Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grilled Summer Corn & Chipotle Chowdah

Before the summer ended, I wanted to share this recipe for corn chowder.  I looked for a good corn chowder recipe for a long time until I finally came across this one in a Rachel Ray magazine.  I may have torn out the page from the Dr's office while no one was looking (shhhh!  don't tell!), but it was definitely worth it.  Creamy and smoky with a hint of spiciness.  So, so good.

  • Grilled Summer Corn & Chipotle Chowdah
  • Ingredients:
  • 6 ears corn
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as yukon gold, cut into small cubes
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • One 32-ounce container (4 cups) vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Lime wedges, chopped flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped scallions and crumbles cotija cheese or queso fresco, for garnish

  • Directions:
  • Preheat a grill or broiler. Grill or broil the ears of corn until charred, 7 to 8 minutes (cover the grill to give the corn a smoky flavor). Scrape the kernels from the cob.  (We don't have a grill so I just roasted them under the broiler for a few minutes until charred).
  • While the corn is charring, in a soup pot, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the onion, potatoes, celery and garlic to the pot. Add the bay leaf and thyme, season with salt and pepper, cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes
  • Using a food processor, puree the chipotle chiles. Stir into the vegetables, then stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and keep warm. Rinse the food processor bowl.
  • Add one-third of the corn kernels to the food processor, pour in 2 cups of the soup and puree. Pour the mixture into the remaining soup and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the remaining corn kernels, the cream and reserved bacon and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve the chowder in bowls with the lime wedges, parsley, scallions and lots of cheese.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Corn and Avocado Black Bean Taco Salad

Recipe (slightly modified) and photo via Little House of Veggies

We are always looking for new vegetarian dishes...
this one was simple, delicious and perfect for the last days of summer.

Black Beans:
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Juice of 1 lime
crack of black pepper to taste

Heat black beans in a medium saucepan on low with cumin, sea salt, garlic power and pepper. Warm up a corn tortilla. Add a little of the black bean mixture, and top with lots of the fresh corn and avocado Salsa. You can add a few drops of hot sauce to this if you want.

Corn and Avocado Salsa:
3 cups frozen (thawed) corn
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup (a few handfuls) of fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, taste and check seasonings to see if any additional salt and pepper is needed.

Serve on top of tortilla chips, Indian fry bread (Navajo tacos) or with tortillas. Other toppings: cheese, sour cream etc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creamy Pasta & Chickpeas

I am a huge fan of the "one pot wonder".  This week I decided to share one of my "wonder"ful go to recipes.  It's quick, easy, cheap, and healthy.  We love it!  As a side note the original recipe (shown below) calls for 4.4 ounces of Boursin cheese.  I have recenly been substituting this for Philadelphia Cream cheese cooking cream, Italian herb flavor.  It's twice the size and costs half the price, plus we actually like it better.  It's a winner all around.

Creamy Pasta & Chickpeas

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
8 ounces penne pasta
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 package (4.4 ounces) light, spreadable herb cheese (such as Boursin)
Pinch of nutmeg


Generously coat a medium-size nonstick saucepan with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to pot. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Cook penne in boiling salted water for 12 minutes. Drain; reserving 1 cup pasta water.

Return pasta to pot. Over medium heat, stir in asparagus mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, chickpeas, cheese and nutmeg, adding reserved pasta water as needed to thin sauce. Serve immediately.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Brown Sugar and Ginger Pumpkin Bread

Lately I've been trying recipes from this cookbook, and loving them.  The book is written by a food editor and have yummy flavorful ingredients, without tons of intensive labor.  This weekend we tried thuis pumpkin bread and it was THE yummiest pumpkin bread I've  had.  It was moist and spiced perfectly.  We ate it warm, and it was DElicious.  I made a few as muffins and the rest in my bread pan - both were great. 

2 C white whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground dry ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 C packed dark brown sugar
1/3 C canola or vegetable oil
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 tsp ground fresh ginger (optional: I didn't add this)
(1/2 bag Ghiardelli milk chocolate chips - this was my own addition and well worth it. When we ate that warm pumpkin bread with meled chocolate chunks it was soooo good!) 

Heat the oven to 350.  Coat a metal loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, dry ginger, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, egg, fresh ginger, and chocolate chips (if using).  Whisk in the dry ingredients.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 hour 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

How Long: 1 hour 15 minutes (10 min. active)
How Much: 10 servings

Happy Baking!

Chicken with Apple, Onion, and Cider Sauce

I am a BIG fan of the food network.  Back when Emma used to nap, I would turn it on to see what Ina, Giada, or Bobby Flay were cooking up to help pass the time folding laundry or doing the dishes.  So when I saw this cookbook at BJ's, I could not pass it up!  Every meal I have made out of it has been awesome!  So I thought it very fitting to use a recipe from it for my first post here on Chocolate Thumbprints.

Chicken with Apple, Onion, and Cider Sauce


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into large pieces
  • 1 sweet cooking apple, cored and cut into large pieces
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Place the chicken in the skillet smooth-side down and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking dish and bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes (mine needed a little longer).
Meanwhile, add the onion and apple to the skillet, along with 1 tablespoon oil, if the pan is dry, and increase the heat to high. Cook, tossing, until the onion has wilted slightly and the apple is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan. Let the mixture boil until the vinegar becomes syrupy, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and return to a boil. Cook until the broth reduces by half. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and whisk in the butter.
Remove the chicken from the oven; add any collected juices to the sauce. Divide the chicken among four plates and spoon the apple, onion and pan sauce over each piece. Sprinkle with the parsley.  Enjoy!