Taking A Break

BostonsInVirginia is going to take a little time off. We will be back in a month or so, but for now you can view the archives when you start to miss us :)
In the meantime:
SB is starting school, SH is finishing school and we are both going to spend some time visiting the east coast.
We will try to keep you updated on our progress and travels, but no promises!
Thanks for stopping by.
9/2 - SH just stopping by with a quick update. I have been busy working on my dissertation, but took a break this weekend for a quick trip to Vermont. I had a great weekend visiting with friends and attending a beautiful wedding. A much needed break from daily writing to enjoy a relaxing weekend. I miss BostonsInVirginia Wednesdays, but we will be back soon.


Beans, Zucchini and Things . . . . . .

Well, I will admit to technology troubles tonight. I had composed the blog and was proofreading when my computer suddenly crashed. Alas, all was lost and now I am starting from the beginning (again). Just a warning, the second round will be somewhat abbreviated as my bedtime is swiftly approaching.
The theme this week was Mexican with a twist; a few fresh ideas to enliven the otherwise ordinary and predictable comfort cuisine.
The appetizer this week was homemade tortilla chips enhanced with cumin and chili powder. The chips were dipped into refried black beans flavored with garlic and cumin and refreshed with the addition of a little goat cheese. YUM!
The main course was an Epicurious.com recipe. This take on enchiladas revived the classic by using two salsas. In addition to the typical tomato salsa, the green salsa was comprised of sauteed pumpkin seeds blended with cilantro. The nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds truly was the refreshing "secret" ingredient in the enchiladas.
For enchiladas:
  • 1 large white onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 red bell peppers, quartered
  • 3/4 pound medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 12 (6-to 7-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces crumbled queso fresco or ricotta salata

For pumpkin-seed salsa:
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/3 cups raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups water

For tomato salsa:
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • Garnish: cilantro leaves


Start enchiladas:
Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .

Preheat oven to 350°F .

Secure each onion round with a wooden pick for grilling. Oil grill rack, then grill vegetables, covered, turning occasionally, until tender (6 to 8 minutes for bell peppers and zucchini; 10 to 12 minutes for onion), transferring to a bowl.

Wrap tortillas in stacks of 6 in foil and heat in oven, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make pumpkin-seed salsa:
Cook chile, garlic, cumin, and pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until seeds pop, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer 3 tablespoons seeds with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve. Purée remaining seeds and oil with cilantro, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.

Make tomato salsa:
Stir together tomatoes, onion, chile, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Assemble and fry enchiladas:
Cut vegetables into strips. Spread 2 teaspoons pumpkin-seed salsa on each warm tortilla and top with some of grilled vegetables, then roll up. Heat oil (1/2 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry enchiladas, seam side down first, in 2 batches, turning once, until lightly browned and heated through, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer enchiladas to plates, then drizzle with remaining pumpkin-seed salsa and sprinkle with reserved seeds and cheese. Serve with tomato salsa.

Desert was strawberry margarita cupcakes. Simply delicious and a light endcap to the evening.


Spicy Sweet Summer

We are back to our normal routine this week after enjoying a night out on the town last Wednesday. In the spirit of Summer and to showcase the abundance of fresh ingredients, we once again chose to prepare a simple dinner using the wonderful ingredients at our disposal.
The appetizer was grilled jalapeno peppers made with jalapenos from our gardens. These peppers were grilled then stuffed with a goat cheese mixture and broiled until golden and bubbly.

The main course was an easy to prepare summer treat. The pizza came together quickly and easily while providing a refreshing summer delight.

Strawberry, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Pizza

(from Cooking Light.com)

1 (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (such as Mama Mary's)
1/3 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup trimmed watercress
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 tablespoons shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Place crust on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; arrange goat cheese evenly over crust.

3. Combine strawberries, watercress, olive oil, juice, salt, and black pepper; toss gently to coat. Arrange strawberry mixture evenly over goat cheese. Sprinkle pizza with Parmigiano-Reggiano and nuts. Cut into 12 wedges. Serve immediately.

Dessert was an almond shortbread topped with homemade strawberry jam and a dollop of goat cheese. This dessert was made extra special by our strawberry jam, made by our mother with locally grown strawberries. Thanks Mom!!

Another wonderful meal and Wednesday night. Try out these recipes, we don't think you will be disappointed.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, use the great ingredients available while you can!


Technology Moves Forward

This is my first trial at an e-mail post. SB and SH are going out
and about this week and we want to take you with us. We'll give
updates throughout the evening as we seek out a great dinner in
downtown Blacksburg and enjoy a movie at our favorite local theater.
We will see how it goes!