Spicy Blackened Tomato Sauce

This recipe makes about 4 pints of spicy, flavorful tomato sauce.  I had a grab bag of fresh-from- the-garden tomatoes (Thanks, Mom!) like plum, cherry and regular so feel free to use whatever you have.  I kept out one pint for dinner and the rest are labelled and headed for the freezer.  If  you do not like it SPICY, halve or omit the chile flakes.  

Spicy Blackened Tomato Sauce

small splash high heat oil

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 yellow onion, peeled, quartered

4 pounds tomatoes, cored as needed

1 teaspoon chile flakes

1 handful fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss garlic cloves and onion in a small splash of oil.  Arrange on large baking sheet.  Place in oven.  

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over high heat.  Once HOT, add tomatoes, starting with your larger ones if using different types.  Turn tomatoes as needed, letting them blacken on each side. Transfer them to the sheet tray in the oven as the are ready.  (They are ready when the have black spots on each side, the skin starts to peel or they start to cook down.)  Once all the tomatoes are seared and in the oven, let it all roast 30 minutes.  Everything, including the garlic cloves should be very soft and blend-able.  

Remove tray from oven and transfer contents to a heat proof bowl.  Add chile flakes, basil and olive oil.  Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.  Serve while hot or let cool completely, portion, label and freeze. 

 

Salsa Verde

This super simple sauce goes with lots of things but I like it for chicken or steak.  It reminds me of warm weather and tastes a bit like a garden.  Fresh herbs and bright lemon.  Increase the red chile flakes for more kick.  

Salsa Verde

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/8-1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

juice + zest of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients.  Set aside for a few minutes before using to let flavors come together.

 

Gluten Free Romesco Sauce

I just realized I've been calling this stuff 'romanesco' sauce.  Ugh.  Silly me.  This romesco sauce is a spanish sauce made from toasted nuts, roasted garlic, tomatoes and red peppers. Typically, toasted bread too, but we're leaving that out so keep things gluten free. I can eat it on anything. Sandwiches instead of mayo, roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, seafood.... so many things are better with a bit of tasty romesco sauce.

Cam and I are thinking about going 100% gluten free for the month of April to see how it goes. I'm hoping it will help me with my late night cracker addiction and keep my appetite focused on more healthy things.  Are you gluten free?  Do you like it and have you noticed any improvements to your health?  

Makes about 1.5 cups..

Romesco Sauce

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 small tomatoes or 1 large, cut in half, seeds and stems removed

2 garlic cloves, skin on

1 red bell pepper

 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1  1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne 

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Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place almonds on a tray plus tomatoes and garlic on their own tray in oven.  Remove almonds after 10 minutes, let cool.  Roast tomatoes and garlic 20 minutes more.  Set aside to cool.  Remove skins from each.

Place whole red pepper on open flame of gas range.  Turn occasionally until all sides are completely black.  Place on plastic bag and seal.  Let steam in bag 10 minutes.  Blackened skins will wipe off easily.  Discard skins, stem and seeds.  

Chop red pepper, tomatoes and garlic.  Set aside.

In food processor, fitted with a S-blade, process toasted almonds to a fine crumb.  Add pepper, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, paprika and cayenne.  Process until smooth and not gritty, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  

 

 

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

Have you had posole (or pozole) soup before?  The red one?  It's a great thing.  These enchiladas are based on that soup.  We used the same chiles for the sauce, filled them with hominy and served then with a number of toppings like avocado slices, cilantro, shredded cabbage and limes.  

Serves 4.

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

For the sauce:

3 ancho peppers, stemmed seeded

3 guajillo peppers, stemmed, seeded

1/2 large yellow onion, peeled, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded

1 tablespoon dried oregano

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup stock, chicken or vegetable

1 teaspoon agave nectar

many pinches of salt      

sugar to taste 

For the chicken:

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs

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1 teaspoon olive oil

Sprig fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Juice 1/2 lime

Pinch garlic powder

1/2 yellow onion, halved

For the enchiladas:

1 tin hominy, rinsed, drained

12 corn tortillas

1 cup grated cheese ( I like a blend of jack, Colby, cheddar) 

chopped fresh cilantro leaves

shredded lettuce or cabbage

diced onion

lime wedges

sliced radishes

sliced avocado

Soak chiles in hot water for 30 minutes.  Drain and discard water.    In a blender, blend chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, lime juice, stock and agave until very smooth.  Strain, discard any solids.  Pour into a small sauce pot and simmer 20 minutes.  Adjust to taste with salt and sugar.  

While chiles are soaking or the sauce is simmering get the chicken going.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss chicken thighs with salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme, bay leaves, lime juice, garlic powder and onion.  Place in 9 or 8 inch baking dish and roast about 20 minutes or until done.  (Internal temperature will read 165.)  Remove from oven and cover.  Let rest at least 10 minutes.  Uncover and shred.  Discard, onion, thyme sprigs and bay leaves before shredding.)

Turn oven to 350 degrees.  Mix shredded chicken, hominy and 1/2 the cheese in a bowl with 1/3 of the sauce.  Heat tortillas in a microwave or in a skillet to make them more pliable.  (Warming them in a skillet is more time consuming but yields better flavor.)  Spoon filling into tortillas and roll, place seam side down in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.  

Bake 10 to 15 minutes, cheese will be melted and contents hot.  Serve with desired garnishes.  My suggestions are cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and avocado.  

Cranberry Sauce

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A simple straight forward cranberry sauce.  How do you eat your cranberry sauce?  Do you smear it on your turkey?  Use it as a palate cleanser?  Steer clear of it altogether? Hoard it for leftover sandwiches?  Mine gets its own little spot on the plate, doesn't touch anything else and I eat it first.  Although, I'm thinking this one could be worked into a dessert somehow.  Maybe macaroons or a pavolva or cake filling.  

Can be made a couple days ahead of time and stored in fridge until ready to serve. 

Cranberry Sauce 

1 lb fresh cranberries

zest and juice of 1 orange

pinch salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

dashes of cinnamon and all spice

Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium high heat.  Cook until cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  

Chipotle Tomato Sauce

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Smoky and spicy.  The chipotle is a dried, smoked jalapeno.  This sauce is great for enchiladas, tacos, nachos or even brunch dishes like breakfast burritos.  Love it.   I used it for enchiladas.  Post to follow.  

Tins or jars of chipotle in adobo sauce can be found in the international foods section of most grocery stores.   

Makes about 4 cups. 

Chipotle Tomato Sauce

splash oil (sunflower, grape seed..)  

1/2 yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 28oz tin whole or diced tomatoes

2 chipotle peppers in adobo

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

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squeeze lime juice

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until onion is tender, about 6 minutes.  Add garlic, cook 2 minutes more.  Add tomatoes, chipotles, cumin, sugar, cinnamon and oregano.  Simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice.  

Remove from heat. 

Blend sauce in blender (remove cap and cover with kitchen towel) or immersion blender is the pot.  Either way, try not to burn yourself - the sauce is hot.