Tomatillo Salsa!!

If you haven’t used tomatillos before, they’re similar to green tomatoes but have an outer husk that you have to shuck prior to preparing. Enjoy this super healthy green salsa!!
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 pound tomatillos—husked and quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles or 1 large jalapeño with seeds, chopped
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves

In a food processor, combine the lime juice, tomatillos, garlic, serranos, onion and cilantro and process to a coarse puree.  Season with salt and pepper.

Kickass Shrimp Marinade

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano (dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
Also makes kickass grilled chicken.  Whisk all the ingredients and marinate the shrimp in a bowl or plastic bag for 30-60 minutes (any longer and the lime can start to break down the shrimp).
The hot pepper sauce really makes this and actually does not create as much heat but smoky flavor. Grill and enjoy!

Homemade Ranch Dip

I love Ranch dressing and dips, and my favorite dip used be a packet of mix and sour cream. Last year I realized that I couldn’t pronounce most of the ingredients from the mix pack, and realizing that the main seasonings are garlic and onion powder, decided to play and make my own cleaner version.

I use Greek-style lowfat yogurt, and sometimes mix in a little mayo if it’s on hand. Eyeball the herbs, keep salt low (the flavors will blend after a few hours of chilling), and change it up with what’s ever on hand in your herb cabinet.

For one cup of yogurt, I add the following:

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Add anything else. . . . I know many people add dried thyme, basil or parsley.  Mix and chill. Enjoy.

Shrimp Crostini

AKA as Shrimpy a La Jess

The easiest gourmet recipe ever.  You will be an all-star and it takes less than 15 minutes.

  • J’s Awesome Salsa
  • Fresh or defrosted medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • French bread or baguette
  • Olive oil

Heat salsa in a medium sauté pan over medium low.  Whilst warming, slice bread into slices at an angle and brush with olive oil.  Toast face down in a pan or place on parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven (each oven is different, so you may prefer to broil for 2-4 minutes or bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes)

Once salsa is hot, add the shrimp and gently cook for 3-5 minutes, or until shrimp is bright pink and fully cooked through.  Gently toss shrimp in sauce.

Stack 2-3 toast points on each plate and sprinkle paprika around the plate edges for presentation.  Top points with the shrimp and sauce and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Toasted Goat Cheese Ravioli with Red Pepper Dip

This is one kickass gourmet recipe that is super easy to assemble and bake. Ready in 20 minutes (including prep) and you’ll look like a super star to your guests.  And it’s healthy!  These also freeze very well, so you can stock up.  To freeze, spread ravioli out on a cookie sheet and freeze for 20 minutes before putting them into a ziploc or other container.  Enjoy!
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1/3 cup soft goat cheese with herbs (I like the herb & garlic goat cheese from Trader Joes)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar), patted dry & chopped
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 400° F and coat a baking sheet with oil spray.

    Arrange wonton wrappers on flat surface. Spoon a bit of the goat cheese slightly off-center onto each wrapper. Using your fingers, wet the edges of the wrappers. Fold wonton over and press to seal.

    Place wontons on baking sheet and coat with oil spray. Sprinkle grated cheese over tops.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes until wontons are golden and toasted.

    Meanwhile, make red pepper dip: place red peppers and sour cream in blender. Purée until smooth. Transfer dip to bowl and fold in basil. Season with salt and pepper.

    Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

    Thank you Gretchen Kennedy!

    • 2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon raw/natural sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    • pinch cayenne pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl; toss well.

    Spread chickpea mixture on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put in over, roasting 20-25 minutes; toss mixture halfway through. Remove from oven when chickpeas as dark brown in spots and cool.  Enjoy and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Angela’s E-Z Drop Biscuits

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).   In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Stir in butter and milk just until moistened.  Drop batter on a lightly greased cookie sheet by the tablespoon.

    Bake in preheated oven until golden on the edges, about 8 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

    Food of the Month – Sun-dried Tomatoes

    Just one ounce of savory sun-dried tomatoes added to your salad, pesto, soup or simply enjoyed on its own provides a boost of vitamin C, iron and fiber.  Such a little addition can do so much!

    You can buy sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil or vacuum-packed at the market, or you can dry your own.  Just half and remove the seeds (optional) of the number of tomatoes you want and whack in an oven at 200 degrees and wait. . . 6 or 7 hours.  

    So easy to do, and worth the wait. You control quantity, waste less, and can pick out the tomatoes to dry yourself!

    To your health!

    Grilled Baby Leeks with Romesco Sauce

    We absolutely adore leeks, a vegetable that looks like a large scallion, but imparts only a light, buttery onion taste, unlike its bitter cousin.  The leek is surprisingly versatile, and is excellent when roasted with other vegetables or poultry, or puréed for soups, such as vichyssoise.  
    Here is an excellent recipe featuring simple grilled leeks with a light and healthy romesco sauce (originated from Catalonia, Spain).  We did substitute home roasted red peppers as we did not have any jars in stock, and served this with marinated grilled chicken. The response was excellent!  Enjoy!
    • 1 small ancho chile, seeded
    • 3 tablespoons hazelnuts
    • Two 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette, toasted and torn into 1-inch pieces
    • 3 tablespoons roasted almonds, preferably Marcona, coarsely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 2 plum tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
    • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
    • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 16 baby leeks or thick scallions, trimmed
    Light a grill. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small heatproof bowl, cover the ancho with hot tap water and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain.
    Meanwhile, in a pie plate, toast the hazelnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Let the hazelnuts cool, then transfer them to a kitchen towel and rub them together to remove the skins. Transfer the hazelnuts to a work surface and let cool completely, then coarsely chop.
    In a food processor, combine the ancho with the hazelnuts, toasted baguette, almonds and garlic and process to a smooth paste. Add the tomatoes, roasted red pepper and vinegar and puree. With the machine on, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup of olive oil and process until blended and smooth. Scrape the romesco sauce into a bowl, stir in the parsley and season with salt and black pepper.
    Brush the leeks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until charred all over, about 3 minutes. Serve with the romesco sauce alongside.
    The romesco sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
    *Courtesy Food & Wine Magazine