We tend to think of spicy, Southwestern-inspired cuisine as a perfect match for summery, warm weather, but it can be just as amazing in the fall -- or any other time of the year! I don't know about you, but fresh fruits and veggies, protein-rich beans, and kicked-up spicy meats never fail to make my mouth water! Plus, so many dishes are fast and easy to make and can be super-healthy to boot!
On this week's episode of CafeMom Studios'Dinner Boot Camp, Chef Rene Marquis shows us how to pull together a protein-rich, Southwestern meal that sounds so flavorful, everyone at the table will be more than satisfied! Check it out ...
Here are tips on how to seed and dice a tomato:
How to peel a pineapple:
Beer-braised pork with tropical fruit salsa and black beans and rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 to 8 hours
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 (4- to 5-pound) bone-in pork butt
1/2 cup seasoned salt
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 (12-ounce) bottles of beer (preferably lager)
1 onion, peeled and julienned
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place pork in pan and sear all sides until brown, about 2 minutes each side.
Remove pan from heat; transfer pork to cutting board.
Rub pork with seasoned salt and garlic.
Place pork in slow cooker. Add beer and onion. Cook 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Transfer pork, onion and accumulated juices to a bowl or platter and serve with tropical fruit salsa and black beans and rice.
Tropical fruit salsa
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup diced fresh mango
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (concasse)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
In a large bowl mix together pineapple, mango, tomato, onion, bell peppers, oil, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Black beans and rice
1 cup white rice, rinsed
3 cups cold water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 baby green bell pepper, sliced thin (or 1/4 cup regular green bell pepper, sliced thin)
1 baby red bell pepper, sliced thin (or 1/4 cup regular red bell pepper, sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Dash of hot sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Fresh cilantro and lime wedges
Add rinsed rice to rice cooker, cover with 1 inch of the water, about 3 cups. Close lid and turn rice cooker on; cooker will shut off when rice is ready. Gently fluff rice with a spoon or spatula. Set aside, keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter has melted.
Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
Stir in bell peppers and garlic.
Add beans, vinegar, and hot sauce; simmer 2 minutes or until beans are warmed through.
Stir in oregano; season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl toss together beans and rice, garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Set aside; keep warm.
Serve family style.
Use chicken or vegetable stock in place of beer.
Use a chuck roast instead of pork butt.
Tools that make dinner fast and easy:
Cooking terms to brag about:
Tomato concasse: tomatoes that have been blanched, shocked, and then peeled, seeded, and diced.
Braising: a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat. Food is first seared at a high temperature, and then finished in a covered pot or Dutch oven with aromatics and variable amounts of liquid.
How to braise any meat for bold, robust flavor.
How to get the best flavors out of your slow cooker.
How to concasse a tomato like a professional chef.
How to mix sweet and savory ingredients for sensational salads and salsas.
has enjoyed reporting and writing for a variety of entertainment and women's magazines and websites. More often than not, you'll find her blogging, hitting the gym, reading, researching something on her iPhone, laughing, chatting at an above-"normal" volume, or getting her caffeine fix.