Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winter Salsa

Are you itching to get out there in the garden and put your hands in the dirt?  Tomatoes, and peppers, and herbs. . . I have plans this year.  There is something great about picking food from your garden and bringing it into the kitchen and making delicious dishes with it.  

I love tomatoes.  There is nothing like a freshly picked, garden grown, vine ripened tomato.  And one thing I love to make is fresh salsa.  During the winter it just isn't the same with the anemic tomatoes you can buy at the store and pay a fortune for.   So I have a solution for winter salsa urges.

Instead of fresh tomatoes I use canned tomatoes and everything else fresh.  And it's yummy.  You will need:

2 cans of tomatoes.

Add: a large handful of cilantro--chopped, a small red onion (or half a large one)--chopped, a jalapeno (or half a large one--add the seeds for more kick)--chopped, one clove of garlic--pressed or chopped,  A squeeze of lime juice, and salt to taste.  If you need more kick you can add a little red chili powder.  It's fun, try it.

Enjoy. If you really want to titillate your taste buds, make some guac to go with it.  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Linzer Cookies

Sweet tarts for your Sweetheart.  

This recipe has origins in Austria centuries ago.  And the original Linzer cookie wasn't actually a cookie, it was a torte made with ground almonds in the dough and filled will black currant  preserves.  But despite these differences, this modern variant of the torte is divine to eat and pretty to look at.


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup  preserves (Raspberry Preserve Recipe)

Cream butter in mixing bowl.

Add 2/3 cup sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.

Add yolks--beating well after each.

Combine flour and salt--gradually add to mixer.  Form a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Dust counter with confectioner's sugar.  Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness--cut shapes (I used hearts but you could use rounds or other shapes--be sure to have a smaller version to cut the "window" out.)  

Be sure you have an equal number of bottoms. . . 

. . . and tops.

Beat egg whites until frothy and brush onto bottom cutouts.  If you are using whole almonds process them in the food processor with the remaining sugar--the sugar keeps the almonds from clumping into paste.  sprinkle the mixture over bottoms--atop the egg white.  

**by not combining the almonds in the dough it allows you to leave it out should you choose not to use nuts.  You may also use ground hazelnuts. I have also seen hazelnut varieties that use Nutella as filling instead of preserves.

Place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 
6 - 8 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Spread about two teaspoons of preserve on eat bottom cookie. . .

. . . powder the "window" tops with confectioner's sugar. . .

. . . and assemble.

Present to your sweetheart. . . or eat them all yourself.  I won't judge you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Say "I love you" With Chocolate. . .

Raspberry Filled Chocolate Bars

I have a weakness for chocolate. . .dark chocolate. . . and raspberries.  So let's combine them and enjoy a moment of pure bliss, shall we?

You will need a chocolate mold.  I found this one at Williams Sonoma last week.  It is actually a brownie mold--but hey, it works great for chocolates!  (I have yet to make brownies with it).


Chocolate--to melt (I used Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet chips)
Raspberry filling (see recipe below)

Raspberry Filling:

You will need-

2 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbs corn starch
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine in pot and bring to boil.  Heat and stir until thickens.  

Press through sieve to remove seeds.

Cool completely.

For Chocolates:

Melt chocolate in microwave one minute at a time, stirring until all smooth.
Pour first layer into mold and freeze for five minute.  (Be sure to tap the mold to make sure the air pockets get out.)  

Paint chocolate around edge of mold so the filling won't show through on the sides.  Freeze a couple more minutes.  

Add raspberry filling (or peanut butter or whatever you want).  Freeze for 5 - 10 more minutes.

Pour top layer of chocolate--tap to remove bubbles.  Freeze for 10 - 20 minutes.  

Remove from freezer and dump out chocolates.  Then enjoy. . . or what for it to thaw a little, then enjoy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Simply calling this dish guacamole doesn't do it justice.  This "get this party started" guac.  This is, "forget the main dish--I'm eating the guac" good.  It is a tradition in our house to make it today. . . the day of the "Big Game."  And even thought it is also tradition to make steak sandwiches as the main course, I inevitably fill up on the guac and can't finish my sandwich--which is also divine.  

So with no further ado, you will need:

3 - 5 ripe avocados
1/2 a large red onion, diced
handful of chopped cilantro (about 1/3 cup)
1 jalapeno (if it's large I use 1/2) 
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste


Peel and smash the avocados. . .

Dice the onion. . . 

Dice the jalapeno. . . 

Chop the cilantro. . .

Add to smashed avocado along with the squeeze of lime and the salt. . .

Mix all together. . . and try to save room for the main course.  Or just plan on not having one.