Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Molten Cakes w/ Glazed Fresh Cherries

It's Cherry Season at the Market!

 Swoon!! Gasp!! C*H*E*R*R*I*E*S!!


Instead of the traditional cherry tart, cherry pie or cherry clafouti (cherries in a custard type mixture), I thought I'd appeal to your chocolate loving side. You do have one of those don't you?

I got the idea for this recipe from the Australian cooking magazine called Donna Hay.  At $10 an issue, it's a splurge, but honestly, it's worth it.  The recipes and ideas are a little more inventive and there are fewer ads....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smoked Tomato Salsa

W/ Baked eggs and Potato hash!

favorite breakfast

If I had to live on just one food item my entire life, it would have to be salsa. Not just any salsa, but the kind with plenty of cilantro, a good dose of lime and just enough "kick" to make your nose run and your mouth burn. You know the kind, you're in a bit of pain but your can't stop shoveling it in because: a) it's so darn GOOD, and b) if you stop, your mouth will be on fire. Just THINKING about it makes my eyes tear up...... In my house we have a half gallon mason jar full of the stuff at any given time, and it's a good thing too, because my family seems to love it just as much as I do!

There are perhaps, a bajillion (it's in the urban dictionary!) salsas on the market at this very moment. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has their own favorite recipe for salsa. Salsa, at least to me, has become rather pedestrian and I think its time you added a little personality to your tried and true recipe (and if you don't have one of your own, you may use mine and call it yours!).

The original idea for smoking tomatoes for salsa came from another chef, but we've taken it one step further by smoking the onions and the peppers too. Once again, this is a rough recipe.  I am relying on you and your wonderfully refined palate to adjust this salsa to suit your family. Also, I use a smoker for this recipe. If you do not own one and never plan to own one, make friends with your neighbors who do. At the first whiff of smoke, casually stroll your ingredients over and find some way to weasel your pan of goodies onto their smoker. Bribe, charm, promise your first born if you must, but get those tomatoes on the smoker.  Once your ingredients are smoked, you can store them in the freezer until you are ready to make salsa.

Smoke Tomato Salsa

We used hickory chips in our smoker, however apple-wood, pecan and other mild woods will also be suitable.  Personally, I find mesquite wood to be a bit too strong, but you may use it in a pinch, just cut the smoking time in half.

*1 1/2 pounds fresh summer tomatoes (use canned whole in the winter), core and cut in half
*1 med. white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
* 2-4 Fresh Jalapenos, stems removed, cut in half lengthwise
* 2 cloves fresh garlic
* 1/2 bunch cilantro 
* Juice of one lime
* 1 teaspoon Cumin
* 1-2 teaspoons Kosher salt (taste first before adding it all)
* 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
* 1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

***Soak your wood chips and follow your manufacturer's instruction for your smoker.. or take a six-pack to your new best friend and neighbor.. It might help to address him (or her, if you live next to me) as, "The Smoke Master".. let me tell you, it never hurts to offer inflated praise to the cook!! 

Coat the tomatoes, onions and pepper with olive oil, and place them in a aluminum recyclable pan ( or use an old glass pie or cake pan.. it will get very dirty but a nice old fashion brillo pad will clean it right up).
Place tomatoes on smoker and let "cook" for approximately two hours.  Cool.

Once cool, process all the ingredients in your blender or food processor, you may need to do this in batches.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more cilantro, lime or jalapenos.... and salt.  The flavor improves after you let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.  Now, find a deep dark scary place in your fridge to hide your Smoked Tomato Salsa....a place the rest of the family is afraid to look... Enjoy!

See you at the market!

Chef Deb T.