Saturday, March 16 –
For this dinner we had: BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire (wine), Mistress Whiskey (wine), Hot Momma (wine), Mr. Hero (baleadas), BabyBear, GrandpaBear, LittleBigBrother, ChinUp (mango, avocado salsa and chips), and MyBuddy (banana milkshakes). Later in the evening we also had LightsOn and WingWoman show up to hang out and drink some wine.
I started by adding oil to a pan and cooking the onion and bell pepper until they were just starting to brown. Then I added the garlic and let that heat up. While the veggies were cooking on the stove I added the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot. Once the veggies were done I added them in, stirred to mix, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. I did not use the sherry and I substituted a seeded habanero for the yellow pepper, which made it really, really spicy. Almost too spicy, really (which is really weird for me to say). After a few hours I blended the soup with an immersion blender and let it continue to simmer until everyone was ready to eat.
The sweet potato I substituted for a yam because I like their flavor better. Steamed, drained, crisped in hot oil, then drained. Put on a bed of baby arugula (which is what I had in the fridge) and feta, then tossed. I added the dressing in on top, made exactly as the recipe says, and gave that a good toss too.
ChinUp and MyBuddy had the salsa and chips out. Mr. Hero made the baleadas with all the toppings (basically tacos on soft corn tortillas), including beef, beans, onion, cheese, sour cream, and avocado. The wine was flowing freely, and dinner was served!
The soup was ok. I think I would have liked it better unblended. It was spicy but not terribly flavorful. Maybe it needed some ham or something to go with it? I’m not sure. The salad was good, the dressing was tangy and delightful. The beleadas were good and a great compliment to the other dishes. And the mango, avocado salsa was a perfect topping to chips and to all the rest of the food. Last we get to the milkshakes. They were good… and then they added rum. Banana rum milkshakes are pretty darn delicious. And dangerous, because you don’t really notice the rum!
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://sidewalkmystic.com)
Bahia Black Bean Soup
- 1 Onion
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 garlic minced garlic cloves
- 1 T olive oil
- 3 15-oz cans black beans, drained
- 2 C stock
- 1 1/2 t. oregano
- 1 yellow chili, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (brave souls leave the seeds)
- 1 15-oz can whole tomatoes with liquid or 18-oz can sauce
- 1/2 lime, squeezed for juice (critical)
- 1/4 c. sherry (I use red wine)
- fresh cilantro (1 1/2 t. if fresh isn’t available)
Directions: [The website author says: my adjustments to the recipe include adding a smoked ham hock for flavor. As well, if you find the soup too heavily favored by the tomatoes, merely back down on the amount of tomato and increase the stock proportionately]. Saute onion; bell pepper and garlic in oil until onion is translucent. Add beans, stock and oregano. Heat thoroughly. Seed and chop yellow and jalapeno chilies and put into blender. Add lime juice and tomato. Puree to finely mince the chilies. Add black bean mixture to blender (in batches) and puree. When everything is pureed, return it to the soup pot. Simmer at least 1.5 hours. Add wine and fresh cilantro to taste.
Garnishes: Rice, grated cheeses, diced onion, salsa, sour cream, plain yogurt, grilled sausages.
Mixed Greens with Sweet Potatoes and Feta Cheese
- ¾ lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ to ½ inch dice
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T fresh lime juice
- 1 T balsamic vinegar (don’t pinch; buy the top shelf stuff)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ t of Dijon mustard
- ¼ C of buttermilk (you can use regular milk; just let it stand with a T of regular vinegar in it)
- 8-10 oz of fresh greens (we use spinach and escarole – small slices of red cabbage add to the esthetic appeal)
- 4 oz fresh feta cheese (I have used blue cheese when I make a fresh blue cheese dressing to accompany the salad)
Directions: Steam the sweet potato for 5-8 minutes. Just tender. Remove and drain on paper towels. Get the steamed potatoes very dry. Heat 2 t of olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, shaking pan often for 15 minutes. Remove when crisp and drain again on paper towels. Mix together the lime juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt pepper, and remaining olive oil and buttermilk. Whisk in a blender (start to drool). Place greens and cheese in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Top the salad with the sweet potatoes, serve, and call me. Serve with tortillas.