Blender Salsa

  
This recipe was born in a moment of desperation when I realized that someone had eaten the very last of the store-bought salsa and that someone else (it may have been the same person) forgot to add salsa to the grocery list when they took the last jar from the pantry. The result was disastrous: not a drop of salsa in the house. 

I am unable to live without salsa. It is my condiment of choice and I slather it liberally on dishes throught the day. A breakfast of eggs gets a nice dollop, while a lunch of nachos or beans and rice is never complete without either a scoop of pico de gallo or bottled tomato goodness. Dinner at our house often involves a tortilla, some fixins’ and, of course, salsa. 

This recipe turned out to be the solution I didn’t know I had been looking for. Our favorite commercial brands were a touch too spicy for my youngest and we were going through it quickly. 

Inexpensive, completely customizable and fast, this blender salsa pleases the whole crowd. In the event that I find myself with only an empty jar, a refill is only five minutes away. 

Blender Salsa

Yields 1 quart

1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

2 scallions or a handful of chives

A small handful cilantro, with the bottom of the stems trimmed off

1/2-1 Jalapeno, seeded (leave seeds in for more spice)

1 small bell pepper (omit if you don’t have one)

Juice of a lime

1 tsp smoked paprika

Tiny dash ground cayenne 

2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly-ground pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes, 15 oz each

With the blender motor running, drop the garlic through the small hole in the lid and let it chop. Using the same technique, add the chives, cilantro (stems and all!) pepper and Jalapeno. Turn off the motor. Add lime juice, spices and tomatoes. Pulse until desired thickness is reached. Taste for salt and add more, if needed. Enjoy any time of the day!

  

Another Soup – Tomato Bisque

IMG_1860.JPGWhat I secretly love most about soup for dinner is that it’s almost a full meal in one pot. Add some bread and/or a salad on the side and you’ve got dinner in 30 minutes. The cleanup is a snap and the leftovers are always in demand, unlike other meals that end up taking up valuable fridge and Tupperware real estate until you guiltily toss them a week later.

Tomatoes are the number one reason I grow a garden. I eat them daily during the summer months, which makes it all the more inexplicable that until this year I could not make a homemade tomato soup that I actually liked.

Enter: bacon. It really is the key to deep flavor here. While you could leave it out and add a dash of smoked paprika to appease any vegetarians in the crowd, it wouldn’t be quite so delicious.
Tomato Bisque

Adapted from: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/11/12/recipe-tomato-bisque/

4 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

2 slices bacon

4 cloves garlic

5 tablespoons flour

5 cups chicken broth/stock

1 28-ounce canned diced tomatoes

3 parsley sprigs or 2 tsp dried

3 fresh thyme sprigs (remove leaves from stem) or 1 tsp dried

1 bay leaf

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt (salt to taste based on your broth’s saltiness

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Cook diced onion in butter for about 5 – 6 minutes or until it softens and begins to brown.

Add bacon and garlic and stir for another minute or two or until the bacon gets crisp.

Sprinkle flour over all and stir for 1-2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid scorching.

Add tomatoes and broth, whisking constantly.

Add herbs and simmer about 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

Puree the soup either in a blender (in batches) or with a handheld immersion blender

Stir in the heavy cream and salt & pepper to taste.

Greek Salad

In our final ode to the tomato, let’s make some quick and tasty Greek Salad!  It’s a beautiful time of year when you can return from the yard with this still life:

IMG_0279

Give that cucumber, peppers and olives a chopping and remove the tomato stems:IMG_0281

Assemble the dressing ingredients:IMG_0286

Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and then whisk the oil and vinegar together and toss over everything:IMG_0287

Greek Salad
2-3 cups cherry sized tomatoes
1 large cucumber, roughly chopped
2-3 large bell peppers, any color, roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsp Kosher Real Salt* and freshly ground pepper to taste (if using a finer table salt, use half as much)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Chop all veggies and combine in a bowl.  Top with chopped olives, feta, salt and pepper.  In a liquid measure, add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and then add the olive oil until you reach the 1/2 cup mark (this is around 1/3 cup).  Whisk oil and vinegar to combine and drizzle over salad.  Toss gently to combine.    Also delicious served inside a pita bread with a little hummus spread inside.

*Not all salt is created equal!  Some salts are more processed than others and that will affect the taste of your dish.  Also, Real Salt is naturally mined and contains minerals.  Read more about it *here*.

This post contains affiliate links

Marinated Tomatoes

I’m always happy to eat a tomato adorned with only a little salt.  However, the family is likely to grumble a little if all that shows up on the dinner table are sliced tomatoes and a salt!  Here’s a quick little recipe that dresses them up enough to be served as a meal.  Marinated tomatoes are great over simple grilled chicken or a slice of cheese toast!  Toss in some small fresh mozzarella balls or diced mozzarella for a delicious salad, or serve them over a scrambled or fried egg.  Plus I’ve included a little French trick to make it all look a little fancier!  IMG_0458

Marinated Tomatoes

2 cups sliced and/or cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp delicious olive oil (you really want a flavorful oil here)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
5 large basil leaves, cut chiffonade (read on for instructions!)
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar, optional (at our house we add this at the table allowing those who don’t want it to go without)

Combine all ingredients and gently toss.  Allow to marinate while you prepare whatever you’re serving them with.

How-to cut a chiffonade:

First, start with 5 or so leaves of basil:
IMG_0448

Stack them with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top:
IMG_0449

Roll it up:
IMG_0450
IMG_0451

Then using a sharp knife (this one is my favorite for small tasks), slice the roll thinly:
IMG_0452

The perfect way to dress up the dish:
IMG_0453
IMG_0455

*This post contains affiliate links