Category Archives: Brianna

A Big Batch of Spicy-Sweet Salsa

Despite living in Arizona for nearly eight years now, I had somehow never made my  own salsa until a couple weeks ago. That batch was solid. It tasted like perfectly functional salsa. I made two pints and it was gone quickly. (We eat a LOT of salsa.) So I decided to take a swing at a more interesting salsa, and in a bigger batch.

Enter a Costco tub of sweet golden tomatoes:

IMG_2495I’ve gone to Costco with Colin’s family twice now, and I tend to bite off a little more than I can chew. The first time, I bought two half-gallon cartons of heavy whipping cream. I use a lot of heavy whipping cream, but it didn’t all fit in my fridge, so I froze one. As it turns out, frozen heavy whipping cream does not always defrost back into liquid heavy whipping cream. It was chunky and weird, and I wound up using it to make way more butter than I need. But anyway.

I bought this two-pound crate of golden tomatoes and a carton of ten romas, so I figured I better make some salsa. The golden tomatoes give it a bit of sweetness. I was out of serrano peppers, but I realized that I still had dried chile peppers left from that time I made mole. They worked great and gave the salsa a considerable amount of kick.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs golden tomatoes
  • 10 roma tomatoes
  • 1 red or white onion
  • 2 red/yellow/orange bell peppers
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • several sprigs parsley (or cilantro, if you’re into culinary abominations)
  • 4-6 dried chiles, depending on desired spiciness
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Put garlic, parsley, and chiles in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  2. Add 7 of the roma tomatoes, three-quarters of the onion, the bell peppers, and all but a handful of the golden tomatoes. Pulse to reach desired consistency. I had to do this in a couple batches because it didn’t all fit at once. (If you don’t like any chunks in your salsa, use all the tomatoes and the onion at this time.)
  3. Transfer the mixture to a fine strainer over a bowl. If you processed the salsa to be very smooth, you may want to line it with some paper towels/coffee filters. This step gets rid of extra liquid so that your salsa isn’t too watery. Let it drain for a short amount of time.
  4. Put the salsa in a pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, dice the remaining tomatoes and onion. Add to the pot.
  6. Stir in the vinegar, lime juice, and salt.
  7. Allow the salsa to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. The color should darken and the flavor will sweeten.
  8. Pour into jars and place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
  9. Put it on eggs! Impress friends and family! Eat it like a gazpacho!
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It’s pretty ugly and brown before it cooks.
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I now have three full jars. This should last us for at least the next two weeks.

 

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What I’ve Been Eating Lately

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Grilled mini portobello mushrooms stuffed with sundried tomatoes, spinach, sauteed onion and gruyere.
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Grilled artichokes
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Roasted cauliflower seasoned two ways. (I was making enough cauliflower that I needed two pans, so why not?) Left: curry cauliflower. Right: my usual. (garlic powder/paprika/cayenne/salt/pepper)
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Thai iced tea. One of the best things I’ve done with my life lately is buy a bag of Thai tea from Amazon. I brew a few ounces in my AeroPress and pour it over ice. (If you’re unfamiliar: http://www.amazon.com/Aeropress-Coffee-and-Espresso-Maker/dp/B0047BIWSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400537373&sr=8-1&keywords=aero+press)
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Mascarpone keto crepes, made with cashew meal.
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Homemade salsa (spiced up with a serrano from my garden! – and also a few from Safeway)

Chile Relleno Casserole – or Chiles Rellenos for Lazy People

I looooove a good chile relleno, but making it at home is a little more work than I’m usually interested in doing. Roasting the chiles; peeling them; removing the seeds without damaging the chile; stuffing them without damaging the chile; battering them without making a huge mess – it’s a hassle. A couple weeks ago, it was pointed out to me that traditional chiles rellenos are completely keto-friendly. And then I happened upon the idea of making it into a casserole/lasagna. Perfect. This recipe removes some of the more tedious aspects of chile-relleno-making and it is really damn delicious.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 large chiles, poblano or anaheim. I used anaheim.
  • 6 oz pepper jack, shredded. Trader Joe’s jalapeno monterey jack worked great.
  • 4 oz cheddar, shredded
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • chicken/chik’n, if desired. I used two Quorn chik’n cutlets.
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion and/or corn and/or tomatoes

Directions

  1. Roast and peel the chiles. If you have not done this before, here’s how. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Remove the stems and slice chiles lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Lay half the chiles out flat in the bottom of a greased 9×13 glass baking dish. You want to more or less cover the whole surface. If this requires slightly more than half the chiles, that’s fine.
  4. Mix together the cheeses. Spread the mixture evenly over the chiles.
  5. Add protein and vegetables of choice. I didn’t think to add onion until it was too late, but I’m sure it could have only improved matters. Corn or tomatoes would also be good.
  6. Lay out the rest of the chiles on top in a single layer.
  7. Whisk the eggs and cream together until foamy. Pour over the casserole.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until egg mixture is set.

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I would also like to add some unrelated photos to show off the tarts I made for a friend’s bachelorette party tonight. The crust is made of almond flour with lemon zest and honey. The filling is a combo of whipped cream, coconut cream, mascarpone, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla. I topped them with toasted coconut and berries.

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After taking this photo, I noticed that I’d missed a blackberry.

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Cauliflower Leek Faux-Mac & Cheese

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Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? Seriously, if I were in the habit of writing odes to cruciferous vegetables, they would all be addressed to cauliflower.

Last night I tried out noodle-less cauliflower mac and cheese. I was afraid Colin would object to a dinner that was basically just vegetables and cheese, so I added a bit of chicken and a light dusting of bread crumbs. I had leeks to use up, so those went in too. Colin gave it the seal of approval. And I keep going to the fridge to nibble on leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • One large (or one-and-a-half small) heads of cauliflower
  • Chicken or bacon, optional (I used two chicken thighs)
  • The white and light green parts of two leeks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk (alternately, 2 cups half-and-half in place of milk and cream)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice. I used 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup of a swiss-gruyere mixture from TJ’s.
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter or oil
  • Red pepper flakes, garlic powder, etc.
  • Breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. If using meat, place it in a pan w/ oil and cook through. I used chicken thighs in coconut oil.
  2. Chop the cauliflower small. I tried to dice it, as much as one can dice cauliflower. The pieces were most 1/2″ or smaller in length. Place in a pot with a little water and steam, covered, until fork-tender.
  3. Chop leeks thinly. Remove the meat from the pan and add more butter or oil if necessary. Saute leeks with desired seasonings.
  4. When the leeks are soft, add cream and milk/half-and-half. Bring to a low simmer, then add cheese and stir until melted. Turn heat to low.
  5. Chop meat and add it to the cheese mixture.
  6. Drain the cauliflower well. Spread it in a baking dish, then pour over and stir in the cheese mixture. Taste test; you may want to add salt.
  7. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Salmon Poached in Green Coconut Curry

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I had some salmon in the fridge that I was planning on throwing on the grill last night. But then I suddenly recalled one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever had, from a sort of hip pan-Asian restaurant here in Tucson. The salmon was poached in coconut curry, and it was wonderful. After that was in my head, grilled salmon sounded pretty boring. I glanced at a couple green curry recipes, but basically just winged it. Here’s what I did so that you don’t have to wing it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp grated lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • Basil leaves (I probably used about 15, because that’s what was left on my basil plant after some enthusiastic pesto-making the other day)
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Extra Thick & Rich Coconut Cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cube bouillon
  • 2 green onions, cut into long, thin pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
  •  2 (?) bell peppers, sliced thinly (I actually just used a couple handfuls of mini bell peppers, since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot(s), chopped
  • 1/2 lb broccoli florets
  • 1 whole salmon fillet
  • Rice or cauliflower rice, if desired. We ate ours as a sort of soup.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat a pan on medium-low. Add coconut oil.
  3. Once the oil is heated, add the grated lemongrass, basil leaves, and ginger paste. Stir until fragrant.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium. Add the green onions, carrots and bell peppers, along with the curry paste. Stir. After about 2 minutes, add the onions and broccoli.
  5. Once the broccoli florets turn dark green, add the coconut cream, water, fish sauce, lime, and bouillon cube. Turn heat up to medium-high.
  6. Once the bouillon is dissolved and the mixture begins to simmer, place the salmon fillet in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Pour the curry and vegetables over the salmon. You want the dish small and deep enough that the curry will completely cover the fish.
  7. Place in the oven for 10-13 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily. Serve immediately.

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This stuff is THE BEST. I put it in chia seed pudding, in protein smoothies, in keto cheesecake… basically, I put it in anything I can think to put it in.

 

 

Is Anyone Else Obsessed with Chia Seed Pudding?

Because I am. I’ve been making it with a half and half mixture of canned coconut milk and a thinner boxed coconut milk that TJ’s sells that’s more like soy milk in consistency. I add berries and cinnamon (and, okay, a little bit of sugar-free vanilla syrup). I am going to Mexico this weekend with a bunch of friends and am bringing two big jars of it. So if you need me in the next few days, you can find me eating creamy, delicious chia seed pudding on a beach in 80-degree weather.

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