Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chipotle Sauce

Creamy, spicy chipotle sauce. A versatile condiment that is easy to make!

I made fish tacos for the first time the other night. Which, I don't know how I went so long without trying them. So good. Seriously, they were a cinch to make and a nice break from the traditional tacos that I make. I do have to make a few tweaks to my recipe before I post it, but hopefully it will make the blog in the near future.

Since I was trying to stray from my traditional taco recipe, I did not want a sour cream and salsa topping. I whipped up this spicy, chipotle sauce and it gave the tacos the right amount of kick.

With this sauce, you can control the amount of spice you want. If you don't want it to be overly spicy, don't add as much chipotle pepper or adobo sauce. If you do want it to be extra spicy, you may want to add more. I made it in the middle, not too spicy, not too mild. I think it's just right.

I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. I feel that the yogurt by itself would be a little too tangy, so I used a combo of both. If you don't have Greek yogurt, regular plain yogurt or sour cream would be good substitutes. In a blender, mix together the yogurt and mayo with some freshly chopped garlic, a dash of salt, and two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I also add in a little bit of the adobo sauce (other than what's already on the pepper). Throw those ingredients into a blender with a splash of lime juice (The lime juice adds a nice fresh flavor. I only used a quarter of a lime, but add as much as you would like!). Blend well, scraping down the sides as needed. It took a couple of minutes to get it blended well, as I had to scrape down the sides a couple of times to get everything incorporated and the chipotle peppers chopped up.

Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and lick the blender clean. Okay, maybe don't lick it, but scrape out every bit of sauce you can. Store sauce in the fridge for up to a week.

Drizzle this sauce over fish, fish tacos, sandwiches, salads-there are so many possibilities for this sauce!

Chipotle Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plaint, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped + 1 teaspoon of the sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • Dash of salt
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice-I used 1/4 of a lime


1. In a blender, combine the yogurt, mayo, chopped chipotle peppers, garlic, salt and lime juice. Blend sauce until combined, scraping sides as needed. Taste to adjust lime, salt, and adobo sauce.

2. Store sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week. Sauce goes great with fish, chicken, sandwiches, salads and anything else you think it'd be good on--use your imagination!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Couscous with Garlic & Scallions

Fluffy couscous with garlic and scallions. It's the perfect side dish that's ready in 10 minutes or less!

Couscous is similar to rice but smaller in size. I tried it for the first time two years ago and it become an instant favorite. It has a very light, almost buttery texture. I sometimes prefer to make couscous over rice because it's quick and easy. Rice can be kind of tricky to make: I either get it perfect or get it too soft. Couscous is very easy to prepare--I don't feel like you can mess it up.

Simply saute some garlic and scallions (green onions) in butter until fragrant. Add water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, add the couscous, give it a quick stir and cover. Let the couscous sit off the heat for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork and it is ready to serve! Seriously, so easy...

I developed this recipe while developing a recipe for garlic-lime chicken (recipe to come). The citrus flavors of the marinade I used needed something light to accompany it. I thought couscous was the perfect pairing. I have kept this recipe simple so that it can accompany the fresh flavors of the garlic and scallions. This dish is very versatile and can be paired with many dishes. I think it goes best with chicken or fish. I prefer using scallions in this recipe because they give a light onion flavor without being overpowering.

Speaking of scallions. I hate to admit this, but for the longest time I didn't realize scallions and green onions were the same thing. I would watch cooking shows and the chefs would be like: "chop some scallions" and I would get discouraged because I could never find "scallions" in the store I could only find "green onions." The green onions looked like the exact same thing they were using, but I figured scallions were an onion that were not available in my area(I live in a small Midwest town where it is hard to find certain ingredients). Nope, scallion is just a different word for green onion. It depends on the area you are from, but both names are for this the same onion. Occasionally you will run across multiple names for the same food. Another area of the country may call an ingredient a name completely different than what you know it as. You just have to do a little research(in my case, Google) to see if it's the same ingredient.

Okay, enough of my embarrassing story. Try this couscous!

Couscous with Garlic & Scallions

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, adjust as needed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add chopped scallions and garlic and stir. Saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in water, and a little salt and pepper. Once water begins to boil, add couscous and stir just to incorporate. Cover.

2. Turn off the burner and allow the couscous to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Refer to package directions as well, times may varies for different varieties of couscous.

3. Uncover and fluff couscous with a fork. Serve with chicken or fish.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vietnamese Food and The End of Summer

Thursday night we had a feast of Vietnamese food. Our small town is home to a Vietnamese college and every year they host a celebration called "Marian Days." Marian Days is an American Roman Catholic celebration that draws approximately 60,000 people from all other the U.S. and Vietnam (quite a number for our small city of 14,000). During this weekend of celebration, they have several food tents and markets set up for the public to eat and shop in. While I have lived here my entire life, I have not been to Marian days for probably twenty years. My family decided to venture out this weekend and try the food. This is what we had:

Pho - It was very good! The soup was full of herbs: basil, cilantro and mint. There were also sprouts, scallions, jalapenos, rice noodles and beef. It was finished off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top. The soup was very honest and full of flavor.

Spring Rolls - Every food tent had some form of spring roll. These were a simple roll of rice, shrimp, beef and lettuce. The dipping sauce was very different and unlike anything I had tasted before.

Rambutan - I tried this fruit for the first time in Costa Rica, ten years ago. I spotted the Rambutan at their market and immediately recognized them as the same fruit. To eat, you simply peel off the exterior to expose the fruit inside. I think they are similar to a white grape in taste/texture.

Boba Tea - For dessert, we tried Boba tea.  I didn't get a picture of the drink, but they look like a typical fruit smoothie with Boba beads in the bottom of the cup. The Boba is a tapioca like bead that has a very chewy texture. I wasn't fond of the texture of the Boba, but the smoothie tasted good!

All in all, it was a fun experience. We plan to make this a yearly tradition instead of once every 20 or so years. It's funny how we often don't take advantage of the events that go on in our own hometown. It's easy to say, "there's nothing to do here!" When really, if you get involved, there's plenty to do--it just depends if you really want to look for things to do. I have been guilty of this many times.

Summer comes to an end...

This is our last summer weekend--my husband will be back to school next week. Not sure if I'm ready for summer to end (it feels like it just started).  If you are starting back to school next week, enjoy your last weekend of freedom!

*In an effort to share more content (not just posts), I plan share tidbits of my life as I see fit (instead of a "Five on Friday" post like I was doing). My goal is to do at least one main post once a month on personal life in addition to my recipe posts.