April 17, 2013

Salsa Fresca

Couple month's ago I posted a recipe for these and the green pepper salsa was the clear winner of this dinner.
Last night I prepared chicken & pepper quesadillas and although I like quesadillas, I really wanted to make a batch of green pepper salsa again so I could snap a decent pic and post the salsa here and on my sister blog.

Traditional salsa is tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, red peppers (or canned green chilies), onions, lime juice and oil. Some are made with canned tomatoes (gives it that steamed in a jar texture), roasted garlic and peppers and while they are all good versions, I like the ones that use all fresh veggies. Europeans would call this a salsa fresca or a relish. This is so healthy and vibrant, it would add something terrific on something plain Jane.

Difference with this is the amount of green peppers and the secret ingredient addition of ketchup. I love tart but I am from the B.Flay school of adding a touch of sweet to take that rough edge off the tart.
Now that low sugar ketchup is available, it makes the perfect sweet to the lime juice and gives the sauce a slight thickness to it.
The Nudge loves the green peppers, so since both of us loved this salsa, it will be our go to all summer. I might just have to buy a bag of tortilla chips.

Salsa Fresca
makes 2 cups
* 1 very large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
* 1/2 medium green pepper, diced
* 1 large jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed
* 1 tablespoon low sugar ketchup (Heinz makes a good one)
* 1 lime, juiced
* 1 tablespoon minced cilantro or parsley
* 1/4 small red onion, minced
* salt & pepper to taste
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 6 shakes of Tobasco
* 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix everything on a small bowl and serve.

Ideas for using fresh salsa (besides Tex-Mex foods):
Spoon on top of steamed and cooled mussels.
Warm and spoon on top of grilled or roasted fish.
Add to rice and serve hot or cold.
Make a black bean salad.
Grill crostini and use as a bruschetta.
Add to macaroni and cheese.
Stuff into a chicken breast.
Bake it on bread for a change from calorie laden Garlic Bread.

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April 4, 2013

Carbonara Sauce

This is a post about the sauce. You can use any pasta your family likes or not.
How about no pasta but chicken or turkey? Maybe toss this sauce with vegetables, YUMMY!

Although there is no cream in this sauce, the eggs make a velvety rich sauce and the grated cheese takes it to another level.

I do know the correct way this dish should be prepared but I am slightly squeamish about undercooked egg whites. If I see them I will push my dish away. Every one has a food fetish, that is mine.

To make sure this does not happen I beat my eggs well, and then add in the cheese (you could also use just the yolks but it might be too much). All that gets tossed with the hot pasta (or not), bacon or pancetta, pasta water (or vegetable blanching water) and lots of black pepper. Some people will add peas or even asparagus, we like ours simple. If I want a vegetable, I will serve spinach on the side and have been known to make that, into a salad.

Serve with extra grated cheese. This is one pasta presentation we never tire of and The Nudge thought it was worth an extra helping.

Carbonara Sauce
makes 4 servings

* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup grated cheese, divided
* 5 pieces of pancetta, diced or 4 strips bacon
* 1 tablespoon reserved pancetta fat
* 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
* Pinch of salt
* Generous amount of black pepper
* 12 ounces fresh pasta or 8 ounces dried spaghetti

1. Beat eggs, half the grated cheese (1/4c) and cooled bacon drippings. Set aside.
2. Boil pasta according to package directions.
3. Pour egg mixture into large pasta bowl.
4. Using a spider or large slotted spoon, add pasta to mixture in bowl. Toss quickly to coat.
5. Place bowl over pasta water pot and continue to toss until the sauce thickens and adheres to the pasta. Add the pancetta (bacon), black pepper and pasta water to loosen the sauce. Taste for salt.
6. Remove pasta bowl from pot, sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bring to the table.

Happy Eating!!

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