Category Archives: Condiments & Sauces

Kiwi-Tomatillo Salsa Verde

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Kiwi-Tomatillo Salsa Verde

I absolutely adore “Salsa Verde.” Whenever the husband and I visit the little taco shop by our house (which is very, very frequently) we both make sure to load up on little containers of salsa verde to liven up our tacos.

Earlier in the summer we were in San Diego for the wedding of two of our good friends and we ate at a local Mexican restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. The salsa verde was delicious and inspired me to try something creative with a recipe of my own.

I thought that adding some kiwi fruit into the mix would be a grand idea. The salsa verde remains in the green color spectrum, while the sweet fruit complements the tangy tomatillos.

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It’s really important to roast the tomatillos before adding them to the recipe. This brings out the robust and sweet flavor and cuts some of the tangy acidity found in raw tomatillos.

Simply husk, rinse, and quarter your tomatillos and place them in your oven to broil until roasted. Transfer to a food processor with peeled kiwi fruit, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, sugar, and lime juice then pulse until chopped but not liquefied. Season to taste with salt.

The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to begin by cutting off both ends with a sharp knife. Place one of the cut-sides down on a cutting board and use the knife to peel from top to bottom, working your way around the fruit.

Here’s the handy recipe:

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. tomatillos
  • 1 kiwi fruit, peeled
  • 1/2 c. white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Remove the husks from your tomatillos and rinse in cold water. Cut them into quarters and place on a greased baking sheet. Set your oven’s broiler to high and place the pan in the oven. Check every two or three minutes to turn the tomatillos and make sure they aren’t burning. Remove from oven when they have a nice brown color.
  2. Meanwhile, place the peeled kiwi, chopped onion, cilantro leaves, lime juice, sugar, and Jalapeño peppers in a food processor or blender.
  3. Add the roasted tomatillos to the food processor and pulse until all of the ingredients are combined but not entirely pureed. You want some little lumps in there.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes before using. Try this as a dip with tortilla chips, or use it to top your favorite tacos, enchiladas, or tamales.

Dig in!

Nutrition (per serving):

77 calories, 2 g. fat, 2 g. protein, 15 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 2

Father’s Day Kansas City Rib Kit

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Father’s Day Kansas City Rib Kit

This year for Father’s Day I wanted to get a little creative and make something for my dad that he would actually use. I’ve been getting into grilling and smoking lately and thought it would be fun to make him a little Kansas City Rib Kit.

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I made Kansas City Rib Rub (in the tall mason jar), Kansas City Rib Sauce (in the squeeze bottle) and some old fashioned Barbecue “Shake” (in the shaker) to sprinkle on fries, potatoes, corn, or just about anything that needs some flavor.

I ordered the containers on Amazon, but you could find these at most home or grocery stores.

Here are the recipes!

Kansas City Rib Rub

Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Directions:

1. Mix it all together and put it in a container!

Kansas City Rib Sauce

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and sauté until brown. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.

Barbecue “Shake”

Makes: 1 & 3/4 cup (about 28 oz.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup celery salt
  • 1/8 cup cayenne pepper

Directions:

1. Mix it all together and put it in a container!

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You can do this whole project start to finish in under 30 minutes if you are short on time. I purchased my spices in bulk which really helped cut costs as bottled spices can be incredibly expensive!

The sun is shining in Portland and my dad is on his way over here now. We’re going to fire up the grill and play some croquet in my front yard.

Have  a lovely Father’s Day Weekend!

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Relish and Corn Salsa

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Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Relish and Corn Salsa

Before our trip to Mexico in April of 2013 I think I cooked nothing but Latin food for at least a week before we went. I was just feeling that vibe!

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We got back on May 4th and completely spaced the whole “Cinco de Mayo” thing that was happening the next day. Needless to say, we were swamped with Mexican food for another few days after we got back. I couldn’t even look at a taco for weeks after that binge fest.

Here’s a meal I put together a few days before we left – Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Relish and Corn Salsa. Don’t be turned off by the cayenne pepper – it ends up being rather mild and the avocado really helps mellow out the dish. The corn salsa has just enough acidity from the lime juice to complement the richness of the chicken dish.

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Makes: 2 Servings

Ingredients:

[for the chicken dish]

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 oz. each)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (olive oil works fine, too)
  • 1 very small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 of an avocado, preferably Hass, chopped into big chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black pepper

[for the corn salsa]

  • 1 cup cooked yellow corn (frozen is fine, but let it thaw in the fridge first)
  • 1/2 medium firm tomato, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1/8 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
  • Juice of one half of a lime
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

[for the corn salsa] – Make this first and let the ingredients get acquainted in the fridge while you work on the chicken.

  1. In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomato, green and red onions, and jalapeno. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the juice of one lime, fresh cilantro, and chili powder. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to season.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, preferably at least 30 minutes.

[for the chicken dish]

  1. In a small dish, combine the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Rub the mixture all over the surface of your two chicken breasts.
  2. Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the grapeseed oil.
  3. Add the chicken breasts and let cook for one minute, then turn them over.
  4. Turn the heat down to low right away and cover the chicken.
  5. After ten minutes (absolutely no peeking!), turn the heat off and let the chicken rest for another ten minutes (again, don’t you dare lift that lid!).
  6. Meanwhile, make the avocado relish and pour yourself a glass of wine.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine the onion and lime juice. Let it sit for a minute to mellow out the onion. Sip your wine.
  8. Get your avocado all chopped up and season it with salt and pepper.
  9. Once your chicken is done, fold the avocado into the onion and lime juice mixture. Top your chicken with the avocado mixture and serve with a side of corn relish.

Enjoy!

Corn salsa adapted from Skinny Taste.

Nutrition (half the whole recipe):

384 calories, 19 g. fat, 30 g. protein, 29 g. carbs, 7 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 10

No-Name Thai Burger

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Smoky, sweet, and savory with just the right amount of heat.

Burger

Have you ever seen that show “Bob’s Burgers”? The husband and I love it and always crack up at the creative names they come up with to name their” Burger of the Day.”

Some of our favorites:

She’s a Super Leek Burger (comes with braised leeks)
We’re Here, We’re Gruyere, Get Used to It Burger
These Collards Don’t Run Burger
Chorizo Your Own Adventure Burger

And, of course, the blog’s namesake: The “If Looks Could Kale” Burger.

So of course once I served up this (delicious) burger to the husband he had to ask what I was going to call it.

Me: “Uh, the Thai Burger?”

Nice. Real creative.

Here’s the recipe for the yet-to-be-named burger. Try it and help me think of a clever name – post it in the comments!

Makes: 4 Burgers

Ingredients:

[For the patties]

  • 1 LB lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut sauce (you can make your own authentic Thai peanut sauce, or you can use store bought)
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

[For the burger]

  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 pineapple rings (search Amazon for “Pineapple Corer” and prepare to be amazed)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced into thick rings, keeping the sections together
  • Additional peanut sauce for garnish
  • Additional cilantro for garnish
  • 4 Tbsp. Sriracha Mayo (combine mayonnaise, Sriracha, and some sweet chili sauce in a bowl)

Directions:

  1. Start by making the patties. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, carrots, ginger, garlic, cilantro, peanut sauce, Sriracha, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil until just combined. Avoid overworking the meat or it can become dry.
  2. Divide the meat into four portions and work them into hamburger patties.
  3. Fire up your grill! I used our pellet grill and they came out fantastic.
  4. Place a cast iron or other BBQ-safe piece of cookware on the grill and place the intact onion rings in with a bit of oil (grapeseed works best as it has a very high smoke point) and some salt & pepper.
  5. Slice your pineapple into rings. If you are using canned pineapple, try to find the kind packed in natural juices instead of syrup.
  6. Once your grill is hot (I set our pellet grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit), place the patties on the grate and close the lid. After 5-7 minutes, flip the patties. The patties should have grill marks on them and feel a little firm. If they are still floppy when you try to turn them it may be too soon. Once flipped, they will need another 5-7 minutes on the other side until they are done.
  7. Meanwhile, Flip the onion rings in the cast iron skillet to get the opposite sides nice and golden.
  8. Place the pineapple rings directly on to the grill grate. After 2-3 minutes, give them a flip. They are done when both sides have beautiful brown grill marks.
  9. Place both sides of your buns, interior side down, on your grill. Check them closely as they go from not done to burnt pretty quickly.
  10. Grab yourself a big platter and take everything off the grill.
  11. Assemble your burgers: Bottom bun, Sriracha mayo, lettuce, burger patty, onion, pineapple, peanut sauce, cilantro, top bun.
  12. Serve with an easy cucumber and onion salad or just have a couple beers.
  13. This is also delicious without the bun if you are watching your carbs – just wrap everything up in a big piece of lettuce and dig in!

Nutrition (per burger):

469 calories, 21 g. fat, 32 g. protein, 41 g. carbs, 6 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 12

Happy Hour Freezer Salsa

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Because I’m still fearful of attempting to actually “can” anything, here’s my wussy version which includes putting the salsa in mason jars so it looks like you canned them, and then placing them in the freezer instead.

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I’ve called this recipe the Happy Hour salsa for two reasons. The first is because the salsa has a restaurant-like consistency to it; thick, smooth, with little chunks of yumminess in it. Secondly, this salsa has sneaky heat. You know, the kind of heat that you only notice when you try to stop eating it? And then you reach for your margarita to ease the heat, but before you know it you’re back to the chips… then the margarita…chips…straight Tequila shots… you get the picture. This salsa will get you drunk.

How to make it:

Makes: Lots. Probably about four pints, or 8 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (14 oz.) of stewed tomatoes or 1 large can (28 oz.) of whole tomatoes with juice (for Paleo: blanch two pounds of roma tomatoes, cool, and remove skins)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (for Paleo: blanch another two pounds of tomatoes and add two chopped fresh green chilies)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of one lime

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large food processor or blender and process until desired consistency. If you have a smaller food processor (like me), you may need to do it in batches to avoid a sea of tomato products flooding down the side of your cabinets. Bummer.
  2. If you plan to serve it, refrigerate it for about an hour to chill the salsa and let the flavors mingle a bit. Otherwise, you can toss the mixture into mason jars or other freezer safe containers. Be sure to take a picture of your salsa which makes it look like you have canned it.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving):

20 calories, 1 g. fat, 1 g. protein, 4 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 1