Posts Tagged ‘salsa’

Late Summer Salsa

August 29, 2011

In late summer, tomatoes are at their peak, so I try to incorporate them into just about every meal.  On my sandwiches, in my salads, as a salad, or in this case, made into a delicious salsa.  I used this salsa on fish tacos, but it would be good on just about anything!  Grilled steak, scooped over some crisp greens, or even just with chips.  It’s easy and delicious!

I used a colorful combination of grape, pear, and cherry tomatoes because I like their shape and they are easy to work with.  Store tomatoes on your countertop at room temperature.  The cold refrigerator can impact their flavor, but if you cannot eat them within a few days, put them in the fridge for longer storage.  I also used an avocado, which adds a creamy texture and rich flavor to the salsa. When choosing an avocado, give it a little squeeze, and if your thumb can make a slight indent, its ripe (or nearly so).  If it’s hard as a rock, choose another one, or else store on your countertop until it softens.

Late Summer Salsa

Makes approximately 2-3 cups

1 pint grape, pear, or cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters

1 ripe avocado, diced

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 lime, juiced

olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve as a dip, or over any grilled meat or fish.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.


Kids in the Kitchen

May 8, 2009
bday-081For the past two years, I was asked to serve as the “guest chef” for a program called  “Kids in the Kitchen”.  The event, sponsored by The Junior League,  is designed to teach inner-city middle school kids about nutrition and making healthier food choices.  In an era where childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes are at an all-time high, the program is much needed.
So, this past Monday afternoon I travelled to the Thomas Hooker School in Bridgeport, Connecticut where I was greeted by a room of fifteen “tweens” who weren’t really sure what to expect from this “lady in an apron”.  Naturally, their attention was piqued when I told them we’d be preparing snacks for them to eat.  When I added that they were healthy snacks, there was a low but audible groan throughout the room. 
bday-077I focused on snacks that were easy to prepare (and could be made ahead of time and kept on hand in the fridge) and used ingredients that were easy to find in any grocery store.  The snacks also had to pack a nutritious punch, but most importantly, taste good!  We discussed how it was very easy to come home from school and dig into a bag of chips, but how with a little planning, it was just as easy to grab some carrot sticks and the yummy black bean and salsa dip we’d be whipping up that afternoon.   Now it was time to get cooking!
The kids did a great job helping with all the preparation.  They mashed beans for two versions of  low-fat/high protein dips used for veggies or whole wheat pita chips.  They assembled and rolled healthy snack wraps, and mixed up a sweet but nutritious dip for fruit slices.  And then they ate!   Everyone had their favorites, but (thankfully!) they all agreed that everything we made was yummy.  The hope is that by learning a little about healthy snacks and being involved in their preparation, that they will go home and share the recipes with their families, who will all benefit from making healthier snack choices.
Have your kids help you make this simple but delicious snack!
bday-0851Black Bean and Salsa Dip
(Serve with carrot sticks and/or whole wheat pita chips)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup prepared salsa (any variety)
1 clove garlic, minced
Place the black beans in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. 
Add the garlic and salsa and mix.
Alternatively, you may prepare this in a food processor or blender, but the consistency will be smoother and less chunky.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

A Mid-Winter Black Bean Salsa

March 12, 2009

salads-034When I think of fresh salsa, I think of fresh herbs and ripe summer tomatoes at their peak.  March is a long way from tomato season, so I decided to play around with a different sort of salsa, one that doesn’t rely on the usual fresh tomatoes for its base.

This salsa also had another requirement; it had to be one that could easily be prepared by children.   You see, I had a group of Cub Scouts coming to take one of my Connecticut cooking classes , and they’d selected a Mexican-themed menu.  While knife techniques are an important component of my adult classes, I don’t love the idea of a dozen 8 year olds wielding sharp instruments in my kitchen.

Being that it is still winter here in the Northeast, I chose ingredients which are readily available this time of year, and (mostly) do not require cutting.  My inspiration came from a black bean and corn salsa that used to be sold at Trader Joe’s, which sadly, was discontinued.  By using canned black beans, frozen corn kernels, and a few other colorful ingredients, I created a tasty, no-cook salsa perfect for topping the Cub Scouts’ “Bear Cub” Burritos, but just as good alongside grilled chicken, fish, or steak.

My four year old cutting the scallions.

My four year old cutting the scallions.

There is no getting around cutting the red pepper, so I prepped that before the boys arrived.  As for the garlic, one of my favorite short-cut items is the frozen minced garlic sold in mini ice-cube trays (the brand I buy is Dorot).  When cooking, it is fine to pop the frozen cubes right into your hot pan, but for this “raw” dish, I thaw the cubes out ahead of time.  Just whisk them into the lime juice and mix right into the salsa.  The last ingredient is the scallions.  I chose scallions because they can be cut with a sharp pair of kitchen shears, which are safe and fun for kids to use.  I have a special pair of herb scissors with multiple blades that makes the task at hand even more fun for the kids, as they watch all the perfect little green rings drop into the bowl as they snip away.

This salsa is a great mid-winter addition to your next Latin-inspired meal…just be sure to let the kids help out!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 can canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels – thawed
  • 1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped (or, substitute ½ cup of chopped roasted red pepper)
  • 4 scallions (green part only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl, toss together all the ingredients. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or refrigerated for at least one hour before serving.

Note:  This salsa can be made up to a day in advance.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.