delicious so don’t wait for a Mexican holiday to make them! The tomatillo avocado salsa was really bright and refreshing with the shrimp.¬† Since I live in an apartment, I grilled the shrimp using my grill pan. It worked out fine, but my apartment definitely got a bit smokey. Fair warning. One day I will live somewhere that I’m allowed to have a grill! Definitely serve them with a margarita or two!

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Adapted from the Food Network

Ingredients

Avocado Tomatillo Salsa:

  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 3/4¬† avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Shrimp:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
  • 8¬† flour tortillas
  • 3 Bamboo skewers

Black Beans:

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped and seeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice
  • 8 sprigs cilantro for garnish
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

Put the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a food processor and finely chop. Add the tomatillos, avocado, and salt and pulse until chopped but still chunky. Add in the cilantro and pulse a couple of times. You don’t want this to get too chopped up.

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Stack the shrimp on bamboo skewers to make grilling easier.  Grill the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.

Chop your garlic, jalapeno and onion into pretty fine chunks. In a saucepan, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium high heat for a few minutes. Add your jalapeno, onion, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onion starts to break down. Meanwhile, drain and rinse your black beans. Add the black beans to your saucepan and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until warmed through. Add your cumin and lime juice and stir.

Place the flour tortillas on a plate and wrap with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about a minute.  To assemble tacos, add black beans to the tortilla, top with shrimp, sliced avocado and then spoon salsa on top.   Serve with a lime wedge and some fresh cilantro.