Thursday, April 26, 2012

Viva Fiesta and Cookbook Giveaway!

Fiesta is in full swing here in San Antonio, TX. There are lots of great events, food and partying. I must be in the Fiesta spirit because I seem to be eating a lot of Mexican food lately. One of my favorite dishes to make is Shredded Chicken Tacos with Pasilla de Oaxaca Chili Sauce. I'm so enamored with this dish that I made it three times in one week. The dish is so easy to make thanks to the Texas on the Plate Pasilla de Oaxaca Chili sauce. All I do is boil and shred the chicken, add the sauce and look like a rock star.

Terry Thompson-Anderson is the visionary behind the Texas on the Plate cookbook. She has an impressive culinary resume and a love affair with the diversity of Texas cooking. She has written several cookbooks, is a member of Les Dames D' Escoffer International and is a popular culinary instructor. Looking at her cookbook you get the sense of what makes Texas food great. It is the blending of different cultures along with local ingredients. The Lone Star state has it all.

To enter the Texas on the Plate cookbook giveaway, visit the Texas on the Plate   website, and in the comment section, please let me know what products interest you. Secondly, become a follower of The Chickpea Chickadee blog. Entries will be accepted until Sunday, April 29th at 11:59 pm. The winner will be announced Saturday, May 5th. Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tortilla Soup


I love a fabulous bowl of tortilla soup and there are plenty of places to get one in my hometown of San Antonio, TX. Many places serve variations of this soup which includes with tomatoes or without. I have to admit, I like mine with diced tomatoes. Making tortilla soup without tomatoes doesn't seem right to me. I'm all about the garnishes when it comes to this soup. Large slices of avocado, crumbled or shredded cheese and fried tortilla strips takes this soup over the top. This is my version of this classic soup.

Tortilla Soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 teaspoon of cumin, mexican oregano and ancho chili powder 
(You can substitute oregano for mexican oregano and chili powder for ancho chili powder)
4 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cilantro, diced
4 small baked chicken breast, diced
fried corn tortilla strips or a handful of tortilla chips
1 avocado, sliced
Queso Panela (you can substitute Monterey jack cheese)

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onion, cooking until translucent. Add in bell pepper and green chilies. Cook 4 minutes. Add in spices and mix well.  Add in tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add in diced chicken and cilantro and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Garnish with tortilla strips, cilantro and cheese.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sushi Night

My husband and I learned how to make sushi at home a couple of years ago. We debated about if we should take a class, but after finding out the price we decided to just wing it. We pretty much figured it out after watching a couple of tutorials on Youtube. I think you can learn how to do anything on Youtube and I mean ANYTHING!

You need some basic utensils and ingredients to get started. 
This includes:

A bamboo mat or sushi rolling mat
Plastic wrap (to wrap your mat in so the rice doesn't stick)
Nori (dried sheets of seaweed)
Sushi rice
Rice wine vinegar
A sharp knife 
 Non metal bowl or pan (we line a baking dish with a silpat mat)
Pickled ginger (You can make your own or pick up a jar at the grocery store)
Sriracha (not a common sushi ingredient, but we use it to make sauces)
Whatever ingredients you are using for your roll

We have a couple of favorite rolls. Mine is smoked salmon, wasabi mayo, carrot, cucumber and avocado. I know, it is the "Americanized" form of sushi, it is delicious though. My husband likes raw tuna, sriracha mayo, avocado, carrot, cucumber and cream cheese in his roll. 

Have you ever tried making sushi at home? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lavender Lemon Cookies

I adore ALL things Lavender. Lavender bath salts, lotion, chocolate, tea, etc.. After planting several Lavender plants in our flower bed this Spring, I felt compelled to incorporate this fabulous herb into a cookie. These cookies have a subtle lavender taste with a stronger lemon flavor. I did feel as though I was making a wonderful sugar scrub at one point when I was combining the lemon zest, lavender and sugar. I thought if the cookies don't come out, I could always use it in the bath. The house was filled with a wonderful fragrance while the cookies were baking. The smell is heavenly when you take them out of the oven. These are just perfect with a cup of hot tea.

Recipe Adapted from: Batter & Beat

Lavender Lemon Cookies:

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest + 2 tablespoons juice
1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender
1-3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, combine the sugar, lemon zest and lavender until the sugar looks damp and the zest and lavender are fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the sugar mixture; pulse to combine, about (10) 1 second pulses. Scatter the butter pieces over and pulse until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about (15) 1-second pulses. In a measuring cup, beat together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla. With the machine running, add the mixture in a slow stream (should take about 10 seconds) and continue processing until the dough forms into a ball. 
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, working it into a ball. Roll the dough into a cylinder, approximately 10" long. Wrap with tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from plastic wrap and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4 inches thick rounds. Space cookies 1-1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. After cookies have finished baking, working quickly, immediately start cutting them into shapes with a cookie cutter (or you can omit this step completely). 

Note: This recipe yields approximately 30 cookies. I would probably double the recipe next time and maybe make my cookies a little larger.