Saturday, March 26, 2011

Salsa Party!

Well if you haven't noticed I've been gone a few weeks.  I had surgery but am home again and am doing very well now.

Today I am going to give you my Salsa recipe, it was given to me by a friend when I worked at a local cannery many years ago.  It has some unexpected ingredients but that has made it a family favorite for many, many years.

1 large (28oz) can whole tomatoes
1 regular (15oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 large yellow or white onion
8 large radishes
3 Serrano chili's (Serrano's are the long finger shaped green ones, about 3-4" long)
6-8 Dried red peppers.  (these are the small red ones you can find in a cello bag in the Mexican food section of your market)
2  cloves of garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 bunch of cilantro

Finely chop onions, garlic, radishes or finely chop in the food processor.  Put tomatoes and their juice in a blender with the whole green chili's, salt and about a cup of chopped cilantro and with the dried red peppers that have been toasted.  (See below for directions on toasting red chili's) Blend till all contents are well blended.  Pour into a large bowl or container and stir in the chopped vegetables.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.  The longer it sits and marinates the better the taste is.  (To make it hotter or less hot adjust the dried toasted chili's)

To Toast Red Chili's:

Push the dried red chili's onto a fork or skewer, take them outside the house as the fumes are powerful.  Using a lighter or candle run it back and forth under the chili's until lightly blackened and you hear the seeds popping.  If they catch on fire just blow them out, even if they appear burned they are probably just right!  I drop them just as they are into the blender with the rest of the ingredients.

This recipe makes a generous amount of Salsa and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Auntie Barb's Famous Cheese Cake

Master Chief  and Mrs. Wm. J. Roberts

My Auntie Barb has been in our family for a long time.  She married my Uncle Bill (who passed away in December of 2010) and it has been both an honor and a privledge to be her niece.  I was especially close to my Uncle Bill and still consider my Auntie Barb my second mother.  She always gave the best advice (and still does) but never got onto you if you decided not to take it.  Usually you would come to realize later you should have done what she suggested in the first place.  Auntie Barb and Uncle Bill were a military family and went wherever Uncle Bill was stationed.  He was aboard a nuclear submarine for 6 months at a time and Auntie Barb kept everything ship shape while he was gone.  When he came home she handed the reins over to him so basically he was the Chief on the sub and at home too.  It worked for them.  After they retired they opened a restaurant in Washington state right on the beach.  I always enjoyed my Auntie Barbs cooking and in fact I have pressured her on more than one occasion for a recipe .  She never minded sharing them but sometimes had to dig for them in some box or book of hers so it might take awhile.  The wait was worth it though.  This is a cheese cake recipe that she gave me.  She used to make it for the restaurant and it was always a sell out.  I make it for family gatherings and church potlucks and its always a sell out and much in demand.. 

Auntie Barb's Cheesecake

1 quart of Pastry Pride*
4 Eight ounce packages of cream cheese softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes graham cracker crust mix

Cream the cheese with 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Blend the Pastry Pride till peaks form, blend with the cream cheese and sugar mixture.

Pour into a 13X9 baking dish that has been prepared with the graham cracker crust (follow package directions)  Chill until ready to eat. 

I spread one can of cherry pie filling over the top making sure all the cherries are evenly distributed across the top.  Or you can take fresh strawberries and slice them in an even layer over the top then cover with a container of strawberry glaze.  You can use pretty much any fruit topping, even blackberry pie filling or leave it plain.

This makes a nice thick piece of cheesecake, if you want thinner cheesecake just use a larger pan and make the crust thinner.  This is so yummy you won't believe it was so easy.

*Pastry Pride - This is available at Smart and Final or at a restaurant supply store.  You get it in a quart sized milk carton type packaging.  I buy several and freeze them as it is a freezable product.  You can also use Pastry Pride instead of whipped cream as it does not break down in the heat like whipping cream does.  I use it in my frosting for cakes for that reason.  The cake can sit out on a table for hours and the frosting will not breakdown on the hottest day.