Tag Archives: salsa

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas

~ Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas ~

It’s August, but fall is in the air. There is a deep chill to the mornings, while the afternoon sunlight colors everything a hazy golden hue, stretching long shadows into the garden.  As if on cue, apples and pears have moved into prominent display in the markets, and school lunches are once again on our mind. The first week of school, with post-summer reunions, orientations, and a significant step into high school, has finished with success. The kids are happy; so then are the parents. I can’t think of a better excuse for a little down-home Margarita-Friday celebration, along with a fiesta-inspired dinner.

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas
Serves 4

For the marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak

For the Avocado Corn Salsa:
1 15-ounce can black beans drained
Corn kernels from one ear of corn
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe, but not too soft, avocado, cut in 1/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Soft corn or flour tortillas
Garnishes: tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice

Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place skirt steak in a shallow rimmed dish (or a zip-lock bag). Pour the marinade over the steak. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight, turning once or twice.

To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. (Salsa may be made in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate). Before serving add avocado and cilantro. Gently toss to combine.

Remove steak from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Discard marinade. Grill steak over direct high heat, turning once, until desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. (Or broil in oven, turning once). Transfer to cutting board and rest for 5 minutes. Cut against the grain in 1/2-inch strips.

To assemble fajitas, spoon Avocado Corn Salsa over a tortilla. Top with a few steak strips. Garnish with tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Roll up and eat. Pass the napkins.

Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas

~ Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas ~

Little did I know that when we moved to California from Denmark, my children’s favorite fast food would become a burrito.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Mexican cuisine, but now that we live in a state where English sometimes takes a back seat to Spanish, it makes sense to embrace the local flavors. The burrito’s oozing combination of beans, rice, cheese and meat rolled up in a soft tortilla are a little too dense for my garden-fresh sensibilities, so when I cook Mexican-inspired food at home, I lighten it up with lots of fresh vegetables, homemade salsas and herbs. We made these tostadas the other night and served the ingredients buffet-style, so everyone could pile on the garnishes to their taste.  Continue reading Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas

Tequila-Spiked Cranberry, Apple and Jalapeño Relish

This is not your ordinary cranberry sauce. Spiked with tequila and boosted with jalapeño, this relish is bright and spicy, promising a nice kick at the holiday table. Be sure to keep the recipe on hand, post-festivities. Tequila-Spiked Cranberry, Apple and Jalapeño Relish is also a fresh and zesty accompaniment to roast pork and chicken.

Tequila-Spiked Cranberry, Apple and Jalapeño Relish
Makes 2 cups

12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, cut in 1/4″ dice
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, finely diced
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, vinegar and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, occasionally stirring, until cranberries pop and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer one minute.  Remove from heat and cool.  Refrigerate, covered,  at least 2 hours or overnight to let flavors develop.

Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

Black Bean Salsa tf

Here is one easy way to jazz up your dinner plate. Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salsa is spicy, bright and colorful. It’s delicious as an appetizer with tortilla chips, as a salad or an accompaniment to grilled fish, meat or chicken. Like any good salsa this one combines a variety of textures and tastes, balancing sweetness with spice and acidity. And, like all good salsas, there is no one way to make it. Take advantage of the vegetables and fruits you have on hand, selecting for a variety of colors and textures, and a balance of sweet and savory components.

Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

For the best texture, cut the ingredients in uniform pieces, as much as possible. Makes about 4 cups

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, or 1- 16 oz. can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed, or uncooked corn from the cob
1 small red pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
4 green onions, trimmed, white and green parts finely sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro sprigs

Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro in a bowl. Toss to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate one hour or up to 4 hours. Before serving, add cilantro and toss to combine. Serve as a salad or accompaniment to grilled fish, chicken, meat.

Grilled Feta with Blood Orange, Red Pepper and Mint Salsa


Feta
This recipe for grilled feta is a perfect contrast in textures and temperatures. Thick feta slices are grilled in a bath of olive oil until golden brown, then served warm with a cool, crunchy, citrus-y salsa. The dish can be served straight from the oven, or if you wish, arrange the feta on a serving plate and spoon the olive oil around it. This rustic appetizer is meant to be eaten family style, so plop the plate in the middle of the table and pass everyone a spoon. Scoop out chunks of feta, spread it on a slice of rustic bread and top with salsa and a dribble of olive oil.Grilled Feta with Blood Orange, Red Pepper and Mint Salsa

Feta cheese lends itself well to grilling; it browns nicely and softens somewhat, but doesn’t lose it’s shape. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

For the salsa:

1 blood orange, skin, seeds and membrane removed, cut in 1/4″ pieces
1 small sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely dinced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.

For the feta:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 pound block of feta cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh whole mint leaves for garnish

Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a mortar with pestle. Add peppercorns. Grind until fine.
Preheat oven broiler. Drain feta and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Pat spices on all sides of feta. Cut in 1/2″ slices. Arrange feta slices in a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Grill in oven until edges turn golden.
Arrange slices on a serving plate. (I like to try and return it to its original block shape.) Spoon olive oil around feta. Top feta with salsa. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately with pita bread, crostini or peasant bread.

Fiesta Shrimp Salsa

Shrimp Salsa

Post holidays, I crave bright and spicy food with an exotic flare.  Asian or Mexican inspired dishes flavored and spiced which cilantro and chile or ginger and citrus are a great way to jazz up the palate, waking it from its winter slumber.  Here is a recipe that is quick, easy and a crowd pleaser.  Sautéed shrimp marinate in a homemade citrus-y salsa and are served with tortilla chips.  It’s a confetti of color and an explosion of tastes and textures. Light and festive with a bite, this salsa is a guaranteed pick-me-up and a perfect way to ring in the New Year.

Fiesta Shrimp Salsa

Fiesta Shrimp Salsa

Serve in a bowl with chips on the side as an appetizer, or arrange on a bed of greens and serve as a salad.

Serves 6-8

1 lb. (500 grams) medium shrimp, deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tomatoes, seeded, diced
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of one lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves for garnish
Tortilla chips

Prepare:
Remove shells from shrimp, leaving tails intact on 6 shrimp for garnish.  Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Sauté shrimp in batches in one layer in skillet.  Cook turning once, until pink and cooked through, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining shrimp. Set shrimp aside to cool.  Slice shrimp in half lengthwise down the middle of the back, except for the 6 with tails intact.

Combine tomatoes, serrano chile, jalapeno, red onion, garlic, lime and lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil.  Add shrimp halves, and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours before serving.

Before serving, add chopped parsley and cilantro, stirring to combine.  Serve in a bowl or on greens on a platter. Arrange whole shrimp with tails on top. Garnish with additional parsley and cilantro leaves. Serve with tortilla chips.

Nacho Night

Nachos

It’s Nacho Night at our house.  Yes, I confess.  Foodie I may be, parent I certainly am, health minded almost always.  But there is a time and place for nachos, and tonight is the night. Is it possible to call nachos healthy?  I suppose, or, where there is a will there is a way.  But if you bear with me a moment, I will try to list the merits of a homemade platter of nachos for an easy, family dinner.  Or, rather, I will repeat the arguments my 13 year-old presented me with when he implored that we have nachos for dinner tonight.  I fell for it.

These nachos are meatless.  The chips are layered simply with grated cheese, green onions and black olives (deferring to the pickier sensibilites of my 10 year-old.)  Grilled under the oven broiler until the cheese melts and the chips turn a bit brown, the nachos are then served with bowls of homemade guacamole and salsa on the side.  Both of these sides are healthy, and loaded with veggies.  I have tried different chips and prefer a good quality corn chip, but if you wish to up the ante, Trader Joe’s carries Flaxseed chips. They are as equally high in fat as regular chips, but offer the added flaxseed,  and taste good to boot.  Finally, nachos score big in the social department: Great for a crowd, family friendly, fun to eat, and just in time for the Superbowl.  So, maybe not the healthiest, but they sure make up for it in the fun and camaraderie department.  These days, this kind of fun eating is a bright spot in our day.  Are you convinced yet?

Nachos with Guacamole and Tomato Salsa
Serves 4-6

12 oz. (350 grams) corn tortilla chips
3/4 lb. grated cheese (monterey jack, cheddar or combination)
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced
8 green onions (scallions), ends trimmed, finely sliced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, stemmed, sliced thinly or 1/4 cup bottled, sliced jalapenos

On a rectangular baking sheet, or oven-proof serving platter arrange half the chips in one layer.  Sprinkle with half the cheese.  Cover with remaining chips in one layer.  Sprinkle with half the remaining cheese.  Evenly arrange olives, green onions, jalapenos over chips.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Place under pre-heated oven grill.  Grill until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve immediately with Salsa and Guacamole.


For the Guacamole
:
Makes about 2 cups

1 small red onion, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, grated, with juices
1/2 red serrano chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 ripe avocados
Juice of one lime
dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/4 cup chopped cilantro/coriander sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sized bowl combine onions, chile pepper, garlic, avocados, lime juice and hot sauce.

100_1703

Mash avocados with a fork and mix ingredients together, keeping a lumpy consistency.  Add cilantro and stir in.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip:  Guacamole can be made up to 4 hours in advance.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent discoloration.  Also, try putting an avocado pit into the middle of the guacamole to help prevent discoloration.

For the Tomato Salsa:
also known as Pico de Gallo
Makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 cups pasata or tomato purée
3 plum tomatoes, seeded, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded,finely  diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 serrano chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
1 teaspoon dried cumin
Juice from 1/2 lime, about 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salsa

Make the Salsa:
Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Stir to mix well.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Let sit at least one hour and up to 4 hours before serving.

Note
: The ingredients and amounts are a general suggestion.  Add or omit spices and chiles to your desired taste.