Condiments/Sauces

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions

My seester gave me a jar of pickled onions she made and they lasted exactly 376,901 seconds.

Ok…more like a week. But nonetheless, I inhaled those pickled onions. Tart, slightly sweet with a bit of a crunch. They’re the perfect accompaniment to just about anything—

In sammies….

Over salads……

On top of barbecue…..

And my favorite, inside tacos.

Pickled Red Onions

So since I gobbled up the jar she gave me, I had to restock for Cinco de Mayo. My version is quick to make and you can easily add/remove any spice you like. Need some ideas on what to serve these purty Pickled Red Onions with for Cinco de Mayo? How about:

And yes, the bright fucsia color is all natural. Isn’t it lovely?

________________________________

Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar (more if you prefer a sweeter pickle)
1/8 teaspoon coriander seeds*
1/8 teaspoon peppercorns*
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 dried bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 pinches kosher salt
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2 circles

In a pot, add all the ingredients except the onions. Place the pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Stir in the onions and cook for 1 minute.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the onions with the liquids in a jar or container and refrigerate. The pickled onions are ready to be enjoyed after a few hours in the refrigerator and can be kept (in the fridge) for a few weeks.

*To release more of the spice flavors, you can use the flat side of a chef’s knife to slightly crush the coriander and peppercorns.

Advertisements
Condiments/Sauces

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa : Cinco de Mayo Countdown Begins!

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Alrighty Folks, it’s time to get organized because Cinco de Mayo is exactly one week away!

What have y’all got planned? Is the menu set yet?

Because if not–you’re in luck!

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

For the next week I’ll be posting muy delicioso menu ideas to ensure that your Cinco de Mayo festivities will be filled with good eats and thirst quenching cocktails.

To start off a fiesta, you’ve got to have chips and dips. I recommend dunking your crispy tortilla chips into a Roasted Poblano Guacamole, Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo, or this mouth-watering Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Because this gal is ALL about salsas.

I usually make my standard salsa using canned plum tomatoes. It’s super easy to whip together (thank goodness for food processors!) and I smother everything with it. Over grilled proteins (fish, chicken, beef), inside tacos and burritos and of course–with chips.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

I decided to make a small tweak to my go-to salsa recipe by swapping out the canned tomatoes with oven-roasted tomatoes. By roasting the tomatoes in the oven, it concentrates the flavor and adds a different layer to the salsa. It’s still easy to make but it does use a good amount of fresh tomatoes (they shrink through the roasting process) and you need to wait about an hour for them to get their roast on in the oven.

The salsa can be kept in the fridge for about a week and actually tastes even better the day after you make it as the flavors have time to marry. But let’s be honest, you and your peeps will gobble down this salsa so fast that I doubt it will be in the fridge that long.

And with that, let the official countdown to Cinco de Mayo begin!!!!

___________________________________

Oven-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients:

4 pounds plum tomatoes, cut in half, seeds removed
1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced in half
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
½ small yellow onion, quartered
2 scallions
2 large garlic cloves
1-2 small serrano chile peppers, seeds removed (depending on your preferred heat level)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon chile powder (optional)
2 pinches sugar
zest of one lime
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ bunch cilantro (about 1½ cups)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes and jalapeno in a single layer, cut side up, on baking sheets. Drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for 60-70 minutes until the tomatoes have become slightly browned and shriveled. Allow them to cool until room temperature.

Put the roasted tomatoes, jalapenos, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and the remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Taste the salsa and add more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. The flavors will intensify as the salsa flavors marry.

Pour the salsa into a container and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

 

Appetizers/Small Plates · Condiments/Sauces · Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

I am a French Fry Monster.

Those crispy, delectable, fried potato-goodness are my vice. But oh–what a glorious vice it is!

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

But seeing how it’s probably not the best idea for me to inhale my weight in fries (though I may or may not have tried before), I’ve got to find alternatives to get my crunchy fix in.

And these Oven Baked Portabello Fries fulfill that craving quite well.

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Thick portabello mushroom strips are rolled into an egg white mixture and then coated with toasted panko breadcrumbs. After a short tanning in the oven, they come out wonderfully crunchy and not the least bit mushy on the inside. And let me tell ya, these beauties are totally crisp. By toasting the panko and then baking the fries on a rather high heat, they’re able to get that wonderful crunch I love when I go to town on traditional potato fries.

Did I mention that they get dunked into a Sriracha Mayo?

You’re welcome.

ps. They’d also be fantastic wrapped up in tortillas with some Avocado-Cabbage Slaw to make some killer veggies tacos.
_____________________________________________

Oven Baked Portabello Fries with Sriracha Mayo
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Sriracha Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced parsley
kosher salt
black pepper

Fries
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
2-3 dashes hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
kosher salt
cooking spray
1 large portabello mushroom cap or 2 medium sized portabellos
½ teaspoon minced parsley

Whisk the first seven ingredients for the Sriracha Mayo in a bowl. Season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.

In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil. Toast over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown. Set the toasted panko into a dish.

In another bowl or shallow dish, whisk together the egg whites, water, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, hot sauce, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Take a wire rack and place it over a baking sheet. Lightly coat the rack with cooking spray.

Slice the mushrooms into long strips approximately 1/3 – ½ inch in width. One slice at a time, dip the mushroom into the egg white mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to gently press the breadcrumbs into the mushroom slice to coat well. Lay the coated mushroom slice on the wire rack. Continue with the remaining ingredients.

Spray the tops of the mushrooms with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip the mushroom fries halfway through the baking process and spray the tops with cooking spray before returning them back into the oven. The fries are done when they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with additional kosher salt and parsley. Serve hot with the Sriracha Mayo.

Condiments/Sauces · Vietnamese

Nước Màu {Vietnamese Caramel Sauce}

Nước Màu {Vietnamese Caramel Sauce}

 

Nước Màu is a “caramel sauce” commonly used in Vietnamese dishes. It offers a sweet, bitter balance to salty, savory ingredients and is often used in braised dishes with pork, shrimp and fish.

You can find a prepackaged version of nước màu dừa in the condiment/sauces section of your local Asian grocery store but why buy it when it’s so easy to whip up at home? Plus, it’s cheaper to make and you know exactly what’s in it. No funky mystery items that can often pop up in pre-bottled stuff.

Nước Màu is typically quite dark in color but I prefer to make my version a bit lighter than others as I find it can be a bit too bitter for my taste. But you can cook down the sugar to whichever consistency you prefer.

Once made, you can jar up the nước màu and store until you get a hankering for some down home Vietnamese dishes.

__________________________________

Nước Màu

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup boil water

Place the sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan around as it begins to bubble. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a dark brown hue.

Carefully pour in the boiling water. The melted sugar will violently bubble and hiss at this point so take caution. Stir the liquids and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes as it continues to thicken. Pour the nước màu into a jar and allow to cool to room temperature. The nước màu can be kept for several months, unrefrigerated.

 

 

Condiments/Sauces

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce

I make a lot of pastas and pizzas…. A LOT.

But I can’t help it – I’m Italian! Well, pretty sure I was in a past life at least.

So when a gal cooks a ton of pastas and pizzas, a gal has got to have a trusty marinara sauce that she can rely on. And I just so happen to have a great one that’s quite easy to make, especially in large batches.

Here’s how….

First, wrangle up some basic ingredients. A few aromatics, a couple of herbs & spices and of course, tomatoes. I prefer San Marzano tomatoes but any canned plum tomato will be fine.

Marinara Sauce

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and cook down some onions and garlic. Throw in some red chili flakes, oregano, fennel seeds and cook for an additional minute or two.

Marinara Sauce

While the aromatics are doing their magic, crush up a few cans of tomatoes. And because it’s fun to play with your food, I use my hands to do this.

Marinara Sauce

Add the crushed tomatoes and the juices to the pot and stir in some chopped Italian parsley and bay leaves.

Marinara Sauce

Simmer the ingredients, partially covered until it has reduced and thickened.

Marinara Sauce

Add the basil and puree the ingredients until smooth. Season with additional salt, pepper and that’s it!

Marinara Sauce

Simple to make and a delicious addition to any recipe that calls for a marinara. The sauce also freezes beautifully so you can always have it on hand.

Marinara Sauce

Told ya it was easy.

_____________________________

Marinara Sauce
Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 28-ounce cans whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes (or standard plum tomatoes)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar, as needed

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until they have become soft and translucent. Stir in the red chili flakes, oregano, fennel seeds and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

While the aromatics cook, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl with its juices. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes and discard any tough core pieces that may remain. Pour the crushed tomatoes and juices into the pot. Stir in the parsley and bay leaves. Allow the contents to come to a soft boil. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered.

Allow the sauce to simmer for 30-40 minutes, occasionally stirring. Once the sauce has thickened and reduced, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender (or standard blender), puree the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Depending on the tomatoes, you may need to add a bit of sugar to cut down some of the acidity.

The sauce can be used immediately or can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 3 days. You may also freeze the sauce for up to a few months, however, this recipe is not intended for pressure canning/jarring. Pressure canning/jarring recipes require a high amount of acidity to avoid harmful bacteria.

Condiments/Sauces · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Caprese Sandwiches

I recently had a two week stint gorging myself on fresh, sweet, summer heirloom tomatoes. I just couldn’t help it–DELICIOUS and so colorful!

I had to take advantage of the few short weeks left of summer when these beauties are best here in San Diego and enjoyed them in salads, over pizzas, as a condiment (pico de gallo), as a light side dish and of course– in sandwiches.

Caprese Sandwiches

One of my fav go-to “salads” is Insalata Caprese which usually consists of tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and olive oil. I also like to serve them as appetizers by making little caprese skewers and use sweet grape tomatoes instead of tomato slices.

Caprese Sandwiches

For a light lunch, I grabbed a few heirlooms I had picked up earlier that morning to make Caprese Sandwiches. These sammies have all of the traditional fixins’ of Insalata Caprese with the addition of a rich and thick reduction of balsamic vinegar. The reduction adds a light sweetness and acidity to the sandwich which pairs so well with the cool tomatoes, velvety mozzarella and floral basil.

Total winner and can be whipped up Lickety- Split…..

In a jiffy……

In a blink of the eye……

In the speed of light…..

In no time flat……

……… Really fast. You get the point.

Did I mention these would be FAB for picnics?

______________________________________________________________

Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 pinches sugar
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 ciabatta rolls, toasted (or bread of your choice)
8-10 fresh whole basil leaves, washed and dried
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
sea salt or kosher salt

In a small sauce pan, add the vinegar, sugar and chili flakes. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Continue stirring and cooking until the liquids have reduced by half and take on the a thick, syrup consistency. Be sure to watch the reduction closely as it can burn quickly. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Slice each of the toasted rolls in half. Place half of the basil leaves on the bottom piece of bread and top with a few slices of cheese. Drizzle some of the balsamic vinegar reduction over the mozzarella and top with slices of tomato. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over the tomatoes and place the other 1/2 of the roll on top. Enjoy!

Beef · Condiments/Sauces · Pork · Sponsored

Double Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburgers with Roasted Poblano Aioli

Double Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers

Summer has been beating down my door lately with gorgeous sunny days and warm weather. And of course, what’s better to do in the summer than grilling up some delicious eats?

So when this glorious box of Farmer John Jalapeno Bacon showed up at the doorstep, it was a no brainer what had to be done.

Jalapeno Bacon

Burgers.

Ultimate, jalapeno bacon loaded burgers.

With a bit of heat.

Awwww yea….

Double Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers

These decadent burgers are not only topped with a pile of crispy jalapeno bacon but there’s also chopped up bacon INSIDE the patty!!

Yea, I totally went there.

Poblano

And because burgers are the perfect canvas to go BIG, I dressed these bad boys up with spicy pepper cheese, crispy cornmeal onion strings, peppery arugula and a creamy roasted poblano aioli.

Double Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers

These burgers not only have a ton of great textures, a balanced level of heat, but were ultimately bacon-licious! The jalapeno component to the bacon was not at all overpowering but rather mild. Perfect for folks who just want a tad of heat.

And if you think these burgers are bacon-riffic, just wait for my upcoming post on Jalapeño-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries!

Have a fantastic weekend folks!!
________________________
Double Jalapeño-Bacon Cheeseburgers with Roasted Poblano Aioli
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large poblano pepper
½ tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
kosher salt
black pepper
1 pound ground beef (80/20 blend)
½ tablespoon garlic salt
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 pound cooked jalapeno bacon
vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings
½ cup flour
½ cup yellow corn meal
4 slices pepper jack cheese
1½ cups fresh arugula
4 burger buns, split and toasted

Prepare the aioli. On your stovetop range, char the poblano pepper on all sides. This can also be done under your oven broiler. Once charred, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. This will help the skin loosen from the pepper. Once cooled, peel the skin from the pepper and discard along with the stem and seeds. Finely chop up the pepper and transfer to a clean bowl. Whisk in the garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and cilantro. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and Worcestershire. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Take ½ of the bacon and roughly chop into small pieces. Add the bacon to the beef and mix until just combined. Form the meat into 4 patties and create a small indentation in the center of each patty. This is to help the patties from puffing up. Transfer them to a plate and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the onion strings. Fill a heavy bottomed pot with 2 inches of oil. Heat to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. In batches, place the onions into the dry ingredients, tossing well to coat. Gently shake out the excess and carefully lower into the oil. Fry the onions for about 5-6 minutes, stirring every so often until golden brown. Drain the onions on a plate lined with paper towels and season immediately with additional salt. Repeat until all the onions have been fried. Transfer the onion strings to a large baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200 degree F oven while you grill the patties.

Remove the patties from the refrigerator and lightly brush them with vegetable oil. Light your grill (or preheat grill pan). Place the patties over medium heat and grill on each side for about 4-5 minutes. About 1-2 minutes before the second side is done, lay one slice of cheese over each patty. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese has melted. Remove the patties and tent with aluminum foil while you’re assembling the burgers.

On a toasted bun, place a small mound of the arugula and then lay a patty on top. Spread a few spoonfuls of the aioli on top of the patty before adding a few strips of the remaining bacon. Next, add a small pile of the crispy onion strings and then top off with the other side of the bun. Serve immediately.

 **Disclosure: I did receive products from Farmer John, but as always, my opinions are my own.**