Jalapeno Overload; A Confession- Recipe for Cheesy Jalapeno Cauliflower Rice & Beans, and an Aioli

img_2514I have a confession for our community “Gospel Garden.” If you have visited you would guess that either the Modesto Gospel Mission loves jalapenos, or I do. By far the most prolific plant that has grown, in pace with the tomatoes, are the jalapenos. I never knew that the plants could reach 5 ft tall! I think we had around 50 plants donated, and each bush puts out around 20 peppers! Well my confession is this, it was a mistake. A friend of mine asked how many peppers we would like when he made his donation. I was thinking bell peppers for the salad bar, turns out they were jalapenos. Should have asked! I have new found love for these peppers after this summer. They have been such a blessing at our garden. We found that kids love them when you remove the seeds they are not all that hot, and make for an exciting snack! Many were used by the mission and given to neighbors and family. I have found many fun recipes, and they make an excellent addition to marinara sauce, stir fry, breads, pizza and on! Below are two recent recipes.

With the change in weather I  was excited to create something warm and homey. This cauliflower rice dish is great way for kids to get there vegetables, and to avoid a starch overload. Super simple to make, kids can help! Can either be a great side dish or the star of the show. Simple to prepare, cauliflower rice is now a staple in our home. I love the big fresh bag from Taylor Farms available at Costco stores! Think of this recipe as a great way to clean your fridge of vegetables that need to be used. Use here! get creative! I use my marinara and farm fresh yogurt: OK to use store bought of course! Also below another fun way to use jalapenos; make an Aioli, (fancy word for garlic mayo). Below is a recipe inspired by my mom, who used a jalapeno aioli with fish tacos at our last visit to her place on the coast.

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice                                                                  Yield: 6 largeservings

Ingredients:img_2526

  • 4 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 C Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans
  • 2 C Cauliflower Rice
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 C  Chopped leeks, squash or other extra vegetable from garden or fridge.
  • 1/2 C Yogurt
  • 1/2 C Marinara Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

In saute pan over medium heat, melt butter, add onion, celery and saute until translucent around 8 minutes.

Add cauliflower rice and cook an additional 8 minutes. Once cooked through add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add beans, yogurt and marinara. Mix well and then add cheese. Serve once cheese is melted and ingredients warmed through Enjoy!

Simple Jalapeno Aioli

Directions:

Place 4 chopped jalapenos, 1 C mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp yogurt, 3 cloves of garlic and blend! That’s it! Feel free to fool with the portions. This makes approx 2 cups of sauce. Use on sandwiches, burgers, pasta, tacos and on!

Cherry Sauce

img_0706This sauce is in no way reminiscent of the cherry flavored medicine we got as children…

What a joy to be able to visit with friends down the road and be sent home with fresh picked cherries. In an effort to not waste these beauties I decided to make batches of cherry sauce that can be used as a filling in pies, tarts or turnovers, mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese, in cheese cake, and drizzled over pancakes or ice cream. Use a cherry-pitter or simply cut out with paring knife. This is the time-consuming portion, promise its worth it!

Ingredients: (Recipe may be doubled.)

  • 2 C Bing cherries
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Corn starch

Directions:

Pit Cherries and place in large stock pot. Heat on low and add sugar, syrup and lemon. Simmer for 10 -15 minutes until cherries are heated through. Use immersion blender to blend.

Heat on high until thickened slightly. Allow to cool and pour into jars for preserving if desired. May be stored in refrigerator for 3 weeks or freezer for 9 months without preserving. Enjoy and keep me posted on the many uses you find!

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Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Cookies; Sprinkled with Cinnamon Sugar and Zest

img_9008Meyer Lemon Cheese Cake Cookies with Cinnoman Sugar and Zest

Our Meyer lemon tree  is officially producing! All year I wait for these beautiful lemons, a signal that Christmas is also approaching. In trying to take a step back this season (cards not done, shopping to be finished) it’s time to make cookies!

Some one once said they are working to view their children as little beings that need to be nurtured, and not as objects in the way. How often I need reminding. This is a cookie you can have fun with. Kids can put there thumbprints in them, they do not have to be perfect. I place graham crackers in a bag for the kids to pound and smash-up.

I used a lemon blue berry juice I happened to have made, and fresh yogurt  I make from our diary farm,  but just fresh squeezed lemon juice and greek yogurt will work fine. Try adding a dash of pomegranate as well for festive flair.

Yeild: Approx 46 Cookies                                                      Time: Prep- 30 min./ Cook- 15min.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 C  Graham Cracker Crumbs (approx 1 sleeve)img_8998
  • 2 C Flour
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Sticks Butter, softened
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, separated
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp Yogurt
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tbsp Cinnoman Sugar

Directions: 

Preheat Oven to 350 F. In large bowl mix flour, baking soda, graham crumbs, and salt. In bowl of mixer beat brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Add egg white and beat until combined. Fold into large bowl with flour mixture until just combined. Mixture will be crumbly this is ok!

Replace bowl of mixer and add softened cream cheese and granulated sugar. I chose not to wash bowl, just to use it again for the filling. figure it’s all going to the same place right? Turned out just fine, and when your cooking with 3 kids you have to learn to cut your corners! Once cream cheese is fluffy, add yogurt and zest of 1 lemon (zest only the yellow, trying to avoid the white pith as this is very bitter). Add egg yolk and beat until just combined.

On parchment lined baking sheets place large table-spoon full of graham cookie mixture. Flatten with thumb to make indent in center and repeat. Add 1/2 tbsp full of cream cheese mixture in center. It is ok if it over flows, I tend to like the look of this luscious cream cheese mixture overflowing, but if you want a neater cookie add a  smaller amount at a time. Bake until filling is set and cookies are golden brown. Approx. 12-15 minutes.Sprinkle with cinnoman sugar and another good zesting of lemon if desired.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes and them transfer to wire rack. Enjoy!

 

 

Christmas Jam; Persimmon and Pomegranate

This is a recipe that if you are fortunate to receive or have large amounts of this special produce should be made with care and given with love. It is literally so good you can eat this by the spoonfuls! It has just the right amount of sweetness.  I don’t even like Persimmons, or so I thought. This will be used in many recipes from a cheese cake to a turkey glaze, so stay tuned, and get creative using this in your own recipes!  This was truly a blessing and joy to make. Our Meyer lemon tree is almost ripe, and the juice in the lemons worked well to bring some tartness to the super sweet persimmons. We picked the persimmons from a ranch in Knights Ferry that my aunt so graciously lets us visit anytime. The persimmon tree has been there for ages and is a sight to behold as you wind your way down to the valley on the ranch. The boys helped pick a bunch. We eagerly tasted one, big mistake. Not quite ripe,  I liken it to eating a bitter cotton ball!  The persimmons set out a week they became mushy soft, which is what you want for this variety, also known as Hichiya,  before you try to eat or bake. They were super sweet in a delicate way. Little did we know we came upon a fortune, as at the grocery store persimmons were going for 2$ each! My sweet neighbor, Barbra, brought us a large bag of pomegranates from her beautiful tree, these are the best I have ever had. Store bought does not compare, I can barely taste the seeds in these there is so much fruit inside. I thought combining these two seasonal fruits into a Jam that will serve as a gift and an ingredient in holiday baking would be festive and appreciated!

Ingredients:

(You can triple this recipe to give as gifts for Christmas)

  • 1 C Persimmon Puree (6 large persimmons)img_8703
  • 1/3 C Sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet fruit is, can also be left out)
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 C Fresh Pomegranate Juice

 

Directions:

Peel persimmons into blender. I find it easiest to use my hands and kind of mulch out the innards.  Seed the pomegranates by cutting in half and using a large wooden spoon to whack until seeds fall into bowl.

Will seem messy at first but once you get the hang of this it will go fast. Make extra and freeze the juice for later or for drinking.  Puree Persimmons until smooth. Using juicer juicepomegranate  seeds to extract juice. (Or use store bought!)  Place puree in sauce pan, add sugar and pomegranate juice over medium  heat until incorporated. Add water and corn starch in separate bowl and whisk until dissolved. Whisk into puree. Add lemon juice. Boil on low until thickened, approx 15 minutes. Let jam cool to room temperature and pour into sterilized jars. Can if desired, or store in refrigerator.  Enjoy and share the love!

Lavender Rosemary Freezer Cookies

 

img_8449These Lavender Rosemary Freezer Cookies are not like eating soap, promise. My children can testify! This is a classic butter cookie recipe with simple ingredients, made special by adding a little fresh lavender and rosemary from our garden. I use my home made yogurt fresh from the dairy- store bought regular or greek yogurt is fine! This is my new go too butter cookie recipe, perfect for up coming holiday. You can get creative and add your own spin; maybe mint, lemon or almond? A little pumpkin and maple for fall? Experiment and enjoy. I tried to put detailed instructions for a no fail cookie!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks Butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Yogurt 
  • 2 Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 4 C Flour ( sifted)
  • 3 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Lavender Flowers
  • Directions:

In large bowl (not the mixing stand bowl) sift flour. Stir in salt, rosemary and lavender.

In mixing bowl cream butter and sugar at high-speed until light and airy, (see pictured).

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Beat in 1 egg as a time on low, add vanilla. Add 1/4 dry mixture and mix on medium, stop, scrape sides, and repeat for remaining dry ingredients. Do not over mix; (leads to tougher cookie). Chill 30 minutes. Place 1/3 chilled mixture on parchment paper and roll into log.

Place in bag or cover in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw a little before using (approx 10 minutes), then slice in 1/4″ rounds and bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 10 -15 minutes at 350 F. Enjoy your beautiful cookies, they make a great gift in special tin as well!

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Lilly’s favorite part!