Tomato Salsa

Last month I wrote about how to grow your own tomatoes.  If you missed that post, check it out HERE.

As of this month, my two little plants have produced over 20 tomatoes!  So, with all these tomatoes, I need to find a good use for them!  Of course, I can always chop them up and freeze them to use in sauces later, but I’d also like to try and eat a lot of them fresh out of the garden!

So, I asked Molly to help me brainstorm a few ideas, and we decided I could make some tomato salsa.  Tomato salsa is one of Molly’s favorite things, so I wonder where she got the idea! 😉

Here’s my recipe for fresh Tomato Salsa:

You’ll need the following ingredients:

1_Ingredients

2 large or 3 small to medium tomatoes

1/8 red onion

1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves

1/2 to 1 jalapeño (depending on how spicy you want the salsa)

juice of 1 to 1 1/2 limes, depending on how juicy your limes are

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp regular salt)

 

First, begin to prep your ingredients.

Rough chop the tomatoes and onion and remove most of the stems from the cilantro (to end up with around 1/4 cup of leaves):

2_RoughChoppedVeggies

Next, rough chop your jalapeño.  I recommend wearing plastic, food safe (not powdered!) gloves for this step as the essential oils from the jalapeño can stay on your hands for hours – even after washing them with soap!  If you touch your eye with jalapeño essential oils on your fingers, you’ll feel like you just maced yourself, so wearing gloves is really important!  (If you don’t have any gloves, but you’d still like to forge ahead with the salsa recipe, you can also cut up the jalapeño with a knife and fork or make use of any other method that will keep you from touching the jalapeño directly.)

So, once you’re properly gloved-up, rough chop your jalapeño:

 3_RoughChoppedJalapeno

For mild salsa, cut the jalapeño in half, remove the seeds and ribs before chopping it, and only use 1/2 of the jalapeño in the salsa.  Alternately, if you like your salsa spicy, you can add more of the jalapeño – up to the entire pepper.  Or, for extra spicy salsa, leave some to all of the seeds and ribs.  Most of the heat in a jalapeño is in the seeds and ribs, so leaving them in will really give it a kick!

Next, add all the ingredients to a food processor (starting with the juice of only 1 lime):

4_IngredientsInFoodPro

Pulse at least 3 or 4 times (1 second pulses) to more finely chop and combine the ingredients.  If the salsa still isn’t diced finely enough for you, continue pulsing until everything is as small as desired.

5_IngredientsChopped

Finally, taste the salsa to see if you’ve added enough lime juice.  If not, use a spatula or large spoon to mix in a little more at a time, tasting the salsa after each addition.

Transfer your salsa to a small to medium serving bowl.  Serve immediately, or to chill the salsa, refrigerate it for at least a couple hours before serving.

6_FinishedSalsa_alt

Makes 8-10 servings.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite salsa recipe?  Or, do you have another favorite way to prepare and eat fresh tomatoes?  We’d love to hear all about it!

Love,tami

Easy Irish Soda Bread

A few years ago, I needed to find a recipe for Irish Soda Bread for a St. Patrick’s Day potluck my husband and I were going to.  I looked around online for awhile and came across this one:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Irresistible-Irish-Soda-Bread/Detail.aspx 

It was a quick bread made in a loaf pan, so it wasn’t very traditional, but I’m not necessarily a huge stickler for that sort of thing, so I thought I’d try it.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was, and it was so delicious, I’ve never tried another recipe!

So, if you’d like to make some Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day this year, I highly recommend giving this version a try!

To make it, you’ll need the following:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbs baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

1 egg

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1_Ingredients

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 9×4 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl.

2_DryIngredients_unmixed

Mix to combine.

3_DryIngredients_mixed

Add the egg and buttermilk to a small to medium mixing bowl.

4_WetIngredients_unmixed

Whisk till the egg is lightly beaten and fully combined with the buttermilk.

5_WetIngredients_mixed

Add the egg/buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a spatula or large spoon till mostly, but not fully combined.

6_Batter_HalfMixed

Add the melted butter and mix till just combined.  Be sure not to over mix!

7_Batter_Mixed

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top a bit, if necessary.

8_BatterInLoafPan

Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean to clean (if it has 1 or 2 tiny crumbs stuck to it, that’s fine).

Carefully transfer the bread to a rack to cool.

9_FinishedBread

This bread is great right out of the oven, but it’s even better the next day!  So, if you’re able to plan ahead, I recommend making it ahead of time.  Also, I think this bread is plenty buttery on its own, but if you like, you can toast up slices and spread a little more butter on them.

Enjoy!

We would love to hear from you!  Let us know if you’ve ever made a more traditional version of Irish Soda Bread, or have any other favorite recipes for St. Patrick’s Day!

Love,tami

Homemade Hummus

The last couple of posts from Deb and Molly have been all about some of the organizing they’ve been doing for the new year. To see those posts, click HERE and HERE.

If you also have a million new Christmas presents to sort through and find a place for, or if you just decided it’s time for some early spring cleaning, I figure at some point, you’re going to need a snack!  If you’re anything like me, you ate whatever you wanted over the Christmas break, and your slightly too big jeans now fit a bit snug, so that snack needs to be healthy.  Well, here’s the solution to your snacking needs – homemade hummus!

My husband and I both love hummus, but it can be a bit pricey to buy it premade, so we decided to learn how to make our own.  After a bit of trial and error, we came up with the following recipe.  It’s low in fat, high in fiber, and a great dip to pair with veggie sticks, pretzel thins, or toasted pita bread.  You could also spread it on flatbread or a tortilla as the base of a yummy Mediterranean wrap!

To make about 6-8 servings of hummus, you’ll need the following:

1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed (depending on how much you like garlic)

3 Tbs tahini paste (available in the Jewish or Kosher section of the grocery store)

1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp regular salt)

dash white pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice (fresh squeezed if possible – you’ll only need 1 lemon)

2 Tbs water

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

 Hummus_Ingredients

Start by adding the garbanzo beans and garlic to a food processor, and pulse about 3 or 4 times (1 second pulses) to start chopping them up:

Hummus_Step1

Next, add the tahini paste, salt, and pepper, and pulse about 3 or 4 more times (1 second pulses):

Hummus_Step2

Add the lemon juice and water and run till a somewhat chunky paste forms:

Hummus_Step3

Add the olive oil and run the food processor till the hummus is completely smooth, and no longer has a gritty mouth feel when tasted.  (Scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary, but be careful not to catch your spatula on the blade while scraping down the sides – it’s easy to do that on accident!)

Hummus_Step4

Next, you’ll want to transfer the hummus to a serving bowl, but be extra careful not to cut yourself during this step!  To avoid a horrible, stitches-requiring accident, remove the blade first and carefully scrape any hummus off of it into your bowl.  Then, transfer the rest of the hummus from the food processor to your bowl.

Hummus_Final

The hummus is good at room temperature, but we like it even better chilled.  To chill it, place it in the fridge for about 1 to 2 hours before serving.  Keep any extra leftovers in the fridge.

Enjoy!tami

 

We’d love to hear from you!  Let us know some of your favorite ways to eat hummus, or whether you have any other yummy healthy snack recipes you like to make!