Thursday, August 14, 2014

Basic Fresh Salsa

As it is summer, and we have a wealth of tomatoes coming from our garden, and at farmers markets everywhere, I've been trying to find ways to make use of them.  Often I will make homemade spaghetti sauce, but lately I've been feeling like salsa--who doesn't like a fresh batch of salsa?! So good, right?  So I've been toying with recipes and methods and finally managed to get a good basic recipe.  Of course you can tweak this if you like more spice or less, or if you want to add pineapple or diced mango or something after....I prefer this one though, it's a lot like what you would find at a Mexican cantina with chips before your meal comes.  Very fresh tasting, and perfect for those snack attacks on hot summer days!  This mixes up best in a food processor, but if you want you can use a blender, just make sure you pulse instead of just blend it or it will be too soupy.

Fresh Salsa (NOT for canning...just for chips, tacos, burritos, whatever)

3-4 cloves fresh garlic
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 sweet bell peppers (I like red, but whatever you prefer), seeded and halved
2-3 jalapeno peppers, tops cut off, seeded/halved, and ribs removed
3 limes
tomatoes.... lots of them.  If you use romas like we did from the garden, they were pretty small, so I used a lot (about 15 or so) plus the big beefsteak ones we got in our Bountiful Basket.  You're aiming for about 4 cups of cut tomatoes.  You'll want to scoop the seeds out to reduce the liquid in the salsa--just use a spoon and scoop out the seeds and keep the flesh. Usually easiest to do if you quarter them first.
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

On a baking sheet, place pepper halves (bell and jalapenos) cut side down, and broil at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.  In a skillet on the stove, place onion cut side down on dry pan (NO OIL), and char until lightly blackened and outside layers begin to slightly soften.

In food processor, pulse garlic until chopped finely.  Add onion halves until evenly chopped, and then add peppers.  Once everything is fully chopped evenly, add the seeded tomatoes, and the juice of the limes.  Pulse until all of it is evenly chopped and mixed (it will be blended, think restaurant salsa), and then add salt and cilantro last.  If you want, you can chop the cilantro roughly and mix it in by hand if you like it in bigger pieces. I prefer it all incorporated.

Serve on tacos, with chips, in burritos, on top of rice or enchiladas.  Options are endless. My favorite way is with chips as soon as it's done.   Keeps in the fridge about a week, but watch it disappear!! I bet it won't last that long....

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bacon Potato Corn Chowder

So this one was probably a repeat of something I've done before but this time I did it much better, so I am posting it this time so I do it this way again.  ;) It was just the right thickness and the bacon gave the perfect amount of flavor, and it was just really good.  So here we go.  Sorry, no picture this time, I didn't think about it ahead of time.  It's been awhile since I posted on here... Makes a lot, probably enough for 10 or 12, or you can freeze it and use it again later for a night you are too tired to cook.

Bacon Potato Corn Chowder

1 lb thick cut bacon, chopped small
2 onions, diced small
1 head of celery, chopped
5 or 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 tbsp flour
4 c chicken broth
2 c milk (I used whole, but anything will do)
6-7 medium potatoes, diced
1 bag frozen corn (about 4 cups)
1/2 tsp thyme
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
black pepper (bacon is usually salty enough, so I didn't add salt)

In a large stock pot, cook the bacon until it starts to brown and the fat is rendered.  Add onion and keep cooking until the onions are tender, then add celery and carrots, and cook for about 5 minutes until the celery is tender and somewhat translucent.   Sprinkle flour in, and stir until it coats the veggies and bacon and continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, then add broth.  Add chopped potatoes and corn, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Lastly, add your milk and herbs or spices.  Stir it all together and simmer for at least half an hour...but if you want just let it simmer all afternoon on low heat, covered, until you are ready to eat.

I served it with sharp cheddar cheese on top, and homemade rolls on the side. It's good enough on it's own of course, but the bread was nice to round out the meal. :)