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Posts Tagged ‘cooking with Jett and maybe some of Jett’s fambly’

Look! There is an American football-thingy this weekend! Sometimes people make an abundance of snacky-type foods and pile people into their living rooms for this yearly affair. This year I won’t be having my typical get-together, so the next best thing is to randomly post my favorite salsa recipe on yon internets.

We have this joint that is an hour away, and coincidentally is in the Big City where Maxim works. The long and the short of it is, they are a sit-down place with no drive-thru and my beloved got sick of stopping there after work. He got into the kitchen to figure out their Magical Salsa-ey Concoction so it could be made in fourteen-gallon batches, effectively shutting me up and wowing all people that happen to circle the Salsa Trough with me.  Okay, here we go:

Best! Salsa! Ever!!1!

+ 32oz (4 cups) peeled, diced tomatoes (we’ve used both home canned and commercially canned maters and both are a-okay)
+ 1 tbsp salt (sometimes I dial this back a little, but not much)
+ 2 tbsp white vinegar  (you also can use the juice from a jar of sliced jalapenos)
+ 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
+ half of one medium onion, diced smallish
+ two to three cloves of garlic, depending on their size
+ one bunch of cilantro

Throw everything but the garlic and cilantro into a bowl, mix together well. Peel and dice the garlic; stir into the mix. Take one-half to two-thirds of the cilantro (depending on the size of the bunch, really), chop the leafy parts up well (but don’t pulverize them or nothin’), including their stem portions and then stir that cilantro in.

Ta-daaaa! You’re done; so simple. You can eat it straight from the bowl after prepping and it’s delicious, but if you’ll refrigerate it for a few hours –or even a full day!– it becomes phenomenal, and that’s all anyone can ask for in a salsa. We usually consume what we make within a week, so I know it’s refrigerator-stable for at least that long.

GO TEAM WHICHEVER YOU’RE ROOTING FOR. I don’t have a dog in this year’s fight, but I’d like to hear who you have your money or heart invested in.

 
|| December 15, 2008 || 10:25 am || Comments (13) ||

When I was a kid, my mother baked constantly. It was something she loved to do; it was something to relieve stress. Consequently, if the table was lined with pies and cookies when we came home on any given day, my sister and I knew to make ourselves scarce because Momma was likely very, very on edge.

So baking was A Thing in our home. This made Christmas baking A Really Big Thing. It was something we looked forward to with the same amount of eagerness a visit from Santa would evoke. We got to be a part of our mother’s ritual then; we got to glean secrets and tips and advice from her personal storehouse of pastry wizardry. We got to play with the cookie press and the frosting bags and the myriad of not-everyday utensils that she kept on hand.

We got to lattice the pies. We got. To Lattice. Those Piiiiiies.

When I got old enough to move out and away –across the country, then over the ocean, then around the world– two things that went with me were my little book of carefully-collected recipes and a set of basic cookie cutters mother had stuffed down into my Christmas stocking one year. No matter where I found myself, no matter how much or how little I had, I always managed to bake, and most especially at the holidays. If I can decorate a tree and turn out some carefully-crafted sweets and pies to share, I am content and have need of nothing else.

This holiday tradition has grown exponentially more enjoyable by the ability to fold my own children into it. Each year we bake (they each have their own favorites they like to play assistant on), storing up our creations in colorful tins which we pull from to make plates for neighbors, friends and parties we attend. All the baking culminates in an afternoon event where I lay out sprinkles and tubes of icing and our sugar cookies cut into various shapes; Scout and Sam and Mathias then have friends over to help decorate (but mostly to giggle and act a fool). This is Christmas to me: Kids in aprons ringed around my table, laughing.

Every year I have the stock recipes I draw from; these are the proven favorites that people have requested and requested again over the years. Every year, though, I try to make one or two ‘floaters’…usually a different kind of cookie or bar or tart that I’ve never tried before, just to keep things interesting. Last year my friend Fran made these amazing little lemon cakelets that I fell in love with. This year she gave me the recipe and I made them for the first time this weekend. They taste phenomenal, they keep well (last year’s gift of them stored up for over a week and were still terrific after all that time) and they make enough to share with loads of people, all from one batch. Enjoy, awesome Muffinasses!

Miss Fran’s Lemon Tea Cakes

Cakes:
1 1/2 c butter (no substitutes), softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 c sugar
6 eggs
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
3 c all purpose flour

Glaze:
5 1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c plus 3 tbsp milk
3 1/2 tsp lemon extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in lemon juice, extracts and peel. Gradually add flour. Fill greased mini muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes or until cakes pull away from sides. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine glaze ingredients. Dip tops of cakes into glaze; place on waxed paper to dry. Makes 8 1/2 dozen.

Feel free to leave one of your own favorites in the comments!