Salsa

Salsa with roasted goodiesLet me start by saying I have never seen my wife eat that much salsa before, at a restaurant, or out of a jar. I watched her eat this salsa, loving every bite. When I see that, I know I am doing something right. The spice, the flavors, the aromatics. Salsa is something that I have been experimenting with for some time now, as it is so versatile. This “first” batch is worth trying and making your own. Trust me, it’s all good.

Ingredients:

(50 minutes)

  • 2 large roma tomatoes, crisscross sliced near the top
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2 fresh jalapenos
  • 1 Guajillo pepper, dry
  • 1 Ancho Pepper, dry
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Salsa in a food processorThis might sound complicated, but only takes about 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. In a small bowl, add the onion, jalapenos, and garlic, and coat with approximately 4 tbs of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for nearly 35 minutes.

In the meantime, in a small pot filled with water, add the tomatoes, ancho, and guajillo peppers, and bring to a boil for roughly 10 minutes. The goal with the tomatoes is to get the skin soft enough to peel away. Once the veggies have cooked in the oven, as well as the tomatoes, let them all cool. Once cooled, peel the skin off the tomatoes and toss the skin away, squeeze out the garlic into a bowl, slice and get rid of ‘some’ of the seeds of the jalapenos, and get ready to rumble. Now do not remove the water from the pepper/tomato pan, keep this to add liquid to the salsa for texture.

For the peppers, including the jalapenos, slice them down the middle, get rid of the stem element, and remove some of the seeds, depending on how hot you want your salsa. Now I removed about 90 percent of the seeds for my wife’s sake.

OK. Toss all of this into a food processor, or blender, everything. Toss in a tbs of salt. Add your black pepper, cilantro, and let it blend. Blend to your texture, and add more of the tomato/pepper water to build this texture. You know how you like your salsa.

Now let it cool for a couple of hours, one hour in room temperature, one hour in the refrigerator, and let it go. Eat it with your carnitas, burritos, tacos, nachos, or an omelet. The fun thing is that you can make this your own. Go with it until you find it.

Coleslaw

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw with RibsColeslaw is a reason to eat cabbage. It really is. Cabbage, in my opinion is only used in my household for stir-fry, and on St. Patrick’s Day, otherwise, ‘slaw’. I dry rubbed some ribs a couple of days ago with my seasoning, and slow cooked them for about an hour in the oven last night. Tonight’s dinner was ribs, but the ribs needed some friends on the plate. I quickly asked my wife what she thought should go on the plate and her response was rice and salad. She was quickly (and silently denied) as I thought of something more playful, as well as something the kids might enjoy, and came up with coleslaw and french fries.

As stated, we do eat a whole lot of cabbage throughout the year; a potential slaw dish or two in the summer, and a few stir-fry’s throughout the year that might include the cabbage. But something that goes well with barbecue is slaw. This slaw dish is another one that is way too easy to make, and as I would consider, a sweet and spicy slaw.

Dry Ingredients:

  • Purple Cabbage, roughly 3 cups finely chopped
  • Green Cabbage, roughly 4 cups finely chopped
  • One Carrot, shredded
  • One Yellow Onion, finely sliced

Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs of dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs of white sugar
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of red cayenne pepper

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw with RibsIn a mixing bowl, add your sliced vegetables and toss to mix. In a smaller bowl, add the dressing items and mix well. Pour onto the mixed vegetables and mix really well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let set for at least one hour. This slaw comes out with a sweetness and a bit of a, fresh and wonderful bite. Enjoy.

Bagna Calda

Bagna CaldaBagna calda you ask? I thought the same thing when my sister-n-law mentioned how good this was, and was also heavily supported by my brother-n-law. This recipe is made once a year by the Gaughn family, and we all know that if you are going to make a dish once a year, it has got to be good. Well, I finally got around to making bagna calda. I consider this dish a warm bath filled with love. Not only that, but one that is way too simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 6 anchovie filets
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Dash of pepper
  • French bread, cut in large cubes
  • Fresh vegetables, I used the following
    • Brocoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Red Bell Pepper
    • Zucchini

Start by cleaning and preparing your vegetables. Trim the cauliflower and broccoli into florets for easy dipping. Take the other and cut them into large quarter slices. Keep in mind that you and your guests will use skewers or toothpicks to dip into the bagna calda.
Bagna Calda with anchovies Once prepared, heat the butter, oil, garlic, and anchovie filets on medium to low heat. Occasionally stir the to melt away the anchovies. Keep the heat on low, and if possible transfer to a fondue plate or some type of warming dish. When you are ready, dip your vegetables, and bread into the bagna calda, and enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine. After having this as an appetizer, I thought that it would also be good drizzled over steamed vegetables later in the week. Remember, it’s all good.

My Greek Chicken with Balti Potatoes

Greek ChickenAny time I am making chicken, it is typically a whole chicken, slow roasted. I typically go a traditional route, where I pat the chicken with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper, and possibly garlic powder, or onion powder. I often stuff the bird with a halved onion as well as a halved orange. Heck, while I am at it, I sometimes add sliced bacon on top of the chicken to add to the browning and crispness of the skin, as well as making a good flavor if I make a gravy for potatoes. This time around I took a different approach, only due to the fact that I wanted to do something different with my potatoes. These recipes are extremely easy to make, and was a really good comfort food in the sense of smell, taste, and warmth.

Ingredients:

  • One whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbs of olive oil

Greek ChickenPlace the chicken in a large ziplock bag. In the meantime, combine the garlic, lemon juice, and whisk in the olive oil. This will be the marinade for your chicken. Add the marinade to the chicken, massaging the bird in the bag to get all of the great flavors from the garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Seal and let marinade for 3-24 hours. When you are ready, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken on a roasting rack inside a pan and cook for nearly one and half hours. I basically cook mine until it is golden brown and the skin is crisp. I guess after cooking so many, you just know when it is done.

While the chicken is cooking, begin working on your potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes, quartered, then cut into large chunks
  • 1 8oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized onion, quartered, then cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbs of Balti seasoning

Balti PotatoesCombine all of the above ingredients in a casserole dish. Cover and place in the oven for one hour and thirty minutes.

I plated the whole chicken with the potatoes around the perimeter and presented it family style, as it was a family meal. Everyone enjoyed it. The chicken had great flavor, and the balti seasoning was out of this world. For a great leftover, have the potatoes with breakfast. We are making chicken salad sandwiches with the leftover meat, with a different take on my foccacia bread. Enjoy.