Pico De Gallo

Summer is quickly coming to an end, and with that I’m in make-the-most-of-it-mode.  Before you know it, we’ll be pumpkin spicing everything, and we’ll be longing for the days of backyard barbecues and gorgeous summer produce.

This recipe for Pico De Gallo, a tomato heavy side to eat alongside almost anything (chips, tacos, burgers, etc.) is an ode to the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables.  Tomatoes are being harvested in loads, and these beautiful gems are at the peak of their freshness.  Speaking of tomatoes, I planted 9 tomato plants in my yard this year, and although they’ve grown tremendous and look lush (they even have gorgeous yellow blooms!), I’ve had zero harvest.  Not a single tomato. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

😐 😐 😐

In any case, the grocery stores and farmers markets are packed to the brim with these beauties, so I’ve been filling the hole in my heart (from this year’s lackluster garden) with them.

(Recipe adapted from Serious Eats)

 

 

Pico De Gallo

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds tomatoes, diced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, minced

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix tomatoes and salt. Transfer to a colander and drain for 30 minutes. Discard liquid.

Return tomatoes to bowl and combine remaining ingredients. Mix and taste. Season with additional salt if necessary.

 

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Roasted Tomato Soup

Here in the Midwest the weather has finally started to cool down and we’re entering my favorite season of the year, Autumn! I love everything about it- the colors, the cooler weather, the fallen leaves, the longer nights, and the abundance of fall-centric produce (think apples, pumpkins, pears, etc.).

The cooler weather has me wanting to cook things that warm our bellies and souls. I personally am not a fan of smooth soups (I prefer some texture in my soup; something about the smoothness reminds me of baby food), but tomato soup is the sole exception. I like my tomato soup unadulterated and free of unnecessary frills (oooh fighting words!). I prefer the flavor of tomatoes to shine. I’ve tried my hand at many recipes, but my search for the ultimate grilled cheese partner in crime has come to an end, much thanks to Sarah at Flour & Spice. Her recipe results in a soup that lets the tomatoes be the star (rightfully so).

So go ahead and start warming up friends, it’s only going to get colder 😉

 

RoastedTomatoSoupPic

 

Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a foil lined tray, combine tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until caramelized.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large cooking vessel. Increase heat to medium high, and add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add sugar, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick, add more of the remaining broth to thin it out. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings.

Marinara Sauce

I’ve been on the lookout for a homemade Marinara recipe for a really long time.  I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate more homemade pantry staples (although this recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes… you win some, you lose some, right?) and I’ve finally found a red sauce that I can call the sauce.  This recipe is very easy to whip up, and it is wonderful used as a dip (a recipe for focaccia, where I use this sauce as a dip, is coming very soon), as a pasta sauce, and even as a base for pizza. Another great thing about this marinara sauce is that it freezes wonderfully! I made a large batch and froze individual jars of sauce for later use.  Whenever I needed some, I simply left it out of the counter for a few hours, and voilà!  Marinara at your service 🙂   MarinaraPic

Marinara Sauce

Yield: 3 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

Directions: Heat oil in a large vessel over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, salt, and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and bay leaf, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are completely tender. Stir in butter and brown sugar. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the sauce until smooth.

Karhai Chicken

If someone were to ask me what my favorite Pak-Indo food it is, my answer would undeniably be that it is Karhai Chicken.  A karhai is a traditional Indian cooking vessel.  Consider it a sister to the Asian wok.

The northern parts of Pakistan are known for their amazing Karhai Chicken, and it’s made in the tradition karhai.  Tomatoes and a small handful of spices are cooked with either chicken or beef, creating a sweet, tangy, and spicy combination of awesomeness 🙂

Today’s recipe comes via my husband’s side of the family.  The women on that side of the family are known for their extraordinary cooking.  I cannot think of a single time where someone cooked something that was short of stunning.   So with that being said, I say you give this family-favorite a try and turn it into your own family-favorite 🙂

KarhaiChickenPic

 

Karhai Chicken

 Yield:  4 Servings

 Ingredients:

For Karhai Spice Mix:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

For Karhai:

  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into curry pieces
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Karhai Spice Mix
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 green chili, sliced
  • Pinch fenugreek leaves, optional
  • Handful cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

Make Karhai Spice Mix:

Combine coriander and cumin and grind until the mixture turns into a fine powder. Mixture keeps well in a jar at room temperature.

Make Karhai:

Heat oil in a large cooking vessel over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook until transparent.  Add tomatoes, red chili powder, and turmeric.  Cover and lower heat to medium, and cook until tomatoes loose their shape, about 15 minutes.  Be sure to stir once in a while to prevent the mixture from burning or sticking to the bottom of the vessel.  Once the tomatoes are soft, use an immersion blender to blend ¾ of the mixture into a thick sauce.

Add chicken, ginger-garlic paste, red pepper flakes, salt, and ½ cup water.  Cook until chicken is no longer rare, about 20 minutes.  Stir once in a while to prevent burning.

Add Karhai Spice Mix, ginger, green chili, and cilantro and mix well.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and allow Karhai to simmer until gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes.  Add fenugreek leaves (if using) and remove from heat.

Salsa

The last few weeks have been such a whirlwind.  We had just gotten back from Texas, and last weekend we flew out to California and surprised my family! We didn’t tell anyone that we were coming and surprised the living daylights out of everyone 😀 We set our son, Zuni, in his stroller in front of my parents house, rang the doorbell, and hid behind a car to watch their reactions.  Both my mom and dad were frozen in shock!  Although it was a short trip (3.5 days), it was wonderful nonetheless.

Now that we’re back and finally getting some much needed rest from travelling so much, I thought that I should share my trusted Salsa recipe.  The wonderful and talented Asiya shared it on her blog, and since then it has become a hit in our home as well.

 

 

Salsa

Yield: Approximately 2.5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until a desired consistency is reached.