31 July 2011

Basil Limeade

It's still July.  Thank goodness.  I'm sneaking in my second  AFBA-mandated post in at the last minute, but this is super tasty.

Basil simple syrup

1.5+/-0.5 c basil, loosely packed
1 c water
1 c sugar

In a small pot, combine all ingredients and bring them it a boil.  Allow to maintain a rolling boil from a minute and then remove from the heat.  Cover with something that lets it breathe, but won't let in the flies (I used my splatter guard).  Steep for at least 30 minutes and more if you like a more intense basil flavor (I think I left mine in for a couple hours while I ran some errands).  Strain and refrigerate

Basil limeade

2 T basil simple syrup
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
6 oz water

Mix.  Enjoy.  You can play around with the ratios, but I've found that equal lime juice and basil simple syrup is the best.  I really enjoyed using sparkling water too, but this is probably only a reflection of my affinity for pop.

So yeah.  Where have I been all month?  I've had some health problems take over my life.  It's not super serious, but I've been doing all I can to avoid sinus surgery.  It's been quite exhausting and painful to deal with, which is why I haven't been posting so much (or showing up to anything).

10 July 2011

Tomatillo Salsa

Why hello, stranger.  And by stranger, I mean the one person who still periodically reads this blog.  Last night, I came to the realization that I only posted three times in June, which is the low for this year.  I'll have a menu soon, but I think that July is going to be another low-post month.

One of my excuses *ahem* reasons for not posting so much in June is that for nearly the entire month, I was taking pictures of every meal and snack I ate as part of an artist's project.  So while all was quiet on this front, I was still thinking about food a lot.  It's been sort of weird not taking pictures of everything I consume, and I think that I might try to take more pictures and post them on my tumblr.  We'll see, though.  I periodically pick it up and put it back down again, but it's been my way to catalog what I've eaten, which (usually) keeps me accountable.

On one of the final days of the project, my dinner consisted of a lot of chips and salsa.  No, I wasn't undergradding out, but rather I participated in a salsa show down at Lewis and Rachel's place.  It was a lot of fun and I was glad to participate, plus I won a giant bank filled with jello.  It also gave me the excuse to make salsa for the first time.  Below is my (jello winning!) recipe.

Tomatillo salsa

2 lbs tomatillos, husked and washed well
1 large poblano pepper
2 whole jalapenos
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 c chopped red onion
1/2 medium yellow/sweet onion, chopped
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
6-7 cloves garlic, more if you love garlic (oh man, I love garlic)
1 t cumin, optional
1/3 c parsley or cilantro, chopped, optional
the juice of one lime
salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.  Either in a dutch oven or over the flame on a gas stove, char the tomatillos, poblano pepper, and the two whole jalapenos.  Put the peppers in a plastic bag and seal.  Place the tomatillos on a large sheet pan and then bake in the oven until soft (~10 minutes or so, but squeeze with some tongs to make sure). In a small pan, heat the olive oil and then cook the YELLOW onion with a pinch of salt, until it's soft and slightly browned.  You can also toss in the garlic to take off the bite.  Remove the onions from the pan.  If you're still concerned about the heat level, remove the yellow onion from the pan and then quickly sautee the jalapenos and red onion until slightly soften.  This step is optional.  Peel the poblano and the jalapenos.  My favorite method is to just do it with a dishtowl and scrape the skins off.  It's best to do this with gloves so you don't accidentally put a jalapeno finger in your eye when you're taking your contacts out later that night.  That is a mistake you make only once. *ahem* Once the tomatillos are cooked, place half of them in the food processor, along with the yellow onion, roasted skinless jalapenos and roasted skinless poblano.  Blitz until liquidy.  Add in the rest of the tomatillos and then pulse until a little bit chunky.  Combine this with the red onion and chopped jalapenos.  Crush the garlic into the mix and stir.  Add in the cumin and/or cilantro/parsley if using (I honestly don't remember if I put the cumin in.  I don't think I did, but I did add in parsley [because yuck, cilantro]).  Season with salt and lime juice to taste.  If you let the flavors marry overnight, it's pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

In creating this recipe, my main goal was to balance everything.  The tomatillos are sort of sour, but they were mellowed by charring and cooking them.  To add that acidity back in, I included the lime juice.  It's the same story with the roasted jalapenos/chopped jalapenos and the sauteed yellow onion (which also adds sweetness to the entire salsa)/red onion.  If you really want to be snazzy, roast about half of the garlic cloves before pressing.