For the love of Salsa!

This is a post from the archives, but Cheyenne made a batch of salsa yesterday and she just nailed it.  That Salsa is so good, it needed to be shared again!


Me & Cheyenne (drinking bubbly apple juice)
Cheyenne and I share a lot of things.  For instance, neither one of us can hide our feelings very well, what we think is telegraphed on our faces, we love taking care of our animals, we are strong willed, and we love babies.  Also, we share a love of really good Salsa.  Mexican food makes us happy and we like a little heat.  She is her mother’s daughter, with just enough of her daddy mixed in to mellow her out in a nice way.
She has been making some noise about needing to make salsa with our bountiful harvest of tomatoes.  Apparently, Cheyenne has not thought that using the tomatoes to make tomato sauce was a very wise use of those beautiful ‘maters.  A love of spaghetti is not something we share.  So, I surfed the internet for a recipe and found one that was simple and looked promising. And yesterday we got busy over some tomatoes, hot peppers, and cilantro.
The recipe was simple and we followed it up until we tasted the salsa, then we went to tinkering.  Cheyenne is really good about making notes as she improvises so we were able to recreate the same flavor this morning, as we already needed more.
Below is the recipe- our rendition, not the one from the internet.  Before putting everything in the food processor, we cored the tomatoes and scored the other ends and dropped them into boiling water for about a minute.  The tomatoes are in the boiling water just long enough for the skin to start to curl.  Then the peeling just slips off, chop the tomatoes roughly and toss in the processor.  The longer you run the food processor the finer the salsa, so if you like chunky then just pulse a few times.  Also, for thicker salsa use paste tomatoes such as roma or Illini Gold.
Cheyenne’s Fresh Salsa
2-3 medium tomatoes, stems and peelings removed (see above)
½  onion coarsely chopped
2- fish peppers seeds removed- unless you want to up the heat then leave the seeds in. (if you don’t have fish peppers, jalapeno or any other hot pepper will work.
Juice of one lime
1 cup cilantro
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp of cumin
Put tomatoes, peppers & onions in food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse till you are happy with the consistency.  Taste- if too hot add more tomatoes, if not hot enough, add more peppers.
Let set in the refrigerator for one hour to let the flavors blend- if you can wait that long, we just eat right out of the blender bowl.

Old Man Winter is Knocking At Our Door

Here in Texas we have been having some very nice weather with highs in the upper 70’s and lower 80’s, however a cold front has been moving through.  Now the daytime highs are not such a big deal, the big deal for me and every other gardener is the overnight low.  If it drops below 32′, much of our growing season is done.  So, with the weathermen telling us that a freeze was on the way we were busy little ants getting all the harvest in that we could.

What a beautiful sight! I am so proud when I pick organic veggies from our own garden.

Peppers and Eggplants and Tomatoes and all the other veggies in the garden will continue to produce in the cool weather as long as there is not a freeze.  Once the freeze hits they are done.  The Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans have been growing on my garden fence all spring, summer, and now fall.  I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get any beans because they never bloomed.  Then about a month ago, blossoms came and now beans.  I did get a nice harvest on Sunday and those lovely beans are now shelled and in my fridge waiting to be cooked up with a little ham and bacon drippings- ohh so good!  Even though I did get a lot of beans there are still so many baby beans out there that I am hoping for old man winter to stay away another few weeks.  It is not uncommon for us in East Texas to not have a freeze until December.  During the heat of the summer when it is 95′ in May and June then hitting 100’s for weeks I always ask myself “Why do I live here?”  Then the weather cools down and I can pretty much garden all winter long because our ground never freezes and then I think “I love this climate!”

The Fish Pepper Plants (2) really produced all summer even in the heat and have given me a beautiful bounty of hot peppers.
Citronella is one herb that dies out in the winter. This plant is huge and I had to harvest it before the frost killed it.
This is the plant after. It looks so sad. However, this herb will be dried and I will make lots of wonderful mosquito repellant.

Not only did we need to harvest all the herbs that would not make it through a freeze- and there are only just a few that

will not over-winter- but all the potted plants such as Aloe Vera, Geraniums, and Bouganvilla had to be moved into the greenhouse.  All the work was worth it.  Even though as I write this, it looks like we have been spared a few more weeks.  Nothing outside looks bit by a freeze.  I am so grateful.

Zuccinni-Corn Fritters- Mmmmm Good

Today was a full day- as they all are.  Mondays are spent at home most usually.  After the weekend I always need to regroup and put the house back together.  It is after 8pm as I write this and I could probably still fill another 8 hours with things that need doing.  But, that is just the norm.  I have also found that the first day of the week sets the tone for the rest of the week.  So, we focus on our school work, get the menus made for the week, and layout the chore schedules.

So, with 10 loads of laundry washed, sorted, and delivered to the kid’s rooms, we can start the week with clean clothes and empty hampers.  The menu for the week was done and groceries bought.  I had a recipe that I had been wanting to try, so it went on the menu.  Lately, I haven’t been able to try a lot of new recipes because of the time it takes to make the new ones has just not been available. However, thanks to Tony and a strained back (a whole other blog), I have been delegating dinner preparation to each of the kids and even Tony has been taking a turn he has always offered but I preferred to do it my way despite the fact that he cooks good food.  I am impressed with just how good of cooks my children are!  This has also allowed me more free-time in the kitchen to be creative again.  Anyway, Tony did steaks tonight and I thought it would be a good time to try out the recipe for zucchini-corn fritters.  I must say, they were good.  I didn’t get a picture of them before the plate was clean.  Clean clothes and full tummies- a good way to start the week.

These fritters remind us of the fried cornbread that my grandmother makes.  I never got the hang of the fried cornbread, but these turned out great.

The recipe is below, I hope you give these a try.  I also hope that you get to make them with zucchini from your own garden next spring.

Zucchini -Corn Fritters

serves 6-8

2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves- minced

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking soda (or baking powder- I do not like the taste of baking soda)

freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

olive oil for frying


1. Toss shredded zucchini with 1/2 tsp salt.  Let stand for 10 min. Wrap zucchini in a towel and squeeze dry.

2. Heat the butter in large non-stick skillet.  Add onion cook until clear and softened about 4 minutes, add corn and garlic cook about 3 minutes. Set aside

3. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl.
Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a large bowl, then stir in corn mixture and zucchini.  Add cornmeal mixture, stir just until combined.

4. heat oil in large skillet, working in batches, pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the frying pan.  Use the back of the ladle to smooth out the fritter.  Cook until fritters are golden brown on each side- about 3-4 minutes per side.  drain and serve hot.


Ohh so good!  What is your favorite way to cook zucchini?


Savannah’s Sweet Pie Crust

My daughter, Savannah, inherited her daddy’s sweet tooth and from me, she inherited the love for cooking and baking.  Savannah has always been in the kitchen and it didn’t take long for her to start wanting to bake the sweets that her daddy loves.  It started with sugar cookies and then went to cherry pie.  The first rattle out of the box, she made a perfect crust.  I was thoroughly impressed.  Of course, she couldn’t leave well enough alone- did I mention her sweet tooth.  The crust just wasn’t sweet enough- so she made her own recipe.  She did the same with the sugar cookie recipe, but that is for another post.  As it turns out, her dad like her version of cherry pie better!  So, the race is on- can the master stay ahead of the pupil?  It is fun to share this friendly competition with her.

This crust is great for pies or cobblers, I find it too sweet to go with a savory recipe like chicken pot pie.

For detailed directions for preparing and rolling the dough, along with step-by-step pictures- go to:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter

5-6 tablespoons of cold water.

Mix dry ingredients

Cut in the butter till the bits are pea-size

Stir in water, 2 tablespoons at a time, stir with a fork until all the dough is stuck together and forms a ball.

Divide dough in half and form a ball

Pat the ball into a flat circle.

Roll each circle out until the dough is roughly 1 inch larger than the pie plate.

Follow pie recipe for the crust preparation.  If you only need a single crust, the second half of dough can be refrigerated or frozen.

Savannah the pastry chef