Monday, September 8, 2008

Hot, but not like burn-down-the-neighborhood hot.

So, if you're following things on Twitter, you know that I made some outstanding brownies yesterday. I've been on a roll when it comes to cooking this weekend, in fact.

But as good as everything has been, these brownies take the cake.

I got the recipe from my new favorite cooking blog, SmittenKitchen.

What makes them so good? The slow, subtle chipotle burn.

These aren't your average bake-sale brownies. Spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and chipotle, they are complex, rich, and delicious. And I'm not really a huge brownie fan.

Here's a link to the recipe. I'd hoard it all to myself, but it's already on the internet, so it's not much of a secret:

I promise that they're awesome, that you may want a glass of milk or scoop of vanilla ice cream nearby when you eat them, and that they weren't the cause of all this last night.

In other cooking news, I've been creative in the kitchen this weekend.
On Friday night, I threw together a really flavorful and easy corn and black bean salad/salsa (see description and ingredients below) which we had with cornbread for dinner. It was so good, we finished it off Saturday night on some awesome chipotle-lime chicken tacos.

Then, last night, knowing Charlie isn't a huge cheesy-foods fan, I devised a simple recipe for Spinach, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan raviolis. Holy YUM.

Without further delay, here are the basics:

Sweet corn and black bean salad:

(Note: in the photo above, I'd cooked the beans a little on the long side, so they disintegrated a little. It was still delicious, though not as picturesque as I'd like. This was also after we'd devoured half the bowl. I figured I'd better get a shot before it was all gone!)

2 cobs of fresh, sweet corn (not frozen corn, it just doesn't cut it)
1 can black beans
1/2 C diced tomatoes
Chipotle chile powder, blended chilies in adobro sauce, or a chipotle sauce of some sort
1/4 C of your favorite salsa (I had Mrs. Renfro's mild salsa on hand, can use fresh tomatoes instead)
about 1/2- 1/3 C minced yellow onion (use red onion if yellow is too strong, can add more or less depending on personal tastes)
1/4-1/3 C mined cilantro (again, adjust to your personal taste)
1 diced medium red bell pepper
1 diced medium avocado
Juice from 1/2 a large lime

Boil corn on cob for just the briefest amount of time--enough to slightly heat through. Remove corn from heat, and let cool.

Meanwhile, heat beans in saucepan over medium heat with diced tomatoes, chipotle, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Add Chipotle according to your heat preference.

When beans are warmed, and flavors are all mixy and tasty, remove from heat.

Cut corn kernels from cobs.

Combine all ingredients except lime in large mixing bowl. Squeeze lime over the top. Refrigerate to cool, or serve warm.

We ate this with cornbread and a simple green salad, and it was AMAZING.

If you're nice, I'll post the ravioli recipe later. :)

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