Tag Archives: garlic

Fresh Salsa

Summer and roadside produce stands seems to hand in hand. Local farmers have plentiful bounties and are always willing to sell straight to the customer ! We all love the idea of a bargain, but when I read the sign ” all local organic produce” , “fresh herbs”  and “plum tomatoes” I had to stop!

For days  I’d been thinking on how to vamp up the flavor of our grilled chicken breast  without the use of a grilling sauce  and there it was: fresh tomatoes, herbs, fresh peppers  and spring (green onions). Mix up, serve as a dipping side and yum, yum, yum!

The man had harvested the goods that same morning. Oh what a treat it was… the freshest, truest flavor of salsa I’ve ever had. It’s simple, has 4 ingredients and is chock full of flavor. Careful handling the Jalapeno  , it could irritate sensitive skins! The actual heat of the pepper is concentrated in the seeds and  white stuffs inside the pepper, so discard if you like less heat, or leave it all in for a fiesta in your mouth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 red plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, finely chopped ( leave seeds and white out for less heat)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

Mix the tomatoes and shallots in a bowl, toss in the cilantro and salt. Mix in jalapeno to taste. Serve immediately. This salsa can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Buffalo Chile

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We love chili! Not the greasy chili that will send you to the pepto bismol but the tasty chili that is lean flavorful delicious and nutritious. We tried making chili with several types of meats , from turkey to venison, they were all chili in the academic sense but some struck a lovely note with all tasters. The top one was made of buffalo meat. Why Buffalo? Doesn’t it taste gamey???. Not quite. The buffalo or bison kept as we  we consume today is far the free roaming herds from the past, and in many cases they are kept  like regular cattle “sans le hormones. Mainly we chose to make chili with buffalo because it is lean and delicious, and has some described it , buffalo has a slightly sweeter taste that beef.
Not into bison? No problem,  the second place (with similar tasting rating) was made of lean  chopped sirloin beef. It was also lean and flavorful

 

2 lbs chopped buffalo or 90% lean chopped sirloin meat
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbls ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbls powdered garlic
3 Tblsp Chile powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow pepper diced
1 large onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
10 oz ( one can or 1 and 1/2 cups) of fresh chopped tomatoes
Chopped green onions (optional)

In a dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp of oil and  brown bison  on low heat . Add the  dry seasonings and cook till there is no liquid left. Remove from dutch oven into a tray and cover to keep warm. Place dutch oven back on heat  add 1Tblsp of oil and cook the onion and  pepper for 5 minutes or till slightly caramelized. Add  the garlic, stir for 30 seconds then add the meat with all the juices,the tomatoes, stir, cover and set heat to low. Let cook simmering for 30 minutes. It will taste just as if you were cooking it all day!
 Serving suggestions: Put a few broken tortilla chips in the bowl before ladling in the chili. Top with grated cheddar cheese.

Grape Tomato Italian Bruschetta

Bruschetta are delicious starters, they appeal to most palates and are so easy to prepare. A key ingredient is a tasty tomato, but where to get a tomato that is tasty in the middle or winter? It’s not that there are dozens of farmers markets with luscious fruits on display. Market tomatoes are , well, forcefully ripened, mushy and bland in flavor. The solution a miniature gem that grows year-round in hothouses :the grape tomato! If you never had one they are sweet, have the taste of a a full size summer tomato and are simply delightful to serve! Up until now they were reserved to prepare salads, but when duty calls this mighty fruit can live up to the most demanding fresh tomato recipes, like this bruschetta. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup black pitted olives, sliced
1/3 cup green olives, sliced
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 sweet onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, onion and garlic in bowl and mix gently. Let sit for a minute , then add the olives, the oil, vinegar and salt pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes. Serve over grilled sliced Italian or French bread sliced 3/4 inches thick. If you are on  a gluten-free diet, serve on rice crackers instead.

Bolognese Sauce (Tomato & Meat)

 

It’s sooooo cold! How about something simple, hearty and simply delicious? Taking a step back on memory lane ,I remember my dearest Grandma making the best of what she had, Italian style. So it was customary for her to make spaghetti and meatballs. But if time was short and appetites were calling for food, she would make this delicious Bolognese sauce and serve on top of pasta, polenta or potatoes. The result : full tummies and warm hearts.  We also tried the recipe with ground turkey and it was just as fabulous! Enjoy

Ingredients: (for 6 cups of sauce)

2 lbs fresh Roma tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lb lean ground meat
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbls olive oil
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tsp chopped basil
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
dash of sugar
1 Tbls balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive in a sauce pot, incorporate the garlic and let cook for 15 to 20 seconds; quickly add the onions and stir , let cook till translucent. Incorporate meat, cook till browned, stirring frequently. Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato paste. Let mixture come to a boil, then reduce heat and add the herbs, salt & pepper to taste. Add the sugar and the vinegar and stir. Let cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, the flavors will be well blended and the sugar will reduce the acidity of the sauce. Serve over your favorite pasta or over polenta or potatoes for a gluten free dish. Add fresh grated Pecorino Romano as a topping and enjoy!.

Chicken Parmesan


It’s cold and we crave comfort food. We has our mashed potatoes, our pot roast, our oven roasted chicken, ham pot pie. We are ready for some hearty Italian goodness! One of our favorite heart dishes is the wonderful chicken parmesan: breaded chicken topped with sauce and mozzarella served on a bed of linguini or spaghetti. The recipe calls for a breast a person and makes a LARGE portion, but splitting the breast to make two “human size” portions is not a bad idea 🙂

Ingredients: (For each serving)

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup bread crumbs, seasoned with herbs and spices such as basil, parsley and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
enough oil to fry the breast
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated mozzarella

Heat the oven to broil 500 degrees or very hot.
Meanwhile, place the breast in between two layers of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet till it has a thickness of 1/2 throughout.
Unwrap, dip the breast in the egg to coat well then bread with the seasoned crumbs on both sides.
Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the beast, turning only once, till golden brown. Remove and drain any excess oil with paper towels.
Arrange the chicken on a baking pan, top with the tomato sauce, sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Broil till the cheese starts bubbling and browning, as if it were a pizza (around 10 minutes). Remove from the oven, serve over a bed of linguini or spaghetti.
Enjoy!