Pasilla Peppers, Polenta, Black Beans and Marmalade?

     Today was  one of those “What shall I fix for dinner honey” days.   At our house many of our meals are made on the fly which means not a lot of prepping goes into them.  I prefer to make quick and easy meals that require few really good ingredients.  Plus I mostly try to use whats coming out of the garden and  create a meal around those picks.  Sometimes I make what I call a make-ahead meal or side dish because I have harvested veggies from the garden that need to be used in someway sooner than later.   In fact, yesterday I had put together my Pasilla pepper and Polenta  Lasanga dish (recipe below) because the peppers needed to be used.  We love the mildly spicy but sweet pasilla pepper freshly cooked in many dishes.  This pasilla and polenta recipe is a staple favorite around here.   It is easy to make ahead, cook, and served warm a day or two later.  The flavors are enhanced and blended.

     I planned on serving this pasilla pepper and polenta lasagna tonight and asked hubby to contribute a thought on a side dish.  I mentioned to him I had black beans but didn’t want to serve rice with the meal because the lasagna already had polenta as a carb.  He asked if there was a cucumber and I replied “hello…….of course…tis the season!   This is what he found on the internet:

Cucumber and Black Bean Salad

1 seedless cucumber cut into 1/2 inch chunks  ( a Japanese cuc from my garden)

1 (15 oz) can black beans  ( I use Whole Foods Full Circle organic brand)

1 (8 oz) can or frozen whole corn ( again Whole Foods Full  Circle organic brand)

1 cup cherry tomatoes  (from my garden)

1/2 red onion ( a few small red onions from my garden)

3 TB chopped cilantro  (not on the recipe but added from my garden)

The Dressing

3 TB  extra-virgin olive oil  ( I use Bragg’s organic)

4 1/2 tsp orange marmalade  ( of course I use This One Trees Simply Orange Marmalade)

1 TB lemon juice ( from my own Meyer lemon tree previously juiced and frozen in cubes)

1 tsp honey ( Whole Foods organic)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and Pepper to taste

Serves 4 hungry people or 6 polite eaters!

Cucumber and Black Bean salad
Cucumber and Black Bean salad

Well THAT was super fast to put together, yummy and it looks so colorful and pretty!  Hubby and I think this salad is definitely a keeper and if doubled this recipe would also make a great summer BBQ buffet/party dish to bring along next time.   Make it and let me know if you agree!

Pasilla Pepper and Polenta Lasagna

Oven set at 350 ……………. and a 2 quart Pirex type casserole dish

6 pasilla peppers;   roasted or micro-waved and outer papery skins peeled

1  “chub” polenta  ( I use organic prepackaged in a tube then mashed til crumbly)

1 ( 15 oz) jar of Cacique Crema Mexicana or ( 8 oz sour cream and 4 oz milk to thin)

2 C. Monterey Jack cheese  ( grated)

1C.  Queso Fresco (crumbled)

2 TB pimento (chopped in the jar)

1 TB cumin

Paprika and Salt and Pepper to taste

* you can add chopped sauteed red onion and  minced jalapeno for added zing if so desired!

To peel pasillas:

* (micro-wave in plastic produce bag till soft but not over done, leave in bag for 20 min)

* roast over flame till all skins bubble and start to char; place in plastic bag for 30 min)

*  remove from bag and peel papery skins off

When pasillas are peeled,  tear into 3 or 4 strips length-wise and place onto paper towel to soak up all moisture left from cooking.

Meanwhile chop and mash up Polenta chub til crumbly.   Add 1/2 grated cheese and chopped pimento, ( onion and jalapeno) if wanted, salt and pepper.  Mix all with hands.

Now begin to layer lasagna style:  starting with bottom layer of pasilla, then a layer of Polenta mixture, layer of grated cheese, then a healthy drizzle of crema or thinned sour cream with sprinkling of cumin.   Another layer Pasilla,  polenta  mixture, cheese, crema and cumin.  You should have approx. 3 layers total to finish.  Sprinkle top layer with remaining cumin and some paprika.  It should look like this when finished…… then into the oven uncovered for 20-30 min or until bubbly.  Sprinkle Queso Fresco on servings.

Pasilla Pepper and Polenta Lasagna
Pasilla Pepper and Polenta Lasagna

    This meal was delish.  The salad is a beautiful and perfect compliment to my Pasilla and Polenta Lasagna!  We have put this salad recipe into our “gotta have again and again” files!  

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