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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review 2009

It's been a little over a year since the very first post on Loomis Living. It was an exciting year as we settled into our new home and lifestyle.

In January, we planted the upper orchard. 16 trees and hours of digging later, the orchard was taking shape. These trees will bear the fruit of our future, I just wish I knew how long we will have to wait.

February brought life and near death of the seedlings for our first garden. It was this month that marked the groundbreaking of our Mandarin Grove. We are now up to 11 Owari Satsuma trees.

March was a busy month. I tried my hand a making homemade bread for the first time. Ironically, it started with an Amish Friendship Bread starter that I used in a different way. We planted a patch of blueberries and added 4 fuzzy friends to our household.

April brought a new home for the chickens as they developed feathers and personality. It also was the long awaited month when we planted the garden.

In May, fruit and vegetables were the main event. From tiny mandarins to tomatoes and pumpkins, this month was filled with excitement every time I walked around the yard. Our Meyer Lemons were used to make a wonderful lemon cake for Mother's Day and the chickens received a new feeder and waterer.

June was a month for retirement, chicken runs, and peppers. The flowers were out in all their glorious color and there was an epic battle with earwigs after they threatened our crops.

July brought us our first tomato. We made salsa with the bounty from our garden and enjoyed the yard in bloom.

In August, the chickens laid their first eggs. There was also an abundance of peppers so I made some mustard. Halloween came early and our first crop of pumpkins was harvested.

September was a month of hungry deer and the citrus trees were their meal. We added protection around the trees this month. I also tried my hand at making granola.

October was a quiet month as we continued to miss our chickens. I rediscovered rice cooker paella and have served it many times since.

November had beautiful weather and sparked a new heuchera garden and succulent container planting. I also enjoyed the many fall blooms and celebrating Thanksgiving with our families.

December was a month for making and eating all sorts of food. We had a wonderful time celebrating with our family and friends. We even had snow!

As 2009 draws to a close, I look forward to 2010 and all that it holds. Wishing you and yours a safe and happy new year from Loomis.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Garlic Studded Rosemary Lamb

An unexpected surprise greeted me when I opened the refrigerator the other night - it was a leg of lamb. Lamb is not one of my favorite dishes, but I thought I would make the best of it. My husband usually prepares the lamb, but since he was sick, it was up to me. Taking a cue from his usual process, I prepared the lamb with my own style.

3-4 pound leg of lamb
2 heads of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
1/2 cup rosemary needles
olive oil
black pepper

1. Unwrap the lamb and place in the pot. I used a 6 quart dutch oven.
2. Using a paring knife, poke a hole in the lamb and insert a clove of garlic into the hole.
3. Repeat step 2 until all the garlic is used and the lamb is has garlic all around.
4. Drizzle olive oil over the lamb, making sure all sides are covered.
5. Sprinkle the rosemary and pepper over the lamb
6. Rub the surface to ensure the rosemary and pepper thoroughly coat the meat.
7. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to use. I stored the lamb overnight before cooking.
8. When ready to cook, place dutch oven on stove top over medium heat.
9. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
10. Brown the lamb on all sides.
11. Cover and place in the oven.
12. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F. This is about 10 minutes a pound for medium-rare.
13. Remove from oven and let rest before carving.

Our lamb rested in the covered dutch oven for almost an hour after removing it from the oven. It continued to cook and was medium when carved. Even though it rested longer than I anticipated, it was still very good. I ate it plain without any mint jelly and the flavor was mild and the meat tender.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009, Unwrapped

First off, I hope your Christmas was everything you imagined and more. We have had the pleasure of celebrating for the past two days with our families. The celebrations were relaxing and fun. Unfortunately, my dear husband was sick so he was unable to enjoy the celebrations in their entirety.

This is one of the four beautiful trees my parents had at their house. I helped them decorate it and I take responsibility for the ton of lights! I decided to adopt it this year since our Christmas tree faced several challenges. We bought a small potted lemon cypress and I decorated it with lights. However, the lights were removed and used to keep two of our citrus trees warm during the cold spell we had earlier this month. A few days later the pot started showing some white fuzzy stuff, so outside it went. Maybe we'll have better luck next year.

We enjoyed some fantastic food this holiday season. My mom's prime rib was the best!!! I was pleasantly surprised with the lamb I cooked for Christmas Eve. I was the tastiest I have had in a long time. The sweet potato pie was also a nice addition.

To wrap up this Christmas post, I would like to mention that I am grateful for the many blessings we have experienced this season and the blessings still to come. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Apple Cider Glazed Turkey

I tried this recipe for the first time in 2003, after seeing it in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It is one of my husband's favorites. He requests it every Thanksgiving. This year he picked out a 19 lb turkey and couldn't wait to get it carved.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Buttery Cider Glazed Turkey:

19 lb turkey
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 medium baking apples, cored and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh apple cider
5 sticks cinnamon (about 3 inch lengths) broken
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
Chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Rinse turkey well and pat dry with paper towels
3. Season inside cavity with pepper. Rub 1 of the halved garlic cloves on the inside of the cavity
4. Place the garlic cloves, onion, and first apple in the cavity
5. Pull turkey skin to back and fasten with skewer
6. Tuck the drumsticks under the band. Twist wing tips under back
7. Brush turkey with 2 tablespoons melted butter and season with pepper
8. Place bird, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
9. Insert meat thermometer into center of an inside thigh muscle without letting it touch bone.

10. Cover bird loosely with foil and roast until thermometer measures 160°
11. Cut band of skin or string

Basting mixture
12. Once the turkey reaches 140°, bring apple cider and cinnamon sticks to boiling
13. Reduce heat and boil steadily for about 30 minutes or cider is reduced to about 2/3 cup
14. Add the 1/3 cup butter, brown sugar, and thyme
15. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved
16. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks

Final Roast
17. Remove foil from turkey. Baste turkey with cider mixture
18. Continue roasting uncovered until thermometer reads 180°, basting every 10 min
19. Remove turkey from oven and discard cavity ingredients
20. Cover with foil and let stand 15-20 minutes before carving

Holiday Recipes '09

From Thanksgiving, where we hosted our families for dinner, to today when we will start our Christmas celebrations, it's been a season for family, fun, and food! I have enjoyed trying many new recipes this year. Here is a summary of our holiday recipes for 2009.

Old Fashion Cornbread Dressing with homemade cornbread (no bacon)
Whole Cranberry Sauce


Many of these recipes came from one of my favorite blogs, Chickens in the Road. I also relied on The Pioneer Woman for recipes and inspiration. I am looking forward to next year and many new recipes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chocolate Nut Cereal Cookies

'Tis the season for another holiday dessert to share. Yesterday, I decided to experiment again with some melted chocolate over cereal and nuts. This recipe is a combination of ingredients we had in the pantry.

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups Kashi Go Lean cereal
1 cup chopped True North Pecan Almond Peanut clusters
2 tablespoons Trade Joe's unsalted natural peanut butter

1. Start melting the chocolate. There are various methods to melt chocolate. We have the chocolate melter, so I just dumped the whole bag of chips and turned it on.

2. While the chocolate is melting, mix the cereal and nuts in a mixing bowl.

3. Stir the cocoa powder and peanut butter into the melting chocolate.

4. Once the chocolate is smooth, pour it into the mixing bowl. Stir until all the cereal is coated.

5. Pour the chocolate cereal mixture into a greased 9x13 glass dish and chill until firm

6. Cut into squares and serve.

These cookies were easy to make and didn't require the oven. The extra cocoa powder gives them a rich chocolate flavor, almost like dark chocolate. An added benefit is that the Kashi cereal is healthy, so having an extra piece isn't too naughty.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sweet Potato Cookies with Orange Glaze

Friday, I made roasted sweet potatoes/yams for a work party. There were some leftover potatoes so I decided to use them to make cookies. I based the cookies loosely off this recipe, omitting some ingredients since they were already in the roasted sweet potatoes.

1-2 cups seasoned mashed sweet potatoes (these were the leftovers)
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup raisins
1. Mash the sweet potatoes
2. Add the eggs and milk to the potatoes and mix until blended
3. Add the flour (I sifted it), baking powder, sugar, and oatmeal and mix
4. Add the raisins
5. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet
6. Cook for 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven
7. Remove from oven and let cool

3/4 cup of powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
1. Mix the orange juice in to the powdered sugar
2. Adjust amounts as needed until the desired consistency is reached
3. Drizzle over cooled cookies

These cookies were really good. My husband, who doesn't like yams, actually liked the cookies. It's a good thing that I wrote down the recipe as I went along. I will definitely be making these again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Overnight, a blanket of snow covered the landscape. This was the first view I saw when I looked outside.
First stop was to check the chickens. The chicken run had sustained some damage but it should be repairable since we didn't glue the joints.

The chickens were ok, but they seemed a little confused about the snow.

Next stop was the upper orchard. It was surprising how much snow had fallen. We decided to shake it off the branches so they wouldn't break under the weight.

Once all the trees were clear, we headed doen the hill to tent city, aka the Mandarin grove. Since all the trees are young, we put lights and sheets over them. The deer protection came in handy to make little tents over each tree. I was able to find this lovely array of sheets at the local Goodwill store.

As the day grew brighter, the scenes were even more beautiful. This is a view down our street.

There continues to be a mixture of rain and snow this morning and there is freeze warning tonight. Winter has officially arrived.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Pulp

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I decided to roast some of the pumpkins I'd cured from the garden this summer. I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with the pumpkin, but I proceeded to roast anyway. I searched online for different methods and ended up using this process:

1. Wash the outside of the pumpkins
2. Slice in half and cut out the stem
3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff
4. Place pumpkins with the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
6. Bake the pumpkins face down for about 10 minutes and flip
7. Continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the flesh is soft.

8. Let the pumpkins cool to the touch, about 10 minutes
9. Scrape the softened pulp out of the shell and discard the skin
10. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or freeze.

The 3 small pumpkins I roasted yielded 4 cups of pulp.

In general the process was fairly simple. Scraping the seeds and strings from the pumpkin shells was the most difficult step. I took an extra step of saving the pumpkin seeds. Separating the seeds from the strings was pretty messy, but they came in handy as a quick snack before our pre-Thanksgiving dinner. I still have some pumpkins left, so it looks like I will be roasting again soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Mandarin Time

It started with our grove...
Next came the blossoms...
Then tiny, tiny fruit...
and finally, Mandarins!
This is one of the 13 Mandarins we grew this year. At least we are averaging a little more than 1 per tree.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgivings

We had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving this year. I kicked off the week with hosting a Thanksgiving style dinner here on Sunday. I tried some new recipes and some old favorites. Yesterday a bunch of us participated in the Folsom Turkey Trot, a family fun run/walk not too far from Loomis. I ran the 5K and had a great time. For dinner, we celebrated with both our families. It has been a week of family and fun and for that I am thankful.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Heuchera Garden

Leading up to our front door is a triangle shaped bed that has been home to seasonal weeds over the last year. It is nestled underneath two Japanese Maples and a Birch tree so it gets partial to full shade. I have been wanting to plant something there, but hadn't found the right plant, until I discovered Coral Bells (Heuchera).
I'm not sure where I came across these plants, but when I saw the beautiful colors AND that they were deer resistant, I knew that I had to get some.

We were fortunate enough to find some varieties in our local nurseries in smaller 4" pots and even a few 6 packs. The named varieties are:

Dolce Key Lime Pie

Purple Palace

Pinot Gris

Melting Fire

We also got a couple that didn't have name tags:
I can't wait until the bed starts filling in and the plants flower next year. I think they will complement the Maidenhair ferns in the adjacent bed quite well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Succulent Container Garden

After staring at a Jade plant that had been stored in a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket for a week or two, I decided to assemble this garden.

We already had the large Jade in the back. It was given to us a couple of years ago. The middle pot is now home to the Jade from the bucket. The smallest pot was previously filled with the tiny succulent specimen in the back. I added the broken Jade pieces and a few other small plants from a different pot.

Now these 3 pots are lined up next to our front door. I really enjoy seeing them as I go in an out of the house (it also helps remind me to water them).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recipe Index

Bread and Dough
Amish Friendship Bread Starter (Part 2)
Barbecue Pizza
Homemade Dough Enhancer
Hot Cross Buns
Italian Flatbread (or Pizza Crust)
Whole Wheat Low Sodium Baking Mix

Banana Muffins with add-ins
Cinnamon French Toast
Healthy Cranberry Muffins
Homemade Granola
Homemade Pancakes
Spring Greens Frittata
Whole Wheat Orange Waffles

Chicken Noodle Soup, Low Sodium
New Year's Black Eyed Pea Soup
Savory Carrot Soup
Vegetarian Lentils

Salads and Sides
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Vegetables
Mujadara: Lentil, Rice, and Onion Pilaf (with Cilantro)
Oven Baked Potatoes
Scalloped Potatoes
Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw
Tangy Guacamole
Tomato Salsa

Avocado Bruschetta
Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Main Courses
Apple Cider Glazed Turkey
Chicken Cilantro Enchilada Casserole
Easy Paella
Garlic Studded Rosemary Lamb
Seasoned Fish Tacos
Spicy Scallops

Cookies and Dessert
Chocolate Nut Cereal Cookies
Double Chocolate Cocoa Brownies
Lemon Yogurt Cake
Meyer Lemon Cake
Sweet Potato Cookies with Orange Glaze
Very Berry Cake

Canning and Preserving
Hungarian Hot Pepper Mustard
Peppered Citrus Jam
Roasted Pumpkin Pulp

"No Salt" Seasoning Mix
Low Sodium Chex Mix
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mums the word

This little beauty was gift from my mom and dad (thanks mom and dad!). It sits just outside our front window so I can see it all day long.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let us in!

The chickens were hanging out by the back door when I was making dinner the other night. I think if the door was open they would come in.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sad news

In August, I gave an update on the chickens. Some time has passed and there have been some unfortunate events that have affected our flock. About two months ago we lost two chickens to a raccoon attack. We had left the door to the coop open and the raccoon had access to the hens. Since that night we have been very careful to make sure the coop is secure.

Now we are left with only two hens, one white and one brown. They free range during the day and return to the coop each night where we lock them in (and predators out). My husband and I were both saddened by the loss of the other two chickens, but we are still enjoying the two that are left. We have even started talking about getting some more chicks next Spring.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Easy Paella

What's for dinner? Tonight it is my take on a Spanish Paella cooked entirely in the rice cooker. Aside from only having one pot to clean, an added benefit is that most of the fresh ingredients came directly from our garden.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 hot peppers chopped small
2 large bell peppers (or 3-4 small) roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves roughly diced
3-4 medium tomatoes diced
3 cups brown rice (these are the small cups that come with the cooker, not a standard measuring cup)
1 packet no sodium chicken flavoring
1-2 pinches saffron
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 pound shrimp
sliced green onions

1. Saute the peppers, onions, and garlic in the olive oil directly in the rice cooker for about 10 minutes. Our rice cooker is the fuzzy logic type, so I use the quick cook setting. I have also made it in the standard type where you simply use the cook setting for this step.

2. Once they are softened, add the tomatoes and rice and saute another 3-5 minutes

3. Dissolve the packet of chicken flavor into some water and pour it into the rice cooker.

4. Add additional water to raise the level of liquid to the fill line

5. Sprinkle the paprika and saffron on top and stir

6. Reset the cook setting on the rice cooker and let the rice cook until nearly done.

7. About 5-10 minutes before the setting is complete, add the shrimp, peas, and corn. Just dump them on top. They will proceed to steam for the remainder of the cycle.

8. When the cycle is complete and the shrimp is cooked, add the green onions. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve.

This is a simple, yet flavorful dish. It also smells wonderful as it is cooking. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Homemade Granola

A couple of weeks ago my husband bought a small container of granola bites. I was shocked at the price tag of $5.99 so I searched for an alternate way to get those tasty morsels. What I found were several recipes for homemade granola. After buying the ingredients, I finally got around to making it. Here is the recipe I used based on the one posted at kissmyspatula.

4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup clover honey
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix the wet in a separate bowl (I used a large glass measuring cup)
3. Stir the two together until the dry ingredients are coated.
4. Pour out onto a large sheet pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally with a spatula (every 5-10 minutes)
6. The granola is done when it is an even golden brown (~20 minutes), but your time my vary.
7. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let the granola cool completely, stirring occasionally.
8. Store in an airtight container.

The granola had a yummy smell as it was baking. Other than taking some time for stirring, it was a easy process with tasty results.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tree Protection

Lately, the local deer population has been snacking on our citrus trees more often than not. Since the trees are in the front yard and there isn't a fence, we decided to install protective rings around each tree. The 5 foot stakes are protruding 3-4 feet out of the ground and the wire ring is slipped over them. The rings have been on for about two weeks and already there is new growth. So far so good.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Curing Pumpkins

The first round of pumpkins were harvested yesterday. After doing some research, it is recommended that they be cured in order to have a longer shelf life. Today I started to cure them using the following steps:

  1. Washed them in soapy water with 1 part bleach to 10 parts water (this is a rough estimate - I didn't actually measure)
  2. Dried them with a dish towel
  3. Tried to find a place that will stay around 80-85 deg F, I picked the laundry room
  4. Set the pumpkins on top of the dryer with space between them so air can flow (Note: We do not use our dryer so there isn't any chance that the pumpkins will get too hot as a result of the dryer being on)
  5. Let them cure for 10 days

That's it. Hopefully they will cure well and last the two months until Halloween.

Fall/Winter Garden '09

Here in Zone 9, it's time to plant the cool weather crops of a Fall/Winter garden. This is the first time I have planted a garden in August. It is a little strange, but exciting. I am looking forward to the sprouting of new seeds and a whole new cycle of life beginning.

To make room, I cleared two rows of plants from our Summer garden. Only 5 of the squash plants and the herb patch remain. For this planting, I decided to try the Square Foot Gardening method. I thought this would come in handy since I had limited space and an assortment of seeds to plant. The new crops are in the lower two rows of the garden diagram.

If the Square Foot method works well, I plan to use it for the Summer garden next year. The prospect of fewer weeds makes me smile.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hungarian Hot Pepper Mustard

This year in our garden we planted several pepper plants. The four Hungarian Wax peppers have been loaded with peppers. Not able to eat them fast enough, I wanted to make something. I found this recipe for Hot Pepper Butter that sounded like a good fit.

Here is the adapted recipe I used:

~50 Hungarian Wax peppers (enough for 5-6 cups blended)
1 quart vinegar (1 cup Apple cider, 1 cup white, 2 cups red wine)
1 quart prepared mustard (I used French’s classic yellow)
3 cups sugar
1 cup flour mixed with water to make a smooth paste
Red Cayenne Pepper powder (if more heat is desired)

  1. De-stem the peppers and removed the seeds/membranes if desired (use gloves – the pepper oils will make your skin burn)

  2. In small batches, blend the peppers until smooth

  3. Cook peppers, vinegar, mustard, and sugar in a stockpot and cook over medium heat (add Cayenne pepper to taste)

  4. Add the flour paste, stirring constantly (mine was clumpy so I pulled out the hand blender and smoothed out the mixture)

  5. Using a jar funnel, I ladled into hot jars and sealed.

  6. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 min

  7. Remove using a jar lifter and let the jars cool in a draft free location (you should hear popping sounds as the jars seal)

The mustard is a nice bright orange color since most of the peppers I used were orange and red. It is quite spicy (enough to make my lips burn), but I think a little will add a lot of flavor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Update

The chickens are all grown up. The white ones (Light Brahma breed) are much larger than their brown sisters (Ameracauna breed). Lately we have been letting them out to free range in the backyard. Here is a picture of the two breeds next to each other:

All four chickens are still very friendly. They will come running over to me and stand next to my feet. One even walked under my leg when I was sitting in a lawn chair. It is fun to see them run, even if it is more of a waddle with an occasional burst of flight.

We went on vacation a couple of weeks ago. It was that week that the brown chickens laid their first eggs (at 20 weeks of age). By the time we got home, there were several. They are a greenish blue color.

My husband decided to eat some, and the first one he opened was a double yolk.

Over the last week, they have been laying nearly every day. I kept wondering when the white chickens would start. Today I got my answer, our first brown egg:

At least we know one of the white chickens is laying (at 22 weeks of age). Maybe there will be another brown egg tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Elusive Quail Family

Three days ago I saw them for the first time. They weren't much more than little balls of fluff with legs. A group of baby quail were darting from plant to plant in the vegetable garden with their mothers. I tried to get closer for a picture, but alas they were quick to scurry and escaped the lens.

Today I saw them again. First thing this morning I saw the family walking across the street heading for the garden. Again I tried to get a shot, but they excel at hide and seek and I missed out a second time. Finally, this afternoon as I was sitting here working, they came walking across the front porch. I was able to snap a few shots before they disappeared again.

The cute baby quail living in our garden (and taking occasional strolls on our porch).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day July 2009

Wow! It's the 15th already. Where has the time gone? Most of the blooms right now are in the vegetable garden. Here is an overview shot. We transplanted the seedlings on April 25th and have been harvesting a steady stream of tomatoes and peppers.

Last month I highlighted some of my marigolds. They continue to flourish. Mixed in with the marigolds are some sweet basil and parsley. They are cheerful greeters to the rows of tomato plants. On the lower right is our German Chamomile. I dried some last week (but haven't had a chance to post it yet). If you are interested in my results, check back soon.

Moving away from the vegetables, I discovered that another one of our citrus trees is blooming. This one is the Midknight Valencia Orange. The harvest season is late spring which is why it is lagging the other citrus blooms.

This flower is from an aloe plant. It is nearly finished blooming, but the hummingbirds have been enjoying it's sweet nectar for almost a month. The plant is just outside our kitchen window so I have caught several glimpses of the hummingbird land and drink from the flowers.

To see other blogger's July Blooms, head over to May Dreams Garden.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tomato Salsa

Now that the tomatoes are here, I can’t think of a better reason to make our favorite tomato salsa. This is the basic combination we use to dress our fish tacos. I went out to the garden and picked all the necessary ingredients (the tomatoes on the counter were from the store - the last ones we will buy this season!).

Peppers (can be mild or hot)
Lemon juice

There isn’t a fixed quantity of each ingredient. Tomatoes are the largest contributor (tonight augmented our homegrown with 6 medium store bought), followed by equal parts peppers (1 bell, 1 med, 1 hot) and onion (6 small ones which are roughly the equivalent of 1 medium), a few cloves garlic, cilantro to taste and lemon juice to bring out the flavor in the mixture. Dice everything up and put in a bowl. Stir to combine.

The salsa can be served right away or chilled before using. It will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in a covered dish (although ours rarely lasts that long). In addition to tacos, this salsa can be added to a salad, served like bruschetta on toasted bread, or over pasta.
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