Tag Archives: salsa

Late fall update

In the (hoop) house: Still producing – one cherry tomato, one cucumber, several peppers, and green beans. Ready to eat – bok choi, onions, leeks, and KALE. Up and growing nicely – lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, more leeks, broccoli, cilantro, Swiss chard, turnips, rutabagas and garlic.

New fireplaceNew fireplace: After living for 15 years with a mantel but no fireplace*, we finally made a decision and purchased (online) a ventless gas fireplace with mantel. Mike stained it in September, we put it in position in October, and connected the gas in November. We still need to finish the wall opening and put in some slate or tile beneath the surround. *The Universalist Fellowship, which owned our house in the 1970’s, removed the original gas fireplace. The next owners got so far as to buy an old mantel, but never completed their project.

Pickles, salsa, chutney: Throughout the fall I’ve been pickling and canning stuff, mostly involving peppers. Green sauce/salsa, pepper relish, Mexican escabeche, and chutney.

grating lemongrassLemongrass harvest: We finally got a frost last week, so we had to bring in all the houseplants, and my three big pots of lemongrass. Every year I’d tell myself that I was going to do something with the lemongrass, and this year I finally did. I cut the stalk about 3″ from the soil, then removed the leaves so all I had was the stalk. I washed and cut it into 4″ pieces and froze them in a ziplock bag. To use them in cooking I simply take out a stalk and grate it with my microplane grater, or throw a stalk or two into a soup. Here are links to previous posts that pertain to lemongrass: Vietnamese Penicillin, Viet FeastThai Seafood Hotpot, and Grass of Lemon

Oklahoma road trips: Since September Mike and I have done three Oklahoma weekend rambles.

  • First to Roman Nose State Park near Watonga, OK, where we stayed at the very nice, newly remodeled lodge. Saturday we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the patio with two pots of French press coffee. The night before we’d stopped at Eischen’s Bar  in Okarche – the oldest bar in Oklahoma – for fried chicken and fried okra. Saturday afternoon we took back roads on the way home and I was amazed at the number of wind generators that had been put up.

Eischen's bar in Okarche, OK Roman Nose Lodge patio  Wind generator, south of Weatherford, OK

  • Second on our list was Lake Murray in southern Oklahoma. Beautiful setting, but an incredibly dumpy lodge. I felt like I’d fallen into a time warp and emerged in 1965. We did have a fabulous catfish dinner on the banks of the Washita River at McGehee’s near Marietta. Thank goodness they have big billboards directing you to the restaurant, else we’d never have found it.
  • Third on the list is the town of Woodward, where I went to attend a family wedding (at the old theater), and then Mike and I returned two weeks later to pick up some antique chairs I’d bought. Once again, lots more wind farms going up, and we met Mike’s cousins for a great lunch at Waggs Bar-B-Q. We weren’t there long enough to visit Alabaster Caverns, but that is definitely worth doing if you’re in the area.


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Early peaches

ripe early peaches ready for pickingWe are harvesting and putting up peaches this weekend from our early variety (Mike can’t remember the name, but it might be Candor). A somewhat strange occurrence is that we haven’t had any leaf curl or insects on our fruit. Every peach is perfect looking. I wonder if last summer’s heat and drought killed off the insects? Mike has peach slices drying in the dehydrator and the oven, and I made peach fritters today (see recipe and pic below). I exchanges some peaches for my friend’s cucumbers, so tomorrow I’m going to make some peach-cucumber salsa.

Mike has been  spending a lot of time with the chipper-shredder and we have another huge batch of compost cooking. I’ve already distributed one batch this spring, and this new one should be ready in a couple of weeks. It is amazing how much organic matter one medium-sized city lot can generate!

peach frittersFresh Peach Fritters – This recipe makes about two dozen small fritters. Combine the following in a bowl and let sit while you make the batter:

  • 2 cups sliced and chopped peaches, with skin
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together:

  • 1 to 1.25 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal (optional, you can add flour instead)

To the flour mixture add:

  • 1/2 C milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

Last of all add:

  • the peaches and any juices that have accumulated in the bowl

Drop by the spoonful (about 1 Tbsp) into hot oil. I never use a thermometer, but you want the oil hot enough that the fritters don’t absorb a lot of oil, but not so hot that the batter “explodes.” The fritters should be irregular and flat, not neat little balls. Turn the fritters over and cook until golden brown. Drain them on a paper towel or newspaper. Dust with powdered sugar and eat right away with some good strong coffee or mint ice tea.

And now, just because I can’t resist, my beautiful granddaughter…


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Turkey empanadas

After feasting on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner I quickly tire of turkey, dressing, gravy, etc. So what to do with all the leftovers? Tonight I made turkey empanadas and served them with brown rice and salad. Empanada is the somewhat generic term for South American meat-filled turnovers. At Pepe Delgados they call them molotes (an Oaxacan version) and serve chicken and vegetarian varieties on Mondays. I made a “Columbian” style fried empanada, with masa corn flour (and a smidgen of wheat flour) and filled them with chopped turkey, mozzarella cheese, and some homemade salsa verde (recipe below – very similar to Kate’s earlier post When life gives you green tomatoes). I served the empanadas/molotes with extra  salsa verde.

Dough (makes about 15 medium-sized empanadas)

  • 2 cups masa harina (do not use regular corn meal)
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (this makes the dough less crumbly)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 2. 5 cups warm water

Mix all together and knead lightly. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out as you make the empandas.


  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup green sauce (or mole sauce, sour cream and chipotle sauce, etc.)

Assembling the empanadas

Pinch off a piece of dough and make a large egg -sized ball. Between two pieces of plastic wrap roll out a 5″ diameter circle. (If you have a tortilla press – which I do – it makes this whole process much easier!). Peel the plastic wrap off one side, and place tablespoon of turkey filling in the center of the disk. Carefully fold the dough over to form a half-moon shape. Use a fork to press the semi-circle edges together. (OK, again, if you have a large potsticker/empanada/turnover press – which I do – this part also goes much quicker.)

Heat vegetable oil, about 1″ deep, in a skillet and fry until golden and crispy. Monitor the heat/temperature of your oil and don’t crowd your pan. The empanadas should be constantly sizzling, but not frying so quickly that the outside is brown before the cheese inside can melt. As you take them out, place the empanadas on a paper towel lined plate and keep warm (or eat immediately!).

Salsa verde

  • 3 cups diced green tomatoes (great way to use all those end-of-the-season tomaters)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 large cloved garlic, minced
  • 2 to 4 hot peppers, diced (again, use what you’ve got)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup or more water
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice

Place everything except the cilantro and lime juice in a pan and simmer for about 30 minutes. Then puree in a blender with the cilantro and lime juice.  If I have leftover sauce I freeze it in ziplock baggies.

There are zillions of empanada recipes on the interweb, if you don’t have masa or would rather bake them.

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Millions of peaches

Millions of peaches peaches for me
Millions of peaches peaches for free
If I had my little way I’d eat peaches everyday

We’ve been getting some excellent peaches from the tree by the back door for about a month. This is surprising because we had two late frosts, but very few dropped off during the spring and summer, and the

Peaches: fresh, canned, chutney, and rice pudding

Peaches: fresh, canned, chutney, and in rice pudding

normal gangs of squirrels have not been snacking on them. The limbs have been really loaded down, so we’ve been eating, drying, canning, and cooking all sorts of peachy treats. Eating peaches from this tree makes me especially happy, as the tree is a “volunteer” that sprouted in our compost about 8 years ago.

The peach slices dried in the dehydrator are an excellent snack and great for backpacking. Mike doesn’t even peel them, he just slices them and dips them in water with a little lemon juice added. I’ve made peach salsa and chutney to freeze in ziplock bags (see below). Yesterday we had peach crisp for breakfast and today I made peach rice pudding (see below) for dessert.

You’ll notice that my recipe for peach salsa and peach chutney are very similar. I love making chutney because you can just combine all sorts of vegetables and fruits. Too many green tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and peaches? Make chutney! (My grandmother would have called this chow-chow.) And the peach salsa can be eaten as-is or combined with a regular tomato salsa fresca. I think it is especially good on shrimp or fish tacos, or served with pork fajitas.

  • Peach salsa
    • 6 cups diced peaches (unpeeled)
    • 2 – 4 minced serrano peppers (seeds included)
    • 1 minced whole lime (or two key limes)
    • 4 minced garlic cloves
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seed
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp chipotle sauce (optional)

Cook in a saucepan over low flame for about 30 minutes.

  • Peach chutney
    • 4 cups diced peaches (unpeeled)
    • 2 – 4 minced serrano peppers (seeds included)
    • 4 minced garlic cloves
    • 1 minced whole lime (or two key limes)
    • any other fruits or vegetables you need to use up (today I added a peeled cucumber, mango, an onion, and a few raisins and craisins)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seed
    • 2 tsp whole cardamon pods
    • 1 tsp whole mustard seed
    • 1/2 tsp whole cloves or 1/4 tsp ground
    • 1 tsp ground tumeric
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 tsp diced or grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup sugar

Cook in a saucepan over low flame for about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and the cardamon pods (if you’re picky…).

  • Peach rice pudding
    • 1 1/2 cups rice (I used Thai jasmine, but any short-grained rice would be good)
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup half-n-half (light cream)
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup sugar (white, brown, or a mix)
    • 2 cups diced peaches, with skin
    • 4 cardamon pods
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cook in a covered pod over a very low flame. Depending upon the type of rice you use you may need to add more milk.

The delicata squash and contender bush beans are up and growing. I think we’ll get a good picking off the beans, but I doubt the squash will make before the first frost. You never know though, we’ve had some strange weather lately (rainy and unseasonably mild for August), and maybe it won’t freeze until December. I planted some beets, pak choi, and lettuce yesterday. I just broadcast the seeds, and will then transplant the seedlings after they come up. I need to plant more beets, carrots, cilantro, and spinach as soon as possible, before the weather reverts to its normal hot and dry mode.

Hopi Red amaranth

My Hopi red dye amaranth is starting to form seeds heads, and the cosmos is starting to bloom. I’ve been harvesting the sunflower seed heads for the chickens and toss them a dozen every day. These aren’t the large sunflower seeds that you buy for snacking, these are naturalized sunflowers that reseed all over. The birds and the chickens love them. (Speaking of birds, we’ve got a nest of Mississippi kites in the neighborhood and you can hear their calls/screams throughout the day. It’s kinda weird to see them here in the middle of town. What next – hawks and turkey vultures? )


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Homemade PB (and salsa)

Homemade peanut butterThis evening, since it’s turned off a bit cooler, I decided to fire up the oven, roast some peanuts, and make some homemade peanut butter.  I’d purchased a 4 lb bag of raw,  shelled and skinned peanuts at the Asian market several weeks earlier ($7.00) and found the directions for making peanut butter online.

If I’d known it was this easy I would have started making our PB a long time ago.  I guess the main problem is in finding the peanuts at a reasonable price. Now Mike just needs to make a couple of loaves of bread so we have something to eat this on!

Saturday morning Mike drove around and collected 30 large bags of grass clippings for our vegetable garden. We mulched all the beds about 2″ deep and the aisles 4″ deep. Then it rained that evening (they postponed the fireworks  show until Sunday) and the temperature dropped 15 degrees, so our garden is pretty happy right now.

I made some salsa with the yellow tomatoes for a (soggy) 4th of July barbeque. It was consumed with great gusto, accompanied by tortilla chips,  Negro Modelo, Shiner Bock, baked beans, and kebabs.

  • 4 cups diced ripe and juicy yellow tomatoes
  • 2 Serrano peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced jicama
  • 1 tablespoon minced oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tsp each honey and chipotle sauce
  • 1 tsp each fresh ground cumin and coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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