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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Spreads & Dips

TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Salsa

You can see the many different types of salsa in our Salsa Glossary. It’s easy to make all of them at home, and fresh, homemade salsa is delicious (and nutritious and very low in calories).

There are two basic styles of salsa: raw salsa (salsa cruda or salsa fresca, which includes pico de gallo) and cooked salsa. All shelf-stable salsas in a jar are cooked to pasteurize the ingredients.

  • Salsa cruda is crunchy with bright flavor.
  • Cooked salsa has deeper, sweeter flavors from roasting the tomatoes, as well as smoky flavors if chipotles (smoked jalapeños) are used.
  •  
    BASIC SALSA INGREDIENTS

  • Tomato Or Other Fruit:* Tomato is the base for red salsa, tomatillos for green salsa. But you can ditch them altogether and make a salsa from grapefruits, mangoes, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums, pineapples, strawberries or other fruit. Why not make signature salsas each season from seasonal fruits?
  •  

    Salsa is great with far more than Tex-Mex foods. Here, grapefruit salsa tops a baked potato. Photo courtesy TexaSweet.

     

  • Herb: Cilantro is the classic, but if you don’t like it use something else—basil, mint, parsley or oregano for starters. If you’re a garlic fan, mince and toss in cloves to taste.
  • Chile: Jalapeño is traditional, but you can use any chile, hotter or less hot than the jalapeño (check out the types of chiles in our Chile Glossary).
  • Seasonings: Salsa is a balance of salty, savory, sour/tart, spicy and sometimes sweet flavors. The cilantro or other herb is the savory; lime juice or vinegar is the sour/tart; for spicy the hot chile (you can substitute hot sauce); and of course, a pinch of salt. We are not fans of sugar except in fruit salsa, if the fruit doesn’t have enough natural sweetness.
  • Extras: Black beans, bell pepper, corn kernels, jicama and radish are popular additions to salsa. But feel free to add lentils, olives, zucchini or just about anything that appeals to you.
  •  

    Salsa fresca made with watermelon instead
    of tomatoes. Photo courtesy National
    Watermelon Promotion Board.

     

    GET READY TO DICE

    Some people make salsa in a food processor to save time, but it produces a purée style. We prefer hand-chopping for a chunky salsa. It has a better mouthfeel and looks more appealing.

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes

    BASIC SALSA FRESCA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes (6-7 medium tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX all ingredients thoroughly.

    2. REFRIGERATE overnight or for several hours to let flavors blend.

     

    TRY THESE SALSA RECIPES

  • Cherry Salsa
  • Global Salsa Recipes
  • Peach, Plum & Nectarine Salsa
  • Pineapple Salsa Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa
  • Watermelon Salsa
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF SALSA

    *Here’s why the tomato is a fruit.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Colorful Beet Dip

    A colorful and yummy beet dip. Photo
    courtesy Dole.com.

     

    We love beets in every form: baked, Harvard, pickled, beet ravioli, steamed beats, soup (borscht is Russian beet soup), in gourmet appetizer recipes, in green salads, with goat cheese and endive…even beet ice cream (substitute beets in a strawberry ice cream recipe) and beet cake (food trivia: the original—and best—red velvet cake recipes got their red hue from beets, not food color).

    You can even enjoy beet juice in cocktails: a beet Martini or this beet Mojito, for example.

    Now, here’s another way to enjoy beets: as a dip with crudités or a bread spread. The recipe is courtesy Dole Foods.

    It’s a beautiful color for Easter or any other festive occasion.

     

     

    BEET DIP & SPREAD

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound red beets (1 large), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh spinach
  • 8 ounces nonfat cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons snipped chives
  •  

    Beet dip with cucumber ribbons on skewers. Photo courtesy Dole.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PULSE beets in bowl or food processor wuth scallion and spinach, until finely chopped.

    2. ADD cream cheese, lemon juice and salt, and process until well-blended, leaving some texture in dip. Transfer to bowl and stir in chives.

    3. SERVE as a dip with crudités or as a spread on toasted french bread.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Avocado Salsa For St. Patrick’s Day

    Avocado fans are happy to enjoy avocado on any day of the year. But if you’re looking to add some green to your St. Patrick’s Day meals, look no further than this “avocado topper” from the Hass Avocado Board.

    Try these salsa-like toppings for burgers, eggs or grilled fish; toss them into wraps; garnish rice or potatoes. The recipes, courtesy of AvocadoCentral.com, make seven half-cup servings.

    AVOCADO TOPPER RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup seeded, diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon country-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  

    Hold the ketchup: Garnish your burger with this avocado topper. Photo courtesy Hass Avocado Board.

  • 2 large (8 ounces) ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Allow to cool.

    2. In a large bowl, COMBINE the sautéed onion and garlic with the tomato, cheese, pickle relish, basil, mustard, salt and pepper. Gently toss in the avocados.

     

    Try a sweet mango topper on chicken or fish. Photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

     

    For a bit of sweetness, try this variation, which is especially delicious over grilled chicken or fish.

    AVOCADO MANGO TOPPER

    Ingredients

  • 2 large (u ounces), ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup seeded, diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  

    Preparation
    1. COMBINE in a medium bowl the, mango, tomato, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

    2. ADD avocado and toss gently.

    For more avocado recipes, visit AvocadoCentral.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Asian Peanut Sauce

    For both Asian- and Western-style salads,
    peanut sauce is a delicious dressing. Photo
    courtesy National Almond Board.

     

    If you enjoy a plate of Asian sesame noodles, that yummy, peanut butter-based sauce is equally versatile as a:

  • Dip for raw vegetables (crudités)
  • Grilled chicken, fish or tofu sauce or dip for
    skewers
  • Pasta sauce
  • Rice and grains sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Sandwich and wrap condiment
  • Steamed or grilled vegetable sauce
  •  
    While peanut butter, coconut milk or cream, garlic and soy sauce are common to all recipes, there is no one version of peanut sauce. Every region has its own signature style.

    For example, Indonesian peanut sauce uses lemongrass, tamarind juice and miso; Thai peanut sauce uses lime juice and cilantro.

     

    You can make a double batch and keep it tightly sealed in the fridge, ready to add flavor to so many different dishes. It’s a quick and nutritious snack with baby carrots or hard-cooked eggs, and delicious with leftovers (one of our favorites: mix with leftover rice; add some peas, chopped green onions and diced bell pepper).

     

    ASIAN PEANUT SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce†
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  •  

    Grilled fish is delicious with peanut sauce. Photo courtesy Pollen restaurant.

     

    *For more heat and colorful flecks, add red chili flakes to taste.

    †If you don’t want to buy fish sauce just for this recipe, substitute Worcestershire sauce. If you think you’ll be making peanut sauce regularly, invest in the fish sauce.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together ingredients, except cilantro, in a small bowl.

    2. MIX in cilantro just before serving.

    3. FOR A THINNER SAUCE OR DIP, dilute with water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Nonfat Cucumber Yogurt Dip

    A few hours ago, we were discouraged to hear one of the anchor team members on our favorite morning show opine that Super Bowl foods “should be the foods we love to eat, not vegetables.” She was referring to the fatty, high-calorie usual suspects.

    Fortunately, another team member jumped in in support of the veggies.

    We admire people who watch what they eat, and we always have a crudités (raw vegetables) platter and a fruit platter or fruit salad as part of any party buffet. We’re also personally grateful to have something better to nibble on than cholesterol.

    The morning show discord inspired us to publish this recipe for a tasty, nontfat cucumber dip, adapted from a recipe provided by the Australian Institute Of Sport.

    TIP: Make this dip at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop. It can be made a day in advance.

     

    Nonfat cucumber dip: Serve it with crudites or as a sauce. Photo courtesy Australian Institute Of Sport.

     

    CUCUMBER YOGURT DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 seedless cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional heat: chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce
  •  
    PREPARATION

    1. PEEL cucumbers and cut in half lengthways. If not a seedless variety, use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds.

    2. GRATE the flesh, and place in a bowl with dill, garlic, yogurt and mint. Stir to combine and serve chilled. Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

    Makes about 1½ cups.

    MORE USES FOR CUCUMBER DIP

  • Dip: For pretzels, potato chips, pita chips and other snacks
  • Layered or Mezze: In a layered dip or on a mezze plate with babaganoush,hummus, tabbouleh and other ingredients (see layered dip recipe)
  • Garnish: On baked potatoes, rice and other grains, cooked vegetables
  • Sauce: On grilled or poached fish or seafood, including shrimp cocktail
  •  
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE DIP RECIPES.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Layered Dip Recipes, Part 2

    Take the ingredients of a Greek salad and
    turn it into a layered dip, served with pita
    chips. Photo courtesy
    SouthByMouth.Blogspot.com.

     

    Yesterday, we discussed layered dips, beginning with the layered Mexican dip, also known as a layered bean dip and seven-layer dip. We also introduced a layered Middle Eastern dip.

    In Part 2, we travel beyond Mexico and the Middle East to Greece and India.

    If you use a base of nonfat Greek yogurt layered with vegetables, your dip will be low in calories.

    GREEK LAYERED DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 diced cucumbers (peel if waxed)
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Green bell pepper, diced
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt, seasoned with fresh dill, garlic, salt and pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (fresh tomatoes in
    season)
  • Optional layers: babaganoush (eggplant dip),
    tabbouleh (bulgur, mint, finely chopped parsley, tomatoes)
  • Basil or oregano for garnish
  • Pita chips
  • Optional: anchovies, chopped flat-leaf parsley
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SPREAD seasoned yogurt across the bottom of a shallow bowl.

    2. LAYER with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

    3. SPRINKLE with crumbled feta and oregano/parsley.

     

    INDIAN LAYERED DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 2 cups shredded or crumbled paneer cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup chutney
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sliced naan or other Indian bread; or use pita chips
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND together the sour cream and curry. Spread across the bottom of a shallow glass bowl, baking dish or pie plate.

    2. ADD layer of coconut and peanuts, followed by the layer of paneer cheese.

    3. BLEND cream cheese with chutney and layer on top. Sprinkle with green onions.

     

    A warm pizza dip. Photo courtesy MyBakingAddition.com. See recipe below.

     
    4. SERVE with pieces/slices of Indian bread: chapata, naan, pappadum or whatever you can find (try an International supermarket). Or, pita chips will do nicely.
     
    WARM PIZZA DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning*
  • 1/2 cup chunky pasta/pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced pepperoni or sausage
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toasted baguette or Italian bread slices (bagel chips and pita chips also work)
  • 9″ pie plate
  •  
    *Create your own Italian seasoning with dried spices, 1/4 teaspoon each basil, marjoram and oregano plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage.

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F (175°C).

    2. BEAT sour cream, cream cheese and Italian seasoning on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pie plate.

    3. LAYER other ingredients in the order listed.

    4. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes until heated through; top with mozzarella. Continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    5. SERVE warm with toasts.

    Here’s a recipe variation from the blog, MyBakingAddiction.com.

    MIX & MATCH: OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR ANY LAYERED DIP

    You can add any ingredients to the layers that appeal to you. Some ideas:

  • Almonds, sliced
  • Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Pesto
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Raisins or dried berries (blueberries, cranberries)
  • Red onions, finely sliced
  • Sundried tomatoes
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Layered Dips, Part 1

    The original seven-layer dip recipe. Photo
    courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    The first layered dip we encountered was the iconic layered Mexican dip, also known as a layered bean dip/refried bean dip, nacho dip, taco dip, Tex-Mex dip and five-, six- or seven-layer dip. Dipped with taco chips, it was the rage.

    Made from healthful ingredients, it may be time to add into (or back into) your repertoire, starting with Super Bowl Sunday.

    The layered dip is typically built in a glass bowl that shows off the different colors and textures of the layers: refried beans, shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, guacamole, diced tomatoes, salsa, canned green chiles, olives and shredded lettuce, with some seasonings such as taco seasoning or a dusting of cumin.

     
    Variations proliferated, including a bean-focused dip with whole black beans and pinto beans, with or without the refried beans layer; cubed avocado instead of guacamole; Greek yogurt instead of sour cream; cilantro and scallions, keeping the diced tomatoes and shredded romaine.

    One can regret that, after a few guests have dipped their chips, the pretty layered dish turns into an unattractive mush. If you have aesthetic standards, there are two solutions to this:

  • Make very thin layers on a flat dish (see this example of a thin layered dip)
  • Make individual flavored dip cups (use rocks glasses or plastic 4-ounce cups)
  •  
    Expand your horizons beyond Tex-Mex layered dips with today’s and tomorrow’s layered dip ideas.

    And enjoy them guilt-free: Even the Tex-Mex dip is relatively healthful, if higher in calories: The beans are protein, avocados are a great nutrition food and a top-quality brand of corn/taco chip (we like Food Should Taste Good, Garden Of Eatin’ and Rosa Mexicano) is whole grain.

     

    MIDDLE EASTERN LAYERED DIP RECIPE

    This recipe comes to us from ZoesKitchen.com.

    Ingredients

  • 1 tub (16 ounces) hummus (or make this hummus recipe)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (use fresh tomatoes in season)
  • 2 diced cucumbers (peel if waxed)
  • Crumbled feta
  • Diced olives
  • Basil or oregano for garnish
  • Pita chips
  • Optional ingredients: capers, sweet onions,
    chopped flat-leaf parsley
  •  

    A Middle Eastern layered dip. Photo courtesy ZoesKitchen.com.

    Preparation

    1. SPREAD hummus across the bottom of a shallow bowl

    2. LAY:ER with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

    3. SPRINKLE with crumbled feta and basil/oregano.

    Do you have a favorite layered dip concept? Please share.

    And tune in tomorrow for more layered dip ideas.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A Pimento Cheese Cheeseburger

    A cheeseburger using pimiento cheese from
    ZoesKitchen.com. Photo courtesy Zoe’s
    Kitchen.

     

    We recently received a shipment of cheese spreads from Tonya’s Gourmet Creations. The company makes cheese spreads in Carolina Blend, Dilly Beef, Feta-Greek, Smokey Bacon Cheddar, Southwest Chipotle and Sun-Dried Tomato.

    It reminded us of our mom’s pimiento cheese spread, which she enjoyed on toast with a tall glass of iced tea.

    Pimiento cheese is a Southern specialty—along with barbecue, catfish, deviled eggs, grits, fried chicken and sweet tea.

    Sharp Cheddar cheese, chopped pimientos and mayonnaise create a spread that’s used to fill celery sticks, to slather for cheeseburgers, to spread on crackers or toast and to make grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese omelets.

     

    RECIPE: PIMIENTO CHEESE SPREAD

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimiento, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
  • 1 block (8 ounces) extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 block (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE mayo, pimiento, Worcestershire, onion and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese.

    2. CHILL in fridge to let flavors meld. Serve at room temperature. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

    Variations

  • CAROLINA STYLE: Add 1/4 cup diced olives and jalapeños.
  • CREAMY: Make the spread creamier by blending in 4 ounces of cream cheese.
  • HOLIDAY: Add 1/4 cup cranberry sauce. (We like whole cranberry sauce.)
  •  

    Add cream cheese for a creamier spread. Photo courtesy Kraft Foods.

     

  • MEXICAN STYLE: Add 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, drained; or 1 teaspoon dried chipotle. Adjust quantity to taste.
  • ONIONY: Add finely-diced red onion and fresh parsley to taste.
  • SMOKY: Add 1/4 cup cooked bacon, drained and crumbled.
  • SWEET & TANGY: Add some pickle relish. Start with a heaping tablespoon, drained.
  •  
    MORE WAYS TO USE PIMIENTO CHEESE

  • Breakfast Tortilla: Warm a corn tortilla in a skillet or the microwave. Spread with pimiento cheese and top with two fried eggs and salsa. Optional garnishes: chopped green onions, sliced black olives, chopped fresh herbs.
  • Cheeseburger: Spread a heaping knife-full of pimento cheese atop a grillled burger. Add the top bun and wait a minute for the cheese to melt.
  • Dip For Fries: Dipping works better with a creamier style pimento cheese (see above). Or, thin the spread with milk, sour cream, mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt.
  • Toasted Egg Sandwich: Spread pimento cheese on toast; top with fried, scrambled or sliced hard-cooked eggs.
  • Wrap Sandwich: Spread instead of mayo on a ham, turkey, grilled veggies or other wrap. Sprinkle with chopped green onions; add shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Taco: Warm a small flour tortilla and spread it with pimento cheese. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, taco-seasoned beef, grated cheese, sour cream and salsa.
  •  
    Share your favorite uses and variations with us!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Veggie Salsa Of A Different Color

    Grilled chicken with tangy veggie salsa.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce.* It can be any type of sauce, but most Americans identify it as a tomato-based hot sauce used as a dip with tortilla chips.

    There is no one classic salsa recipe: Every region of Latin America has its own style of salsa. In Mexico, recipes are divided between tomato based red salsas and the tomatillo-based green salsas. Even in this division, there are many different salsa styles (see our Salsa Glossary).

    We recently received a variety of condiments from Black Angus Saloon, a specialty food company in Lake Ozark, Missouri. The packaged foods are an extension of the local Black Angus Saloon restaurant.

    The first two we sampled were salsas: Veggie Salsa† in Sweet and Tangy (with vinegar) and Sweet & Spicy (with chiles). There’s no tomato or tomatillo, making these “clear” salsas. The minced vegetables and small beans provided a charming topping to grilled chicken and fish.

    You can purchase Veggie Salsa from BlackAngusBrands.com ($6 per 16-ounce jar) or make your own from our “approximate” recipe, below.

     

    While we tend not to like sweetness in our condiments (keep that sugar in confections and desserts, where it belongs!), we truly enjoyed the Sweet & Tangy Veggie Salsa—so much so that we made a similar batch the same day and enjoyed it on grilled fish. We also sprinkled the sweetened vinegar marinating liquid on our salad.

    There’s no cooking involved (unless you want to cook the beans from scratch); just chopping.

    We love salsa, so are always looking for a twist to our standards. Salsa is a food bargain: fat free, gluten free, vegan, all natural and low in sodium. Traditional recipes don’t use sugar, either; so they’re low carb, too.

    *The Spanish word salsa derives from the Latin salsa, meaning salty, which itself derives from the Latin sal, salt.
    †The name may seem redundant as all Latin American-style salsas are “veggie salsas”: no dairy, no meat or fish-based stock, just vegetables, spices and vinegar. It would have been more interesting to call these products “clear salsa.”

     

    MAKE YOUR OWN SWEET & TANGY “CLEAR SALSA”

    Consider how much you want, and use appropriate proportions. This is a very versatile condiment: We also used it on eggs, on steamed vegetables, mixed into mayonnaise as a sandwich/wrap spread and mixed into cottage cheese and plain yogurt. We enjoyed the “salsa yogurt” plain, in a baked potato, and as a dip. And it’s a refreshing topping for bratwurst, burgers and franks (it’s much more complex than pickle relish).

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup small black beans
  • 1/2 cup small kidney beans (you can use whatever beans you have)
  • 3 tablespoons each shredded carrots, finely diced celery, minced red onion, green bell peppers and red bell peppers
  • Optional fresh herbs (toss in a tablespoon of whatever you have in the fridge)
  •  

    Black Angus Saloon’s tasty “clear salsa.” Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Cider vinegar or other vinegar, to cover
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, brown sugar, agave, honey or sweetener of choice (e.g. noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more salt and optional chile flakes or black pepper, to taste
  • Optional spices (we added a shake of clove and nutmeg)
  •  
    You can build on the ingredients by adding whatever you have on hand. We added sliced olives and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to a subsequent batch.

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE chopped vegetables, herbs and salt in the bowl of a lidded container; mix until blended.

    2. COVER with vinegar. Place lid on container and let the salsa marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (you can actually use it in as little as an hour, but the flavors blend with time).

    3. TASTE and adjust seasonings to taste and add any spices, like the clove and nutmeg we used.

    The salsa will keep in the fridge for two weeks or longer, but we doubt there will be any left after a day or two!

    Find more of our favorite salsas and dips.

      

    Comments

    THANKSGIVING RECIPE: Pumpkin Cream Cheese

    What’s for breakfast during pumpkin season?

    Bagels with pumpkin cream cheese spread!

    We recently devoured a whole wheat bagel with pumpkin cream cheese at Dunkin Donuts, and are now hooked on this holiday spread.

    It’s easy to make, with your choice of cream cheese (regular or fat free) or fresh goat cheese. Or, substitute sour cream or yogurt for the cream cheese.

    The pumpkin purée “stretches” the cream cheese so you don’t need to use as much. The result: more vitamins,* more flavor, less fat, fewer calories.

    We personally don’t sweeten the recipe: The pumpkin pie spices are more than flavorful, and who needs added calories and carbs?

    But if you’re of the sweeter inclination, add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar, maple syrup or agave, plus 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.

     

    Pumpkin cream cheese on a bagel (we chose whole wheat). Photo courtesy Dunkin Donuts.

     

    PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (substitute 1/4 teaspoon each clove or allspice and
    nutmeg)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT softened cream cheese until creamy.

    2. ADD pumpkin purée and spices; beat to incorporate.

    3. CHILL for at least an hour. Can be made up to a week in advance.

    4. SPREAD on bagels and toast. Yum, yum!
     
    *Pumpkin is a very good source of copper, dietary fiber, manganese, potassium and vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin) and C and a good source of vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folate) and E plus iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

      

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