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Friday Recipe Exchange: Just a Little Salsa Flavor

Photo by JeffreyW

Photo by JeffreyW

I have lost my cooking mojo. I have a stash this <————> big of recipes I want to try and share with you, but every time I look at my kitchen I go,“meh”. So next week I’m going to begin blogging in a bit of a different way and hope it brings back enough creativity to overcome my kitchen ennui. I hope you’ll check in and see how it’s going. There will probably be plenty of notes on Bixby antics. He’s become quite the clown. Spoiler alert, he has a girlfriend.

Until I can rediscover my kitchen magic, here are some recipes from 2012 that take advantage of garden bounty:

I am not a fan of canning. When I am overrun by tomatoes, I lean more towards freezing bags of pureed cooked tomatoes to use in sauces and soups later on. I also love to make a batch of salsa each week when the produce is fresh. Since I was faced with an abundance of tomatoes this week, I felt it was time for some salsa.

I have a Vita-Mix, which means if I’m not paying attention, salsa quickly goes from chunky salsa to picante sauce in the blink of an eye. Tonight my first batch went to full juice before I realized what I was doing. I’ll pulse my next batch and pay closer attention. Not sure what I’m going to do with the juice – but it sure tastes good.

Tonight’s recipes are all about tomatoes and what to do with the bounty from the garden or farm stand. I bet everyone has a favorite salsa recipe, I like mine fresh and simple. JeffreyW has a good salsa recipe and a nice Salsa Verde in case you’re tired of tomatoes, recipe here. He also makes and cans batches of his Awesome Sauce™, recipe here.

I love tomato season – sliced on a plate, grilled with olive oil, pasta caprese salad (recipe here), or just going out to the garden and eating the grape tomatoes right off the vine.

Are tomatoes a summer favorite? What’s your favorite way to prepare them? Anyone (besides JeffreyW) canning? And I know you have some salsa recipes to share…

Featured tonight, salsa recipes:

TaMara Fresh Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ to 1 bunch cilantro, remove stems
  • 2 to 4 jalapenos*, remove stems
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • dash of limejuice if desired

blender or food processor

In blender or food processor, add all ingredients and coarsely chop until blended well**.  If you can make a day ahead, it gets even better.  Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.

**If you prefer a chunkier style salsa, you’d be better off chopping vegetables by hand.

JeffreyW’s  Salsa:

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(Oh, you wanted his recipe…)

Couple of the jalapenos, a smallish onion or two, those green peppers, and most of the tomatoes.  Added a couple of dried ancho peppers all snipped small, a dash of chili powder, a few garlic cloves, a good squirt of lime juice, a bit of salt and fresh ground black pepper

(I think this is why I write the recipes and he takes the photos – both of us working to our strengths)

That’s if for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara

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Sammich Pr0n

DSC_0263 (1600x1060)I uploaded this photo the other day but the post was getting long so I left it out.  Today works for me.  Sloppy joe with American cheese all melted in and pickled peppers.  The side is more of the loaded potato salad.

Sammich Pr0n – Cheeseburger

DSC_0110 (1600x1060)I’ve been buying fresh jalapenos at the store and keeping them in the fridge for use in Tex-Mex dishes.  When they start to get limp I’ve been slicing them and dropping the slices into a jar of dill pickle slices.  In a few weeks they become interesting.  I have some of those dilled jalapenos on this burger along with a nice slice of sweet onion and a squirt of hot mustard atop a slice of provolone.

I was thinking a mushroom swiss burger when I started the mushrooms in butter and olive oil but changed my mind and went with the gravy over the fries.  The gravy is an ad hoc mixture of stock and various other oddments.  I cooked the burgers in a toaster oven so the drippings from the beef weren’t available but it turned out well enough.

Breakfast Pr0n – Andouille Hash

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Cajun Crawfish Mac ‘n Cheese

DSC_9668 (1600x1060)I  had a few crawfish tails left over from last night’s pizza I needed to use pretty soon so I had that in the back of my mind as I idled through a few searches this morning.  No one chimed in with an answer for my question “what would be considered a typically Cajun cheese’ so I entered “Cajun” + “cheese” into the search box hoping to stumble across an answer.  What I got were dozens of recipes for “Cajun mac and cheese”.DSC_9671 (1600x1060)This seemed a perfect place to use up those extra tails.  The crawfish already had a goodly amount of Creole seasoning so I added more and minced a jalapeno for extra fun.  Those are the last of my ridged jumbo elbows so I’ll be needing to make another run to the country store.

Sammich Pr0n – Panini

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Our grill press has been getting a workout.  These went a tad too long and toasted up more than I like but they ate well enough.  In the category: Wonders, Never Ceasing, I noted the time and temperature and dialed the time back from 15 minutes to 10 and lowered the temp dial from medium high to medium-ish:DSC_9281 (1600x1060)

Both of these have roast pork, chopped fresh jalapenos and cheese, the first also has some ham I had leftover from something else and provolone, the second is sans ham and has Swiss.  The mustard is a spicy mix store brand honey mustard.  I’m not too sure what the peppers are, exactly, but it doesn’t make a bad dip. The buns were generic deli submarine/hoagie rolls, just about any of the softer buns and rolls will work fine but you will want to avoid really crusty breads.  The placement of the samies in the grill makes a difference, adjust so you get a full, even contact from the top element.  It’s open all around so a little trial and error will get you there quickly.  A little pre-grill smush by hand will help, too.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Sweet and Spicy from the Garden

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Photo by JeffreyW

It’s that time of year again when fresh, local peaches are everywhere and are a part of every meal at my house, so that had to be half of tonight’s exchange. The other half was inspired by JeffreyW once again tempting my taste buds with his pepper jellies. It’s been a crazy week here, between my birthday, work and getting the house puppy proofed there hasn’t been a lot of time for cooking, but tonight’s featured recipe is quick, easy and full of seasonal flavors. And peaches, lots of peaches.

Speaking of the puppy, I have no new pictures for you, but he’ll be here next week, so I’m pretty sure, mostly positive, even fairly certain, there will be puppy pictures by week’s end. On to the recipes…

If peaches are not your thing, JeffreyW has been busy making some of my favorite jelly. I love pepper jelly with cream cheese on crackers. Yum. And I envy his gardening and canning skills.

First his Red Ripe Jalapeno Jelly, recipe here.

And for his latest, Five Pepper Jelly, click here.

And of course he’s got terrific, mouth-watering photos for each.

Peaches don’t have to sweet to be delicious, they can be spicy, too. You can make a nice Peach Salsa (recipe here) or a tasty Peach Chutney to use with Grilled Pork Chops (complete dinner menu and recipes here).

Peaches are tasty with fish and Kirk Spencer has a great Peach Tilapia recipe here.

How about you, what’s on the menu this weekend? Anyone going to hangout and watch the meteor shower? Hit the comments with recipes and whatever.

The featured recipe tonight is Spinach Chicken Salad with Spicy Peach Dressing and it can be prepped ahead of time and makes a perfect dinner on one of those  late summer nights when it’s still too hot to cook.  The dressing will easily last a week in the refrigerator. And you can grill then refrigerate the chicken a night or two before when grilling another meal.

Spicy Peach Dressing

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or Italian parsley)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving.

Spinach Chicken Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre

Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (170 degrees at center).

Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.

Serving: 4 to 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Pepper Jelly

My jalapeno jelly was good enough last year to warrant another go at it so I looked around for recipes and found this one.  I have several pepper varieties so I adapted the recipe for the ones I wanted to use.DSC_8794 (1600x1060)The recipe called for a total of three cups of chopped peppers so I stuck with that.  My recipe used one green bell, three red Anaheims, five or six ripe jalapenos, six or seven red serranos, and two habs.  The habs I didn’t run through the blender, I just boiled them with the rest and then pulled them out before jarring.  Yeah, I chickened out.  I had more peppers chopped than the recipe wanted and I ended with seven half pints to process.DSC_8808 (1600x1060)Every jar sealed, I did find one jar with a chip in the rim when I ran the damp paper towel around it just prior to putting the lids on so I hurried to swap jars out, I usually sterilize more jars than I think I’ll need just to be on the safe side.  I had a small taste of the hot jelly left over and there is a nice tang to it.  I think I could have used those two habaneros without it turning out too hot.DSC_8805 (1600x1060)I left a few chunks of pepper for the texture rather than smoothing it all out in the blender.  I think it’s jelling pretty well.  This is the first time I’ve used liquid pectin.  I’ll open a jar soon to try it.  I’m optimistic!

Butterbeans and Cornbread

DSC_8636 (1600x1060)Spent several hours mowing today so I needed something that would be good on a long simmer.  These large lima beans soaked overnight then simmered in chicken stock for almost too long.  There’s a large Vidalia onion chopped up in there, and some of the cured pork pieces we keep on hand in the freezer just for bean soups.  That meat processor we make a morning out of visiting keeps odds and ends of cured pork in big bags and we pick up a couple everytime we go.  The cornbread had minced jalapeno and shredded cheddar added to the basic back of the box recipe, and the bowl is garnished with more jalapeno and minced onion.

Thursday Night Menu: Tropical Nights Edition

Had a little trouble deciding what to post tonight. We’ve been pretty busy at work and we are all a bit tired, when I asked the guys what I should post, ordering pizza instead of cooking won out.

I pulled three different menus before I decided on a little taste of Sanibel Island. I like the fresh flavors in this menu and I really enjoy tuna and swordfish.

The Butter Pecan Turtle Bars are as decadent as they sound, and a breeze to make.

On the board tonight:

  1. Fish Tacos
  2. Black Bean Tropical Salad
  3. Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Fish Tacos

  • 1 large mango, peeled & chopped
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • ½ tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

bowl, foil, platter

Combine mango, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno in bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp limejuice and set aside.  Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven or on the grill (keep away from coals) Drizzle remaining limejuice over fish, sprinkle with jerk and grill or broil for 5 to 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Cut fish into chunks, fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the fish, fruit mixture and lettuce. Serves 4

Black Bean Tropical Salad

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, washed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained

serving bowl

Seed & slice peppers & jalapenos. Add everything to serving bowl and toss with dressing.

*easiest way to slice an avocado is to cut in half, remove pit, cut cubes with a knife, then scoop out.

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

In jar or mixing cup, mix all ingredients together well.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

well oiled 9×13 baking dish, bowl, saucepan

Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust.

Topping: In small saucepan, combine brown sugar & butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Also: lemon juice, limejuice, Jamaican jerk seasoning, light olive oil, crushed garlic

Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Summer Edition

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