Category Archives: jalapenos

Tomato & Jalapeno Salsa


Nothing completes a great Mexican dish more than a side of freshly made salsa. And despite what you may think fresh salsa is incredibly easy to make; so easy that you’ll never go back to the jarred version again.

I love to use grape tomatoes for this dish since they are so sweet, have minimal seeds and easy to cut up. If you prefer you can use another type of tomato but you may want to remove some of the seeds before adding them to the bowl. The same goes for the jalapeño pepper. If you prefer a more fiery dish there isn’t any need to remove the seeds before mincing the pepper. You can also add an additional if you like (I usually do).

This salsa is perfect with tacos or fajitas, as a dressing for a salad or filling for an omelet or as a dip for tortilla chips. Actually, it is pretty darn good regardless of how you use it. Enjoy!


1 quart grape tomatoes, quartered

1 jalapeño pepper, minced, more to taste

1 small shallot, minced

1 bunch cilantro,minced

1 lime, juiced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well to combine.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  • Stir well, add additional salt if needed and serve.

Yields: 1 1/2 cups



Meat & Bean Chili


Chili For A Chilly Day

Cool weather + the weekend + Sunday football games mean only one thing: its also chili season. No matter whether you like yours with beans or without, filled with meat or vegetarian friendly, in a red sauce or a white one, spicy or mild, this is definitely the season for chili. And in my house we certainly love chili of all kinds. White chicken chili, sweet potato and black bean chili and even a pumpkin and sausage chili mixed with macaroni are all good but sometimes a more traditional chili is in order. And when that is the case, this is my go-to recipe.

This chili is filled with meat, beans and vegetables and most importantly, packed with flavor. If you prefer you can make it in a slow cooker; simply place all of the ingredients in the crock, set the temperature to low and let it cook for eight hours. Or you can cook it as I do on top of the stove. Let it simmer on low all afternoon and by the time the game is on you’ll have a hot bowl of chili. Top the chili with cheese, sour cream and diced avocado and serve it with a side of corn chips or corn bread.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot thinly sliced
4-5 fresh bell peppers- I used a mix of red and green
4 small jalapeño peppers
1 lb ground beef (can substitute ground pork, veal, lamb or a combination of meats)
1/2 lb veal cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can corn kernels, drained
2 11.5 ounce cans beans- I prefer kidney beans
3 11.5 ounce cans whole Roma tomatoes- roughly chopped
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce- adjust based on preferences
3-4 tablespoons chili powder- I like Penzeys Spice Medium Hot Chili Powder– but adjust based on personalpreferences.

  • Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy duty pot and place over medium high heat.
  • Add the onions, garlic, peppers, carrot, and jalapenos to the pot.
  • Add the salt and stirring frequently, cook for 8-10 minutes until soft.
  • Add the meats and cook until well browned being sure to break up any larger pieces as you go.
  • Add the corn, the drained and rinsed beans and tomatoes with their juice and mix to combine.
  • Stir in the Tabasco sauce and the chili powder.
  • Stir, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low.
    Continue to cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to meet your personal tastes.
  • I let the chili cook on low all afternoon and it tastes even better when reheated the next day.  The longer the chili cooks the more the flavors will develop.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and sliced avocado if desired.

Serves 6-8

Chili Garlic Shrimp & Noodle Stir Fry


It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Shrimp are one of my favorite fast food finds and this recipe, adapted from Cooking Light. highlights shrimp at their best. Not only do they cook up quickly but they are packed with protein and their mild taste makes it the perfect companion for bold flavors. Before stir-frying the shrimp I quickly pre-cook them in a coconut milk bath. This plumps the shrimp and infuses them in a slightly sweet flavor that readies the shrimp for what comes next. Then a soy and rice vinegar sauce tempered with honey makes for a slightly sweet and tangy base for this stir fry while the garlic and jalapeno peppers add a bit of punch. Add in some crunchy vegetables and rice noodles and you have dinner in a bowl. Enjoy!


8 ounces rice noodles
20 ounces medium sized shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
1/2 cup julienne-cut carrots
1 cup green onions, sliced
2 cup sliced bell peppers
8 ounces baby spinach

  • Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and set aside.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a large wok set over medium high heat.
  • When the coconut milk comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the shrimp and set aside. Discard the milk and wipe down the wok.
  • Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat half of the canola oil in the wok set over high heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves and sliced jalapeño pepper; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove mixture from pan and add to the reserved shrimp.
  • Add the remaining canola oil to the wok. Add the carrots, green onions, and bell pepper; stir-fry 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the vinegar and soy sauce mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the noodles, the shrimp, garlic, jalapenos and spinach to the wok and cook for 2 minutes.

Serves 4


Pork Tenderloin w/ Blueberry Bacon Ketchup


I’m a huge fan of using fruit in savory dishes so when I saw this recipe on the Noble Pig website, I knew I had to try it. And when I saw that the blueberry sauce included a hefty dose of bacon, I knew my family would love it as well. After all, everything tastes better with bacon. And it really does.

I’ve increased the amount of bacon and jalapeno pepper in my version of the sauce which results in a richer and thicker blueberry topping, hence the ketchup moniker. With the brown sugar and vinegar the sauce is reminiscent of a chutney; mine is pureed smooth but you can also leave yours in a chunkier form if you prefer. My pork tenderloin is dusted with spices that both enhance the meat and complement the fresh blueberries. If you aren’t a fan of pork, the sauce would also be a tasty topping for boneless chicken breasts that have also been dusted with the spice mixture. However you prepare it, you are sure to love it. So fire up your grill and you are good to go!


For the ketchup:

6 slices thick cut bacon, diced

1/2 cup minced red onion

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon stone ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the pork:

1 1-1/4 pound pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon olive oil

  • To make the blueberry sauce: fry bacon in a medium skillet over low until slightly crispy; remove bacon to a paper towel leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
  • Saute onion and jalapeno in the bacon grease over medium heat until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the blueberries, sugar, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice and cooked bacon.
  • Simmer until blueberries have split and sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor; pulse until pureed. Alternatively, pour the sauce into a small bowl and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
  • Return sauce to pan so you can warm it slightly when the pork is done.
  • For the pork: coat a grill with non-stick cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.
  • Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  • Brush the pork with the olive oil and season the pork on all sides with the spice mixture.
  • Place the pork on the grill and cook turning every 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Brush a small amount of the sauce over the meat during the final few minutes of cooking.
  • Remove the pork from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Serve with the blueberry bacon sauce.

Serves 4

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

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This isn’t your grandma’s shrimp cocktail. Instead it is a fun twist with a spicy tomato sauce reminiscent of a chunky gazpacho. When paired with plump shrimp you will find yourself (and perhaps your guests) asking whether it is a shrimp cocktail or a shrimp gazpacho. Or maybe it is a little bit of both. Regardless of what you call it, if you are a fan of shrimp and like a bit of spice, it is good.

This recipe is inspired from one found on the Simply Recipes blog. If fresh tomatoes are in season, do use those but if they aren’t use good quality canned ones. I’ve done it both ways and both are good but there really isn’t any beating the flavor and texture of fresh tomatoes. You could serve this dish in traditional shrimp cocktail style as a first course or you could even serve it as the meal itself. Simply pair it with bread–corn bread would be particularly good.

So why not add these shrimp to your Cinco de Mayo menu?


1 pound medium shrimp, deveined and cooked

1 cup red onion, diced

1 cup peeled English cucumber, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced

1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes with their juices, chopped


1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1/3 cup cilantro, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce, or more to taste

Up to 1 cup of lightly salted water

1 avocado, cut into chunks

  • Cut half of the shrimp into large chunks and set the other half aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped shrimp, onions, cucumber, celery, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce. Stir gently.
  • Add the lightly salted water, one tablespoon at a time, until the shrimp cocktail has a consistency that you prefer.
  • Adjust the seasonings, adding more hot sauce if desired.
  • Divide into individual dishes and garnish with the avocado and whole shrimp.
    Serves 6-8

Roasted Tomatillo & Garlic Pork Chops


I stumbled across tomatillos at the grocery store recently and immediately scooped them up. After all I haven’t seen a fresh tomatillo in years. Or at least since I moved to Europe anyway. Maybe they are available in some European stores but not in the ones I’ve been shopping at. So when I saw these little green fruits, which can also be called Mexican tomatoes, I didn’t stop to think about how I would use them; rather I bought them before they disappeared. And then I got them home and had to decide how to use these precious fruits.

Tomatillos are covered in a light brown papery husk which masks its firm green flesh. Once you peel off the outer husk you are left with what looks like an unripe tomato in both texture and appearance. They can be eaten raw or cooked and taste a bit like unripe tomatoes with a hint of lime juice. In fact, if you can’t find tomatillos green tomatoes and lime juice make an adequate substitute.

Tomatillos are commonly found in salsas or in sauces to top enchiladas but wanting to take advantage of actually having these little fruit, I wanted to keep their presentation simple. My answer came in the form of a slow roasted sauce that I then used to dress up simply seared pork chops. Cooking the tomatillos helps them release their tangy juices when when combined with slow roasted garlic cloves, makes for a flavorful topping for any grilled meat. I left my sauce chunky, but if you want a more sophisticated presentation, puree the roasted tomatillos and garlic with a stick blender before adding them to the pan with the pork chops.


1 head garlic, skins removed

3 cups tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and chopped (about 8-10 tomatillos)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons salt, divided

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 boneless pork chops seasoned with

1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Evenly distribute the chopped tomatillos, whole garlic cloves and jalapeno pepper over the prepared baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper over the pan.
  • Tossing occasionally, roast 25-30 minutes or until the garlic is very soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Raise the temperature in the oven to 400.
  • Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet, or other heavy, oven-proof pan.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with the remaining salt, pepper and the garlic powder.
  • When the oil shimmers add the pork chops and sear on both sides until a brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Add the roasted tomatillo mixture to the skillet and place the skillet in the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 6

Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread


I love cornbread and this spicy version doesn’t disappoint. It is slightly sweet without being too much so and the addition of jalapenos and Cheddar cheese adds complexity and makes it decidedly more sophisticated than your ordinary cornbread. It makes a tasty accompaniment to a spicy bowl of chili or corn and vegetable chowder  and in warmer weather a chilled gazpacho turning your soup into a full fledged meal. And since I prefer savory to sweet when it comes to breakfast I love eating a piece of this toasted and topped with a dab of butter. Now that is good.


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 4-ounce can minced jalapeno peppers

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together the butter, canola oil, sugar and eggs until a thick slurry forms.
  • Add in the buttermilk and yogurt and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined.
  • Fold in the jalapeno peppers and Cheddar cheese.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown.
  • Let cool on a wire rack before slicing into wedges. The cornbread can be served either warm or at room temperature.

Serves 12



Jalapeno-Cheddar Fried Potatoes

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I’m always on the lookout for new side dishes that are both fast and flavorful so I fell in love with these potatoes adapted from Cuisine At Home magazine the minute I saw the recipe. They are so easy to make and are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or chicken. You can adjust the amount of heat by using more or less of the jalapeno pepper and even substitute other types of cheese for the Cheddar. Yum!

Japapeno-Cheddar Fried Potatoes

1 pound, red skinned potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup diced pancetta (optional)

1 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced

!/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Pre-heat the broiler.
  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.
  • Place the pancetta in a large cast iron skillet and cook over medium-high heat until crispy.
  • Add the oil to the skillet with the pancetta.
  • Fry the potatoes in the oil and pancetta, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the scallions and jalapenos and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese and place the skillet in the oven.
  • Broil for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serves 4

Cumin Chicken w/ Peach-Lime Salsa


It’s peach season and I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s an easy way to celebrate the bounty of fresh peaches that are flooding the markets. I’ve tweaked the original recipe from Cooking Light , adding additional spices to create a fiery yet sweet salsa to accompany the juicy chicken thighs. Use the ripest peaches you can find since their sweetness will be countered by the tang of lime and the heat of the jalapenos. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour but for more flavorful meat let it is in the cumin and oil bath for up to 8 hours. Leaving the skin on the chicken is optional but the skin grills up crisp and leaves the chicken super moist. In the words of both boys in my family, this is the best chicken ever.


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

8 garlic cloves, minced

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

4 tablespoons red onion, finely minced

2 tablespoons basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 jalapeno, minced (and seeded if you prefer less heat)

3 ripe peaches, pitted and diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Place the olive oil, cumin and garlic in a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken thighs, distributing the marinade onto all sides of the chicken.
  • Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but up to 8 hours.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the onion, basil, mint, lime juice, sugar and jalapeno. Add the peaches and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Stir well and allow to sit for 1 hour.
  • Half an hour before grilling, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and allow to sit.
  • Coat a grill with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  • Remove from the grill and serve alongside the salsa.

Serves 6

Grapefruit & Pepper Flank Steak w/ Grilled Tomato Salsa

photo 2-210

Grilling season is upon us and here is a dish that can be cooked entirely on the grill meaning no ovens or stove tops to heat up your kitchen. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t heat. In fact, this dish is hot, hot, hot. In a good way of course so if you like your food spicy this is the dish for you. The recipe comes from Saveur Magazine and has two layers of heat, first in the marinade and second in the salsa that accompanies the steak.

The heat in the marinade comes from a Scotch Bonnet pepper which is pureed into the sauce alongside along with the fresh papaya and grapefruit juice. The acids in the fruit juice temper the heat of the pepper but it is still hot. If you prefer less heat, remove the pepper seeds before pureeing or substitute a milder pepper. And of course you want to take care and protect your skin when handling the pepper since its oils could irritate your skin. The heat in the salsa is much more subtle. The jalapeno are grilled alongside the onions, garlic, and tomatoes which gives the vegetables a slightly smokey flavor. Top the steak with the salsa and eat it wrapped in a corn tortilla or place the sliced meat on top of a bed of leafy greens and using the salsa as a dressing. Both versions are great on a hot summer evening.


1 cup roughly chopped papaya
½ cup olive oil
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed
Juice of 1 large Ruby Red grapefruit
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ lb. beef flank steak, trimmed
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed
4 plum tomatoes, cored
1 small white onion, cut in half crosswise
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
Juice of 1 lime
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving (optional)

  • Place the papaya, half of the oil, the Scotch bonnet, grapefruit juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Using a stick blender puree the mixture into a smooth marinade.
  • Pour ⅔ marinade into a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add steak and seal bag; set aside to marinate for 30-45 minutes but no longer. Reserve remaining marinade.
  • Heat a charcoal grill to high. Place the garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions in a grill basket and place on the hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until charred in spots and tender, 1-2 minutes for garlic, 4-6 minutes for jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions.
  • Allow vegetables to cool slightly. Peel jalapeños and transfer to a bowl along with garlic, tomatoes, and onions. Add remaining oil, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Use a stick blender to puree into a chunky salsa and transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Remove steak from marinade and grill on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, and, using a brush, baste occasionally with reserved marinade until charred in spots and cooked to desired doneness, 10-12 minutes for medium rare.
  • Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest 10 minutes. Slice steak thinly on the bias; serve with salsa and warmed tortillas, for wrapping, if you like.


Serves 4-6

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