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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Fun Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

I love preparing and eating Mexican foods. Although I don’t normally need an excuse to make a batch of salsa or a tray of enchiladas, the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday gives us all a good reason to have some fun with Mexican flavors in the kitchen! Here are some recipes that would be perfect for the occasion:

(Scroll down for links to each recipe.)

Matt and I are going to celebrate the holiday a few days late with a “Diez de Mayo” potluck party. We’re going to provide margaritas along with rotisserie chicken and pork carnitas tacos for our friends and then they’ll bring additional dishes with them. I can’t wait!!

Our Fiesta invitation postcards for Diez de Mayo

Do you have any special party or food plans for Cinco de Mayo? Please tell me about them in the comments section! 🙂

Recipe Links for the Cinco de Mayo Dishes shown above:
Pork Tinga TacosMargaritas on the RocksChorizo-Bean Tortas
Rotisserie Chicken BurritosPoblano Sausage TacosFrozen Strawberry Margaritas
Salsa Verde EnchiladasPozole VerdeJalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas

Tasty Treats for the Big Game

Have you ever noticed that everyone always refers to this weekend’s championship sporting event as The Big Game rather than just saying the Superbowl?  I guess it’s a legal thing – am I even allowed to type “The Superbowl” here without the NFL’s permission?? – but I digress.

For this weekend’s ‘big game’ we’re going bowling at the awesome, tater-tot-filled North Bowl in Philadelphia right before the game and then we’ll head over to Matt’s sister’s house for pizza, beer and commercial football watching.  Even though I won’t be doing any cooking of my own, I still wanted to share a few recipes that I know would be delicious to snack on during the Superbowl.  Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas – A delightful combination of shredded chicken, cilantro and barbecue sauce, all held together with plenty of melted Monterey Jack cheese!

Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeño Poppers – A baked, spicy treat filled with low fat cream cheese and part skim mozzarella (they’re practically healthy!)

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa This bright green dip is packed with roasted tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, onion and jalapeños.  Make the day before and serve cold!

Caprese Skewers

Bite-Sized Caprese Skewers – Tomato, basil and mozzarella on a stick!  Perfect for healthier eaters.

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!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa for quite some time since it is one of our all-time favorite salsas.  It is a great go-to recipe for summer barbecues and picnics and features a fresh flavor, beautiful green color, and just the right amount of kick.  The original recipe came from The Food Network’s Tyler Florence and can be viewed here.

We first made this salsa last Spring when our oven was broken.  Instead of roasting the tomatillos, peppers, onion, and garlic in the oven, we wrapped the bottom of our 13×9 glass pan in foil and roasted the veggies on our grill over indirect medium-high heat.  If you find yourself wanting to make this recipe during a heat wave, using the grill might be a good way to avoid heating up your kitchen!

Tomatillos look sort of like green tomatoes with protective husks.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa 

You will need…
10-12 Tomatillos, husked and sliced in half
4 cloves Garlic, peeled
2 Jalapeño Peppers, whole
1 White Onion, sliced into 6-8 large wedges
Juice from 1/2 to 1 Lime (depending on how juicy your lime is!)
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro, loosely chopped
Tortilla Chips

Directions:
Place the tomatillos, garlic, peppers, and onion in a 13×9 glass pan and roast in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes until veggies have softened.  Switch the oven to broil and broil for 4-5 minutes until black spots start to form on the tomatillos and peppers.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Tomatillos, Garlic, Jalapeños (from my garden!), and Onion ready to be roasted.

Meanwhile, place the lime juice, salt, cumin and cilantro in a blender.  When the tomatillo mixture is cool enough to handle safely, pour the roasted veggies and any accumulated juices into the blender.  Blend the mixture until it is fairly uniform (or to your desired salsa consistency) and serve with tortilla chips.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Although Matt and I certainly don’t need an excuse to make a Mexican-themed meal, the fact that yesterday was Cinco de Mayo inspired us to choose two new recipes from our Mexican Everyday cookbook.  Mexican Everyday was written by Rick Bayless (the chef behind Frontera Foods) and I love that Rick included a whole intro section that describes the use and preparation of various Mexican ingredients including chipotles en adobo, jicama, tomatillos, and queso fresco (all ingredients that I had never worked with before buying this book!).

For our Cinco de Mayo feast we snacked on chips and Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa as we prepared dinner and then enjoyed Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos with Avocado and Quesco Fresco as our main dish.  We also shook up a batch of delicious Margaritas on the Rocks using lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and simple syrup.  This post will cover our  salsa… more on the tacos coming up next!  🙂

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa (from Mexican Everyday)

You will need…
2 Jalapeño Peppers
3 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
1 – 15oz. can Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup While Onion, finely chopped, rinsed, and drained
1/3 cup loosely packed Cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice
Salt, to taste

Directions:
Place the jalapeño peppers on a grill over direct medium-high heat.  Allow the peppers to roast for approximately 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the skin becomes dark and splotchy in spots.  At the same time, heat a small skillet over medium heat and lay the unpeeled garlic cloves in the skillet.  Allow the garlic to roast for approximately 15 minutes until dark and splotchy in spots.

Dry-roast the Jalapeños until the skin becomes blotchy and blackened.

Pull the stems out of the roasted peppers and remove the garlic cloves from their skin.  Place the roasted ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the tomatoes with their juice and pulse a few more times until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.  Pour the tomato mixture into a medium bowl.  Add the onion and cilantro and mix well.  Taste and season with lime juice and salt.  Enjoy with corn tortilla chips and a nice cold margarita.  🙂

Sausage-Corn Scramble with Home Fries

This past weekend we had some of the best April weather I can remember.  Matt and I took advantage of the sunny, 70 degree temperatures by spending what seemed like the entire weekend outside.  We reseeded our lawn (Bailey’s sliding tennis ball grabs and tight turns take their toll on the grass!) and I planted moonflowers, morning glory, mint, marjoram, chives, marigolds, zinnias and dahlias.  We also enjoyed a 4 ½ mile hike in the Woodlawn Trustees Wildlife Refuge in Northern Delaware (I’ll post more about that later) and still managed to find some time to sit back and enjoy the wonderful fragrance of our blooming viburnum bushes, crab apple trees, and cherry trees.

Of course all of that outside time made us hungry so we also spent a good portion of the weekend cooking delicious meals.  Saturday night we made decadent Bucatini with Homemade Meatballs and Tomato Sauce, Sunday morning we feasted on a Sausage-Corn Scramble and crispy, browned Home Fries, and Sunday evening we had Matt’s parents and his brother over to share our Adobo-Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Bean Salad and Spanish Rice.  Yum!  Throughout the week I will post recipes for all of these meals but for now I’ll start with our Sunday morning scramble with home fries.

For the scramble, we chose to go with a Mexican flavor since we had some leftover “corn con salsa” (sautéed corn with some black bean salsa and cilantro) that we wanted to use up.  We just had normal pork sausage, but this recipe would be GREAT with chorizo instead.  (Maybe next Sunday!)  I also threw in some baby spinach from my garden since my spinach plants are just getting to the point where they need to be thinned.  These spinach shoots gave the scramble a nice bit of color and flavor.

Baby Spinach, freshly thinned from our garden

For our home fries we followed the recipe from our Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe book.  The potatoes were buttery, crisp, and salty… the perfect combination!

Sausage-Corn Scramble with Home Fries

Ingredients:

For the Home Fries
2 Russet Potatoes, cut into ½” cubes
2 ½ tablespoons Peanut Oil
1 Medium Red Onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Paprika
2 tablespoons butter

For the Scramble
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Shallot, thinly sliced
¼ pound Ground Pork Sausage (or Chorizo)
¾ cup Leftover Corn Con Salsa (sautéed corn with salsa and cilantro); or any similar type of black bean or corn salad or salsa that you enjoy)
½ cup Baby Spinach (I used “infant” spinach shoots freshly thinned from the garden)
5 Eggs, whisked together in a large bowl
1/3 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper to taste
Garnish of Salsa and Cilantro

Directions:

Place the cubed potatoes in a small pot, cover with ½” of water and add 1 teaspoon salt.  Heat the pot on the stove over high heat just until the water starts to boil, then remove from heat and drain the potatoes in a colander.

Heat the peanut oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the red onion and sauté until browned.  Remove the onion from the pan and place in a small bowl with the salt, pepper, and paprika.

Add the butter to the heavy-bottomed pan that you sautéed the onion in and allow it to melt.  Add the potatoes and shake the pan so that the potatoes lay evenly on the bottom of the pan in one layer.  Allow the potatoes to cook for 4 to 5 minutes without stirring; this will ensure that they get nice and crispy on that side.  After 4 to 5 minutes, stir the potatoes to flip them over and allow them to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes.  Repeat this process a few times until the potatoes are evenly browned on all sides.

Add the onion mixture to your potatoes and mix thoroughly.  Taste a potato (yum!) and add extra salt and pepper if needed.  Leave the potatoes in the pan to keep them nice and hot until you are ready to serve them.

For the scramble, heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the shallots.  Saute the shallots for a few minutes, then add the sausage.  Use a spatula to flatten the sausage in one layer across the bottom of the pan and allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring.  (As was the case with the potatoes, this will allow the sausage to brown and get a little crispy.)  Flip the sausage over and allow the other side to brown as well.

After sausage is evenly browned and slightly crispy, break up the sausage with your spatula.  Mix in the corn mixture and baby spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Corn 'con salsa' and baby spinach for the scramble

Stir the Monterey Jack cheese, salt and pepper into the egg bowl and then add to your sausage mixture in the frying pan.  Stir and flip the mixture regularly for 4-5 minutes until eggs reach your desired level of doneness.

Garnish the scramble with a dollop of salsa and a sprig of cilantro and serve with your crispy home fries and a cup of coffee.