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Tag Archives | Salsa

Cantina Salsa

Bright, spicy but mild restaurant-style salsa.

The Sauce: Restaurant-style Salsa – Clean, bright, spicy but mild salsa with fresh cilantro and seasonings combined with tomatoes.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Hunt for red salsa

One of my favorite reasons to eat out at a good Mexican restaurant is the chips and salsa served once you’re seated. It’s bright, tomato-ey, spicy and has the crunch factor with the warm tortilla chips. I love nibbling on chips and salsa over good conversation.

A few months ago we went to the Banana Cafe in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC. It’s a block from Eastern Market Metro on the corner of E Street SE and 8th Street SE. Painted bright yellow, you can’t miss it. About once a quarter I find my way to Capital Hill to shop or take a class at Hill’s Kitchen. I always stop at Eastern Market for a few fresh groceries at their meat or fish counters. If it’s the weekend, there’s a huge flea market with over 100 booths filled with wares to wind through on the plaza.

restaurant style salsaBack to the Banana Cafe; their salsa is fabulous. To develop recipes, I have a tendency to taste it over and over again, listing the probable ingredients in my little book. I don’t hesitate to ask the wait staff what’s in it. Sometimes they even tell me! Along with my notes from other restaurants around the country including Texas, California, New Mexico and a bunch of other locales, I’ve developed a bright, tomato-ey, spicy but mild homemade version.

Now you can have salsa and chips right at home. This recipe is made in a food processor so it’s fast and easy. Except for some fresh cilantro, all the ingredients can be kept in your fridge and pantry. Just think, you’re only five minutes away from restaurant quality salsa. Bonus deal, it’s healthier than a sour cream based dip so enjoy. Olé!

You might also enjoy Baja Pico de Gallo, Lime and Tomato Tajicos, Taco Salad with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce, Mexican Hat Black Bean Soup, Roasted Tomato Bisque, Gazpacho, Taco Salad Kit and Heirlooms with Eggs.

2012 AniversaRecipe – Caramel Sauce
2011 AniversaRecipe – Raspberry Delight

Recipe: Cantina Salsa

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 3 Cups | Level: Easy

diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chilies

  • 1 15-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, such as Hunt’s
  • 1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Rotel
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, micro grated
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Special Equipment – food processor or blender

process all the ingredients1 Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 10-12 times, or until desired consistency.

2 Serve with crisp tortilla chips.

For medium to hot salsa, add 1/2 to a whole jalapeño finely minced before processing.

Fresh tomatoes are an interesting vegetable. Technically a fruit, they taste delicious during the harvest season, packed with flavor. Tomatoes are available all year round, either shipped long distances, ripening in route or grown in local hot houses. I recommend using fresh tomatoes in your local season. Use canned tomatoes for dishes when out of season. These tomatoes are canned at their peak of freshness during harvest season and contain important aromatics only field grown, vine-ripened tomatoes have. They have much more flavor than most fresh tomatoes in the produce department during off season.

This salsa makes up so fast that it works well with any south of the border menu.

Spoon on tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, chimichangas, fajitas or chili rellenos.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange fire roasted for regular diced tomatoes.
  • Exchange diced for whole tomatoes.
  • Exchange fresh garlic for 1/4 tsp powdered garlic.
  • Exchange cilantro for parsley.

Inspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 1, 2013

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Baja Pico de Gallo

3 of 3 part series ”Flash Fresh Tomatoes”. Click here for BLAT on Wheat, click here for Caprese Salad.

Fresh hand cut tomatoes, peppers, onion with cilantro and lime.

The six

It’s all in the small even dicing. It really makes a difference when the vegetables are hand cut. A spin in a food processor yields salsa. Without a recipe you can stop by your local farmers market and buy your ‘six’: tomato, sweet pepper, hot pepper, onion, cilantro and lime. Use what they have today by interchanging heirlooms for tomatoes; red, orange or yellow for green sweet peppers; Baja-Pico-de-Gallo-with-Tortillas-ChipsAnaheim’s for jalapenos; Vidalia’s or Walla Walla’s for red onion; parsley for cilantro; and even lemon for limes. Be creative here because there’s more than one way to make a fabulous fresh Pico de Gallo.

One of my favorite ways to serve Pico de Gallo is with some sturdy tortilla chips for a party starter. But I also serve it table side with south of the border fare like tacos, burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas. A favorite of mine is to crown a plate of nachos with Pico de Gallo and let the miniature vegetable dice run into all the chip crevices so there’s flavor in every bite. Crispy, cheesy, spicy appetizer or movie treat.

For more information on tomatoes chick here and here.

2011 AniversaRecipe – Strawberries Seurat

Recipe: Baja Pico de Gallo

Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 2 Cups | Level: Easy


  • 2 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, very finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • Sturdy chips

1 Combine the tomatoes, peppers, onion, cilantro and lime juice in medium bowl. Serve with chips.

To remember all the ingredients when out shopping without a recipe think of pickle pot. The acronym is pclpot (sweet pepper, cilantro, lime, hot pepper, onion, and tomato).

The Baja peninsula of Mexico raises more tomatoes than any other place in Mexico. This south of the border dish is named for this region.

Serve with tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas.

Scoop over the top of nachos.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange red tomatoes for heirlooms.
  • Exchange green for red, orange or yellow peppers.
  • Exchange jalapenos for Anaheim or other hot pepper.
  • Exchange red for sweet onions.
  • Exchange cilantro for parsley.
  • Exchange lime for lemon juice.

Pico-de-GalloInspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: August 23, 2012

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Fresh Cranberry Salsa

Part 2 of 3 part series “Fresh Cranberry Sauces”. Click here for Part 1, click here for Part 3.

My nephew Chris is a food enthusiast. He’s a great cook and loves to experiment in the kitchen. Some years ago he and his family joined us for Thanksgiving. It just happened to be the first year I served Fresh Cranberry Salsa in my mini Cranberry Buffet. His ‘first bite’ reaction revealed, “On a scale of one to ten, this salsa is an eleven.”

Not only is this salsa easy to make, the flavor is unexpectedly unique. In a recent poll, albeit random and unscientific , it was the unanimous favorite. My Visiting Teachers, two women from my congregation assigned to visit and watch over me, stopped by and were given a taste of all three cranberry sauces in this series. They loved all of them but had never tasted a cranberry salsa before. Very distinctive, they thought it the perfect compliment for roast turkey. The lovely thing about it is you don’t cook it, just a little food processing and an overnight stay in the fridge to let the flavors marry. You control how much snap it has—more seeds and veins, more heat. Less jalapeno, less heat. Halleluia! One more do-ahead dish.

For more information about yield and serving suggestions, click here.


Fresh Cranberry Salsa
Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 1 cup, about 5 servings | Difficulty: Easy

The Sauce
1 ½ cups (6 oz) fresh Cranberries ;)
6 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 medium Jalapeno
1/2 Green Onion Stalk
1/2 tsp fresh Cilantro
1/8 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Salt

Preparation Instructions
1.  Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.

2.  Chill overnight to marry flavors.

3.  Garnish with a slice of jalapeno and serve with roast turkey, chicken or pork or serve with tortilla chips.

;) Cranberries—Wash and sort cranberries discarding any that are soft.


Dish Designer
• For more heat add the veins and seeds of the jalapeno or reduce heat by using 1/4 jalapeno.
• Exchange jalapeno for Anaheim or other medium to hot pepper.
• Exchange green onion for shallots.

Inspiration—Ocean Spray
sauces over under and through

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“Cranberry Sauce” Series

Seven years ago I performed bypass on canned cranberry sauce my family served for decades. I let my cranberry juices flow dreaming up some gourmet twists for the thirty-guest menu. My strategy consisted of a selection of fresh and assorted cranberry sauces. I served four options, three freshly homemade plus some canned jellied cranberry. Dad loves canned so it was irreplaceable.

Since then I’ve collected and tested a variety of fresh cranberry sauces and it was hard to narrow to three for this series. Selecting favorites requested for repeat appearances year after year, this trio of sauces complements each other by showcasing their contrasting textures and flavors. One is traditional with a blush of cinnamon and orange, another an uncooked salsa with jalapeno heat, and the final a chunky nutty sauce with concentrated flavor and texture.

Recipes for fresh cranberry sauces, almost without fail, call for one 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries. If you are having a smaller dinner party or you want to serve several choices you may need smaller recipes. Each of these calls for 6 ounces or one-half package and that leaves some extra cranberries to garnish your ice water. Although they don’t change the taste, cranberry laced water creates a festive flourish.

Recipes post on:

November 21, 2011—Cranberry Orange Sauce





 November 22, 2011—Fresh Cranberry Salsa





 November 23, 2011—Cranberry Walnut Chutney





Here’s some yield and servings information plus an ingredients list. All of them can be made on postdate then refrigerated until Thanksgiving. They have a chilled shelf life of a week or two. If you care to make extra, serve with turkey leftovers, roast chicken, pork chops or pork tenderloin.

3 Tablespoons = 1 Serving
Calculate servings depending on number of guests and whether they are cranberry sauce lovers or not.
Advisory—those who aren’t will become fans. Adjust accordingly.

Orange Cranberry Sauce
6-oz recipe makes 1 ¼ cups / about 7 servings
12-oz recipe makes 2 ½ cups / about 13 servings

Fresh Cranberry Salsa
6-oz recipe makes 1 cup / about 5 servings
12-oz recipe makes 2 cups / about 11 servings

Cranberry Walnut Chutney
6-oz recipe makes 1 ½ cups / about 8 servings
12-oz recipe makes 3 cups / about 16 servings

Total Servings
Triple Play, one each single batch = 20 Servings / Serves 12-15
Triple Play, one each double batch = 40 Servings / Serves 25-30

Grocery List for all 3 (6-ounce recipe)
2 12-oz package of fresh cranberries ;)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 medium jalapeno
1/2 stalk green onion
1/2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 orange

Pantry Items
Almond extract
Cinnamon Stick or Ground Cinnamon

;) Cranberries—A seasonal berry, purchase extra packages of cranberries and store in the freezer. Use them for sauces or smoothies year round straight from the freezer.
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Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits. This pork chop and pineapple dish has a double layer of flavor. The pork chops are marinated then cooked to infuse deep flavor through the meat. They’re served with a sassy salsa loaded with pineapple and spiked with lime juice. The presentation is about spooning sunshine

on pork and bursts with flavor in each bite. Pineapple is available year round. That’s a happy thought. Enjoy some pineapple sunshine on your next pork chop dinner.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Yield: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy

The Sauce 1-Marinate
1/4 tsp Lime Zest
2 Limes, juiced
1 Tbsp Honey
1 small Shallot, diced
2/3 large Jalapeno, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/3 cup Olive Oil

The Sauce 2-Salsa
1/2 Pineapple, finely diced
1 medium Tomato, finely diced
1/3 large Jalapeno, minced
1 Tbsp chopped Fresh Cilantro
1 Lime, juiced
Salt and Pepper

The Rest
4 bone-in Center Cut Pork Chops

Preparation Instructions
1. Pour the marinate ingredients into a gallon zip bag. ;) Add the pork chops, zip the bag and squish to completely coat the meat. Put in the fridge for 3 hours to marinate.

2. Mix all the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and let stand. Serve at room temperature to bring out the full sweetness of the pineapple.

3. Grill or pan fry pork chops for 5-8 minutes on each side. Serve with a serving of salsa on the top.

;) Zip Bag—Put the bag in a medium bowl to make adding the ingredients easier.

Dish Designer
• Adjust the heat up by adding the jalapeno seeds and veins, or adjust the heat down by reducing the jalapeno.
• Substitute fresh Italian parsley for the cilantro.
• Substitute onion for the shallot.

Inspiration—Pat and Gina Neely
sauces over under and through

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Pork Chops with Mango Salsa

Salsa is a paradox. Ingredients contradict each other—sweet soft fruit like mangos and tomatoes against pungent crunchy vegetables like onions and jalapenos. It’s like the diversity in my neighborhood in Washington, DC. People hail from countries all around the globe who are colorful and exciting, adding interest and diversity to the mix. It’s definitely not vanilla.

For a diversion from mashed potatoes, risotto or polenta with your pork, try a colorful, exciting salsa with fresh fruit and some jalapeno heat. It adds sparkle and dash to the palette of pork. Make ample amounts to provide hearty portions. The salsa doubles as a delicious salad plus the sauce for the pork. Spear a bite of pork and pile on some salsa so each mouthful is an explosion of flavors. I really love this!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Yield: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy

The Sauce
1/2 cup Mango, diced
1/2 cup Tomatoes, diced ;)
1/4 cup Sweet Onions, diced ;)
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Jalapeno, finely chopped

The Rest
4 1/2-thick Pork Chops
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preparation Instructions
Cut the fruits and vegetables in the same size dice, just under 1/2-inch or so.  Combine the mango, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and jalapenos in a small bowl.  Set aside.

2.  Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat a fry pan on medium high heat and add the oil. Pan fry the pork chops browning each side, about 4-5 minutes on each side.

3.  Serve pork chops with a generous serving of salsa on the side.

;) Tomatoes—Best when tomatoes are picked from your garden or purchased at a local farmer’s market. Heirloom tomatoes also work very well. Out of season, a good canned tomato has more flavor than those often found at the grocer’s.
;) Sweet Onions—Use Vidalia’s, Walla Walla’s, red or some other sweet variety.

Dish Designer
• Exchange mangos for fresh peaches or papaya.
• Exchange fresh jalapenos for pickled jalapenos.
• Exchange cilantro for parsley or omit.
sauces over under and through

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Black Bean Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast burrito with eggs, spinach and black beans

Holly sneaks in some spinach

Black-Bean-Breakfast-Burrito-Pico-de-GalloTry and say it three times in a row, ‘Black Bean Breakfast Burrito’. It may be hard to say but it is delicious and easy to eat on the run. My sister Holly is very health conscious and serves fresh food to her family with loads of color and flavor. Her two eight-year-old boys eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Really! Rich in fiber, you won’t miss the cheese in these burritos. Kids can carry them on their way out the door on busy mornings and eat them on the run.

Recipe: Black Bean Breakfast Burrito

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings | Level: Easy


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 9-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup smoky tomato salsa
  • handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • fresh cilantro leaves, optional

1 In medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beans, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and salt. With fork, coarsely mash the beans while they heat.

2 Turn off the heat and stir in the water. As they begin to cool, they thicken. Add more

water as needed for spreadable consistency.

3 Heat a small skillet coated with cooking spray on medium-high heat.

4 In small bowl, beat eggs with milk. Pour in the skillet and cook eggs allowing to set before carefully turning to form pillows as they cook. When the eggs are set turn off heat.

5 Warm tortillas in the microwave.

Black-Bean-Breakfast-Burrito-Eggs-Salsa6 Place 1/4 of the bean mixture on each tortilla.

7 Spoon 1 tablespoon salsa over beans. Top with a few spinach leaves.

8 Lay 1/4 of the scrambled eggs over the spinach.

9 Add 2 tablespoons pico de gallo and another layer of spinach.

10 Roll up burrito style and serve immediately with pico de gallo on the side and cilantro garnish.

Wrap up these burritos for an on-the-go breakfast that is low in calories and high in protein and fiber.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange black for pinto or white beans.
  • Exchange wheat for white flour tortillas.
  • Exchange eggs for Egg Beaters.

Inspiration – My sister Holly via the American Institute for Cancer Research Health-e-Recipe Blog.
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: May 12, 2012

Continue Reading · 0

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