Sweet Potato, Bacon and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Fresh flour tortillas spread with mole rojo and topped with pan-roasted sweet potatoes, bacon, red onions, poblano peppers with crumbled goat cheese and fresh cilantro..

Assembling Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Assembling Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Sauté diced bacon in a heavy skillet until some of the fat has rendered and it begins to brown.  Add diced sweet potatoes and continue to cook until browned and softened.

Add cumin seeds, diced red onions, diced poblano peppers and sauté until softened.  Add Mexican oregano and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Lightly spread fresh tortillas with thinned mole rojo (a thick paste of Ancho and Guajillo chiles, onion, tomatoes, pecans, peanuts, sesame, garlic, oregano and a hint of chocolate).

Top tortillas with sautéed vegetables, fresh cilantro and crumbled goat cheese.  Place a second tortillas over the top and press the edges together to form a seal.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is bubbly, about 12 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly, then cut into wedges and top with fresh diced avocado, quartered grape tomatoes, diced white onion, garlic, s&p and avocado or olive oil.

Salsa de Tomate Verde Asado

Time was when I’d come home at the end of the work week and just pull out a frozen pizza or microwave dinner and plop down in front of the TV.

Not anymore.  Even when I don’t much feel like cooking or fiddling around with the camera or the blog (i.e., tonight), a simple, comforting meal is within reach because I only keep fresh, whole foods on hand.  The TV?  Gave it away years ago.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa..

Salsa de Tomate Verde Asado

Husk, rinse and halve fresh tomatillos.  Place cut side down in a heavy skillet along with a few cloves of garlic, a jalapeño and a poblano chile.  Brown well on both sides.

Seal the peppers inside a paper bag and allow the steam 15 minutes.  Peel away most of the skin (leaving a few charred bits), split and remove stems and seeds.

Transfer peppers to the bowl of a food processor along with tomatillos, garlic and a handful of cilantro.  Moisten with 1/4 cup or so of filtered water and pulse into a coarse puree.

Stir minced onion into the salsa and season to taste with sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Leftover salsa will keep 2-3 days in the fridge.

Bacon & Eggs

Fry uncured streaky bacon or pork belly with yellow onions until the onions are brown and the bacon is crisp.

Pour off all but a teaspoon of fat, then crack eggs directly into the pan and allow to set for just a moment.

Spoon roasted tomatillo salsa over the eggs and toss in some chopped cilantro.  Stir and scramble to your preferred degree of doneness and serve with frijoles and fresh tortillas.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays

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Pan-Seared Salmon, Fresh Peas and Mustard Beurre Blanc

Wild Alaskan sockeye with smoked pepper, fresh peas with pastured bacon and thyme and coarse mustard beurre blanc..

Pan-Seared Salmon, Fresh Peas and Mustard Beurre Blanc

Pan-Seared Salmon, Fresh Peas and Mustard Beurre Blanc

For the mustard beurre blanc

1/4 cup white vermouth
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 oz fresh cream
1 tablespoon homemade coarse-grain mustard
4 tablespoons pastured butter, cut into small pieces
sea salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Boil vermouth, vinegar, shallots and garlic until liquid is reduced by 1/2, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in fresh cream and homemade mustard, reduce heat and simmer another 5 minutes.

Strain mixture into a clean pan over low heat and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time.  Season with sea salt and cayenne and keep warm until ready to use.

Rinse fresh, wild Alaskan salmon fillets, pat dry and season with sea salt and smoked black pepper.  Set aside.

Blanch fresh peas in salted boiling water until not quite done. Drain and rinse under cold filtered water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Fry pieces of fresh pork belly or uncured bacon until crisp.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat then add blanched peas and fresh thyme.   Cook until peas are fork-tender, perhaps 5 minutes.  Keep warm.

Meanwhile, sear salmon presentation-side down in a little clarified butter or unrefined coconut oil until brilliant orange and slightly crisp on the edges, about 2-3 minutes.

Turn salmon over and place pan in a 400 degree oven until the fish is medium-rare, about 3 minutes depending on thickness.

Spoon peas in a circle around perimeter of plate and spoon beurre blanc into the center of the plate.  Place salmon on top of sauce and dress with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesdays Blog Carnival

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Grilled Mango Salad with Aji Mirasol Bacon Dressing

Fresh ripe mangoes, avocados and an aji mirasol-infused balsamic bacon dressing over watercress and field greens..

Grilled Mango Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Grilled Mango Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Wash and dry field greens, watercress and fresh herbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Fry cubes of uncured, pastured bacon and chopped red onions until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Add white balsamic vinegar and 1 small aji mirasol pepper (mild chile and apricot-like flavor) and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.  Adjust sharpness with a spoonful of raw honey, but don’t make it particularly sweet.  Add the bacon and onions and keep warm.

Split and score a ripe mango.  Push up from the bottom so that the sections pull apart, dress with coconut oil (unctuous and high-heat stable) and season with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.

Grill the mango halves flesh side down until caramelized, about 5 minutes depending on heat source.

Arrange warm grilled mango over crisp greens. Dress with hot bacon dressing and garnish with avocado slices and quartered grape tomatoes.


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Frijoles Rojas, Chayote, Crema Fresca

(This is part 2 of a 2-part post- part 1 is here)

Dinner-on-the-cheap..  red beans, fried bacon, onions and tomatoes simmered in a homemade chili base, with shaved raw chayote squash, crèma fresca and fresh tortillas..

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Frijoles Rojas, Chayote, Crèma Fresca

click to enlarge; take a look at the pool of thick, mahogany-colored juices on the left side

Fry diced, uncured bacon in a heavy skillet until well browned.  Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Add chopped onions and cook until browned.

Add tomatoes and cook until the water is released but not yet evaporated.

Add 1 tablespoon homemade chili base (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it) and stir to combine.

Add red beans (dried and cooked or from a BPA-free can) and some of the bean cooking liquid and a teaspoon of epazote, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with sea salt and cracked pepper if needed.

Garnish with a little salad of shaved raw chayote squash (crispy & tastes rather like a cucumber with no bitterness), chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice and dress with crèma fresca dusted with smoked chili powder.  Serve with Spanish rice or fresh tortillas.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays