Hungarian Wax Beauties

Wahoo~my Hungarian Wax peppers are ready to be canned!!  It’s the moment my son has been waiting for.  He can’t wait to get started harvesting–well, in between entertaining the neighbor girl peering at him through the chain link fence, that is.  In between introducing him to all 100 of her imaginary brothers and sisters, her fleet of horses, her real life dogs…

Well, you get the picture.  The boy was distracted, but still managed to snip this bounty of peppers.

Beautiful.  From red to yellow (and a few green we’ll chalk up to the distraction factor), my son has given me quite the beginning for a canning fiesta.  Mind you, he didn’t lug this basket up to the house himself.  I did.  He was busy impressing the young girl with his digging abilities, creating a hole deep enough to step in clear up to his thighs!  Needless to say, she was thrilled. More

Feeling a little Sassy, Saucy?

Me, too.  Or have been lately.  But I’m sure it’s just Valentine’s and all the excitement, hoopla and romance of the week.  Phew —  not sure I can take another minute of all this loving!  (You do know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, don’t you?)  And good old-fashioned home cooking takes time.  It takes effort.  And we’ve haven’t even begun to tackle the dishes, yet.  But you know what?  When you try a recipe for the first time, and the result is a delicious meal…

It’s all worth it.  This week I made chimichurri sauce for the first time.  Originally from Miami, you may be surprised to hear I haven’t mastered this baby yet, but what can I say?  I’ve been preoccupied with paella and plantanos, picadillo, black beans and rice.  I went to restaurants for chimichurri—I didn’t make it at home.

Ah…but I do now! It was easy and yummy and healthy. If you ask me, these are the keys to success.  Now I’ll warn any vegetarians right now:  I served this in traditional fashion with flank steak and rice.  Yes, I had black beans and plantanos, but this sauce served over medium rare meat is amazing.  But if you don’t eat meat, don’t despair.  Try it over salad, over veggies.  It’s that good.

The main ingredients are parsley, oregano and garlic—all of which I grow in my home garden.  And remember those olive trees Mandy planted?  Well hurry up and get your “grow” on girls—I need some olives to…to…  What exactly do you do to olives to make oil?  Press them?  Puree them?

Sheesh, I still have a lot to learn.  Okay.  So I’ll barter for the olive oil.  I do want to maintain my “self-sustaining” status when I cook, but honestly, it can be a challenge.  Especially when it comes to the white wine vinegar needed for this recipe, though my husband assures me we can grow our own grapes and make our own wine.  Hmph.  This, coming from “tractor” man.  What the heck does he know about “growing” anything?  He’s a grinder (of soil).  I’m the grower around here.

Anyhoo, here’s what I did:  finely chopped the parsley and oregano, minced the garlic and mixed it with white wine vinegar and olive oil.  I’m no fan of salt, but you can add this and black pepper to your liking.  I used a mezzaluna knife—one of my favorites for chopping herbs—but you can also do this in a food processor.  And that’s it.  Pretty easy, right?  Now I snagged the original recipe from Williams-Sonoma, but after checking out a slew of others, changed it to suit my taste.  For full details, check the recipe section of my website.

Whether you’re a fan of Latin inspired dishes or not, this one is worth a try.  I think of it as the Latin version of tabouli–only oregano instead of mint.  Alright, alright—and none of the tomato, cucumber and bulgur.  Call it a wacky comparison at the dinner table, but that’s how it struck me. 🙂  (Some things there’s no explainin’!)

It was good.  “Hey Mikey!  Try it, you’ll like it!”

Garden Tomato Pizza Sauce

Put those tomatoes to work–make a pizza sauce!  I did.  Fresh ripe ruby-red tomatoes make the most delicious sauce and don’t worry if yours aren’t ruby-red ripe (mine weren’t either).  They still taste divine.  Add a few of your garden garlic, half a sweet onion, some dried oregano and my garden goal has been achieved:  tomato sauce made entirely from my garden!

Except for that olive oil you bartered for with your cousin Vinny from Italy.  But that’s okay.  I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage–not an olive tree in sight here in Central Florida.  There aren’t any bay leaf trees, either (but I’m not looking for any).

And if my family knows what’s good for them, they won’t point the fact out.  Best to leave mom to her fantasy world.

Speaking of my family, my daughter prepared the homemade pizza dough all by herself and put the pizza together.  She’s an awesome chef.  Sweet!

As to my sauce, it was easy.  Simply de-stemmed the tomatoes, cut them in half, pushed the seeds out and tossed the tomato flesh into my Cuisinart and pressed ON.  Beautiful!  Next, I poured the tomatoes into a pan and added the fresh garlic, half a sweet onion, dried oregano.

–and yes, a bit of salt (you’d be amazed by how much salt is pre-added to canned tomatoes) and allowed the mixture to simmer for several hours prior to spreading onto the dough.

Bake for about 15 minutes and you have ooey-gooey-golden-dinner-delight!  Pepperoni side for the boys, cheese for the girls–a feat to be proud of, for sure.