Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos

Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos

Spicy Fish Tacos- Perfect for Serving Buffet Style at Your Next Dinner Party

These Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos are marinated in a lime juice and chili powder, and grilled to perfection.  Serve them with a spiced yogurt sauce, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.

You know what I miss in the winter?  Sunshine, specifically, but also that woodsy, delicious smell of food cooking on a charcoal grill.  I love how it wafts into my kitchen from the open door, filling my entire apartment with tantalizing promises of a scrumptious dinner.  At the first signs of spring, we break out our heavy metal grill and start cooking.  One meal that’s really at its best on a grill is Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos.

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Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta- Perfectly Sear Scallops at Home!

Do you love pasta?  Do you love seafood?  If you haven’t been combining them to make quick, delicious dinners– this recipe for Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta could revolutionize your dinner routine.  (Okay maybe not, but it’s seriously quite tasty.  And fast.  And did I mention tasty?).  The Italians, of course, are onto something with all the seafood and pasta dishes filling their kitchens and dinner plates.  Let’s join them!

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Easy, Vegan Poached Pears cooked in White Wine and Cardamom. Ready in 15 min

Poached Pears with Cardamom

Easy, Vegan Poached Pears cooked in White Wine and Cardamom. Ready in 15 min

Poached Pears

A few weeks ago, I found myself watching, in complete suspense, episode after episode of “The Great British Bake Off.” (Keep it coming, BBC!)  At one point, everyone in the show had to tackle the tricky ‘pear pie.”  Have you seen photos of (or maybe even eaten) these pretty poached pears wrapped in puff pastry?  Apparently, mastering these little beauties is more difficult and time consuming than it appears.  After seeing everyone on the show struggle with pear pie after pear pie– poaching pears, cooling them down and glazing them, and then oh so carefully wrapping them in puff pastry– I had little desire to make my own.  It did, however, most definitely cause me to start craving the un-glazed and pastry free Poached Pears with Cardamom.

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Vegan Masala Spiced Lentils - Red Lentils cooked in Indian Spices

Masala Spiced Lentils

Vegan Masala Spiced Lentils - Red Lentils cooked in Indian Spices

Masala Spiced Lentils

These Masala Spiced Lentils are a vegan, flavorful, and incredibly simple way to prepare red lentils.

Have you tried cooking lentils? Maybe you’ve seen them at the grocery store and thought, “Are those beans?  Are those a type of rice?  Are those tiny pebbles that someone put in a bag to trick me?  Is this some kind of food fraud?”  Well, my friends, they’re a legume.  And they’re quite tasty. They work wonderfully as a ‘meaty’ component in soup, but also can stand on their own.  They also come in a rainbow of colors, each of which has its own taste and cooking time.  (Check out this guide for lentil cook times at IndiaPhile).

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Red Wine Pasta: Perfect for Date Night! Quick, Easy, and Incredibly Flavorful

Gourmet Special: Red Wine Pasta

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

Picture the following: You have a date, you’re supposed to cook, and you only have about 20 minutes to get the food ready.  What do you do? Panic? (Yes, of course). Call for a restaurant reservation? (Maybe). However, there’s a 3rd option. Make fancy pasta. That’s right– pasta that looks terribly impressive, but in reality only takes a few minutes longer to prepare than plain old spaghetti marinara.  This Red Wine Pasta is vegan, flavorful, and incredibly quick to prepare.

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Lava Cake: The perfect dessert for your romantic dinner for two.

Chocolate Lava Cake

There are few foods that I love quite as much as chocolate. I love chocolate truffle pie, chocolate ice cream, chocolate crepes, hot chocolate.. the list goes on and on. The chocolate dessert I have most often, however, is Chocolate Lava Cake. Lava cake, with it’s warm, goopy center of liquid chocolate, is the perfect dessert for a romantic dinner for two, but it also works for dinner parties, game nights with friends, or even a movie night alone.

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buffalo cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Game Day: Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. 30 Minutes, 6 Ingredients

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Did you know there’s a football game on Sunday? Apparently, it’s kind of a big deal. For those of us who may, or may not, be a little bit clueless on the football front- the Super Bowl is Sunday. This, of course, means that you just might find yourself at someone’s Super Bowl party. Whether you’re watching the game, or simply waiting for commercials and the half time show, you’ll probably be eating. Unfortunately, game day food isn’t known for being nutritious. With everyone chowing down on hot dogs, football shaped cookies, and burgers, it might be difficult to find healthy food choices. The solution? Bring something nutritious yourself, and then you can be sure there will be at least one non-greasy, non-fried, non-sugary food choice available. These Game Day Buffalo Cauliflower Wings are the solution to your football food problems.

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Easy Vegetable Korma- Simple Directions with Easy to Find Ingredients

Vegetable Korma

Easy Vegan Vegetable Korma- Simple Directions with Easy to Find Ingredients

This vegan Vegetable Korma is made with easy to find ingredients and uses simple step-by-step directions.

I’m a little obsessed with Indian food.  When I go more than a week or so without eating it, I start craving it and can’t think about anything else.   Last summer in Italy, I was surrounded by fresh homemade pasta.. But after 8 days, all I wanted was curry.  Ridiculous? Maybe. But my brain and belly didn’t care.

‘Indian Affairs’ in Rome

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This Indian Spiced Tomato Soup is a flavorful twist on the classic American soup is made with warming spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Champagne Tastes - champagne-tastes.com

Indian Spiced Tomato Soup

This Indian Spiced Tomato Soup is a flavorful twist on the classic American soup, and is made with warming spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. champagne-tastes.com

Indian Spiced Tomato Soup

This Indian Spiced Tomato Soup is a flavorful twist on the classic American soup, and is made with warming spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

I’m not sure if you heard, but it snowed a little bit this weekend.  Just a little bit of a blizzard. No biggie.  It’s only the biggest snow storm I’ve seen since I was seven.  At any rate, I’m sure a lot of you are still snowed in, and those of us who’ve managed to tunnel out of our homes might be tempted to turn right back around and go inside where it’s warm.  All this, my friends, means one thing.  Soup, of course.  Specifically, tomato soup.

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Homemade Vegetable Stock - For the best flavor, make your own stock!

Cooking 101: Homemade Vegetable Broth

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

Easy Homemade Vegetable Broth: Less Salt, More Flavor, Incredibly Simple

One basic recipe I find myself using over and over again is vegetable broth.  Yes, yes.. I know. Broth comes in a box.  It’s cheap.  It’s so so easy to just pop the lid off the box, and pour that broth into your soup (or whatever you’re making).  Well guess what.. pre-made broth also has tons of salt.  I don’t mind using it periodically, and typically in late spring or summer I just go ahead and use pre-made broth.  Once it starts getting cold outside, I start making soup almost daily, and I don’t really want to eat that much salt on a regular basis.  (Really… I eat So. Much. Soup.)

Another reason I love homemade vegetable broth is that I don’t always have pre-made broth in my pantry! And isn’t that sad?? You decide you want soup.. you have all the ingredients.. except the broth.  Sadness.  Well, be sad no more!! This homemade broth is delicious, takes about 30 minutes, and you can easily customize the ingredients.

vegetable broth

Vegetable Broth

My favorite thing about homemade broth is that it’s just so tasty!  My second favorite thing is that I use vegetable scraps to make it, and that makes me feel good about my life.  Like I’ve really got things together.  I’m reusing, recycling… and whatever the 3rd thing you’re supposed to do is.  I keep a ‘broth scraps’ bag in my freezer.  Yes that’s right- I have a weird bag full of onion peels, herb stems, carrot peels, mushroom stalks etc sitting underneath my ice cube tray.  And you can have one too!  (All the cool kids are doing it).  Save the scraps!

Some recipes I’ve seen call for all scraps, but personally, I’ve never gotten my broth to taste fantastic when I use ONLY scraps.  Instead, I use my scraps and mix in a few whole veggies.  I think the key is to have a variety.  You may also find that certain vegetables have stronger flavors than others (personally- I don’t like bell pepper scraps in my broth, but that’s just me!).  Also, although I go through more onions than any other vegetable, and would really love to use all my scraps at once in broth, too many onions makes for some very bitter broth.  Restrain yourself.

When making broth, either use it immediately, refrigerate it and use it within a few days, or freeze it.  It’s also a good idea to freeze it in different size containers- that way you don’t have to defrost an entire container if you only need 1 cup.

Go ahead- make broth.  And then make soup.

Need recipes to use your homemade broth? Try these:

Homemade Vegetable Stock - For the best flavor, make your own stock!
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Homemade Vegetable Broth

Yields 1 quart

Total Time 45 minutes
Author Champagne Tastes

Ingredients

  • *Vegetables may be substituted for equal quantity vegetable scraps. I've found a mixture of whole vegetables and scraps makes delicious broth.
  • **Vegetables can be subbed for other veggies that you have on hand
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 leek or 1 onion, roughly chopped (not peeled)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (not peeled)
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly sliced
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 3-4 tsp salt
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1 sprig rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 2 splashes white wine (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in soup pan on medium heat, and add leeks or onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and about 1 quart water.

  2. Cover, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

  3. Ladle out all solid ingredients, or place a mesh strainer over another bowl or pot and pour broth through strainer to remove solid ingredients. Throw away the cooked veggies and keep the broth.

  4. Use broth immediately, refrigerate and use within a few days, or freeze.

Recipe adapted from: The French Market Cookbook