The BEST Mexican Corn Salad recipe

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It’s late summer and corn is in season right now in Ontario and it is DELISH! I know after a few meals of corn on the cob we all want to switch it up a little … so this is a perfect alternative to corn on the cob.

Not sure if you are familiar with Mexico’s all-dressed corn-on-the-cob…but this recipe turns it into a summery salad. If you don’t like spicy foods, use smoked paprika in the crema; otherwise, chipotle powder or canned chipotles gives the salad an authentic smoky kick or in a pinch use Sriracha. The crema is also delicious with nachos, on burgers, chicken, grilled fish, honestly anything!

Chipotle Lime Crema

  • ½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise (reduced fat is fine)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
  • 2 Tbls fresh lime juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika or ground chipotle pepper
  • Salt to taste

Corn Salad

  • 6 cobs of corn, shucked
  • 1 orange pepper diced finely
  • ⅔ cup dice finely a Vidalia onion
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 whole avocados diced
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups arugula (the peppery taste is a nice compliment to the sweetness of the corn)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta or cotija cheese if you can score that
  • Lime wedges

 

Step by Step:

For the crema, whisk all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 1 week.

Preheat grill to high. Clean and oil barbecue grate. Place corn on grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you could boil the corn in unsalted water for 5 minutes then quickly char it directly on the flame of a gas burner.) Transfer to a baking sheet and cool completely.

* TIP! Start with a large bowl and then place a smaller bowl upside down. Stand corn on end. Slice downward with a sharp knife to cut kernels away from cob. Less Mess!  Place corn in a large mixing bowl with onion, peppers, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix.

For each serving, place a little mound of salad greens in a bowl, if using. Spoon in some corn salad. Top with a dollop of crema and sprinkle with feta. Serve with lime wedges.

Enjoy!

www.monicaskitchen.com






 

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The Best Bolognese sauce, hands down. Instant Pot Recipe.

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I can’t say enough good things about my Instant Pot. I bought the 8 quart one this winter and I can’t get enough of it. 

I typically make my bolognese sauce on the stove and it takes roughly 6 hours on a slow simmer to come out perfectly. 
Using my instant pot it took 35 minutes on high pressure and viola my sauce is ready!

The sauté feature is a huge time and prep saver as you can sauté in the actual pot. 

The key to this sauce is the meat ratio and I blitz all the vegetable in the food processor before I add it into the meat. This bolognese sauce is more of a ragu than your typical spaghetti sauce. Also another tip I don’t use beef, I only use veal and pork and prom sausage. This makes the sauce much more mild. 

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 pound Italian sausage meat (casing removed)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 celery heart stalks
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • 3/4 cups of sundried tomatoes
  • 1 huge handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 28 oz can tomato purée (try to find San Marizano tomatoes)
  • 1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Parmesan rind
  • Dried Bay leaves (4) 
  • 1/3 red wine
  • Splash of heavy cream 

In a food processor add all the vegetables and basil and sun dried tomatoes. Blitz until their are no chunks and you have a very finely diced mixture. Set aside.

Plug in your Instant pot and press the sauté button – it will take a few minutes and it will beep and say hot.

Start sautéing the sausage meat so some of the fat renders down, once crumbly add the  ground pork and cook down and then add the veal. This whole process will take about 10 minutes to brown the meat. 

Once no longer pink, add in the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, basil and sundried tomatoe purée. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then add in the 2 cans of tomatoes, salt and sugar and bay leaves. Throw in the Parmesan rind and 1/3 cup of good red wine. 

Put on the top of the Instant pot, press the meat/stew button (35 mins on high pressure) and sit back and relax! It will take about 5 minutes to come up to high pressure and then the timer will start counting down. Once it is finished, the Instant pot will shut off automatically. 

This sauce usually simmers on my stove for 4-6 hours. With this instant pot it now only takes 45 minutes! 

Typically a Bolognese sauce is served with a wider pasta noodle but you can serve it on whenever noodle you desire. Before serving add a splash of cream to the sauce. I can’t explain what it does to the sauce but it makes it amazing and rounds out all the meat and tomato flavour. 

This sauce freezes amazingly well (do not add the cream before you freeze it) and this recipe will give you roughly 10~12 cups. 

Mangia! 

Bakery Style Buttermilk chocolate chip muffins

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First let me start by giving credit where credit is due, this recipe was given to me by a friend who found it on Pinterest these have got to be some of the best chocolate chip muffins I have ever eaten. I have tweaked the original recipe a bit, so here is my version. 

Chloe makes them at least every 10 days or so, they freeze incredibly well all you need to do is take a muffin out of the freezer put it in the lunch bag and by snacktime it’s thawed, Voila! These are a winner winner.

 INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar or vanilla bean sugar 

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 larges eggs beaten 

1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or the best extract you can find 
1 1/2 cups miniature chocolate chips

sanding sugar for sprinkling on top – makes all the difference. 

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Use muffin liners or Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. This recipe makes 12 large and 12 mini muffins.
In a larger bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla, and the buttermilk. Stir JUST until a batter with lumps forms.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each cup in the muffin tin to be completely full (about a heaping 1/4 cup).

Bake at 425ºF for 5 minutes. Then decrease the heat to 375ºF and bake for another 13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before removing from the tin and serving.

Enjoy! 

http://www.monicaskitchen.com (new website coming soon!) 

Chicken Chili in 35 minutes in my Instant Pot – Includes Recipe!

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I LOVE this shredded chicken taco chili. At times I serve it over rice, but many times just in a bowl and top it with avocado, cheese, and chipotle sour cream.

It is perfectly made in a slow cooker because you just dump all the ingredients in, turn it on and come back to the best tasting meal! But, it is amazing in an Instant Pot and takes 35 minutes! So you don’t need to plan ahead you just dump it in, turn it on and eat 35 minutes later.
This makes a lot, ~ 22 cups and it is even better the next day. It is a great freezer-friendly meal.

I have an 8 quart instant pot, so if you have a smaller one you may need to reduce by a can of tomatoes.


A serving is 1 cup and contains about 220 calories, 3 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, 21 grams of fiber and 28 grams of carbs.

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 (19 oz) can black beans, drained
2 (14 oz) cans of corn kernels
3 (19 oz) cans of diced tomatoes w/chilies or garlic
1 1/2 packages of reduced sodium taco seasoning (you can make your own but this is super easy)
2 tbsps cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp each of garlic and onion powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Serve with diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream or chipotle sour cream

Combine beans, onion, corn, diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, spices and taco seasoning in a your instant pot.
Nestle the chicken in to completely cover, press meat/stew botton (which sets it for 35 minutes) and voila!
Once our instant pot has done its magic, open your vent and then open your lid after a few minutes. Remove the chicken and shred in a seperate dish and then return to your pot and stir it in.


Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite toppings!

In a slow cooker, prep the same way and turn on high for 5 hours or on low for 9. Shred chicken the same way.

For the Chipotle sour cream topping… take one can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (6.5 oz can) and blitz in a food processor and add in 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt or sour cream. It makes a delicious condiment which is creamy, smokey and spicy! It’s great for chili, tacos and even on wraps.


For the love of tasty food,

Monica

http://www.monicaskitchen.com

Kouign-Amann…where have you been all my life?

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I’m going to apologize in advance to everyone who is going to see me in a swimsuit this summer. Today I discovered a little Parisian patisserie that is officially going to throw a wrench into my beach body… but I have come to terms with it and I hope you can too.

La Maison Du Kouign-Amann (a mouthful… for time saving purposes lets just call it La Maison) just opened up in the Kanata North BIA in March 2017. It is located conveniently across the street from Greco Kanata North and in the same plaza as ProStyle Martial Arts and Fitness.


Fran Jung is the owner of this fine establishment and she is the one responsible for baking these authentic french delicious delicacies.

People… let me introduce you to the most amazing buttery morsel I have ever eaten…. the “Kouign-Amann” (insert hallelujah emoji).  It is an amazing small buttery pastry that originated in Brittany, France. It is crispy and caramelized on the outside, yet tender and soft on the inside. To make it even more delectable, drizzle with salted caramel and devour. It is Heaven on earth! Fran supplies over 35 little shops in Ottawa with these delights. To serve them perfectly heat them in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes or in a pinch in a microwave for 15 seconds or in a pinch, don’t heat them at all… I didn’t and it still rocked.



La Maison sells out almost daily so if you miss out, you can buy other goodies like mini cakes, and mini tarts, quiches, sandwiches, the list is endless.

A box of 5 was ~ 12$ and well worth it. I can’t wait to go back next week!

For the love of tasty food.

Monica xo

http://www.monicaskitchen.com

The BEST salted chocolate chip cookies in the world

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I have been searching and searching for the best salted cookie recipe and I have created one. Hands down the best. It is chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I honestly could eat 6 in one sitting.

Do yourself a favour and make these as soon as possible.

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Salted Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla bean sugar)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Flaked maldon sea salt

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375ºF.

2. Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten them out a bit and sprinkle lightly with a few sea salt flakes.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Pace back and worth until they are cool. Mine took exactly 9 minutes to bake.

Devour !

Christmas Baking 101

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You need a cookie ✔️

Something with chocolate ✔️

A bar of some kind ✔️

Feel free to mix it up but a sure fire way to have a successful Christmas dessert buffet is shortbread cookies, Christmas crack and butter tart bars. 

I have shared the crack and bars before and will again but today I will share my secret 100 year old shortbread recipe. 

Shortbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cup butter, softened

1⁄2 cup superfine sugar

2 1⁄2 cups flour

4 tbls of corn starch

Preheat oven to 300°.

Cream butter and sugar together.

Add flour and mix till texture is like clay.

Press dough into ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan, prick all over with a fork, and sprinkle with sugar (tilt pan to cover the top evenly, then shake excess sugar back into the sugar canister).

Bake for about 40-45 minutes (till very lightly browned–just golden around the edges).

Let stand for 2 minutes, then cut into 2 inch strips while warm… You should get 4 dozen per 9 by 13 pan. 

Leave in pan to cool thoroughly. (Shortbread will not be crisp until cool.).

Butter tart bars

Christmas crack

Enjoy!!!!!!



http://www.monicaskitchen.com

Vanilla Bean Sugar

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Vanilla bean sugar is super easy to make and super easy to use. 

All it takes is whole vanilla beans and granulated sugar. I used 5 vanilla beans for 1 1/2 kilos of sugar. Slice the vanilla bean in half and then scrape the inside of vanilla bean out. Drop it into the granulated sugar. DON’T THROW OUT THE VANILLA PODS! Put them in the mason jars and they keep perfuming the sugar. 

I use a food processor to make it and then store it in large mason jars. Store in a sealed jar and in a dark place. It stores for months.

I use it in making fresh strawberry jam, baking cakes and cookies and muffins.

It also makes amazing teachers gifts for end of school. 

Try it today! 

Pizza Night !

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Almost everyone likes pizza, and if you have a few staples on hand you can have a simple and creative pizza night without having to ordering takeout.

  
I like to use naan as my pizza crust. Preferably the mini naan as they make perfectly portioned pizzas. And because it is already baked, it is a huge timesaver. 

Pizza toppings can be fun: I always have jarred sauce on hand and cheese but be creative and mix it up a little with the extras.

Try these: 

Pesto, Boursin cheese, jalapeños, onions and peppers  make a delish out combination.

Onion jam, prosciutto, Gouda and arugula

Fresh pineapple, crispy bacon and cheddar

Creme fresh, red onions, double smoked bacon, freshly ground pepper and Asiago

   
    
   

Enjoy!

http://www.monicaskitchen.com

These Blueberry Muffins Are To. Die. For

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Hands down these are are best blueberry muffins out there! The recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins or 6 extra large ones.  

  
I used frozen blueberries which is why in these pictures the muffins are really blue… If you use fresh ones the muffins will be more white :). 

Ingredients1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

Pinch of cinnamon 

1/3 cup vegetable oil 

1 egg 

1/3 cup milk (approx)

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract 

1 to 1 1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen) – this time I used wild frozen blueberries

Demerara sugar for topping

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). I used convection bake so my oven was set to 375 convect. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, pinch of cinnamon and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup liquid measuring cup; add the egg and vanilla and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with demerara sugar or course sugar. 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. Mine took exactly 24 minutes. 

  
Cool on a rack and watch these babies disappear! Delish!

http://www.monicaskitchen.com