Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roasted Tomato Salsa

What do you do when you have a table full of tomatoes from your garden??

You make salsa!  I love my Pico de Gallo recipe, but this time I wanted to try and give the salsa a more roasted flavor. so I simply took the same ingredients and tossed them in some olive oil, and roasted them in the oven until they were soft and a bit charred.  I then put them in a food processor with some lime juice and cilantro, and presto, salsa!  This recipe makes quite a bit of salsa, but it will keep for at least a week in the fridge, and it can be used for so many things.  It is great topping for fish or chicken, or stir in some black beans and corn for an easy side dish.  I like my salsa hot, but feel free to scale down on the chile peppers if you like a more mild salsa.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered
  • 6 hot peppers, stems removed (I used 3 jalapenos and 3 serranos, if you want a milder salsa, cut back on the hot peppers or slice the peppers in half and remove that seeds and inner ribs of the peppers)
  • 6 lbs tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Juice from two limes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • salt

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic cloves, onion, and hot peppers in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and toss with olive oil.  Roast for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.  You can use this time to chop and seed your tomatoes.  
  • Remove the dish from oven and add the tomatoes, season with salt.  Return the dish to the pan and roast the tomatoes until they are soft and somewhat charred, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool at least until the dish can be handled.  
  • Transfer the contents of the dish to a food processor (if your food processor is small, you may have to do this in batches).  If your tomatoes are ripe, roasting them will generate a lot of juice.  I used a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes, because if I were to transfer all that juice the salsa would be way too runny.  
  • Add the lime juice and cilantro to the food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency for the salsa.  The vegetables should be pretty soft, so it won't take long.  Taste and re-season with salt and/or lime juice if necessary.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CEiMB: Salmon Cakes with Creamy Sesame-Ginger Sauce (and a giveaway)

It's my week to pick a recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly.  I have chosen for the group to make the Salmon Cakes with Creamy Sesame-Ginger Sauce from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger.  I thought this recipe would be a good alternative to your typical crab or tuna cakes, plus I loved that the ingredients had an Asian flair with lots of healthy ingredients that I enjoy.

This salmon cake combines ingredients such as water chestnuts, cilantro, and scallions.  It uses eggs and whole wheat bread crumbs as binders, and the cakes are served with a yogurt-based sauce with flavors of sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce.

A few notes/changes to the original recipe:
  • I think that it is important not to chop your water chestnuts too finely or else you will lose that great crisp texture.  
  • Next time I may cut back on the bread crumbs because I found that the cakes did not hold together to well.  I had a hard time flipping the cakes without them falling apart.  Alternatively, I might refrigerate the cakes before adding them to the skillet so they will hold together better.  
  • I added a few tablespoons of chili-garlic sauce to the cakes to impart a bit more flavor and add a bit of heat to the cakes. 
  • For the sauce I cut way back on the amount of ginger that is in the original recipe.  Instead of 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, I only added 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and I still found the ginger to be quite prominent.  1 1/2 tablespoons would be way too overpowering. I also doubled the amount of soy sauce called for in the recipe, I wanted the sauce to have a bit more of a salty flavor.
  • I served my cakes on a bed of baby spinach, it went really well with the salmon cakes.
I liked the flavor of these cakes and I think that the sauce complemented them really well.  I would definitely make these again

Salmon Cakes with Creamy Sesame-Ginger Sauce  
      Yield: 6 servings (2 cakes plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce per serving)
  • 6 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans salmon, drained, skin and bones removed (I used boneless, skinless cans of salmon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped canned water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Chili-Garlic sauce (optional)
  • Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce (Recipe follows)

Salmon Cakes:
  • Remove crusts from the bread, break into pieces, and process in a food processor until you get a fine bread crumb. In a large bowl, flake apart the salmon with a fork. Add the egg and mix well. Finely chop 4 of the scallions and add to the bowl. Add the water chestnuts, cilantro, pepper, and the bread crumbs and mix well. Shape the mixture into 12 patties.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil over a medium heat. Add 6 patties and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil to the pan, and cook the rest of the salmon cakes, 5 minutes on each side.
  • Chop the remaining 1 scallion. Serve salmon cakes with the sauce and garnish with scallion.
Sesame-Ginger Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, or 6 tablespoons nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (I only used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce (I used 2 teaspoons)
  • If using regular yogurt place the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel. Put the strainer over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain and thicken for 30 minutes.
  • Place drained yogurt or Greek-style yogurt into a small bowl. Add mayonnaise, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth.

In addition to hosting CEiMB this week, I am also giving away an extra copy of  The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger.  I love this book, and I would love to be able to share it with someone else.  All you have to do is leave a comment here by Sunday, August 22 by 8pm EST telling me what is your favorite healthy recipe.  My apologies, but I can only send the book to residents of the United States and Canada. 

Thanks for checking out this post, and be sure to check out the Craving Ellie and My Belly blogroll to see what other members of the group did with this recipe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chickpea Salad with Summer Vegetables

When it is the middle of summer, and I am picking vegetables daily from my garden, sometimes the easiest thing to do is just to make a simple, refreshing salad.  Nothing taste better than fresh corn and tomatoes at the peak of ripeness.  They are sweet and delicious.  I've had a garden for three years now, and I have been spoiled.  Each year, tomatoes have been abundant.  A store bought tomato cannot compare with a tomato picked from your backyard.  For the most part, if it's not summer, I usually cook with canned tomatoes because they have so much more flavor than a fresh tomato in the middle of winter. 

This salad is simple and filling it is full of chickpeas and summer veggies.  The zucchini, shallots, and corn are sauteed briefly before being mixed in with cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, and feta cheese.  The whole salad is dressed with a light champagne vinaigrette and fresh herbs add some great flavor.  It is a great healthy lunch option.  You could also add some canned tuna to the salad for some extra protein.

Chickpea Salad with Summer Vegetables
for the salad:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cups of fresh corn, from 4 ears of corn
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

for the vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

finish with:

  • juice from half a lemon (optional)

To assemble the salad:

First make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl add the vinegar and Dijon mustard, slowly drizzle in olive oil, while whisking constantly to emulsify the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper, set aside while preparing the salad.
In a skillet set over medium heat, add the olive oil and once it is warm, saute the zucchini, shallots, shallots until everything is slightly soft, but not mushy, about 3 minutes. It is going into a salad, so you still want the vegetables to still be somewhat firm. Place in a bowl and allow to cool.

Add the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, dill, parsley, and feta cheese to the bowl, pour on the vinaigrette (whisk before adding to the salad if it has separated while it had been set aside), and stir the salad gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and if desired squeeze a half of a lemon over the salad and stir to combine. I felt that the salad needed a bit more tartness, which is why I added the lemon juice at the end, but that might not be the case for everybody.