Chimichurri Sauce

I have to admit it – I’m a bit of a condiment/sauce queen. Our refrigerator is full of hot sauces, dressings, sauces, mustards…I love the zing and the variety that they bring to an otherwise typical meal in my house and I’ve found myself really putting forth some restraint during the summer months to not buy something new every week.

We’ve had our CSA parsley patiently waiting around, sitting in a glass and covered with a plastic bag. This technique has kept it fresh for the past several weeks, until I figured out how to use it. I then thought back to several years ago when I had made a flank steak with chimichurri sauce  for my fiancé’s birthday. I didn’t own a food processor back then so chopping herbs was really a chore. But, the end result was worth it and the sauce tasted amazing.

So, with newer kitchen gadgets and all the right ingredients, I whipped up this sauce in about 10 minutes – no manual chopping required! 😉

Chimichurri Sauce

adapted from Food and Wine

  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more/less to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. In a food processor, combine the parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper. Process until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and process again, until the oil and vinegar emulsifies.
  2. Taste a little bit of the sauce. Add more of any of the above ingredients if you wish. Pulse to process, and repeat as necessary.

IMG_1885

The chimichurri sauce smells and tastes amazing – it’s so bright and summery. I plan on making this with flank steak, but it would also taste great on fish. Why not on grilled vegetables, too…or for dipping bread?

I think it’s safe to say that the possibilities are endless with this savory, herby sauce.

Shared over yonder at Homemade Mondays, hosted by Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity.

 

Advertisements

Crew Picnic Pepper Relish

Happy Halloween! 🙂

Tonight we’re having some friends over to help pass out candy (they barely get trick-or-treaters at their house), play a game or two, & have some pizza. We are having a very rainy day today up here and I’m a little thankful that I don’t have a little one to take around door-to-door tonight. 🙂

Today’s recipe is a bit on the side of “Throwback Thursday” as it takes me back to fond memories from high school. Back then, I was very active in not only the music department, but the drama department. I loved to participate on the stage, but as I got older I started to get more hands-on with stage production. The group of people I met while on stage crew are still many of my friends to date, even though it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school (whoa.).

dianne

Diiiiannnne!

As a high school teacher now, I completely understand what our fearless leader & brave supervisor-adult Dianne meant when she said we were giving her grey hair. I could write, and write, and write about all the hilarity that ensued during those hours I spent after school. But, some stories are best kept amongst “the few, the proud, the crew”. 😉 One of our many traditions was the “crew barbecue” (or as our fearless leader, Dianne called it, the crew picnic). We’d all come in on a Saturday (we’d normally just meet after school) and work on sets, painting, etc., all while having a grand old time goofing around and pulling shenanigans. For lunch, we would fire up a grill and grill out some hambugers. Dianne would bring this pepper relish that she made herself during the summer.

hamburgers

Grilling at a crew barbecue

While I’m not sure if I was the only kid that ate it, what I do know is that for at least three of crew barbecues (we had one for every show, even when it was snowing), I would end up coming home with a jar of pepper relish and proceed to eat with sandwiches, crackers, hambugers, hotdogs, you name it.

I’ve seen Dianne several times since I’ve graduated high school and I’ve actually even met up with her twice since I’ve moved to northern Michigan…it’s a small world after all, and she has a family cabin about a half hour away from us and come up here every once in a while. We have plenty more to catch up on other than stage crew and pepper relish (she had a lot of fun touring our house and giving her two cents on what the original floorplan probably was – I tell ya she is one smart woman).

This past summer, with the exhorbitant amount of peppers in my fridge (about 4-5 different varieties and 30+ to count) I needed to do something with them. And I had a major taste for some pepper relish. So, I got to work doing some research to see what I could come up with on my own…and I came up with something pretty close. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory, with a bit of a bite, because I used some jalapenos & serranos.

Pepper Relish

Inspired by BonAppetit, Diana Rattray, and of course, Dianne

  • 20 peppers – you can adjust the ratios to your pepper preference*
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt

* I used 5 jalapenos, 6 green/purple peppers, and 9 sweet peppers (some were the small, sweet peppers)

  1. Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat. Wash all of your peppers, chop them up, and add them to the pot. Chop your onion and add it in as well.
  2. Cook down the peppers until they are nice and soft – about an hour. Do not let them burn; turn down the heat as necessary. Let cool when finished (they will cook down).
  3. Use a food processor to chop the pepper mixture down to a relish-sized texture. One all the mixture has been processed, put it back into the pot and add the vinegar, sugar and salt.
  4. Boil the peppers for 15 minutes until everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Store in a glass jar. This made a pint and a half for me.

20131031-121008.jpg

So far I’ve managed to eat this on pulled pork, sloppy joes, and turkey sandwiches. I just can’t get enough! It is awesome. I’m not sure how long this will keep in the fridge, but I’m pretty sure that it will last me for a little while. If you make more than one batch, the processing time is either 10 or 15 minutes – honestly, I don’t remember what I read in the planning stages.

All I can currently think about is how this would also be fantastic with cream cheese and crackers. Mmmm.

I hope you all enjoy your evening tonight, be it with your young’ins, just passing out candy, watching scary movies (not my thing much to my husband’s dismay), playing games, or just relaxing 🙂

 

Rice and Bean Enchiladas

This dish was a great ‘teamwork’ dish. I had Open House at one of my schools this week, and wouldn’t be getting back home til about 7:30/8:00. Getting dinner started at that point in the evening doesn’t work very well for my husband who needs to get to bed around 9:30.  Since I knew what I wanted to eat (enchiladas), I decided to prep the dinner halfway so that he could finish making it once he was home from work and done biking. He wasn’t stuck waiting for me to finish dinner, and there was something ready for me to eat when I got home.

Rice & Bean Enchiladas

As prepared by The Spicy Simmer

  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • cilantro (fresh or dried, whatever you have in the fridge)
  • paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: cayenne powder
  • optional: shredded Mexican blend cheese (or whatever you have in the fridge )
  • tortillas
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • optional: green onions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375* and spray a large baking pan (9×13 is best) with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the rice, beans & corn together. Add the spices and about 1/4 cup of the cheese, if you’d like. Mix well so that all the ingredients are well-distributed.
  3. Assemble the enchiladas – spoon some of the filling into the tortilla & roll up. Place each one seam-side down into the pan.
  4. Coat the enchiladas with the enchilada sauce.  Optional: Top with a few sprinkles of cheese & some green onions.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly (and the cheese is melted).

For prepping this dish the night before, I made the filling & stored it in the refrigerator, with the enchilada sauce in a seperate container, ready to go. Once Mike got home from work, he got everything out of the fridge and finished cooking. I rolled into the driveway around 8:00 that night and very hungry – everything was done, Mike was relaxing with a game of Madden, and all was well.

I love teamwork 🙂

Sambal Oelek

If any of you are fans of Cooking Light magazine, you may come across a unique ingredient in the Asian dishes that they publish – “Sambal Oelek“**. What on earth is that, and where do I find it? It sounded so…exotic…that I didn’t believe I could find it anywhere up here.

Sambal Oelek is a chili paste that packs a lot of heat and flavor, and tastes along the lines of Sriracha sauce (also known as “Rooster Sauce” to many). The main difference between the two is that Sriracha also has garlic & sugar in its ingredients, whereas SO features solely chilies. Sambal Oelek is also thicker, with chili pepper seeds in it; the sauce thins out as you mix it into a hot dish that you’re in the process of cooking.

004

Sambal Oelek is a great addition for stir frys and Asian dishes that need some ‘heat’. I’m a huge fan of spicy food, and this really helps take many of the Asian dishes I cook to the next level, instead of just simply adding sriracha all the time. Sriracha is a great condiment, where sambal oelek is a great background tool, so to speak.

I had difficulty finding SO at first – and ended up ordering it on Amazon for way too much money. Once I stopped looking for it, I found it in many different places that I shop – it’s actually relatively inexpensive on store shelves, too. In my opinion, you shouldn’t need to pay any more than $2.25 for this product – and it should last you a while, too.

If you really enjoy making stir frys and Asian-inspired dishes, I highly recommend adding this sauce to your pantry list – especially if you are a spicy food fan like me! 🙂

** I was NOT contacted nor paid by Huy Fong Foods for this post. I simply wrote it because I had absolutely no idea what this ingredient was, and since it was included in many recipes I want to try, I decided to buy it, and tell you a bit about it – just in case you are in the same boat as I was!

Enchilada Sauce

Enchiladas are my favorite dish to order at a Mexican restaurant, and I’ve tried (several times) to make a decent batch at home. Every aspect has always tasted delicious, except for the sauce. Pre-made enchilada sauce can often taste really…plasticky. I’ve read recipes online, but had ever actually tried them, as I figured they’d take too much time. Boy, was I wrong.

This week I made a quick and easy mexican chicken dish that I found from Pinterest. This was the perfect sauce and consistency for the dish and I’m so glad that I (finally) went out on a limb and tried this. You won’t be disappointed.

Enchilada Sauce – adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 c. chili powder
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the flour & whisk together; cook for 1 min.
  2. Add chili & stock; mix together and cook for 1 min.
  3. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 min.
  4. Serve immediately. Store the rest in the refrigerator, or freeze in a plastic container for another time.

I used almost all organic ingredients for this sauce, and I feel that it showed in the flavor. If I can help it, I will never buy canned enchilada sauce ever again. It is extremely, extremely easy to make your own, and it tastes so much better!