Roasted Corn Salsa

Last night I made my third batch of Roasted Corn Salsa in less than a month which can only mean two things…  One, this salsa is awesome and two, it’s high time it makes an appearance on the blog!!

Roasted Corn Relish 1

This bright, flavorful salsa features grilled corn, roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice.  It pairs perfectly with grilled fish and grilled avocado (<– my new favorite way to eat avocados).  We’ve also tried the salsa on shrimp tacos and, although Matt thinks it’s a bit too lime-y for eating straight, I personally really enjoy eating it with tortilla chips.

Last night’s batch of salsa is being refrigerated until we have Matt’s parents over for dinner tomorrow night.  Making it ahead of time will save me prep time on Saturday and the extra hours in the fridge will allow the salsa flavors to fully combine.  I’ll post pictures of the final meal (grilled salmon!) next week.

Roasted Corn Relish 2

Roasted Corn Salsa  (adapted from MyRecipes.com; makes 6-8 servings) 

You will need…
Cooking Spray
4 ears Corn, husked
4 Anaheim Peppers or 4 Cubanelle Peppers (for less heat), or a combination of the 2 types
1 cup diced Tomatoes (from approx. 2-3 Roma Tomatoes)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lime Juice (from approx. 3-4 limes)
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Pepper

Directions:

Lightly coat the grates of a grill* set to medium heat with cooking spray.   Place the corn and peppers directly on the grill.  Allow the corn and peppers to cook, turning occasionally, until the corn kernels start to brown slightly and the peppers become soft and dark splotches start to form on the green skins.  Transfer the roasted corn to a plate to cool.  Place the roasted peppers in a large bowl and cover for 10-15 minutes.

Cut each corn ear in half, then place the flat end down on a cutting board and slice the kernels off of the cobs.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins and remove the stems, seeds, and membranes.  Slice the peppers into 1/4″ pieces.

Combine the corn, peppers, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 3 days to allow the flavors to intensify before serving.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve over grilled salmon or another grilled fish (salmon recipe coming soon!)
  • Spoon over grilled avocado (slice avocado lengthwise & remove pit; brush grill with oil and place avocado halves directly on grates for 2-3 minutes until grill marks appear)
  • Serve as a fresh, citrus-y salsa with tortilla chips

Roasted Corn Relish 3

*If you don’t have a grill, use boiled corn on the cob or thawed frozen corn kernels.  The peppers can be roasted in an oven… here are some basic instructions on how to do this from Ina Garten.

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Baked Jalapeño Poppers

In the last two weeks my “big boy” Jalapeño pepper plant has been producing giant green peppers at an amazing rate.  It seems that every time I go outside I discover a new 4-5″ long pepper hiding under the plant’s leaves just waiting to be picked.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to make 1-2 recipes a week that use Jalapeños, but what the heck am I supposed to do with 15 peppers that all ripen at the same time??  Tonight I found the perfect answer… turn them into Jalapeño Poppers!

These peppers all came from one plant. Time to put them to good use as Jalapeño Poppers!

I found a recipe for Jalapeño Poppers from Emeril on the Food Network.  There are lots of recipes for Poppers on the internet but I liked this one because it was highly rated and involved baking the peppers rather than deep frying them.  I modified Emeril’s recipe slightly to use reduced fat cream cheese and mozzarella (this was our dinner, after all) and the Poppers turned out spicy, cheesy, and delicious.

Emeril’s Baked Jalapeño Poppers (from the Food Network)

You will need…
12 Jalapeño Peppers, halved lengthwise, seeds and veins removed
6 oz. Reduced Fat Cream Cheese, Softened
1 1/2 cups Shredded Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
8 teaspoons Emeril’s “ESSENCE” (mixture of onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and thyme; click for ratios)
1/2 cup Flour
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Milk
1 cup Bread Crumbs or Panko

Directions:
Combine the cream cheese, mozzarella, cayenne and cumin together with a stand mixer or handheld mixer and then fill each halved jalapeño pepper with the cheese mixture.  Stir the flour and 2 teaspoons of Essence together in a shallow bowl.  In a second bowl, beat the eggs, milk and 2 more teaspoons of Essence together.  In a third bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the 4 remaining teaspoons of Essence.

One at a time, dredge each stuffed jalapeño half in the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs.  Place stuffed side up on a lightly greased pan and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes until the cheese starts to melt and ooze over the sides of the peppers.  Serve alone as an appetizer or over rice as dinner.

Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa

Our pepper plants are on a roll! They’ve yielded over a dozen peppers so far and there are new peppers growing and ripening in the garden right now. After harvesting 2 “big boy” green jalapeños, 5 small red jalapeños and 4 small serranos all in one afternoon I realized that we needed to find a good recipe to take advantage of all of this spicy goodness. We turned to the pages of our trusty Mexican Everyday cookbook and found this recipe for Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa.

Our mid-July bounty: green beans, tomatoes, jalapeños and serranos!

Salsa de Chile Fresco Asado (from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless)

You will need…
4-5 fresh Jalapeños (the recipe calls for green chiles but ours were red)
4 fresh Serranos (omit if you want a milder salsa)
4 cloves Garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions:
Trim the stems off of the chiles and slice in half lengthwise, then place face down in a glass baking pan. Arrange the garlic cloves between the peppers. Broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes or until the chile peppers are soft and starting to form blotchy black spots. Remove from broiler and carefully transfer the roasted chiles and garlic to a blender. Add the lime juice and water and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and, if necessary, stir in more water to reach your desired consistency. Taste the salsa (watch out though, it might be super hot!) and add salt if needed.

OK… so now you have a bowl of freshly roasted liquid fire. What the heck are you supposed to do with it?

Our chile peppers must have been extra potent because our “salsa” was so hot that we could barely inhale near it. (I say “salsa” in quotes because I could never, ever handle a serving of this stuff on a chip… I’d die!) Luckily there are plenty of things that you can do with hot salsa that don’t involve burning your mouth and sweating profusely. Here are some ideas:

  • Use it anywhere that you’d normally add hot sauce. We used a few drops on our Jalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas and it brought a great amount of heat to the dish. It would also be good (in moderation!) on Tortas with Chorizo and Black Beans and Chicken Fajitas.
  • Use it as a steak marinade. (This is Rick Bayless’s suggestion.) Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the salsa and brush it onto all sides of a nice steak (we shared a NY strip, yum!). Sear both sides of the steak over high heat and then grill over indirect medium heat until cooked to your desired temperature.
  • Use it to season potatoes. (Also Rick’s idea.) Quarter two yukon gold potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and microwave on high in a covered bowl for 4 minutes to soften. Brush some of the salsa onto the potatoes and finish cooking them on a grill in a grill basket over direct medium-high heat.

What is your favorite way to use a surplus of chile peppers? Please share!

Hot Pepper Beef

Who knew flank steak could be so delicious?!   I had heard of flank steak before but I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t actually ever cooked with it until a few months ago when we first tried this recipe.  Now we’re hooked!  In this stir fry, the flank steak takes center stage amidst a variety of green veggies in a sweet and spicy hoisin sauce.  The steak is juicy, tender, and flavorful and is light years beyond the rubbery, tasteless “steak strips” that you see pre-packaged in the supermarket.

This recipe comes from our awesome Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge cookbook by Grace Young.  We tweaked the original recipe to add the fresh green beans and garlic scapes that I picked in our garden earlier this week.  Enjoy!

Hot Pepper Beef Stir Fry with Green Beans and Scapes (serves 2)

You will need…
12 ounces Flank Steak, cut with the grain into 1/4″ thick x 2″ long slices
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoons Salt, divided
1/8 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Dry Sherry
1 tablespoon Ketchup
2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
3 quarter-sized slices of Ginger, smashed
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 Handful Green Beans, trimmed
3 Garlic Scapes, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
Peanut Oil
1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 10 ounce package Jasmine Rice from Trader Joe’s, cooked

Directions:
Combine the steak, garlic, cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, black pepper, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the sherry, and 2 teaspoons cold water.  Stir well to coat the meat.  In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the ketchup, hoisin sauce, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sherry.  In yet another bowl, combine the red onion, ginger, and crushed red pepper.  Place the green beans and garlic scapes in (yes, another) bowl.

Green beans and garlic scapes from my garden made a nice addition to this recipe.

Heat a wok over high heat until a drop of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds.  Add a tablespoon of the peanut oil, swirl around the wok, and add the steak to the wok.  Spread the steak evenly over the bottom of the wok and let it sear undisturbed for 1 minute.  Then stir fry the steak for 1 minute and transfer it to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to the wok, swirl, and add the onion mixture.  Stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the green bean/scape mixture and continue to stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the green pepper, stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the steak and any accumulated juices back to the wok.  Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the ketchup mixture and stir fry for 30 seconds until the steak is just cooked through.  Remove from heat and serve over rice.