Chipotle Salsa

March 2, 2011

Abandoned on a desert island with just one food to eat for the rest of my life, salsa would be my number one pick, hands down.  I am a salsa fanatic.  In the spring, I choose which tomato plants to grow in my garden with salsa in mind.  Through the summer months, our refrigerator is filled with various forms of salsa: pico de gallo, roasted tomato salsa, green tomatillo salsa, peach salsa, you name it.  In the winter, I make salsa with canned tomatoes freshened up with fresh cilantro and lime.  There is almost no dish that cannot be improved by some sort of salsa.

Frustration over the mediocre quality of most commercial jarred salsas and the exorbitant cost of most commercial fresh salsa inspired the creation of Chipotle Salsa.  It is really easy and inexpensive to create great tasting salsa with basic pantry items. This recipe uses canned tomatoes, chipotle chiles, garlic, onion, cilantro, and lime.  Blend the ingredients until they are somewhat uniform, but still slightly chunky.  Serve the salsa over eggs, with tacos or quesadillas, pour it over chicken and bake, or eat it with chips.  There are unlimited uses for this salsa.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is definitely one of my favorite winter cakes.  Every year, I watch our satsumas ripen and dream of this dessert. I invent reasons to gather with friends, just so I can share this cake.  I am not to be trusted with this buttery, tangy, orange vanilla cake without many mouths with which to compete.  It is that good.  Make it quick, while satsuma mandarins are in peak season!  This cake would be great with any tangerine or mandarin.  We have  an overabundance of satsumas so that is what I use.

Upside down cakes are a new thing for me.  Nothing against the legendary pineapple upside-down cake, but it has never really captured my attention.  To be honest, I have a hard time veering from chocolate when choosing a dessert to make, especially in the winter.  This cake is so incredibly flavorful, moist, and buttery that I really don’t miss the cocoa  (If someone has an idea of how to make this better by adding chocolate, please let me know.  Though as is, I think it may be perfect.) Using real vanilla scraped from the pod infuses the cake with a serious dose of deliciousness.

To make this cake, start by thinly slicing the satsumas.  It is easiest to use a mandoline, but if you don’t have one you can use a knife.  Be sure to make the slices as even as possible.  Blanch the satsuma slices and then dry on a cloth.  Melt the butter, vanilla, and part of the sugar in the cake pan, then arrange the satsuma slices.

Gently layer on the cake batter and bake in the oven until the top is browned.  This batter is fabulous with other toppings as well.  I recently made a cranberry upside cake with this base and it turned out delicious!  This cake is best eaten the day it is made. It is delicious the next day as well, but the top gets a bit moist.

Read the rest of this entry »

Caramel Apple Tarts

December 20, 2010

Oh, it is a good thing to have a refrigerator full of caramel sauce. When I set out last week to make a pot full  of caramel sauce, I  truly  intended to pass it on to well deserving friends and family.  As the days wear on however, I can see the supply dwindling.  The problem is…  it is really good!  (If you don’t yet have a fridge full, check out my post on Edible Gifts! Chocolate and Caramel Sauces. ) First was the obvious, caramel over ice cream (which has possibly converted this chocolate faithful to the caramel side of the ice cream shop), then apples dipped in caramel (it’s OK to eat it as a snack then, right?), and then putting it all together for one holiday worthy dessert.   Tonight’s dessert was  part apple crisp, part caramel apple, entirely decadent and yet homey, the caramel apple tart.

This recipe has been sitting in my “someday I want to make” pile for over a year.  It was originally published in Bon Appetit magazine, May 2009 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito and originates at the restaurant, Baked, in New York.  Here is the concept: individual tart crusts, baked off in advance, then layered with caramel sauce, sauteed apples, and crisp topping.  These tasty tarts are then baked again until the sugary syrup bubbles up and the topping browns.  The original recipe suggests pairing these with Cinnamon-Rum ice cream (and provides a delicious sounding recipe- you should check it out on Epicurious).  I couldn’t manage the extra prep, so I topped it with good ol’ vanilla and a drizzle of caramel sauce.  No complaints.

Read the rest of this entry »

This time of year, many of us face the very difficult task of choosing the right gift for everyone on our list.  If we are lucky, we know just the perfect thing for each special someone,  a gift that will not only excite and surprise them, but will also be of good use.  Many times it is more challenging though.

Perhaps we don’t know the person very well or maybe they already seem to have everything they need.  Too often,we pick out a gift just to check it off the list.  The gift ends up having little meaning to us or to the recipient.  That is why, when faced with that dilemma, I generally choose to give an edible gift!

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: