Which Tomato Will You Grow For Your Homemade Sauce

Which Tomato Will You Grow For Your Homemade Sauce

With thousands of tomato varieties available today, selecting the variety of tomatoes you want to grow in your garden can seem like an overwhelming project. Tomatoes are very diverse, as each variety offers up its own unique set of characteristics, such as flavor, size, and even color.

Is your objective for growing tomatoes to serve up tasty tomato sauce, then it would be well worth knowing that some varieties, not all, are better suited for making the sauce.

There are some speciers of tomatoes that have few seeds in their flesh, and a firm meaty texture. Let’s take a look at 5 varieties that fit the bill for a tasty tomato sauce. These 5 varieties of tomatoes may be familiar to you, and possible not.

Great Choices Of Tomatoes For Your Perfect Sauce

Russian Big Roma

Russian Big Roma at a Farmers Market

Russian Big Roma

The University Of California – Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners program says the Russian Big Roma is disease-resisting, and a favorite heirloom paste variety, as well as using to make sauces.

Unlike most paste and sauce tomatoes, this is an indeterminate variety which produces lots of large (2 x 4 inch), dark red fruit, with a splendid “tomatoey” flavor.

San Marzano

Compared to the Roma tomato, the San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. Expert tomato growers describe the taste as bittersweet.

Again, the Mater Gardener’s program says the San Marzano is a “Tomato Festival” favorite.

This Italian tomato variety produces an 8 ounce, deep red fruit, that is 4 inches in length. And though the San Marzano in the raw or uncooked has a lot to be desired in respects to flavor, the process of cooking them down to make sauce releases magic qualities, and therefore you will want to grow them year after year.

Polish Linguisa

Polish Linguisa tomato

Image credit: Tomato Geeks

The Polish Linguisa is a variety of tomato from Eastern Europe, and it was brought to the USA by Polish gardeners in the 1800’s.

This particular tomato has bright red fruit, and according to the Tomato Geeks, it has a broad range of uses:

  • Paste
  • Sauce
  • Canning
  • Drying
  • Freezing

Jersey Devil

one half pound Jersy Devil tomato

Image Credit: Teresa Giovanzana

The Jersey Devil tomato is a extremely prolific producer of 4-5” long, bright red fruit that are shaped like banana peppers.

They are very meaty and sweet, with few seeds. The Master Gardeners say it is an excellent tomato for canning as well as eating fresh.

Teresa Giovanzana boasts a 1/2 pound Jersey Devil in the 2013 tomato season.

Amish Paste

Amish Paste tomatoes produce bright red fruit up to 12 ounces that vary greatly in shape from ox-heart to a rounded plum shape.

From the Pennsylvania Amish (USA), the tomato is a large, meaty, bright red heirloom with superior taste, and a nice balance of sweet and acid.

The Amish Paste has been chosen by Organic Gardening magazine as a top paste tomato, as it is juicier than most other paste tomato varieties. Though it is a great tomato to make paste, it also is worth eating straight from the garden. Add some to your favorite salad or sandwich, but make sure you save enough to makes lots of thick and full-bodied sauce!

Tomatoes on VineAll the tomato varieties above are – indeterminate, also called vining tomatoes. The plant will grow continuously until it dies, usually in Fall with the first deep frost.

Once they produce flowers and set tomatoes they will do so continuously until the plant dies.

The five tomato varieties that we reviewed, is far from comprehensive, as there are lots of other terrific choices that can be used to make succulent pastes and sauces.

These tomatoes are a great starting point, because you can easily find seeds at your local garden centers or online. Try adding some or all of them to your garden this year for truly outstanding results during harvest time.

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Condiments – Sauces – and Dips – Oh My!

Condiments - Sauces - and Dips - Oh My!

Supermarket-Condiments-Aisle

Image Credit: Fooducate

Depending on what you are going to eat, no meal is complete without condiments, sauces and dips.

You could become easily over whelmed as you stroll your shopping cart down the condiments, sauces, and dips aisles of your favorite grocery store, as there are so many choices.

Even on Pinterest, Instagram, and other social networks you can find amazing, delectable and tasty-looking condiments, sauces and dips that you can create on your own to enhance your meals.

In the United States alone, the production of marketed condiments was valued at 5.6 billion dollars (USA) in 2010 and was estimated to grow to 7 billion dollars (USA) by 2015. 

Condiments are the second largest bought specialty food with the first being cheese.

What Is A Condiment

A condiment includes a spice, herb, salt, pepper, and sauce. The word “condiment” was coined from the Latin word condimentum, which means spice, seasoning, or sauce. The Latin word condere, also means, to preserve, pickle, or season.

The preparation of a particular condiment is added to food to render a distinct flavor, and/or to intensify a culinary dishes flavor. The term originally described food items like pickles, tarter sauce, mustard, ketchup, or Tabasco sauce, but has shifted meaning over time.

Link here to check out a List Of Condiments referred to on Wikipedia.

What Are Sauces and Dips

ranch dip with vegtables, tomatoes and crusted bread

Ranch Dressing or Buttermilk Dressing Dip With Vegetables, Tomatoes and Crusted Bread

Sauces are a liquid plus some sort of thickening agent along with other flavoring ingredients served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor.

About Food says there are 5 Mother Sauces, and they include…

  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Velouté Sauce
  • Espagnole Sauce
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Classic Tomate Sauce

About Food explains that the term “mother sauce” in culinary arts, refers to any one of the five basic sauces just mentioned, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces. They say that they are called “mother sauces,” as each sauce is like the head of its own unique family of sauces.

types of Mexican SalsasSalsa is the Italian and Spanish word for sauce, and in English speaking countries salsa usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexico’s cuisine, referred to as salsa picante, particularly those used as dips.

Salsas are most often prepared with a tomato-based sauce or dip which is heterogeneous or diverse in character, as it can include the addition of onions, chilies, beans, cilantro, corn, and assorted spices that are customarily piquant, ranging from mild to very hot.

Salsas can be runny or thick. Both types of salsas are also used as dipping sauces, such as platters that are prepared with corn chips, beans, sour cream, and salsa.

guacamole dip and corn chips

Guacamole With Corn Chips

Dips are a thick food item, for dipping other finger foods into.

Dips are usually dairy based, like a buttermilk based dip, or a sour cream or cream cheese based dip, as well as tomato based.

You can even mix a salsa with sour cream to form a dip.

Dips can be thick or a liquid, and they can include a spinach dip, fruit dip, like guacamole, or a pizza dip, such as a tomato sauce based dip, or a garlic sauce.

Creative Condiments – Sauces – and Dips

Add coconut to your curry sauce. This gives it a more south-east Asian flavor. Just sauté some onions, ginger, curry powder, and sugar. Add some coconut milk and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Add fresh, frozen, or peach preserves  and spices to a favorite barbecue sauce. Mix in some peach preserves, a little sriracha, and your favorite barbecue sauce, and turn some yum into a wow in an instant.

You can create a great slider sauce or marinade for grilling meats by using Dijon mustard, key lime juice, Himalayan salt and pepper.

Here are some great Condiments – Sauces – and Dips prepared here at Splendid Recipes and More…

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Household Chores You Need To Take Care Of This Spring

Opened window with a green field outdoorSpring is the perfect time of the year to give your house a good, thorough cleaning inside and out. You may have a list of things you do every spring to deep clean your home.

Here are seven chores you may have not thought of doing as part of your spring cleaning inside the home, as well as outside. What are they you ask? Let’s examine.

Inside The House

Dryer

dryer vent fire

Image Credit: Air Duct Cleaners

Dryer vent cleaning can help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your dryer, as well as safety. How so? An Austin, Texas based company called – Air Duct Cleaners – explains that about 15,500 fires are started every year due to dryer vents being clogged.

Air Duct Cleaners say that a lint clogged dryer vent can cost a home owner an extract $18-24 a month to dry their clothes. A clean duct means shorter drying time, and your dryer lasts longer.

If you find your dryer taking longer than 40 minutes to dry clothes, or the top of your dryer is hot, there is excess lint on your clothing, or your clothes have a musty, moldy smell, then it’s time to clean your vents.

Furnace

If you keep your home fairly clean, then changing the furnace filter every 3 months is a good idea, and also the manufactures recommendation. Changing out your filter regularly will not restrict air flow (as a dirty filter will), and keeps the furnace from over working. A clogged filter that over works the heater can increase the risk of a carbon monoxide leak.

Sump Pump

sump pump in a house basement

Image Credit: Indiana Foundation Service

 

For those who may not know, a sump pump is used to remove accumulated water that has collected in the sump basin, commonly found in homes that have a basement.

The water enters the basement through the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, funneling into the basin from rain water or natural ground water, specially if the basement is below the water table level (Wikipedia).

If you have a basement with a sump pump, spring is a great time to test it to see that it is clean and operates correctly. Make sure as well that the outflow is draining properly.

Battery Check

carbon monoxide detector Most homes now days have either or both a smoke alarm, and a carbon monoxide detector.

Both units use a 9 volt battery, and it should be changed for a new one every spring, even though the battery may have 6 months to a year more life.

Better to change it than have your home burn to the ground, or stop breathing during the night due to a carbon monoxide leak, because of a dead battery.

Outside The House

There are two things you will want to add to your spring cleaning list outside of your home and they include gutter cleaning, and tree limb trimming.

Gutters

You might clean your gutters in the fall season, but doing it in the spring as well, will save you some costly repairs to your home.

Gutters have drains and spouts, and if they are clogged with last years falling leaves, then rain will not be able to freely flow off your roof.

Gutters and Guards Inc. explain that if your gutters are neglected it can fill with debris, like dead leaves, dirt, pollen and even shingle grit. With spring showers you will have water overflowing, which will cause, water leaks, foundation damage, soil erosion, mold and mildew growth, and standing water.

Clean gutters help carry water away from your homes foundation, so there is no costly repairs.

Tree Trimming

Be sure to prune any dead limbs or branches so they do not break off during fierce seasonal winds. Also if a tree that is covering your walk way leading to your door has dead limbs, you have an increased risk of the limb breaking and falling on visitor’s to your home.

What’s For Lunch

While spring cleaning you may get hungry, so here are some great lunch ideas…

Organic BBQ Hot Dogs and Potato Pack

Rotisserie Chicken Baguette Sandwich With Basil

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup found under – Pork – That’s What’s For Breakfast Lunch And Dinner

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President’s Day – The Favorite Meals Of Washington and Lincoln

Presidents Day - The Favorite Meals Of Washington and Lincoln

George Washington was one of the only founding father of the United States to run an estate with financial success. He claimed several positions during his life time, which included among others, being a general, diplomat, farmer, distiller, and president of the United States of America.

He enjoyed many foods and drink, from porter made on the battlefield to cherries from his orchards at Mount Vernon.

He was one of the richest landowners in Virginia, and throughout the 13 colonies. And because of his wealth, he no doubt had  access to exquisite delicacies. But as we know from history, George Washington wore dentures, and he with out question, may have preferred to eat soft things, such as cornmealhoe cakes,” puddings and soups.

Hoe cakes were first called JohnnyCake, were as some say they were first called Shawnee Cakes after the Native American tribe in the Tennessee Valley (USA).

Cornbread Gospels cookbookpicture of Crescent DragonwagonCrescent Dragonwagon, who is a female cookbook writer, authored the cookbook, The Cornbread Gospels, which includes a recipe that Washington enjoyed.

Dragonwagon herself even lives in Virginia.  One of the recipes from her book is “George Washington’s Hoe Cakes.”

The Mount Vernon website writes that family members and visitors alike testified that hoe cakes were among George Washington’s favorite foods. He invariably ate them at breakfast, covered with butter and honey, along with hot tea.

The History Chef writes that according to his step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, George Washington liked to rise with the sun, read or write until seven a.m., then he would go downstairs for his favorite breakfast of three small hoe cakes  with butter and honey and three cups of tea without cream.

 

Hoecakes - image credit Harmonious Homestead

Hoecakes – Image credit : Harmonious Homestead

8 3/4 cups white cornmeal

1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast

1 egg

Warm water

¼ teaspoon salt, optional

Honey and Butter for topping

In large container, mix together 4 cups white cornmeal, 1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (probably 3 to 4 cups). Cover and set on the stove or counter overnight.

In the morning, gradually add remaining cornmeal, egg, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (about 3 to 4 cups). Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add cooking grease to a griddle or skillet and heat until water sprinkled into it will bead up.

Pour batter, by the spoonful, onto the hot griddle. (Note: Since the batter has a tendency to separate, you will need to stir it well before pouring each batch.) When the hoecake is brown on one side, turn it over and brown the other. Serve warm with butter and honey.

the book Lincolns Table A Presidents Culinary Journey from Cabin to CosmopolitanWhat was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite food? The book Lincoln’s Table, authored by Donna D. McCreary writes that Lincoln was fortunate to be part of a family that boasted of several good cooks.

She writes that his hearty appetite as a boy was satisfied by foods like wild game, pork, fish, vegetables and fruit grown on the family’s farm. She also notes he too enjoyed corn cakes. As an adult his palate was introduced to other favorites – oysters (Oyster Stew his favorite), pecan pie, and lemon cake.

Some sources say that President Lincoln did have two favorite dishes, Chicken Fricassee with Biscuits and Oyster Stew.

Here’s a recipe for Fricassee with Biscuits, courtesy of Elizabeth’s Daisies 

Fricassee with Biscuits, courtesy of Elizabeth's Daisies

Fricassee with Biscuits – Image Credit:  Elizabeth’s Daisies

4 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1 chicken breast or 2 chicken thighs, skin removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced celery

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 small bay leaf

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons parsley

Combine the 2 1/4 teaspoons flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in bowl large enough to fit chicken. Coat chicken in flour mixture. In a small skillet, brown chicken in olive oil. Remove chicken and set aside. In same skillet saute the mushrooms, onion, and celery until crisp-tender. Return chicken to the pan. Add chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Place remaining flour mixture in a bowl, stir in milk until smooth. Stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.

Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut shortening with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour milk into flour mixture while stirring with a fork. Mix in milk until dough is soft, moist, and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and toss with flour until no longer sticky. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch think sheet and cut with floured biscuit or cookie cutter.

Place biscuits on non greased baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

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Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread

Gluten Free  Blueberry Lemon BreadGluten intolerance is experienced by not few, but many individuals. In the USA  gluten sensitive affects 6% of the population, or about 18 million people.  Around 3 million Americans, or about 1% of the US population have Celiac disease, and must also avoid gluten.

Magazine DigestionA recently published study (May 2015) in the journal “Digestion” found that 86% of individuals who believed they were gluten sensitive could tolerate it (Resource).

Stefano Guandalini, MD, director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, says that gluten sensitivity, a condition that doctors once dismissed but now is recognized as legitimate complaint from patients (WebMD).

The most common symptom to gluten intolerance is bloating right after eating any flour product, like bread, that contains gluten.

This is why the author of Splendid Recipes and More eats gluten free as much as possible. The only gluten free products we buy prepackaged, are pastas make with a legume flour, quinoa or brown rice flour.

Sourdough Bread on Cutting BoardAlso sourdough bread has only about 3% max gluten after the fermentation process. We prefer this bread over any other, as we do not bloat after eating it.

You might think, what is wrong with bloating some for a bit, as it will go away? This maybe true, but bloating is a symptom of digestive issues as well as inflaming the digestive tract.

Also if you find yourself wanting to fall asleep after eating gluten containing foods, that is a symptom that your digestive tract is having difficulty digesting the food.

We have a Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding, that will put me to sleep while it is digesting. But if I make the dessert with sourdough bread or a gluten free loaf of bread, that doesn’t happen.

All I know is after cutting gluten from my diet, I feel much better. No bloating, and some weight loss, as much as 22 pounds. Though going gluten free was not done so as to lose weight.

Now for our featured recipe – Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread – and here is what you will need.

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil or clarified butter, melted

bowl of fresh blueberries1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

3 tbsp. lemon juice

zest from 2 lemons

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a glass loaf pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom.

Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well incorporated.

Spread one third of the batter onto bottom of prepared pan.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the blueberries on top.  Spread another third of the batter and another third of the blueberries.  Repeat one more time with the remaining batter and berries.

If you wish not to do this step, just mix the berries into the batter.

Next place baking dish into the oven and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cover with foil if top begins to brown too much.  This is one draw back of gluten free baking, is the top of the cakes seem to brown fast.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Gluten free baking is really an art. How so? Will if you are use to baking with gluten containing flours, from a grain, and not flour from a nut, it can be caught difficult, if not to say stressful. We say stressful, because of all the effort and time you spent on preparing and baking, to only have a flop as they say, is stressful.

Slice of Gluten Free  Blueberry Lemon Bread topped with Organic ButterIf your first gluten free dessert doesn’t turn out perfect, just try again, like we did. Link here to view our very first gluten free dessert here at Splendid Recipes and More.

It was delicious, though the texture was not right. We kept trying and have come out with some good results.

Desserts made with almond flour and even coconut flour, taste really good with a good Italian or French roasted coffee, or even an Espresso.

Serve the dessert bread warm with a dab of organic butter or coconut butter.

Please leave us your thoughts on going gluten free.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Did you know a chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeño? Yes, the word chipotle comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli which means smoked chili.  The people’s who lived in Mexico before the Aztec civilization are thought to have invented it.

The jalapeño chili is used in Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, and southwestern dishes from New Mexico. Read our article and learn more on the differences in Mexican and Tex-Mex food: Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

Jalapeños come in different varieties, sizes and heat or spiciness. The chili loses little of its heat through the smoking process, and many enjoy both its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

Though its used traditionally in Mexican cuisine, the chipotle now enjoys a broad range of uses throughout the USA and Canada.

Our featured recipe is a southwestern USA inspired  delight, and here is what you will need to prepare: Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad.

fresh ingredients for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

4 small sweet potatoes, baked (read here about Sweet Potatoes and Their Benefits)

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup corn

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

liquid ingrdients for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Vinaigrette:

2 limes, zested and juiced

juicing limes for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 teaspoons raw honey

2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper, optional

vegetable mix for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladIn a large glass bowl, add the black beans, corn, onions, and cilantro. Stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, mix together the lime zest and juice, oil, honey, adobo, salt and pepper. Pour over the black bean mixture and toss to combine.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad -close upSlice an opening down the center of  the baked sweet potatoes. Spoon vegetable mixture to stuff the potatoes, and have yourself a…Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad. Plate and serve.

Can be served as a stand alone dish (as it contains protein with the black beans), or served as a side dish, and can be served as a party favorite dish. Enjoy the possibilities with this easy and simple real food recipe.

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Sugar Snap Peas with Tarragon

Sugar Snap Peas with TarragonFresh tarragon has an intense flavor over dried tarragon. When the herb is dried the oils dissipate.

You can store tarragon from 3 to 5 months in the freezer, doing so retains the most flavor of fresh tarragon during sprig of tarragonstorage. There is no need to defrost the herb before using it. Dried tarragon should be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark place and used within 1 year.

Heat greatly intensifies the flavor of tarragon.

Though is may not look like it, tarragon is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family.

There are variations of the herb and they include “French tarragon“, which is best used for culinary purposes, “Russian tarragon”, typically better than wild tarragon but not as good as the French tarragon, and “wild tarragon”.

Flavor

If you are wondering what the flavor of tarragon is, we would describe it as slightly peppery and it has a taste that’s somewhat similar to fennel, anise or licorice.

Health Benefits

Tarragon has great health benefits. It contains trace amounts of minerals including iron, potassium, and small amounts of calcium. It also contains vitamin-A, a nutrient essential for healthy eyes. This is herb is one of the recommendations to reduce your risk of macular degeneration.

Our featured recipe also includes:

Cilantro: contains trace minerals and vitamin-A

Shallots: Part of the allium family, which includes onions, garlic and scallions. Shallots also help to ward off cancer. They also contain 34 micrograms of folate, which is good for brain and nerve function.

Sugar Snap Peas:  They are a good source of vitamin-C, a nutrient that protects DNA structures from damage and improves the immune system. The sugar snaps also contain folate, which helps to improve heart health. Low levels of folate can raise levels of homocysteine, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. If you are taking the B-vitamin as a supplement, it is recommended to take the natural form, folate. As noted folic acid is a synthetic oxidized form, and is not found in fresh natural foods as is folate. Because it is synthetic, is not bio-available to the body, as is folate.

Now for our featured recipe – Sugar Snap Peas with Tarragon – and here is what you will need.

1 pound sugar snap peas

1 shallot, diced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 to 1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cilantro, chopped

Himalayan salt and pepper to taste (optional)

cooking sugar snap peasIn a large sauce pot, bring water to a rapid boil, and add snap peas and cook until they turn bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

chopped fresh herbs and shallotsMean time, prepare the tarragon, cilantro, and shallots.

In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add butter and melt. Next add shallots and cook until soft, about  3 minutes. Next whisk in a splash of fresh water, about 1 to 2 tablespoons, then add snap peas and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Next add chopped tarragon, cilantro, and mix in with snap peas and shallots.

Sugar Snap Peas with TarragonSpoon cooked sugar snap pea mixture into a serving bowl, and serve with your favorite main dish.

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Organic BBQ Hot Dogs and Potato Pack

BBQ Hotdogs and Potato PackPreparing your Independence Day (July 4th USA) is always done with either a party, picnic, or a cookout, at which you may try to make easy to have in the backyard, at the park or by the water. Here is an easy and fast way to accomplish that, with our featured recipe: Organic BBQ Hot Dogs and Potato Pack.

You can easily prepare these at home before you leave to the park, or beach. For each serving, you steam 9 to 10 mini colored potatoes (about 40 mini potatoes for a serving of 4), just until a fork can insert with no problem.

preparing BBQ Hotdogs and Potato PackNext, using heavy duty foil, cut a piece 12 inches X 18 inches long. Place a cooked uncured organic all beef hot dog in the center, and arrange 9 to 10 of the small  steamed potatoes around the hot dog. For each packet you will add 3 to 4 tablespoons of diced onion (optional), 1/4 to 1/3 cup of  shredded cheese, of your choice, and pour an organic barbecue sauce over the top.

Foil wrapped BBQ Hotdogs and Potato Pack in a BBQ

Fold foil to form a tent around the food, making sure it is closed tight. Place into your ice cooler, until ready to barbecue at the park or beach.

Foil wrapped BBQ Hotdogs and Potato Pack in a BBQ basketHeat your barbecue grill to medium. Now place your foiled tent wraps in a barbecue basket and place on the warm grill. Close the lid and let the food heat through for about 10 to 12 minutes.

BBQ Hotdogs and Potato PackUsing a pair of barbecue tongs, remove the tent wraps and place each on to individual plates. Open the wraps, top with more cheese (optional) and allow to cool, serve and enjoy.

Organic BBQ Hot Dogs and Potato Pack

1 pound organic colored mini potatoes

4 uncured organic beef hot dogs

1/2 cup diced organic white or purple onion

1 cup shredded organic cheese, your choice

1/2 to 1 cup of organic barbecue sauce

Divide potato wedges among four pieces of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Top each with a hot dog, onion wedges and cheese. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Fold foil around mixture, sealing tightly.

Grill covered over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until heated through. Using a pair of barbecue tongs, remove from heat to individual plates. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Top with more cheese, if desired.

(Recipe adopted from June/July 2013 Taste of Home Magazine – rearranged to fit our pallet)

 

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Buttermilk Pecan Pie for National Pie Day

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is an American dessert that is native to the southern states  (USA). The history of the pecan pie is not very clear, though pecan pie took off in popularity in the early 20th century. The pie has its place as a dessert at most American dinner tables.

Pecan pie has a sweet, nutty flavor and a custard texture that no other pie can claim. Pecan pie is one of the most frequently eaten pies in the country, next to Apple pie.

The pecan tree is indigenous to North America and grows throughout much of the southern United States. With such wide spread growth of the pecan trees , the early French settlers in the then known Louisiana territory had invented the pecan pie.

Today the southern states harvest over 250 million pounds of pecans each year, with Texas and Georgia pecan groves claiming the majority of that amount.

Pecan trees drop the nuts or shed the pecans from September to December, and ripen on the ground. The pecans are then harvested from the base of the trees, and are either shelled and sold as packaged nuts to make pecan pies or sold shelled for later use.

We bought some pecans, in the bulk section of the Whole Foods Market, to make our favorite Buttermilk Pecan Pie in honor of National Pie Day January. 23, 2015.

If you would like to prepare one, then here is what you will need:

Buttermilk Pecan Pie

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

5 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 or 10 inches)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in flour, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in buttermilk and pecans. Pour into the pie shell. Bake 55 minutes or until set.

Let cool. Plate and serve. Store leftovers in refrigerated.

_____________________________

If Buttermilk Pecan Pie is not a favorite of yours, then try these pies for National Pie Day: Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie or Berries and Vanilla Pudding Pie.

 

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Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

 

Today we have a guest blog speaker who is a native Mexican who will speak to us on the Tastes of Mexico.  Our guest speaker is Norma and the owner of Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM) is interviewing her.

SRandM: So how are you Norma?

Norma: Fine thank you. I just want to say I am excited to be a guest on Splendid Recipes and More. You have a lot of great recipes posted here on your blog. I had seen a few Mexican dishes as well.

SRandM: Will thank you Norma and I am glad you could speak with us. So Norma were in Mexico are you from?

playas de RosaritoNorma: I was born in the Mexican state of Baja California North, in a small beach town called Palayas de  Rosirito.

SRandM: Exactly where is Rosarito?

Norma: Across the border from San Diego, California. When you cross the border you come into Tijuana first, and Rosarito is about 20 minutes from Tijuana going south.

SRandM: So you told me you immigrated to the U.S. in 1992 and have been an American citizen since 2004?

Norma: Yes that is correct.

SRandM: What do you think about the Mexican food that is made here in the States?

Norma: For the most part it is authentic. But many Americans for their love of the Mexican food have made their own recipes using the ingredients we use in Mexico, and call it a Mexican dish. Such as New Mexico, they make enchiladas as we do in Mexico, but they use flour tortillas, and the Mexicans use corn tortillas. Some people have even made enchiladas, casserole style calling it an Enchilada pie, which is not authentic Mexican.

SRandM: Yes I understand. What do you think about the variations in Texas? Is Mexican food and Tex-Mex the same?

Before Norma answers our question, have you ever wondered what the difference is between authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex food? If you look around online, you’ll find plenty of debate over which style of theorizing cooking is better. Some “traditionalists” even question if Tex-Mex is a legitimate form of American cuisine.

No matter where the debate leads, Tex-Mex has earned its place on the American table. Still, that doesn’t answer how Tex-Mex differs from authentic Mexican food.  So let’s allow Norma to answer that.

Norma: Will here’s a little history. The roots of Tex-Mex cuisine trace back to the Spanish. The Spanish missionaries brought their recipes to Texas, and when they left the area in the 1700s, the natives of the region had already assimilated portions of their cooking culture into their own.

chili con carneAlong with this influence, early colonization of Texas also included other cultures. For example, individuals from the Canary Islands brought a different flavor palate with them, which included cumin, garlic, and chili powder. These flavors now form the foundation for the Tex-Mex favorite, chili con carne.

SRandM: So chili con carne is not an authentic Mexican dish?

Norma: No, chili or ground meat with beans and the use of spicy peppers are a Western frontier dish.

This blending of outside cultures with Mexican farm food and Texas ranch food is evident in many other modern Tex-Mex dishes.

One example that comes to mind is the use of beef. You will find a lot more beef in Tex-Mex recipes than in traditional Mexican dishes. Even though beef cattle could be found in Mexico, grasslands were overgrazed and herds were scarce.

SRandM: What types of meat are most popular then, in authentic Mexican cooking?

Norma: Pork, turkeys, wild fowl, chicken, and seafood were more available to the average Mexican household, and as a result, these ingredients were used and are used today in Mexican dishes, with the exception of turkey. You won’t find that at all in any Mexican dish.

SRandM: I guess since beef cattle have long been a staple in Texas, it would make sense that beef plays a more pre-dominate role in Tex-Mex recipes.

Norma: That is correct.

SRandMore: What other foods are used in authentic Mexican dishes?

Norma: Will before trade and commerce exploded in Mexico, beans, corn, and rice formed the basis for many meals. As Mexican people moved north, these foods found their way onto the plates of many households in Texas.

In return, Texans introduced Mexican cooks to more plentiful milk and cheese, in addition to beef. This blending of cultures and cuisine created excitement, especially during the 1940s and 1950s as the borders between the two countries became more open.

 Los Pesos Tex MexSRandM: So could it be correct to say it was around that time when the term ‘Tex-Mex’ was coined?

Norma: Yes, and was proudly used to describe Mexican dishes adapted by Texan cooks. But I will say as the years passed, the recipes lost much of their heritage.

SRandM: How so?

Norma: Will by the 1970s, many Tex-Mex dishes were almost completely revamped into unrecognizable concoctions that are not authentic Mexican dishes.

SRandMore: Such as?

Norma: Will, like Chimichangas, cheese nachos, just to name a few is Tex-Mex cuisine inventions.

Much of what we know as Tex-Mex today can be traced in part to the fast food franchise explosion which introduced “Mexican” food to most Americans.

The menus you typically see featured in these restaurants have pre-made taco shells which house a variety of ingredients buried under piles of cheese and sauces.  Though these restaurants will give a general nod to a “south of the border” flavor, their menus really have little in common with authentic Mexican food.

Another fact I find funny, is restaurants that have popped up all over America make the claim to serve only “authentic” Mexican food, when they are actually making a stab at Tex-Mex.

SRandM: So do you feel Tex-Mex has stolen the spot light from the real thing?

Norma: Will when it comes down to deciding which is best – authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine – I really can’t find a right or wrong answer to your question.

All you can do is compare and decide for yourself which you prefer. There are many cookbooks available for both Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisines to see what appeals to you. You can also visit authentic local restaurants to try for yourself.


NachosSRandM:
Will that is all the time we have today Norma. Tell our readers what recipes you will be presenting in the next post?

Norma: I thought I would prepare some authentic Guacamole and Real Mexican salsa, a couple of great condiments that pair well with lots of Mexican dishes.

SRandM: We look for to that Norma. So to our readers, return here to Splendid Recipes and More for some authentic recipes that will be prepared by Norma, which is: Homemade Guacamole and Fresh Mexican Salsa.

Link to: Homemade Guacamole and Fresh Mexican Salsa

Image credits:

Chili con carne    

Palayas de Rosarito

Los Pesos Tex-Mex

Clip art of Nachos and Taco

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