Category Archives: appetizer

Sweet + Spicy NUTS

This recipe was passed down from a friend to a friend to a friend.  I tinkered with it a bit, and gave some away in little gift bags over the holidays.  We  seriously could not keep our hands out of these nuts!   So, with the Super Bowl on the horizon, I thought I would pass it along.  They are the perfect combination of spicy and sweet (I highly recommend heating them up right before you serve them).  Enjoy!

2 TBSP Vegetable Oil, plus extra for the pan
2 Cups Whole Roasted Cashews
2 Cups Walnut Halves
2 Cups Pecan Halves
1 Cup Whole Almonds
1/3 Cup Honey, plus extra
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1TBSP Ground Chipotle Powder
Minced Rosemary, divided
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet with vegetable oil.  Combine the nuts with 2 TBSP vegetable oil, coat evenly.  Whisk together honey, brown sugar, and chipotle powder.  Mix with the nuts to coat evenly.  Add enough rosemary to lightly coat, then season with salt, toss again.  Spread nuts into a single layer, drizzle on a bit more honey (continue to add more chipotle powder/honey until you are happy with the spicy/sweet combo), then roast for 20 -25 minutes, stirring half way through.  When they are golden brown, remove from oven and finish with remaining salt and fresh rosemary.  


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Salsa Fresca

Want to know the secret to making the most delicious salsa on earth?  It’s simple: grow yo’ sh*t.   You don’t need a garden to grow your own tomatoes, a large container will suffice, and they taste so much better than the impostors at the supermarket.  There really is no comparison. Last spring,  Sunset Magazine had a great article on “salsa in a pot”, so I tried it out this year.  I grew tomatoes, jalapeños, and herbs in large containers, then grew the onions in my raised bed.  It’s fun to freeze jars of garden salsa to enjoy during the oh-so-dreary winter months.   D-to-the-licious. This has been my simple go-to recipe all summer:

6 large, super ripe garden tomatoes, seeded, chopped coarse
1 large white onion, peeled, chopped coarse
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, roasted, seeded
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed (I tend to go big here)
1 teaspoon blue agave sweetner
zest +fresh juice of one lime
salt + pepper

My mother, a veteran burn nurse,  is not going to be pleased with the above photograph.  Sorry, mom!   I always roast my jalapeños over an open flame before chopping them up.  I like the deep flavor and the charred little bits.  My host mom in Mexico used to do this all the time, but she was a pro….so…attempt at your own risk. 🙂

Put everything in the food processor, reserving a handful of chopped tomatoes.  Process until smooth but chunky (does that make sense?!  You know what I mean)…

Then toss in the reserved tomatoes and pulse a few times, depending on how chunky you like it.

Grab a bag of Juanita’s chips (the best, most addictive chips on the planet) and chow down.

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Filed under appetizer, condiments, garden, mexican, tomatoes, vegetarian

CEVICHE and my rough life…

It was a nice little March in Kleeville.  You may (or may not) have noticed that I fell off the radar a bit last month, and with good reason.  I was very VERY busy.  I kicked off spring with a girls trip to Scottsdale,  where we were up to our usual shenanigans:

More on that trip, and my dinner HERE later.  (Insert avocado margarita teaser here…)
And THEN, there was this:
Where we did a LOT of this:
Drank MANY of these:
And ate WAY too much of this:
Of the many things that I fell in love with during our trip to Costa Rica, (cafe con leche, 80 degree tide pools, some of the friendliest people on earth, to name a few) their delicious ceviche definitely made it to the top of my list.  I…can’t….stop….thinking about it.  We’ve made it since returning home, but because our citrus fruit is slightly different, it’s not quite the same.  Or…maybe it’s the sideways rain and 40 degree temperatures that throw me off.   Anywho, here is my latest attempt at recreating Lola’s fabulous ceviche.
Helpful Hints:
  • Choose a mild white fish such as: mahi mahi (dorado), dover sole, or halibut
  • Make sure the fish is uniform in its thickness:  no more than 1/3 inch thick
  • Use FRESH fish
  • Dry the fish with paper towels first
  • Do NOT cook the fish: the citrus acid will do this for you!
serves 8 as an appetizer
1 lb mild white fish, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice plus zest from one lime
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
2  tablespoons red onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2  tablespoons cilantro, minced
3/4 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper and olive oil (optional) to taste
1.  Dry the fish and cut into small, bite sized pieces.  Mix fish with citrus juices, zest, red pepper, red onion, garlic clove, and a pinch of salt.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.  The fish should become firm and opaque.
2.  Mix in cilantro, sugar, more salt, pepper, and olive oil (optional) to taste.  Serve with a big pile of Juanita’s Tortilla Chips.
Hang in there, summer is right around the corner, people!  At least…that is what I keep telling myself.  PURA VIDA!

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