Fresh Red Salsa

Makes 4 Cups

This is a raw Salsa with simple, fresh ingredients that can be whipped up in less than a half hour. It stores well for several days, or can alternately be cooked and kept for up to a week. After cooking, it freezes well. Recipe can be adjusted up for canning.

Fresh Red Salsa

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 cups

Equipment

  • Food Processor or hand chopper
  • If you do not have a food processor, recipe can still be made by mincing ingredients with a knife, it just takes a bit longer

Ingredients
  

  • 6 medium Tomatoes, seeded and quartered
  • 1 medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded and ribs removed
  • 1-2 medium Jalapenos, seeded and ribs removed
  • 1/2 – 2/3 medium Yellow Onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp Salt to taste, add more if desired
  • 1 each Lime, juiced
  • 1-3 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves, loosely packed or more to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor fitted with an S-blade, pulse onion, bell pepper and one jalapeno to a large chunky stage. Do not over pulse at this stage.
  • Add tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, salt and 1 clove of garlice to the food processor bowl, and pulse to a chunky stage. Stop and taste. Adjust onion, garlic, jalapeno, salt and cilantro by adding more to your desired tastes.
  • Pulse a few more time, being careful not to puree, unless you wish a very smooth sauce consistency.
  • Chill for 2-4 hours before servine to allow flavors to blend.
Keyword cilantro, fresh, garlic, jalapeno, pepper, red, Salsa, tomato

Kentucky Hot Brown

It’s Kentucky Derby Day! This year I decided to prepare the decadent Kentucky Hot Brown open-faced sandwich as a late lunch/early dinner while we enjoy the Churchill Downs race – the first in the great race for the Triple Crown each year. This year marks the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, and the first result upset in the history of the Race.

The Hot Brown actually has its own history. Still served today at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, the Hot Brown was invented in the 1920’s for the 1200 guests that frequented their nightly dancing at the hotel. The chef wanted something more glamorous to serve the tired dancers instead of just ham and eggs. The original recipe is shared by the Brown Hotel. The original recipe and history can be found at https://www.brownhotel.com/dining/hot-brown

I stick close to the original recipe, but make a few changes. Not a fan of Texas Toast, I changed the bread to Brioche. I also make a very traditional Mornay Sauce which is made with Gruyere vs. the Pecorino called for by the Brown Hotel. I omit the nutmeg as I have a food intolerance to it – even in small quantities. You, however, can add it back if you prefer its distinct flavor in this creamy cheese sauce.

Ingredients

For the Mornay Sauce
2 1/2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
8 oz. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Whole Milk
2 oz. Gruyere Cheese, grated (plus more for garnishing)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg (optional, I omit)

For the Sandwich
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, Sliced https://betwixtandcuisine.com/2019/05/04/herb-roasted-turkey-breast/
4 Slices of Brioche Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
Paprika
Parsley

Instructions

In a two‑quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium‑low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2‑3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Gruyere cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper. Optionally, add nutmeg.

Cut the crusts off the brioch toast. For each sandwich, keep one slice of toast whole, and cut the other in half diagonally to make toast points. to assemble place a whole slice of brioche toast in an oven safe dish. Add desired turkey slices. Original recipes suggests about 7 oz. Take the two halves of tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Gruyere cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

For a quick dinner main, or to slice for sandwiches this is my go-to. It’s very simple and the turkey breast can be roasted while you do other things. Add some potatoes, carrots and onions to the roasting pan and you have a one pan dinner.

This is a great way to get a high quality, low-fat and low-sodium protein. It works well for Paleo and Keto diets. Leftovers are great for salads, wraps and sandwiches.

You may substitute any combination of herbs to customize this recipe to your preferences. Quantities are suggestions and you can use more or less of anything as you choose. This recipe is loosely constructed and very forgiving. The seasonings chosen below will result in a more Thanksgiving style turkey flavor. See notes for other flavor combination suggestions.

Ingredients

1 2-2.5 lb. Fresh turkey breast, skin on
2 Tablespoons fresh Sage leaves, minced (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried)
2 Teaspoons fresh Rosemary leaves (can substitue dried)
2 Tablespoons fresh Parsley, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh Basil, minced (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried)
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper, or Seasoning blend of choice (such as Montreal Chicken, or a Citrus Rub)
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking dish large enough to accomodate the turkey breast with foil, or use a disposable baking pan for easy cleanup.
  3. Place turkey breast, skin side up, in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning blend. Sprinkle with onion powder. Cover with fresh herbs and chopped garlic. Pour lemon juice over.
  4. Add 1/2 water to bottom of pan. This will keep breast moist as it roasts.
  5. Roast for approximately 90 minutes until meat thermometer inserted reaches 165 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Notes:

  • Pan drippings can be used to make a gravy, or if roasting with vegetables can be stirred into vegetables to season them.
  • I typically remove the skin before slicing the turkey for sandwiches and wraps or for tossing in salad.
  • This is a low fat version. To increase fats for Keto diets, coat the turkey with a healthy oil such as avocado, olive, hemp, coconut or grass fed butter before adding seasonings.
  • Other flavor combinations:
    • Asian Style: Substitue fresh ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil, gluten free tamari, and cilantro for above list of herbs. Use rice wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice, and a small amount of chinese five spice powder in place of seasoning blend if desired.
    • Italian Style: Substitute dried italian Seasoning for the above list of herbs, and use salt and pepper in place of the seasoning blend or rub.

Lettuce Sandwich Wraps wraps with Asian Pork Tenderloin

Lettuce sandwich wraps can be substituted for traditional wraps. In this recipe, parchment paper is used to keep the lettuce wrap held together vs. a traditional bread or grain based wrap.

Ready to wrap and roll!

Ingredients

Broad Leaf Lettuce or Greens (collard greens, dinosaur kale)
Carrots, julienne cut
Red Bell Pepper,julienne cut
Cucumber, julienne cut
Cilantro Sprigs to taste
Asian Pork Tenderloin, thin sliced https://betwixtandcuisine.com/2019/04/27/asian-pork-tenderloin/
Rice Wine Vinegar (optional)
Thai Style Almond Butter Sauce https://betwixtandcuisine.com/2019/04/27/thai-style-almond-butter-sauce/
Parchment Paper

Instructions

  1. Place large sheet (15 X 18 or so) on a work surface.
  2. Layout leafy lettuce in a 10 inch circle. This will be the outside of the wrap.
  3. Layer carrots, cucumber and red pepper julienne strips in the center of the lettuce in a thin column.
  4. Add cilantro sprigs to layered vegetables.
  5. Top with sliced pork.
  6. If desired, sprinkle with rice vinegar to taste.
  7. Wrap lettuce around the filling in the same manner as wrapping a burrito, placing the “seam” side down.
  8. Wrap the entire lettuce wrap tightly in parchment paper, and secure with tape.
  9. Serve with Thai Style Almond Butter Sauce for dipping.

Thai Style Almond Butter Sauce

I like peanut dipping sauce, but prefer raw almond butter to peanut butter any day. For people with peanut allergies, or avoidin legumes, this is a tasty substitute for peanut dipping sauce. Recipe is also suitable for those following raw foods, vegetarian, and vegan diets. Remove the maple syrup for a paleo or keto diet.

This sauce is wonderful for dipping, can be thinned with rice vinegar for a tasty salad dressing, and can be used in place of barbeque sauce when grilling. It’s not beautiful, but it is delicious.

Ingredients

1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 Cup Raw Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame oil
1 Lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons Tamari (low sodium, gluten free)
1 Teaspoon Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Water
Optional: 1/2 Teaspoon Siracha Chili Sauce, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Place Ginger and Garlic in a pestal and mortar and mash into a paste.
  2. In a small bowl, combine mashed ginger and garlic with remaining ingredients.
  3. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps for up to one week.
Ginger and Garlic Paste

Mashing ginger and garlic allows it to be more smoothly incorporated into the sauce. Alternatively, all ingredients can be placed in a food processor and blended until smooth and creamy.

Asian Pork Tenderloin

This easy marinated pork can be either grilled or roasted in the oven making it a versatile year round dish. Grilling on is my preference. It imparts a subtle smokey complexity.

I like to serve as hot with stir fried vegetables and noodles or rice. It is also excellent cold and sliced thin for sandwiches and wraps, or incorporated in dishes such as pork fried rice.

Ingredients

2 - 2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Sesame Oil
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce
1 Large Lemon, juiced
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons Ginger Root, grated
1 Tablespoon Dry Mustard

Instructions

  1. Place pork tenderloin in a shallow dish.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients. Pour over pork, turning to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove pork from marinade. Discard marinade.
  5. Preheat oven or grill to 450 degrees.
  6. If using the oven, place pork in a foil lined oven safe dish. This will help with clean up when the marinade carmelizes during cooking. If grilling, pork will be placed directly on the grill grates.
  7. Cook for 25 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees. If grilling, turn roast 1/2 way through cooking time to insure consistent cooking and browning.
  8. Let pork rest for 10 minutes before carving to seal in juices.

Basic Marinara Sauce

This recipe is for a very basic marinara sauce done in a large batch style. It can stand alone as a dipping sauce (it’s quite thick), serve as a red pizza sauce base, sauce for lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant and chicken parmesan, etc.

I like to make a very large batch and freeze it in quart size deli containers. I typically use tomatoes from my garden either fresh, or frozen whole and thawed. When home grown tomatoes are not available, canned tomatoes such as San Marzano whole peeled can be used.

In this recipe I omit Oregano, which may surprise some. I find that it is very strong and can easily overpower the sauce, so I add it later, when I am using the sauce for dishes that are complimented by it.

This recipe is designed to be able to be reduced b 1/2 or 1/3 of the amounts here to allow for smaller batches with the same flavor.

Ingredients

12 Cups Whole Tomatoes, peeled (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Cups Yellow Onion, diced
1 1/2 Cups Carrot, diced
1 1/2 Cups Celery, diced
1 1/2 Cups Red or Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
2 Shallots, diced
6 Garlic cloves, minced
4 Bay Leaves, Whole
1 Cup torn Sweet Basil leaves
1 Tablespoon Rosemary leaves, fresh removed from stem
1/2 Cup Italian Parsley, rough chopped
12 oz. Tomato Paste
1 Tablespooon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until warmed.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, peppers, and shallots.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to brown and release sugars.
  4. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent over browning of vegetables.
  5. When garlic is soft, add remaining ingredients to the pot.
  6. Continue to cook over medium heat until sauce begins to boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow sauce to cook for at least 2 hours until carrots are of a consistence that they can be mashed and the tomatoes are completely cooked.
  8. Remove from heat and remove bay leaves from sauce. Allow sauce to cool.
  9. Using an immersion blender, food processor or regular blender, puree the cooked vegetables into a smooth sauce. For a chunkier sauce, just pulse a few times with the blender you are using.

Marsala Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta

Serves 6

This recipe is a mashup of traditional shrimp ‘n grits – mostly Creole with a nod to my Italian heritage. Polenta is more coarsley ground yellow corn vs. the finer ground white corn used for grits. Russ calls it a “heart attack waiting to happen,” because it is so rich.

I like to acheive creamy parmesan polenta using a slow cooker method. It saves all that stirring and it comes out perfect everytime. I typically get the polenta going about two hours before I start prep for cooking the shrimp.

After I have done the “mise en place” (everything in place – measured and prepped), the shrimp comes together very quickly. With the polenta ready by cooking in advance, the plating only takes a minute.

Ingredients

For the Polenta
1 Cup Polenta (I use Bob's Red Mill Organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
3 Cups Chicken Stock, plus more if necessary
2 Cups Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Parmesan, finely grated

For the Shrimp
1/4 Cup Butter
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1 1/2 Pounds Raw Shrimp, peeled and pevined
2 Tablespoon Dry Sherry
3 Tablespoons Marsala Wine
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
3/4 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 teaspoons Worchestershire Sauce
1/4 Cup Whipping Cream
Creole Seasoning to taste (go easy - too much will make dish too salty)
2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, minced fine, divided

Option for serving
Parmesan cheese, grated
Red pepper flakes for additional heat

Instructions

  1. Two hours before beginning to cook shrimp, place polenta, salt, stock and cream in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the polenta at the two hour point. If it is too thick add a little more stock. Cook for another 30 – 60 minutes until thick and creamy. Add in Parmesan cheese and stir until incorporated.
  2. While polenta is cooking for the last 30-60 minutes, gather and prep all the ingredients for the Shrimp.
  3. In a saute pan or wok large enough to hold all the shrimp, melt butter.
  4. Add raw shrimp and garlic and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Remove the shrimp from pan with a slotted spoon to a platter or bowl.
  5. Add sherry and marsala to the pan with the butter and shrimp juices. Cook over medium heat to cook off alcohol.
  6. Add wine and cook for 2-3 additional minutes to cook off alcohol.
  7. Add the stock and the Worchestershire. Add Creole seasoning to taste.
  8. Add in cream slowly stirring constantly.`
  9. Add in 1/2 the parsley, and cook a couple of minutes.
  10. Return shrimp to sauce in pan and reheat for serving.
  11. Serve in shrimp and pan sauce over polenta. Garnish each serving with a bit of fresh parsley. Top with finely grated Parmesan if desired.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Be warned, this creamy soup packs in a lot of calories. Most of the calories come from fat, and this does comply with the Keto diet if that is your thing. Fat is where the flavor is at! But it is balanced with highly nutrious vegetables and stock. Changing to vegetable stock and omitting the bacon makes this a hearty vegetarian meal.

I start this soup with a classic Mirepoix, the fundamental element of classic cuisine. Three aromatic ingredients (carrot, celery and onion) come together to provide flavor and aroma to stock, soups, sauces and other foods.

This soup can be made quickly on a weeknight. The recipe makes about 3 quarts of soup. It can be divided easily to make less. It does freeze well because of the emulsion of the cheeses into the soup and stores in the refrigerator for several days.

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons Butter
Drizzle of Avocado Oil
1 Whole Medium Onion, Diced
1 Whole Large Carrot, Diced
3 Celery Stocks, Diced
4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
2 Quartz Chicken or Vegetable Stock
8 Cups Broccoli Florets (fresh preferred, can use frozen)
8 ounces Cream Cheese
3 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Grated

Optional Toppings:
Additional Steamed Broccoli Florets
Cooked Bacon Crumbles
Cheddar Cheese, Grated

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat, melt butter and avocado oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven.
  2. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until onion is translucent. Stir frequently for even cooking. Do not brown.
  3. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1-3 minutes more, garlic will soften.
  4. Add stock and fresh broccoli. If using frozen broccoli, see step 5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes. Broccoli will be very tender. If using frozen broccoli, do not add it until the last 10 minutes of cooking time as it is already partially cooked before it is frozen.
  6. Remove from heat and blend with an emmersion blender or in batches using a food processor or traditional blender.
  7. Return to low heat and add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Cook stirring continuously until cheese are melted and incorporated into the vegetable puree. If you wish, use the emmersion blender to thoroughly incorporate the cheeses.
  8. At this point, the soup is done and ready to serve.
  9. Top with optional steamed broccoli, bacon crumbles and cheese if desired.

Seed Tape – DIY

You can buy Seed Tape versions of seed from many on-line catalog seed retailers and I now see it offered in local home improvement stores in the seed section each spring. The advantage of Seed Tape is that small seed types such as carrot, spinach and radish are properly spaced to reduce or avoid the amount of thinning you have to do when planting these tiny seeds straight from a packet. The downside of this approach is the expense. So I learned to make my own seed tape.

I’ve found this is great late winter, bad weather day activity. I can start “planting” my garden by planting the seeds in my seed tape substrate: Toilet Paper. Yep, that’s right, I plant my seeds in biodegradable toilet paper. I don’t want the expensive, extra layer, fluffy, quilted stuff for this job. I want that really thin, scratchy kind you’d find in a port-a-potty. It breaks down faster and saves money.

Later, when it is time to plant, all I have to do is bury the seed tape per the package directions with a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of fresh garden soil, water and wait for the perfectly spaced seedlings to emerge.

Seed Tape Supplies

  • Any kind of small seeds
  • Ziplock baggies or containers marked with type of seed tape to go in it.
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • Toilet paper – measured out in 2 foot lengths, very compostable type
  • Any Squeeze type bottle (you can wash out and use an empty mustard or ketchup bottle or find one in the travel container isle)
  • Funnel for pouring mixture into squeeze bottle.
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Toothpicks
  • Small plate

Instructions

  1. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and cook over medium heat until it boils and thickens.  Mixture should look opaque and cling slightly to a fork before dripping off. This will be your “glue” for getting the seeds to stick to the toilet paper.
  2. Let it cool and add a couple drops of food coloring if using. Adding the food coloring is actually optional, but it will make your “glue dots” easier to see. Pick a color that makes you happy.
  3. Using the funnel, transfer your cornstarch glue to a squeeze bottle for easier application.
  4. Using a 2 foot length of toilet paper, squeeze dots of cornstarch glue on the lower half of the strip.  Space the glue dots as directed on seed packet for planting spacing.  This is where reduction of thinning after planning is achieved.
  5. Place a seed on top of each dot.  Fold the toilet paper over and press seeds in.  Let dry completely.
  6. Store in a plastic bag or container until you are ready to plant along with the seed packet for planting directions and easy identification.

Notes: I typically use a plate and toothpick to handle the tiny seeds.. I put some of the seeds on the plate, and then dip the toothpick in a bit of glue to pick up a seed and then transfer it to a glue dot. Has always worked for me, but if you have better ideas or suggestions, please let me know.