Tomato Basil Tapas

There are very few things in life more delightful than the tomato, basil, fresh mozarella combination. I came up with this simple little summer treat a few days ago, and I cannot stop thinking about how yummy it was. Next time I have an appetizer assignment, this is going to be the one.

1 package fresh mozarella
2 cloves fresh garlic
4 Roma tomatoes
4 T. Pesto
2 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 loaf Italian Pugliesse bread

Evenly slice the Italian bread and toast at 400 degrees in the over for about eight minutes. Set aside to cool.

Using an egg slicer, slice the fresh mozarella into small dices. This is simpler than it sounds. Quarter the fresh mozarella log into four chunks, then softly slice it into even slices with the egg slicer. Next turn the slices to slice into strips, then turn once again to slice into tiny cubes. Easy.

Next, slice the tops off of the tomatoes and squeeze the guts and seeds out. This will keep your topping from being overly runny. After you have gutted the tomatoes, finely dice them and toss them into the bowl with the fresh mozarella. Press the garlic cloves into the mixture, then sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the pesto and balsamic vinegar and gently toss it all together.

Scoop healthy spoonfuls onto the toasted bread and enjoy your light summer treat.

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Simple Salsa

I have about as many salsa recipes as I do marinara recipes. Mmmm.
This one is the most simple. There is a great lofal Mexican restaurant in Lindon, UT called Los Hermanos. We love it. We also love the salsa (which is not unlike the Chili’s Bar and Grill salsa). One day I decided I needed to make it at home so that I could drink it whenever I want to.

And it turns out it’s the easiest to make.

1/4 cup pickled jalapeno (or fresh, but laziness is the key with this salsa)
1 clove garlic
1 T. lime juice (or to taste, it doesn’t really matter)
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

In a food processor combine the jalapeno, garlic, lime juice until finely chopped. Pour into mixing bowl and add a large can of crushed tomato, then add salt and pepper to taste.

And that’s all.

No, really.

That’s all.

Other great add ins, do one or two, or all, it’ll work.
Red pepper, chopped
Green onion, sliced
Red onion, diced
Cilantro, chopped
Pineapple, diced
Mango, diced
Ginger
Cumin
Cayenne Pepper


Southwestern Egg Rolls

Because I can, and now you can too.

Tortillas

1/2 can corn
1/2 can black beans (well rinsed)
1 cup spinach chopped
roasted red pepper chopped (optional)
1/2 small red onion chopped
finely diced jalapeno (optional)
1/4 t. garlic powder (or one pressed clove)
1/2 t. cumin
1 drop liquid smoke (optional)
salt and pepper
1/2 lb chicken breasts
8 ozs. pepper jack cheese, shredded

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts and saute in 1 T. oil until well cooked. Chop into as small of chunks as your sanity can manage*. Then, toss into the sauce pan and add the spices, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, spinach, black beans, corn, and liquid smoke (about three shakes then mixed in really well), and saute until onion is soft. You may want to add a half cup of water or so to keep the chicken moist, and then just cook it down until the water is gone and the onion is cooked, but it isn’t necessary.

Put the mixture into a bowl and let it cool a bit. When somewhat cooled, toss the shredded cheese into the bowl and mix well.

Heat the tortillas in the microwave until soft and pliable. I leave them in the package to keep them really moist. Then, put about 1/4 cup into each tortilla, fold the sides over, and roll it up.
Heat about 1 inch of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium high. When a drop of water spits and sputters in the oil, it is ready. Lay the southwestern egg roll in the hot oil, being careful not to let them touch each other, they need breathing room to cook well. Let it fry away until nice and golden brown, turning and rolling as necessary.
You can also oven fry them with a good coat of pam at about 450 degrees for probably ten minutes (watch them) and you can also put them in a non stick fry pan and “toast” them but they won’t get the nice flaky crusty covering unless you fry them.

*Chopping them all to be about the size of a black bean will really help.

For the sauce, just take some good ranch dressing and throw it in the food processor with an avacado and a spot of lime juice and 1/4 t. cumin and process until very smooth. Check for saltiness. It may need salt.
Then, toss with some chopped pico de gallo. Easy and yum.

Pico de Gallo,

Seeded Chopped Roma tomato, pressed garlic clove, chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, lime, salt, and pepper to taste.


Tomato Herb Foccacia Bread

1 Cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast
1 tsp. salt
2-2 1/2 Cups flour
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese
3-5 Roma Tomatoes
oregano
basil
thyme
rosemary

Preheat oven to 375°. In large mixing bowl, add very warm water and yeast, allow to become soft. Add in flour and salt, then knead for seven minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest. This can easily be done in a mixer with a dough hook. Cut Roma tomatoes in half, then squeeze extra seeds softly out of the tomato halves. Thinly slice the tomato. Shred cheeses. Roll bread dough out until about 1/2 inch thick. Press garlic over the rolled out crust, then spread with a knife evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over crust, then spread tomato slices evenly across cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the tomatoes. Finally, liberally sprinkle with listed herbs. Bake in preheated oven for about twenty minutes. Remove when crust is golden and cheese is melted and just beginning to brown.


Spinach and Artichoke Seren-dip-ity

12 oz. can marinated artichoke hearts
6 oz. bag frozen spinach
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. parmesan cheese shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop artichoke hearts, and drain off excess fluid.

In large bowl, combine artichokes and spinach.

Add garlic, mayo, and sour cream.

Stir well, then add in the parmesan cheese.

Spread into a small baking dish.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until warm and bubbly.

Serve with one or more of the following; sliced French bread, Ritz crackers, tortilla chips, pita chips, or bagel chips.

This is such a great recipe. I try to keep these ingredients on hand because it is such a fast and yummy crowd pleaser. I also enjoy it on toast for breakfast, as a filling in an omelette or a quiche, or even in stuffed chicken breasts. It’s so versatile and super delicious.