Monday, June 10, 2019

Strawberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce


   A few years ago, I came up with a recipe for Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, and it was fun and unexpected and a fabulous big hit. It was sweet and tangy and smoky and zesty and everything you want in a barbecue sauce. So then I thought, I wonder how it would taste with strawberries instead of blueberries! Wouldn't that be amazing? At first, I figured I'd just use the same recipe and swap out the blueberries, but then I thought, wait... let's make a new recipe for strawberries and let them have their own moment in the spotlight!
  As always, when I want to find a new recipe, I do some googling to see who else might be thinking of the same idea. I happened to find a recipe on a blog called The Stay At Home Chef, and I gave it a try. It's so good! But then I thought, lets turn this from good to GREAT! So, this is basically the same recipe, but I added a couple tiny tweaks to it. (You know me. I can't leave well enough alone.) The final result is a revelation! Who knew that strawberries would pair so well with smoky Chipotles??? And since Chipotles are just smoked jalapenos, this sauce has a nice little kick to it. Not like a burn-your-face-off kind of a kick, but just a nice heat that sneaks up on you a little. I'm not a spicy guy, but I'm definitely a fan of a slow burn.
  So the next time you're grilling up some chicken or ribs, or maybe doing a slow cooker pulled pork, give this one a try. It's really awesome!



2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 
1 large sweet onion diced 
3 cloves garlic minced 
2 cups strawberries hulled 
3 chipotles in Adobo sauce 
1 cup ketchup 
2/3 up brown sugar tightly packed 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
1/2 cup honey
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt


 In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add in onion and saute for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and saute for 60 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce or transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth. Return to heat and simmer another 10 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 5 days.


Tips:
If you would like more heat, go for it! Add some crushed red pepper flakes for another layer of heat. Or you could even add in some chopped jalapenos or a bit of Tabasco.
If you would like a sweeter sauce, bump up the brown sugar and honey.
If you want a little more tang, try adding a little more mustard or lemon juice or even a little splash of apple cider vinegar. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Joey's Creamy Fettuccine with Zucchini and Peas





  OK, so, I have a confession to make. I don't eat pasta very often. Like, maybe only a few times a year. There. I said it. I know. I know. That's blasphemy in some households, right? I mean, of course, I do LOVE it, but very often I find it to be a little bit heavy. So, unless I'm doing a big spaghetti dinner, or maybe doing fresh pasta for friends, I kind of have to be in the mood for it. That's not a crime, is it? Actually, one of my favorite ways to have pasta is with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Since I live in The Garden State, I absolutely can't wait for the warmer months of the year and all of the fabulous produce that comes with them. THAT'S when I'll definitely be in the mood for a nice dish of pasta and some of Jersey's freshest veggies to go with it.
 For this one, I decided to go with zucchini. I saw it at a local farm stand, and it was so brilliantly green that I was inspired to keep with that theme and add peas and fresh herbs. The result was an amazing pasta dish, perfect in its simplicity, kind of similar to an alfredo, but a little bit lighter.
 So if you're a "pasta every week" kind of household (or even more), you should definitely add this one to the rotation. It was quick and easy and it was just the thing to hit the spot! Hope you like it!


1 lb fettuccine
1 stick butter
1 medium onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large (or 2 small-ish) zucchini, cut into large dice
Salt and crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 10oz box of frozen peas
5 or 6 large leaves of fresh basil
Fresh parsley


   Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt. Boil fettuccine according to package directions to reach desired doneness. While your waiting for the water to boil, make the sauce.
  In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add diced onions. Saute until they soften a bit. Add chopped garlic and continue to saute. Add diced zucchini, season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes, and continue to saute, stirring frequently. When the zucchini are tender, add chicken broth, cream, and grated cheese. Stir all until well combined. Reduce heat to simmer. Let the sauce reduce a bit until the pasta is done. At the last minute, add the frozen peas and fresh basil. Give it a good stir. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Add drained pasta and toss all together. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Top with chopped fresh parsley and a bit more cheese.


Tips:
The sauce is meant to be kind of thin so that the pasta will really drink it in.
Be sure to taste it and adjust the seasoning. It will need a bit more salt than you think it will. If you don't like crushed red pepper flakes, then just use black pepper.
For an extra punch of flavor, add a splash of white wine to the sauce!