Archive for the ‘Latin/Mexican/Spanish’ Category

Pot Roast Take 2: Taco Tuesday!

August 28, 2018

Yesterday I told you that the pot roast would be really versatile if you used pretty neutral seasonings.  Today I’m going to prove it!  Pot roast tacos.  These take about 15 minutes to do so they’re perfect for Taco Tuesday.  Or any other day when you’re short on time!

All you have to do is shred the pot roast and warm it up in a pan with some salsa.  It’ll be easiest if you cut off a hunk of the pot roast and then scrape the pot roast gravy off the edges.  If there’s some it’s not a big deal, but you probably don’t want a lot of it.  I’ve been known to rinse it off.

Use two forks to pull the roast into shreds.  This part is important.  It makes the tacos easy to eat with roast in every bite.  If you leave it in big chunks two bad things will happen.  First, the salsa won’t flavor the meat very much.  Second, when you eat it you’ll have some bites with big chunks of meat and some bites with no meat.  No one wants that.

I chopped some lettuce to put on the tortillas.  I like to put the lettuce on the bottom because it helps protect the tortilla from the juice coming out of the meat and salsa.  It gives you a fighting chance of finishing the taco before the tortilla comes completely apart.  I topped these with thinly sliced radishes for a fresh bite.

These could really have used a little dairy to put them over the top – sour cream, crema, shredded jack cheese.  I had none of the above so I forged ahead without.

Damn fine tacos.  And pretty cool that they started out as a pot roast!taco

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Vegetarian Enchiladas ala Gourmet

August 6, 2018

It’s August in Central Virginia which means that there’s fresh local produce in spades.  I try to take advantage.  Over the weekend I went to my two favorite farmers’ markets and picked up some zucchini, squash, corn, sweet onions, hot peppers, and tomatoes amongst other things.  There’s also eggplant, mixed baby tomatoes and local goat cheese for another day.

My giant Gourmet cookbook is one of my favorite resources for meal planning.  I’ve had a bookmark on this recipe for vegetarian enchiladas for a while now.  Tonight I decided to tackle it.  It’s  more than a full page in the big book, so I figured it would be a commitment.  You make your own sauce and filling from scratch.  We’ll get to that in a sec.  Here’s what it looks like.

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Safe to say we’re out of the land of 20 minute meals for tonight.  I’m sure this was a lot faster for Ruth Reichl and staff, but it took me two hours.  I made the sauce and the filling and then took a beer break before I took on the tortillas and assembly.  The recipe does mention that you can make the sauce and filling and do the rest on another day.  Believe me, I thought about it.

Not only did it take me two hours to make this, it took me another 30 minutes to wash the dishes and mostly clean up the mess.  Anyone else play kitchen jenga with their dishes?

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Well, now that I’ve completely discouraged you from ever doing this, let’s take a look at the recipe.  I’ll give you some shortcuts as we go.

You make the sauce first.  It’s a green chili white sauce and it’s super good.  The good news is that you don’t have to do much chopping.  All the stuff you’d have to chop – onions, garlic, poblanos – goes in a blender or food processor.  Then you cook it down, add the cream and set it aside.  It take about 15 minutes to do.  I did roast and peel my own poblanos.  You don’t have to do that.  Get some in a jar if you want. Just make sure they aren’t pickled.  Or, if you want to take out the heat just use a can of diced green chiles instead.

I did substitute for the Mexican crema.  You have a few options.  You can use sour cream with a little extra water.  I didn’t have any.  I did have heavy cream.  If I’d had buttermilk I would have added that to the cream.  Well, when you don’t have buttermilk you squeeze lemon juice into milk and let it sour for a bit.  So, I squeezed some lime juice into the heavy cream and it worked just fine.

Here’s what you need (for my version):

  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 C chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1 C heavy cream with juice of 1/2 lime squeezed in

Here’s what you do:

  • Put the chiles, onion, garlic and water in a food processor and process until smooth
  • Heat oil in heavy skillet (cast iron if you have it) until it shimmers
  • Carefully pour in the chile mixture
    • Seriously, be careful.  You’re pouring water into hot oil.  SPLATTER!
  • Cook about 8 minutes, until much of the water cooks out
  • Add the cream
  • Remove from the heat and set aside

Sauce done.  Whew!  Congrats!

Ok, on to the filling.  I think you could use any number of vegetables in this.  I mostly used the ones in the recipe, but I added a can of black beans for protein.  I also added a package of Goya seasoning because I always use it when I cook black beans.  And, because it’s August and the tomatoes are amazing, I used fresh instead of canned.

There’s nothing difficult about making this filling, but there’s some real chopping involved.  That took me a while.  You could save yourself a lot of time buying frozen chopped vegetables.  I don’t think you’d sacrifice a ton in flavor.  And you’re cooking the vegetables until they’re tender so the texture should work out okay as well.

You can see that I missed the part in the instructions where you cook the onions and garlic first.  I had everything in one bowl and had to try to separate out the squash and corn.  Oh well.  I probably didn’t even need to bother.

For the filling, here’s what you need:

  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package Goya seasoning
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan
  • Cook onion, garlic and seasoning until tender, about 5 minutes
  • Add zucchini, squash, and corn – cook another 7-8 minutes
  • Add black beans and tomatoes, with the juice
  • Cook over medium/high heat, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed – about 10 minutes
    • TIP:  if you’re adding salt, do that at the beginning of this step.  The salt will pull moisture out of the vegetables and you need to cook that out.
  • Pour the mixture in a bowl and set aside

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Filling done.  Getting closer!

BEER BREAK!

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Now you’re ready to put it all together.  Do all the tortillas first.  Your hands get super messy once you start filling and rolling enchiladas so you don’t want to be back and forth to the pan on the stove.

Set up a little station with your sauce in a shallow dish; your baking dish; and your filling.  When you roll them make sure you put the seam on the bottom so they stay rolled.  You could absolutely do this in layers instead.  It would be quicker for sure.  And I found that the cheese covered up the enchiladas so I couldn’t see where to cut them anyway.  It was a mess on the plate.

Here we go.  Here’s what you need:

  • 10-15 corn tortillas
  • 2-3 T vegetable oil
  • a baking sheet
  • paper towels for blotting

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy skillet until it shimmers
    • If you warm your sauce and then transfer it to a shallow dish, you can clean up that pan and use it for this
  • Place one tortilla in the pan, turn it once, remove it to the baking sheet
    • This should take 4-6 seconds
  • Repeat until all the tortillas are soft

Tortillas done.  One more step!

You’re in the home stretch now!  You’re going to sauce the tortillas; fill them; roll them; and cover them in cheese.

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 450F degrees
  • Place a tortilla in the dish with the sauce and flip once
  • Move the tortilla to the baking dish
  • Put 1/4-1/3 C of filling in the middle of the tortilla
  • Fold one side of the tortilla over the filling
  • Roll the tortilla and filling over onto the remaining section of tortilla so the seam is on the bottom of the dish
  • Repeat until you run out of space in the dish
  • Pack them in tightly!
  • Cover with shredded cheese – I used pepper jack
  • Place the dish in the over and bake 15 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly

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And that’s it!  Two hours later and you’re done.  Or take those shortcuts and cut that time in half!

I couldn’t see where to cut the enchiladas so it’s a wreck on the plate, but it’s awfully good.  As hard as I worked on this I’m really glad to have leftovers.  Honestly I probably wouldn’t do this for myself again, but I might do it if company was coming!

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Tuna Taco Tuesday!

July 24, 2018

One Woman’s Kitchen, and the rest of her house, is in chaos!  A 5 month old Dogue de Bordeaux pup has been added to the two adult Bordeaux who already live here.  There was a three day road trip to pick her up from the wonderful people at Dog Ranch Rescue in Anna, TX.  That means three days of eating meals in the car.  Gross.  Meanwhile, back in Virginia, there’s been nothing but rain for days.  That means endless mud in the yard and 3 slimy dogs.  Gross.  And it means house training said pup.  Gross.  I really need a decent meal.

Fortunately for me it’s Taco Tuesday and it’s National Tequila Day.  So, seared tuna tacos with tequila guacamole salad for the win!  These take about 20 minutes start to finish so completely do-able on a weeknight.

Here’s what you need to feed one person (plus a lime and a jalapeno, which I forgot until I got started):

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  • 1 small to medium tuna steak
  • chile powder
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 C diced sweet onion
  • 1/4 C diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 T tequila
  • corn tortillas

Here’s what you do:

  • Combine equal parts (maybe 1/4 t each) chile powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl
  • Rub spice mixture on both sides of the tuna steak
  • Combine avocado through tequila in a medium bowl, stir, add salt to taste

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  • Heat heavy pan until it smokes
  • Add the tuna steak.
  • Sear 2-3 minutes on each side
  • Heat tortillas in the broiler
  • Cut tuna into slices

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  • Top tortillas with tuna slices and avocado salad
  • ENJOY!

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You’ll note that I made a little salsa rice for the side.  This wasn’t necessary or good. I’m the world’s worst rice maker.  It turns out gummy or burned on the bottom every damn time.  Tonight was a burned on the bottom night.  Even with my new simmer burner, somehow I can’t get the heat right.  Ugh.  I can’t even blame this on the puppy.

What I can say is that the cooking around here is going to be of the 20 minute meal variety over the next many weeks while I get the canine pack pulled together.  And you may see a review or two of a meal kit delivery.  Wish me luck!

Fish Tacos!

July 7, 2018

The fresh corn salsa is also amazing on fish tacos!  Hard to beat fish tacos, and topped with this salsa they’re darn near perfect.  The only drawback I can think of is that your house temporarily smells like fish.  A sacrifice totally worth making!

There are a lot of ways to make fish tacos.  You can fry the fish.  You can blacken the fish.  You can grill it.  You can pan sear it.  I mostly go the easy route and pan sear.  Add some chopped cabbage for crunch, some salsa, and a little lime crema. Heaven.

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I cut the fish into pieces and coat them in Tony Chachere’s.  It’s a spice combo that works well on tacos and pretty much anything else.

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When you pan sear pretty much anything just make sure you leave enough room in the pan.  You want the pan to be super hot so you get a nice sear.  If the pan is too full the pieces will kind of steam each other.  Not what you’re going for.  Also resist the urge to move the pieces around.  The get a sear from the contact with the pan.  Just let them sit 2-3 minutes and turn them once.  2-3 more minutes and you’re minutes away from tacos!

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For the crema, just squeeze some lime juice into some plain yogurt and add a little salt.  Maybe a little cumin.  You want it to be just thin enough to spread easily on the tacos.

Choose your delivery vehicle and stuff!  I like corn tortillas best.  For beef tacos I like the crunchy shells, but for fish tacos I like the soft white corn ones.  Use yellow corn if you prefer, or even flour.

One final tip.  Before you shake the hot sauce, make sure the top is on good.  Just sayin’.

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Fresh Corn Salsa

July 7, 2018

My two favorite summer foods – tomatoes and fresh corn.  Throw in some onions, jalapeno, lime juice and spices and you’ve got salsa!  This is my favorite salsa.  You can do anything with it.  Eat it with Scoops as is.  Add black beans and serve it as a side dish.  Add chicken or shrimp, maybe some rice, and eat it as a main dish.  Super fresh, super easy/IMG_2671

The corn is the hardest part.  Shuck and silk it first.  No cooking needed.  My tip is that you keep your hands as dry as possible for the silking.  Water makes the silks sticky and hard to remove.  Then get a wide, shallow bowl and a sharp knife.  Put one end of the cob into the bowl and cut the kernels off.  The bowl will catch the kernels.  Then dice the onion about the same size as the corn kernels.  It makes the salsa easier to eat and it looks nicer.

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Seed the jalapeno and dice it finely.  Add the juice of one lime.  Add cumin, chili powder and salt to taste.  You can add chopped fresh cilantro if you like.

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Here’s another tip.  Don’t add the tomatoes until you’re ready to serve it.  You can refrigerate the corn mixture.  Tomatoes get mealy and lose flavor in the fridge so add them at the last minute.  You can make extra of the corn mixture.  It will keep for 2-3 days.  Just take out what you need and add tomatoes to it.

Enjoy!

 

Potato, Poblano and Chorizo Tacos

April 16, 2013

It’s installment two in Taco Week!  We’ll call this taco crack.  Serious awesomeness.  I don’t know any other way to describe it.

I have no idea what qualifies this for inclusion in Cooking Light, but I’m awfully glad it’s there.  It feels pretty sophisticated for tacos.  Roasted poblano peppers, local chorizo, charred tortillas.  Fancy.  But before we get too far above ourselves let me point out that this is hash.  Plain and simple.  Potatoes, vegetables and meat all cooked together.  It’s hash.  And it’s amazing.

Chorizo tacos

Let me start with what I left out or substituted.  I left out the corn.  The sweetness would be a fantastic addition, but I really think you need fresh kernels and it’s nowhere near corn season in Central Virginia right now.  There’s corn in the stores, but I’m holding out for the local stuff.  I left out the lime wedges, which would also have been great, but I was starving by the time I got this made so I just didn’t get around to the lime wedges.  I substituted freshly shaved parmesan for the manchego because that’s what I had.  I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock because I had some in the fridge.  I don’t think the recipe suffered at all.  I’ll finish the ingredients portion with a big kudos to Sausage Craft.  I used their chorizo, removed from the casing.  It’s spicy, but not too hot and has an amazing flavor.  Another winner from Sausage Craft.

To make this a little easier on myself I chopped the onion and roasted the pepper last night.  It saved a little prep time tonight.  Using pre-minced garlic would shave a minute or two off as well.  Other than that this is pretty quick and pretty straightforward.  I used a big cast iron skillet, which I generally recommend.  It heats evenly and holds the heat really well.  I’ve found that the top from my large chef’s pan fits the skillet well, but since you only have to cover this partially you can use a dinner plate or whatever top you can find.  Nothing special about the prep.

This is a terrific taco filling.  Really terrific.  This has football season taco bar written all over it.  It would also be great for brunch with an over easy egg on top.  Or great lunch food served on lettuce.  Or great hangover food served with a Bloody Mary, Mimosa or beer on the side – I assume.  (My mom reads this).  Truly I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow when it’s time to eat the leftovers!

Good? So far beyond good!
Easy? Yep, it’s hash. Just really good hash.
Good for company? You’ll be the hit of the brunch crowd.
Special shopping? Chorizo might not be available in your regular grocery. Check a farmers’ market (my preference) or a specialty store or a Latino market.

Potato, Poblano and Chorizo Tacos

Ingredients

2 poblano chiles
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups diced white potato
1 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces Mexican raw chorizo, casings removed
3/4 cup unsalted vegetable stock
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 ounce parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

Directions

1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Cut poblanos in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place poblano halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil for 8 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel; coarsely chop.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add potato; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove potato; place in a large bowl. Add onion to pan; cook 3 minutes. Add poblano, red pepper, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion mixture to potato. Add chorizo to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes, stirring to crumble. Return potato mixture to pan. Stir in stock and salt; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until potato is tender, chorizo is done, and liquid almost evaporates.
4. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, heat tortillas over medium-high heat directly on the eye of a burner for about 15 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Arrange about 1/3 cup potato mixture in center of each tortilla; top with 1 1/2 teaspoons onions and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Grilled Mahi Tacos

April 14, 2013

It’s been a busy weekend.  Yesterday I ran my first 10K (yay!).  Today I finished the mowing, tilling and edging in the yard.  Then a very successful shopping trip.  I rounded out the day with a Harpoon Summer Ale and a little grilling.  This month’s Cooking Light has a feature on tacos so it’s taco week at my house.  Fish tacos are my favorite so I started with those.  Easy, light, awesome!

Grilled Mahi Grilled Mahi Tacos

You don’t really need a recipe for fish tacos though there are some good ones out there.  If you start with good fish (and you should) I recommend doing as little as possible to it.  I had a 1.5 pound mahi filet that I dressed with a little olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and lime juice.  No need for anything else.  Just don’t leave the lime juice on too long.  It “cooks” the fish as it sits.  Heat the grill until it’s very hot then grill the fish 4-5 minutes on each side.  Much less if your fish is thin.  That’s it for the fish.

I dress my fish tacos with slaw, avocado, cilantro and lime juice.  Yum!  Many recipes you’ll find for fish tacos call for cabbage and some kind of cream.  Since my slaw is just cabbage, Duke’s mayo, salt and pepper I use that rather than making a crema.  (That way I have slaw left for hot dogs too).  I use corn tortillas because I prefer them.  I heat them slightly in a dry cast iron skillet.  You could do the same by putting them on the hot grill for a few seconds.  It makes them soft enough to make them pliable.  If you leave them too long they’ll start to crisp.  That’s fine if you’re making fish tostados, but not so great for tacos.

This is one of my favorite meals.  It’s everything that’s wonderful about Summer.  Light and yummy and bright and creamy and filling.  Put a beer on the side and it’s pretty hard to beat!

Good? So good.
Easy? So easy you don’t need a recipe.
Good for company? Not many folks will turn down fish tacos.
Special shopping? Nope, just get good fish.

Cuban Chicken and Hominy Stew

February 5, 2013

Today was not a good day.  On top of some significant challenges at the office, I came home to a house where one dog had a stomach issue and another decided that a boot box was his enemy and needed to be destroyed.  Lots of cleanup to manage.  The last thing I felt like doing was cooking.  Truly.  But I stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a pepper and an onion so I could make this dish so I forged ahead.  Glad I did.  A little comfort food was exactly what I needed.

Cuban Chicken and Hominy Stew

Let me start by saying this was supposed to have plantains instead of hominy.  The store I stopped at for the pepper and onion is a scary store that offered no chance of picking up plantains so I decided the hominy, which I already had at home, was an acceptable substitute.  It’s possible that the plantains would have thickened this into a more stew like consistency, but probably not so much.  I also used a pint of home canned tomatoes instead of fresh.  February is not a time to buy fresh tomatoes in Virginia.  I didn’t have a whole cup of sherry so I used 2/3 sherry and 1/3 marsala.  If I’d had port I would have used that instead.  Nothing else in the way of ingredient subsitutions.  I even measured the spices.

This can reasonably be described as a 30 minute meal.  I roasted and pulled some chicken breast on Sunday so I didn’t have to deal with chopping chicken tonight.  And clearly draining a can of hominy and a jar of tomatoes is less cumbersome than peeling and chopping plantains and tomatoes.  Even having to deal with those things, though, you’d be pretty close to the 30 minute mark.  And it’s all in one pot too so that’s always good.

Speaking of good.  This stuff is good.  It’s soup-like, not stew-like, but the flavors are terrific.  The sherry/marsala adds a wonderful sweetness to balance the salty broth and tomatoes.  The hominy gives it a starchy richness.  I added a squeeze of fresh lime juice to my bowl to add a little bright citrus as well.  Without it, the sweet was almost too much.  Next time I’ll add a little chopped avocado garnish too.  That would put this over the top.

I almost made only a half recipe thinking that I might feel inclined to cook later in the week.  I may, in which case I’ll freeze some of this, but for now I’m really looking forward to the leftovers!

Good? So good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? A terrific weeknight dinner with friends.
Special shopping? Nope. Even in Virginia you can get cooking sherry in the grocery store.

Cuban Chicken and Hominy Stew

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 pint chopped, peeled tomatoes
1 cup dry sherry or port
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 C chicken broth
2 C roasted, shredded chicken breast
1 can white homniy, drained
Limes, cut into wedges

Directions

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and bell pepper; sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in tomato and next 9 ingredients (tomato through broth). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in hominy and chicken; cook 10 minutes or until tender.
Serve with lime wedges.

Fresh Salsa Verde

September 30, 2012

Whew, happy to be home from some business travel!  And ready to put the garden to bed for the year. Of course that means that while I was away the garden was busy starting over, kind of.  Bunches of green tomatoes on the vine; a few bush beans; and more peppers than I know what to do with.  I took out the tomatoes, beans and squash yesterday.  I’m going to give the peppers another week to finish what they’ve started.  So, that left me with lots of green tomatoes to deal with – but not enough to bother with the whole canning thing.  Salsa verde it is.

Normally salsa verde is made with tomatillos, but I’ve found that really green tomatoes work just as well.  It’s a great use for the tomatoes left on the vine at the end of the season.  The small ones are best because they have fewer seeds and other tomato gunk.  I had a few dozen green Juliet tomatoes that worked great.  The great thing about these is that they don’t have to be husked, cored, peeled or anything.  I quarter them and throw them in the food processor.  Add some garlic, cilantro, jalapenos and salt; pulse a few times; and you’re done.  Couldn’t be easier.

It turns out a little briny; a little crunchy; a little sharp; and a beautiful bright green.  It’s perfect for a lot of things.  Feel free to eat it as is with chips.  I used 2 cups or so – half in white turkey chili and half as garnish – tonight for football watching.  I ended up with 6 half pint jars to spare and share.  Yum.  I’ll be using one of my jars with chicken or fish later this week I’m sure.  Try it with enchiladas too!

I put the leftovers in jars, but feel free to put some in freezer bags and lay them out flat for freezing.  It will keep for months and be easy to store that way.  This recipe is completely scaleable to feel free to make as little or as much as you like at one time.

Good? So good.  Maybe better because the tomatoes and peppers came from my own garden.
Easy? So easy. A knife and a food processor. That’s it.
Good for company? Sure, make extra for sharing!
Special shopping? Definitely not. Absolutely use tomatillos if you don’t have green tomatoes.

Fresh Salsa Verde

Ingredients

3 lbs small green tomatoes, quartered
6 cloves garlic
4 jalapenos, seeded and rough chopped (use more or fewer to adjust the heat level)
2/3 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chopped
salt to taste

Directions

Put everything in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are chopped fine. Add a little water if needed.

Gazpacho

July 1, 2012

Yet another sign of Summer – fresh gazpacho!  I just love this stuff.  Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers all come in at the same time in Central Virginia so the beginning of July starts gazpacho season.  This is another one of those things that has a million recipes.  Some people chop everything by hand because they like a really chunky gazpacho.  Other people, including me, go the food processor route.  It’s quick and chops things fine without liquifying them.  Some people go the blender route to get a smoother soup with a little foam on it.  Try them all!

Tonight I used two Hanover tomatoes and an orange tomato of some variety.  Orange and yellow tomatoes are lower in acid so it’s nice to include one or two.  I had half a sweet onion and half an orange bell pepper.  I usually include a jalapeno, but I didn’t have one so no hot peppers in this batch.  Raw garlic adds a little bite to it though.  Tonight’s secret ingredient is green Tabasco.  I thought that would add a little salt and a touch of heat.  I left the herbs out of this batch so that I can add basil when that goes best with the rest of the meal and cilantro when that works better.  Tonight was a basil night.

There aren’t many things that beat good gazpacho.  Maybe I like it so much because it’s a Summer thing and I love the Summer.  Maybe I like it because it’s a great cool lunch on a hot day.  Maybe I like it because it’s pretty filling, but has virtually no fat and not many calories if you make it fresh.  In my book that’s a license to eat as much of it as I want.  You can top it with croutons or dill or corn or a little smoked salmon.  You can serve it as the centerpiece of a light meal or in shot glasses as a starter.  It’s so versatile and so fresh and so good.  It’s like someone poured the farmers’ market into a bowl.  And pretty too!

Good? Way beyond good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Absolutely
Special shopping? Get really fresh ingredients. It makes a big difference.

Gazpacho

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, red or red and orange mixed (about 3 large)
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded
1/2 large sweet onion
3 t balsamic vinegar
1 t Worchestershire sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 t green Tabasco
1/4 C olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.
Top with fresh cilantro or basil.