I’ve had some really good salsas lately that were fire roasted, so I decided to try making some. The key to making a fire roasted salsa is to roast the vegetables on the grill. The “fire” from the grill gives the salsa a delectable smoky flavor. (Okay, it’s really smoke from the coals that adds the smoky flavor, not fire, but “smoke roasted salsa” just doesn’t have the right ring to it …)
It’s very simple to do, really, but it makes for such a delightful-tasting salsa. So the next time you fire up the grill, I suggest tossing some peppers, tomatoes and onions on there and make up a fire roasted salsa. It’s the perfect healthy, delicious condiment to go with a good quesadilla (like this chipotle black bean quesadilla with avocado cream I made the other day), tacos, eggs, and so much more … I really love a good salsa and always have some homemade salsa in my fridge. This fire roasted salsa has totally won my heart. Strangely, it’s the simpler red one that I love the most, although the hearty Adobo salsa with cilantro and white beans is also lovely in its own chunky way. They each have their own personality, so to speak, just like sisters.
Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)
For this salsa, I peeled the tomatoes and peppers after grilling them, resulting in a brilliant fire-red colored salsa.
- 4 whole hot chili peppers (use more or less depending on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your salsa. Mine were super-hot and a brilliant red color!)
- 4 large garden fresh tomatoes
- 1 onion, cut in fourths (skin on!)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat up the grill and put the chili peppers, tomatoes, and onion directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
- Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill and let the vegies cool off until they are cool enough to touch. Pull the skins off the tomato and peppers and onion and discard the skins.
- Put the peeled vegies into a blender or food processor and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. If you want a smoother salsa, puree in the blender/food processor to your liking. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
Adobo Fuego Salsa (Adobo Fire Salsa)
When I made this salsa, I didn’t peel the peppers after roasting. The charred bits of skin add a bit of extra smoky flavor to the salsa.
- 2 large garden tomatoes
- 2 – 7 jalapeno peppers (adjust the number of peppers for how hot you want your salsa … if you want a very mild salsa, use bell pepper in place of the jalapeno)
- 1/2 onion
- 2 -3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cooked white beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
- A few sprigs of cilantro (just the leaves, not the stems)
- Heat up the grill and put the jalapenos, onion and tomato directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
- Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill. Do NOT peel the peppers, but do pull the peel off the tomato and onion.
- Put the tomato, jalapeno, and onion into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).
I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.
Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
- 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
- Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
- Cilantro leaves
- Optional add-ins:
- sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
- add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
- Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
- To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).
This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
My yoga friend brought me a little bag of tamatillos from her garden, but they weren’t that intense tart green like you think of when you see tamatillos–several of them had turned a light yellow color. She mentioned to me that she had cooked hers down and they were really sweet. That made me think of this tomato jam that Melissa over at ChinDeep had posted. In just an instant, I knew what I was going to do with the tamatillos.
I thought about making tamatillo jam, but I only had a few tamatillos and I have a huge box full of tomatoes from my Mom’s garden … so the tomatoes and tamatillos partied together in this spicy sweet jam. It’s a unique condiment … sort of almost like ketchup, but sweeter and spicier. Melissa suggests lots of wonderful ways to use it:
“Slather some on a toasted garlic bagel with cream cheese, dip your french fries in it, spread it on a thick slice of sourdough bread and top with gooey soft boiled eggs, place a little dish of it next to a cheese and cracker tray, use it as a sandwich topping with ham or turkey and fried onions, use it as a glaze for fish, chicken or pork. Top rosemary scones with a bit of chevre, tomato jam and crumbled bacon for a standing ovation.”
The only way I’ve tried this jam so far is on crackers with some cream cheese. That was wonderful. I have so many more things yet to try …
Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam
This is a cross between two of Melissa’s recipes: tomato jam and spicy summer garden jam. I did cut the amount of sugar considerably because the tamatillos really were quite sweet, and the tomatoes were too.
- 7 tomatillos (about 0.425 lb), outer shell and the stem core removed, then chopped
- 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1.7 lb after they are peeled and cored), then chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 jalapenos, chopped fine (use more or less depending on how spicy hot you want your jam)
- 1/2 cup sugar (or more, depending on how sweet your tomatoes and tamatillos are … )
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Chop the tomatoes and tamatillos and put them in a saucepan.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until the jam is thickened to your liking. I cooked it for about an hour and by then it was plenty thick.
- I pureed about 1/3 of the jam in the blender, then stirred it back into the jam. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Melissa tells me it will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
My friend gave me some cooked bulgur when we went camping together … in a way, I wonder if she gave it to me just so she could see what I would do with it. I brought it home. It sat in the fridge till I was nearly sure it must have gone bad already … and then, suddenly, I was craving Mexican food. Something with black beans and jalapenos and tomatoes and cilantro and onions. And then it occurred to me what to do with the bulgur: give it a KICK! I made this salad one day last week and munched, munched, munched all afternoon.
Last weekend my friend came up to my parents’ place for the first time EVER, with her hubby and youngest son. We ate antelope & venison that my dad cooked on the grill, dad’s garden potatoes mixed with peppers, spices and cheese and my tarragon roasted vegetables. Then the next day we munched on Dad’s fabulous fresh garden melons. I fed them caramel peach bread pudding, chocolate zucchini cake, and sandwiches made from the roasted veggies and grilled meat (yes, in that order).
And after we had eaten all of that, I remembered the bulgur salad. Everyone was stuffed, but I made my friend taste a bite of it anyway, since she had given me the bulgur. She loved it, so I sent it home with her.
I played around a little with stuffing a couple tomatoes with the salad for a pretty presentation … what do you think? (Vegies in the background are stray bounty from my mom & dad’s garden … it’s everywhere!)
Bulgur Black Bean Salad with Fresh Tomato & Avocado
This is a hearty, spicy, flavorful salad that you could serve as a meal all by itself.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur
- 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 or 2 medium fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno (use more or less jalapeno according to how hot & spicy you like it)
- 1/2 – 1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped (I only had about 1/2 an avocado, but I think the salad would be tastier with more!)
- Garnish: cilantro or parsley leaves and a slice of fresh lime
- Toss together the cooked bulgur, onion, black beans, and tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, honey, and cilantro (or parsley) until well blended. Gently fold the avocado pieces into the dressing to coat. (This will help keep the avocado from turning black.)
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to mix. Garnish with a twisted slice of lime and some cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.
This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Friday.
with smoked Gouda and bacon
So what do you do with leftover cornbread? My kids both love it, but they will only eat it when it’s fresh. Of course it’s best when it’s fresh and hot, but it’s still good later! … especially when it’s grilled cornbread. I opened up the container that I stored it in and I could smell that smoky grilled taste all over again … ah! It made a wonderful breakfast.
But still I am only one person … and I tire of the same thing over and over … what if we just work a little bread pudding magic on it?
Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding
- 2 cups cubed cornbread (the pudding will have a smokier flavor if the cornbread was cooked on the grill)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (more or less to taste … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapeno if you prefer)
- 3/4 cup corn (I thawed out some frozen corn, but you could use fresh corn)
- 1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes (or shredded)
- About 1 Tablespoon bacon, cooked crisp, and crumbled
- Chopped chives, basil, baby spinach, garlic scapes or other herbs of your choosing (about 1/2 cupful total? I just went out to my garden and started picking random things … my spinach is pathetic … only a few baby leaves to be had, but there are plenty of chives and basil and garlic!)
- 2 eggs
- Spray a small casserole dish or large oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and put the cornbread in the bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
- Sitr the jalapenos, corn, cheese, bacon, and herbs into the cornbread mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then fold them into the cornbread mixture.
- Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pudding is “set” (springs back when you touch it lightly right in the center). Let set for just a few minutes, then serve while it’s still hot.
This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.
My dad gave me some fresh fish he had caught when I visited last weekend, and he told me I must either cook them up by Monday or freeze them. Fish is SO much better when it’s fresh, so I cooked it up. My daughter loooooves fresh fish, but she wasn’t very hungry Monday night and we ended up with quite a stack of leftover cooked fish, part catfish, part Northern Pike.
So what do you do with a stack of leftover fish? Well, I often make fish tacos, but this time I wanted to do something a little different … why not a fish quesadilla? I tried it once. Pretty good, but not great. So I tried it a different slant on it … much better! … you are going to be so glad I waited to blog this because these Fish Quesadillas are SO good! The white beans and greek yogurt take them to a level beyond tasty. (That’s my own personal opinion.) I’m wanting another one already … gonna have to get some more tortillas!
Fish & White Bean Quesadillas with Pineapple Salsa
- 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
- 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
- Green onion (I used two)
- Garlic scapes (I used two)
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
- A few cilantro leaves
- 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- Cooked fish fillets
- Flour tortillas (whole grain is good!)
- Pineapple salsa (recipe below)
- First, make the pineapple salsa and set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
- In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese.
- Heat a skillet pan to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. While it’s warming, spread a tortilla with the cheese/bean mixture, then put flakes of fish all over half the tortilla. Fold it in half so the cheesy mixture completely covers the fish flakes. (If you want to make a big full round quesadilla, spread two tortillas with a thin layer of the cheesy mixture, top one of them with flaked fish, then carefully put the other tortilla on top (cheesy mixture down).)
- Put the tortilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, flip the tortilla over to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately with the fresh pineapple salsa.
Fresh Pineapple Salsa
- 2/3 cup pineapple cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped, peeled orange
- 1/2 cup chopped green & red bell pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped fine
- 3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons tequila
- Juice of 1/4 of a lime
- A small bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit for a bit to allow the flavors to blend. Store any remaining salsa in a covered container in the fridge.
I love popcorn … I love nachos. I had this really weird idea today … why couldn’t you combine the two? Who says you need chips to make nachos?
Well you can. The only “catch” is you don’t want them to get too wet because popcorn gets soggy easily, so things like tomatoes and salsa are probably not the best options for this kind of nachos.
I started simple. Just popcorn, cheese, and jalapenos. Then I added taco meat. Now I’m thinking about adding onions and what else could I add? Hmmm …
This is really simple. Make some popcorn. I usually use my air popper, but today I just popped my popcorn in a paper bag. Have you heard about that trick? Just put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a plain paper bag, fold over the top several times, and microwave it for 2 minutes. Quick perfect popcorn without fat, butter, added chemicals or preservatives or salt! It’s so much healthier and easier on your pocketbook than buying that pre-packaged microwave popcorn, and you can even reuse the bag, so it’s eco-friendly too.
Spread a layer of popcorn on an oven-safe plate or pan. Chop your jalapenos fine and dab them with a clean towel to soak up any excess moisture. Heat up your taco meat (and also dab that with a towel if the meat seems a little moist).
Sprinkle the popcorn with a light layer of shredded cheese, taco meat, and jalapenos. Try not to go overboard on the cheese or meat or you’ll overwhelm your popcorn. Sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Add another layer of popcorn if you like, then top with more meat, cheese, and jalapenos and another sprinkling of seasoning.
Bake at 350 for 5 – 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.