We had a salsa contest today at work, and I made my variation of this recipe from the Food Network. It turned out quite nicely and was very easy to throw together. I won for Spiciest (even though this doesn’t have that much of a kick) and tied for Best Overall. Yay!
Restaurant Style Salsa
Makes about 8 cups
2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles (I use Rotel)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large whole jalapeno, sliced thin (keep the seeds and membrane for spicier; remove them for milder)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1 whole lime, juiced
Place all the ingredients in a 12 cup food processor and pulse until well blended. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld.
For an early dinner tonight, I stopped by King Noodle House. They’re a pretty new Chinese place just up the highway a bit from us. I got a combo noodle soup with chicken broth, hand pulled noodles, meat balls, sliced beef, Chinese cabbage, and mushrooms. It was absolutely wonderful with the nearly impossibly long delicious noodles being the star of an outstanding soup. I’ll definitely have to come back and try some more of their menu! If you’re local, give ‘em a try!
My blogging has been rather sporadic, I know. I do have a good reason, though! A little side project, you see.
Shaun and I are expecting our first child, a boy, in early September. We’re thrilled!
This easy and fast side dish comes together in no time. The fresh flavor is easily customized for whatever you’re serving it with. I had some baked chicken, so I added thyme into the zucchini. Next time I might throw in some cherry tomatoes too. Very tasty!
The Cucina Fresca gnocchi are quite good – not quite as good as home made, but miles above the odd shelf stable versions.
Gnocchi with Summer Squash
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise then cut into half moons
1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise then cut into half moons
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt, black pepper, and thyme
1 10-oz package refrigerated gnocchi (I used Cucina Fresca)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
While the water is boiling, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When it just starts to shimmer, add the zucchini and yellow squash. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and thyme. Saute the squash until just starting to turn tender.
By this time, the water should be boiling. Add the gnocchi to the water and cook for 2-3 minutes. As they puff up and float on the surface, remove them to the skillet with the squash. When they’re all in the skillet, toss gently to combine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to lightly brown the gnocchi.
I hope everyone had a fun Saint Patrick’s Day! I went to Shawn O’Donnell’s for a great Irish breakfast: rashers, grilled tomatoes, O’Brian potatoes, fried eggs, and toast.
I got to see the Snohomish Country Firefighters Pipes and Drums, and generally had a good time people watching. The pipe and drum corp is marching into the restaurant in the picture below on the other side of that low wall.
Emma and I got in the spirit of the day.
After some other errands, I popped my little corned beef brisket (from the local and excellent Double R Ranch) in a dutch oven with quartered red potatoes, baby carrots, a quartered green cabbage, and enough water to just cover the brisket. It cooked covered low and slow at 275 degrees F for about 3 hours, until it was all tender and cooked through. Delicious! Emma enjoyed a couple little bites too as a reward for putting up with the headband earlier.
I got to make the baked pork flower dumplings that I intended to make last week with my spiffy new oven. I reduced the scallion to just one and upped the garlic to 4 cloves, but otherwise followed the original recipe pretty closely. I did measure the liquid going into the meat, and still found it a bit wet, which led to my dumplings being not quite as crisp as they could have been, but they were still outstanding! My version is below, and I’ll definitely make these again.
Baked Pork Flower Dumplings
Makes about 20 dumplings, serves 4
8 ounces ground pork
1 scallion, green part only, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 heaping tbsp grated ginger root
2 tsp minced Serrano pepper
3 tbsp chicken broth (I used a dab of Better Than Bouillon and water)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp lime juice
20 won ton wrappers
Soy Ginger Sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp grated ginger root
½ Serrano pepper, sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly spray two muffin tins with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion, garlic, ginger and serrano. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, oils, and lime juice, then pour the liquid into the pork mixture and combine well, forming a homogeneous mixture. Cup a won ton wrapper in your hand and place a scant tbsp of the pork mixture in the center. Gently fold the edges up around the mixture and pinch them closed around the meat. Place the dumpling in a muffin cavity. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Bake the dumplings on a center rack for 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the filling has reached at least 180 degrees F.
While the dumplings are baking, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
Serve the dumplings warm with sauce.
I got some excellent food this weekend and got my new oven delivered and installed! Yay for a shiny new functional toy!
Saturday’s Lunch: ribs, mac and cheese, cornbread, and coleslaw from the excellent Carolina Smoke in Bothell. I’ll have to make a trip back there to try the Friday evening smoked prime rib special!
Sunday’s Lunch: crispy seared oysters, dungeness crab salad, and Olympic Mountain Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream from Anthony’s Seafood Grill at the Alderwood Mall.
Shiny new oven (and me and Emma ):
I had other plans for my ground pork, but my oven disagreed and died on me. Drat. The baked dumplings will have to wait for another day. The stovetop still works, though, so I went for a quick stir fry. This turned out quite well, especially for me punting. Since I was just making it up as I went along, my measurements below are my best guesses for what I did.
Pork, Shiitake, and Snap Pea Stir Fry
Serves 2, or 4 if served with rice
8 oz ground pork
8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
8 oz snap peas
1 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black vinegar
Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium high heat. Add the pork and brown it well, breaking it up into small chunks. Remove the pork to a bowl, keeping as much of the pork fat as possible in the skillet.
Add a little canola oil if necessary to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the mushrooms, cap side down, and let brown for 30 seconds to one minute, then flip and brown the gill side for 20-30 seconds. Remove the mushrooms to the bowl with the pork.
Add 1-2 tsp of canola oil to coat the bottom of the skillet again. Add the peas and let brown for 45 seconds to 1 minute before tossing and cooking for another minute to brown on all sides. Remove the peas to the bowl, leaving any oil in the pan.
Add the sesame oil to the pan, then add the garlic and ginger and let cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant and just starting to brown. Add the soy sauce and black vinegar, and deglaze the pan.
Return the pork and veggies to the skillet and stir to combine, adding a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to help coat everything evenly. When the sauce has reduced to a coating on the meat and veggies, in 1-2 minutes, turn the heat off and serve the stir fry warm.
This excellent recipe comes from King Arthur Flour. I upped the spices a bit, used a full small can of pumpkin, and made them in my mini doughnut pan, so I ended up with 32 mini doughnuts instead of 12 large ones. The recipe on the King Arthur site has instructions for the original larger doughnuts, as well as muffins, and using self-rising flour instead if you’d prefer. I highly recommend these little treats!
Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Makes 32 mini doughnuts
For the doughnut batter:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 15-oz can pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
For the coating:
3 tbsp cinnamon-sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add the flour and stir until just smooth.
Spray a mini doughnut pan with non-stick spray. Add a scant 1/8 cup of the batter to each doughnut well, filling them most of the way.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the batter comes out clean and the doughnuts have just a touch of golden brown around the edges.
Let the doughnuts cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently loosen them and turn them out on a cooling rack. Cool for another 5 minutes, then toss in cinnamon sugar and transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Serve warm.