Summer Sangria

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The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here on the Central Coast. With already two weeks of 90 degree + weather, it feels like summer is right around the corner. Summer brings with it many things; long beach days, warm nights complete with bonfires, barbecues, cold beer and refreshing cocktails. After our warm days last week, all I was craving was fresh, homemade Sangria.  Continue reading

Garden Fresh Salsa

This summer, once my tomatoes started flowering, they took off. I couldn’t keep up with their ripeness, and kept making the typical meals in which they encompassed. Yearning a change from a salad ingredient or bruschetta, I decided to spice up an ordinary salsa recipe. Here’s how to make Garden Fresh Salsa…

Adding black beans to a salsa changes the consistency and taste. After reorganizing my kitchen, I found raw black beans I bought a while back. Never having made black beans from scratch, I thought doing so, and adding them to the salsa would be a great learning experiment.

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To make black beans soak a cup of dry black beans overnight. Put them in enough water (3-4 cups) so when they begin to expand they will still be covered.  In the morning, drain and rinse the black beans then submerge them in salted water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30-50 minutes or until tender. I added cumin, paprika and more salt to taste. When they are done, again drain and rinse and let cool until you are ready to add them to the salsa. Oh, the salsa you ask?!

What you need:

~ 2 1/2 – 3 cups diced tomatoes (locally grown) ~2 serranos ~3 garlic cloves ~

~ 1 small yellow or white onion ~ cilantro ~ 2 limes ~ salt/pepper ~ small corn tortillas ~

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Dice the tomatoes, serranos and cilantro and add them to a mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the mixture and set aside. These flavors will meld together and the juices will start to extract while you move onto the other steps.

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Mince the garlic and onion next. I’m not particularly fond of raw garlic and onion so I like to soften up those flavors. After you’ve minced them, put them together in a bowl, cover with olive oil and salt. Then, put them in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds (until you start to smell the garlic). Take out the mixture, give it a stir and set aside to cool.

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Once your beans are cooled, add them to the tomato mixture and then the garlic/onion mixture when it has cooled. Give the salsa a good stir and taste. Add salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed…everyone is different when it comes to this!

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To finish off the salsa, add another homemade touch with freshly fried corn tortillas. Cut the small rounded corn tortillas into fourths. Get a pan (cast iron works great), fill it halfway with oil, and turn the stove on high. Test one quarter first to make sure the oil is hot enough. (when you put the tortilla in, the oil should start bubbling and boiling all around it). Once it’s hot enough, throw about 6-7 in at a time, consistently flipping them over. When done, lay them on a plate covered by a papertowel to let cool.

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The salsa and chips make a great summer gift for friends, or are perfect for a backyard BBQ.

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Cheers! -L

Chili Verde

The Garden has produced an abundance of Anaheim Chiles. Eating them on their own are delicious, throwing them in with some Top Ramen (yes, so gourmet) is also quite tasty, but we wanted to do something bigger and better since having so many. Chile Verde was the winner! So, we picked the Anaheims, the Jalapenos, along with cilantro and onions. At the local market we got tomatillos, pork, garlic, chicken broth, heavy cream and lemons.

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Following recipes is not my forte, all the time. I like to add seasonings, vegetables, and spices that I think may add to the dish. For this chile verde, we seasoned the chicken broth with cumin, paprika, chili powder, lime juice, salt, and pepper, to taste. Skinning the chiles is an important part of this process. For an easy method, roast the chiles on skewers over the open gas stove flame then put them in a paper bag. When they’re all roasted, peel off the skin, give them a quick rinse and they are ready!

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Chop all your veggies and throw everything in a large pot filled with an already stewing broth. We used 48 oz of chicken broth and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Let this simmer and stew on the stove for a good 5 hours, or until cooked down into a nice, thicker broth. The flavors will completely meld together during this time, making an amazing chile verde.

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Serve with white rice, refried beans, and corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Cheers! -L