Friday, July 29, 2011


Poor Father-in-Law is going to get a beating on this blog. It's his own fault for not knowing the difference between a CLOVE of garlic and a HEAD of garlic. You may imagine his surprise when tasting his first attempt at salsa tasted something like skunk (garlic and skunk spray share chemicals).

CLOVE= one little segment from the head

ANYWAY, one day I was at the grocery store looking for Mexican soda and I overheard a couple discussing what kind of salsa they wanted to purchase. I stood behind them long after I had found my soda baffled at their process. "It's just salsa," I kept thinking, "just go home and make some."

There are a ton of ways to make salsa and unfortunately I don't know all of them though they are all a variation of the same ingredients. Such as these:

Can you guess what's missing? That's right. The kick. Who knows why I didn't have any chiles on hand, but it's true. For your salsa, make sure you have some.

Ok now, let's get one this straight: roasting makes everything better. Especially salsa. So before you blend all your ingredients together throw the tomato, onion and chiles on a super hot pan and let them char a little. Their flavors will deepen and sweeten and you'll be glad you took the extra step.

So now, to the blender!
Easy Every Day Salsa
1 large tomato
1/4 onion
1 CLOVE of garlic
1 small-ish sprig of cilantro
1 tblsp of salt, more to taste
1 serrano pepper for a medium salsa, then go up from there with your comfort level

  1. After roasting ingredients throw them all in a blender with a pulse button. Pulse ingredients until salsa is desired consistency. I like a watery salsa that I can pour onto my tacos.
  2. Optional Extra Step: I like to fry my salsa sometimes, just to intensify it a little more. Just pour salsa onto hot pan with about a teaspoon of oil and cook until it has thickened a bit.
Salsa is great on anything, tacos, sandwiches, tortilla chips, nachos, chicken-fried steak, chicken, pork, fish, and roasted veggies. And so much more.

Please go out and experiment with your own salsa and let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Mistakes, This Time with Salmon

If there is one thing I love in this world it is to multitask. I get irked if more than two things are NOT happening at once and often poor Husband is on the receiving end of some very obvious multitasking advice.
"What do you mean you can't bathe Toddler and take out the trash at the same time?"
That kind of thing.

Unfortunately this philosophy blows up in my face every so often. Like the other day when I was trying to cook salmon and do laundry. An easy task barely worthy of my bodacious multitasking skill, no? No. Our laundry facilities are in the basement of the house we live in and we live on the second floor and Toddler insists I carry her but the staircase isn't wide enough to carry her and the laundry basket and it's just takes forever, explaining why it was not a good idea to put the salmon on the heat before we embarked on the laundry expedition.

What to do, what to do with overcooked salmon.

To the salad bowl!

Salmon and Cannellini Salad

Serves 4

3 small salmon steaks

2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed

1 cup red onion, chopped

3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon vinaigrette (recipe below)

Leafy Greens

  1. Spray cooking oil on non-stick pan and place salmon steaks (skin side down, if applicable) on pan. Cook 5-6 minutes and turn over and cook until salmon falls apart easily when tested with a fork (you don’t have to overcook the salmon if you don’t want to). Place on plate to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl mix beans, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and about ¾ of vinaigrette. Flake salmon and add to bean mix. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place a handful of leafy greens on a plate then place the salmon/bean mix on top. Add more vinaigrette if desired. Gobble up and lick your plate.
Serve with crusty french bread. You know it's well made if it tears up the roof of your mouth.

Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¾ cups canola oil

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly whisk canola oil into the mixture.
  2. Save in airtight container in the fridge and it should last about 2 weeks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Staleness with a Side of Fried Rice

My favorite adventures in cooking happen when something goes wrong and then goes very deliciously right. Such was the case last week.

I like brown rice for its heartiness. White rice can become kind of mushy, I like it, but it's just kind of there - without personality or anything to say. It's the bimbo in rice class. Brown rice is like that nerdy girl that maybe doesn't go with the crowd, but you know she's always right and when she cleans up she's actually really pretty.

Ok, that went a weird direction but you get my point.

Brown rice offers more than regular rice in taste and in nutrition. As a plus it usually keeps pretty well. Sadly, due to overcooking, mine did not. The day after I made it, I went to heat it up for my lunch but when I finally bit into it, it was awful. So stale and flavorless, I spit it out. Yet, as always my mother's daughter, I couldn't let it go to waste. Luckily, I remembered watching a cooking show that said that when you make fried rice it needs to be stale so it can absorb all the liquids and flavors. Then I remembered I don't have soy sauce. Oh, well.

To the frying pan!

Fried Brown Rice with Green Things
Serves 2

5 tblsp canola oil and extra for rice

2 eggs

1 tblsp minced ginger

1 tblsp minced garlic

2 cups (more or less) day-old brown rice

1 cup frozen peas

2 tblsp chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper

  1. Heat 5 tblsp of canola oil over medium-high heat then whisk the eggs really well and add to hot oil. Eggs should immediately start to puff up. Swish around for a little bit until eggs are completely cooked, but without too many brown spots. This happens FAST so no sleeping at the wheel.
  2. Remove egg from heat, reserving some of the cooking oil in the pan, and place egg on a plate with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  3. Add about a tablespoon of oil and lower heat to medium. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about a minute until soft and fragrant. Add brown rice and stir to coat with oil.
  4. Add frozen peas and cook just until rice and peas have heated through. Take off the heat and add cilantro and egg then salt and pepper to taste.
This makes a great side dish or midnight snack. So go forth and ruin some rice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camera Hog and Mango Chop 101

Did you know that mango is the most consumed fruit in the world? It's true.

Now that you're ready to jump on the mango band wagon, as promised, here is a guide for cutting a mango, salad style. Don't mind Toddler in the background. She's just washing dishes. No big.
I've got a ripe Champagne mango here. Make sure you wash your mango before you begin. Stand up mango and hold firmly. Start at the top and gently pierce through the skin of the mango and make an incision down one side and repeat until you have four incisions dividing your mango equally. I like to use a small knife for this part.
Now grab one of the sides and slowly and gently pull down to reveal the delicious juicy flesh. Repeat with all four sides.
Now stand your mango again and hold it firmly. Feel the mango bone with your fingers then run your knife as close to the bone as possible so you can get the most amount of flesh. Repeat with the other thick side. This is where it gets messy but it's ok because in the end you can just lick your fingers. Also, not real clear what Toddler is doing here.
Now turn mango sideways and do the same with the skinny sides. Cut off any remaining flesh.
For as long as I can remember, I've put produce stickers on my arm while cooking. Not sure why.
Cut the long way, then the short way into a rough chop...
Ta-dah! Salad ready mango. Now go put into something like this:
Also pictured: spinach, cucumber, tomato. Serve with left-over dressing from last mango recipe.

Go forth and experiment with this amazing fruit.

Oh, and a special shout-out to Toddler for doing the dishes. This blog would not be possible without all the love, support and free time you supply me with. Thank you.