Making every bite count

21 June 2008

Such simple salsas

Now that tomato season is here, those luscious red, ripe fruits are no longer verboden chez moi. All winter long, I shun the anemic, mealy supermarket tomatoes and long for the days when you can smell the tomatoes before you actually see them. Salmonella be damned. If you buy organic, local tomatoes, there is no worry. It's salsa time! Dear friend Katie in D.C. loved the mango salsa we made when I visited last fall, and she commented last week in a fluster. She'd forgotten the ingredient list! Guess what? With salsa, there are no rules, no recipes, no "ingredient list." Out mango version was a bit fancy: tomatoes, red peppers, red onion, jalapeno, mango, a bit of salt, pepper and lime juice.

I'm very fond of pico de gallo: tomatoes, white onions, a bit of jalapeno, cilantro or parsley and salt and pepper.
And tonight I made an "Italian salsa": tomatoes, basil, red onion, green garlic, red peppers, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. So good. (Photo above.)
I could eat sals plain, as a salad. But it also works as a pasta sauce (the heat from the pasta warms the salsa just enough to release the flavor.), a sandwich topping or a dip.
Salsa can be made with any vegetable, any fruit, in any comination. Roast the veggies or leave them raw -- it doesn't matter. Too bland? Add salt, a pinch of sugar or a dash of vinegar or citrus juice.
I love pineapple with cilantro, onion and jalapeno. Or mango with red peppers. Or tomatoes, green peppers, any onion, any fresh herb, and pretty much anything else you have lying around.
Tomatillos are great roasted and added to a salsa.
Add cucumbers. (Try cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, and onion.)
The list is endless. Mix and match what you like. Experiment. Fool around with some combinations until you find something that works for you. (ooh, I LOVE raspberry-chipotle salsa!)
Fat-free, fresh, raw, perfect.
Every bite counts.

PrincessVeggie is home tonight... cooking up a storm.

I'm taking a hiatus from my second career as a social butterfly to enjoy my fabulous apartment and my even-more-fabulous boyfriend. We spent the day at the Gaiam outlet (headstand chair!) and Ikea and made our place feel a bit like home. (Our mattresses are happily off the ground, and we've finally got a desk. I needed workspace to get the creative juices flowing again!)
Tabitha, my Little Sister, is here tonight for her first sleepover. After a busy evening spent cooking, we're (well, she's) watching a Disney Channel movie.
To say that my early morning Findlay Market trip was prodigious would be a serious litote, comme on dit en francais. $50 or so later, the fridge is bursting!
2 avocados
5 lemons
5 tomatoes
1 dozen farm-fresh eggs
1 bunch amethyst-colored "green"onions
1 head green garlic
3 zucchini
1 bunch basil
1 bunch cilantro
1 pint mulberries
1 bunch grape leaves
1 pint sweet pie cherries
1 pint strawberries
1 head butter lettuce
1 bunch of the season's final asparagus

(oh, and two homemade chocolate chip cookies to lure Fred from bed...)
This joined the produce leftover from last week--half an overflowing bag of rainbow chard and a head of organic broccoli.
Yeah, I'm a bit overwhelmed. Couple this with two separate batches of beans that I soaked today, and the kitchen was blissfully full of goodies! (Mark Bittmann just taught me that cooked dried beans can be frozen! Fabulous news! No longer will I waste dried beans or worry about hurrying to cook them on a busy weeknight. They're cheaper than canned, and there's no worries about the lining in the cans.)
Hummus is one of the easiest dips to make, and it's one of my favorites. Sure, it's on every menu and in every incarnation, (Jeff Ruby's soon-to-be-no-more Tropicana does an edamame version, how many times have you seen black bean versions, and even lentil hummus.) but it's a classic.
My co-worker Nicole makes really good hummus with lots of cumin and garlic. I made a version of that tonight. Tahini is the key to really great hummus, and so are really soft garbanzo/ceci/chickpeas.
More musings later...

03 June 2008

What I did on my break from blogging...

I've been busy...
enjoying the first berries of the season ... and green beans...
and gobbling up fresh asparagus. And we entertained for Mother's Day with an Italian feast: And I've perfected my romesco dip recipe. It's vegan!I went to the ballet. (Love that dress!)

Followed that up with a lovely homemade lemon-ricotta tart with raspberry sauce.
Leftover beer (Mt. Carmel stout) makes a great chocolate cake (vegan!).
And most importantly, I developed an addiction to tamari almonds. Recipes to come...