Sauce

PIco De Gallo to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Let’s get this party started! I have several posts for Cinco de Mayo.

First, Cinco de Mayo isn’t, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day — that takes place on Sept. 16. Secondly, it isn’t even widely celebrated south of the border, though that’s beginning to change.

What Cinco de Mayo is is a largely American tradition, co-opted by alcohol companies, that’s based on an arguably miraculous military maneuver during the 1862 Battle of Puebla, when a ragtag group of Mexican militiamen defeated the invading French Army. It was a David versus Goliath moment and Mexicans on both sides of the border saw cause for celebration. Cinco de Mayo (Google)

May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – is a big deal in El Paso.  I think it’s an excuse to eat Mexican or Tex-Mex flavored dishes every meal for at least a week.  While enchiladas and tacos are good standbys I like to add those flavors to a regular meal.

I made a grilled pico de gallo and have used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Very simple to make and it adds a little spice to any meal.

In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], literally rooster‘s beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as shrimp, avocado, lime juice or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or firm fruit such as mango.  (Wikipedia)

Grilled Pico de Gallo

I like the lime. When the pico de gallo is used with warm dishes you can taste it just a bit. I like the acid. I have used red wine vinegar if I don’t have the fresh limes.

Now it is ready to use and will add such a nice flavor to eggs, veggies, or meats.  Here is one to get you started.

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Sliders with Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

This is my first time to participate in the Foodie Pen Pal.  It was fun to learn about another blogger and gather some things to send her that were of interest and some things to tell her about the area where I live.
The Lean Green Bean

I was matched with Angie.  Check out her story I Love Tangie.  She makes and sells homemade cleaning products.  (Like her own laundry detergent.)  She is into a recycled world to save our planet.

I must say I will read her news and try to be more conscious of my world.  I recycle what I can.  I don’t use spray cans.  But I did pollute the air with Aqua Net when I was a teenager.  In wild, windy West Texas you had to have something to paste that bouffant hairdo in place.  Oh my, memories!  We will save that memory for another time.

Even more exciting is the package I received from Krystin.  She lives in Edmond, OK. She has lots of opportunities for family entertainment in her area on her blog.  Last week it was all about Easter events for the little bunnies on the Saturday before Easter. Sell a Metro Home  I’ve learned a lot about Edmond, OK just reading it.

I need to go visit Krystin.  She also listed all the places for a little retail therapy nearby.  I thought Oklahoma was like the Drummond Ranch (Pioneer Woman) with miles of open space.  She makes it sound like she is surrounded by miles of shopping malls.  I can go for that.

She sent me a package with the best of Oklahoma “foody stuff”.  Some Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly for my spicy side; some bar-b-que sauce and gravy mix for a taste of great Oklahoma cooking, and some dried okra. (Cuz I mentioned I liked okra.)  If you haven’t had it, you should look for it in your whole food section of your Sprouts.  It is delicious!

Oh and did I mention she lives just minutes from an historic round barn? Aracadia Round Barn History   It’s on the historic Route  66.  Built in 1898 and restored in 1992.   This would be a great school field trip. It would be a little far for the kids in El Paso, but it would be amazing to see.  She sent me a post card with a little about it.  So I had to do some research on it.  You will find it very interesting – just like her site.

Edmond, OK Treats

Thank you, Kristyn for the great package and the geography and history lesson.  I’m always open to learning about something new and exploring new tastes.  I used the jelly in a Sweet and Spicy Cole Slaw for some sliders.  It was a great hit.  Here’s what I did.

Every other Sunday evening I meet with a Casa group (from my church) for a pot luck dinner and a study.  The pressure is on to come up with something good and different.  I’m usually counted on to bring a dessert.  This last Sunday I was in the mood for something different.  And I had made this pork which I could not possibly eat all by myself.  So I came up with this quick slaw and got some rolls and we had sliders.  I thought that would be different.

As it turned out there was no dessert.  We had fried chicken, Irish soda bread, a relish tray, stuffed mushrooms,  my pork and slaw and more bread and meatballs in a cream sauce.  We were all thinking heavy on the meat I guess.  It usually results in a rather well-balanced meal.  Next time I’m sure we will all resort to our usual offerings.  Normally we are very traditional.

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork Sliders

The pulled pork was so easy to make and smelled so good I wasn’t sure I would wait to serve it to have a slider.  But I waited.  I made the slaw to serve with these sliders.  Everybody loved it.

I used the Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly I got from Krystin (my March Foodie Pen Pal).   But you could use any pepper jelly or red chile flakes and Sweet ‘n Low for the sweet taste.  This is a quick slaw that sets up fast.  I think this would be good on almost anything.

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

 

Applesauce

Homemade Apple Sauce

I have seen recipes for this everywhere.  I thought…what is the big deal?  Its applesauce.  Where is the big benefit to making this yourself?  How much of a challenge could applesauce be?  Why all the fuss?  Accordingly, I had to try this and see if I could make it better.

Wow….now I get it.  This was great.  I don’t think I could ever use a jar again.  If you are in the small minority of people who haven’t seen or tried a recipe for make it yourself, you should give it a shot.

  • 8 apples peeled, cored and cut in chunks (I used a mix of granny smith, golden delicious and honeycrisp)
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar (I love those pre-measured and sealed sacks)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon peel
  • Teaspoon of lemon juice

Place in a slow cooker on low for six hours stirring occasionally.  At the end of six hours remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.  If you would like a finer sauce use a potato masher or immersion blender to puree.  I had it just the way it was and I can’t stop eating it.  I already need to make more.  This makes about three cups.

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Foodie Friends Friday

Beef Pinwheels and Gravy

Beef Pinwheels

Sometimes you just need a steak!  I was feeling like that this Sunday.  It was raining outside and I was feeling creative.  This is what we ended up with.

Beef Pinwheels with Gravy

  • 2lb. steak  1 ½ inches-2 inches thic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • String for tieing

On a counter or cutting board cut steak in half lengthwise and cover with plastic wrap.   Pound to ¾ of an inch think equal in all areas.  Use a rolling pin to ensure equal coverage.  Place three or four strands of kitchen string underneath pounded steak.  Season steak with salt and pepper.  Spread spinach and mushroom mixture equally over steak.  Top with cheese.  Press into steak.  Roll steak tightly into pinwheels and tie string to secure.

Preheat oven to 400.

Preheat an oven safe pan over medium heat with olive oil.  Sear steak on all sides (about 2 minutes a side).  Place pan into oven until meat registers 150-155 on a meat thermometer.  About 30 minutes.  Remove steak to cookie sheet and cover with foil.  Don’t put that pan in the sink!  Add the gravy mix started earlier to use all those pan drippings for sauce.  Slice roll into 1 inch pieces.  Serve with gravy over potatoes or rice.

For Stuffing

  • .5 oz fresh greens (spinach and kale)
  • 8 oz portabello mushrooms finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 clove shallots
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella

Sautee shallots and garlic in oil until tender over medium heat.  Add crushed red pepper.  Add mushrooms then greens.  DO NOT STIR.  Allow the greens to steam in the flavor of garlic and shallots while they reduce.  Reduce until greens look dehydrated over mushrooms.  Then stir and continue to cook until all water is cooked out.

 

For Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour to pan and stir to incorporate.  Continue stirring until roux becomes dark brown, 6-8 minutes.  Add shallots, garlic and thyme and soften for about a minute.  Add Worcestershire sauce and cook until evaporated. About a minute.  Add beef broth and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer until sauce has reduced.  About 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Add mixture to pan that steak was cooked in with drippings.  Heat over medium high and stir scraping bottom ofpan.  Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes until thickened and very dark.

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A Marvelous Mess

Sharing Salsa!

Sharing this week with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

I think a lot of people have wonderful family recipes that they never write down.  It takes a lot of time to explain how to make something you have made forever and make it clear and correct so someone else can make it.  This is one of those recipes.

I have a friend at work who has the most wonderful mother.  She is a dedicated mom, grandmother and great-grandmother.  She sounds like a lively lady and makes her daughter laugh a lot.  She cooks dinner for Nelda and her boys a lot of days.  I never had the pleasure to come home to a home-cooked meal, unless I got up early and got things started in the crock pot.  That is such a nice thing to do.  I always hear them talking about dinner as the day goes on, so I check out their menu selections.  Sometimes I get a good idea.

One day she shows up at the office with a jar of salsa her mom made.  I immediately had to come up with a meal to serve this with.  So I made enchiladas, rice, tostados and a salad.  I shared some of the salsa with my daughter too.  It was so good, and so much better than the bottled stuff off the shelf.  Very fresh and you know what is in it.

This would be easy and good to make for your party snacks.

Grama Jo’s Salsa 

  • 10 jalapenos
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 –  8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 -4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup water (maybe a little more)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt

Boil the jalapenos in a pan with a lid until they are soft.  Cut off the stems (leave the seeds in) before you put them in the blender.  Add the onion chunks, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic cloves, the water, salt and garlic salt.  If you want to cut back on the salt you can eliminate the 2 teaspoons of salt, but not the garlic salt.  Blend until chunky.  Don’t make it into a puree or you will have a salsa smoothie, Grama Jo says.

Put in clean jars with lids and store in the frig. (It won’t last very long around hungry spicy food lovers.)  It makes a lot.  Everyone is addicted to it.  Enjoy!

Thanks, Jo for sharing your secret recipe with us.

Fresh from the Garden Week-Okra Fritters

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

For This Week’s Cravings on Mom’s Crazy Cooking.

Summer is the only time to get fresh okra.  At our local farmer’s market you have to be there first to get any.  People buy it all at once!  I would share and buy just enough to cook up or maybe a little extra to freeze.  But noooo, they take it all.  This summer I am trying to grow my own.  I still won’t pass up any at the market, if I can get it.  I like it best breaded in cornmeal and pan fried.  I know that isn’t good for you, but it takes me back to my momma’s cast iron skillet fried okra and fresh Pecos cantaloupe for dinner.  Just a side for some delicious chicken fried steak and gravy.  Oh my, how good does all that sound?  I feel a cooking frenzy coming on.  I better keep writing.

These can be made with fresh or frozen sliced okra.  I have to give credit for the recipe to Paula Deen.  I have taste-tested this one with my family and it is good.  I did add the jalapenos and dipping sauce.  They just spice it up a bit, and my kids LOVE the heat.

Serve them hot with a baked brisket and a pot of beans alongside fresh sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe (icy cold).  Yummmmm!

OKRA FRITTERS WITH CHIPOTLE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon The Lady’s House Seasoning (see below)
  • 1 cup buttermilk plus extra for thinning, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups okra, sliced
  • 4 fresh jalapenos finely diced, seeds in for extra heat
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Heat the oil in a cast iron Dutch oven to 350° or until a small piece of white bread toasts in the oil.

In a large bowl add flour, seasoning, buttermilk and egg. Mix well together. Add okra and jalapenos to mixture and coat.  You may need to add a bit more buttermilk to make the batter consistency easy to spoon into the oil.

Using 2 tablespoons, scoop mixture into the hot oil. Constantly flip fritters to cook and brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Salt while still hot.  (May keep warm in a 200° oven while completing the remainder of the fritters.)

Place in a serving bowl or platter and serve hot.

A tasty sauce for dipping that I created is chipotle in adobo and mayonnaise.   Finely dice 2 chipotle peppers with the sauce and mix well with the mayo.  Make this a few hours ahead of time and let sit for the flavors to marry.

The Lady’s House Seasoning

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce for a Casserole

A friend at work, Nelda and I were discussing how the Food Network has influenced our cooking style.  I think it has improved my cooking and it has certainly made me more aware of how I can improve the flavor by using broth and fresh herbs and olive oil.  When I learned to cook with my mom, we didn’t use those at all.  She had 4 children to feed and the budget didn’t include all the extras.  Salt and pepper and maybe a dried bay leaf were her flavor enhancers.  She made good food though.  As time went by she began to venture out to try more and different things. I cleaned out her kitchen when she moved, her spice cabinet was still pretty basic.  There were more flavorings she added to cookies, cakes and pies than there were for savory dishes.

I was reading a food blog and there was a discussion about plain home cooked food and nothing would do but I was going to have a pork chop and rice dish.  I always stop at that thought because of all the salt in canned food.  I decided if I can make my own Suiza sauce for green chicken enchiladas, I can make my own cream of mushroom soup.  It was pretty good and satisfied my need for a good casserole.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce for Casseroles

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 ½ cups chopped baby Portabella (or button) mushrooms
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth or ½ cup broth/1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick skillet until butter has melted.  Add the mushrooms and shallot and add some salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms and shallot are soft.

Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes. (Adjust the liquid you add depending on how thick you want your sauce.)  Using a whisk add the broth and milk and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened.

At this point I use it as I would canned cream of mushroom soup (no need to dilute). I know and can pronounce all my ingredients.

Brown your pork chops (I like thin cut ones.) in a small amount of oil in a non-stick skillet.  Let them brown on both sides with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Remove to a prepared oven-proof dish.

I used the same skillet for the sauce as I browned the pork chops in, and sautéed the mushrooms and shallot in the oil and just added a bit of oil and the butter to melt before adding the mushrooms and shallot.

Sprinkle about ½ cup white rice over the pork chops and add the sauce.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender.

I served this with steamed cabbage and a small plate with radishes and onions from my garden.

 

Another Football Must Have

This is not my original recipe.  This comes from one of may favorite Food Network ladies, Ellie Krieger. For a low-fat alternative at your Super Bowl Party give this a try.  I think the flavor is what we are going for, and it should be here in these wings.  I like Ellie Krieger’s recipes.  I think this one is a going to become a favorite.

I think an oriental  bar-b-que flavor would be a good alternative to ribs, if getting that sauce all over your fingers is what you are into.

Broiled Buffalo Wings

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, split at the joints, tips removed
  • ¼ cup cayenne pepper sauce (Frank’s Red Hot, plus more for dipping)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large ribs celery, cut into sticks
  • 1 recipe Blue Cheese Dip (recipe follows)

Place the wings in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the wings by about 2 inches.  Bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 10 minutes.  Drain well.

In a small bowl, combine the cayenne pepper sauce, lemon juice and broth.  Reserve

Transfer the wings to a foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan and broil 5 to 6 inches from the flame, until the skin begins to blister and brown, 5 or 6 minutes.  Turn the wings over and broil 4 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer the wings to a large bowl and drizzle with the reserved sauce and toss well.  Place the wings in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place under the broiler for 1 minute to heat the wings and sauce together.

Blue cheese Dip

  •  ¼ cup plain Greek-style non-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (low fat))
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (1.5 ounces)

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and blue cheese.  Mash any very large chunks of the cheese with the back of a spoon to integrate the cheese into the dip.

Make this up to 3 days ahead of your party serving date and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Allow to come to room temperature to serve with your wings and celery sticks.