Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fresh Cilantro and Lime Salsa

It's the heart of summer and the start of lots of garden goodies! This salsa is a fresh version packed full of crunch and flavor. It is a labor of love so turn on some music, brew some coffee and dice away. Believe me it will be worth every chop!

4-5 tomatoes
1/2 sweet onion
1 green pepper
1 lime
1 tsp of cilantro
1 clove of garlic
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Chop the tomatoes, onion green pepper and cilantro into a pretty bowl. Zest in the garlic and the lime zest. Squeeze half the lime. Sprinkle with a pinch of the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Grab a chip and test the seasoning level. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. If you like it spicy and desire a jalepeno pepper go right ahead, we're not that tough! You can serve right away or let it sit and absorb all the flavor. Either way it's amazing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

I am in amazement and can't believe I ever bought those ingredient filled buns at the store! 7 ingredients, 20 minutes or so and ta-da... hot dog buns! This is why I just love that God gave someone, back in the day, the ability and knowledge to figure out that putting certain things together could create something from nothing! This recipe was taken from a food blog that I enjoy to follow, Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. My wonderful friend, Johanna, who passed this recommendation onto me, is such an encouragement to me and is always filling me in on tips and recipes! I'm telling you, God has blessed me with some great ladies in my life!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2 TBSP yeast
1 cup plus 2 TBSP warm water
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3 cups of unbleached four (her recipe called for 1 1/2 cups each of white and whole wheat, but all I had access to was unbleached flour. They were extra yummy since all we usually eat is whole wheat)

Combine water, yeast, sugar and oil. Let stand 5 minutes. Add egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough. Knead with additional flour until smooth. Form a ball and press it out a bit. Do not let rise. With a pizza cutter cut the ball into pie shaped pieces. Cut the rounded dough into 4ths, then cut those four sections into 8ths, and finish with the 8th's cut into 16ths. I shaped them similar to the length of hot dog buns and space them out onto greased baking sheets. I only made 12. See below for a Cinnamon Roll recipe with the left over dough. Let them rest for a few minutes and then bake for 8 minutes. Cool and slice.

You can also make hamburger buns. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, shape each into a ball. Place them spaced apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

With the leftover dough, I rolled it into a square and spread with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Rolled it into a log and sliced it. Baked that for 8 minutes in the same 425 degree oven. I mixed up powdered sugar with a few drops of milk and a few drops of vanilla for a glaze. They were divine!!!!   

Spinach Pasta with a Lemon Basil Parmeasan Cream Sauce

The request has been made... some ooey gooey pasta dinner. The summer busyness has caused our kitchen to not be the place to be. Add putting a house onto the market to our level of busy and it's pretty much throw something in our tummies and move on. We needed a dinner. A yummy sit down and ooo and ahh over something "scrumptious" as my son now calls everything dinner! We were watching a cooking channel show about making fresh pasta and although this pasta is not homemade, we were inspired non the less. This meal is quick and will please all the people at your table, big or small!

Begin by boiling your choice of pasta in salted water

Olive Oil
1 onion-diced (I used a sweet vidalia)
2 cloves of garlic peeled
1 small zucchini-diced
1/2 small bundle of asparagus-diced
salt and pepper
3/4 cup of chicken broth
1 lemon zest and juice
1/3 cup of half and half
1/2 - 3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

While the pasta boils. Sautee the onion in some olive oil for 5 minutes on medium to low heat. You want them to become clear and silky looking without browning or burning.  Chop, zest, or toss in the garlic with the onions. (I broke up the cloves a bit and put them in whole. I pulled them out before I served it.) Add in the diced zucchini and asparagus. Salt and pepper to your own taste. Zest the lemon. Slice it in half and add its juice. Sautee for 5 more minutes to soften the vegies and combine the flavors. Add in the chicken broth and stir. Add in the cream and parmesan cheese. Simmer on medium/low until the sauce is thick and creamy. When pasta is ready, remove 1/3 of the pasta water with a mug and set it aside and drain the pasta as usual. You want a small amount of the pasta water to be available to add to the sauce after the noodles. This will thin out the sauce a bit and help it to cover the noodles. You most likely will not need the entire 1/3 of the cup. Add 1/2 the noodles to the pan of sauce and toss. Drizzle in just a bit of the pasta water. Add in small amounts of additional noodless until the noodles are well covered. Adding small amounts of noodles at a time will ensure that you don't run out of sauce and have too many noodles. Serve, eat very slowly and enjoy!!!