Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The recipes which I would like to review here keep piling up, and I am trying to get the older ones posted first, but I absolutely must review a couple of more recent ones now since they are definitely “summer” recipes.

About a month ago, I posted 2 recipes from the August issue of Gourmet which I had made for a “boat picnic”. These were salads, one Indian-style, one Greek-style, layered in glass jars for portability. They were both very good and the concept of salads-in-a-glass was so interesting that I expanded on it this past weekend. And came up with a winner! It's so exciting when an idea becomes even better than expected.

In the Gourmet article was a recipe for a Mexican-inspired salad in a jar. However, it didn’t interest me as much as the Indian and Greek-style salads did, so I went off on my own. And this is what I did:

The first layer I made a fresh tomato salsa because tomatoes are so wonderful right now. I have discovered that it is important to keep the most “juicy” salad on the bottom. This salsa was very basic, comprised of tomatoes, sweet onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro.

The second layer was comprised of shredded cooked chicken. I simply rubbed chicken breasts with Penzey’s Northwoods Fire seasoning (an excellent all-purpose mixture containing ground chipotle peppers) and grilled them. This was done the day before, and it made the pre-lunch assembly all the simpler.

Next on tap was a grilled corn and black bean salad which has been a staple around here for the past several summers. Originally gleaned from Southern Living magazine, I’ve made a few adjustments. This salad is excellent just made by itself, though. The mixture of corn, black beans, avocado, and tomato, dressed with lime juice and spiced with a little jalapeno, is just so summery and flavorful!

On top of these layers I added chopped romaine and, finally, a sprinkling of crumbled quest fresco cheese and served with baked tortilla chips.

This was incredible, even better than I had hoped. Each layer both added to and complimented the other, and it received rave reviews from everyone. As much as I adore Indian food, this Mexican salad has supplanted the Indian-style salad-in-a-jar it as my favorite. We had two salads leftover which, aside from a slight textural change, were just as good for lunch the following day, so this recipe is great for assembling ahead of time (since anyone who knows me knows that I try to do too much in a short period of time and end up flying all over, trying to accomplish all of my “to do” list items, and invariably drive myself, and Jack, crazy!).

Also, if you leave out the chicken and increase the salsa and black bean salad, it’s a great vegetarian lunch; omit the cheese, and it’s vegan!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Southwestern Salad-in-a-Jar

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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Roasted Corn and Black Beans (recipe follows)

20 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper -- include seeds (or increase quantity) for more heat

3 medium garlic cloves -- minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups chopped tomato

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

3 ounces queso fresco -- crumbled

Prepare the Roasted Corn and Black Beans

Prepare grill, then cook chicken breasts. If desired, rub with a seasoning (such as Penzey's Northwest Fire or Chicken Taco) before grilling. Allow to cool, then shred. Set aside. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time (refrigerate).

In a medium bowl, mix the jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, lime juice, and salt. Add the chopped tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Stir gently to combine; set aside. This can be done up to 6 hours ahead of time (refrigerate).

Let's assemble! :D

Place 6 wide-mouth quart-sized canning jars on the counter. Divide salsa between the jars (about a rounded 1/3 cup of salsa). On top of the salsa, divide the shredded chicken breast. On top of the chicken breast, scoop a rounded 1/2 cup of the Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad. Now, tamp down the layers a bit and access the space remaining in the jars. There should be about 1-1/2" left for the lettuce and the cheese. If there is room, add some extra of the salad (otherwise, refrigerate the remaining salad for another use). Then divide the romaine between the jars, the top with the crumbled queso fresco. Place the lid on top and close tightly. Refrigerate for at least one half hour, and no more than 24 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

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Per serving: 361 Calories (kcal); 15g Total Fat (3g Saturated); (36% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 55mg Cholesterol; 942mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Use wide-mouth quart canning jars

These can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Roasted Corn and Black Beans

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings : 8

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 cups corn kernels -- (about 3 ears of fresh corn; thawed frozen corn kernels can also be used)

1/3 cup lime juice -- divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion -- (red onion)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno pepper

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

3/4 teaspoon brown sugar

1 small garlic clove -- minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

15 ounces canned black beans -- drained and rinsed (will yield approximately 9 ounces)

1 cup chopped tomato

1 medium avocado -- diced

Preheat broiler.

Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange corn kernels in a single layer.

Broil corn about 5" from heat source until lightly browned, stirring once (about 8-10 total minutes, forbroiling about 5" from heat; or 4-5 minutes if 3" from the heat source; watch carefully to make certain that the corn doesn't burn). Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the lime juice through ground black pepper. Add the cooled corn kernels, black beans, and chopped tomato. Stir. Lightly toss the cubed avocado with the remaining lime juice; add to the corn mixture. Mix gently. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

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Per serving: 161 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat (1g Saturated); (41% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 335mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Roasting the corn intensifies its sweetness and also makes the kernels a little “chewy” (but in a good way!).

Can also add lightly sautéed (or broiled w/ corn?): colored bell pepper, zucchini.

This may be made up to 12 hours ahead of time.


foodfly said...

Glad to see you posted this one :)
And it looks so pretty in the glass jars.

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

FF, yes and we know the value of "looking pretty" don't we (presentation, presentation, presentation!!!). :D

Thanks for the compliments.


Laura said...

Those sound and look wonderful. I wish someone would make me one right now....

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Thanks, Laura! If you lived closer, I'd make you some to help you recuperate. :)