Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

I loved this dish, and it’s incredibly simple and easy to make. “Spicy” is debatable, but you can certainly add more cayenne if you want some extra heat. Start by dusting the chicken with cumin, cayenne, chili powder, and salt to give it plenty of flavor. Butterflying and broiling the chicken makes it cook quickly, although you can also sauté it if you prefer.

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I enjoyed the sweet potato and black bean salsa so much that I made a second batch to eat for lunch. The salsa is a healthy and hearty mix of sweet potatoes, black beans, onions, and cranberries tossed with garlic and lime. The spices in the chicken blend with the salsa to create a Mexican-inspired meal. The result is a light dinner that is also satisfying. Brightly colored sweet potatoes and cranberries also make it a beautiful dish.

a light dusting of cilantro on top would add some pretty green

a light dusting of cilantro on top would add some pretty green

If you’re looking for an easy appetizer to serve with this meal, I recommend making blistered padron peppers. Be careful–one out of every eight or so is surprisingly hot! Generally they are mild peppers with a texture so rich and smooth, they almost taste like butter. Don’t be afraid to really let them blacken, and be sure you have Maldon salt to season them properly. The triangular shape of the salt flakes makes the flavor pop.

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Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

Fine Cooking            Issue 131

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California Chicken Tacos with Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw

In a moment of confidence I decided to master the grill. Last weekend I made my first-ever attempt at grilling and it was a success! Bolstered by my ability to grill simple vegetable and pre-made chicken skewers, I felt undaunted by this recipe, which calls for a whole grilled chicken. I may have been overconfident. This required an entirely different level of grilling skills, but with a second chance and some coaching from my dad over the phone, the end result was a smoky, tender, perfectly grilled chicken.

the lime and salt tenderize the chicken

the lime and salt tenderize the chicken

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First let me say that the recipe gives you the option of oven roasting or grilling. I chose to grill so I could improve my skills and because I think the smoky flavor is an essential flavor in tacos. The preparation of the chicken is very simple—just slide some lime zest beneath the skin, pour lime juice on the outside, salt and pepper liberally and stuff with the used limes. If you go for the grilling method, you can separate your heated coals to make them line the sides of the grill. Place the chicken in the middle of the grill so it cooks over indirect heat. After the coals are nice and hot, cover the grill with the lid making sure to leave the vents open. A five-pound chicken might take about an hour to cook with this method, and using a meat thermometer will ensure your meat is cooked all the way through. Taking the lid off the grill is the same as opening the oven—it dramatically drops the temperature and will increase cooking time, so try to be patient!

grilled green onions are a tasty side dish

grilled green onions are a tasty side dish

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Heating the tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds will make them warm and pliable. The simple red cabbage slaw adds freshness, color, and crunch to the tacos. I left out the corn because I used it my black bean and corn salad, which I served as a side dish. A few dashes of Cholula brought a pleasant heat to the meal and brought the other flavors together. I have to say, these were some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten! 0608141947_resized 0608141947b_resized

California Chicken Tacos with Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw by Linda Burkhart

Food 52            May 2014

Black Bean and Corn Salad

It’s Memorial Day this weekend, and that means celebrating with potlucks and barbeques! I got this salad recipe from my mom and have been using for well over ten years now. It’s just the thing for a warm weather celebration because it’s colorful, filling, and tastes best at room temperature.

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Begin by rinsing two cans of black beans until the water runs clear. Drain them well and place them in a bowl with one can of corn, also well drained. (You can also use fresh corn and dried black beans.) To this add one large diced bell pepper, 3 sliced green onions (white and green parts), ½ pint halved cherry tomatoes or 2-3 chopped of your favorite tomato variety, and a full bunch of chopped cilantro (about ½ cup, or more to taste.) This colorful array of vegetables will be dressed in a lemon vinaigrette. Add five tablespoons of good quality olive oil and six tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss together and let sit for at least one hour at room temperature. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

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This can be served as a side salad, as a dip for corn tortilla chips, as a taco filling, or on top of warm quinoa for a satisfying lunch. Enjoy, and happy Memorial Day!