Homemade Tomato Salsa

a bowl of homemade tomato salsa, with tomatoes, onions, jalapeño, and cilantro.

You know what tastes like summertime? Fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market. The best way I know to use some of them up is homemade salsa. It’s easy to make and we have been known to go through a batch a week.

Homemade tomato salsa

12 small-ish tomatoes (I like early girl, Roma will do in a pinch)
1 onion, quartered
1 jalapeño, remove seeds if you don’t like it spicy
2 cloves of garlic
juice from 0.5 lemon
1T-ish of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
cilantro to taste

Core the tomatoes, put them, the onion, the jalapeño, and the garlic in your food processor. Run it until everything is as pureed as you like it. move to bowl. Add the lemon juice and seasoning salt. Mix. Chop about 2T of cilantro. Taste, adjusting seasoning to your liking. Once satisfied, let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Salsa, like soup, tastes better when the flavors have a chance to blend.

Thai Rice Soup, aka Khao Tom

We’ve made Thai Rice Soup a couple of times now. It’s a good soup that doesn’t take a super-long time. I’m not sure I’d recommend it for a weeknight, but maybe a weeknight if you have a little extra time. It’s spicy but not too much so.

8oz ground pork
3T fish sauce
2T chili-garlic sauce
salt & ground pepper
3T lard or coconut oil (Do NOT substitute vegetable oil. The soup quality will suffer. I used bacon grease and it was fine.)
5 large shallots, thinly sliced
8 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 lemon grass stalks, trimmed to 6″, smashed
2T finely grated ginger
2.5qt low-sodium chicken stock
4c cooked jasmine rice
1c chopped cilantro
3T lime juice, plus wedges for serving

  1. Mix pork, 1T fish sauce, 1T chili-garlic sauce, 0.75t pepper. Mix and form into 20 meatballs (approx 2t each). Place on a large plate and refrigerate.
  2. Heat dutch oven over medium-high heat with lard until shimmering. Add shallots and 0.5t of salt, stirring until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in ginger and lemon grass and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard lemon grass. Add meatballs, stir gently until cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice. Remove from heat and add 2T fish sauce, 1T chili-garlic sauce, 1t pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with lime wedges.

Once again, this is from Milk Street’s Tuesday Nights cookbook. It’s still a recommended purchase.

Orange-chili tacos are yummy

The light in my kitchen is weird.

Yes, these are chicken tacos made with a sauce that is orange juice based. Yes, they are delicious. We tend to make them on the weekend because they take just enough time to be annoying after a long day of work.

5 medium guajillo chilies
1.5c orange juice
5 peeled garlic cloves
2T white vinegar
2t coriander
2t honey
1t dried oregano
1t kosher salt
2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

Heat chilies in large skilled over medium-high heat, pressing with spatula and flipping halfway through cooking until fragrant. Transfer to blender, add orange juice. Let stand for ~10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, vinegar, coriander, honey, oregano, and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour back into skillet and bring to a boil.

Nestle chicken thighs into sauce, cover and cook over medium-low, flipping halfway through, for 20 minutes. Set chicken on a plate; once cool shred into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce over medium-high, stirring, until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir chicken into sauce.

Serve with tortillas, radishes, and quest fresco (though we usually just use Monterey Jack).

Once again, this is a Milk Street recipe. If you don’t subscribe, why not? You’re missing out on all kinds of deliciousness. They’re not even paying me to say that, I just like them.

Tapas? This might be a tapas dish

This gem of a weeknight dish is known around our house as “pork bites” and often gets paired with some sort of potatoes (roasted, french fries, probably even tater tots once) for an easy-ish weeknight meal. It has the added bonus of being way more delicious than it should be.

1.5t coriander
1.5t cumin
1.5t smoked paprika
0.75t each of salt & pepper
1lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ squares
1T lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1T honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2T olive oil
1T chopped fresh oregano

Mix spices together, add pork and toss to coat evenly until no more spices remain in the bowl (that is, they’re all stuck to the meat and not sitting in the bottom of the bowl). Let the pork sit for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, and garlic.

Heat 1T olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply brown on one side (~3min). Then flip pork until cooked through and browned all over, another 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, toss with the lemon-garlic mixture until evenly coated. Move to serving platter, sprinkle the oregano and drizzle the last 1T olive oil.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Milk Street Magazine, a cooking magazine I’d HIGHLY recommend, if for no other reason than their Tuesday night section where they give you about a week’s worth of delicious recipes that truly only take 30 minutes to make.

Mmm…. guacamole

a bowl of homemade guacamoleThere’s really only one thing to do when you have a bunch of avocados that are about to be too squishy to use: make guacamole!

This is the Alton Brown guac recipe, and yes, it controversially uses tomatoes. I like extra veggies.

3 Haas Avocados (I had a bunch of small avocados from Trader Joe’s – I just used the 4 or 5 I had since they were on the teeny side)
1 lime, juiced
0.5t kosher salt
0.5t cumin
0.5t cayenne (yes, you can lower this amount if you find it too spicy)
0.5 onion, diced
0.5 jalapeño, diced (I remove the seeds – the cayenne gives it enough kick)
1 roma tomato (the recipe calls for 2, but that always seems like overkill to me)
1T chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Scoop out the avocado pulp and put it in a large bowl with the lime juice, toss to coat. Add the spices, then use a fork (or your potato masher if you have one) to mash everything together. Fold in all the other ingredients. Let it sit for an hour, then serve.

Carb-o-riffic dinner

spicy bucatini

 

Spicy bucatini is one of our favorite weeknight meals. It’s quick and easy and simple to make gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. We eat this very regularly. We’ve been making it for so long, I’m not even sure where we got the recipe from. This one’s pulled from my memory.

Spicy Bucatini

2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
0.25 – 0.5t red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
0.25lb pancetta, diced
28oz petit diced tomatoes (You can use the regular diced tomatoes. I prefer the smaller cut.)
2T minced fresh sage
0.5c parmesan, freshly shredded
1lb bucatini or other long, thin pasta

  1. Heat the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pancetta over medium heat in a saucepan until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes, until thicker. Add sage.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 4qts water to boil. Cook your pasta as directed, reserving 0.25c before you drain it.
  3. Return pasta to pot, add sauce & cheese. Stir to combine over the still-warm burner for about a minute. Add as much leftover water as needed to make it smooth.
  4. Serve, with extra cheese to pass if you like parmesan. Mmmm, parmesan.