Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Peach Salsa - Recipe Video

Peaches are not only for pies, but also makes a great salsa too. This refreshing Peach Salsa combines the best of two worlds, sweet peaches from Georgia and spicy jalapeño from Mexico.

I've made all kinds of salsas from scratch, just click on any name to view: Red Chili (2 dried types - but the same recipe,)  Mango Salsatangy Roasted Salsa Verde (tomatillo,) and Pico de Gallo.

I leave the skin on my fruit, but you can remove it if you like. But do make sure the peach is a ripe one. My local Latin market, Superior Grocers, carries them for less than a dollar per pound, and if you live in Georgia, then you know where (and when) to get them for sure.

Click on any photo to see large.

I spice-up my Peach Salsa with fresh jalapeño, but you can use the jar type as well. They will have a little vinegar taste, but that's okay, just drain them first. I also remove the jalapeño seeds and the inside pith when fresh cut.

The other ingredients come cheaply and are easy to get at my local Latin grocer. Cilantro is now carried by most markets these days. I used red onion, but you can use cheaper white or yellow onion.

For my last taco party, I set out a bowl of Peach Salsa and regular Red Chili Salsa. Guess which one disappeared first - yep, it was the Peach Salsa.

Of course, cheap Tortilla Chips are what I serve Peach Salsa with, but if you have a Latin Grocery then get them freshly made. They cost an extra buck or so, but for a special occasion, I would indulge.

The fruity salsa is good on tacos and in burritos. Peach Salsa is even a light accompaniment to grilled chicken and fish.

For a fresh take on traditional tomato-based or red chili salsas, give my Peach Salsa a taste. All it takes is a little chopping...and fresh peaches!

Peach Salsa - Video

Play it here, video runs 2 minutes.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients (2-3 servings)
  • 4 ripe peaches - about 2 cups chopped. My peaches were the small/medium size (in peach country they can get quite large, so maybe two will do.) I left the skin on.
  • 1 to 3/4 cup onion - chopped. I used a red onion, but okay to use white or yellow onion.
  • Lime or lemon juice - I used the juice of one whole lime. Okay to use juice from a jar, about a 2 tablespoons. 
  • 1/4 cup cilantro - chopped. Okay to add more or less to taste.
  • 1/4 jalapeño chopped - optional. Okay to use jalapeño from the jar. Play with the amount to reach your spice level. I removed seeds and white inner veins or pith.

Use ripe peaches. They should be a little soft to the touch and have that peachy smell.

Prepare peach by cutting around peach and pulling it apart to remove the seed. Slice and chop peach into small pieces, like you would for a tomato based salsa.

I left the skin on the peach, but you can remove some or all the skin. If your cutting board has any peach juice left, just pour it into the salsa bowl.

Chop the onion into small pieces. I used 1 small red onion. You can add more or less onion to taste. And okay to use cheaper yellow or white onion.

Roughly chop about a 1/4 cup of cilantro. Okay to add more or less to taste.

Add peaches, cilantro and onion to a bowl.

Squeeze in the juice of one lime or lemon. Okay to use juice from the jar.

A good trick to get extra lime juice is to slice it in half, then microwave it for about 10-20 seconds until warm. This will release more juice.

Mix fruit, cilantro, and onion with lime or lemon juice. Finally, add the chopped jalapeño.

When handling jalapeño make sure not to touch your eyes or lips or you will get burned. Be sure to wash your hands with soap after working with a jalapeño. The oil from a jalapeño is very hot to delicate body parts!

I like to slice the jalapeño lengthwise to cut out the white pith and remove the seeds. Discard the stem. You will have spiciness from jalapeno flesh, but not as much as when adding the seeds.

I used about a quarter of a large jalapeño, or about a tablespoon when chopped. If you like your salsa hotter then add more chopped jalapeno.

If you are unsure about how much spiciness you can take, just add a little chopped jalapeño at a time and mix, then try salsa.

Finally, give your Peach Salsa a final mix to incorporate the jalapeño.

Serve on tacos, chips or in a burrito. Peach Salsa is a tasty side to grilled chicken or fish, too.

Best to keep Peach Salsa in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

This recipe is easy to double for more guests.

You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste - add more peach or less jalapeño; more cilantro or leave out the onion.

Can you use canned peaches? Sure why not! Just drain them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

High School Meals 7 During Coronavirus

No meat in this day's High School Meals and that's okay. There is plenty of dairy and with French Toast an egg is normally used to coat the bread.

The unusual part of this Meal is Ardella's Fun Pack for Lunch. It's just a couple of bread rounds with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.

And I can't remember when I had a frosty Slush, but what the heck I'll give it a taste test!

For this new Food Series, I gave myself the assignment to find out what High School kids are being fed during Covid-19. We here in Los Angeles care about the nutrition needs of young people.

I'll be sharing a different Breakfast and Lunch meal every few days. I think you'll be as surprised as I am of the good, the bad, and the ugly...oh boy.

These meals are Grab & Go from my local High School. I'm sure regular school cafeteria fare is different (better?) than the ones I am getting carryout at the drive-thru lane. You can click here to see the first meal I had at my neighborhood Grab & Go.

The GIF above is a Grab & Go walk up at Susan Miller Dorsey High School. 

There seem to be plenty of meal bags laid out on the tables and once I asked if they ever run out and the attendant replied emphatically "Never!"

Breakfast: French Toast, Blueberry Muffin, Apple, Juice, and Milk (always Milk.)

French Toast is a real kid-pleaser and this one is almost perfect except one part which I will talk about later. The bread is soft and the coating extra-eggy. Is it sweet too,  and with a dash of fragrant cinnamon spice.

French Toast is precooked so all you need to do is heat it for a few seconds until warm...or just go ahead and eat it at room temperature.

A very good French Toast, however, there is a strange slick coating, that I'm not sure of...hmmm, I think it is oil? I know it isn't syrup as it's neither sticky or sweet, just a neutral taste. Since the package has no labeling, I guess it will remain a mystery.

It's a 2fer of sweet bread with the addition of a Muffin. I don't know if this was supposed to go the lunch as these 2 meals come in one bag and it's up to me to guess what item goes with breakfast or lunch?

The cupcake is moist and sweet with cinnamon spice. There is no package label but once I broke it open I could see a couple of blueberries. It is a tasty Blueberry Muffin.

Lunch: Fun Pack (Bread Round, Pizza Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese), Carrots, Orange, Frozen Slush.

This is a very good Fun Pack, even when served at room temperature. I guess you could call it a vegan pizza, or an open-faced sandwich?

The bread round is very soft, so not really pizza dough or pita bread. It's a thick slice too and that's fine. I assume the bread is made of whole wheat, like most bread products I've tried so far.

The Marinara Sauce or Pizza Sauce is thick and loaded with herbs and spices, very satisfying in fresh tomato flavor. I liked it a lot and want the recipe!

The shredded Cheese is Mozzarella (I think as there is no ingredients list on the package.) It's very soft and a mild-flavored version -- quite tasty.

The most peculiar thing is the amount of Pizza sauce and Mozzarella cheese to too much for just 2 bread rounds - you would have to really pile it on to finish those toppings. So if you have any bread laying around then get out a slice!

I tasted the open-faced sandwiches at room temperature and grilled. Of course, grilled is better as a cracker bread crispness and flavor come to the fore, but either way works for me.

It was fun to have childhood visions when slurping on a Cool TropicsSlush packet.

Click on any photo to see larger.

It's a short ingredient list and I like that, a nod to healthier fare these days. 

Paradise Punch is lightly sweet and a mild fruit flavor like white grape juice. I liked that there was no lingering cane sugar extra-sweet flavor. 

I refroze the packet since it was lukewarm to the touch by the time I got home. After a half-hour or so I poured and squeezed out the icy parts into a glass. There is a spout to cut along, but next time I would cut lower across the wide part and pour it all out at once. This would enable the packet to be more frozen like a Slush should be.  

Finally the Orange was sweet and seedless while the Carrots are crunchy and fresh tasting.

And do check back in a few days for more of my latest food series High School Meals.
 Be safe & keep your distance!

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Color Purple - Jacaranda & Eggplant Hummus

Emblematic to L.A. is its grand boulevards lined with palm trees. This month a purple upstart enters the scene -- the blossoming Jacaranda Tree. Stand under its branches at full bloom and the perfume is overwhelming.

May is the month that launches millions of blossoms carpeting large swaths of sidewalk; drive along 6th Street near LACMA and it's blue for blocks. 

To keep the purple theme going I add cooked purple eggplant to a Hummus recipe. I have found roasted eggplant in oil at my local 99c only Store.

But you can roast or saute a fresh eggplant, too. Just click here to see how I do it.

Click on any photo to see larger.

My Hummus recipe is made with easy to get ingredients. I use sesame seeds instead of hard to find tahini, which is similar to peanut butter, just blander.

And cans of cooked garbanzo beans are cheap at any grocery store. Also add a little lemon juice, ground cumin, and olive oil.

It all comes together easily in a blender or food processor, just blend until creamy.

I like to serve Eggplant Hummus with triangles of pita bread. You can use a favorite cracker or fresh chopped veggies like celery, broccoli or carrot.

So watch my meditative recipe video below. To get things started I give you a tour of some favorite jacaranda tree and blossom sightings in Los Angeles then the recipe follows.
Eggplant Hummus & Jacaranda Blossoms - Video

Play it here. The video runs 2 minutes, 24 seconds.

To view or embed video from youtube click here.

  • 1 small jar marinated grilled eggplant - Okay to use fresh baked or sauteed eggplant.
  • 1 can garbanzo beans - 16 ounces, drained.
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds - or 2 tablespoons of tahini.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice - fresh or concentrate from a 99 cent plastic lemon.
  • Pita bread slices - or favorite sliced raw veggies.
Drain can of garbanzo beans.

Add all ingredients (including oil from marinated eggplant) to blender or food processor and blend for 20 to 30 seconds until hummus is creamy.

Serve with sliced pita bread triangles and/or fresh chopped veggies (carrots, celery, red/yellow bell pepper, etc.) 99c only Stores also sell roasted red bell pepper in a jar, so try that sometime instead of eggplant.

If your local 99 cent or dollar store is out of bottled roasted veggies make a plain one with the above-mentioned ingredients and the addition of a 1/4 cup of 99 cent olive oil blend.

I use sesame seeds in this Hummus recipe. Usually, a paste called tahini is used, if you can find it then use it - about a tablespoon or two. Tahani tastes like bland peanut butter, so if you can't find sesame seeds or tahini then add a teaspoon of peanut butter.

I also have a recipe for Baba Gnoush that uses roasted eggplant. Just click here if you want to use fresh roasted eggplant, or if you can't find cheap marinated eggplant in oil. One eggplant should be plenty for this recipe. Eggplants are sometimes sold large-sized, but they shrink a lot when baked or sauteed.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

🌹Mother's Day Recipe Videos - 85 & Still Cooking 💖

I owe it all to Mom, at least where I get my cooking chops (and any good sense I have.) Just check out our cooking videos below to see what I mean.

She grew up in Texas on the Gulf Coast, in a small shrimping and fishing town called Port O'Connor. There, I learned to love seafood.

Her father was a shrimp boat captain, so we had all the fresh-caught seafood Big Daddy would skim off the top of the catch. Shrimp season was short, but crab and oyster season soon followed. And you could always cast a line into the warm Gulf waters and marshes for bountiful fishing.

Big Daddy & Big Mama

The following recipe comes from her parent's kitchen, Shrimp and Rice. It uses locally caught shrimp, cheap canned tomato paste and rice. We always had creamy pinto beans, and flour tortillas to scoop up all the deliciousness. Our family seldom had steak as it was too expensive, but we had all the Gulf seafood we could eat. Looking back I didn't realize how good we had it !

Mom's Shrimp & Rice - VIDEO
Mom had movie star looks (like a young Elizabeth Taylor) and smarts, and a scholarship to college if she wanted it, but had no encouragement from her parents.

So after high school graduation, she was soon married and I arrived on the scene, followed by my brother and sister.

Billy, Berry, and Brenda

My Dad was in the military so we moved around. Mom and us kids eventually settled back in Port O'Connor, after a divorce. Dad was quite a character and the life of the party, but he was also a little too profligate in the alcohol consumption department.

Billy Doyle Robinson

Mom went back to work as a waitress, so I learned how to literally pinch pennies when she poured handfuls of customer tips on the kitchen table for us kids to separate and count.

Mom got back on her feet and found love again with this shuffleboard-playing fellow below, Ken.

After a couple years, Mom married Ken and a final sister was born (catch up with youngest sister Denise's Eggplant Recipe, video here.)

We moved to neighboring Louisiana the year I enrolled in Junior High School. There she picked up a whole other way of cooking, Cajun-style.

My high school daze were spent in Gonzales, Louisiana, the self-professed Jambalaya Capital of the World. So you know this town is serious about chow. Click here to see a culinary video tour of some local Cajun cuisine at the weekend Flea Market, including Crawfish PieBoudin Balls, and, of course, Jambalaya.

And here's our first video we made together in my Los Angeles kitchen - and my late wife, Amy, even makes an appearance at the very end of the video. You'll get a kick out of Mom rockin' the cast-iron kettle. I make her Cajun Jambalaya more than any other recipe - it's simply delicious.

Jambalaya - Recipe Video

Here is a link to her Jambalaya recipe with text and yummy photos.

Mom was always popular with my high school buddies, especially during lunch or dinner time. She brought her Tex-Mex Enchiladas to Cajun Country, and my Louisiana friend Marvin ate them up!

Me, Marvin & Dennis

During a recent Louisiana visit, I had him over when I filmed Mom making Tex-Mex Enchilidas. Marvin liked the Enchiladas so much, he had a flashback to our high school daze.

Make sure to watch my wacky recipe video to the end, that's when our flashback hijinx really gets smoking (wink, nudge.)

Mom's Chili Cheese Enchiladas - Recipe Video

Mom takes a star turn with her next video recipe, her popular Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.

It's a traditional Southern dish and it's cheap, too. Just chicken, sausage, and the Cajun veggie trinity of bell pepper, celery, and onion. What gives Gumbo it's unique taste is a dark brown roux, which is flour cooked in oil until chocolate brown.

Just check out the video below - Mom will take you through the steps. And, as an added bonus, my oldest sister Brenda makes a nagging appearance a few minutes in.

Gumbo - Recipe Video

Click here to read all about making Mom's homemade Gumbo, from roux to rice!

My Mom's Cajun Potato Salad is the perfect side to her Gumbo and Jambalaya. When she visited me in Los Angeles I got her to do it on camera. I couldn't help but give her a hard time about the recipe. I called it Cajun Mashed Potatoes and she called it Cajun Potato Salad - well, I guess you'll have to watch the video below to see who wins that argument!

Mom's Cajun Potato Salad - Recipe Video

I satiate my sweet tooth during visits with Mom. And the best of her pastry delights are Mini-Pecan Pies. If I couldn't make it for the Christmas holiday, then she would send a shoe-boxed size package with a dozen of these tasty pies.

Mom attracts a kitchen-full of hungry relatives when these pies come hot out of the oven. And it's a miracle they were done right because this Chef de Shutterbug was shoving a camera in her face (and a hot oven) during the whole procedure. We butted heads a few times, but fortunately, it all turned out fine.

I even came up with a way to dodge the high prices for pecans - so check out the video below to learn my budget secrets.

Mini-Pecan Pie - Recipe Video

And click here to see Mom's Mini-Pecan Pies recipe with text and tasty photos.

Mom has lived half her life in Gonzales, Louisiana. One of my visits there fell on Christmas, and she pulled out all the stops with a huge holiday spread, that included Pumpkin Pie. I got her on video making it, and it turned out perfect, as you will see below.

The recipe is a traditional one made with simple ingredients. The pumpkin came from a can, but the crust was handmade with wheat flour.

Pumpkin Pie - Recipe Video

All the easy to follow steps are written out here, and with delish photos, too.

Now, Mom is no angel -- hey, who is? Recently my brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chef, with his Spanish moss and all.

When I asked Mom: "Who's the Swamp Chef's daddy?" Her reply was: "That's a very good question!" I guess Mom will spill the beans one day, until then, check out the video below for a dessert good enough to cajole the Swamp Chef out of the bayou!

Cherry Pie - Recipe Video

Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely ladies, and especially to my Mom - I love you!

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