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salsa

Ahhh, photography and cooking… I could fill a lifetime creating beauty via these two addictive muses which never cease to offer possiblities for new creations!   One of these two passions has a bone to pick with me though, it feels betrayed and abandoned, rightfully so!  Hell knows no fury like an abandoned love, so this blog will help me make peace and share some promised recipes with clients!   After our summer carnival last week I received lots of requests for recipes from a few dishes.  So I figured this would be a perfect spot to share those recipes along with some random food photos from the past two years for all you other foodies out there! 

Since I launched my business, cooking has unceremoniously been shoved to the back seat while photography called “Shot gun” in it’s loudest booming voice.   In the past girlfriends would tell me they looked forward to having a baby or surgery because they knew I would bring them a meal! That’s the mark of someone who loves to cook! 😉

I keep hoping for more hours in the day…but despite the desires of just about every parent on this planet, that’s not looking likely.   I’m so grateful for how enthusiastically C A P T U R E D clients have been in referring my services!  But, now that I’ve laid a solid foundation for my business, I hope to pull back a bit to work more “normal” full time hours by scheduling a little more space between sessions.  Hoping to get back to cooking, just a bit in this next year!

Yummy way to use up garden zucchinni–grilled with fajita seasoning.  For some crazy reason the boys in my family, the Snyders and the Tobias’s think this makes them taste like french fries!  Fajita seasoning can be purchased at Food Lion in ethnic food isle where there are seasonings.

Garden produce to create salsa & brushetta.  Ruth Stout’s “mulching/no work garden” philosophy–easiest garden EVER!  No weeding, watering, tilling.  Google her if you want to find out more.

From the ground to the table! 😉

William’s pirate imitation while helping to make salsa!  (that’s my margarita, not William’s!)  My boys love to help me cook…let’s just say it tends to add to the chaos but also a lot of great memories! 

Bruschetta:  tomatoes, purple onions, fresh basil & garlic, salt, olive oil.  

Kitchen waste from this year’s garden feeds next years garden by way of our compost pile.

A bunch of girlfriends and I have met over the last few years in what we so creatively deemed our Cook’s Club.  We experiment to duplicate famous recipes of foods we love and we explore exotic food creations from around the world!  Samosas, black bean burgers, tempura, channa masala, fondue, chai tea, we are all over the world!  Sushi above was Trader Joe’s discontinued Cajun shrimp sushi we successfully replicated. 

Peanut butter eggs…ummmmm….

French bread started in our bread machine & finished in the oven.

Strombolis…

Blackened salmon over our garden greens. 

Best dessert known to mankind….aka tiramisu!

This time of year zucchini is coming out every garderners ears.  This year I decided to try an experimentation with making zucchini parmesan.  Just a few ingredients & whole pan can be put together in 10 minutes.   As soon as I tried it I was eager to share this recipe with friends who love to quick and are light on time.  This is better and healthier than eggplant parmesan.  Layer sauce, strips of zucchini sprinkled w/italian seasonings, then mozzrella.  I wanted to make this as healthy as possible so i didn’t fry the zucchini.  Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes, then 400 for 20 more minutes.  D E L I C I O U S !!!!  This little C A P T U R E D client Ellie thinks it’s delicious too!  Momma Julie made her version with some elk meat in it and shared this image with me to show me how much Ellie loved it!

Home made spaghetti sauce…this pot brewed for 2 days during those snow storms 2 years ago!

Erin Allport’s jalepeno poppers—just add cream cheese and bacon and bake. 

Some carnival attenders asked about an edamame salad a friend brought.  This is a version I make modeled after a version we have bought from BJ’s before. Garbanzo beans, edamame, purple onions, carrots, green peppers, craisens, oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, cumin, italian seasoning. 

Salad sans lettuce that many requested the recipe for from the carnival—couldn’t be easier:

chopped up:  cucumber, tomatoes, purple onion, green pepper, variety of olives in jars (canned have no flavor), pepperoncinis, banana peppers, crumbled feta, sprinkled paremesan and your favorite clear dressing.  I used Ken’s lite Caesar dressing (because Food Lion stopped producing a clear Greek dressing my whole family loved!  The party line is that it was too garlicy for customers—-IS THERE SUCH A THING!!!???). 

These home made french fries are a huge hit with my boys & their friends—apparently they come up a lot during lunch room conversations!  We just slice potatoes and deep fry them in our lil fryer, then sprinkle w/salt & pepper.

Oh & another favorite in our house is Zupa Toscana, no photo.  I’ve given this recipe out sooo many times!  I started making it years ago on a whim and since have friends like Keli Houle growing kale in her gardens just for this recipe because she found even her pickiest eaters liked this!  

Zupa Toscana

3 cups chix broth

1/2 cup heavy cream or ½ & ½

1 medium potato (I do way more)

2 cups chopped fresh kale (I do way more)

1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage or sausage of choice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Grill sausage, cut into slices.  (Or cook it right in the pot w/the liquid for a time saver).  Combine stock and cream in pot over medium heat.  Slice in unpeeled potatoes in chunks into soup.  Add kale, sausage and spices.  Allow to simmer for about an hour.   I actually let my pot of soup cook several hours.  I increase veggies substantially and decrease sausage but not by a specific ratio, I don’t measure anything, just throw it in the pot.  Lots of people over the years have told me they like having more potatoes and kale in the soup than what Olive Garden serves & the recipe calls for (yes, even the meat lovers!)  If your sausage is spicy you may not need the red peppers, depends on your crowd.  The kale will start big in the pot and cook down a lot!  Surprisingly my vegetarian pot of this soup is really delicious too!  Of if your soup starts to boil by accident, the cream will appear to curdle.  It has not gone bad so don’t despair!   Just add more cream or milk to fix the appearance. 

If you do happen to buy or grow kale—here’s a healthy way to eat it my boys love—kale chips.  Just lay big kale leaves on cookie sheet, sprinkle w/garlic salt and olive oil.  Bake at 350 till crispy and enjoy—warning though–your kids will look like they have gross pirate teeth when eating these!

(Baby kale plant)

I don’t have a photo of the penne dish Grandy made for the party but it’s hugely popular in our family and the recipe can be found at:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Penne-with-Tomatoes-Olives-and-Two-Cheeses-513/ .  My sister in law Pam started making this years ago and we’ve not stopped requesting it since!

Now here’s the recipe for my most requested dish—salsa.   Despite the fact that we freeze gallons and gallons of this stuff, we still can’t seem to make it to the next tomato harvest season before it’s all gone.  My style of cooking rarely includes measurements for dishes like this where it really doesn’t matter.  So after making it so many years, I just start with whatever the garden has produced and go with it.  Baughers helps to fill in any gaps I have.  I apologize I can’t give amounts.  Trust me, it won’t matter.  It’s salsa, it’s very forgiving. 

Only reason this salsa is in a pot is because a crab steaming pot is the largest container I have.

DiDio Salsa

  • Tomatoes (if in season, if not diced & drained canned)
  • Green peppers, more colors the better
  • Purple onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Jalepenos, fresh or jarred
  • Banana peppers & pepporcinis, fresh or jarred
  • Garlic, fresh or jarred
  • Salt
  • Sugar (helps to cut acidity of tomatoes)
  • Lime juice
  • Splash of vinegar (optional)

Notes:

Place all in food processor & chop to desired consistency!    Chopping by hand makes a beautiful presentation but I gave that up years ago b/c too much time involved for the amount I was making. The key bulk ingredients tomatoes/peppers/onions ratio is all dependent on your preference.  Really that’s true w/this entire recipe.  A good rule of thumb to start with about 4-6 tomatoes to one pepper and adjust from there.

Since we eat sooo much of this I’ve always made it in super large batches.  I don’t measure anything, so every batch tastes a little different but everyone keeps coming back for more! 

There’s no ‘secret ingredient’ I think the method is what makes it such a hit.  Nothing is cooked and NO canned tomato sauces or pastes at all.  This is what gives it the fresh taste even when thawed in February!  The reason I don’t can it is that would require cooking the salsa which TOTALLY alters the fresh taste.  

The only issue I’ve had in making it all these years is when using fresh tomatoes.  They have a lot of water, so try to get them as drained as possible or when you thaw your freezer salsa you’ll loose about 50% of the content from water you’ll have to drain off.  When making it fresh, chop your tomatoes and leave them sit in the fridge for a day so a lot of the excess water can be dumped off.  Otherwise you’ll have to drain it off later.  If you do drain it off later, it makes a great base for a starter pot of a Mexican bean soup.

Shoooo, ok, think that was all the promised recipes now housed in one site!  Enjoy!  love, Jennifer 😉

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