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!
TOMATO & JALAPENO SALSA
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
Most days my cooking tends to lean towards healthier recipes that combine unexpected ingredients to create flavorful dishes. I love the deep and robust flavors combinations that are prevalent in Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Recently my cooking has reflected my current location and I’ve been recreating classic French and Belgian comfort food. But amidst all of this I tend to forget many of the classic flavors I grew up on. And once such dish is beef stroganoff.
This recipe is from Simply Recipes and combines tender beef with mushrooms and rich sour cream for a classic dish that is always good. Even when trying to eat healthier, I’m a huge proponent of using real sour cream since lower fat versions will not produce the same results. And do use fresh tarragon for this dish; the dried herb simply isn’t as flavorful or bright. Serve over a steaming pile of egg noodles and you too will be transformed back to the comforts of your childhood.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound top sirloin beef, cut into 1 inch strips
1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, minced
1 cup of sour cream, at room temperature
- Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium heat.
- Season the beef on all sides with the salt and pepper.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and working in batches add the strips of beef to the pan. Tossing regularly, cook until the beef is browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat the cooking process until all of the beef has been browned.
- In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and then add the shallots.
- Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.
- In the same pan, melt the remaining butter.
- Increase the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes.
- While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream to the mushrooms. Mix in the sour cream thoroughly but do not allow the mixture to simmer as the sour cream may curdle.
- Return the beef and shallots to the pan and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
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.
There is nothing like a perfectly ripe pear. Sweet and juicy, for me, eating one is a special treat. The only thing that makes a pear better is coupling it with a bit of salty and pungent gorgonzola cheese. In fact, I love this combination so much that both pears and gorgonzola cheese are kitchen staples. So these ingredients were my inspiration for my latest quick and easy “experimental dinner”. (“Experimental dinners” are what I affectionately refer to when I’m pulling together a dish for the first time). And after eating this dinner my entire family agreed that this meal was a success. Not only was it delicious but it was truly fast–as in I was able to pull all of the ingredients together and have dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes.
RAVIOLI w/ GORGONZOLA & PEARS
12 ounces fresh 4-cheese ravioli, cooked according to package instructions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash freshly grated nutmeg
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- While the ravioli is cooking, heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-low heat.
- When the butter has melted add the shallot and saute, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallots are beginning to soften.
- Add the pears and stir gently taking care not to break the slices. Saute for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until the pears are soft.
- Add the cooked ravioli to the skillet and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
- Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Divide the ravioli between four serving dishes then sprinkle with the gorgonzola cheese.
- Serve immediately.